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May 28, 2012 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Darien, darien lake theme park.

A deputy is in the parking lot of Darien Lake Theme Park investigating a complaint of a dog left in the car.

"It's a very angry cattle dog who isn't going to be taken out of this car without somebody being seriously hurt," the deputy tells dispatch.

He said the windows are tinted and the owner put a blanket in the front windshield to help keep the heat out.

There was a water bowl left in the car, but it's now empty.

Although "angry," the dog is described as in good spirits and not in any distress.

Darien Lake security is going to attempt to locate the owner in the park.

UPDATE 2:52 p.m.: Security is going to keep an eye on the animal and if it shows signs of distress, contact animal control.

May 28, 2012 - 6:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

It's going to be hot today -- temperatures possibly in the low 90s, with humidity.

The National Weather Service is reminding people to be mindful of the heat as they're out and about for Memorial Day and take precautions to protect against heat exhaustion.

The weather service suggestions people limit strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day, be sure to stay well hydrated, and never leave children or pets in unattended vehicles.

The temperature today will likely be 20 degrees above normal for this time of the year.

May 27, 2012 - 8:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire.

A boat at 3113 Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Oakfield, is reportedly on fire.

It is out of the water, but near a structure.

Oakfield Fire Department responding.

A tanker from Town of Batavia requested to the scene.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Batavia back in service.

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: Oakfield back in service.


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May 27, 2012 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

A car fire has been reported in the area of 6378 N. Bergen Road, Byron.

Byron and South Byron departments have responded.

The car is located near a structure and is described by a chief on scene as "a working car fire."

The fire was reported by a passerby and the address is approximate.

UPDATE 7:27 p.m.: Fire is out. No extension into the house.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: Byron, South Byron back in service.


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May 27, 2012 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office.

In 2011, the Sheriff's Office saw another big jump in calls for service with dispatchers handling 25,923 calls.

That's up from 21,334 in 2010.

Calls for service range from anything from a loose dog to serious motor-vehicle accidents and structure fires.

A total of 54,134 calls were placed through 9-1-1.

On the crime front, investigators dealt with 794 total cases, which resulted in 84 drug arrests (19 cases remain pending) and 30 vice arrests.

Of the investigations, 476 were felony in nature.

A total of 178 arrests were made for DWI. The majority were age 21 to 40, with one arrest under age 18 and 20 people arrested between 18 and 20. Three people 60 to 69 were arrested for DWI and one person over age 70 was arrested.

The hours between midnight and 3 a.m. had the biggest DWI arrest activity, with 81 arrests. Between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., 38 people were arrested.

Saturday topped the days of the week for arrests with 64.

Of the arrestees, 146 were male and 32 were female.

Felony DWI accounted for 21 of the arrests, and 32 people were accused of having a BAC of .18 or greater.

The highest BACs recorded were .31 or higher and two suspects were charged with that level of blood alcohol.

Of the suspects given BAC tests, 28 tested .07 or lower, and 15 of those had no measurable BAC.

In all 178 tests were given and 10 were refused.

The juvenile division handled 178 investigations, including 32 dealing with runaways or missing persons, and 47 investigations for larceny and 24 for criminal mischief. There were 12 burglary investigations, two assaults, and four disorderly conducts.

Court security found quite a few weapons on people trying to enter the court, including two firearms, 604 knives,104 pairs of scissors and 27 razors.

Animal control handled 2,902 incidents, including 58 bite investigations, 454 lost animals and 10 livestock investigations. A total of 77 cats and dogs were euthanized, but 280 dogs were adopted through the shelter and 448 cats found new homes.

Genesee Justice handled 313 offender cases, and offenders performed 7,317 hours of community service. The agency supervised 433 people released from jail. There were 190 people supervised in the DWI program.

There were six fatal accidents handled by the Sheriff's Office in 2011.

Of the 1,178 total accidents reported to the Sheriff's Office, 164 involved injuries and 487 involved animals.

Alcohol was reported involved in 52 of the accidents and 521 accident-related arrests were made.

Deputies wrote traffic tickets for 4,095 suspected violations.

The office took a total of 1,931 criminal activity reports.

A PDF of the complete annual report can be downloaded by clicking here.

May 27, 2012 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, track and field.

