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Howard B. Owens's blog

March 7, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Charles Schumer, Veterans Cemetery.

After years of indecision, it's time to put the construction of a new veterans' cemetery in Western New York on the fast track and Genesee County is the perfect place to build it, said Sen. Charles Schumer today at a press conference inside Batavia's American Legion Hall.

Schumer called on Gen. Eric Shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs, to set a hard and fast deadline for construction to begin and to appoint a regional ombudsman to move the process along.

"The purpose is twofold -- to get it done quickly and to have local input from our veterans' groups," Schumer said.

There are 200,000 veterans in Western New York -- representing a proud tradition of service, said Schumer -- and they and their families deserve a cemetery closer than Bath, which is more than an hour from Batavia.

"Families shouldn't have to drive 75 miles to see a loved ones simply because you want to give them a proper burial in a veterans' cemetery," Schumer said.

"If you looked at all the veterans in Western New York and dropped pins on a map, and you had to find the middle, it would be here, in Genesee County."

In January, the Veterans Administration announced it had narrowed its range of possible locations to the Batavia area. The VA is looking for a suitable 200-acre location and a willing seller.

Schumer said the role of the ombudsman will be to act as a liaison between the local veterans' groups and the VA, enabling the groups to make one or two site selection recommendations to the VA and then moving the process along quickly.

The ombudsman should be someone all of the veterans' groups respect and can work with, Schumer said.

"I will bird-dog this until we make sure a veterans' cemetery is built."

March 7, 2011 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, South Main Road, Amish.

George and Barb Galliford of Batavia own some property on the banks of the Tonawanda Creek along South Main Road and are planning a new house there. It will be a BOCES project starting in September, but the timber needs to be cleared from the land. This morning, two Amish men from Fillmore were harvesting the trees using their horse-drawn carriage to haul the logs up the bank to the side of the road. (Thanks to an alert reader for letting us know.)

March 7, 2011 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, photos, South Main Road.

While out on South Main Road, Batavia, this morning, I spotted a mom with her foal at the stables out that way.

March 7, 2011 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Stafford.

Wade D. Godlove, 47, of 5733 Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and moving from lane unsafely. Godlove was allegedly observed by Deputy Howard Carlson at 1:44 a.m., Friday, driving through the front yards of houses on Seven Springs Road, knocking down mailboxes, a street sign and a fire hydrant. Godlove's car eventually returned to the roadway, according to Carlson's report, and continued on Seven Springs to Route 5. Godlove was stopped by Carlson on Route 5 near Fargo Road.

Bernard Lee  Evans, 40, of 12 Myrtle St., Le Roy, is charged with grand larceny. Evans is accused of stealing a car from a person he knew. The vehicle was recovered. Evans was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jodi Mae Coe, 35, of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Coe is accused of pawning stolen property at the Pawn King on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Javier Eduardo Ocana-Reyes, 30, no address listed, is charged with illegal entry. Ocana-Reyes was turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Estaban Mata Martinez, 30, no address lsited, is charged with illegal entry. Martinez was turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Theodore P. Boylan, 18, of 32 Elm St. Le Roy, is charged with criminal nuisance, 2nd. Boylan is accused of hosting an underage drinking party Saturday at his residence.

March 6, 2011 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department.

David Tran, center, was named Town of Batavia's Firefighter of the Year at the fire department's annual awards and officer installation banquet Saturday night at the fire hall on Lewiston Road.

Left is Robert Hunt, outgoing chief, and right is Randy McIntire, the new chief.

Colleen McIntire received the President's Award.

In 2010, the department responded to 289 alarms. The top five responders were Robert Mullen (208), Nate Fix (195), Dave Tran (191), Joe Avino (176) and Ben Fisher (158).

Published pictures are available for purchase by clicking here.

More pictures after the jump:

March 6, 2011 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, weather.

Both the winter weather advisory and the flood warning for Genesee County have been canceled by the National Weather Service.

Above, portion of a barn with old farm implements on Main Road in Stafford.

March 6, 2011 - 9:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A two-car accident with minor injuries is blocking South Lake Road (Route 19) in Bergen.

The accident occurred in the area of 7468 South Lake Road.

Bergen Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:49 a.m.: Officer just called in license plates for three vehicles.


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March 6, 2011 - 5:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

A chimney fire is reported at 9025 Alleghany Road, Corfu.

The fire appears to be contained just to the chimney with no extension into walls.

Corfu Fire Department is on scene.

The original dispatch included Darien, East Pembroke, Akron, Crittenden and Elba along with City of Batavia's Fast Team, but because of road conditions, Corfu's chief requested most mutual aid departments held in quarters.

Mercy EMS is responding nonemergency.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: All mutual aid units back in service. The fire is out.


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March 5, 2011 - 10:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire, Lamb Farms.

A possible barn fire has been reported at Lamb Farms, 6880 Albion Road, Oakfield.

The caller was a passerby who said she could see smoke and flames from one of the back barns.

