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September 29, 2012 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, bergen, alpacas.

Laura DiPasquala, center of the photo, got her wish today -- she visited an Alpaca farm.

The DiPasquala's said they've driven past the Northwoods Alpaca Farm in Bergen many times, but today was the perfect day to stop. Owners Belinda and Bob Grant were hosting an open house.

Northwoods is part of a tour of Alpaca farm tour in Western New York (the open house continues on Sunday) aimed at promoting alpaca fiber (it's not called fur) for clothing and promoting alpaca farming to increase the number of growers in the nation.

Alpaca fiber is known for its soft texture, moisture resistance, warmth and comfort.

The Grants have operated Northwoods for about eight years.

Laura and Rich DiPasquala are from Greece.

September 29, 2012 - 10:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Le Roy PD is chasing an individual, now on foot, though the chase initially involved a vehicle and was largely contained to streets in the village.

The subject is now on foot heading toward the Royal Apartments.

A deputy has spotted an individual in the woods off Gilbert.

We didn't hear how or why the chase started.

UPDATE 10:08 p.m.: A deputy has the subject in custody and his walking him toward Gilbert.

UPDATE 10:10 p.m.: A Le Roy officer involved in the vehicle chase has requested a tow truck to Le Roy Village Square.

UPDATE 10:17 p.m.: It sounds like the subject is in custody. Possible charges include unlicensed operation and unlawful possession of marijuana.

UPDATE 10:38 p.m.: The chase began with an attempted routine traffic stop on Route 19 at about 10 p.m. The green 1997 Chevy pickup truck made a left on Summit heading south at 39 mph. The vehicle is registered to a village resident. The driver was described as a white male. From Summit, the vehicle turned on Union, back toward Route 19. From Route 19 to Munson. The truck then went north on Gilbert, from Gilbert to Myrtle Street, then left on Craigie heading toward Route 5. On 5, the vehicle head westbound. An officer stated, "he's just playing games. He's back in Village Square" behind the American Legion Hall. It was shortly after going to Village Square that the suspect exited the vehicle and started running.

September 29, 2012 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports.

When Batavia scheduled Hornell for its homecoming game some people thought it was crazy, Head Coach Brennan Briggs admitted after last night's 30-14 loss to the Raiders.

Hornell came into the game with a 43-game winning streak and is arguably the best team in the state of New York in any class.

But at the half, with the score tied 14-14, and the Blue Devils' defense coming up big on some key plays, it didn't look so crazy.

The theme for the team all week in preparing for the game, Briggs said, was "great moments come from great opportunities."

The second half didn't go as well for Batavia, but Briggs came out of the game believing the Blue Devils, in his first season as head coach, are ready to play with anybody.

"These kids showed they can come out and play with the best and compete with them," Briggs said. "Yes, obviously, we got beat by 16. We’re not super excited about getting beat by 16, but we know we can play with them. We really do."

Justin Washington and Brett Scheuerlein had big games for the Blue Devils.

Washington snagged an interception in the first quarter and returned it 30 yards for a TD. He also nabbed a 20-yard reception from Scheuerlein in the second quarter for a touchdown (top photo).

Scheuerlein was 7 for 12 passing for 93 yards.

The Raiders played a tight, disciplined defense all night however and the Blue Devils were forced to punt four times in the second half.

In the third quarter, Brendan Buisch hit Richie Harkenrider on a 40-yard TD play. A Batavia defender got a hand on the ball as Buisch hauled it in, but when he couldn't strip it, there was nobody between Harkenrider and the end zone.

With the lead, the Raiders turned their offense over to Zach Bacon, their big, strong full back, who wasn't unstoppable (defenders a couple of times took him down for losses), but could also shake off tackles (or jump over) and get big gains.

In the fourth quarter, Bacon (#40 in photos)  scored on a 50-yard run, just plowing through blue jersies for the first 20 yards like a combine in a cornfield.

"The kid’s a stud," Briggs said. "You can’t really coach against that. You do what you can against him, but he’s one heck of a football player."

In preparing the Blue Devils for Hornell, Briggs reminded them that 31 years ago, Batavia (Correction: It was Notre Dame) snapped Cal-Mum's 49-game winning streak on Woodward Field.

"I told them, 'this field's made for breaking winning streaks,' " Briggs said.