The Blue Devils are Class B Section V outdoor track champions for the second season in a row, crushing the competition Saturday in Marion with 131 points.

Second place Aquinas had 72 points.

Individual event winners were:

Eric Williams, pole vault with a 12-foot jump, and 400 hurdles with a new school record of 57.5 seconds.

The boys 4x100 relay was won by Brandon Stevenson, Andrew Budlong, Mitch Noble and Alex Egeli with a time of 45.18.

Damion Reeves won shot put with a throw of 45' 7".

Ty Demmer won the 3,200-meter run with time of 10:15.

T.T. Martinez won pentathlon with 2,611 points.

This is the team's 4th outdoor title, and with a title in indoor track this winter, the Blue Devils now have 18 total track championships in the program's history.

Photos and information submitted by Steve Ognibene.

Coach Nick Burk with Section V track officials.

May 27, 2012 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A switchblade knife accidentally popped open after 44-year-old Batavia man was tackled during a pick-up football game Saturday at Austin Park, cutting a 13-year-old boy behind his ear.

The accident led to Michael A. Wroten, of 8 Edward St., Batavia, being charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

Wroten was jailed without bail following arraignment in city court.

The youth was transported to UMMC for treatment.

The charge is a Class D felony, with a sentencing range that goes up to seven years in prison.

May 27, 2012 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, SD-61, Justin Rooney.

Justin Rooney, a deputy supervisor in the Town of Newstead, announced Saturday that he will challenge incumbent Michael Ranzenhofer in the new 61st Senate District.

Appearing in his native Batavia on his second campaign stop of the day, Rooney was surrounded by local Democrats and joined by his wife, Sarah, and his children.

Rooney pledged support for school teachers and to fight unfunded mandates on local governments.

He said he would bring the same spirit of cooperation to Albany that helped the village and town governments in Newstead save taxpayers money on a consolidated court and shared services in the highway departments.

He contrasted that with votes by Ranzenhofer to hold separate state and federal primaries, costing taxpayers $50 million, and Ranzenhofer's vote to create another Senate district.

"At a time when New York is trying to decrease the number of politicians, he's voting to increase the number of politicians," Rooney said.

Rooney knocked Ranzenhofer as an Albany insider and promised that he would never become an Albany insider.

Lorie Longhany, county chair or the Democrats, said Rooney was just the person who could make a difference in Albany.

"He’s really one of us," Longhany said. "He’s a rural guy who understands the rural issues. He’s going to make a great representative."

May 27, 2012 - 9:14am

This weekend, young ball players from throughout the region are in Batavia for the annual Michael Napoleone baseball tournament.

The tournament acts as a fundraiser for the Michael Napoleone Foundation, which provides donations to cancer research, and as a memorial to Michael, who loved baseball.

Michael died in 2006 from Burkitt's lymphoma/leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer.

These pictures are from Saturday. The tournament runs through tomorrow.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

May 26, 2012 - 11:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, sports, paintball.

A Plattsburgh school teacher with a passion for troubled youth and for paintball has opened a game facility at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

Jared Hogle said when there are competitions, teams will travel from all over the region -- from Syracuse, Binghamton and, of course, Rochester and Buffalo, which have a lot of tournament-level players.

"Batavia's centrally located and no more than two-and-a-half to three hours away from any of these places," Hogle said, explaining why he decided to open the facility in Batavia.

For about six years, Hogle has operated the Legacy Paintball Park at the Clinton County Fairgrounds in Plattsburgh.

"It's the third most popular sport in the world now," Hogle said. "Millions and millions of people play it. ESPN broadcasts tournaments, it's live streamed. It's the second biggest alternative sport in the United States."

But the new Batavia park isn't just for tournament players. It's open to any group -- church groups, scouts, bachelor parties, etc. -- they can all rent the facility.

Hogle also hopes the park will become a resource for local youths looking for positive activities.

"Ironically, Batavia isn't much different than Plattsburgh," Hogle said. "I drove around the streets last night and I saw kids walking around with nothing to do."

Kids with nothing to do, Hogle noted, get into trouble, but some of them also develop potentially destructive attitudes.

In Plattsburgh, Hogle has taken to bringing in bands with "positive" messages for the youth.

