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May 24, 2012 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Press release:

The Village of LeRoy Police Department will be running sobriety checkpoints in conjunction with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and Batavia Police this holiday weekend to deter intoxicated operation. These efforts will include stationary checkpoints and roving patrols in and around the Village of Le Roy.

May 24, 2012 - 7:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A minor injury accident is reported at 8524 Seven Springs Road, Batavia.

Town of Batavia firefighters and Mercy EMS responding.

The single injury is a 10-year-old who was in the back seat, complaining of back pain.


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May 24, 2012 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force responded to a residence on Swan Street, Batavia, Tuesday to investigate a report of pot being grown in a garage.

Task force members seized the plants and arrested Ian J. Blake, 25, after locating him on Ellicott Street, Batavia.

At the time of his arrest, Blake had pending charges for allegedly selling oxycodone to an agent of the task force. He was also allegedly found growing cannabis in his basement on May 5.

Blake faces charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, two counts of unlicensed growing of cannabis and two counts of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Following arraignment in city court, Blake was jailed without bail.

Batavia PD assisted in all three investigations.

May 24, 2012 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion.

A 22-year-old woman apparently suffered serious injuries in an ATV accident Monday night but she and her companion did not seek immediate medical assistance, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The woman is now in intensive care at Erie County Medical Center.

Ashley B. Jones was a passenger at 11:30 p.m., Monday, on an ATV driven by Eric Swede, 23, as the couple rode on a driveway off Rogers Road, Pavilion.

The couple was northbound on the gravel driveway when the ATV struck some trees and both were ejected.

Swede suffered head and hand injuries.

Jones suffered face and head injuries.

By Tuesday, her condition worsened and she was driven by private vehicle to UMMC. From there she was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by Sgt. Steven Mullen and Deputy John Baiocco.

May 24, 2012 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

National Grid is on scene at Route 77 and Route 20 for a gas leak that apparently happened some time ago, but now Darien Fire Department is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 1:44 p.m.: A chief reports it's a pretty substantial leak. Crews are working to repair it.

May 24, 2012 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Pavilion.

Steven Carnell McKnight, 18, of 14th Street, Buffalo, is charged with burglary, 2nd. McKnight is accused of breaking into a residence on Batavia Elba Townline Road, Batavia, on Dec. 15. The Monroe County Crime Lab has reportedly matched blood found at the scene with McKnight. The home on Batavia Elba Townline Road suffered damage to exterior French doors, a rear window, and a table and desktop computer. The only items reported missing were a complete Nintendo Wii system with games and two hutch drawers containing old mobile phones and odds and ends. McKnight is currently awaiting sentencing on a burglary charge from a break-in in the Town of Pembroke on Dec. 14. 

Andrew John Sprague, 33, of State Street, Batavia, is charged to failure to report change of address. Sprague is a registered sex offender and allegedly failed to report a change of address.

Al Davids, 42, of Bird Road, Byron, is charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a residence. The alleged incident was reported at 6:58 p.m., Monday.

May 23, 2012 - 11:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, elba, Norton Road.

There's an old shack stuck far back in the woods off Norton Road in Elba. I've photographed it before, but wasn't entirely pleased with the results.

As I drove down Norton this evening, I saw the shack, but the field that last year was full of wildflowers was plowed. The shack was still in a wooded area, surrounded by flowers. I then noticed a woman watering some plants in her front yard, so I stopped to ask if I could go on her property (to get the right vantage point) to make a photograph.

I introduced myself and, yes, Charline Shultz reads The Batavian.

We chatted a second and Charlene told me she had an old postcard of Norton Road. It shows her house, which was built in 1812. Charlene said a friend happened across the postcard on Ebay and bought it for her.

The back of the card reads: "The view as we see it from our home looking south.  The church in the distance is where Mr. Kellogg preached when we knew him.  With best wishes and warm regards, Mary Norton, Elba, N.Y., Dec. 25, 1908."

It was apparently contained in a letter sent by Mary Norton to a friend in California, and now it's back in New York more then 100 years later on the road where it started.

May 23, 2012 - 10:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos, elba.

Really, without a plan, I found myself in Elba late this afternoon, and then my drive back to Batavia took a few twists and turns. Here are some pictures from the drive.

Above, a red barn on Ford Road.

My intention was to take a picture of the tree to the left. The cows either thought I had food or are eager to get on camera and they came running over toward Route 262.

The McCoys on Norton Road gave me permission to walk into their back yard and take a picture of this old barn, which turns out to be just over the property line and actually on Torrey Farms' property.

There's a couple of old shacks on Norton Road that always draw my attention. The flowers in this case provided some added visual interest.