All Oakfield units dispatched, Alabama and Elba dispatched mutual aid. East Pembroke to standby in Oakfield's hall.

UPDATE 10:26 p.m.: Oakfield chief reports there is no fire. All units back in service.


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March 5, 2011 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Baseball, believe it or not, is just around the corner, and right on schedule, the booster club for the Batavia Muckdogs hosted its annual hot stove dinner and auction at the Batavia Party House.

More than 200 people were on hand for dinner and both a silent auction and a live auction with auctioneer Todd Jantzi of Bontrager's (below).

The booster club presented a donation to the Michael Napoleone Foundation. Above, accepting the check from Shirley Fanara, right, are Laurie Napoleone, center, and Ann Marie Suttell, president of the foundation.

More pictures after the jump:

March 5, 2011 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A flood watch remains in effect through tomorrow night, and now the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch starting late tonight through Sunday night.

Heavy wet snow is expected with accumulations of 6 to 8 inches.

The snow is predicted to start around daybreak and taper off later in the afternoon.

Winds are expected to be 10 to 20 mph.

The weather service said its forecast confidence is "medium."

Meanwhile, rain today and snowmelt still could produce minor flooding along creeks and in poorly drained low-lying areas.

March 4, 2011 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Heavy rain and warmer temperatures are heading toward Genesee County and that could lead to flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

A flood watch is in effect from Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening.

Tonight temperatures are expected to hit 48 degrees with an 80-percent chance of rain.

The coming storm could dump as much as two inches of rain and, combined with snowmelt, could cause creeks to rise and low-lying areas to fill with water.

Overall, any flooding is expected to be minor.

March 4, 2011 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in consolidation, Rose Mary Christian.

Rose Mary ChristianCouncilwoman Rose Mary Christian believes she has new evidence to feed her opposition to consolidation between the town and the city.

Christian and colleague Patti Pacino recently attended New York Conference of Mayors' Winter Legislative Meeting in Albany.

She says she heard horror stories about how consolidation is going in other municipal jurisdictions.

She said lawsuits and fees are skyrocketing.

From WBTA:

"One of the areas is with the fire department: volunteer versus paid. And now the volunteers want to get paid," Christian says. "The other one was the (village) police department, and where their jurisdiction is going to stop. Are they going into the town?"

Christian says Seneca Falls was one of the only approved consolidations in New York State. Municipalities almost everywhere else have voted it down. Christian says those votes have been very lopsided, and she believes it would be the same way here -- based on what she's heard about the town.

"So obviously they have to work everything out in our area," she says, "before they even consider putting this forth."

Christian says there’s a much better alternative.

"You can have shared services, without doing any of this," she says.

March 4, 2011 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight.

Mercy Flight will receive a USDA-backed loan to purchase a new state-of-the-art helicopter to be based in Batavia.

The $3 million loan was announced by Sen. Charles Schumer.

Mercy Flight will purchase a Bell 429 helicopter that will replace two older 1970s-era helicopters in the current fleet.

Genesee County and Mercy Flight recently signed a long-term lease for its facilities at the Genesee County Airport to help Mercy Flight secure the loan.

The new helicopter is expected to be in service in June.

March 4, 2011 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Alabama.

Raymond Gandolfo, 38, of Massachusetts Street, Buffalo, is charged with three counts of identity theft, three counts of forgery, criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and grand larceny, 4th. Gandolfo is accused of using a stolen credit card between 10:13 a.m. and 10:35 a.m., Sept. 25, to purchase merchandise at three separate stores on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. The total value exceeded $1,000.Gandolfo was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and returned to the Erie County Holding Center without bail.

Francis N. Shiltz, 69, of Alleghany Road, Strykerville, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unsafe backing. Shiltz was allegedly involved in a two-car property damage accident at 6:49 p.m., Thursday, at the Rez Smokeshop.

Arturo Vasquez-Armas, 41, of 2336 Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with offering a false instrument for filing,1st, and criminal possession of a forged instrument, 3rd. Vasquez-Armas allegedly possessed a forged Social Security card while attempting to obtain a NYS non-driver ID at the Genesee County DMV office. Vasquez-Armas was jailed without bail.

Timothy Alan Duboy, 19, of Wethersfield Road, Warsaw, is charged with forcible touching. Duboy is accused of forcibly touching the intimate parts of another person. The alleged incident occurred at College Village on Jan. 25.

March 3, 2011 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A two-car accident with injuries has been reported at the intersection of Dublin and Jericho roads, Bergen.

Bergen fire and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 5:41 p.m.: Sounds like very minor injuries.

March 3, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

The dispatch center was just informed that because of unspecified technical problems, National Grid is planning to cut power to the entire Village of Corfu at 4:30 p.m.

The outage will effect businesses, residence and street lights.

The person informing dispatch said, "unless the problem gets worse and they need to cut power sooner."

He requested traffic control for Main and Route 77 during the outage.

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.: No power outage will be necessary to fix the electrical problem this afternoon, according to National Grid.

The transformers can be switched out, replacing the broken one, without power loss.

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