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February 17, 2012 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported on Route 98 between Pike and Rose roads, Batavia.

The roadway is partially blocked.

Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:16 a.m.: A second ambulance requested to the scene, non-emergency.

February 17, 2012 - 8:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sponsored Post, advertisement, Shop Batavia.

With Shop Batavia, you can shop local (keeping more of your dollars in the local economy) and save money.

Check out the coupon page for great offers from local businesses, including, but not limited to:

Also, from Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning, you can purchase a special deal -- $25 off a residential heating and air diagnostic.

February 16, 2012 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield.
Steven Mullen Robert Propst

Two men are in custody after an alert neighbor on Weatherwax Road in Oakfield spotted a possible burglary in progress this morning and called in a description of the vehicle as it left the scene.

A Town of Oakfield worker heard the description of the red Dodge Dakota on his radio and spotted the vehicle as it turned from Route 262, heading south on Route 63, and contacted dispatchers. He or another witness reported the vehicle turned onto Galloway Road.

Within minutes, troopers Holly Hansell and Stephen Kosowski were on scene and stopped the vehicle on South Pearl and Batavia Oakfield Townline roads.

Taken into custody on suspicion of burglary in the third degree were Steven Mullen, 25, of 3035 Maple Ave., Oakfield, and Robert Propst, 31, of 9 Raymond St., Batavia.

Mullen was jailed on $10,000 bail and Propst is being held pending arraignment in Genesee County Court.

February 16, 2012 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

On Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 7– 9 p.m. czb will present the final community improvement plan with their findings and recommendations to the community regarding the City of Batavia housing market, neighborhood vitality, and downtown.

czb is a nationally recognized planning practice specializing in neighborhood redevelopment and community planning. The City of Batavia engaged the consulting services of czb to assist with developing a community improvement plan.

Over the summer months, czb met with various stakeholders throughout the community such as volunteers, property owners, property managers, Realtors and business owners in order to better understand the challenges and demands facing Batavia. On Oct. 5 and Dec. 6, public meetings were held at city hall to share and present the initial findings and to receive feedback from the community.

The meeting on Feb. 22 will be held in the Batavia City Council Board Room on the second floor of city hall. The czb team will make a presentation to share their final draft of the community improvement plan.

February 16, 2012 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Historical Society, barn quilts.

When Lynn Belluscio first proposed starting a barn quilt project in Le Roy, she was hoping to get 30 or so quilts installed on barns in Le Roy by June.

Well, 30 or so won't be a problem, it turns out. The idea caught on fast. Now she's thinking maybe 50.

The project was conceived to help promote the Le Roy Bicentennial, which the town, village and historical society will celebrate this summer.

Belluscio first heard about barn quilts -- large sections of plywood painted with the patterns of quilts -- on a phone call of town historians. Then she saw how the idea had taken hold in the Town of Neversink, so she thought it would be a great project for Le Roy.

After Belluscio got the support of the historical society and announced the plan in the Le Roy Pennysaver, she started getting handfuls of requests for barn quilts.

"People say to me, 'Did you ever expect it to be this popular?' and I would say, 'I was hoping it would be,' " Belluscio said.

The quilt patterns might come from a family heirloom, a quilt in the historical society collection or a pattern from a book, but all are intended to help weave a story together of the history and culture of Le Roy.

Quilt sizes include 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8. They might be hung on a barn, an outbuilding or a garage.

The historical society is maintaining a library of paints and other supplies for residents who want to paint their own quilts.

One of the quilts being painted by Belluscio is 8' x 8' and based on a quilt that was given by members of the Methodist church to a departing pastor in 1898 (top photo). It is signed by 200 members of the congregation.

The completed barn quilt will be auctioned off March 10 at the historical society's annual dinner, with a minimum bid of $150, with that amount going to the bicentennial project.

Even though the historical society has yet to publish a map of all the installed quilts -- and they're not all installed yet -- people are already discovering the project and driving around looking for the quilts, Belluscio said.

"People are discovering their own back yard, or back roads," Belluscio said. "They're going out to find them and we're happy to see that happening. It's something really neat that is happening."

Any other Le Roy residents interested in a barn quilt, Belluscio can be contacted at 768-7433. The society has also set up a website for the project.

