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April 27, 2011 - 2:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Flash floods are possible in Genesee County this evening as moderate to heavy precipitation moves into the area and hits already saturated ground.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the entire region.

Rainfall tonight may exceed an inch.

The watch is in effect from 10 p.m. through Thursday morning.

Flooding is possible in areas of poor drainage as well as along small streams and creeks. Larger creeks and rivers will also rise significantly.

The National Weather Service says that if you are in a watch area you should monitor weather closely and be ready to move to higher ground if flooding is observed or a warning is issued.

April 27, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Upton Monument.

Yesterday, there were no obvious blossoms on the trees behind the Upton Monument at Ellicott and Main streets. This morning, an explosion of pink.

Surely, spring is here, finally?

The seven-day forecast calls for more rain this week, but supposedly, Saturday will be clear, which is good news for those of us who have gardening to do.

April 26, 2011 - 11:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

The proposal is in the city budget, it's in the strategic plan, it's on the drawing board, but officially, the Batavia City Council has yet to approve the creation of an economic development director.

The vote will take place at the council's next business meeting, but on Monday council members got a chance to learn more about the proposal, ask questions and state their opinions.

There were no strong objections, and Councilman Bill Cox called on his fellow council members to approve the proposal.

"It’s a great opportunity for the city and it’s the most important thing we’ve done in a long time," Cox said. "I don’ think you’re going to see any results for 18 months, because no matter what you decided, you’re going to have to apply for grants, you’re going to have to wait for replies, you have to be selective, so I think we’ll see the first fruits of our labor in 18 to 24 months."

Under the proposal, the city would chip in $10,000 per year for each of the first two years (funded by cutting $15,000 from the grant writing budget of the city), with the balance of the eventual hire's salary being covered by money from the revolving loan fund and the micro-enterprise fund (both funds filled years ago by state grants).

The Batavia Development Corporation, which in the past has overseen the revolving loan fund, would hire and supervise the economic development position.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski wondered if, within the two years allotted for the new position to start paying off, whether new grants would start funding the position.

Ray Chaya, president of the BDC board of directors, said, "that would be the hope. Even though the state is in dire straits, there is still money out there for economic development. We want to be able to capture whatever is out there as soon as it’s available."

Council members asked questions about benefits -- the new hire will not receive benefits through the city as an employee of the BDC -- and what the person will actually do.

The job description specifies that the economic developer will be required to recruit and retain small businesses in the city and help businesses find ways to expand and grow.

If the council approves the proposal, the BDC can get to work on recruiting the right person and hopefully getting him or her in place on or before Aug. 1.

"We really need three-to-four months to get that person in here and really have benchmarks set up," Chaya said. "Two years is really a short amount of time, so this person needs to have strong communications skills, small business sense and a really good understanding of economic development."

April 26, 2011 - 8:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

There was at least about one thunderclap over Batavia around 4:30 this afternoon, which is about the same time the National Weather Service issued a thunderstorm warning, but by then radar showed the storm moving quickly to the northeast.

We never got the big hail downpour that was supposedly part of the storm.

And then patchy clouds rolled in and the warning was cancelled.

This picture was taken from Mill Street off of Evans Street about about 7 p.m.

April 26, 2011 - 8:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

At about 7 p.m., Batavia City Fire Department responded to a call of smoke coming from a train car at Mill and Evans streets.

It turns out, the white vapor is nothing more than steam.

Metal shavings in the train car from the scrap metal operation heat up, and then when rain falls on the hot metal, it generates steam.

A thermal imaging camera showed the internal temperature was 111 degrees.

April 26, 2011 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

This is the new commercial released today by Kathy Hochul's campaign. 

Here's a fact-checking assignment: The commercial cites several newspaper sources. Are the quotes being used in context?

UPDATE: A reply from Corwin's campaign: 

Statement from Matthew Harakal, communications director for Jane Corwin for Congress:

“This commercial and personal attack is a bold-faced lie.Politifact has given claims in this ad a “Pants on Fire!” rating. These types of baseless scare tactics are exactly what you’d expect from a career politician like Kathy Hochul, but Western New Yorkers deserve better.”

Harakal sends along a link to a Times-Union article as well.

UPDATE: New, related PR from Hochul's campaign:

“On April 15, after a week of prodding, Assemblymember Jane Corwin finally admitted she supports the Republican’s 2012 budget that would end Medicare as we know it and give massive tax breaks to America’s corporate giants – the same corporate giants that paid absolutely nothing in income taxes last year.

