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August 17, 2011 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) today released the results of questions and answers from his virtual town hall, which were posted on his Facebook page. The purpose of the survey questions was to gain feedback on issues important to the residents in Hawley’s district.

In response to question #1, “Do you favor having two New Yorks?” by a ratio of nearly 6 to 1, residents favored Upstate breaking away from New York City.

Question # 2, “Do you favor a 90-day residency requirement before anyone can receive Medicaid benefits?” 86 percent voted in favor, while 12 percent voted not in favor and 1 percent voted “no opinion.” Hawley has introduced A6059, which would require a 90-day residency. 

Question # 3, “What do you favor as New York state’s vegetable?” 66 percent of residents favored sweet corn, while 19 percent of residents favored the onion and the remaining 15 percent chose “other.” 

Hawley noted that he would like to have more question and answer sessions like this via his Facebook page in the near future due to the high volume of feedback received.

In the meantime, Hawley encouraged constituents and supporters to follow him on Facebook (Steve Hawley) so that they can stay informed and up-to-date on legislative updates and issues of importance to residents of the 139th Assembly District.

August 17, 2011 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Notre Dame.

A reader sent this link saying that a group of students "worked really hard" on this video to promote their school. We don't have any other details.

August 17, 2011 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, food.

Rancho Viejo, Batavia's new Mexican restaurant, opened at 11 o'clock today.

Owner Leon Ramirez, right, said he decided to open a restaurant in Batavia because it seemed like a good market and there was no Mexican restaurant in Batavia.

Ramirez completely remodeled the former Ponderosa location on Ellicott Street.

This is Ramirez's fifth location. He also owns Mexican restaurants in Mt. Morris (his home), Cornell, Waterloo and Fairport.

"I invite everybody down to give us a try," Ramirez said. "I promise them very real Mexican food."

Pictured with Ramirez is Jonathan Martinez.

August 17, 2011 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education.

New students for the 2011-12 academic year at Genesee Community College started arriving at College Village this morning.

Some 387 new and returning students will occupy 95 apartments by the end of the day Saturday.

For new students, coming in today and tomorrow, College Village has set up orientation classes, events and trips to help out-of-town students learn about Genesee County.

"We have fun programs and we have educational programs to help prepare students for residential life," said John Sisson, director of College Village.

On the educational front, students -- many of whom are living with non-family members for the first time --  attend sessions on how to get along with others and fire safety, for example.

The village has scheduled events Thursday through Sunday, starting with a shopping trip to Walmart, an ice cream social, a pizza dinner, a trip to Darien Lake and an afternoon Muckdogs game Sunday at Dwyer Stadium.

August 16, 2011 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, bowling, mancuso bowling center.

John Sisson, above, tries out the revitalized bowling lanes at Mancuso Bowling Center, behind T.F. Brown's, in Batavia.

All 24 lanes were screened (kind of like sanding) and recoated over the summer, according to manager Mike Sputore.

At one time, the Mancusos recoated the lanes only every few years, now they try to do it every year or two.

"We've noticed better scores with the more frequently we do it," Sputore said.

In an effort to spiff up the lanes even more, the walls have been repainted, the bowler's approach area resurfaced and many worn parts of the pin machinery replaced.

To help give bowlers a chance to try out the revitalized lanes, Mancuso's is offering $1 per-game specials from 4 to 9 p.m., Aug. 20 through Aug. 26.

Through August, Mancuso Bowling Center is open 3 to 9 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

August 16, 2011 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Rolling Hills Asylum.

Law enforcement is heading to the Rolling Hills Asylum in Bethany for a report of a suspicious condition.

A car or cars stopped and several people got out and are now "running around" on the property.

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: The car has apparently left the area, but it's been identified.

UPDATE 7:53 p.m.: The alleged trespassers, a male and female, reportedly went onto the roof, but did not enter the building.

UPDATE 7:58 p.m.: Vehicle located in the county park.

August 16, 2011 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

The ride operators who allowed Sgt. James Hackemer to board the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park on July 8 did not comprehend the instructions they were given regarding minimum ride requirements, according to a NYS Department of Labor Report.

The report was obtained by Buffalo TV station WIVB through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The report (PDF) also says that Hackemer went to the guest services booth to inquire about handicap access to rides and was given instructions on how to use exit ramps to access the rides. The report indicates that no one at guest services advised him not to board any rides, but he was offered a brochure listing physical requirements for all of the park's rides. Hackemer reportedly refused the brochure saying he already had a copy.