Anybody care to identify this plant? This was actually taken off Bank Street Road, Batavia, but I saw the plant two or three times while driving through Elba.

May 23, 2012 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

Long before there was a John Kennedy in the White House, there was a John Kennedy in Batavia.

Before there was "Profiles in Courage," there was "Individual Instruction" and "The School and the Family."

Before PT109, there was the Civil War and a young man born in England, who moved to Iowa and joined the Union's cause.

The John Kennedy of Batavia was an educator, a veteran of the War Between the States, and a preservationist, saving the Holland Land Office from assured destruction.

"I don’t think people associate the name of John Kennedy School with the right individual," said County Clerk Don Read, an avid history buff, especially of Genesee County. "Many people don't know that the John Kennedy in the history of Batavia certainly occupies a place in education history and the history of Genesee County. Not many people of his stature have come out of Genesee County."

And that's why there's a school in Batavia with brass Helvetica letters on its brick facade that reads, "John Kennedy School."

The school opened in 1956, and now there's some talk of changing its name, perhaps to Batavia Intermediate School.

The subject came up at Monday's school board meeting and the board seems to be considering the idea.

Board President Gail Stevens said she will support whatever the community wants for the names of it schools (Jackson School is also up for grabs).

"I’m all for giving the community a choice," Stevens said. "They’re the stakeholders in the school, the parents, the teachers, the students. If the community wants change, then I'll represent the community."

While the decision to consolidate schools -- leading to the closure of Robert Morris -- was driven by financial issues, what the schools are named is purely a matter of community choice and Stevens said she didn't want to impose her viewpoint on that choice.

The issue came about, according to Board Member Phil Ricci, because a group of parents brought the issue to the board.

According to Ricci, the parents were concerned that students transferring from Robert Morris would join community schools with community identities, and potentially feel left out of the mix.

Changing school names is a matter of changing brands and getting all of the students involved, Ricci said.

"I think the primary thing to understand is that it isn't so much changing the name of the school," Ricci said. "The way of doing business, the way the schools are run, the way we're deliving educational services is being changed."

The former names no longer fit, Ricci said, especially if you consider the name of JK to be John Kennedy Elementary School.

On the district's Web site, that's the name of the school. On the school building itself, it's simply John Kennedy School.

Ricci said there is a push by some parents to change the name to Batavia School or Batavia Intermediate School. 

Another option, Ricci said, one he favors, is John Kennedy Intermediate School, and some have suggested, he said, Batavia Intermediate School at John Kennedy.

Both Stevens and Ricci said the cost of a name change would be minimal, and there are no concrete plans right now to institute a name change.

The board will discuss it further at its next meeting, Stevens said, and decide what to do from there.

The idea of dropping John Kennedy caught the attention of local historians and preservationists.

The board of the Holland Land Office Museum voted Tuesday night to oppose the change.

"You would  be taking away the history of the community," said HLOM Director Jeff Donahue. "The man should be honored because of the great work that he did for this area and for education in general."

Local author, localist and lover of Batavia Bill Kauffman was chagrined at the idea of Batavia once again turning its back on its history.

"Modern Batavia's besetting sin has been its disregard, even contempt, for Batavia's history," Kauffman said. "The catastrophic urban renewal of the 1960s and '70s was the most spectacular example of this. Renaming Batavia's schools would be yet another -- and wholly unnecessary -- case of the city wiping out its past and severing its connection to those who have gone before. As a proud alumnus of John Kennedy, I really hope that great little school on Vine Street retains its name."

John Kennedy was born Sept. 17, 1846, in England. He was one of 14 children. His father brought the family to New York hoping for work on the Erie Canal, but after Mrs. Kennedy heard nothing of her husband, she packed up the family and moved to Greeley, Iowa.

After the Civil War, Kennedy returned to Iowa where he became a school superintendent, soon gaining recognition for his innovative education techniques.

Kennedy spoke to educators in New York on a couple of occasions, and then the fairly new Batavia City Schools District invited Kennedy to become its second superintendent.

Over the next 23 years, Kennedy led the district, creating a number of innovations in education, such as teacher's aides and a style of teaching that offered encouragement to students rather than direct help.

In 1894, Kennedy learned that the former Holland Land Office, which had been a private residence, was going to be torn down and its bricks sold to Henry Ford for reconstruction of the building on his estate in Michigan. Kennedy started a "penny drive" to raise enough money for a down payment on the property. When he reached that goal, other community members pitched in to complete the purchase and donate the building and land to the county.

"Kennedy realized the significance of the building and because of him, we still have the Holland Land Office today," Donahue said.