Here's a list of installed quilt locations:

  • 46 E. Main St.
  • 8148 North Road
  • 8042 Lake Road
  • 8041 R. Main
  • 8457 North St. Road
  • 63 Lake St. (Rt. 19)
  • 9573 Asbury Road
  • 9743 Asbury Road (4) & across road
  • 6195 Sweetland Road
  • 8506 Lake Road
  • 23 E. Main St.
  • 9423 Summit St. Road
  • 6849 W. Main Road
  • 8283 Harris Road
  • 9396 South St. Road
  • 8587 North Road
  • 8090 Black St. Road (corner of Linwood Road)
  • 9290 York Road
  • 1719 Craig Road, Linwood
  • 9696 Asbury Road
  • Conlon Road (south of North Road)
  • 8343 Gully Road
  • 36 Lathrop Ave.
  • 13 Summit St.
  • 8171 W. Bergen Road

Route 5, Town of Le Roy

Asbury Road

Asbury Road

Stein Farms

Route 19

February 16, 2012 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino Raceway added over $18 million to the Genesee County economy and generated over $24.5 million annually in revenues for the region and the state, according to a new economic impact analysis conducted by an independent firm.

This analysis also estimates that nearly 460 local, full- and part-time jobs are supported by Batavia Downs Casino. The New York Gaming Association (NYGA) released part one of the two-part report today to outline the positive economic impact gaming has had on the local economy.

A second report, which will be released next week, will show projections for future regional job growth and revenues that will be generated if enhanced gaming is authorized in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature will consider passing a constitutional amendment to authorize enhanced gaming.

“As a facility we are excited at the possibility of having enhanced gaming at Batavia Downs Casino,” said Mike Kane, president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, which owns Batavia Downs Casino. “Not only does it mean more jobs for our area, but it means more monies can be generated for the New York State Lottery and for the 15 counties and two cities that our public benefit corporation serves.”

According to estimates from the analysis, in 2011 Batavia Downs Casino provided 457 local full- and part-time jobs, with 313 of those jobs representing direct employment by the casino. Batavia Downs supported 90 jobs for racing and breeding. Wages and salaries for employees totaled more than $5 million.

Additional findings from the report show that in 2011, Batavia Downs Casino:

• Accounted for over $18 million in economic output for the region;
• Reinvested nearly $3 million into the local economy with the purchase of goods and services (including construction) from businesses in Genesee County;
• Accounted directly and indirectly for over $3 million in revenues for Genesee County municipalities, and;
• Generated nearly $20.5 million in state revenues, of which $16 million went toward education in New York State, which is the equivalent of paying the salaries of more than 231 elementary and secondary schoolteachers throughout New York State.

Since 2005, Batavia Downs Casino provided $3.65 million in aid to municipalities and contributed $94.5 million to New York State education and has never missed a payment.

The nine racetrack casinos comprising the New York Gaming Association include:

• Batavia Downs Casino
• Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway
• Empire Resorts at Monticello Casino & Raceway
• Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack
• Hamburg Casino at the Fairgrounds
• Resorts World Casino New York at Aqueduct Racetrack
• Saratoga Casino & Raceway
• Tioga Downs Casino
• Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel

The New York Gaming Association members have contributed $1.96 billion to the state in 2011. Over $830.5 million has gone to fund education in New York State which is the equivalent of paying the salaries of more than 11,900 elementary and secondary schoolteachers throughout New York State. The nine Racetrack Casinos employ nearly 5,500 New Yorkers directly and have created a total of 17,400 jobs both directly and indirectly across the state.

The economic impact analysis study was conducted by Appleseed, Inc., a New York City firm that specializes in providing economic and social research analysis.

Download: Appleseed report (PDF)

February 16, 2012 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba.

Patricia M. Anderson is indicted on two counts each of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. Anderson is accused of selling cocaine March 4 at 355 W. Main St., Batavia, and again on March 16 at 312 Ellicott St., Batavia.

Shuvon J. Williams is indicted on counts of criminal contempt, 1st, criminal contempt, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Williams is accused of violating an order of protection on Sept. 22 and acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child.

