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July 28, 2016 - 7:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history heroes, batavia, news.

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Students participating in the History Heroes summer program at the Holland Land Office Museum organized and hosted their own penny carnival today.

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July 28, 2016 - 7:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Street, washington avenue, batavia, news, infrastructure.

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Crews with Blue Heron Construction set a manhole today at Washington Avenue and State Street, park of the sewer reconstruction project this summer along Washington Avenue.

The area around Jefferson Avenue, Washington and State has been closed for a few weeks, but the project is getting closer to the finish line, said Matt Worth, director of Public Works.

Here's what Worth told us in an email:

They expect to be through the intersection tomorrow (State/Washington will open back up) and then the bypass pumping should no longer be required. Next week an additional crew is expected and it is anticipated that the new water and sewer services to the houses between Jefferson and State Street will be connected along with the unexpected water main work that is required on Jefferson Avenue.

If all goes well, everything west of State Street would then be back open (or very close) to traffic by the end of next week. This would leave construction between State and Bank and the storm sewer crossing on State Street to up near Park Avenue and final milling and paving (Ellicott Avenue to Ross Street) left to complete, with completion of the project before school is back in session.

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July 28, 2016 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Officials at Batavia Downs Gaming were forced to cancel live racing on Sunday July 31 due to the lack of entries.

The Old Fashion Day celebration scheduled for July 31 has been rescheduled to Sunday Aug. 7.

Live racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track will continue as scheduled this Friday and Saturday night with a 6:15  first race post time.

“We regret to have to cancel Sunday’s program,” Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing, said, “but there is currently a horse shortage in Western New York and while every effort was made by our racing department to fill Sunday’s program, those efforts proved unsuccessful."

July 28, 2016 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in James Pontillo, South Swan Street, batavia, history, news.

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James Pontillo is doing some restoration work on one of properties, in this case, on Swan Street, and he dug up this slab of stamped concrete inscribed for J. McBride.

Pontillo thinks this was a marker for John McBride, a contractor or engineer in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and that the house on South Swan was once his residence.

The house was built in the 1880s or 1890s, Pontillo thinks.

There was a John McBride from Batavia born in 1862 who died in 1937. Online records indicate, though not conclusively, his sons were John McBride, born in 1892, and a Robert McBride, born in 1882. This McBride family does not appear to be related to the family that ran McBride Steel Plate Construction Company in Batavia for many decades, and whose patriarch was an immigrant from Ireland.

Pontillo also uncovered the remains of a granite hitching post.

He isn't quite sure what to do with this piece.He isn't sure if one of the historical agencies would be interested in it.

July 28, 2016 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

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(Submitted photo.) Pictured are students in grades three through eight who participated last week in the Batavia Jr. Blue Devils Summer Basketball Camp.

July 28, 2016 - 7:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in youth court, batavia, news.

youthcourtwinner.pngPress release:

Kelsey Scott-Avery, a Genesee County Youth Court member who recently graduated after being homeschooled, won the Association of New York State Youth Court’s Judge Judith Kaye Memorial Scholarship.

Judge Judith Kaye was the first woman to serve as the New York State’s Chief Justice and the longest-serving Chief Justice, who unfortunately passed away in January.

Judge Kaye was an advocate for the Youth Court System and she lived the example that when you are inspired to act, do it. She was inspired by youth courts in Alaska and she brought that inspiration to New York. 

To qualify for the scholarship, the youth court member must be a graduating senior and a member of a Youth Court Program that paid membership dues to ANYSYC in 2015.

The applicant must enroll in a two- or four-year program at an accredited college/university. The individual must be of good moral character, have demonstrated civic responsibility through volunteerism, and have a good strong desire to make a contribution to his/her community. The process included an application, an essay specified in the honor of Judge Kaye. Applicants were to write on the topic of how they plan to impact their field of study the way Judge Kaye impacted the court system.