“Jane Corwin talks a lot about cutting spending, closing corporate loopholes, coming up with alternative energy plans, and protecting our seniors, but the truth is Jane Corwin is all talk and no action.  She says she has a ‘plan’ that would ‘fight to begin getting our national addiction to spending under control.’  Well that plan is a point-by-point copy of the Republican budget, which does none of those things.  

“Assemblymember Corwin has publicly supported a budget that cuts taxes on major corporations and the highest-earning individuals, instead of making them pay their fair share.  She supports a budget that cuts spending on alternative energy research and development, instead of cutting subsidies for big oil.  She supports a budget that decimates Medicare, instead of ensuring we protect our seniors from burdensome costs.

“While Jane Corwin says she supports solutions for the people of the 26th District, she really only supports solutions that line the pockets of corporations, oil companies, and the super rich.”

April 26, 2011 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Raymond Allard, 27, of Fall River, Mass., is charged with rape, 2nd. Allard is accused of having sexual relations with a person under 15 years of age on April 15 in Oakfield.

Duffy L. Starks, 18, of 1 Dawson Place, Batavia, is charged with violation of probation. Starks was arrested on a warrant issued out of Batavia City Court and jailed on $2,500 bail.

Nicholas A. Antonucci, 23, of 4192 Broadway Road, Alexander, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and failure to stop for stop sign. Following a report of an erratic driver, in which the caller provided a license plate and direction of travel, Antonucci was observed by Officer Matt Fleming allegedly running a stop sign. Antonucci allegedly failed a field sobriety test. He was arrested and later released to a family member.

Jonathan James Langenfeld, 29, of Canandagua Street, Leicester, is charged with burglary, 1st. Langenfeld is accused of entering a residence illegally and remaining there and then allegedly assaulting the new boyfriend of his estranged girlfriend.

Jon J. Reynolds, 35, of Wood Road, Bergen, is charged with stalking, 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child. Reynolds was taken into custody by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 3:41 p.m., Sunday. No further details released.

April 26, 2011 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, fire, Alabama.

At 10:54 p.m., a house fire was reported at 465 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

The house was unoccupied.

A passerby saw flames coming from inside the house and notified neighboring homeowners who called 9-1-1.

No word on the damage to the house, but responders last night reported the house was fully involved and no interior firefighters were used to battle the blaze.

Alabama and Indian Falls fire departments were initially dispatched, with mutual aid from Akron, Batavia, Newstead and Pembroke. Also responding were Genesee County Emergency Services, the Sheriff's Office and Mercy EMS.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(initial report)

April 25, 2011 - 11:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, fire, Alabama.

A house fire has been reported 465 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

Alabama and Indian Falls fire departments dispatched. Akron is asked to fill in at Indian Falls' hall.

The fire was called in by the resident and a neighbor.

UPDATE 11:02 p.m.: Bloomingdale Road is partially flooded. Units told to respond with caution. A chief on scene reports a full involved structure fire. A second alarm requested.

UPDATE 11:19 p.m.: City's FAST team was dispatched, but now put back in service. Alabama chief reports that there will be no interior firefighters used on this fire.

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April 25, 2011 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, K-9, Sheriff's Office, Brian Thompson.

Deputy Brian Thompson's new partner has convinced him to keep working a couple of years longer.

Thompson was considering retirement in December, but then "Pharoah" came into his life.

The 8-year-old, 80 pound, Czech Shepherd was donated to the Sheriff's Office by the Niagara Falls PD and handler Michael Bird after K-9 "Finn" was retired due to a medical condition.

Thompson has nothing but praise for Pharoah, who he described as a great tracker, good with children and an excellent drug detection dog.

"When we get a chance to use him for tracking, we're going to find some bad guys andhopefully find some people who might be missing," Thompson said.

Already, Pharoah is making an impact in the fight against illegal drugs in Genesee County, according to Thompson.

"He's had some awesome drug finds so far that led us into some pretty good arrests, in the Class B felony range," Thompson said. "That inspires me."

It inspires him, Thompson said, to keep going for the sake of the community.

He thinks local law enforcement has been making good progress so far in fighting meth and crack in the community.

"Hopefully, some people will be put back on their heels to say, 'I don't want to deal drugs in Genesee County -- they're catching a lot of people there,'" Thompson said. "We can clean this town up. I love this place. It's the greatest place to live in the world."

Pharoah is trained to alert on methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, hashish and ecstasy.

He is also trained to track human scents, both in the open and in confined areas, and trained for handler protection and criminal apprehension.