At 4:30 p.m., Hackemer -- who had lost his left leg and hip and part of his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq -- along with his nephew, entered the Ride of Steel boarding area through the exit ramp and stopped at the gate adjacent to the unload platform.

The unload attendent notified the ride operator that a disabled guest needed to board the ride.

Hackemer and his nephew, who assisted the war vet, were then allowed to board the ride in car 11.

The report indicates neither operator made any attempt to prevent Hackemer from boarding the ride.

According to witnesses, shortly after cresting the third hill, Hackemer was ejected from his seat.

The report states that the restraint system of the ride is specifically designed to lock the passenger's shins in place to help ensure a rider cannot fall out or be ejected.

"After exhaustive review of all the documentation and interviews, it appears that the ride operator and ride attendent training materials met the requirements of the manufacturer," reads the report. "However, issues concerning the employees' comprehension of the training material and their ability to retain the associated requirements of their positions, specifically in reference to rider restrictions, became apparent."

At a press conference July 22, General Manager Christopher Thorpe would not answer questions about the ride operators, including their immigration status. Reportedly, Darien Lake annually employs about 300 students who are in the United States on J-1 visas.

It's unknown if the ride operators were exchange students or residents of Western New York.

The DOL report notes that upon the recommendation of inspectors, Darien Lake's management has instituted a new training program, created new training materials and instituted an audit program to ensure ride operators understand the safety restrictions of Darien's rides.

August 16, 2011 - 6:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

Big vehicles and a quick reaction by one driver may have helped keep a serious accident from turning tragic, according to officials at the scene of a 2:20 p.m. collision on Route 19 and Perry Road in Le Roy.

The driver of a 1991 Cadillac was apparently following a friend's car too closely, according to State Police Sgt. Kurt Schmitt, and when the friend's car slowed to make a left-hand turn onto Perry Road, the Caddy's driver, Timothy Coates, 17, of Churchville, had to take evasive action.

Coates, who was the most seriously injured in the accident, tried to brake and clipped the left rear of his friend's car before swerving into the northbound lane of Route 19.

Heading southbound in a white Dodge Ram pickup truck was Matt Hendershott, 28, of East Bethany.

"The Caddy just came into my lane and that's about all I had time to see," said Hendershott, a volunteer firefighter with the Bethany department. "Apparently I took evasive action because I left skid marks on the shoulder."

Hendershott was not injured.

"If we have a call tonight, I'm responding," Hendershott said.

Schmitt confirmed that the investigation showed that Hendershott reacted quickly and avoided a head-on collision with the Cadillac.

"It could have been very serious," Schmitt said. "We were discussing earlier that they came within a foot of hitting head on. Because somebody was paying attention to their driving and reacted quickly, we avoided a more serious situation."

Asked by a reporter if the Cadillac's size was a factor, Schmitt that in his personal opinion, it was.

"It's one of those old battle wagons," Schmitt said. "The smaller cars are more economical but in cases like this, that's not always better."

Coates was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

"We have positive thoughts about his condition," Schmitt said.

He will likely be cited for following too closely.

Le Roy Fire Chief Mike Sheflin thanked the volunteers from Le Roy and Pavilion for their quick response to the scene.

He said it was also helpful that the driver of the car Coates was following was an off-duty EMT.

The driver, Matthew Mandoler, 21, of Rochester, was able to provide emergency responders with a quick assessment of the scene and victims.

"The more information we can get when we arrive on the scene, the more quickly we can formulate a plan," Sheflin said.

Once on scene, it took the volunteers only 12 minutes to extricate Coates.

A passenger in Mandoler's car, Mike Schockow, said Mandoler took charge of the scene immediately after the crash and until emergency responders arrived. He did his best to keep everybody calm and organize help for the victims.

"I'd never seen anything like this before," Schockow said. "I was kind of having a panic attack. I'd never been in an accident before and it was scary."

Neither Schockow nor Mandoler were injured.

A passenger in the Cadillac suffered a minor arm injury.

Besides Le Roy fire, Pavilion fire, State Police and Mercy Flight, responding to the scene were Le Roy Ambulance and Mercy EMS.

(Initial Report)

August 16, 2011 - 12:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business.

An idea born in Buffalo to promote locally owned businesses has spread to Genesee County.

It's called "Cash Mob."

The idea is to use social networking sites to organize local residents around one day of supporting a specific local business.

