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October 4, 2011 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representatives Kathy Hochul (NY-26) and Richard Hanna (NY-24) introduced a bill to help Northeast dairy farms hire legal workers, which would allow for more production of local food rather than imported food, and keep farms in business to support Upstate’s overall economy.

Hochul and Hanna introduced H.R. 3024, the Access to Agricultural Labor Act of 2011, to help farmers secure a reliable and legal workforce.

* The bill would allow foreign dairy workers to temporarily come to the United States to perform agricultural labor and services under the H-2A visa program.

* Under the program, dairy workers would be able to work in the United States for extendable periods of three years.

The H-2A program allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. for seasonal or temporary agriculture work. The program was instituted to meet a need for temporary agricultural labor without adding permanent residents to the population. Currently, dairy workers are unable to participate in the H-2A program because dairy is a year-round industry, but the need for more labor is real and urgent in Upstate New York.

During the past 15 years in the Northeast, farmers have reported difficulties hiring native-born local workers. Even during the recession, farm businesses have still been unable to hire and retain local workers.

“The viability of the dairy farm industry is critical to the long-term sustainability of Western New York’s economy,” Congresswoman Hochul said.  “We need to do all we can to support these family farmers, which is why it is unfair to exclude dairy farmers from the H-2A visa program.

"They face many of the same labor shortage issues that other sectors of the agriculture community face, which is why Rep. Hanna and I are working to ensure they have the same resources available to get their jobs done.”

“Ever since I came into office, I’ve heard from our dairy farmers about the labor crisis facing their industry.  If we want to continue to have a safe and reliable food supply produced in Upstate New York, then this program will be incredibly helpful for dairy farmers,” Congressman Hanna said.

“Allowing dairy farmers access to legal and stable workforce through the H-2A visa program will keep our farms running, and it means agriculture-related businesses will continue to bolster our economy.”

Dean E. Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, said this issue has been a high priority for several years and the three-year renewable visa would serve the dairy industry well.

“The dairy industry is the largest sector of farming in New York and is very important to the underlying agricultural services that are available throughout the state for all types of farming,” Norton said. “However, because dairy requires a year-round workforce, it has not been eligible for the H-2A program. While H-2A has many problems and inadequacies that will make it difficult to use, it is the only legal way for farmers to secure foreign labor at this time when local labor is not available.”

Among the benefits this bill will bring to Upstate New York farm business:

* It will allow for more jobs to be created and maintained;

* More food will continue to be produced locally rather than imported;

* Upstate farms will continue to be working farms and not vacant   farmland;

* Farms have a ripple effect on the economy and benefit many businesses and industries around them.

October 3, 2011 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, bergen.

Michael Victor Blackcloud, 66, of Sackett Road, Bergen, is charged with forcible touching. Blackcloud is accused of touching the intimate part of a woman's body without her consent.

Cody A. Bush Jr., 25, of 7614 Oak Orchard Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Bush is accused of going to Jackson Elementary School and contacting a child he is ordered by Family Court not to contact.

Andrew A. Crimes, 39, of 649 E. Main St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. In violation of a court order, Crimes allegedly sent text messages and made phone calls to a woman he is ordered not to contact.

October 2, 2011 - 2:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

Running back Zach Dubois helped carry Elba/Byron-Bergen to a 19-14 victory over Notre Dame.

Dubois had 152 yards on 23 carries, scoring three touchdowns.

Elba/BB (4-1) jumped out to a 12-0 first-quarter lead, with Dubois scoring on runs of three and four yards. The first TD followed a fumble by the Fighting Irish on the opening kickoff.

Sophomore Quarterback Tim McCulley was involved in both of Norte Dame's TDs, rushing three yards in the second quarter to score and tossing a third-quarter TD to Nick Taylor on a 10-yard pass play.

Dubois scored earlier in the third quarter on a 62-yard run, which proved to be the decisive score.

Tom Fowler led the Elba/BB defense with 15 tackles, including four for a loss. Alex Jasinski had five tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Cody Naylor had seven tackles and one sack.

The Lancers had 253 total yards compared to 173 for Notre Dame (4-1), however, time of possession was greatly in Notre Dame's favor, 29:59 to 18:01.

For Notre Dame, Nick Taylor had 61 yards on 16 carries. McCulley had 83 yards passing.

With Notre Dame's loss and Baker's 49-7 win over Holley, Barker is in sole possession of first place in the Genesee Region League at 5-0.