Tremaine J. Halftown is indicted on a charge of criminal contempt, 1st. Halftown is accused of violating an order of protection on Dec. 24.

Christopher M. Lambert is indicted on a charge of burglary, 2nd. Lambert is accused of illegally entering a property in Elba on Aug. 14 with the intent of commiting a crime.

John W. Hackett is indicted on counts of felony DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. Hackett is accused of driving drunk Oct. 8 in the City of Batavia.

February 16, 2012 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Carlson's Studio.

Photographer Ameka Cooper has decided it's time or her to focus on her family, rather than the daily responsibilities of running a studio, so Wyoming-based Carlson's Studio is closing its Jackson Street location.

Owner Kevin Carlson said Carlson's will continue to provide photography services to its Genesee County clientele at its expanded "Photo Park" in Wyoming County.

Cooper took maternity leave several months ago and during her time off decided to dedicate her time to her baby girl, Autumn, and husband, Ron.

"Ameka’s unique style, passion for the art of photography, and involvement in the community, have made her clientele loyal and eager for her work," Carlson said. "It is with admiration, deep appreciation and pride that we say farewell to Ameka Cooper after 12 years of devoting her life to the Carlson family."

Meanwhile, Carlson is expanding the company's studio -- founded by his father in 1950 -- in Wyoming County. The studio is more than just a room in a building. It is a 23-acre park-like setting.

The expansion in Wyoming will triple the number of sets available to clients, Carlson said.

"I talked with photographers from across the country and brought back some amazing background ideas for our seniors this year, combined with techniques and inventive approaches to photography," Carson said "Innovative indoor sets will come to life as you step in them. Traditional backgrounds will be transformed into edgy sets with dramatic lighting, unique flourishes and imaginative props. It will all be unveiled this Spring."

The full press release after the jump (click on the headline to read):

February 16, 2012 - 8:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Leaders of Western Regional Off-track Betting Corp. are lining up support to turn Batavia Downs into a full-service casino and they took their case to the Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday.

In a meeting with the Ways and Means Committee, three representatives of Batavia Downs told the committee that getting Genesee County's support for the plan is crucial to lining up support from the other 15 counties that co-own Western Regional OTB.

"You're the key," said Mike Nolan, VP of administration for Western Regional OTB and Batavia Downs. "You're the host county and the place where we live. You gain the most to benefit from what happens at Batavia Downs. We're hoping you can be the leader so we can go to the other municipalities and say we have your support."

The committee unanimously approved a resolution supporting Batavia Downs becoming one of the nine racing facilities in New York to offer table games along with slot machines.

Legislator Mary Pat Hancock said she isn't fully supportive of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push to legalize casino gambling across the board in New York, but she could support this resolution because it limits gaming to just the existing racing and video-terminal facilities (often called "racinos").

The earliest Batavia Downs could offer table games -- such as blackjack and poker -- would be January 2014.

For that to happen, the current State Legislature and the next one seated must approve a constitutional amendment to legalize casinos, and then the amendment would be voted on in a statewide referendum.

During the process, state lawmakers would need to also pass enabling legislation that would government how the casinos are run.

If all of that could happen by November 2013, then Batavia Downs could start offering new games and begin construction expanding the existing facilities -- creating 1,000 construction jobs and leading to more than 400 new full-time jobs at the casino.

Nolan (top photo), who met with the committee along with Mike Kane, president and CEO, and OTB Board Member Richard Siebert, said there is still opposition from Senecas, but that is an issue for the governor's office to deal with. In the meantime, Batavia Downs needs to line up its own support and make its own plans in the hope that casino gambling is approved in New York.

February 16, 2012 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, dwi.

It's apparently getting easier for drunken drivers to avoid DWI checkpoints so the governor's office is funding an experimental program for "enhanced" checkpoints.

Genesee County has been selected, along with Erie and Westchester, as one of three counties statewide to test the program, according to Assistant County Manager Frank Ciaccia.

The Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to approve acceptance of a state grant of $21,755 to fund the operation of six enhanced roadblocks.

Unlike most grants, where the state sets the amount of money it will make available, local officials were able to determine a budget for the program and tell the state how much it needed.

The enhanced checkpoints will be multi-agency efforts, involving the Sheriff's Office, State Police, Batavia Police Department and the Le Roy Police Department.

