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September 20, 2011 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, food.

The menu of great local restaurant choices in Batavia grew a bit today with the opening of Salsa and Curry on Jackson Street (former location of Margarita's Mexican Restaurant).

Owners Deena Rathod (right) and daughters Anvpa Hirani (left) and Priya Rathod have opened with just a Mexican food menu for now, but starting Friday will offer daily Indian food specials.

If the Indian food goes over well -- and several of the first customers in the restaurant today asked for Indian food -- then the menu will be expanded.

"If there is demand for it, we'll bring in more Indian food," Deena said. "We'll add it to the menu, but for now we're trying it on a limited basis."

With no previous Indian food restaurant in Batavia to judge the curry-and-spice offerings of the cuisine, the Rathods want to see how much demand there is for Indian menu items.

The Rathods have made a significant investment in remodeling the interior of the former Margarita's, reconfiguring the space, putting in new flooring, booths, tables and chairs.

"I've always wanted to open a restaurant," Deena said. "I have a passion for food and I like to make different dishes. In the past, when I've made different dishes for family and friends, they all enjoyed it."

Deena said many customers who have come into Mr. Wine and Liquor -- which her family also owns -- since Margarita's closed have urged her and her family to open a restaurant, especially an Indian restaurant (the building on Jackson is owned by Deena and her husband, Kevin).

The opportunity seemed ripe to go ahead and give it a try, Deena said.

September 20, 2011 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba.

A two-car, personal injury accident has been reported at the intersection of Lockport Road and Route 98.

Fire police are shutting down traffic on Route 98 and Old Route 98.

Elba Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.: More EMTs requested to the scene.

September 20, 2011 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, roads.

When it comes to roads, there isn't much good news for the county, according to Tim Hens, highway superintendent.

There simply isn't money available for basic maintenance and with the cuts expected to the county budget, the county may not have the manpower this winter to operate snow plows.

The past several years, the towns have assisted the county as part of a shared services agreement, but the patience of town supervisors is wearing a little thin, Hens told the Public Services Committee on Monday.

"At the last meeting I got some blow back that enough is enough," Hens said.

County Manager Jay Gsell is asking all the departments in the county to cut spending by 5 percent.

For the highway department a five percent cut -- after years of trimming -- means layoffs, Hens said. That's all there is left to cut.

"Technically speaking, our staffing will be three people short of what we need to respond to a snow or ice event," Hens said.

Even if the county raises the property tax levy 2 percent, as allowed under a new state law, the increase won't even cover the anticipated rise in the county's retirement and medical expenses for 2012.

Without money to resurface roads as needed, the county has been sealing and patching cracks, Hens said, but many of the roads are well beyond these patchwork repairs.

"It's gotten to the point where even the public knows it's not the right treatment for the road," Hens said. "We get phone calls about it, but it's not like we don't know what we're doing. We have no option. There's no money and we're trying to stretch it as far as we can."

Among the cuts in the upcoming budget will be reduction painting pavement markings on county roads.

“That’s a service that people out on rural roads really depend on on a stormy night," Hens said. "That’s getting cut out."

This summer a bridge on Arnold Road in Elba had to be closed because one of the supports had completely rusted away. Funds from other bridge repairs had to be diverted to pay for the bridge to be replaced.

Several county-owned bridges now have weight limits on them that prevent fully loaded school buses from driving on them.

"Our snowplows really shouldn't be on them," Hens said.

It wasn't all bad news for the county that Hens delivered to the legislators, though.

Revenue is up about $100,000 at the county airport because of record fuel sales, and all the new hangars are leased and there's a waiting list for hangar space.

Also, a new online reservation system for county parks will make it easier for residents to book pavilions for parties and picnics.

The automated system will end the need for people to drive to the highway department facility on Cedar Street to make reservations and save about two hours per day of staff time to deal with reservations.

September 20, 2011 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, county legislature.

Underage drinkers who get caught and then ignore the ticket may soon find themselves losing their drivers' licenses.

A bill to put some teeth in underage drinking provisions got the support of the Public Service Committee of the Genesee County Legislature on Monday.

One of the biggest backers of the bill is Darien Town Justice Gary Graber, legislators noted. Graber sees hundreds of underage citations written every summer at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, but apparently few of the under-21 crowd cited ever make their scheduled court dates.

