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July 21, 2011 - 11:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

There is a report of six youths with baseball bats fighting at the intersection of Jerome Place and East Main Street.

UPDATE 12:01 a.m.: First officer on scene, no youths anywhere to be seen.


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July 21, 2011 - 9:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke, indian falls.

A grass fire has been reported at the intersection of Route 77 and Phelps Road.

Indian Falls and Pembroke fire departments dispatched.

Newstead, standing in for one of the departments, standing down. Akron, standing in, is responding.

UPDATE 9:14 p.m.: Pembroke, Indian Falls, all available manpower requested to the scene. The location has been identified as "Boulder Park." There is a 30-by-50 foot area on fire several yards from a building.

UPDATE 9:16 p.m. "There are remains of a structure that is involved now." Also, law enforcement requested to the scene.

UPDATE 9:18 p.m.: Corfu, returning from Elba, called the Indian Falls chief and asked if he needed a hand. One word answer: "Yes." Corfu fire in route.  

UPDATE 9:27 p.m.: Poles, rakes and a chainsaw needed to help clear a way to get to the structure. Lights being set up to illuminate the scene.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: Fire is out.

UPDATE 10:08 p.m.: Corfu back in service. Road reopened.

July 21, 2011 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, video, weather.

In case you haven't noticed, it's hot.

The current temperature is in the mid 90s with a heat index over 100 degrees.

An excessive heat warning is in effect until 7 p.m.

For the next 10 days, at least, there is no relief from the heat in sight, unless you consider 87 degrees instead of 90 to be relief.

This morning, we did a quick video with City of Batavia Fire Chief Jim Maxwell about staying safe in hot weather.

July 20, 2011 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens.

A mother in Bergen this afternoon managed to revive her toddler after finding the 2-year-old girl face down and not breathing in a wading pool behind her trailer.

The girl was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital and is expected to be fine, according to officials.

The initial call of a 2-year-old drowned came in shortly after 3 p.m. today and units from the Sheriff's Office and Le Roy Ambulance responded to the scene in a small trailer park on a horse ranch at 7302 Griswold Road, Bergen.

While dispatchers were on the phone and preparing to provide CPR instructions to the mother, the mother resuscitated her child.

"It was very good news that mom was able to bring her back, to resuscitate her, and it looks like she will be fine," said Sgt. Greg Walker, of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Walker described the pool as a small, rubber inflatable pool.

Walker said the child, whose name is not being released, was taken to Strong by Le Roy Ambulance to check for fluid in her lungs and ensure she's in good health.

July 20, 2011 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia Youth Football.

Just because it's hot and muggy doesn't mean it's not too early to start thinking about football, Batavia Youth Football, that is.

BYF is conducting registration for its 48th season Friday and Saturday at Batavia City Centre in the main concourse.

Children ages 7 through 13 with a weight between 45 and 130 lbs. are eligible.

There are three divisions, ages 7 and 8, ages 9 and 10, and ages 11, 12 and 13.

Cost is $85 per player. 

All games are played at Lions Park with the season opener Sept. 3. The season runs through October.

Practices begin Aug. 8 with a scrimmage and picnic at Kibbe Park on Aug. 27.

A birth certificate and weigh-in is required at sign up.

The registration on Friday and Saturday will be the last two days to register for BFA.

Sign ups on Friday are from 6 to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On those days, children may also register for cheerleading. The is is $65 and registration will be capped at the first 150 to sign up. Cheerleading is open to children age 7 through 13.

For more information, contact Steve Grice at 344-4636 or [email protected].

July 20, 2011 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

In business, it often comes down to location, and Bill Cox thinks he's found the perfect location to move his business -- to the new Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

"I have the opportunity, if all the stars align, to do a significant amount of business (in the new park)," Cox said following a Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting Tuesday evening.

The board approved a site plan for Cox to build a 5,002 sq. ft. facility on two acres of land just inside the new park.

There had been some question as to whether Cox's business, Marktec, was sufficiently agriculture related to be allowed in the park, but Cox said almost all of his customers are food processing companies.

Marktec makes the machines that encode information -- the little laser-printed use-by dates -- on food and beverage packaging.  

The Batavia city councilman currently has an office on Ellicott Street across from the Chapin plant and Oatka Milk headquarters. Moving into the town, Cox said, is going to help him convert new tenants of the agri-park into customers.

Being right in the park will give Marktec greater visibility with the food processing companies anticipated to move in. (So far, only Alpina Products has committed to building in the agri-park.)  That should translate into more sales of his high-speed label machines. It will also give food processing companies a convenient local vendor for supplies and service of existing equipment.

Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for Genesee County Economic Development Center, said Marktec fits well with the proscribed types of businesses being allowed into the ag park. The parcel Marktec will build on is also not prime real estate. While it's near Route 5, it's not right at the entrance and the location is not well suited for construction of a manufacturing facility.

Cox said he is founder, sole owner, president and chief sales person for Marktec, which has been in business for 28 years.

The company currently has four full-time and one part-time employees. With the move, Cox said he anticipates hiring another salesperson and a second full-time tech within the next three years.

July 20, 2011 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Shawn Michael Twardowski, 28, of West Main Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Twardowski is accused of telling an 8-year-old child to get out of a chair. When the child refused, saying she was saving the chair for her mother, Twardowski allegedly grabbed the the back of the chair and forcibly ejected the child from the chair. The child suffered a minor leg injury.

Christopher Michael Smith, 17, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with two counts criminal mischief, 3rd. Smith is accused of causing more than $250 damage to vehicles parked at 8039 Oak Orchard Road (Godwin Pumps) on Tuesday evening by spray painting the hood and sides of two different utility work trucks. Smith is also accused of stealing a vehicle from 7993 Call Parkway, Batavia (Ashley Furniture) and crashing it into a wall, causing damage to both the truck and the building. Smith was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Brian K, Dyer, 44, of 3 Dewey Ave., Batavia, is charged with felony DWI. Dyer was reportedly stopped at 9 p.m., Tuesday, on Dewey Avenue by Officer Chris Camp. Dyer reportedly has had a DWI conviction within the past 10 years. Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Dyer was held in jail without bail.

July 20, 2011 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy.

Strong emergency personnel did receive notice from Batavia Police that a 49-year-old Le Roy woman hit by a car on East Main Street last week did show signs of maybe trying to harm herself, a spokeswoman said this afternoon.

Strong's Director of Communications Teri D'Agostino called The Batavian to report that upon a deeper review of the charts for the patient, it's clear emergency room personnel received a phone call from a Batavia Police officer about the accident investigation.

Several witnesses told police that the woman appeared to have intentionally stepped in front of a car at the intersection of East Main and Elm streets.

Based on an earlier, quick review of documents, the hospital concluded staff had not been notified. We reported that finding yesterday, which contradicted statements from police supervisors.

When D'Agostino called today, she apologized several times for providing incorrect information.

"We've had further opportunity to talk with staff about this particular patient care and it's very clear that the Batavia Police did their jobs," D'Agostino said. "Our staff did know about the information that she may have intended to harm herself."

D'Agostino said the hospital is doing a thorough review now trying to understand the interaction between the patient, her family and medical staff.

"We're trying to understand how that information was used and how it was incorporated into the treatment in the emergency room," D'Agostino said.

The woman, whose name has not been released by authorities, killed herself Saturday morning, less than 48 hours after being admitted to Strong.

July 20, 2011 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford.

A two-car accident with one injury is reported at the intersection of Route 19 and Griswold Road, Le Roy.

One person may have a neck injury.

The accident is not blocking traffic.

Le Roy Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE 9:53 a.m.: Le Roy back in service.

July 20, 2011 - 12:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

It's not often that the CEO of a multinational corporation drops in on a Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting, but Alpina Product's Julian Jaramillo just happened to be in town today.

Jaramillo (above, left), lives in Colombia, but as he guides his company toward its first expansion into the United States, he needs to visit the area where he hopes to soon employ more than 50 people.

He said he is very excited about the opportunity for Alpina in Western New York.

"We've gotten great support," Jaramillo said. "This is a huge opportunity. It is our future and success in this country is important to the growth of our company."

Based in Bogata, Alpina is a food processing company that specializes in dairy products.

Early reports about Alpina's expansion focused on the opportunity for the company to market its products to the growing Hispanic population in the Northeast. But Jaramillo shook his head and said no when asked if that was the marketing plan for the company's new yogurt product.

Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce (above, right) jumped in and said the company's goals go far beyond a niche market.

"To be honest, we can leverage our brand to create cash flow by selling to Hispanics, but when we did our research three years ago, we found we could have the confidence to go mainstream," Ramirez said. "Instead of fighting for small pieces of the pie by creating a niche market, we're going after a mainstream market."

The company is planning to go big in the U.S., Ramirez explained through what he called an "insurgent" strategy.

Currently, two companies, Yoplait and Dannon, control 80 percent of the yogurt market. To compete, Alpina must offer a product that is different enough from the established brands to find new customers.