At each of the six checkpoints, the lead agency will set up and run the roadblock while patrols from other participating agencies will prowl the streets around the checkpoint looking for drivers who are seemingly trying to avoid getting stopped.

Ciaccia said drivers have learned to look ahead for checkpoints, see the lights, and make a turn to avoid them, but there are also apps available now that people can download to their smartphones that will give them advance warning of checkpoints.

For Android phones, there are at least a half-dozen such apps available and Google has reportedly refused to block their distribution.

In June, Apple announced it would ban such apps for the iPhone, but an app called DUI Dodger is currently available for $2.99 in Apple's App Store.

Legislator Ray Cianfrini, an attorney, expressed concern that the enhanced checkpoint program may run into legal issues because, for example, not everybody making a left-hand turn is doing so to avoid a checkpoint.

"Anybody who doesn't go through a roadblock is now suspicious?" Cianfrini said. "Innocent people who have nothing to hide are going to get dragged into the whole thing and I'm not comfortable with the concept."

No dates were announced for the checkpoints.

The Sheriff's Office will act as lead agency on four checkpoints, and Batavia and Le Roy will each conduct one.

February 15, 2012 - 9:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Le Roy.

Out and about in Le Roy this afternoon taking photos for a story I hope to write tomorrow, I came across this scene on Black Street Road.

February 15, 2012 - 7:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire Department and Ambulance Service is dispatched to 8404 E. Main Road, Le Roy, for a report of a natural gas leak in the residence.

Reportedly, the stove was left on all day.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: All residents out of the building. Only one truck responding, per the chief. Le Roy ambulance is tied up on another call. The chief doesn't require another ambulance to respond.

UPDATE 7:47 p.m.: Le Roy fire back in service.


View Larger Map

February 15, 2012 - 6:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

City Fire Department is responding to Dollar General at 577 East Main St., Batavia, for the report of the smell of electrical burning inside the store.

UPDATE 7:07 p.m.: City fire clearing the scene and responding to a medical call. Power has been shut off and maintenance called in.

February 15, 2012 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has introduced legislation in the New York State Senate to reinstate the STAR rebate check program for senior citizens. Senate Bill No. S6286 would provide seniors, who qualify for the Senior STAR exemption, with a rebate check.

“Property taxes are a serious burden for seniors, making it more difficult for them to afford the increased costs of staying in their homes. That is why I have proposed a bill in the State Senate to reinstate the STAR rebate check program and restore property tax relief to senior homeowners,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

Senator Ranzenhofer also has authored legislation, Senate Bill No. S4338, to reinstate the Middle Class STAR rebate check program.  Restoring the program for homeowners would provide $141.5 million in tax relief for Western New Yorkers.

“One of the reasons why I opposed the 2009-10 State Budget was because it eliminated the STAR rebate check program. The 2009-10 State Budget also failed to offer homeowners a rain check to make up for the loss in tax relief. As a result, the average New York household has had to pay an additional $900 in property taxes each year since that time.  Passing this legislation is a start to return the tax relief which was taken away,” Ranzenhofer said.

Initiated in 2006, the STAR rebate check program was eliminated in the 2009-10 State Budget. Senator Ranzenhofer, along with many of his colleagues in the State Senate, lead the fight by starting a petition drive to restore the program shortly thereafter. The discontinuation of the program cost the average New York household $900 per year.

February 15, 2012 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, pembroke, bergen.

Lee Uzarowski, 44, of South Lake Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Uzarowski is accused of punching a woman in the face and taking her mobile phone when she attempted to call 9-1-1. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Sean Allen Kota, 18, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, and a 17-year-old of Warboys Road, Bryon, are charged with petit larceny. Kota and his companion are accused of stealing beer from the Bergen Sugar Creek Store. From a separate incident, Kota is also charged with criminal mischief, 4th. At 2:47 a.m., Jan. 28, Kota allegedly drove his vehicle through a yard on West Bergen Road causing damage.

February 14, 2012 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office is on the verge of obtaining four new police vehicles, three patrol cruisers and an SUV, at a cost of $92,000 $88,605.

The vehicles will replace four aging ones that have all logged from 110,000 to 132,000 miles.