And there isn't much Graber, and other justices, can do about it, unless Assembly Bill A5722 passes.

The bill would also make it possible to suspend the driver's license of anybody given a citation for marijuana possession who doesn't appear in court.

On Monday, legislators passed a resolution urging Assembly and Senate approval of the bill.

September 19, 2011 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Pavilion, horse rescue.

After nearly two decades of caring for unwanted equines, Mike and Chris Dodge are finding it a bit harder to carry on. Since they started their efforts, initially in Ventura, Calif., they have so far saved 400 horses.

Now in declining health and grappling with a 40-percent drop in donations, the Dodge's are still doing what they can to keep their horse rescue in Pavilion going.

Sunday, they and a group of supporters and volunteers held an open house at the rescue on Dow Road. While there were many new faces, attendance was down from previous years, Mike Dodge said.

"Donations are down because of the economy, but it's that way with every non-profit," Dodge said. "Without those donations, though, we don't have the money to do what we have to with these guys."

There are 24 horses on the ranch and it costs $125 per month -- $3,000 a month total -- just to feed them. Plus there are medical bills and other expenses associated with operating the rescue.

The pasture out back hasn't been mowed for a while because the lawn mower broke.

Volunteers help, but many of them are students at SUNY Geneseo, so when school is out, there are fewer hands to clean stables and feed and water the horses.

Dodge noted that some of his volunteers have been kids who learned to ride at commercial stables and think they might to own their own horse. What they learn in volunteering, Dodge said, is that "90 percent of the care of a horse is on the ground."

Mike and Chris started horse rescue in Ventura County 18 years ago because they thought the humane society near their home didn't do a very good job.

Mike said they would put down a horse as dangerous if it kicked up its rear legs.

"That's just a horse having fun," Dodge said.

They stayed there for eight years before moving to Pavilion so Chris could be closer to her family.

In an era when many people who thought they could afford horses, now find they can't, as many as a 100,000 horses are sent to slaughter each year -- slaughtered in Mexico or Canada, because environmental regulations make it tough to run a commercial horse slaughter anywhere in the United States.

The Dodges have two horses on their way out for adoption, which is helping to make room for one horse that can no longer be cared for by its owners.

"This little girl has been riding him every day for four years, but they couldn't find a place to board him, so we're bringing him here," Dodge said. "She's a nice little girl."

While some horses do go out for adoption, so many of the animals brought to the rescue are hard to place because they're old (one horse at the rescue is 41 years old, which is like 123 to you or me), feeble (the white horse with spots pictured below is blind, but just about the friendliest horse you'll ever meet) or too ornery for hobby owners.

"Everybody wants a horse that's easy to handle," Dodge said.

Anybody who can care for the animal, handle the $125-per-month feed bill and provide it adequate pasture and shelter, is eligible to adopt a horse.

Every horse saved is another that can be saved, and that's what keeps Chris and Mike going.

"It’s strictly for the horses," Mike said. "They can’t speak for themselves. Just like dogs and cats, they need someone to speak for them, to be their voice."

The next closest rescue in New York is in Lima, where 12 horses are boarded; otherwise, there's no other horse rescue in Western New York.

Mike said he realizes with all of the horses that have been sent to slaughter over the years, 400 rescued is "just a drop in the bucket," but it's still worthwhile.

"It sure means a lot to that one horse."

Here's a video produced by somebody in Buffalo about the rescue:

For more information, visit the rescue's website.

September 19, 2011 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion.

Billy Joe Edward Murphy, 29, of Route 20, Pavilion, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. At 9:21 p.m. Saturday, Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance. During the investigation, a long gun was located inside the residence. Allegedly, because of Murphy's criminal history, he is not legally permitted to possess firearms. Murphy was issued an appearance ticket on the weapon's charge and then booked into Genesee County Jail without bail on a warrant for an unrelated matter.

Tiffany Leigh Brown, 24, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Brown is accused of throwing a Thermos at another person. The Thermos reportedly ricocheted off the other person then struck and broke a glass bottle sitting on a shelf.

September 19, 2011 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia PD issued 29 citations during a special traffic enforcement detail Thursday.

