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March 15, 2011 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education.

A dozen city school students in second through fifth grade met at Jackson School today for a spelling bee to determine the top speller at each grade level.

Students represented Jackson, John Kennedy and Robert Morris.

Pictured here are fourth graders Jonathan Slezak (John Kennedy), Ellen Fulton (Robert Morris) and Caitline Kingston (Jackson).

Fulton won the fourth-grade round.

Also winning today were Brandon Bartz, second grade, John Kennedy; Madeline Taggart, third grade, John Kennedy; and, Carli Reynolds, fifth grade, Jackson.

March 15, 2011 - 12:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC, chamber of commerce, social media.

About 20 local business owners and managers attended a talk by Kevin Manne at T.F. Brown's this morning on social media, sponsored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Manne, new media specialist for Genesee Community College spoke about how digital media is empowering customers, how that power can be harnessed to benefit a business and how to effectively promote a business on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube.

Previously: College hires new media specialist, sees rapid online growth

March 14, 2011 - 7:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Highway Department.

It would be a good idea, according to County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, to install cameras to monitor the gas pumps used to fill up county vehicles.

In some counties employees have been caught stealing gas. Hens didn't come right out and say any Genesee County personnel are stealing gas, but he would like to have a system that would much such theft easier to prove.

"The only way to catch somebody now is to compare like vehicle to like vehicle," Hens said. "If one pickup truck is getting 15 miles to the gallon and another is getting only nine, then I'm going to say 'something is not right here,' but you're still dealing with somebody with only circumstantial numbers."

A camera would allow supervisors to check tapes (digitally stored) and see if employees are bringing in personal vehicles at the same time they fuel county vehicles, or filling up gas cans.

Legislators Ray Cianfrini and Bob Baush balked at the $19,000 price tag for the video surveillance system during the Public Service meeting Monday. They wondered if fewer cameras could be used, or if surveillance was necessary at all.

"Is it worth paying $19,000 to save $40 in gas?" Cianfrini asked.

Besides monitoring the pumps, the proposed system can also monitor the parts garage and could eventually be expanded to monitor nearby DeWitt Park.

Hens said that as much as $2,000 annually from potentially pilfered gas could be saved and the camera system -- which needs to be infrared to read license plates at night -- has a 10-year life expectancy.

But it isn't all about how much might be stolen, which is a hard number to pin down with the current system, Hens said.

"On principle, I don’t know if you want an employee who is stealing $40 of gas," Hens said. "I think you would rather catch those people."

Currently, fueling county vehicles involves a two-card process -- one card for the employee and one card for the vehicle.

As the meeting progressed, Tim Yaeger, director of Emergency Services, walked in. He and Undersheriff Bill Sheron spoke briefly and then Yaeger piped up, saying there might be Homeland Security grants available for the camera system.

Since the fuel yard is essential to critical services in an emergency, it needs to be protected, Yaeger said.

The motion to buy the system was tabled until Yaeger could research the availability of grants.

March 14, 2011 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Local businesses can now use The Batavian to help promote their social media marketing efforts.

Glance down the right side rail of local ads and you'll find two boxes, one with links to the Facebook pages of local businesses and another to promote the Twitter feeds of local businesses.

Social media is becoming a powerful tool for small businesses to connect with customers and one of our primary goals at The Batavian is to help local businesses use the Internet intelligently.

Besides offering the best online advertising program in the region, working with local businesses in their social media efforts helps us further that goal.

If your business already has a presence on Facebook or Twitter, call Howard Owens at 260-6970 to find out how to get a link added to our Facebook and Twitter boxes. And if you haven't put your business on Facebook or Twitter yet, call us and we'll help you get started. We can even manage your social media efforts for your business.

March 14, 2011 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice.

The Genesee Justice Foundation can now accept your donations.

The foundation was formed in the wake of the County Legislature nearly shuttering the pioneering restorative justice program when writing the 2010-11 county budget.

Only after then-director Ed Minardo resigned and staff agreed to cut back its hours was the program saved, but with the intent of creating a nonprofit fundraising arm.

The cuts saved $100,000, and that's how much the foundation must raise in 2011 to keep Genesee Justice going and restore staffing levels.