One band delivered a message about suicide and 150 kids at that show filled out counseling slips seeking follow-up phone calls.

"The kids are hurting, man," Hogle said. "The kids are hurting in school. We’ve had in the last month in Plattsburgh alone, we’ve had three or four people kill themselves. That’s where my passion is, to do the outreach, and if paintball can be a mediator to do that, and we can bring that positive music into the Batavia area, then that's where my passion is."

Hogle said in late summer, the paintball park will be moved to the west side of the fairgrounds, over by a wooded area, and another paintball playing area will be created in the woods.

His dream is that his business makes enough money that he can devote his full attention to it and provide more resources for youth, more positive venues for them to focus their attention on.

"I would love," he said, "if we ever make money, to put in a high ropes course up here and a rock climbing wall, get more people out and show there’s different ways to process troubled times rather just getting frustrated and getting to the point that you’re so depressed you take other matters into your hands."

Hogle anticipates the park being open during this summer's county fair and that there will be demonstrations and equipment rentals for people to try out the sport for themselves.

Contact information for Hogle can be found on his Web site.

May 26, 2012 - 10:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, corfu.

A 31-year-old male has reportedly fallen into a campfire at a location on Snipery Road, Corfu.

The victim suffered burns on his arms and legs.

Darien fire and ambulance are responding.

UPDATE 10:46 p.m.: Mercy Flight 7 out of Buffalo being put on in-air standby.

UPDATE 10:56 p.m.: Mercy Flight is cancelled.

UPDATE 11:12 p.m.: Darien is back in service.

May 26, 2012 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Ellicott Street, main street.

About a dozen volunteers associated with the Business Improvement District hit the streets of Batavia today to plant flowers in a series of terracotta planters placed at strategic locations.

The planters are part of an ongoing beautification effort for downtown and in all 14 were purchased and filled with flowers and grasses.

"When you look at Niagara on the Lake, Saratoga, any of those cities, when they have flowers, people do talk about them," said Don Burkel, executive director of BID. "They make people feel better. It also attracts people to come here. They lend a vibrancy to our community."

The planters were placed at the main intersections on Ellicott and Main, as well as some along Ellicott Street, where Burkel said the area could use a little more color.

Above, Marcia Gann and Mary Valle fill a planter at the corner of Main and Court streets.

May 26, 2012 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

A car-deer accident with injuries is reported at Fisher Road and Lewiston Road, Oakfield.

Oakfield fire and ambulance responding.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: At least one victim with cuts from glass and minor bruising where the deer hit her.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: Oakfield Engine 72 back in service.

May 26, 2012 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

Alec Covel and the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets persevered through seven innings of playoff baseball Friday to secure berth in the Class CC finals Tuesday against #1 seed Lyons.

Covel gave up 11 hits against Perry, but more importantly, he struck out 10 and surrendered only two runs to lead the Hornets (17-4) to an 8-2 victory.

Covel said he just wanted to "win one for the team."

The Yellow Jackets got to him for a quick run in the first inning, but then Covel settled in and gained confidence as the game went on.

"In the beginning I had trouble spotting my curve ball," Covel said. "It started coming through. It was working and they weren’t hitting it so I kept throwing it."

The sophomore mixed his off-speed stuff with a dominating fastball to keep the Perry hitters off balance for most of the night.

His lone base on balls came in the final frame, when Perry scored its only other run of the night.

Co-head Coach Dan Gilbert, who shares the position with James Patrick, said the win was a team effort -- Covel was backed by solid defense, but praised Covel's attitude and work ethic.

"It's a combination of Alec's temperament -- he's a great pitcher, great work ethic, hard-nosed kid who doesn't get rattled, and he had great defense behind him," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said the Hornets knew they would have their hands full with Perry, but the team never gave up and the five-run sixth was just what the Hornets needed to put away the #11 seed.

"We knew coming in they were scrappy and they played scrappy," Gilbert said.  "We knew we would have to persevere through any kind of adversity or bumps in the road. We had a couple of mistakes along the way that we had to persevere through and we didn’t quit and we didn’t give up. And we got the big inning when we needed it."

The offense was led by Kurtis Dunlap, who reached base four times -- one hit, two walks and one hit by a pitch -- and scored three runs.

Tommy Manzella had a triple and a run scored.

