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March 9, 2011 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26.

While it isn't clear who all will be vying for the seat, at least we now know there will be a special election to replace shirtless ex-Rep Chris Lee.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that polls will be open May 24.

The Republicans lined up early behind Erie County's Jane Corwin to carry the banner for the GOP in the election.

The seven Democratic county chairs in the district will start interviewing candidates March.

The candidates who have asked for interviews are Kathy Hochul, Mark Manna, Martin Minemier, Satish Mohan, Robert Stall, Diana Voit, Jane Bauch. Bauch is from Orleans County and Minemier is from Monroe County. The other five hopefuls are from Erie County.

Meanwhile, various news reports suggest three-time loser Jack Davis will run as an independent, and even though Batavia's David Bellavia was unable to secure support with the GOP or the Conservative line, some reports indicate he may yet try an independent campaign.

Apparently, some faction of Tea Party supporters favor Davis, but Rus Thompson of Buffalo is throwing his support behind Corwin.

Davis “is good on some things, so far as we know — on trade issues, things of that nature. But I think he’s just a little inconsistent,” Thompson said. “And Jane Corwin — I think we’re really leaning toward Jane Corwin. It’s really about Bellavia and Corwin for us.”

In the run up to the campaign, some controversy has already started to swirl around Corwin. Some conservatives are bothered by her position on abortion and there was also a brief rumor of a nanny problem.

Even while local Democrats go through the process of selecting a candidate, the party's New York chair expressed some doubt to Roll Call magazine about the viability of a Democratic candidacy.

“We’re also waiting to see how enthusiastic the DCCC is about this race," said NYS Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs. "It’s a very tough seat.”

Asked how the state party would judge the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s enthusiasm, Jacobs replied, “Dollars.”

“If the DCCC is going to invest money in this race and send up staff and go all out, it would have to be predicated on the viewpoint that we can stand a chance at winning,” he said. “Now, we can always win a race, and there are a lot of variables, but you start with the registrations. And we haven’t seen the Democratic performance being all that impressive for anybody in that district.”

March 9, 2011 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Conesus man who thought he was coming to Batavia meet a 15-year-old boy for sex will spend 10 years in prison and 25 years on supervised release.

Dalton E. Wilke, 46, who previously entered a guilty plea to online enticement of a minor, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography, was sentenced Tuesday in a Rochester federal court.

Wilke was arrested in Batavia in August 2008 by federal agents and officers of the Batavia Police Department. Det. Todd Crossett helped lead the investigation by posing as a 15-year-old boy in online chats.

In addition to the prison term, Wilke was fined $2,500 and ordered to forfeit his GMC Sierra pickup truck that he drove to Batavia.

Following his arrest, agents seized Wilke's home computers and the computers were analyzed by the Regional Computer Forensic Lab linked them to the online enticement. A 48-minute video depicting two young boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct was also recovered.

March 9, 2011 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander.

Donna Jean Buckenmeyer, 45, of Hunn Road, Alexander, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Buckenmeyer is accused of punching another person and hitting that person with a cell phone during a fight at 6:46 p.m., Tuesday.

March 9, 2011 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Housing Authority, Stringham Drive.

The developer of a proposed housing project in the Stringham Drive area of Batavia is misleading the public, according to a letter written by the director of the Batavia Housing Authority.

Gregory Langen sent a letter to Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post on March 8 and blasted Chatham & Nathaniel Development Corp. for not being completely upfront about planning a low-income housing project.

The letter includes a resolution passed by the BHA board of directors opposing the project.

Chatham & Nathaniel have been pushing for approval of a 19-home development that they have claimed will be open to all buyers, not just qualified low-income residents. They've tried to leave the impression that taxpayers won't foot the bill for the development.

In fact, according to Langen, a letter from Chatham & Nathaniel soliciting support from PathStone (the local Section 8 administrator), says preference in selection of tenants for 100 percent of the units will be low-income.

The project, Langen wrote, will be funded through $3.5 million in low-income housing tax credits, $2.4 million in New York State Home Funds and $158,000 in deferred developer fees.

"I believe this contradicts the public testimony of the developers that the project would be funded through private conventional financing," Langen writes. "In fact, this is to be a publicly financed project in the form of tax credits."