To that end, Alpina hired a New York-based chef with an expertise in health and wellness recipes to come up with new yogurt products for Alpina.

It is those new products that will be made and distributed from the Batavia plant.

"They're (Yoplait and Dannon) are great, they’re big and they're awesome, but it's (all the) same stuff, same models," Ramirez said. "If you look at a company like Chobani Greek Yogurt, they started three or five years ago and they do things differently. That’s what I mean by insurgent. Insurgent is just a way of thinking. Do things differently, not just from a marketing perspective, but from the products you launch."

If the strategy is successful, Alpina sees expanding beyond just New York, Toronto and the Tri-State market, and going into the South and then nationwide.

The expansion would mean adding additional refrigerated storage to the Batavia plant.

The plant as initially constructed is expected to be 40,000 sq. ft., expandable to 120,000 sq. ft.  

The site plan was presented to the Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday evening and the plan was approved by a vote of 6-0.

Alpina hopes to complete its purchase of the 10-acre parcel in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park by Aug. 15 and break ground immediately.

The goal is to get the structure built before winter sets in and then take care of interior construction during the cold months. If all goes according to plan, the company can start gearing up for production in May with the first product shipments in June.

Ramirez said Alpina picked Batavia (over the other finalist, Scranton) because: there is easy access to both raw product and shipment of finished product; there is a local labor pool with expertise in dairy products; the great people the company worked with at GCEDC; generous tax abatements; the close proximity to Cornell University and RIT; the two million people between Rochester and Buffalo as well as being centrally located to the markets Alpina wants to target first.

There is a great market to pursue here, Ramirez told the board.

"You see companies trying to go national at some point, but there is a narrow market we can pursue here and just concentrate on here for a few years and become profitable."

For our previous coverage of Alpina, click here.

UPDATE: WBTA's Geoff Redick produced a video about Tuesday's meeting.

July 19, 2011 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy.

UPDATE: Strong says upon further review, medical personnel were notified by Batavia Police.

On the night that a 49-year-old Le Roy woman stepped in front of a moving car on East Main Street, apparently on purpose, a Batavia Police officer, according supervisors, notified Strong Memorial Hospital that the woman may be a danger to herself.

Less 48 hours after the woman was struck by a late model, black Saturn, the woman was dead. The victim of a self-inflected gunshot wound.

The woman's seemingly quick discharge from Strong has raised questions in the community about what happened at the hospital while the woman was under treatment.

Federal law prohibits the hospital from discussing details of patient care, but a spokeswoman for Strong, contradicting police statements, said she doesn't believe caregivers were made aware of the woman's mental status.

"We're deeply saddened to learn of this woman's death, but do not believe that staff caring for her in our emergency department were aware that the injuries may have been intentional," said Teri D'Agostino, communications director for Strong. "We are conducting a thorough review of this patient's care."

Lt. James Henning, Batavia PD, said the investigating officer, Chris Camp, called Strong immediately after he completed taking written statements from witnesses.

The statements, Henning said, were consistent enough to believe the woman intentionally stepped in front of a moving car, so Camp placed a phone call to Strong.

"The appropriate notifications were made," Henning said.

Camp, he said, kept careful notes about whom he spoke with at Strong.

Mercy Flight/Mercy EMS personnel are also prohibited by HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) from discussing the specific case, but Vice President and CFO Margie Ferrentino explained that a medical record is created and transported with the patient and given to hospital personnel.

The record would contain any information gathered about the patient relevant to how injuries were sustained.

"The record includes any observations our medics made or statements they heard, from either the patient, police or bystanders," Ferrentino said.

If medics were told the woman may have intended to injure herself, that information would typically be contained in the written medical record transported with the patient.

Sgt. John Peck, Batavia PD, said Mercy EMS personnel were made aware at the scene, before the woman was transported, of witness statements indicating the injuries may have been intentional.

D'Agostino said the hospital has very definite guidelines about how to deal with patients that may intend to harm themselves, if staff know about the mental state of the patient.

"Strong Memorial Hospital is devoted to treating each patient’s immediate illness or injury, and we always seek to better understand how the injury occurred," said D'Agostino said as part of an ongoing e-mail interview. "Our staff are especially sensitive to the possibility of self-injurious behavior. 

"Most often, first responders, family members, and patients themselves provide clues that indicate when injuries have been deliberate or self-inflicted," she added.  "Whenever we have concerns that people might be dangerous to themselves or to others, we provide, without hesitation, a formal psychiatric evaluation."

When medical personnel become aware that a patient is a threat to him or herself, the patient can be held, under state law, for observation.