Hunter Spiotta had his second 2-3 game of the playoffs and scored a run.

The Hornets go into the finals as the #2 seed and getting to the championship game is what O-A's seniors have had in mind all season, Gilbert said.

"The senior leadership has been phenomenal," Gilbert said. "They’ve had a desire to make a run the whole year. They’ve picked up everybody along the way. Our hats go off to the seniors every day because sometimes when you’re a senior, senioritis kicks in. These guys just want to play baseball, do the best they can for the team. That’s been the key to our success all year."

Even though they will be facing the #1 seed, Gilbert said the Hornets are ready for the challenge.

"We feel confident," Gilbert said. "We know we have a chance. We’re going to have to play quality baseball, but we have good quality kids who are going to work hard and leave it on the field."

The game will be played Tuesday at a location yet to be determined.

If you have trouble viewing the slide show, click here.  To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

May 25, 2012 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Memorial Day, corfu, Veterans Services.

For 17 years, Hal Kreter has served the veterans of Genesee County, and been a stalwart representative of those who served at Veterans Day and Memorial Day events.

Monday, Kreter will make the rounds for the last time of the various prayers, flag raisings, taps playing and flag saluting memorials in Genesee County.

As the day goes by, Kreter said, he'll reflect on how much things have changed over the past 17 years and the veterans, both living and dead, he has helped.

"I've had the privilege of meeting all of these veterans and listening ot their stories, helping them out, helping them get their compensation and lead better lives and seeing them and their families turn their lives around," Kreter said. "Doing all of the things we do to help veterans is really what I enjoy doing, helping veterans and their families."

When Kreter retires in August, it will be a new chapter in a four-decades long career of service, first through 24 years of service in the Marine Corps, then in veteran services in Genesee County. Kreter expects he'll still be involved in veterans affairs as a retiree in the California desert.

This week Kreter was honored by the New York State Senate when he was named to the Senate's Veterans' Hall of Fame.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer nominated Kreter and in a news release called Kreter a "one-man army" on behalf of veterans.

"Hal has helped hundreds and hundreds of Genesee County veterans every year," Ranzenhofer said. "His diligence to serve as a staunch advocate for veterans is equivalent to the strength of an entire army. Clearly, Hal is a distinguished veteran deserving of a special place among elite veterans of New York State.”

In 1996, the Corfu resident received the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross. He's also been VP of WNY Veterans Services Officers Association and been a member of the Marine Corps League, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Kreter, a retired master sergeant, said the hall of fame award was an honor, but also said there are so many veterans in the area who deserve recognition, he couldn't help but wonder, "why me?"

The privilege, Kreter said, has been in serving Genesee County's veterans.

"We have a very proactive veterans community, a very good veterans community," Kreter said. "We've seen the benefits increase throughout the years, with the Veterans ID card and the tax exemptions, the Cold War exemption. It's just a great community and the veterans here are very, very good at what they do. They all stick together and work together."

May 25, 2012 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, synthetic drugs, synthetic marijuana.

A Batavia business whose owner previously said he was no longer selling products that had recently been banned by the state, appears to have kept right on selling the product, which he refers to as potpourri, but is also commonly known as synthetic marijuana.

Jason Lang, owner of The Laughing Buddha, at 238 Ellicott St., said today that he is sold out of potpourri, without specifying the time period in which he sold out his stock, and that he will soon offer a replacement product that he believes is 100-percent legal.

On Wednesday, either Lang or a representative of the store posted on the company's Facebook page, "We are temporarily out of potpourri! New merchandise coming soon!"

Sources have told The Batavian over the past few weeks that it was possible to still buy synthetic marijuana at The Buddha. You just had to whisper to an employee, "potpourri."

Lang didn't deny the allegation, but insisted that he is sold out and won't restock because after research and further consideration, he's decided he can't ethically sell products that are potentially harmful to customers.

The new product, which Lang said he found at a trade show in Atlantic City, is entirely natural -- no chemicals, no synthetic cannabinoids (so it's apparently not covered by the NYS Health Department ban), and it doesn't even carry the "not for human consumption" label warning.

"The new product is made from damiana leaf and mixed with an Asian herb," Lang said. "It provides a euphoric feeling, but it is chemical free. It's all natural."