While the final score was disappointing, Briggs said the game will give Batavia great confidence going into the final two games of the season and into, hopefully, sectionals.

"We know that if we continue with the same intensity, the same enthusiasm, the same execution, we can have a great ending to our season," Briggs said.

In other football action on Friday:

  • Le Roy's winning streak was snapped by Perry, 44-36. Perry's QB Cory Dillon hit Jake Kiehle on a fourth-down, less than two minutes to play, 11-yard TD pass to put Perry in the lead. Dillon passed for 299 yards and 4 TDs. He was 25 of 40 passing. Perry, now 4-1, last beat Le Roy in 1991. Peter Privitera carried the ball 18 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Le Roy is now 4-1.
  • Notre Dame is 4-1 after beating Pembroke 35-7. Andrew Mullen carried the ball 14 times for 180 yards and one TD. Jason Hart also scored on the ground and had 13 attempts for 14 yards. (Nick Taylor apparently did not play Friday). Tim McCulley was 4-7 passing for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Hart had one TD reception of 12 yards. Josh Johnson's only reception was for a 46-yard TD, and Jared Thornton's lone catch was for a 29-yard score. John Lapple notched Notre Dame's only sack. He had three tackles. Anthony Paladino had 5.5 tackles. Peter Thomas had 10.5 tackles for Pembroke.

This afternoon, Oakfield-Alabama is at Elba/Byron Bergen and Alexander hosts Holley. The other game of significance is Attica at Livonia. Both Elba/BB and Attica are undefeated. The Genesee Region rivals meet next week.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

September 29, 2012 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Sponsored Post, advertisement, contests.

In Week 3, Robert Tretter was among 13 people who correctly picked Arian Foster of Houston as the top rusher (amongh players eligible for picking) in the NFL.

Tretter wins a prize from T.F. Brown's.

To enter this week's contest (deadline is tomorrow at 1 p.m.), click here.

September 28, 2012 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Four men, including two with reputed ties to the Hell's Angels, were convicted by a jury in Federal Court today of stealing scrap metal in Batavia.

Convicted of conspiracy to steal an interstate shipment and theft of an interstate shipment were Richard E. Riedman, 39, of Webster, Anthony Toscano, 47, of Rochester, Anthony J. Russell, 39, of Rochester and Timothy M. Stone, 32, of Chili.

Riedman and Stone were indicted in April 2011 on federal racketeering charges for their part in an alleged plot to help James Henry McAuley Jr. (aka "Mitch"), 62, an alleged Hell's Angel vice president, avoid apprehension for an alleged assault on a person viewed as a threat to the motorcycle club.

McAuley is married to 45-year-old Donna L. Boon (aka Donna L. McAuley), a Town of Batavia resident, who was first arrested in July 2009 as an alleged member of a methamphetamine ring headed by Donald G. Vanelli, 48, of 8394 Lake St., Le Roy. Vanelli is currently serving a lengthy federal prison sentence, but the original charges against Boon were later dropped.

In February, Boon, along with Riedman, was re-arrested by federal authorities and accused of being part of a meth distribution ring.

All of those charges are still pending.

Riedman, Toscano, Russell and Stone face a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The four men, along with Christopher Monfort, who was previously convicted in the case, were caught June 30 by Sheriff's deputies using a logging truck and pickup truck to steal more than 16 tons of scrap steel from a rail car at the CSX Transportation yard in Batavia, along with 17 tons of processed scrap steel.

The stolen scrap was awaiting shipment to a steel mill in Pennsylvania.

The federal case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey.

Sentencing is scheduled for January.

September 28, 2012 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has just launched its newly redesigned Web site at www.GeneseeNY.com. Web site visitors will notice easier navigation in finding relevant community information, such as census data, major employers, employment information, as well as an easier to search chamber member database.  

Key upgrades were made to the Community Calendar section and adding interactive functionality. The new site also allows users to easily print the data they find on the site. 

The chamber is currently seeking updates to the popular Clubs & Organizations directory for Genesee County.  Please visit the Community section of the new site to see if your club or organization's data is listed. If it is not listed, we need your updated contact information.

September 28, 2012 - 2:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke.

Nabbed through DNA evidence in May for a Dec. 15 break-in of a Town of Batavia home, a 19-year-old Buffalo man entered a guilty plea in Genesee County Court today and faces up to seven years in prison.

