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February 3, 2011 - 2:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford.

 

A barn is reportedly fully engulfed in flames at 6476 Randall Road, Stafford.

The structure is about 50 feet from a house.

Stafford fire along with several other companies responding.

UPDATE 3:31 a.m.: It was more of a small outer structure than a barn. Stafford Fire responded quickly and had the fire knocked down shortly after arriving on scene. The Sheriff's Office will likely release more details in a few hours.

UPDATE: The homeowner is Douglas Frew. He believes a wood stove, which he last stoked at 9:30 p.m., caused the fire. The fire completely destroyed the detached garage. Vehicles parked next to the structure suffered minor heat damage. Frew's barking dog woke him and alerted him to the fire.


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February 2, 2011 - 10:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

An 17-year-old Alexander girl was seriously injured in a two-car accident on Wortendyke Road, Alexander, at 4:20 p.m.

Cassandra R. Koepp was transported by ground ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Justin Neureuter, 22, of Corfu, who was not injured, was cited for alleged failure to keep right, no seatbelt and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd.

Neureuter was reportedly driving northbound on Wortendyke when his car crossed the center line and was struck by a car driven by Deborah D. Buckenmeyer, 54, of Attica.

Buckenmeyer was not injured.

Koepp was a passenger in Neureuter's vehicle. Alexander firefighters needed to extricate her from the car.

Alexander fire crews were on scene until 9 p.m. providing traffic control during the investigation.

First responders reported icy road conditions in the area.

(Initial Report)

February 2, 2011 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ways and Means Committee, Highway Department.

The county is keeping it local with the purchase of snow and ice control devices under terms of a resolution passed by the Ways and Meetings Committee this afternoon.

Companies in Oakfield and Corfu were awarded the bids.

The highway department will use state grant money to purchase an 11-foot stainless steel hopper spreader at a cost of $9,500 from Viking-Cives, 2917 Judge Road, Oakfield.

The second purchase is two 8-foot stainless steel hopper spreaders at a cost of $5,575 each from Unicorn Specialties, 2141 Main Road, Corfu.

Bids were received from six vendors for the road salt spreaders.

February 2, 2011 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

It's not the major storm once predicted, but Batavia is getting hit by a stiff wind and moderate snowfall.

February 2, 2011 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Ellicott Street.

 

Somebody has built a large snow fort on Ellicott Street, in the city, in front of St. Joe's Cemetery. It looks like the developer used one of the city's blue recycling buckets to pack snow in and then piled the blocks on top of each other.

February 2, 2011 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Three residents of the West End Trailer Park are accused of beating another resident with a metal baseball bat causing injuries serious enough to send the victim to the hospital.

The three suspects turned themselves in Jan. 22 and were each charged with assault, 2nd.

The alleged beating occurred Dec. 16 at the trailer park, 4016 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

Charged were Anthony J. Loverdi, 41, Paul A. Loverdi, 42 and Steven L. Maltese, 41.

Anthony Loverdi and Maltese were jailed on $2,000 bail and bail was set at $10,000 for Paul Loverdi.

As many as five individuals, and possibly more, were involved in the altercation, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim suffered facial and back injuries.

The investigation was conducted by Deputy Brad Mazur with assistance from Investigator Timothy Weis, Deputy Tim Wescott, Deputy Cory Mower and Deputy Chris Parker.

February 2, 2011 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, byron, byron-bergen, Robert Morris School.

Two Genesee County schools are among 10 finalists to receive $50,000 grants from Pepsi Co. following a competition among thousands of grant proposal submitted to the soft drink company.

Supporters of the projects were asked to express that support through online voting and text messages in the national competition.

"We couldn't have done it without the team effort of the entire community," said Robert Morris Principal Diane Bonarigo.

Robert Morris applied for a grant to fund construction of a new playground.

The Byron-Bergen Elementary School Playground Committee also finished in the top 10.

Next, Bonarigo said, Pepsi will review the grant applications again and make sure all of the paperwork is in order. She said she expects official confirmation of the grant in a couple of weeks.

"We are very excited to be finalists," said Bonarigo. "The students are excited."

She thanked the whole community for their support and the local media for promoting the competition.

February 2, 2011 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

The anticipated storm didn't deliver as much snow as expected, but still enough that Batavia residents were out this morning clearing three or four inches of heavy snow from their driveways and walks.

Above, Bob Terry clears snow from his driveway on Osterhout Avenue.

February 2, 2011 - 6:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A storm that had been expected to dump as much as a foot of snow on the region has apparently weakened.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has downgraded the previous storm warning and issued an advisory in effect until 6 p.m.

The storm is now expected to bring about two to four inches of snow mixed with sleet.

Slick driving conditions are expected.