David Whitcroft, interim health department director for Genesee County, said his department had suspicions that The Laughing Buddha was still selling products covered by the health department order, but didn't have proof.

"We haven't been there for more than two or three weeks, but we get lots of complaints," Whitcroft said. "When we go to the store for inspection, there's nothing on the shelves."

The county's ability to enforce the ban is also limited. The only thing local officials can do, Whitcroft said, is notify the state of any evidence of a violation and let the state take it from there.

Jeffrey Hammond, spokesman for the NYS Health Department, said that if the state learns of a store violating the order, it would take the complaint to the Attorney General's Office and the AG would have the power to start a process that could lead to a $2,000 fine per violation.

So far, the state hasn't sought fines against any store owners, but that might yet happen, Hammond said, without specifying any stores that may be targeted for further enforcement action.

Under the order, shop owners could challenge the state's contention that synthetic marijuana is harmful to human health. Four store owners -- none in Western New York -- did in fact seek an administrative hearing on the question, Hammond said. The hearing was held last week but the judge has not yet issued a decision.

Both the Senate and Assembly have passed legislation making synthetic marijuana a controlled substance. The two chambers must now compromise on final legislation to send to the governor for signature.

"We feel that the issue is not one of street sales, but that store owners are making the sales," said Chris Bresnan, spokesman for Assemblyman Kenneth Zabrowski, the sponsor of the Assembly bill. "When store owners realize there is a criminal penalty, we feel they will cease to sell and distribute these products."

If compromise legislation is passed before the end of the session in June, and the governor signs it into law, it would take effect in September.

May 25, 2012 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, outdoors, Dewitt Park.

Kevin Sheehan caught a nice 5-pound bass at Dewitt Park yesterday.

May 25, 2012 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Don Carroll, Toys for Kids.

One of Genesee County's most generous residents, a man who has helped numerous families in times of need, is facing a serious challenge of his own.

Don Carroll was diagnosed in April with cancer of the esophagus. He has undergone two radiation treatments, awaits a third, and is about to start chemotherapy.

"Don has supported so many people over the years," said Jerry Foster, his sixth-grade teacher, lifelong friend and helper with Don's various charity efforts, including the annual 5K run and Toys for Kids.

"He's raised thousands of dollars for college scholarships, camp scholarships, Toys for Kids. If everybody could keep him in their thoughts and prayers and do what they can. Don wouldn't ask for that. He wouldn't ask for anything for himself, but he's going to need help, especially when the medical bills start coming in."

There has hardly been a time in Carroll's life that he hasn't helped others. The 1974 graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School was an orphan who found a home in Genesee County. Shortly after graduation, Carroll starting raising money, a project that continued for 23 years, to send kids to YMCA summer camp.

In the late 1990s, Carroll switched his focus to raising funds for college scholarships and organized annual 5K and 10K runs as fundraisers.

More recently, Carroll has headed up Toys for Kids, a secret-Santa program for the area's children who might not otherwise receive Christmas presents.

In 1997, Carroll was named Geneseean of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and he was inducted into the O-A Hall of Fame three years ago.

Foster said Carroll remains in great spirits.

"He knows everything is going to work out," Foster said. "He knows he's going to be at the 5K race (this summer). He has a very positive attitude."

Carroll hasn't worked since April 19 and isn't expected to be back on his feet for several more weeks.

Even so, he's continuing to do what he can for Toys for Kids, sending out emails to sponsors and helping to organize run for this summer.

The office at Birchwood Village Apartments, 88 Dewey Ave., Batavia, is selling candy bars for $1.50 as a fundraiser for Carroll and a chicken BBQ is being planned, but no other fundraisers have been set yet, Foster said.

Donations for Carroll can be sent to Jerry Foster at 20 River St., Batavia, NY 14020.

People who would like to know more about Carroll's medical progress can sign up for Care Bridge. Foster asked that visitors sign the guestbook and leave messages, which Foster prints out and brings to Carroll.

"They mean a lot to him," he said.

May 25, 2012 - 9:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Early this morning a 24-inch water main broke in the area of 8506 Lake St. Road, Le Roy, and repairs are expected to take all day.

Currently, Monroe County Water Authority customers in Le Roy have water service and Route 19 remains open.

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