"If a patient is thought to be a danger to themselves or others, our physicians have the ability to detain patients here against their will – until they are evaluated, have received care, and our staff is comfortable that it is safe for them to leave," D'Agostino said.

However, D'Agostino also said that sometimes, patients hide or deny their intentions, which could complicate the hospital's ability to legally hold the patient for evaluation.

Both Peck and Henning agreed, and discussed how in their experience, people taken to hospitals because of suicide threats often turn right around and deny the intent or say they no longer have such an intent, leading to the patient's discharge.

In the case of the 49-year-old woman from Le Roy, D'Agostino said Strong takes seriously the sad turn of events and is reviewing its care of this patient.

July 19, 2011 - 3:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) is sponsoring legislation that would require parents and legal guardians to report the death or disappearance of their child to law enforcement in a timely manner. “Caylee’s Law” comes on the heels of the highly publicized Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida, which has highlighted a glaring shortfall in New York state law that does not mandate such timely reporting. The pair of bills being co-sponsored by Assemblyman Hawley would close these loopholes.

“It is sad to think that it took the unfathomable circumstances leading to Caylee Anthony’s death to highlight the need for this legislation, but there will be progress made in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy,” Hawley said. “Parents, guardians and caretakers have the responsibility to report the death or disappearance of their child in a timely manner so that law enforcement may seek out the missing person and work to prevent other children from falling victim to similar circumstances. I am proud to join my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to make sure that “Caylee’s Law” will keep another child from suffering from the abuse and neglect that took Caylee’s life.”

Under the legislation, a person found guilty under “Caylee’s Law” would be charged with a felony.

July 19, 2011 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports.

Press release:

Batavia, NY -- With the Batavia Downs Casino wiener races scheduled for Aug. 28, “Rudy” a veteran of the Batavia races, begins his training.

The now 8-year-old dachshund has been one of the top competitors in the Downs' dog races. He sports a win and then back-to-back seconds over the last three years, for his owner Ron Schiller.

Jane Smart’s “Jake Arnold” has been Genesee County’s fastest dachshund. He’ll look to three-peat when the races are contested after the last harness races on Aug. 28. Post time for the harness races is 1:15 p.m. The wiener dog races, sponsored by Petco of Batavia, begin approximately 4:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

The wiener dog races are part of Family Fun Day at the races with all activities for the kids running from 2 until 4 p.m.

Anyone wishing to register your dachshund should call Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437, beginning normal business hours on July 25. The field will be limited to 64 dogs; the first 50 dogs that sign up receive doggy bags courtesy of Petco.

July 19, 2011 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

Due to extreme weather conditions predicted for Thursday, July 21, the Batavia Summer Recreation Program (Parks Program) will possibly close for the day. The weather is predicted to be 95 to 100 degrees and humid, which makes being outdoors unsafe for people of all ages. The number one concern of the Batavia Youth Bureau and Summer Recreation staff is the safety of the program participants…therefore the Youth Bureau reserves the right to close for conditions that pose a threat to the staff and the participants.

Please tune in to WBTA AM 1490, Thursday morning, for the final decision.  Youth Bureau staff will alert WBTA of our decision by 8 a.m. on Thursday morning. Should you have further questions or concerns, please call the Youth Bureau at 345-6420.

July 19, 2011 - 12:49am

In an exclusive auction, Bontrager Real Estate & Auction Service is offering this stunning A-frame-style house on a half acre wooded lot in Corfu.

The 2,784 sq. ft. home is located at 8858 Lover's Lane. 

It features four bedrooms, two baths and a 24x36 two-car garage, along with a fireplace, wood stove and hot tub.

The open house is from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday.

The auction is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2.

July 19, 2011 - 12:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department.

The Town of Batavia Fire Department is gearing up for its 12th Annual Harley-Davidson Raffle.

The raffle drawing is July 30 at the fire hall on Lewiston Road. Once again, there will be great food (from Alex's Place this year), live music, a beer tent and, of course, the raffle.

The Harley this year is a 2011 Fat Boy Low. Tickets, if you can still get them, are $20 each. For information on availability, write to [email protected] or call 344-3284, ext. 12.

Besides the Harley, four tickets will be drawn for cash prizes of $500 each.

Pictured are 2nd Assistant Chief Nate Fix, front left, firefighter Josh Finn, firefighter Ben Fisher, back left, firefighter Scott Washburn and Chief Randy McIntier.

July 19, 2011 - 12:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos, Oakfield.

This grand old barn is on Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, just inside the townline of Oakfield.

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