In other Genesee County football action:

Alexander fell to 0-5 with a 26-7 loss to Attica (4-1).  Lucas Phillips scored Alexander's lone TD, a 48-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Le Roy, now 3-2, scored 35 points in the second quarter on its way to a 62-26 win over Perry (1-4). Tommy McQuillen had 213 yards rushing on 18 carries, scoring six TDs. Andy Lowe completed all eight pass attempts for 136 yards and two TDs. Jeremy Poles had three receptions for 55 yards.

No stats are available on the following games:

Hornell beat Batavia 49-7; Pembroke beat Oakfield-Alabama 43-22.

October 1, 2011 - 8:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, bergen.

Eric James Harter, 36, of Beaver Meadow Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, failure to stop for stop sign, no seat belt and speed not reasonable or prudent. Harter was charged following an investigation into a motor-vehicle accident at 6:04 p.m., Sept. 3, at the intersection of Cockram and Transit roads. Harter's vehicle hit a tree.

Eddie Lee Miles, 39, of Ellicott Street, is charged with assault, 3rd. At 5:40 p.m., Sept. 17, Miles allegedly punched another person in the face. The alleged victim suffered cuts that required stitches. 

October 1, 2011 - 7:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, sports, dwyer stadium.

Press release:

The Rochester Red Wings announced today that the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, will play 37 of their home games at Frontier Field in 2012 while their ballpark in Scranton (PNC Field) undergoes a $40-million renovation.

Batavia’s Dwyer Stadium, home of the New York-Penn League short-season Single-A Batavia Muckdogs, who are managed and operated by Rochester Community Baseball, Inc., will host seven games.

“We are delighted to be able to bring these additional Triple-A baseball games to the fans of the Rochester and Batavia areas," said Red Wings President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver. "This expanded schedule will provide lots more opportunities for our fans to enjoy additional games during the upcoming season. We’ve put a considerable amount of time and effort into working with the Scranton ballclub to make this a reality.

“We very much appreciate the franchises in Rochester, Batavia, Syracuse, Buffalo, Lehigh Valley and Pawtucket welcoming us into their stadiums and hosting our SWB Triple-A team’s games next season. We will establish our base of operations in Rochester with more than half our home games played right there in Rochester.

New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said: "This will be a very interesting experience for our players and we’re looking forward to having our highest-level prospects playing in front of the legions of Yankees fans all across Upstate New york and into Allentown and Pawtucket. In 2013, we will return to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to a dramatically rebuilt stadium which will be our Triple-A home for a very long time."

“We are all excited about this opportunity, but we are also aware of the challenges that are ahead of us as an organization. Without a staff like we currently have in place, we wouldn’t have been able to consider this opportunity. We feel there is no better place than Frontier Field for Scranton to play,” Silver added.

The International League has approved the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees plan to play all 72 of their 2012 home games at alternate locations while renovations to PNC Field take place this off-season.

International League President Randy Mobley said: "As the title of a current article in 'Baseball America' states 'Passion Runs Deep in Rochester.' There are many baseball-loving communities in Minor League Baseball, but there is none that has supported the game for a longer period of time or loves the game any greater than in Rochester. There may not be another community or organization in Minor League Baseball that could tackle this challenge in this manner.

"The International League is grateful to both the Red Wings and Muckdogs organizations for being the cornerstone elements in establishing a home base for the Scranton/W-B Yankees games in 2012."

For the last several weeks, SWB Yankees LLC and the International League have been working diligently on a final proposal to have Scranton/Wilkes-Barre play all their home games at alternate locations in 2012.

“From an economic development standpoint it will also be a home run for our community because it will create more jobs, fill more hotel rooms, and spur on more business in our community thanks to the Yankees and visiting teams being here for those additional 37 dates," said Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason.

"This should also be an economic boom for Batavia as well as a great opportunity for Muckdogs fans to see Triple-A baseball in their own backyard for the first time ever."

Scranton, for the most part, will make Upstate NY their home away from home in 2012. In addition to the 37 home games at Frontier Field, Scranton will play six home games in Buffalo, seven in Batavia, and 10 in Syracuse.

Scranton will also play eight games in Lehigh Valley and four games in Pawtucket.

“The International league has always prided itself in helping each other out when needed," Mason said. "The Scranton/W-B club needed a place to play and we were happy to come to their assistance along with our North Division partners in Buffalo, Syracuse, Pawtucket and Lehigh Valley. This is a shining example of the spirit of cooperation within the International League."

September 28, 2011 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Darien, Alabama.