Steven Carnell McKnight, already sentenced to a prison term of one to three years for an unrelated crime in Erie County, will be sentenced Oct. 15.

McKnight will be sentenced on two charges. There's today's guilty plea on second- degree attempted burglary, plus an earlier plea to the same charge for a break-in Dec. 14 in the Town of Pembroke.

All three sentences -- Erie County, Pembroke and Batavia -- will be served concurrently.

The entire sentence range, from probation up to seven years in prison, is available to Judge Robert C. Noonan. McKnight could have been sentenced today under the plea arrangement, but there is paperwork that must be completed first.

September 28, 2012 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, muckdogs, sports.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs and Miami Marlins today announced the signing of a new two-year Player Development Contract through at least the 2014 New York-Penn League season. A joint announcement was made by Marlins Farm Director Brian Chattin and Brian Paris, president of the Genesee County Baseball Club, the non-for-profit that owns the Batavia Muckdogs franchise.

The agreement ends a six-year affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals, who signed a two-year agreement with the State College Spikes last week. The Marlins had been affiliated with the Jamestown Jammers since 2002. During that time, the Jammers posted a combined record of 370-451 (.451), with two post-season appearances.

“We are excited to have the Miami Marlins as our new affiliate. I look forward to developing a relationship with them and to welcome them into our community. The Marlins are a fine organization that brings with them solid baseball experience and good people. This is a good fit for us as we enter our 74th season of baseball in Batavia. On behalf of the entire community and the Genesee County Baseball Club, we are anxious to get started with another year of professional baseball in Batavia,” Paris said.

“We’re very pleased to sign a new working relationship between Batavia and the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are everything a Minor League franchise could hope for in an affiliation. They also understand how important small town Minor League Baseball is to the Batavia Community and we can’t wait to play host to some extremely talented young players,” said Naomi Silver, president and CEO of Red Wings Management, LLC, the company which has managed the Muckdogs since 2008.

"The Miami Marlins are very excited to begin an affiliation with the Batavia Muckdogs. With its rich baseball history, supportive front office and loyal fan base, Batavia will be the ideal place for our players and staff to call home each summer,” the Marlins' Chattin said. “The Marlins are proud to have Batavia as our player development partner and look forward to a long and productive partnership together."

The Muckdogs are one of seven affiliates in the Marlins’ player development system, joining the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA/Pacific Coast League), Jacksonville Suns (AA/Southern League), Jupiter Hammerheads (Advanced A/Florida State League), Greensboro Grasshoppers (A/South Atlantic League), Dominican Summer League Marlins (Rookie) and Gulf Coast League Marlins (Rookie).

September 28, 2012 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools.

Press release:

The Batavia City School District Board of Education’s Public Relations Committee continues to explore cost-effective ways to increase communication with the public and is looking to expand the amount of coverage of district news and accomplishments, the methods of delivery, and opportunities for interaction and feedback.

To help with this, a survey was developed to gather input from a full spectrum of Batavians -- including parents, students, staff, business leaders, and all other community members. The short survey asks about preferences in terms of what kind of communication is important as well as what are the most accessible means for receiving information and responding to district news.

In addition to the survey being available on the district Web site where it can be completed in a few minutes (http://www.bataviacsd.org/news.cfm?story=958&school=0), a paper copy has been included in all school newsletters and will be in the A+ Batavia Communicator newsletter scheduled to be in district residents’ mailboxes the first weekend of November.

Completed surveys can be returned to any school office, mailed to the Administration Building (39 Washington Ave.) or to the high school (260 State St.), which is where administrative offices are moving. Please mark envelopes with “Attn: Public Relations Committee.”    

Communication with the community we serve is important; we hope you will take a few minutes to share your thoughts so we can better serve you.

September 28, 2012 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, farm bureau.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C–Batavia) was recently named to the New York State Farm Bureau’s 2012 Circle of Friends. The organization awarded Hawley for his voting record on issues of importance to New York agriculture and other measures of legislative support. The assemblyman, a past president of the Farm Bureau, reiterated his commitment to New York’s hardworking family farmers.

“Here in Western New York, farming isn’t just a cornerstone of our economy; it’s a way life,” Hawley said. “Having grown up in a farming family, I understand both the economic benefits and cultural significance that agriculture offers all of our lives.