The K-9 program's vet bills, medications and non-handler kenneling are paid for from a K-9 fund set up with community and business donations, including an original substantial donation by Ken Barrett Chevrolet several years ago. All equipment for the K-9 program also comes from the fund, and when Pharoah retires in a couple of years, a new K-9 will need to be purchased from the fund, which has been dwindling over the years, Thompson said.

He said he's confident, when the time comes, the community will come through to offer continued support of the Sheriff's K-9 program.

April 25, 2011 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Grand Jury.

Patrick J. Donahue is indicted on a charge of rape in the first degree. Donahue is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion on Jan. 10, 2010.

Frank J. Bieniek is indicted on charges of grand larceny, 3rd, and criminal possesion of stolen property, 3rd. Bieniek is accused of stealing a .45-caliber flintlock rifle from the Holland Land Office Museum on Dec. 10, 2010.

Jorge Portugal-Pineda is indicted on charges of felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and a felony of aggravated unlicensed operation. Portugal-Pineda is accused of driving drunk on Dec. 28, 2010 on Transit Road in the Town of Byron.

April 25, 2011 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke.

The Sheriff's Office is looking for help identifying the owner of a green pickup truck possibly involved in a minor-injury accident on Route 77 at Gabbey Road earlier today.

The truck apparently pulled into traffic from Gabbey Road onto Route 77 at about 11:29 a.m.

A passenger in a car headed southbound on Route 77 grabbed the wheel of the car and turned the car to the right in order to avoid a collision. The car went off the road and its undercarriage was damaged.

The only information on the truck is that is was full-sized and green.

The truck, which continued northbound, was not struck.

The driver of the car, a 2003 Ford SUV, Maria C. Valentin, 35, of Normal Avenue, Buffalo, suffered a minor injury, but did not require transport to a hospital.

The passenger, Wilson J. Alvarado, 38, was not injured.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.  

Anybody with information about the accident can contact Parker at (585) 343-5000 or [email protected].

April 25, 2011 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press Release:

The City of Batavia has been notified by the New York State Department that it has been awarded a $266,508 New York State Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program Grant. Please see

The city applied to the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program for $266,508 to develop a Nomination Study for a 250-acre area downtown that has the potential for redevelopment. 

The primary community revitalization objectives to be achieved by this project include the redevelopment of underutilized, vacant and Brownfield properties, cleanup of contaminated properties, continued revitalization of the downtown business district and neighborhood stabilization.

Anticipated community benefits resulting from this project include the creation of jobs, private and public reinvestment, increased tax revenue and increased property values. The expected time frame for completion of this project is 24 months.

April 25, 2011 - 4:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC.

GCC makes a substantial contribution to the regional economy, according to a new study that will be presented at a public meeting at 1 p.m., Wednesday, in the Conable Technology Building.

The direct impact of college spending, salaries and goods and services is more than $22 million, according to the study, and former students add another $104 million.

Since 1966, 22,000 people have earned degrees and certificates from GCC. The lifetime earnings of a GCC graduate is $415,700 more than a peer with only a high school diploma.

About 70 percent of GCC's graduates remain in the GLOW region.

GCC's overall fiscal impact on the GLOW region is about 2.5 percent of the total economy.

To assist in arranging seating and refreshments, please RSVP attendance to the "The Economic Impact of Genesee Community College" presentation to Patty Hume in the External Affairs office at (585) 345-6809 or [email protected].

Full press release after the jump:

April 25, 2011 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Press Release from GCEDC:

On April 14, during a board meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) a resolution to approve the Draft Generic Impact Statement (DGEIS) for the Western New York Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park was approved. The DGEIS has been completed and accepted by the GCEDC as Lead Agency for the proposed action.

On February 10, reports to the public of the preliminary findings of the DGEIS were presented at a public information meeting at the Town of Alabama Fire Hall.

The completed DGEIS, which was approved by the GCEDC board, includes an economic impact study, environmental studies, master plan update, traffic impact study, utility plan summary, proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment and farmland protection plan. The contents of the completed DGEIS have not changed significantly from what was presented in February.

The proposed action being examined by the DGEIS is the construction and operation of approximately 6.1 million square feet of advanced technology manufacturing and ancillary facilities, along with on-site utility improvements, on 1,337.20 acres of land in the Town of Alabama.

The WNY STAMP site is located along New York State highways 77 and 63, approximately 5 miles north of the I-90 New York State Thruway. The proposed action will involve rezoning the property pursuant to the Town of Alabama Zoning Laws. 