The checkpoint was set up on Oak Street near the Thruway entrance.

Among the citations issued were four to drivers of commercial vehicles.

The enforcement effort was funded by a "Selective Traffic Enforcement Program" grant issued through the governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

Earlier this summer, a traffic safety check at the same location yielded 35 citations.

September 19, 2011 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is warning local residents about a possible phone scam that is masquerading as a law enforcement call.

At lease one person in Genesee County has received a phone call threatening arrest if the person did not pay back a Payday loan.

The caller told the mark that he would be given a couple of hours to make a credit card payment or a warrant would be issued.

The caller made several calls from a 215 area code number (Pennsylvania) and at least one call had a caller ID of 9-1-1.

After the deadline passed, the mark received a phone call with a caller ID of (585) 345-3000 (the Sheriff's Office) advising him to turn himself in.

The phone call did not originate from the Sheriff's Office.

When the Sheriff's Office tried to contact the supposed company behind the collection effort, investigators were not able to verify any claim to law enforcment status.

The address given by the company for its location is a department store in Philadelphia.

September 19, 2011 - 7:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car and bus have reportedly collided in the area of 1534 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Three people in the car are reportedly injured, but there are no reported injuries on the bus.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:24 a.m.: Oakfield's ambulance on in-hall stand by for a possible response to the scene.


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September 18, 2011 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

In a battle of 1-1 teams, Elba rolled over Pembroke 46-20 behind the six TDs of Zach Dubois. The Lancers jumped out to a 18-0 first-half lead, and even with the Dragons scoring twice in the third quarter, Elba added 21 points of their own to the scoreboard.

Dubois scored three times in the first half on short runs, but really broke loose in the second half, scoring on runs of 53, 48 and 57 yards. In all, Dubois carried the ball 22 times for 296 yards.

Overall, Elba had 420 yards of offense. Elba's Matt Ramsey had three catches for 73 yards. The Dragon's QB, Cody Bedard, was 17 of 34 for 175 yards and two TDs. Wyatt Chittenden for Pembroke, 18 carries, 75 yards, eight receptions for 135 yards, two TDs.

Elba's defensive stats: Andy Boyce, 15 tackles, one sack; Matt Ramsey, seven tackles, fumble recovery returned for a TD; Cody Naylor, 10 tackles, one sack; Brandon Naylor, six tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles.

Le Roy dropped to 1-2 with a loss to Avon, 34-20. Tommy McQuillen rushed for three touchdowns for Le Roy.

Batavia also dropped to 1-2 with a 20-17 loss to Livonia. T.T. Martinez racked up 171 rushing yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Brett Scheurline was 9-for-20 for 109 yards.

Batavia visits Le Roy this Friday for a non-league game.

Alexander lost to Barker 16-7.

For our coverage at Notre Dame vs. Oakfield-Alabama, click here.

Photos by Destin Danser.

September 18, 2011 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

Charles Durkee provided photos from Saturday's training for the Byron and South Byron fire departments. Here's what he said about it:

On Saturday between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon, the Byron Fire Department hosted live fire training for their members and members of South Byron. The training was also held for members of the rescue squad as the firemen acted out burn injuries and frost injuries from the liquid propane. The training was very intense and and made the firemen realize that it's a lot harder to move in safely on a big ball of flames and try to shut down the system.

September 18, 2011 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants Wednesday, at approximately 9 a.m to  3 p.m, in the general area of Oak Street, Pickthorn Drive, Redfield Parkway, Burke Drive, Bogue Avenue, Gateway Drive, Noonan Drive, and Richmond Avenue.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These flows 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. The rain and or makeup date for flushing is Thursday, at approximately noon to 5 p.m.

September 18, 2011 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

More than 200 people attended the Batavia Kiwanis Club's auction and gala to raise funds for the Child Advocacy Center at Batavia Downs.

There were certainly a lot of laughs and some great deals were struck at the auction, which brought in more than $15,000.

The few somber minutes of the evening where just before the live auction when a video about the Child Advocacy Center turned the talkative room quiet. Watch the video below. It will give you a good idea of what the CAC is all about.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

September 18, 2011 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama.

A chimney fire is reported at 7392 Alleghany Road, Alabama.