Because of New York low-income property tax rules, according to Langen, local taxpayers will also help subsidize each home occupied by a low-income family.

All of this, Langen wrote, at a time when there is simply no demand for more low-income housing in Batavia, especially for family housing of this magnitude.

BHA has no appreciable waiting list, and there is no unmet demand for low-income family housing.

"Rather than make low-income residents move to Batavia from other communities in order to be housed (and transferring that burden to the local Department of Social Services), it would make more sense to construct the subsidized housing in the communities where there is a current unmet need," Langen wrote.

Langen is also critical for a Chatham & Nathaniel reference to providing low-income housing for veterans.

"I question the need for yet another housing program for homeless veterans in Batavia when the VA is opening its own," Langen wrote. "The needs assessment identified 17 homeless veterans served in Rochester and Buffalo but does not identify the number, if any, in Batavia. While the BHA is proud to serve veterans in all of our facilities, we are aware of only one homeless veteran applicant in many years. That person was only considered homeless as a result of a pending divorce and his wife asking him to move. The BHA housed him successfully."

BHA currently operates 49 low-income units of three and four bedrooms.  Langen said all of them -- in the north, south and east sections of Batavia -- are clean and maintenance requests are completed in one day.

"There are many communities where there are long waiting lists of publicly subsidized housing," Langen wrote. "Low-income housing tax credits should be invested in those communities."

March 9, 2011 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

One or two inches of rain expected late Thursday, combined with residual snowmelt and saturated ground, could lead to minor flooding along creeks and low-lying areas, according to the National Weather Service.

A flood watch has been issued for Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning.

There is a potential for flooding along the Tonawanda, Black and Oatka creeks.

March 9, 2011 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, tax auction.

Should have had this up sooner -- several people have asked for the results of Saturday's county tax lien auction. Below is the list of properties we previously published with the sale price in bold at the end of each listing.

  • 7016 Macumber Road, Alabama, mobile home, .46 acres; Assessed, $48,200; Taxes owed, $3,778.70. ($19,000)
  • 10 Edgewood Drive, Batavia, single-family residence, .61 acres (and neighboring parcel); Assessed, $185,000; Taxes owed,$33,938.61. ($90,000)
  • Pearl Street Road, Batavia, vacant lot, .28 acres; Assessed $1,300; Taxes owed $694.41. ($1,200)
  • 7521 Mechanic St., Byron, single-family residence, .53 acres; Assessed $30,000; Taxes owed, $5,508.57. ($9,000)
  • 11036 South St. Road, Pavilion, single-family residence and out buildings, .06 acres; Assessed $56,800; Taxes owed $1,150.60. ($11,000)
  • 8562 Lake Road, Pembroke, residence with small improvements; Assessed $20,000; Taxes owed $2,019.39. ($7,000)
  • Alleghany Road, corner of Cohocton, Pembroke, 10 acres, rural vacant lot; Assessed $6,300; Taxes owed $994.97. ($5,100)
  • 6128 Sweetland Road, Stafford, 19.77 acres with buildings;  Assessed $37,300; Taxes owed $8,101.81. ($52,000)
  • 103 Lake St., Le Roy, single-family residence, 2.3 acres; Assessed $72,400; Taxes owed $12,820.58. ($49,000)
  • 21 Lake St., Le Roy, single-family residence, 5.6 acres; Assessed $88,900; Taxes owed $14,343.02. ($41,000)
  • 5 Pleasant Ave., two-family residence, .12 acres; Assessed $31,000; Taxes owed $11,124.13. ($7,000)
  • 34 N. Pearl St., Oakfield, single-family residence, .15 acres; Assessed $60,300; Taxes owed $8,358.20. ($21,000)

Total profits for the county aren't available yet, according to Treasurer Scott German. He said the interest on back taxes need to be calculated out of what was owed in order to arrive at the final profit number. Those calculations haven't been done yet.

March 8, 2011 - 11:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke high school, pembroke.

Pembroke High School has no varsity boys soccer team and a group of students at the school think that ought to change.

More than three dozen students and parents crowded into the district's board meeting Tuesday night to make sure the trustees clearly understand, there is support and desire to see boys soccer return to the school.