People nominate locally owned businesses using Facebook, Twitter or on a form on the WNYMedia.Net site. On Wednesdays, the business with the most votes is announced and a day is announced for supporters of the "Cash Mob" descend on the business and spend from $10 to $20.

The first time it was tried in Buffalo two weeks ago, a local win shop had 40 extra customers and more than $2,000 in revenue.

"It’s about generating excitement to shop locally," said Chris Chravella, who organized the Genesee Cash Mob. "We want people to have a fun reason to spend money in the community instead of (going to another local to spend money)."

People who want to vote can do so through on Twitter (send message to @GeneseeCashMob), Facebook or this WNYMedia.Net post.

Only businesses with local or regional owners will be considered. National chains and franchises are out.

Charvella said he hopes the "Cash Mob" idea (the brainchild of Chris Smith, from Buffalo) will help raise awareness of local businesses and help people maybe discover the benefits of a particular shop that they never visited before.

"Any time you can keep dollars in the community, it's a good thing," Charvella said. "Any time you can boost the local economy, it's a good thing. You cannot go wrong spending money at the place down the street."

August 16, 2011 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Bob Matthews, who has always hated the idea of pro baseball in Batavia (I have no idea why), has a column in the D&C today lamenting the new rankings by Street & Smith of minor league cities.

Rochester has fallen to #20.  

But also bad in Matthews' mind is that Batavia came in fairly high among 241 cities ranked.

Batavia was No. 36. I have no idea why.

The baseball Muckdogs are the only pro team, they're operated by the Red Wings and they could be on shaky ground. Batavia ranked 42nd in tenure (for how long?), 81st in attendance (no way) and 98th in economy.

The full rankings can be viewed here.

Unfortunately, Street & Smith doesn't explain its attendance ranking, but it's probably based on a percentage of the host city's population, and with less than 16,000 people in the City of Batavia, the percentage for the Muckdogs is pretty good.

There are a handful of cities ranked above Batavia with only one sports franchise.

August 16, 2011 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Lance P. Johnson-Kosiorek, 18, of 335 Bank St., Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Johnson-Kosiorek allegedly displayed a knife and threatened an acquaintance during a verbal argument at 11:45 p.m., Monday.

Adam Tyler Bond, 19, of Lindwood Drive, Brockport, was arrested on a bench warrant out of Genesee County Court. Bond allegedly failed to comply with his release under the supervision contract with Genesee Justice.

August 16, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, 5K, bergen.

Submitted by Eric Boyce:

Linus Chumba, of Nyack, wins the 20th annual Jenny Kuzma Memorial Bergen 5K by running away from the field on Saturday. 

Chumba led from start to finish and set a new course record with a time of 14:26. The pervious course record was 14:36 by Kyle Heath, of Syracuse. 

Chumba came from New York City in search of the Bergen 5K prize money the night before the race by bus, where he told the race director that he got less than two hours of sleep. 

On the women's side, Maegan Krifchin, a 2010 Syracuse graduate, won the race and also set a new course record by running 16:29, three seconds off of her fastest 5K time ever. 

Krifchin was the 4th-place finisher amid the 1st-place American at the Utica Boilermaker 15K race, which had over 11,000 runners.  

This year's race saw the top 50 finishers running 17:12 or faster. 

The Bergen 5K is one of the most competitive 5K races in New York State and had 260 finishers on Saturday. 

Results, videos and photos can be found at

August 16, 2011 - 8:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Our comments section has changed just a bit.

Users who have photos uploaded to their profiles will now have their pictures appear with their comments.

We've also added a system for you to vote for comments. Right now, under each comment an up and down arrow appears. If you like a comment, vote it up; if not, vote it down.

Unrelated, sort of, overnight, there was a technical glitch with the server and comment threads on a couple of posts were lost. If you notice some comments from yesterday are missing, this was nothing intentional.

August 16, 2011 - 2:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, plumbers, Plumbing Board.

A lawsuit filed by a group of local plumbers against the City of Batavia over an alleged lack of a qualified person in the plumbing inspector role and the make up of the plumbing board was dismissed Aug. 8 by county Judge Robert C. Noonan.

The decision was made public today.

Noonan ruled that the plaintiffs failed to present any facts that could be used at trial to support their claims and that the city had demonstrated it has made every effort to comply with New York's General City Law.

City Manager Jason Molino said the dismissal substantiates what officials have been saying all along.

"We're happy to see the court agreed that the city has made its best effort, done its due diligence, to do what's best for the taxpayers," Molino said.