Some of that revenue may come from a grant the county's Job Development Bureau is applying for this week.

Both the Genesee Justice Foundation and the Child Advocacy Foundation have 501(c)3 (nonprofit) status pending, but until granted, the American Baptist Churches of Genesee County have agreed to accept donations on the behalf of the Genesee Justice Foundation.

Tiffany Szymanek, assistant director of Genesee Justice, delivered a report on the status of Genesee Justice on Monday afternoon to the legislature's Public Service Committee.

Szymanek said the agency is managing to do more with less, however.

Genesee Justice's case load is up significantly over a year ago.

Currently, Genesee Justice has 183 people in its offender programs, compared to 127 at this time last year, and 91 people, compared to 54 a year ago, are doing community service.

"It's harder than it was last year, but we're keeping up," Szymanek said.

In effort to save money, GJ renegotiated its lease, knocking down its rent on the former Sheriff's Office on West Main Street from $1,500 per month to $1,200 per month. (See clarification below)

Most of that savings came because GJ agreed to take over its own lawn maintenance and snow removal.

The Batavia Kiwanis have adopted Genesee Justice as its annual project, and besides raising funds for GJ, the club has volunteered to help with lawn service and snow removal.

"We also have community service workers," Szymanek said.

The new foundation is being headed by Jane Schmider, president, and Mike Mohun, vice president.

As for the job development grant, that money would be used to fund a program to provide job training to young offenders (18-24). While the grant would come through the county's Job Development Bureau, GJ would administer the program. The grant could restore most of the staff's hours.

After Minardo resigned, a part-time position with Genesee Justice became vacant and Minardo took on the DWI conditional release tasks.

Szymanek said the foundation is eager for donations either from individuals or corporations. She said she will also be working on additional grant applications.

If the foundation is successful in fundraising, the annual revenue would be allocated to the county to cover Genesee Justice expenses and the legislature would decide how to budget the department.

Legislator Bob Radley asked Szymanek to provide a document showing revenue benchmarks and information on fundraising efforts.

Mary Pat Hancock, chair of the legislature, wondered how far along the fundraising effort was going.

"On paper, I understand the intent is to raise $100,000, but that's not the same as raising $100,000," Hancock said.

Szymanek said she will start providing a progress report on fundraising.

There will be a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Foundation March 24 at Tully's.

CLARIFICATIONS: The lease issue and snow removal/lawn refers only to the Child Advocacy Center at 108 Bank St.  Also, both Kiwansis and American Baptist boards still need to vote to approve their organizations' participation in supporting Genesee Justice.

March 14, 2011 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, gulls, Latina's.

Right on schedule, the migratory gulls that have plagued downtown buildings the past few years -- most notably the former Latina's location on Ellicott Street -- are returning.

This March, they're getting a slightly different reception.

The one-time Montgomery Ward store has a new owner, V J Gautieri Constructors, Inc., and CEO Vito Gautieri is determined both to get new tenants in the building and keep the gulls away.

"The key is to keep them from nesting," Gautieri said. "Once they nest, we can't touch them."

To that end, employees of Gautieri's were recently on the roof installing streamers and decoy owls (mean-looking ones at that).

Today, the gulls circled the building and cried their perpetually angry sounding cry, but none were landing on the roof.

Friday, Don Burkel, executive director of the Business Improvement District, sent a message to BID members asking them to deal with any developing gull problems promptly.

As the gulls return downtown we should be prepared to resolve any problems that may develop. If they are beginning to nest or create a problem with your property do not hesitate to contact us. We can put in touch with the Wildlife Services who professionalyl deal with these issues promptly.

As for the building on Jackson, Gautieri said he is weeks away from signing at least one new tenant for the building, and possibly two. He said he's had interest in the building from two or three grocery store operators and discount retailers. One particular retailer and one grocery store would be a particularly good fit as neighbors in the building, he said.

"They would be a draw for each other," Gautieri said.

Gautieri recently closed his purchase of the building from Tom Lewin's LKLWL Properties. Lewin made regional headlines late last summer as the city took steps to condemn the building and press code violations charges against the Buffalo-area resident.

