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July 17, 2011 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in test.
July 17, 2011 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A full tank of gas has reportedly leaked from a vehicle at the Kwik Fill, corner of Jackson Street and Ellicott Street.

The car is reportedly parked next to the gas pumps.

City fire is responding.

UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: Only about a quart of fuel spilled. It's cleaned up. Ladder 15 staying on scene until AAA tow arrives.

July 17, 2011 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bank Street, fire.

A caller on Tracy Avenue reported smoke behind a house on Bank Street and City Fire has responded to investigation.

It was possibly an unintended fire, such as a controlled burn.

The address originally reported was 154 Bank St.. A first responder reports the fire is behind 148 Bank St.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: Fire's out. City Fire back in service.


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July 17, 2011 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Oatka Festival.

It was a beautiful day for a parade and festival in Le Roy on Saturday, and the entire parade route was jammed with people and the festival grounds were grounded.

Those who attended were treated to some real community spirit, great music, fantastic food and lots of fun.

UPDATE: I'm experimenting with an application that allows me to publish slide shows of photos. I'm hoping it will both be easier than my current message and improve the viewing experience. Below, you should see what looks like a video player. You can click through the photos individually, or on the lower right there's a button to open the slide show in full-screen mode, allowing you can see larger versions of the photos (which is part of my goal). I'm curious how this works for people.

July 17, 2011 - 12:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Pavilion.

Callers reported seeing smoke in the area of 7450 Boyd Road, Covington, and Pavilion chiefs responded to investigate. Upon approach, they spotted a large column of smoke and an orange glow. Once on scene, the first chief confirmed it is a fully involved garage fire.

The fire has spread to the house.

Besides Pavilion, Alexander, Le Roy and Stafford are responding along with the City of Batavia Fast Team. Mutual aid is also requested from departments in Wyoming County.

UPDATE 12:22 a.m.: City of Batavia's Fourth Platoon requested to stand by at the fire hall.

UPDATE 12:44 a.m.: The fire is pretty much knocked down. Crews checking for extensions and interior firefighters preparing to enter. It is believed all occupants are out.

UPDATE 12:50 a.m.: Red Cross requested to the scene to assist two adults.


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July 16, 2011 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy.

The 49-year-old woman who, according to witnesses, purposefully stepped in front of a moving car on East Main Street on Thursday night has taken her own life.

According to a source in law enforcement, the woman used a gun this morning not long after being released from Strong Memorial Hospital, where she was taken for treatment by Mercy Flight after being hit by the car.

July 16, 2011 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, missing person.

A teenager from Pavilion who was reported to State Police as missing on July 9 was located about 30 minutes ago, according to Trooper Holly Hansel.

Hansel said 17-year-old Brittany Hackett is fine and she is safe. The case has been closed.

July 16, 2011 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Torrey Farms, kathy hochul.

Genesee County's farms are facing some of the same difficulties hitting farmers across the nation -- a combination of increased use of E-verify, bureaucratic difficulties with H-2A visas, a dwindling supply of immigrant labor and few U.S. citizens willing to do the work, making it difficult to bring crops in on time.

The confluence of events led to an unusual meeting in Washington, D.C., this past week, organized for Rep. Lois Slaughter (D-Fairport), with participation from Rep. Kathy Hochul and one of Genesee County's farmers, Maureen Torrey.

Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms, said the meeting was the first time high-level representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, congressional representatives and famers have been able to sit down and discuss immigration issues.

The meeting lasted longer than planned, going two hours.

"Some of the old-timers there were surprised at some of the responses that we got," Torrey said. "We do think maybe there might be some improvement."

Hochul also said the meeting was productive and a unique opportunity to bring together two sides -- the DOL and farmers -- who are historically adversarial. 

"There is so much bureaucratic red tape it that it becomes a challenge for the farmers to get the workers they need," Hochul said. "These are people who are playing by the rules and they deserve all the help they can get from the government."

Torrey said the way the H-2A visa program is handled can really jeopardize the ability of farmers to harvest crops at the right time.

For example, she said, apples need to be picked on just the right day and pickers need to be experienced at recognizing the right color and firmness to pick apples at the right time, as well as be able to handle them properly to avoid damaging the fruit.

U.S. citizens, Torrey said, typically don't want the jobs and they lack the experience and training necessary to do the job properly.

Farmers want to be able bring back the same workers year after year to ensure they have the best labor force.

H-2A visas can be held up for a variety of reasons -- mistakes in the multiple pages of paperwork, a barely missed deadline, or a bureaucrat snafu can delay approval past harvest time.

Torrey said that a farmer might submit a batch of applications, have one disapproved and then face getting the entire batch rejected if she appeals just the one disapproval.

Hochul said the situation is just unacceptable.

"Some of the fields can’t be brought to market in time because they don't have enough popele to harvest the crops," Hochul said.

While the H-2A program requires that farmers first seek qualified labor among U.S. citizens, Torrey said few American ever respond to the required job listings.

In states such as Georgia, Florida and Alabama, where state legislatures have mandated use of a program called E-verify to check the legal status of workers, crops have been left to rot in the fields because there's been no workers available.