Winds will remain strong at 15 to 25 mph.

For a list of school closings from WBTA, click here.

UMMC has cancelled all cardiac rehab classes.

UPDATE: From UMMC: "United Memorial's Cardiac Rehab Center will open at 10 a.m. today. All services at United Memorial and our affiliated sites, including Urgent Care in Le Roy are open today."

February 1, 2011 - 8:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Holiday Inn Express.

If Steve Hyde said it once, he said it at least a half-dozen times Tuesday during a public hearing on providing tax incentives for a proposed Holiday Inn Express in Batavia: The Genesee County Economic Development Center wants the input of other hotel owners on the potential economic impact of the proposed project.

"We are most interested in your views on what’s going on in the marketplace so we can share that with the board and they can give it thoughtful consideration," said Hyde, CEO of the GCEDC, near the end of a sometimes slightly contentious public hearing.

About a dozen local hotel operators attended the 4 p.m. meeting.

Typicall at such hearings, members of the public speak, officials listen with little or no response and the meeting ends. But Hyde repeatedly engaged speakers, either with questions or by challenging them to deliver more facts.

"If you have additional facts from validated sources that can justify your position, you should present that to us," Hyde said. "We hear you loud and clear but we need you  to provide us with verified facts."

The meeting opened with Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, presenting an overview of the proposed project and the proposed tax incentives the GCEDC can help deliver.

The developer is Michael Patel and an investment group, Chase Hotel Group, which operates in four states and eight markets. Previously, Patel owned and developed Comfort Inn in Batavia and he currently owns Hampton Inn in Batavia.

The proposed hotel would have 80 rooms and cost $3.5 million to develop.

When completed, the hotel will employ 19 full-time equivalent staff members.

Under the tax abatement proposal, Patel and Chase Hotel Group would receive $112,000 in sales tax exemption, a mortgage tax exemption of $37,500 and a property tax abatement over 10 years of $400,136.

These are taxes, according to Masse, that won't be generated if the project isn't built. 

There will be no tax reduction -- meaning no abatement of existing taxes -- for existing tax liabilities on the property.

If the project is built, it should generate more than $800,000 in sales tax over 10 years and $38,700 over 10 years in fire district fees.

The total economic benefit to the community over 10 years is estimated at more than $8.5 million.

Local hotel owners took issue with these numbers saying the figures don't account for lost business, not to mention the potential closure, of existing hotels.

"You say after the Hampton Inn opened there was an occupancy increase," said Chan Patel, owner of the Clarion Inn on Park Road (formerly the Holiday Inn). "I can prove to you that over the next two years, my occupancy went down by 10 percent."

The operators who spoke said they've all seen occupancy rates drop as new hotels have come into the market and they don't see how a market with a 48-percent occupancy rate in market with 1,000 rooms will benefit by adding 80 more rooms.

Jayesh Patel, owner of Travel Lodge, Batavia, argued, as did other hotel owners, that more rooms will mean that all of the hotels will wind up charging lower rates. The Holiday Inn Express, he said, with the benefit of tax breaks, would then have an advantage over established hotel owners who are paying all of their taxes.

"If the developer has faith in the market then they should spend money out of their own pockets rather than out of taxpayer pockets," Jayesh Patel said.

Rashi Dev, owner of the Comfort Inn, said if Michael Patel believes there is such a need for more hotel rooms in Batavia, why is he charging rates at his other property, the Hampton Inn, that are as low or lower than similarly priced hotels in the area.

"The Hampton Inn should have rates $5 or $10 (per night) higher than us," Dev said. "If he's so confident in the market, why does he need to decrease his rate?"

There were no GCEDC board members present at the meeting. GCEDC staff will present the feedback from the public hearing to the board prior to the board voting on the proposal at its March 3 meeting.

Hyde said any factual information hotel owners can provide at least two weeks prior to the March 3 meeting will also be presented to the board and that hotel owners will be given a chance to speak at the March 3 meeting.

Today, Town of Batavia also announced a public hearing on the project with the town's planning board at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 15.

Top photo: Steve Hyde; inset, Chan Patel; bottom, Mark Masse opening the meeting.

February 1, 2011 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

Thomas B. Streamer, 40, of 28 Grover St., Warsaw, and Thomas W. Sherman, 41, of 108 North St., Le Roy, are each charged with assault, 2nd. Both men are accused of getting into a fight with a 37-year-old Le Roy resident while at the Eagle Hotel on Jan. 23. The alleged victim suffered serious physical injuries to his shoulder, head and face. He was treated at UMMC. Streamer and Sherman were arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Le Roy Police say that further arrests are pending.

February 1, 2011 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, GCC, sports.