The attorney for the plumbers, Brian Degnan, could not be reached for comment. We also tried contacting the plumber who has been most outspoken on the issue, Barbara Toal, and were unsuccessful.

Molino said the city's efforts to bring fairness and impartiality to the plumbing board and the exam process have been successful.

In the past year, the city has gained six new licensed plumbers, he noted.

One of the controversies that arose last year about the plumbers is that the licensing exam had some poorly constructed questions and the grading wasn't being applied fairly. Three people who had taken the test and given failing grades were re-graded by Assistant City Manager Sally Kuzon and all three passed (Correction: two of the three were passed by the plumbing board.)

As part of the lawsuit, the plumbers challenged Sally Kuzon's qualifications to grade the test and to sit on the plumbing board. In addition to being the assistant city manager, she is director of the Public Works Department.

The suit also challenged Code Enforcement Officer and Superintendent of Water/Wastewater Matt Worth's appointment under an emergency declaration as plumbing inspector to the plumbing board, and the qualifications of Bill Hays as a journeyman plumber to sit on the plumbing board.

Noonan ruled that all three people were qualified for their positions under the guidelines of state law and that the city had made every effort to find a qualified master plumber willing to give up his or her business in order to become a plumbing inspector.  

The ruling states that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the city had disregarded its statutory duties under General City Law.

The suit was brought by Mark Walton, Peter Dellapenna, Kenneth Toal, Ryan Toal, Henry H. Cook, Ryan Cook, Christopher Cook, Ronald Toal, Paul Salway, Larry Toal, Barbara Toal, Walter Szczesny and Carl McQuillen.

For previous coverage of plumbing board issues, click here.

August 16, 2011 - 2:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

An 82-year-old man was critically injured Friday afternoon when the three-wheel bike he was riding on Park Road was struck by a motorcycle.

According to Sgt. Kurt Schmitt, State Police, Gerald Sojda, of Park Road, Batavia, was southbound on Park when he pulled his bike into traffic and was struck by a 2009 Harley ridden by Noah Majewski, 22, of Batavia.

Sojda, who was transported to ECMC by Mercy EMS, was listed in critical condition because of his age and a significant amount of blood loss.

Schmitt said troopers spoke with Sojda's daughter today and "all signs look encouraging" for his recovery.

No citations have been issued, Schmitt said.

August 16, 2011 - 2:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

Two people suffered minor injuries Friday when a car they were in traveled off Lewiston Road and overturned.

Susan M. Geiger, 39, of Ridge Road, Medina, reportedly lost control of the car after she had driven onto the north shoulder of Lewiston and attempted to get back on the highway.

The investigation report prepared by Sgt. Greg Walker indicates the roadway was recently resurfaced with a stone and oil base.

The accident occurred at 6:07 p.m. in the area of 1768 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Geiger and her passenger, Stephanie M. Persons, 21, had complaints of pain but were not transported to a hospital.

August 16, 2011 - 2:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, pembroke, Darien, Alabama, corfu.

Christopher Michael Lambert, 31, of Elm Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Lambert is accused of entering a residence on Log City Road, Elba, after being told to stay away. Lambert allegedly stole money and a new Garmin GPS unit. Bail was set at $25,000.

Jenea Marie Macleod, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, operating an ATV on a public highway and no headlights on an ATV. Macleod was stopped at 10:08 p.m., Saturday, on Genesee Street in Pembroke by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Tracy Lynn Polak, 40, of Aldercreek South Road, North Tonawanda, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, operating with registration suspended or revoked and driver's view obstructed. Polak was stopped at 10:36 p.m., Wednesday, on Route 77, Corfu, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Jonathan David Eldred, 27, of Main Road, Akron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. Eldred was arrested at 10:46 p.m., Friday, at a residence on Bloomingdale Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, when he was allegedly found in possession of heroin and a needle during an investigation into an overdose.

Austin M. Heineman, 17, of Marble Road, Akron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, operating out of class and failure to keep right. Heineman was arrested following an investigation into an accident that was reported at 12:43 a.m., Saturday, on Sandhill Road, Alabama, by Deputy James Diehl. In the accident, Heineman was reportedly driving south on Sandhill Road when he lost control of the car and it overturned. His passenger, Timothy Ryan, 17, was transported to UMMC with non-life threatening injuries.

Mitchell Gregory Hoinski, 25, of Boll Street, Sloan, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Hoinski was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 11:42 p.m., Friday, in the parking lot of Darien Lake Theme Park. Hoinski reportedly attended the Rascal Flatts concert earlier in the evening. 




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

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