Kayla M. Tyoe, 22, of Market Street, Attica, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, parking on pavement/roadway and no seat belt. Deputy Ron Meides was dispatched at 8:35 a.m., Monday, to a complaint of a car parked in the middle of Colby Road, Darien. Upon arrival, Meides reportedly found Tyoe sleeping in the driver's seat. A male was sleeping in the passenger seat, according to Meides. It was determined, Meides said, that Tyoe was "driving under the influence of some type of drug."

Benjamin Wiliam Muntz, 22, of Knowlesville Road, Alabama, is charged with attempted petit larceny and trespass. Muntz is accused of being on property in Byron without permission and attempting to steal items from the property.

Michael Abdullah Jamil, 27, of School Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Jamil is accused of violating an order of protection by allowing his girlfriend and son to stay at his residence. Jamil was jailed on $500 bail.

Randy K. Wilmet, 34, of 75 Franklin St., Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Wilmet is accused of damaging property inside the apartment of another person. Wilmet was arraigned in Batavia City Court, where he allegedly refused to comply with police officers' orders and had to be physically removed from the court and restrained. Wilmet was jailed on $3,000 bail.

Martin F. Jones, 40, no permanent address, is charged with four counts of petit larceny. Jones was arrested on a warrant. He is accused of stealing beer from an Ellicott Street business on four separate occasions. Each incident was reportedly recorded by surveillance cameras. Jones was jailed on $1,000 bail.

September 28, 2011 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia PD is looking for information on three individuals suspected of being involved in a theft and an attempted fraud locally.

The three individuals may also be suspects in similar thefts at hospitals and colleges from Geneva to Buffalo.

In the local case, a male subject wearing a white T-shirt and a necklace went into UMMC at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 11, and stole a wallet from a purse belonging to an employee.

The suspect was driven to the hospital in a maroon four-door sedan (possibly a Ford Fusion).

The male suspect and two female suspects allegedly used the victim's credit cards at a local business.

The three suspects are described as African-American and in their early 20s.

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation can call the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

September 28, 2011 - 1:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, advertising, contests, sponsored posts.

The week 3 winner was Joseph Duganier. While Duganier's pick, Carolina, had only the fourth-best defensive stats in Week 3, Carolina was #1 among the 10 teams available for picking in the contest. Duganier wins for four free large subs.

September 28, 2011 - 12:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Two suspects have been taken into custody in connection with a pair overnight burglaries on Williams and Swan streets, according to Batavia PD.

Police are investigating whether the pair were involved in other recent residential burglaries.

On Tuesday, the alleged burglars entered occupied residences on Williams Street and Swan Street in the early morning hours.

Take into custody shortly after the first reported burglary, at 2:09 a.m., on Swan Street, was Kurt H. Hawkins Jr., 18, who has no permanent address. Hawkins was charged with burglary, 2nd.

Hawkins was located in the area of Williams and Ellicott streets shortly after a homeowner reportedly observed the suspect in his residence. Hawkins reportedly initially tried to flee from police and was taken into custody after a foot chase.

While police were investigating the Williams Street burglary, police received a report of a residential burglary in progress on Swan Street.

The alleged burglar fled the residence and could not be immediately located. Investigators indicate that evidence led them to Michael J. Hilton, 20, no permanent address.

Both Hawkins and Hilton were jailed without bail.

Both Hawkins and Hilton are suspected in other recent residential burglaries and additional charges may be pending.

Top photo, Hawkins; bottom photo, Hilton.

September 27, 2011 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, legislature, Mary Pat Hancock.

Press release:

County delegates from across the state recently elected the Chair of the Genesee County Legislature Mary Pat Hancock to serve as president of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) during their annual meeting.

“Chairwoman Hancock has proven to be a wise voice on the NYSAC board and a committed advocate for counties. We are pleased our members have elected her to serve in this leadership capacity,” said NYSAC Immediate Past President William Ryan, a Westchester County legislator.

“I am honored to serve as president and to continue the work which is necessary to address the serious challenges we face,” said the Honorable Hancock. “Implementing an effective property tax cap, redesigning Medicaid and improving the process for State reimbursement to counties for delivering state services locally will be our top priorities.”

Hancock has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Local Government Reform, and is a 2002 recipient of the New York State Senate Women of Distinction Award. She currently serves on the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and is chair of the Genesee Transportation Council.

“New York county leaders are facing unprecedented challenges in governing and we are fortunate to have Mary Pat Hancock of Genesee County to dedicate her talent, passion and commitment in a leadership position,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State, including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

September 27, 2011 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, UMMC.