Gautieri said it's in his best interest to keep the property clean and gull free, especially if he hopes to attract a grocery store to the location.

The second floor, Gautieri said, will also be available for office space or apartments. The plans are still being drawn up but, in either case, Gautieri said he is planning to install an elevator to help draw tenants to the location.

Gautieri was the contractor who built the structure and he said because of a high water table under the building, it was too expensive to put in a basement, so the second floor was originally designed as warehouse space with the ability to hold a150 lbs.-per-square-foot load.

March 14, 2011 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

A patient apparently suffered a cut hand and bump on the head in a car-tractor trailer accident on Route 490 on or near the county line by the Bovee Road overpass.

Le Roy Fire Department is dispatched.

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March 14, 2011 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama.

Alabama Fire is responding to 2082 Lewiston Road for a flooded basement and possibly related gas leak.


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March 14, 2011 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

Charges may be pending following a one-car accident at 10:38 p.m. Saturday, on North Street Road, Le Roy.

The driver has been identified as Philip M. Niccloy, 24, of 75 Summit St., Le Roy.

According to initial reports, the car Niccloy was allegedly driving, was found unoccupied at the accident scene and several law enforcement officers were involved in a search for the driver.

The Sheriff's Office accident report does not include information on how Niccloy was identified as the driver nor how he was found, though on Saturday night, the owner of the vehicle, also a Summit Street resident, said she wanted charges pressed against the driver.

The vehicle involved was a 2010 GMC pickup.

The truck hit a tree at the bend of the road in the area of 8471 North Street Road. The driver-side airbag was deployed.

The accident is being investigated by Deputy Matthew Butler wrote on his report that the investigation is ongoing and there are "charges pending."

March 14, 2011 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, pembroke, Darien, corfu.

Lorrie B. Fischer, 32, of 128 W. State St., Albion, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, three counts of aggravated DWI (children in the vehicle), criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, moving from lane unsafely, and improper or unsafe turn. At 5:19 p.m., Sunday, Fischer was reportedly observed driving in an erratic manner by an off-duty Batavia police officer. Fischer was stopped by Officer Chris Davis. There were children ages 11, 12 and 14 in the car.

Robert L. Williams Jr., 20, and Shante R. Williams, 27, and Sarah L. Marcello, 18, all of Batavia, are all charged with harassment, 2nd. Officers Marc Lawrence and Chris Camp investigated an alleged incident at 4:45 p.m., Saturday, in the area of 112 State St., Batavia. Robert Williams accused Marcello of hitting him. Marcello accused Shante Williams and Robert Williams of hitting her. All three were issued appearance tickets for Batavia City Court on March 15.

Tyler Alan Cole, 18, of Alley Road, Darien, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Cole is accused of hosting a party where people under 21 were allowed to consume alcohol. The party was investigated at 5:06 a.m., Sunday.

Michael Roberrt Turturro, 32, of Jeffery Drive, Depew, was arrested on a family court warrant and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation and no seat belt. Turturro was stopped by Deputy Chris Parker on Alleghany Road in Alabama.

Billy Joe Budziszewski, 19, of Alleghany Road, Corfu, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Budziszewski allegedly threated another person during a phone call.

Shane I. Crosby, 34, of 62989 W. Main St., Byron, is charged with a felony count of DWI, aggravated DWI, speeding and unlicensed operation. Crosby was stopped at 3:45 a.m., Sunday, on West Main Street, Batavia, by officer Kevin DeFelice.

Thomas M. Pillo, of 8991 Alexander Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, no tail lamps. Pillo was stopped at 11:57 p.m., Friday, by Det. Richard Schauf on School Street, Batavia.

Tiffany J. Howard, 20, of 210 S. Swan St., Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Howard is accused of unlawfully entering an apartment on West Main Street at 8:42 p.m., Saturday, and punching a person in the face.

Timothy K. Schiffmaker, 20, of 19 Hyde Park, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 3rd. Schiffmaker is accused of breaking into a house in the city at 6:15 a.m., Saturday, damaging a door in the process. Schiffamker was confronted and held by the resident until police arrived.