GCC's head baseball coach, Skip Sherman, right, is excited about two players who will be joining his squad.

Adam Pratt, above with his parents, signed a letter of intent to play for GCC and is receiving a two-year scholarship to play for the Cougers. Entering his senior season at Batavia High School, the southpaw has a 3.06 ERA with 106 Ks in 66 1/3 innings with a record of 6-4. He was the Rotary Tournament MVP last season.

Says Sherman:

Left-handed pitcher. I have been watching Adam for a couple of years now and we are very excited to have him join our program. He will be expected to help lead our pitching staff and will be tested very early to see if he is ready to pitch at a high level. He has great composure on the mound and was asked to pitch in some big games as a junior. I am expecting him to have a big senior year for Batavia High School and I am looking forward to working with him at Genesee next year.

Also signing on with the squad is Ken Urbanik of Lyndonville.

Sherman:

Kenny is a very versatile player and is an extremely hard worker. He will do very well in our program because of his work ethic. Right now he is projected to play a corner in the outfield and we are excited about having a player of his size, with his speed, in our program. He is the type of player that always succeeds in our program and it will be very interesting to see what happens after a couple of years in our program.

February 1, 2011 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, UMMC.

Regular readers of The Batavian might recognize a couple of the pictures hanging on the wall here. As part of the decor in UMMC's new surgical wing, the hospital purchased 15 of my photos. Seven pictures are hanging in the waiting room and a barn shot is hanging across from the elevators. I'm not sure where the remaining seven photos are, but they're around somewhere.

January 31, 2011 - 7:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Upstate Medtech Center.

When building the Upstate Medtech Center, the GCEDC should have ensured prevailing wage was paid to construction workers, according to a state Department of Labor (DOL) letter issued in November.

The letter came to light following an Authorities Budget Office report critical of GCEDC's staff compensation practices.

It was written by John D. Charles, associate attorney for the DOL, and issued in response to an unnamed person who asked that the department look into the matter. It concludes that the department's opinion was based solely on the material provided by that person and should not be relied on as a final answer.

Ask for a response to the DOL letter, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde issued the following statement:

"While the LDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.) wholly disagrees with the Department of Labor's initial conclusions, we are actively working with them to ensure that they have all of the facts and circumstances of the Medtech project. A final determination has not been made by DOL with respect to the issues and questions raised."

Longtime local contractor Vito Gautieri is known to be concerned about how the bid for construction of the Medtech Center was awarded. It ultimately went to Batavia-based D.A. Tufts Co.

In an interview last week, when asked if the letter from Charles was addressed to him, Gautieri said, "No comment."

He then went on to complain about GCEDC forming a nonprofit corporation -- Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) -- as owner and agency developing the project. He said if that's how government agencies are going to operate on construction projects, then "we might as well pull up our shingles and move out of town."

At issue is compliance with New York's prevailing wage laws, which require employees on public works projects to be paid an hourly rate based on a prevailing wage schedule set by the state.

The DOL letter says that according to information given to the agency, the GGLDC's Medtech project does not meet the standards for waiving prevailing wage.

It says that because the project was at first initiated by a public agency (GCEDC wholly owns the GGLDC and is the project's actual owner), it is not just a temporary title holder.  In addition, it is not acting "merely as a mechanism to facilitate financing." If it were just a temporary titleholder and holding title merely to facilitate financing, according to the letter, perhaps paying prevailing wage would not be required.

January 31, 2011 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC, Holiday Inn Express.

There will be a public hearing at 4 p.m., Tuesday, in Batavia's Town Hall, 3833 W. Main St. Road, on a proposal to provide tax subsidies for the construction of a Holiday Inn Express on the north side of the Thruway.

The hearing is being conducted by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The public is invited to attend and provide feedback on the proposal.

GCEDC did not have information to release to the media today in advance of the meeting on exactly what is being proposed.

In response for a request for more information, Media and Marketing Manager Rachael Millspaugh wrote in an e-mail: "There is no additional preliminary information on the project except what was discussed at the December 2010 board meeting. We will have a project summary available at the public hearing. The GCEDC Board will be reviewing and acting on the request at this Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting."

January 31, 2011 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's, a great place for pizza, wings, subs -- eat in, take out or delivery. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga, 3 classes, a $30 value, for $15.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; new all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

Blue Pearl Yoga

January 31, 2011 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A winter storm expected to hit Western New York on Tuesday night has been upgraded.

The National Weather Service has issued a "warning" (meaning a more severe storm than a "watch") for the expected weather pattern, which should hit the area after 10 p.m., Tuesday.

The warning is in effect until 10 p.m., Wednesday.

Accumulation of snow is expected to be 10 to 14 inches, with winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of 30 mph.

Hazardous travel conditions are expected.

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