"That is why for the last 35 years, as a former president and member of the Farm Bureau, I have worked tirelessly to promote agribusiness. I look forward to continuing my work with the Farm Bureau and joining with my Assembly Committee on Agriculture colleagues to further New York’s proud farming traditions.”

The Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, volunteer organization financed and controlled by member-families for the purpose of solving economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural industry.

September 27, 2012 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire.

It's red. It's shiny. It's big. And it's in service.

Though Engine 11, Batavia's newest fire truck, has been dispatched on a call or two in the past week, but at 4 p.m. today it officially went in service.

Purchase of the $342,000 fire truck was approved by the city council in April using funds specifically set aside for the fire department.

Engine 11 replaces Engine 14, which was retired due to escalating repair costs to keep it up to standards.

September 27, 2012 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Friday, Sept. 28, at approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area north of West Main Street and west of Bank Street.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.

September 27, 2012 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

A deputy has been dispatched to Coe Avenue in Oakfield to investigate the report of an adult kicking a puppy that is tied to a tree.

September 27, 2012 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Press release:

The Le Roy Police Department is asking for assistance in identifying the white female in these surveillance photographs as a forgery suspect who has allegedly passed numerous forged checks in numerous locations n Genesee, Monroe and Ontario counties.

If you can identify this female, please contact Detective John Condidorio of the Le Roy Police Department at 585-768-2527, ext. 2219, or Investigator John Falbo of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department at 585-396-4628.

September 27, 2012 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Wiss Hotel.

Le Roy's Wiss Hotel, often referred to as a lost cause, may yet be saved.

A group of citizens pooled their resources and hired Perry-based revitalization expert Rick Hauser to conduct a feasibility study on whether the Wiss could once again be a viable business.

Hauser's short answer: Yes.

Though an expensive proposition, the old hotel building is structurally sound enough to be restored and the resulting mix of retail space and apartments would provide a return on investment.

Hauser's report suggests creating a limited liability corporation that would take the lead on the project.

Funds would come from investors -- both cash and in-kind (such as a plumber doing work in exchange for shares in the company -- tax abatement and a no-interest loan from the village.

Rather than spending upwards of $400,000 to destroy the Wiss and remediate any existing environmental problems, the money would help seed the restoration and rebirth of the building at the corner of Route 19 and Route 5, the west-end entry into the village.

The village would also need to apply for and receive National Register Historic District designation that includes the building.

The financial analysis also assumes a 10-year PILOT grant from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Hauser's feasibility study proposes four retail spaces on the first floor and five large, high-ceiling, light-filled, market-rate apartments -- ranging in size from 800 to nearly 1,400 square feet -- on the second and third floors.

Under such a plan, at 100-percent occupancy, the building would eventually turn over $34,000 in annual net profit.

There was little discussion of the report -- which wasn't an item on the agenda -- at the village board meeting Wednesday night.

Supporters of the project said they just wanted to get the report in the hands of trustees quickly, before the village committed to destruction of the building.

September 27, 2012 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, robbins nest.

It's been two years since local businessman Pete McQuillen decided to build a senior housing project on property he owns in the Village of Le Roy. The approval process has taken about a year longer than he expected.

And it's still not approved.

The final approval must come from the village board of trustees, but with two members of the five-person board declining to participate in the decision, the trustees are barred by local law from taking a vote.

In response, Village Attorney Laurence W. Boylan (photo: top inset) has drafted a proposed change to the law that would give trustees the authority to move forward.

A public hearing was held Wednesday night on the proposal and village residents expressed both a willingness to support the change, mainly for McQuillen's sake, and opposition.

McQuillen's plan is to build 26 homes on 13.1 acres east of Robbins Road and south of Filmore Street, with prices ranging from $130,000 to $160,000, and sold as part of a planned community to seniors.

Opposition to the project has come primarily from residents of Robbins Road (where McQuillen also lives), led primarily by Town Supervisor Stephen Barbeau (photo: bottom inset) and resident David Boyce. Barbeau and Boyce brought a lawsuit against the village that effectively overturns the board's previous approval of the project.

In order for the project to go forward, the village board must approve a zoning change to what's known as a planned unit development (PUD).

