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October 12, 2011 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, consolidation.

"In for a dime, in for a dollar" seemed to be the argument that won the night at Batavia City Council meeting when it came time to vote on a proposal to hire a facilitator to help the Consolidation Charter Task Force do its job.

The facilitator will cost $55,000, but will be paid for by a state grant.

Bill Cox and Rosemary Christian -- the two no votes in a 6-2 vote -- argued that consolidation has no chance of approval by Town of Batavia voters and therefore the money should be spent.

But other council members argued that state grant money has already been spent on consolidation studies so the city should support finishing the process.

Perhaps some good ideas will come out of the task force with a facilitator's help, said Tim Buckley.

"We're on our own 10-yard line," said Tim Buckley. "We've got 90 yards to go. Let's get to the end zone."

Frank Ferrando said that he could be pursaded to vote against the proposal if voting no would actually save taxpayers money, but if the city doesn't spend the grant money, he said, then some other municipality will.

"Any time we can take advantage of money from a broader base of taxpayers to do something that could save our taxpayers money, we should," Ferrando said.

As for the town voters possibly not approving a consolidation plan, Ferrando argued that first, the town's leadership must believe consolidation has a chance of passing in the town, or they wouldn't keep voting to approve consolidation measures.

"I want to see information on consolidation because there is a possibility it could be very beneficial to the city," Ferrando said. "It could it be beneficial to the town, we’ll see, but I don’t represent the town. I represent the city."

October 12, 2011 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A proposed joint court facility for the Town of Batavia, Elba and Oakfield will move forward now that the Batavia City Council has approved the sale of a 19-acre parcel off Park Road to the town.

The purchase agreement was approved on a vote of 8-1, with Council President Marianne Clattenberg casting the lone no vote.

Clattenberg said she doesn't believe the building is needed. There's no reason, she said, that consolidation couldn't take place in the existing city court building or another existing government building. She said she didn't see the need to build any new government buildings.

Two years ago, Clattenberg voted against the court plan.

At the last council meeting, other council members proposed the sale and the matter was tabled, however members such as Rosemary Christian had a change of heart.

Previously, she didn't think the city was getting enough money -- $150,000 --  for the property, but after learning that the town will also spend $140,000 on a sidewalk that will stretch from Park Road and down Richmond Avenue, she decided to support the sale.

"It's fine by me," she said.

The Veteran's Administration had to grant a "release of restricted use" for the sale to go forward. The VA deeded the land to the city in 1968 and placed restrictions on how the land could be used. As part of the deal to allow sale of the land to the town, the town had to agree to put in the sidewalk.

The town must also revitalize the wetlands on the property.

October 12, 2011 - 8:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Route 5 is reopened. The scene is "all clear." Residents of the area can resume normal activity.

UPDATED 8:54 a.m.

There is a report of a strong odor of ammonia on West Main Street Road between Hopkins Road and Powers Road in the Town of Batavia.

East Pembroke Fire Department along with Genesee County Emergency Services, Sheriff's Deputies, State Police and Mercy EMS are on scene.

One person has reportedly complained of eye irritation.

The strongest area of the odor is reportedly right at Hopkins Road.

Route 5 is shut down at Wortendyke Road and at Hartshorn Road. The emergency staging area is in the parking lot of First Choice Travel.

UPDATE 9:20 a.m.: Charlie Woodruff, owner of Woodruff Doors, said he and his wife came into work this morning and were unloading a truck of yesterday's debris and after about 10 or 15 minutes, his eyes started watering. After two more employees showed up and reported irritated eyes, he told them to leave and his wife called 9-1-1. He said, "I didn't really smell anything. It was just more irritation to the eyes."

UPDATE 9:51 a.m.:  The cause is a chlorine chemical spread on a farm field north of Route 5. It's a common chemical used on agricultural soil. Typically, the chlorine would dissipate quickly, but because of the low winds over the past couple of days, the chemical has hung close to the ground. With the low winds and cloud cover today, it became more concentrated leading to throat, nose and eye irritation. At the current concentration, the chemical is not seriously harmful. About 177 residents in the area are being notified via reverse 9-1-1 to stay in their homes and call 9-1-1 if they notice any issues. Route 5 will be closed for some time yet. Emergency personnel will remain on scene until the rains start and the wind picks up, which will cause the chemical to dissipate or settle back into the ground.

October 12, 2011 - 8:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans.

At the beginning of the Batavia City Council meeting Monday night, Jim Neider, left, and Ron Konieczny made a brief presentation about the proposed veterans' war memorial, planned for the corner of Bank Street and Washington Avenue.