According to the DGEIS the buildable area of the WNY STAMP project is 46 percent of the entire site. The remainder of the land would remain as open space. The intent of the master plan design is to blend the manufacturing park into the existing fabric of the community.

The Hamlet of Alabama is separated from the STAMP site by a subtle ridgeline and gracious landscape setbacks from existing uses. As part of the open space system, only 9.5 acres of wetlands would be impacted by the current design, and the site will retain its rural nature.

The park will be built to high-tech industry standards, in line with employee expectations, and will respect its surrounding context and environment. 

The WNY STAMP site has seen several interested companies who were looking for locations on the East Coast and close to Canada. The companies were excited about the site, but it was not “shovel-ready” enough for their purposes.

“Planning, preparing and developing a shovel-ready site designed for appropriate industries, and having local community approval will help to secure companies at the WNY STAMP site,” stated Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC.

"Developing the necessary infrastructure to attract investment from outside the region is one of the most important roles that the GCEDC takes on for our county. A site zoned for a particular purpose, where a company can begin building quickly, at the speed of business, is the best way to bring jobs to our community.”

A public hearing is scheduled for May 12 at the Town of Alabama Fire Hall. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m., and residents are welcome to attend and comment on the DGEIS. Postcards will be sent to the residents of the Town of Alabama next week as a reminder of the meeting. 

Copies of the DGEIS are available at <>, in print at the GCEDC offices, located at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia, and at the Town of Alabama office.

April 25, 2011 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, golf.

Submitted by GCC Golf Coach Tom Tucker:

The GCC Golf team placed 2nd at the 2011 Western NY Athletic Conference Championship. Matt Ferdinand was named 1st Team All Star, Corey Kocent and Mark DeCook get the nod as 2nd Team All Stars.

On Saturday, the GCC Golf team competed in the Western NY Conference Championship at a soggy Willowbrook golf course in Lockport. On an unseasonably warm and sunny day, GCC finished second to MCC once again, as they posted a 323 score to MCC’s 299.

Matt Ferdinand, a second-year player at GCC, was named a WNYAC  First Team All Star with a fine score of 78, GCC’s Corey Kocent, a former Batavia High School standout, was named a Second Team All Star with an 80, and Mark DeCook shot a season low 81, which also got him onto the Second Team All Star squad. Kyle Harman rounded out GCC’s scoring with an 84, and Adam Bishop also competed for GCC.

The tournament medalist was MCC’s Anthony Colosi with a 73.

On Friday, the GCC team travelled to Highland Park GC in Auburn, NY, for the Cayuga CC Invitational.

GCC finished a disappointing fourth in an 11-team field shooting 331, as, to a man, they just couldn't seem to figure out the greens. Tee to green GCC played strong during tough conditions, but they left a higher finish on the short grass. Kyle Harman and Matt Ferdinand each shot 81, Corey Kocent shot 83, Alex Muench and Mark DeCook each shot 86, and Adam Bishop also participated.

MCC won the event with a score of 307, Onondoga CC finished second with 318, and Mohawk Valley finished third with a 323.

GCC plays Friday at the Corning CC Invitational at the Corning Country Club in Corning, NY, and on Sunday at the Tompkins Cortland CC  Invitational at the Elm Tree Golf Club in Cortland, NY.

Photo: GCC's Corey Kocent, former Batavia High standout golfer, blasts from a buried lie under the lip of a trap on hole # 4 at the Highland Park GC in Auburn, NY, during the Cayuga CC Invitational on Friday. Kocent got the shot up and down on his way to an 83.

April 25, 2011 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, urban renewal.

A young C.M. Barons -- regular contributor to The Batavian and former State Assembly candidate -- was a journalism student at GCC when the north side of Main Street, Batavia, was demolished to make way for the Genesee Country Mall.

Over the weekend, Barons found his old photos for a story he did in college.

The bottom photo is of David J. Gordon, who was the urban renewal planner in charge of the project. Barons sent it along in case anybody needed new dart board material.

April 25, 2011 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

An ATV rider suffered a broken leg while riding at an ATV race track on Halstead Road, Alexander, on Saturday.

Michael A. Royce, 22, of 4073 Four Rod Road, East Aurora, was driving the ATV over a jump. When the ATV landed, Royce was ejected and the ATV landed on his right knee.

Royce was transported by ambulance to an area hospital (not identified in the report).

The accident was reported at 7:41 p.m. and was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.




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