On behalf of ANYSYC, Kelsey was awarded $500 to put toward her college education. She will be attending Genesee Community College and transferring to a four-year university to become a school counselor.

July 27, 2016 - 11:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien, news.

A motorcycle accident is reported on Sumner Road near Walker Road, Darien.

There are reportedly two victims.

Darien fire, Darien ambulance responding.

UPDATE 11:23 p.m.: Mercy Flight requested to the scene for both patients.

UPDATE 11:27 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 out of Batavia and Mercy Flight #9 out Buffalo responding.

UPDATE 7 a.m. (July 28): Injured in the crash were Eric Brumstead, 55, of Bethany, and Andrea Farruggla, 43, no address provided. According to an accident report prepared by Sgt. Greg Walker, Brumstead was allegedly eastbound on Sumner Road at a high rate of speed and failed to negotiate the curve in the roadway at Walker Road. His 2001 Honda motorcycle became airborne and both the driver and passenger were ejected. Both were flown to Strong Memorial Hospital. Possible charges are pending.

July 27, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, sports, news.

Student athletes deserve every opportunity to be successful, said Batavia High School Athletic Director Micheal Bromley at Tuesday evening's Batavia City Schools board meeting, which is why the district needs a tighter tardy policy for those students participating in school sports.

About 54 percent of Batavia's students are involved in athletics during at least one season of the school year, so a stronger tardy policy will have a positive impact on academics overall, Bromley said. 

"We want our students to be successful," Bromley said. "To be successful, they need to be in school."

The proposed policy will require student athletes to be on time for their first class of the day. If they're even five minutes late, it's a tardy. They get two freebie tardies during the season. A third tardy means they can't participate in the next practice or athletic event.

Currently, there are no consequences if the student arrives by at least 11 a.m., which means they miss the first two blocks of classes.

There were seniors this year, Bromley said, who were in danger of not meeting academic standards for graduation.

Bromley thinks the change this fall will be a big adjustment for students and their parents. He expects some push back but wants to deliver the message that this policy will help students and their teams succeed.

"We want you to be here," Bromley said he would tell the students. "We want you to represent our school. It's a great honor. With that comes responsibility. Athletics teaches life skills and life skills include being on time, being responsible, being respectful to your coach and your teammates by doing the right things."

The need for a policy change arose, Bromley said, because of frustrations expressed by coaches and teachers.

Many teachers questioned how students could represent the school in athletic events while not showing up regularly to classes, he said.

"We're not trying to be mean here," Bromley said. "We just want people to be here. Teachers are very frustrated when students don't show up for the first block of the day."

School board members responded favorably to the new policy, which was crafted by a committee of school officials who looked at policies from several area school districts before crafting the one presented to the board.

The policy is intended to be both stricter than what exists now, but also flexible. The two freebie tardies recognize that things happen -- cars break down, assignments are forgotten at home and need to be retrieved, family members get sick and hold things up, etc., but student-athletes also need to be held accountable if they want to faithfully represent the community in competition.

The policy will be evaluated during the fall, comparing this fall's data with data from previous fall seasons to see if tardiness is reduced and attendance is improved. If the policy works and is refined, it could be rolled out to cover students participating in other extracurricular activities.

Policy summary:

  • Student athletes will get two free tardies each sports season, fall, winter and spring.
  • A third tardy will result in the student not being allowed to participate in his or her team's next athletic event, be it practice or game.
  • A tardy can be excused by a doctor's note; parental notes will not be accepted as an excuse.
  • The tardy clock begins as soon as the bell rings for the first class of the day.
July 27, 2016 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS, batavia.

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Batavia High School, led by Head Coach Brennan Briggs, has been hosting 7-on-7 drills for the past few weeks as players get ready for the fall football season.

Yesterday, Batavia's varsity and JV teams participated along with Medina and Oakfield-Alabama combined with Elba. On some Tuesdays as many as six teams from throughout the region have participated.

Mini-camps open in two weeks, followed by pre-season camp and, then, the season.