Press release:

The Jerome Foundation and United Memorial Medical Center Foundation are seeking nominations for the 27th annual Health and Humanitarian Award of Genesee County.  

The award recognizes outstanding men and women whose volunteer efforts have improved the physical, emotional or spiritual well-being of the greater Genesee County area. 

“We are fortunate to have many caring and committed volunteers devoted to the sick or to those in need, and helping build a stronger, healthier community for all of us," said Justin Calarco-Smith, president of The Jerome Foundation.

He noted the accomplishments of Ronald Burroughs, the 2010 Health and Humanitarian recipient, whose volunteer efforts and leadership with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity have enabled local families to live in clean, decent and stable housing.

Nomination forms are available from UMMC Foundation Office at 127 North St., by calling 585-344-5300, or online at www.ummc.org. Organizations or individuals may nominate candidates.

Consideration will be given to actual accomplishments achieved through volunteer service and subsequent improvements to quality of life.  Nominations should be submitted on or before Sept. 30.

The 2011 award winner will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, Dec. 2 at Terry Hills Restaurant.

September 27, 2011 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Today, Billie and I are moving from our apartment into a rental house. Tomorrow will also probably be taken up with moving and getting settled in.

Thursday, I'm flying to Chicago and will be gone through Tuesday.

Throughout, we'll have our scanners on and endeavor to keep the site updated with breaking news. WBTA's Geoff Redick will also provide coverage of Genesee County news, posting directly to The Batavian. We will also have some coverage from our correspondents. And while on the road, there will be news items that come into me that I can post. All-in-all, we should be able to keep the site appropriately updated.

In Chicago, I'll be attending a conference of local online news publishers, then the same university that arranged this conference is hosting about a dozen of us more successful publishers for three days of discussion about how we might continue to grow our businesses.

There's a lot of concern in the journalism world about the fate of newspapers and whether online-only news sites can be economically viable enough to fill in any gaps in news coverage. The Batavian is at the forefront of building a sustainable online-only news business, which is why I've been invited -- all expenses paid -- to these conferences.

While I won't be around to go out and cover things like I typically would, we will continue coverage of our community.

September 27, 2011 - 12:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education.

A group of about 12 parents concerned about proposed changes to elementary schools in Batavia gathered at the Richmond Memorial Library on Monday evening to start organizing an effort to offer alternatives to the school board.

The hour-long meeting ended on a message of "let's show the board we want to work with them," after some in the group expressed concern that if parents are willing to cooperate, negotiate and listen, school board members won't take them seriously.

"This is not about us versus them," said Jennifer Burke, one of the organizers of the meeting. "It's not a game. It's about our kids. If we all have that as our focus then we should be able to accomplish something."

The school district is looking for a way to save as much as $1 million in annual expenses and has publicly discussed closing the current administration building on Washington Avenue and moving the district administration into one of the current elementary schools -- such as Robert Morris -- leaving the school district with only two elementary schools.

Hardly a parent in Batavia can be found who supports the idea. Primarily, they are concerned about losing their neighborhood schools, having children in the same household attending three or four different schools and how frequent school changes will affect the chance for children to succeed in school.

The meeting on Monday included a break-out session with parents making a list of concerns and ideas.

A universally shared concern was moving fifth-grade students into the middle school.

"The age difference is just too much," said one parent.

Burke expressed optimism that board members have been willing to discuss concerns with parents. Superintendent Margaret Puzio called her earlier to provide some updates in advance of the Monday meeting, which Burke considered to be a sign of administration officials' willingness to work with parents.

Among the updates is that the decision about consolidation that was supposed to be made in November has been pushed back until March.

"That's another step in the direction that they're offering parents a voice," Burke said.

But the parents still want even more time. They're passing a petition to ask for the decision to be put off until after another school year passes, dipping into the district's reserves, if necessary, to balance the budget.

"When they do make a decision, they need to make an informed decision," Burke said. "They need to make the best decision, the best decision for the whole community."

Burke noted that in opposing consolidation, it opens up a wide array of options for the district to cut, from teachers (bigger class sizes), music and arts, teacher aides, sports and elective courses.

"If we move forward with certain recommendations, we may see ramifications on the other side," Burke said. "We do realize that we may need to sacrifice some, but our children come first."

The next group meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 13. 

The next meeting the district will host to discuss consolidation is Wednesday at Batavia HS.

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

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