Tina Curtis (pictured above), the mother of one of the boys who wants to play soccer for his school, presented a feasibility study that shows soccer is a lot less expensive than football and isn't likely to sap talent from that squad.

The study was requested by the school administration after a group of boys in the school began making their wishes known.

"The boys came tonight to let the board and the district know that their interest is sincere and that they would really like to have the ability to play soccer in high school," Curtis said.

The trustees will discuss the proposal at their March 22 meeting.

Pembroke, though it has a girls soccer team, has been without a boys team for about 15 years.

That robs many boys of a chance to participate in varsity sports in the fall, Curtis said, because most of the soccer players have no interest in playing football or running cross-country.

Her study found that of the 29 boys in the school who expressed an interest in playing soccer, only four play football and only one runs cross-country.

Pembroke is the only Section V Class C school without both soccer and football.

In Genesee County, only Pembroke and Oakfield-Alabama don't have boys soccer. Alexander recently started a boys soccer team.

The study notes that with league and section permission, schools can combine teams, and both O-A and Alexander officials have expressed interest in exploring the idea of a combined team with Pembroke.

While football costs Pembroke $43,000 a year, the cost of a soccer team wouldn't be much more than $6,000. Cross-country costs $6,500 and boys volleyball, $4,000, according to the study.

"The administration agrees with us that the cost of funding soccer here Pembroke is not substantial," Curtis said. "That’s not a big barrier to bringing it back to school."

The biggest barrier, Curtis said, is the decline in school enrollment, but that's a problem similarly sized schools throughout Section V are facing. Their solution hasn't been to eliminate sports, but to combine programs -- merging JV with either modified or varsity programs, for example.

For Pembroke football, the program has declined from 71 JV and varsity participants in 2000 to 49 in 2010. In both years, that participation level represented 28 percent of the school's male population. In both years, Pembroke won 70 percent of their games.

According to the study, schools with both varsity football and soccer have better football winning records than schools with only football programs.

Schools with both programs don't really compete for students, the study found.

"Holley Central School and Alexander Central School added a football or soccer program to their existing fall sports," reads the report. "In conversations with Alexander and Holley athletic directors, it has been observed that the impact on the existing sport was negligible. In the words of James Palermo, Holley's athletic director, over the 10 years the school offered both programs, the crossover was insignificant. Soccer players and football players are two different types of kids."

Gabriel Birkby (pictured, inset) said he and a lot of his friends just want to play soccer.

"We have a lot of great guys, well-rounded men who are kind of deprived of a high school sporting experience," said Birkby. "I’m kind of hoping that the board and administration see it in favor of the students so that a soccer team is reestablished here Pembroke."

He said the boys will continue to let trustees and administrators know that they are serious about wanting to play soccer.

"I think (it will take) a lot of convincing and a lot of the boys pushing toward getting a team," he said. "If there’s no push there’s going to be no pressure on the board to try and get a team in there."

March 8, 2011 - 9:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, alexander, Stafford.

Here's three photos from my travels around the county this afternoon. Top, Peaviner Road, Alexander.

An irrigation system on East Road, Batavia.

A barn/shed on Buckley Road, Stafford.

March 8, 2011 - 8:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, photos, Le Roy, Britt Road.

When I turned onto Britt Road (Le Roy), I spotted two women wading through knee-deep water in a field seemingly herding three geese.

It turns out that Sid, Sally and Sandy had escaped their pen and decided to go for a swim. Shannon Yauchzee and daughter Kari had to go into the cold, swampy field and round up the wayward fowl.

March 8, 2011 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center will host its annual meeting at Genesee Community College at noon on Friday.

There will be a performance review for fiscal year 2010 and the strategic goals for 2011 will be discussed.

The public is welcome. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer will be in attendance along with Tom Kucharski, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature, and Steve Hyde, president and CEO of GCEDC.

March 8, 2011 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke.

Nicholas Michael Lyons, 30, of Allegheny Road, Pembroke, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Lyons is accused with fighting with another person at 7:11 p.m., Monday, and hitting that person.

March 8, 2011 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

Scoring droughts in the second and fourth quarters proved the Lady Lancers' undoing Monday night in Letchworth as Elba dropped a western regional playoff game to Whitesville, 50-40.

Elba jumped out to an early lead and played with confidence in the first quarter, but by the half -- after scoring only one basket in the first half of the second quarter -- was down 17-29.