The memorial replaces one that was removed from outside UMMC to make way for the hospital's new surgical wing. The previous memorial listed all of the men and women from Genesee County killed in action, as will the new memorial. The name plaques of the former memorial were all saved and will be buried at the site of the new memorial in a ceremony Nov. 12. The new memorial is expected to cost local veterans and supporters nearly $500,000.

October 11, 2011 - 10:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in free trade, kathy hochul.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today spoke on the House Floor against the U.S.-Panama, U.S.-Colombia, and U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreements.

In her speech, Representative Hochul referenced a worker at the Buffalo Airport who had lost her job at a textile factory.

Below are Congresswoman Hochul’s prepared remarks:

“I’m here to stand up for the working men and women of the 26th District of New York. People like the woman at the Buffalo Airport who made my energy drink this morning. She told me she works there now after she lost her job of 23 years at a textile factory in downtown Buffalo. First, the jobs went South…and then overseas. As I left for my flight, she called after me, ‘keep fighting for our jobs…don’t forget us.’ Well, I won't forget her.

“If I thought any of these Free Trade Agreements would help people like the woman at the airport, I would be all in favor. But in Western New York, we know better. We were promised prosperity with earlier trade agreements; and while companies became more prosperous, the jobs were sucked away from our community, gone forever…to foreign shores.

“As they say in the immortal song made famous by The Who, we ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’

“I urge my colleagues to oppose these trade agreements.

“Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.”

October 11, 2011 - 3:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, steve hawley, farm bureau.

Press release:

The Genesee County Farm Bureau recently voiced its support for legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia). Resolutions in support of the bills, which seek to ensure that state benefits are offered to the proper applicants, received unanimous support from the bureau at its annual meeting.

In order to protect the essential services that families rely on, we must ensure that the state’s limited resources are not being spent in the wrong places,” Hawley said. “This legislation will ensure that public assistance benefits are allocated to true New York residents that are not abusing tax dollars for illicit use. Having the unanimous support of the Genesee County Farm Bureau bolsters our ability to accomplish goals on the state level, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to make Western New York’s voice heard in state government.”

Hawley is the main sponsor of Assembly Bill 6059, which, if passed, would require recipients of public assistance benefits to be New York residents for at least 90 days prior to applying. The assemblyman is a co-sponsor of A.4474, which would institute drug tests for certain recipients of public assistance benefits.

Related, Hawley's office also released this announcement today:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) has been named to the 2011 Farm Bureau Circle of Friends based upon his voting record on issues of importance to New York agriculture. Hawley thanked the organization for their contributions to farming and agriculture across the state.

“I am extremely proud to be recognized by an organization like the Farm Bureau that provides such a critical service to the people of this state,” Hawley said. “Over the last 35 years, as a former president and member of the Farm Bureau, I have seen firsthand how tirelessly the group works to support our proud farmers and further the growth of agriculture in New York.

"Here in Western New York, agriculture is not only the backbone of our economy, it is a tradition ingrained in our way of life that has been handed down from generation to generation. I look forward to continuing my work with the Farm Bureau and making sure New York’s farmers are given the tools they need to succeed.”

The Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, volunteer organization financed and controlled by member-families for the purpose of solving economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural industry.

October 11, 2011 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Le Roy.

Jolene Janelle Goodell, 31, of Attica Road, Alexander, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Goodell is accused of being intoxicated at 7:29 p.m., Monday, and not knowing at that time the whereabouts of her two small children.  Goodell was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Matthew R. Klump, 25, of 61 Myrtle St., Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC .18 or greater and no turn signal. Klump was stopped early Saturday morning by a Le Roy Police officer. Klump was jailed on $2,000 bail.

Matthew Scott Williams, 23, of W. Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass and unlawful possession of marijuana. Williams was arrested following a brief pursuit at 1:57 a.m., Monday, with Williams on a bicycle, riding through property in the area of 8127 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Williams allegedly tried to conceal himself in a large building containing equipment and produce, and was located there by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Samantha Mary Williams, 30, of Warsaw Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief 4th. Williams is accused of damaging a window screen.

October 10, 2011 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, weather, Dewitt Park.

For such a beautiful, unseasonably warm fall day, a holiday, it sure was quiet in Dewitt Park today.

October 10, 2011 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Cedar Street.

Workers are busy on Cedar Street installing a new sewer line that will be one of two connections between the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and the city's sewer system.

The Cedar Street line will run from the west side of the park, through the county's highway department property and then north on Cedar to the city's main line under Main Street.

Alpina Products, the first tenant for the new business park, breaks ground on construction of its facility at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.

October 10, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photo.

It's Columbus Day, and as the line of mail trucks parked behind the Post Office on Main Street shows, there is no mail delivery today.

October 10, 2011 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, byron, Alabama.