Because more than 20 percent of the residents in the immediate area signed a petition opposing the change, under current village law, it takes approval from four of the five trustees (known as a "super majority") to make the change.

Two trustees -- Bob Taylor and Mike Tucci -- have said they have a conflict of interest and recused themselves from making a decision, and voting, on the project.

With two members not participating, the remaining three trustees can't even vote on the issue, let alone achieve the super majority necessary for approval.

The proposed change in the zoning code would allow for a simple majority vote (only three yes votes required).

However, the change in the law would effect all requests for zoning changes in the future, and some at Wedensday's meeting -- even those who support McQuillen -- said that could open a potential Pandora's Box of unintended consequences.

Residents would lose some power to block unwanted zoning changes.

"We're supposed to be governed by law and not by men," Hank Barbeau said. "What you're trying to do here, it seems to me, is adjust the law to make it fit the man. It's that simple to me. Am I that ignorant that I can't see it? That's a very shrewd way, some might say, to get your way."

McQuillen noted that his proposal has been reviewed and removed by various agencies and boards nearly a dozen times and has received very little opposition from officials. If at any time he had been told no, the project would have ended, but officials have never found a reason to object to the project.

Now the project is in limbo because of the village board's inability to act and he's losing money. He needs to do some things to keep the project moving forward, but is hesitant to spend more money given the present circumstance.

"To come back and be told the board doesn't have a quorum would just be flushing money," McQuillen said.

Several residents implored Taylor (photo: middle inset) and Tucci to drop their recusals and participate in a vote.

Attorney Boylan has said that while a board member is free to recuse himself on a vote he feels he has a conflict with, the actual state law requiring recusal is very narrow and specific and he doesn't see it applying to Taylor and Tucci.

After repeated requests from residents for reconsideration by Taylor and Tucci, Tucci spoke up and said he feels he has a clear conflict of interest.

David Boyce is his boss and controls his compensation. He also has an employment contract with Tompkins Financial Corp. that requires him not to participate in any decision on the board in which he has a financial interest. He offered his code and conduct and employment contract up for any other attorney to review to see if it says something other than what he believes it says.

"I would love to hear another opinion on the matter," Tucci said. "It's pretty simple to me. It's inappropriate for me to vote on this knowing these facts."

The first time Robbins Nest came to the village board for approval, Taylor did vote on it. He voted no, and though he feels he cast his vote in good conscience, some residents accused him of voting no only because Steve Barbeau his is nephew.

That pressure convinced him that if his vote couldn't be viewed as impartial, he should not participate in the decision.

"People who know me know I wouldn't vote for him just because he's a relative," Taylor said. "You ask my nephew. I haven't always voted for him all these times. He's not always right."

As the discussion continued, Taylor expressed some willingness to reconsider his recusal, but Boylan said that may not be possible. He said he will need to research whether it's legal for an elected official who has recused himself from an issue to reenter the discussion.

Barbeau expressed frustration with people he believes pressured Taylor over his previous vote and now complain about him recusing himself.

"You know who you are," Barbeau said.

The proposed change in the law will now go to the county planning board for review. It will then come back to the village board for a possible vote. No date has been set yet for the vote.

September 27, 2012 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced that the United States Department of Labor (DOL), at her urging, will begin accepting online applications for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program on Dec. 10.

“I am pleased to announce today that farmers in Western New York and across the country will be able to utilize the new electronic filing system for H-2A visas by the end of this year. This reform will save time and money for taxpayers and farmers and will go a long way toward ensuring our fruit and vegetable growers have the help they need to plant and harvest their crops, expand production, and grow their businesses here in Western New York,” Rep. Hochul said.

“This change is a welcomed one for New York farmers who depend on timely and accurate information when it comes to securing the workforce their farms require. It is imperative as each harvest approaches that family farms have the ability to hire the workers they need in order to have a successful season. We appreciate the work that has been done on our farmer members’ behalf to modernize the H-2A hiring process,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.

“The new online filing system for H-2A visas will streamline this process, cutting burdensome red tape,” said Maureen Torrey of Torrey Farms. “I thank Rep. Hochul for her efforts to modernize this program, and bring efficiencies to farmers across Western New York.”