Lauren E. Charache, 31, of 3 East Ave., Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Charache was issued a citation for unlicensed operation following a traffic accident in the city on Sept. 3. Charache was taken into custody by Trooper Bentley outside of the city and turned over to city police. She was jailed on $500 bail.

Gary R. Sitarski, 48, of Pembroke, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI. Sitarski was stopped by State Police at 10:07 p.m., Saturday, on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

Michelle L. Cramer, 26, of Canton, Ohio, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Cramer is accused of having physical contact with another person. The alleged incident took place in Byron on March 4. Cramer was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Michael A. Cintron, 47, of Lackawanna, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Cintron was stopped at 11:50 a.m., Friday, by State Police on Route 77, Pembroke.

March 13, 2011 - 10:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey.

Sunday morning, four teams from Batavia's Adult Hockey League met in two playoff games.

The Beachy Cabinet Maker "Wild" and The Genesee Orthopaedic "Blues" won their games and will now face each other for the league championship this Sunday.

Below are details of the games provided by Charles Mahler.

7 a.m.: The Beachy Cabinet Maker "Wild" vs. The Kelly Holland Inn "Stars." The Wild defeats the Stars 9-3 with the winner advancing to the championship game.

Scoring for the Wild: Todd Meier 3 goals and Rich Baskin 3 goals (w/ the game winner), Shawn Beachy, Tom Antinore and Ryan Diflippo each 1 goal. Assists: Rich Pearson with 2, while 1 each to Todd Meier, Tom Antinore, Shawn Beachy and Ryan Diflippo. Scott Fauth was in net facing 28 shots

Scoring for the Stars: Adam Luckenbach, Nick Martell and TJ Peca.     Assists: Nick Busch with 3, TJ Peca, Rick Piazza and Nick Martell with 1 each. John Grande was in net facing 27 shots

9 a.m.: The Genesee Orthopaedic "Blues" vs. The Batavia Legal Printing "Sharks." The Blues defeats the Sharks 6-3 advancing to the championship game.

Scoring for the Blues: Shawnee Oberholtzer with 2, Bill Kusmierski, Cory Stearns, Dave Holtz and Joe Mahler each having 1 goal with Mahler's being the game winner. Assists: Brian Schrader with 2, Greg Ames, Kevin Hamilton and Joe Mahler with 1 each. Jason Molino faced 24 shots in the win.

Scoring for the Sharks: Dan Reuter had a natural hat trick with 3 goals and the only assist going to Andy Pfalzer. Bill Hertel faced 25 shots in net.

Sunday March 20th at 7:30 a.m. will be the "Consolation Game" with the Sharks going against the Stars. At 9 a.m. the "Championship Game" with the Blues taking on the Wild.

Then on Sunday March 27 at 8 a.m. the "B-Line" All Star Game. Followed at 9:30 a.m. by the "A-Line" All-Star Game.

There are another 30 pictures, plus these, on our photo sales site. Click here.

March 13, 2011 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in North Street.

A caller reports black smoke coming from a house at 101 North St., Batavia.

The caller says nobody answers the door, but dogs can be heard barking inside.

City Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 3:31 p.m.: A Mercy medic is first on scene and reports black smoke coming from a side vent. No flames showing. Batavia police are asking dispatch for contact information for the owner.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.: No fire. Pellet stove. The type of fuel used in this case creates the black smoke. City fire back in service.

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March 13, 2011 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A car fire is reported on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 386.5 in the eastbound lane.

The caller states she could see flames from the undercarriage and the male operator was getting children out of the car.

Mile marker 385.6 is about 8/10 of a mile east of the Clinton Street Road overpass.

Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: First responder: Fire appears to be out.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: The drive shaft appears to have punctured the fuel tank. Fire is out. Engine 24 to respond for the fuel spill.

March 12, 2011 - 11:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Stafford, Jason DiSalvo.

Despite blowing a cylinder today, Stafford's Jason DiSalvo managed to pull of a victory in one of motorcycle racing's most prestigious events, the Daytona 200. describes the race as challenging for all of the riders with multiple lead changes.

DiSalvo was in and out of the lead several times during the race.