Stephanie A. Wixson, 34, of 335 Bank St., Apt. A6, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Wixson was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine by Officer Dan Coffey during a traffic stop on Pearl Street at 8:53 p.m., Friday.

Eslie J. Worthington III, 21, of 6657 Cole Road, Byron, is charged with disorderly conduct. Worthington is accused of shouting obscenities while outside a residence on Dellinger Avenue, Batavia.

John W. Hackett, 32, of 5697 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, is charged with felony counts of DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. Hacket was stopped at 2:03 a.m. Saturday on Cedar Street by Officer Eric Bolles.

Katherine Lynn Ogden, 28, of State Street, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of a noxious matter. Ogden was charged after allegedly using pepper spray at a smoke shop on Bloomingdale Road, Basom. Ogden was reportedly involved in a verbal dispute over a mobile phone.

Victoria Hollie Gilbert, 39, of Shepard Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Gilbert allegedly allowed her two children, ages 6 and 8, to return home from school and be at home unsupervised.

Vincente Antonio Torres, 20, of Willowen Drive, Rochester, was turned over to the Sheriff's Office by Irondequoit police on a bench warrant stemming from a DWI charge. Torres was jailed on $500 bail.

October 10, 2011 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Vine Street.

A car reportedly hit a bicyclist in the area of 232 Vine St., Batavia, but the rider is "up and around" and complaining only of an arm injury.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched non-emergency.

October 10, 2011 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. in the general area of East Main Street, East Avenue, North Street, Bank Street, Summit Street, Ross Street, Vine Street, Elm Street, Trumbull Parkway, North Spruce Street, Naramore Drive and Clinton Street.

Homes and businesses nearby may be affected. These flows may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.

October 9, 2011 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, fall.

A little fall color behind the Highway to Holiness Church. The church is on Maple Street, the tree is off Ganson Avenue.

October 9, 2011 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Genesee County Democrats, Genesee Justice.

Doug Call, 71, a former Genesee County Sheriff now finishing out his final term as a Town of Stafford justice, was honored with a picnic today in Stafford.

It was organized by local Democrats, and is one of their annual fundraisers, but Call was the guest of honor and several Republicans attended.

County Chairwoman Lorie Longhany said Call has been a good Democrat, but more importantly, he's been a good public servant.

"He's one of the best public servants Genesee County ever had," Longhany said.  "His service transcended politics. It was always about public service."

As Sheriff -- perhaps the only Democrat ever elected to Sheriff in Genesee County -- Call initiated the Stop DWI program, which included DWI checkpoints on roadways. The program would be challenged in court, but the county won appeals all the way up to the state's Court of Appeals. It's a program that is now widely used across the country.

Call was also instrumental in getting Genesee Justice started, a program Call estimates has saved the county millions and millions of dollars over the years.

For one thing, by putting criminals in intervention programs rather than locking them up, the county was spared the expense of a new, larger jail.

On hand to honor Call today were Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and Sheriff Gary Maha. Assemblyman Steven Hawley sent a letter and Darien Town Justice Gary Graber, who is incoming president of the state magistrates' association, spoke in praise of Call. Graber was first elected in 1980, when Call first became Sheriff.

A quiet man, Call doesn't put much of a spotlight on his own accomplishments.

"I’m humbled by (the honors today) because I just did things," Call said. "Apparently people think it’s important and they’re here."

He then added, "Other's could have done it."

October 9, 2011 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Town of Batavia Fire Department was dispatched to the report of an unknown type fire at the end of Briarwood Terrace.

As Engine 21 was rolling on the call, an assistant chief arrived on scene and reported that Engine 21 could stand down.

"The homeowner is operating a fog machine," reported the chief.

"Copy," said a dispatcher, "homeowner operating a fog machine."

Second dispatcher: "That's got to be a first."

Town of Batavia fire, back in service.


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October 9, 2011 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street.

Three people were arrested yesterday following an investigation by the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force into the transportation and sale of cocaine in Batavia.

All three face charges related to the sale of a controlled substance.

Members of the drug task force, along with Batavia police officers and Sheriff's Office deputies, executed a search warrant at 335 Bank St., Apt. B3, yesterday evening and allegedly found a quantity of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $1,500. 

Also seized was $750 in cash, drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Arrested were:

Julia B. Wescott, 29, of Batavia. Wescott was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal nuisance, 1st, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Thomas L. Hill, 22, of Rochester. Hill was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jade Cierra Wims, 18, of Rocheter. Wims was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.

Wescott is accused of allowing Hill and Wims to deal cocaine from her apartment on Bank Street, which is the basis of the "criminal nuisance" charge.

All three were arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail.

Photos: Top, Wescott, Hill and Wims.

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