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July 25, 2016 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, GCC, golf, sports, news, Stafford Country Club, Stafford.

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This is Booker Edgerson, a star cornerback with the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s.

When I told Edgerson that I'm a little rusty on my Bills' history because I'm a lifelong San Diego Chargers fan, he smiled and said, "then you must know Lance Alworth."

Of course, I know Lance Alworth. I used to watch Alworth play, though I was very young at the time.

"I'm the only man to catch Lance Alworth."

"You ran down Lance Alworth?"

"Yup, I ran him down."

In fact, Edgerson's Wikipedia page notes that he's the only man in NFL history to catch Alworth from behind.

"I played against him my whole career," Edgerson said. "We came into the league together. Man, he was tough to cover."

Edgerson was playing in a golf tournament Monday at Stafford Country Club to benefit the scholarship fund at Genesee Community College. He was one of five former Bills players, and former Lions player, who participated in the tournament. This is the first year for the tournament, but the planning committee is already talking about next year.

The only man to catch Lance Alworth ... that's quite a line on a professional football resume.

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July 25, 2016 - 6:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, muckdogs.

Press release:

Tonight’s game between the Batavia Muckdogs and State College Spikes has been postponed due wet and unsafe field conditions. This game will be made up as part of a double header on Tuesday, July 26th. We will play two seven innings games, with the first game starting at 11:05 p.m. Gates will open at 10:00 a.m. Any person with tickets to tonight’s game can exchange their tickets for any other regular season game, subject to availability.

The Batavia Lions Club bike raffle that was originally scheduled for tonight will be rescheduled at a to be determined home game. 

July 25, 2016 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bergen Swamps, byron, bergen, news, Destro.

A man from Irving got lost in a wooded area of the Bergen Swamps yesterday, and if not for the swamps' caretaker becoming concerned for his safety and the trained nose of K-9 "Destro" his off-the-trail hike could have turned out very badly.

The caretaker, Mike Merritt, said he noticed a person park at a trailhead and get out of his car and walk into the swamps about 3 p.m., yesterday. Since he had never seen the man before, and he was alone, he was a little concerned right off the bat about his activity.

When the man hadn't returned after two or three hours, his concern grew, he said.

"It was too hot, too muggy and too buggy to be out there that long," Merritt said.

So Merritt walked the entire trail himself and didn't find him.

At 10 o'clock, Merritt thought, 'well, if he's still out there, now he's trespassing' and 'I can call law enforcement without them coming out here unnecessarily.' "  

Deputy Rachel Diehl and Trooper James Moran arrived on scene and ran the plates of the unattended vehicle. They were able to contact family members, who expressed concern that they hadn't heard from Neil Gates for several hours.

Deputy Chris Erion and "Destro" were called to the scene, along with Byron's ambulance and some volunteer firefighters also responded.

With Merritt, who knows the area well, providing guidance, Erion and Destro commenced a search of the woods.  

It took more than two hours, but Gates was located curled up in some cattails where he had apparently gone to try and get water. 

He was dehydrated and had a minor knee injury, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

Merritt said the Gates told officials he was a diabetic. 

He was treated by Byron EMTs at the scene and released.

The incident wrapped up at about 1:30 a.m., Merritt said.

Merritt noted that there are signs warning visitors to the swamps not to leave the trails.

"You can get 20 feet off a trail, get turned around and you think you know which direction to go to find a trail, but you won't find one," Merritt said.

Merritt said the concern and professionalism of those who responded last night was impressive. There was no hesitation by law enforcement to take on the search.

"I couldn't have gone out there without them," Merritt said. "With my cell phone dead, out there alone, I couldn't have helped him. He wouldn't have made it much longer."

July 25, 2016 - 12:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, fire, news.

A house fire is reported at 3391 Dodgeson Road, Alexander. All occupants are out of the structure. Alexander, Darien and Town of Batavia fire departments are responding. EMS is on location.