The Public Service Committee approved the planned purchase today.

The three specially constructed Ford sedans and a Chevrolet SUV will be built in Australia and won't be ready for three months. (CLARIFICATION: Only the Chevy is being built in Australia.)

The sedans are being purchased through Delacy Ford in Elma at a cost of $60,655, which includes a trade-in allowance of $23,000.

The trade-in agreement is based on the vehicles' current mileage, even though the vehicles will be in service for at least three more months, adding on more miles.

Delacy apparently didn't have an SUV that met Sheriff's Office specifications, so that vehicle will be purchased for $27,950 from Hoselton Chevrolet.

Local dealerships were invited to bid, but none submitted bids, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

"I'm happy to see they're at least being purchased in New York," said Legislator Esther Leadly. "It used to be they came from New Jersey."

The purchase price is $3,395 under budget.

February 14, 2012 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in environment, Le Roy.

The amount of carcinogenic agent reportedly found in a water sample from a private well in Le Roy is at a concentration level below legal limits, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The agency also plans to seek its own sample from the well, but it's unclear if the DEC will investigate further, such as trying to determine the source of the possible containment.

The chemical is known as MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether). It has been used as an additive in gasoline and diesel fuel, but was outlawed for such use in New York in 2004.

Bob Bowcock -- a researcher from California who took water samples in Le Roy more than two weeks ago at the behest of environmentalist / lawyer Erin Brockovich -- said Friday that the chemical turned up in a sample from a private well at a residential property.

According to Bowcock, MTBE could be part of any hydrofracking fluid (there are various mixtures) that uses gasoline or diesel fuel.

Fracking was used to open the natural gas wells on the property of the Le Roy Central School District and there are reports that at least one of the wells suffered a leak or spill of fracking fluid.

DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said DEC staff conferred with Bowcock today and concluded that the sample taken by Bowcock had six micrograms per litre, which is below the state's limit of 10 micrograms per litre.

It's also below the federal Environmental Protection Agency's drinking water advisory for MTBE, which is 20 to 40 micrograms per liter, she said.

DeSantis offered no opinion from the DEC on how the MTBE got into the well, which is according to Bowcock, a little less than a mile from the southeastern-most natural gas well on Le Roy school district property.

Yesterday, the DEC -- through spokeswoman DeSantis -- expressed little interest in Bowcock's reported finding. DeSantis maintained that MTBE is not used in fracking fluid and the DEC had no reason to believe the company that fracked the Le Roy school wells used MTBE as part of its mixture.

After being pressed for more information, DeSantis arranged for Bowcock to speak with DEC staff. It was only after further email exchanges with The Batavian that DeSantis confirmed the DEC would conduct its own testing.

Since 2008, companies engaged in fracking gas wells are required to disclose the chemicals used in the process, DeSantis said.

"While the most recently drilled wells on the LeRoy CSD property were permitted prior to this requirement, the well driller informed us of the chemicals used to fracture the wells and MTBE was not used," DeSantis said. "Again, MTBE is not used in hydraulic fracturing."

When told of DeSantis's statement, Bowcock said he was flabbergasted by her response. He said prior to even coming to Le Roy, he had had conversations with DEC staff on other matters about MTBE being in fracking fluid.

While there are numerous environmental websites that say MTBE is contained in fracking fluid, it's harder to locate a neutral source online, even the EPA.

Bowcock supplied an EPA document that said a Bureau of Land Management report confirmed MTBE in fracking fluid, but the same paragraph in the same document says the EPA has not confirmed the use of MTBE in fracking.

Quote:

EPA also obtained two environmental impact statements that were prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In these impact statements, BLM identified additional chemical compounds that may be in fracturing fluids including methyl tert butyl ether (MTBE) (U.S. Department of the Interior, CO State BLM, 1998). However, EPA was unable to find any indications in the literature, on MSDSs, or in interviews with service companies that MTBE is used in fracturing fluids to stimulate coal-bed methane wells.

The MTBE issue isn't his main focus, Bowcock said, but resolving the issue for property owners is important to him. Further testing could make the case for the homes to be put on public water -- possibly at the expense of the energy companies (paid for, possibly, as part of a prior environmental settlement).

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

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