“It’s really unbelievable after what the team went through today with everything with the engine. Those guys worked so hard, it was probably the biggest thrash in all of motorcycling history to get that bike put back together and ready to rock in time for the start. It’s just amazing. I’m almost a little bit speechless. As to how I feel about winning this race, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I have to thank a couple of people, one is the AMA Pro officials for letting us restart the race. I know there was some question about it, and then we were given the go-ahead, so I want to thank them for that, and then of course my crew. It’s just unbelievable—I watched that bike go back together in 20 minutes.”

Full Story.

March 12, 2011 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A car has gone off the road and hit a tree in the area of 8481 North St. Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy fire and ambulance dispatched.

A first responder says there has been air bag deployment, but she says, "I haven't located the driver yet."

A deputy reports that the driver has apparently left the scene.

UPDATE 11:02 p.m.: The registered owner has been located and wishes to press charges against the driver. Police seem to have some idea who the driver is and are searching for him.

UPDATE 11:16 p.m.: The suspect has not been located yet. He is likely on foot and may be within the village boundaries.

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March 12, 2011 - 10:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Stafford Fire Department.

The Stafford Volunteer Fire Department held its annual installation dinner and awards ceremony at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia on Saturday night.

Above, Karen Nostrant, who received the Chief's Award from Fire Chief Dave Rumsey, dedicates her award to the late 3rd Assistant Chief Paul Hendel, who died Feb. 17 at the age of 49.

Brian Breemes (pictured below with Rumsey) was named Firefighter of the Year. Breemes achieved 226.7 hours of firematic/EMS activity.

Ben Fox won the EMS Achievement Award with 154 hours.

The most EMS training hours were achieved by Chris Scopano with 170.5 hours, while Chris Bobo had most firematic training hours at 126.17.

The department has 40 active members. Total activity and training hours for the department in 2010 was 3,880.48.

The department responded to 237 calls: Fire, 39, rescue and EMS, 146, hazardous condition (no fire), 10, service calls, 2, good intention calls, 28, and false alarms, 12.

More pictures after the jump:

March 12, 2011 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Police.

Batavia police officers made 575 criminal arrests in 2010 and responded to 16,606 calls.

Chief Randy Baker released the department's annual report, which notes that patrols logged more than 100,000 road miles.

Officers also completed 1,685 hours of training.

There were 534 motor vehicle accidents in the city, with 98 reported as personal injury accidents. There was one fatality.

Major investigations included a fatal fire on State Street, the Wiard Plow fire and assisting Elmira police in the investigation of an infant's death.

Full press release after the jump:

March 12, 2011 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Hiroshige Yamabe, an exchange student at Batavia High in 1988-89, currently lives in Japan and has been in contact with his former host family following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country two days ago.

Yamabe sent the following e-mails to Jason Smith. Smith said Yamabe has visited Batavia frequently since his high school years. He currently works for Boehreinger Pharmaceutical in Japan.

March 11:

"It was horrible experience in my life. But mostly people in Tokyo are OK. But we can not go back home, just staying at the office. Anyhow, I am responsible for confirm the production sites/plants close to the centre of origin. Hope phone line will be improved. thank you."

March 12:

Dear all,

Thank you so much for your concerns. Yes, I tried to call Jason and James but not made it. Then I called to the funeral home.

We are all safe. Last night I stayed at the office waiting for the recovery of transportation. We could not catch the taxi and I saw people made a long line. Even though catching the taxi, then it seemed to be a heavy traffic. When I come back home this morning by subway, I did not see so much damage on the building except some items fell down.

In Tokyo now all the infrastructure are fine. But the northern part is terrible. Boehringer Japan Group has three plants in Narita, Yamagata and Fukushima. I am a little bit worried about Fukushima Plant. Cause it is just few kilometre away from the nuclear plant. Anyway, I shall be quite busy for the next few weeks. Thank you again and get in touch.

Kind regards,

H. Yamabe

Now we have a little shaking again...

UPDATE:  Here's a new e-mail from Hiroshige:

Thank you, Jason. Just I talked with my mother. My brother & sister's family, they are all safe. I just concerned about my colleagues' family in Northern part area in Japan has anything wrong. Public transportation is not recovered. So I am still in the office at mid-night. But pretty fine.




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

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