UPDATE 12:22 p.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are asked to fill in at Alexander's fire hall.

UPDATE 12:27 p.m.: Elba is asked to fill in at Town of Batavia's Station #1. All units responding to the scene told to continue non-emergency. Fire is knocked down.

July 24, 2016 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Darien, corfu, news.

Announcement from the Monroe County Water Authority:

As a customer of the Water Authority in the towns of Pembroke and Darien and the Village of Corfu, you were notified on Thursday, July 21, of a potential problem with your drinking water and were advised not to drink the water without boiling it first.

We are pleased to announce that the issue has been corrected, and we have verified the water meets all state and federal water quality regulations. It is no longer necessary to boil your water before drinking it.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. 

July 24, 2016 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A neighbor reports smoke coming from a mobile home in a park at 3322 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

East Pembroke fire with one engine from Town of Batavia dispatched.

UPDATE 8:21 a.m.: A chief on scene reports a burn barrel next to the trailer. All equipment can stay in quarters.

July 23, 2016 - 1:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy Manor, Le Roy, news.

Multiple law enforcement units, including deputies and troopers, were dispatched a few minutes ago to Le Roy Manor, 8678 Lake Street Road, Le Roy, after a resident there reported a shooting.

As officers responded, dispatchers were able to reach a supervisor who informed them there was no shooting or other violence at the facility. It appears to be a mental health issue.

Le Roy Manor is a county-run adult-care facility.

July 23, 2016 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcment, batavia, steve hawley, news.

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While at the GOP convention in Cleveland, Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he decided to organize an effort to honor the men and women of law enforcement, so he called on people in New York on Friday to wear blue.

Yesterday afternoon, Hawley, along with County Legislator Ray Cianfrini and City Councilman Adam Tabelski met at the Sheriff's Office on Park Road, Batavia, to tell representatives of the Sheriff's Office, State Police and Batavia PD that they appreciate their service to the community.

"I couldn't be prouder of what you do every single day, whether you're in the City of Batavia, whether you're in the County of Genesee or in Monroe County or the State of New York," Hawley said. "It's not an easy job. It never has been. When you put on that badge and uniform today more than ever you never know what's going to happen."

Hawley's call for support of local law enforcement comes in the wake of tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.

"I can't imagine what you go through every time you put on the badge," Hawley said.

Tabelski said he appreciating the dedication police officers bring to their jobs.

"When you're hired as a police officer, it's more than just a job," Tabelski said. "It's a calling. It's something you are passionate about. We know about the difficulties you have to deal with and all the inconveniences you have to deal with, a lot more than just having to wear long sleeves on a hot day, so on behalf of the city, I just want to say, 'thank you.' "

Below, Hawley with members of the California Highway Patrol in Cleveland (photo submitted by Steve Hawley).

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The staff at Tompkins Financial also expressed their support Friday by wearing blue.

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Staff of Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., Law Offices on Harvester Avenue.

July 22, 2016 - 9:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A caller from Washington Towers reports seeing three youths on bicycles, two black and one white, steal cones that were around an excavator on Jefferson Avenue. 

Jefferson near Washington is closed this week for repair work.  

The youths were last seen heading south on Jefferson.

July 22, 2016 - 9:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Basom, Alabama.

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The folks at Alleghany Farm Services, 7342 Alleghany Road, Basom, are looking for help in locating their Kubota RTV 1100c WXL-A, which was stolen from their property.

Its series number is 25947 and it's a 2011 model.

The company's phone number is: (585) 762-4411.

July 22, 2016 - 1:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A bicyclist was injured in a hit-and-run accident on West Main Street, Road, Batavia.

The injuries are reportedly minor.

There is only a limited description of the vehicle. It is reportedly black and will be missing a side mirror.

The location is in front of Delre's Greenhouse.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS were dispatched, but a Mercy medic who arrived on scene said fire would not be required, so Town of Batavia is standing down.

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

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