Ricci said if the school name is changed, none of the history will be lost. Everything on and in the building of historical value will be preserved, he said.

"I'm fine if it's Batavia Intermediate or John Kennedy Intermediate," Ricci said. "I'm not trying to be blase about it, because I know it means something to a lot of people, but the history that goes with that school is all inside of it. It all stays. The name on the building needs to fit the new brand.

"We have three cultures in three different schools. What we call the schools needs to reflect what goes on in the schools. That doesn't mean we have to get rid of John Kennedy as the name, but possibly add to it; John Kennedy Intermediate school."

FOOTNOTE: Ricci was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy, and subsequently won a seat outright on the board. But because he came in second in the voting, he won't be able to officially vote on anything until July. As top vote-getter in the election, Gretchen DiFante assumed the vacant seat on the board.

May 23, 2012 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, business.

Bill Ruffino, owner of Bill's Auto on Evans Street in Batavia did a little giving back today. Ruffino, who is on the advisory committee for the automotive program of the Genesee Valley Education Partnership drove to Mt. Morris and conducted a seminar for the students on software transfer and computer programing on automotive computers and modules.

"This not only allowed the students to see this process firsthand, but it also started them networking with a leader in the industry that they hope to someday soon be a part of," said Michael Johnson, the class teacher, who provided the photo and information.

May 23, 2012 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, birthdays.

While I was in Settler's this afternoon, four waitresses came out carrying a birthday cake and brought it over to a group of people at one of the tables.

The cake was for Mary Vangalio, who turns 99 on Friday. Pictured with her is her nephew, Mike DiMartino.

May 23, 2012 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, State Police.

State Police, joined by law enforcement representatives from throughout the region, gathered at the Batavia Barracks on West Saile Drive in Batavia this morning to honor the men and women of Troop A who gave their lives in the line of duty.

In the 40 years since the first service, six more names have been added to the granite monument outside the barracks, including Kevin P. Dobson, a 14-year veteran struck and killed during a routine traffic stop in Tonawanda in 2011.

The names of the fallen are:

Trooper James B. Losco, 1925
Trooper Robert Roy, 1927
Trooper Arnold T. Rasmussen, 1927
Trooper Thomas L. Corbett, 1931
Sergeant Homer Harrison, 1933
Trooper Jerome B. Nugent, 1933
Sergeant Harry Adams, 1951
Trooper James D. Conrad, 1966
Trooper Richard Weltz, 1970
Investigator Thomas L. Buck, 1981
Trooper Gary E. Kubasiak, 1982
Trooper Joseph A. Longobardo, 2006
Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff, 2007
Trooper Jill E. Mattice, 2010
Trooper Kevin P. Dobson, 2011

\

If you can't view the slide show, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

May 23, 2012 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, sports.

Batavia's younger players are coming into their own just at the right time, said head baseball Coach Rick Saunders -- just as the Blue Devils enter sectional playoffs.

The team won a first-round playoff game Tuesday at Dwyer Stadium over Greece Olympia, 12-5.

"They struggled with the bats the first time they’d seen varsity pitching and now we’ve won five out of our last six," Saunders said.

The Blue Devils jumped to a quick 7-1 lead in the first two innings Tuesday, but then Greece Olympia made it look like they might make a game of it with four runs in the fifth.

But Saunders said his #5 seeded team responded well against the #12 seed, rallying for five runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

"(There were) two positive things," Saunders said. "When you play a team that’s a lower seed than you, you have to jump out to an early lead. Then you need to tack on runs to put them away, and when they made their come back to get back in the game, we tacked on five in the sixth to put them away. That’s how you win big games. That was the key."

Batavia (13-7) will face Greece Arcadia in a round two game at 4:30 p.m., Friday, in Greece Aracadia. The winner of that game will play a semi-final game next Tuesday against either Pittsford-Sutherland, the #1 seed, or Geneva.

In the game, Tommy Prospero was 2-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. Ryan DiMartino was 2-4 with a double and two RBIs. Zach Hale, who was also the winning pitcher, going 4 1/3 innings, was 2-4.

Saunders likes his team's chances of advancing.

"We’ve played all these teams," Saunders said. "Our pitchers have got to throw strikes. It’s basic baseball, pitchers throw strikes and if we can play good defense we can play with anybody. When we've that this year, we've won. When we haven't, we've struggled."

In other Section V baseball today, Alexander plays Warsaw in Warsaw; #2 seed Pembroke plays Bishop Kearney in Pembroke; Pavilion plays Canisteo-Greenwood in Pavilion; #2 seed Oakfield-Alabama plays Cuba-Rushford in Oakfield; Le Roy plays Granada in Le Roy; and on Friday, Notre Dame plays Prattsburgh at Dwyer Stadium.