Last summer, Hochul met with Deputy Labor Secretary Seth Harris and farmers from throughout Western New York to discuss concerns with the H-2A program, including the need to make the application system available online. Hochul also pushed Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to modernize the H-2A visa program and met with Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerri Fiala to stress the importance of this reform.

In addition, Rep. Hochul has actively worked to expand the H-2A program to include dairy farmers, who are currently prohibited from participating due to the industry’s year-round demands. Rep. Hochul has introduced bipartisan legislation to allow dairy farmers to participate in the H-2A program, to ensure Western New York dairy farms have adequate labor to increase production and meet the needs of the booming Greek Yogurt industry.

Nearly all of New York's 35,000 farms are family owned – making agricultural one of New York's top small-business industries – and making the need for a user-friendly, online H-2A application system even more critical.

September 27, 2012 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in drugs.

Unused and unneeded prescription pills left laying around the house or stored in a medicine cabinet are a potential stepping stone to drug addiction, area law enforcement officials warned in a press conference at the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.

Drugs -- prescription or not -- need to be properly disposed of, which is why officials are once again conducting a region-wide drug takeback event this Saturday.

"We want (parents and grandparents) to know that saving your prescription drugs is dangerous," said Dale M. Kasprzyk, resident agent in charge for the DEA. "Treat those drugs like a loaded gun. Be careful with them. Bring them to us. Let us dispose of them in a really safe fashion and let's reduce the risk to young people."

Led by U.S. Attorney for Western New York William Hochul, local authorities all shared the same message: Not only are opiate-based prescription drugs, such as hydrocodone and oxycontin -- highly addictive and potential killers, the drugs are a gateway to illicit drugs such as heroin.

"Some teenagers think because it comes in a pill bottle that mom or dad had and it was made by a pharmaceutical company and prescribed by a doctor, maybe it isn’t quite as dangerous as it really is, in effect," Hochul said. "Maybe children know, heroine or cocaine, stay away from that, and they do, until they get hooked on what they began (using) by thinking it was a legitimate product."

Le Roy Detective John Condidorio said a local mother recently died following an overdose on prescription pills. It was a devastating event for her family, he said.

"As a person who works the streets regularly, these are the things we do see," Condidorio said. "When we talk about the dangers of these narcotics, these prescription pills, not only do we see people being harmed, because people want to rob them of them, we also see family members suffering the loss of other family members."

Officials warned that such drugs become available when parents and grandparents leave unused and unneeded drugs around the house. The supply is increased by doctors who over-prescribe painkillers and insurance-required mail-order prescriptions, which often require, say, a three-month supply of pills even when only a supply for a week or two is needed.

Sometimes a family winds up with bags full of pills when a loved one dies after a long battle with a terminal disease.

All of these pills -- they need not be in their original container -- can be dropped off at one of four locations on Saturday -- or any day of the week -- no questions asked.

  • Batavia PD, 10 W. Main St., Batavia
  • Le Roy PD, 3 W. Main St., Le Roy
  • Pembroke Town Highway Barns, Route 5 and Route 77
  • Batavia Barracks, State Police, West Saile Drive, Batavia

The State Police location is a permanent, no-questions-asked drop box inside the foyer of the barracks, and Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch noted that his department, along with all of the other agencies in the county will accept unused and unneeded medications any day of the week and ensure the pills are disposed of properly.

Another reason to properly dispose of medications is simply flushing them down the toilet can be an environmental hazard and Hochul and Kasprzyk encouraged residents to bring all types of medications -- including over the counter medications -- to the drop-off points for proper disposal.

The drugs will be safely incinerated, Hochul said, minimizing the environmental danger.

Hochul praised local residents, particularly in Genesee County, for working with local officials to address drug issues.

He cited in particular the crackdown on illegal meth labs in 2009 and 2010 and the effort to stem the flow of so-called "bath salts" in the county.

"Whatever the issue, if people see something and they say something, these officers do something," Hochul said.

Meth production locally has been greatly reduced since a series of raids a couple of years ago, Sheriff Gary Maha said, and the reports of incidents involved suspected "bath salt" use have dropped to nearly nothing since July, when a local retail outlet suspected of selling the drugs was raided by the DEA.

Hochul said he hopes that if residents suspect illicit drug activity of any kind, they will continue to report it to local authorities, and if it's the kind of issue federal law enforcement needs to get involved with, his office and the DEA are ready to help.

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

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