An Alabama chief is on scene and may have discovered the fire.

Alabama fire units responding.

UPDATE 1:17 p.m.: Chief on scene believes he's got the fire knocked down. Alabama engines in route.

UPDATE 1:27 p.m.: Alabama fire back in service.


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September 18, 2011 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

There are possibly two people injured following an ATV accident in the area of 1780 Sumner Road, Darien.

Darien Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 1:23 p.m.: Darien's ambulance is transporting one patient to Strong. The other person did not require transport to a hospital. Darien Fire back in service.

UPDATE 1:37 p.m.: Darien ambulance rerouting to UMMC.


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September 17, 2011 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame, oakfield-alabama, Alabama.

Coming off two disappointing seasons and starting the 2011 season 0-2, it would be easy to dismiss a game against Oakfield-Alabama as a bye week, but as any coach in the Genesee Region will tell you, there's no squad in the league that can be taken lightly.

There's no telling if the Fighting Irish took the Hornets a little less than serious coming into Friday night's league match-up, but O-A's young players certainly made a game of it.

The final score was 29-14, but the Hornets were never really out of it until the final minutes, and at the half looked like a team that could spoil Notre Dame's early season perfect record.

"They're very well coached," said Notre Dame's head Coach Rick Mancuso. "Brian (Palone) is doing a great job. That (Tommy) Manzella kid is a terrific quarterback. They're tough, there's no doubt about it. They spread you out all over, they throw the ball. I give them all the credit in the world. I thought they played very well tonight."

Palone said his team is young. They let the game get away from them when Nate Woods returned a punt 50 yards for a TD, making the score 15-14 following a two-point conversion.

"That changed the momentum," Palone said.

While Manzella showed he could still march his offense down the field -- he passed for 192 yards on the night on 27 completions -- the Hornets couldn't finish the deal in the red zone.

"Overall I fell like we were right in there," Palone said. "Our kids were fighting hard just like we ask them -- 'give 110 percent.' We’ve got a lot of sophomores out there. We’re just very young this year, so we’re going to make mistakes, but we’re just going to learn from our mistakes and improve."

The scoring started in the first quarter when Nick Taylor capped a Notre Dame drive with a 16-yard run.

But O-A's no-huddle offensive helped the Hornets get the momentum back and the defense was being pretty stingy, twice intercepting Tim McCulley.

Two O-A drives in the second quarter ended in TDs -- a three-yard run by Manzella and a two-yard pass by Manzella to Chris Nanni.

By the fourth quarter, Notre Dame's running game was nearly unstoppable. 

Taylor finished the game with 87 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Nick Conklin had 82 yards rushing on 11 carries.

ND's two fourth-quarter TDs were a five-yard run by Taylor and Woods hauling in a 25-yard pass from McCulley.

McCulley finished with 107 in the air on 16 completions.

Mancuso said his young team played two great quarters to start each of their previous games and then "sort of frittered it away" in second halfs, but Friday the team played better in the second half than the first.

"With a young group of kids like we've got, that's what you expect," Mancuso said. "I want to get us to the point where we're playing four full quarters of football."

As for O-A, which was shut out three times in 2010 on its way to a 0-7 season, following a 2-5 campaign in 2009, Coach Palone is disappointed in his team's 0-3 start, but he said he's seeing progress for the Hornets.

"I feel like this program is heading in the right direction," Palone said. "Every day and each and every game you can see that we’re improving. We’re hanging right in there with these teams now, where last year and the year before we weren’t right in there with the games. They were breaking the games wide open. This year, we're right there."

September 17, 2011 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BHS Alumni.

Prior to 1961, Batavia High's graduating classes held their commencement ceremony at Mancuso Theater, but in 1961, with a new high school built, school officials told the Class of ' 61 that its graduation would be at the new facility. 

There was talk of protest then, but it took the class a half century to actually pull it off.

As part of the class's 50th Reunion, class members walked from Batavia Middle School to the former Mancuso Theater, now City Church, and held a ceremonial commencement with current BHS Principal Christopher Dailey handing Jim Owen back his original diploma as a symbolic graduation. Dailey then delivered the same commencement speech delivered to the Class of 2011.

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

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