If you can't view the slide show, click here.  To purchase prints of these pictures, click here.

May 22, 2012 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba, Oakfield.

LaVerne "Vern" M. Bridge was a man known to enjoy working in his yard and being seen around town in work boots, blue jeans, suspenders and a baseball cap.

Today, at the Maple Avenue Cemetery in Elba, Bridge was laid to rest in his favorite attire while his pallbearers and some friends wore similar clothing in his honor.

The 84-year-old Oakfield resident was working in his yard at 6624 Fisher Road last week, apparently cutting down a tree, when the tree fell on him.

Pallbearers in the top photo are, from left, Joe Seweryniak, John Latko, Rob Warboys, Scott Mabon, Andrew Fowler and Roy Scroger.

For the full obituary of Bridge, click here.

May 22, 2012 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Wyoming County.

A 48-year-old Batavia woman was injured in a motor vehicle accident at 8:15 a.m., Monday, in the Town of Middlebury after another driver allegedly failed to stop for stop sign.

Patricia E. Chaya, 48, was transported to UMMC for treatment.

Chaya was heading south on East Bethany Road when Rebecca A. Tallman, 21, of Telephone Road, Le Roy, allegedly failed to stop at the intersection of West Middlebury Road and East Bethany.

Tallman was issued a traffic citation.

The accident was investigated by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office.

Bethany Fire Department responded to the scene.

May 22, 2012 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

An 19-year-old Batavia resident who broke into three local businesses said in court today that a proposed sentence of up to 14 years in prison on his burglary convictions was "a harsh punishment for somebody my age."

Judge Robert C. Noonan told Trevor M. Pilc, formerly of 404 Jackson St., Batavia, that he agreed, but added, "you've made your own bed and negotiated your own disposition."

Noonan then sentenced Pilic to two-and-a-third to seven years on two counts of burglary in the second degree, with the sentences to be served consecutively.

The prison term will be served concurrently to a similar sentence on burglary convictions in Wyoming County and with a one-and-third to four year sentenced Noonan imposed for a violation of probation conviction.

On Feb. 23, Pilc entered a guilty plea after reaching a plea deal for burglarizing four Batavia establishments -- Neptune Gardens, Batavia's Original, Blondie's and the Batavia Youth Bureau building.

Pilc was ordered to pay $11,800 in restitution to the businesses and two insurance companies.

"I realize what I did was wrong," said Pilc, who came to court in state prison-issued khaki slacks, a pressed white shirt and heavy shackles on his wrists. "I've hurt the business owners and their families and my family both financially and emotionally. I think it's a harsh punishment for a person my age, but I accept the consequences for what I've done."

Pilc and his accomplice, Michael A. Ames, 19, of 508 Dale Road, Dale, were arrested in September, aided by tips generated by the release of a video surveillance tape posted on The Batavian.

Ames is also serving  four-and-two-thirds to 14 years in state prison, concurrent with his sentence out of Wyoming County.

May 22, 2012 - 8:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, batavia city schools.

Press release:

District parents and students are encouraged to attend Open House events at the Middle School, John Kennedy, and Jackson building sites. 

We hope to have parents and students tour the buildings where students will attend next year and meet some of the staff. Also, this is a great time to sign up for newly forming parent groups at each of the schools. 

Details are as follows: May 30 -- Next year’s fifth-graders and their families are welcome to tour Batavia Middle School. Short presentations will occur in the school auditorium at 4 and 5:45 p.m. Refreshments will be served and tours will be informal. Be sure to sign up to participate in the parent group for parents of fifth- and sixth-grade student. Also,the YWCA will be at the middle school on both days with information on their after-school child care program for the 5/6 House.

Next year’s second-, third-, and fourth-graders and their families are welcome to tour John Kennedy School. Short presentations will occur in the school auditorium at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and tours will be informal. Be sure to sign up to participate in the parent group for parents of second-, third-, and fourth-grade students.

May 31 -- Next year’s sixth-graders and their families are welcome to tour Batavia Middle School. Short presentations will occur in the school auditorium at 4 and 5:45 p.m. Refreshments will be served and tours will be informal. Be sure to sign up to participate in the parent group for parents of fifth- and sixth-grade students. Also, the YWCA will be the middle school on both days with information on their after-school child care program for the 5/6 House.

Next year’s pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first-graders and their families are welcome to tour Jackson School. Short presentations will occur in the multipurpose room at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and tours will be informal. Be sure to sign up to participate in the parent group for parents of pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first-grade students.

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

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