With a fast start in the third quarter, Elba managed to briefly tie the game and ended the third down by one, 34-35.

Using a combination of fast breaks and defensive control of the boards, Whiteville (20-3) dominated the fourth quarter, however, to end Elba's season at 19-4.

Jamie Marshall had 8 points, Meg Stucko 8, McKenzie Bezon 7, and Marissa Pangrazio 6.

More pictures after the jump. To purchase these pictures, click here.

March 7, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Charles Schumer, Veterans Cemetery.

After years of indecision, it's time to put the construction of a new veterans' cemetery in Western New York on the fast track and Genesee County is the perfect place to build it, said Sen. Charles Schumer today at a press conference inside Batavia's American Legion Hall.

Schumer called on Gen. Eric Shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs, to set a hard and fast deadline for construction to begin and to appoint a regional ombudsman to move the process along.

"The purpose is twofold -- to get it done quickly and to have local input from our veterans' groups," Schumer said.

There are 200,000 veterans in Western New York -- representing a proud tradition of service, said Schumer -- and they and their families deserve a cemetery closer than Bath, which is more than an hour from Batavia.

"Families shouldn't have to drive 75 miles to see a loved ones simply because you want to give them a proper burial in a veterans' cemetery," Schumer said.

"If you looked at all the veterans in Western New York and dropped pins on a map, and you had to find the middle, it would be here, in Genesee County."

In January, the Veterans Administration announced it had narrowed its range of possible locations to the Batavia area. The VA is looking for a suitable 200-acre location and a willing seller.

Schumer said the role of the ombudsman will be to act as a liaison between the local veterans' groups and the VA, enabling the groups to make one or two site selection recommendations to the VA and then moving the process along quickly.

The ombudsman should be someone all of the veterans' groups respect and can work with, Schumer said.

"I will bird-dog this until we make sure a veterans' cemetery is built."

March 7, 2011 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, South Main Road, Amish.

George and Barb Galliford of Batavia own some property on the banks of the Tonawanda Creek along South Main Road and are planning a new house there. It will be a BOCES project starting in September, but the timber needs to be cleared from the land. This morning, two Amish men from Fillmore were harvesting the trees using their horse-drawn carriage to haul the logs up the bank to the side of the road. (Thanks to an alert reader for letting us know.)

March 7, 2011 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, photos, South Main Road.

While out on South Main Road, Batavia, this morning, I spotted a mom with her foal at the stables out that way.

March 7, 2011 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Stafford.

Wade D. Godlove, 47, of 5733 Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and moving from lane unsafely. Godlove was allegedly observed by Deputy Howard Carlson at 1:44 a.m., Friday, driving through the front yards of houses on Seven Springs Road, knocking down mailboxes, a street sign and a fire hydrant. Godlove's car eventually returned to the roadway, according to Carlson's report, and continued on Seven Springs to Route 5. Godlove was stopped by Carlson on Route 5 near Fargo Road.

Bernard Lee  Evans, 40, of 12 Myrtle St., Le Roy, is charged with grand larceny. Evans is accused of stealing a car from a person he knew. The vehicle was recovered. Evans was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jodi Mae Coe, 35, of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Coe is accused of pawning stolen property at the Pawn King on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Javier Eduardo Ocana-Reyes, 30, no address listed, is charged with illegal entry. Ocana-Reyes was turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Estaban Mata Martinez, 30, no address lsited, is charged with illegal entry. Martinez was turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Theodore P. Boylan, 18, of 32 Elm St. Le Roy, is charged with criminal nuisance, 2nd. Boylan is accused of hosting an underage drinking party Saturday at his residence.

March 6, 2011 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department.

David Tran, center, was named Town of Batavia's Firefighter of the Year at the fire department's annual awards and officer installation banquet Saturday night at the fire hall on Lewiston Road.

Left is Robert Hunt, outgoing chief, and right is Randy McIntire, the new chief.

Colleen McIntire received the President's Award.

In 2010, the department responded to 289 alarms. The top five responders were Robert Mullen (208), Nate Fix (195), Dave Tran (191), Joe Avino (176) and Ben Fisher (158).

Published pictures are available for purchase by clicking here.

More pictures after the jump:

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