Torrey said even the DOL admits there are only about 50,000 qualified legal agricultural workers in the United States, but the annual demand is for 900,000 to one million workers.

Torrey said even Darien Lake Theme Park has trouble filling all of its season worker positions with citizen workers. The park hires about 300 foreign students  on J-1 visas.

"If Darien Lake needs 300 people on J-1 visas, it just shows you there are not enough people to take these jobs," Torrey said. "And that's fun work compared to working in a field."

Until there is a sustainable guest worker program, Torrey said, farmers are going to struggle to fill positions at harvest time.

A guest worker program has been under negotiation for 16 years, Torrey said, and while it wasn't the topic of the meeting organized by Slaughter, Torrey did attend a meeting on the subject while in D.C.

Meanwhile, according to a recent story in  The New York Times, the immigrant labor pool from Mexico is drying up. As economic and educational opportunities improve in Mexico, and the Baby Boom population that fueled the big illegal immigration moves in previous decades is getting older, there are fewer workers willing to take the risk of coming to America for work.

It's all of these forces pushing down the labor pool that made the meetings in Washington so important, Torrey said, and why she's glad they seemed so productive.

"It was really positive," Torrey said. "It is not only going to help Genesee County, but it's going to help farmers all across the country who are having the same issues, so our peers were really happy these meetings took place."

July 16, 2011 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, food, Genesee Country Farmers' Market.

We've come into that part of the season where there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local farmers markets. Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by the Genesee Country Farmers' Market at Batavia Downs and took a few pictures.

The market is open Tuesdays and Fridays.

July 15, 2011 - 11:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, County Airport.

While out at the Genesee County Airport tonight, I noticed the beautiful full moon right after a Mercy Flight helicopter landed.

July 15, 2011 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford.

Mark D. Tooley, 28, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with a felony count of DWAI-Drugs, felony aggravated unlicensed operation and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. At 2:28 p.m., the Sheriff's Office received a report of a red Dodge Caravan being driven erratically on Westbound Route 33, Bergen. The vehicle was located driving on Route 33 in Stafford and observed crossing a double solid center line and weaving within its own lane. The car was stopped and Tooley was charged with the offenses listed above along with criminal impersonation, 2nd, for allegedly giving a false name and date of birth to a deputy and driving left of pavement markings. Tooley was was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Steven Keith Snyder, 46, of Westside Drive, Chili, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to reduce speed and refusal to submit to breath test. Snyder was arrested during an investigation into a property damage accident reported at 12:02 a.m. Thursday on Walker Road, Darien, by Sgt. Brian Frieday.

Earl Shateek Anthony Lockhart, 18, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lockhart is accused of shoplifting from Kmart on June 21, but he could not be apprehended that day. He is accused of stealing $54.23 in merchandise. Lockhart was jailed on $1,000 bail.

July 14, 2011 - 8:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, elba.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Elba and Genesee County officials along with a group of veterans and residents were on hand at the Maplelawn Cemetery in Elba this evening to dedicate a new Veterans' Memorial Garden.

July 14, 2011 - 6:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

About five minutes ago, there was a minor three-car accident on East Main Street at Center Street. No injuries. City Fire Department called to deal with an antifreeze leak. City police on scene to take a report.

July 14, 2011 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, pembroke, corfu.

Jody Blaine Gillett, 50, of Pine Hollow Drive, Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI and moving from lane unsafely. Following a lengthy investigation into an accident on Clinton Street Road, Batavia, on Feb. 23, Gillett was accused of driving while intoxicated.

Douglas Paul Cornelius, 32, of Pratt Road, Pembroke, is charged with petit larceny. Cornelius is accused of stealing woodworking equipment from a location on Pratt Road, Pembroke. 

Tyler P. Schroeder, 19, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Schroeder is accused of stealing $700 from a residence in Elba on June 3. Schroeder was arraigned in Oakfield because no Elba town justice was available and remanded to Genesee Jail on $3,000 bail.

Earl Shateek Anthony Lockhart, 18, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Lockhart is accused of trying to hand off marijuana he had in his pocket to a girlfriend while in Town of Batavia Court on an unrelated criminal charge.

William Andrew Johnson, 23, of Alexander Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Johnson was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during a traffic stop at 8:43 p.m., Tuesday, on Route 77, Corfu, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

John Jeffery McCombs, 23, of Oxford Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. McCombs was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for alleged traffic violations at 8:43 p.m., Tuesday, on Route 77, Corfu, when he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Nathaniel Michael Dickens, 18, of Broadway Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Dickens is accused of striking another person during an incident on July 7.

Deborah A. Schramm, 30, of East Main Street, Batavia, and Michael R. Schramm, 35, of East Main Street, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny. Deborah and Michael are accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

July 14, 2011 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A pedestrian has been hit by a car at the Rite Aid location on Lewiston Road.

Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding.

No word yet on the extent of injuries.

UPDATE 2 p.m.: The victim is conscious and alert.

July 14, 2011 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, history, hlom.

It's a ticket to one of the last hangings in Genesee County and it was last seen hanging in the Holland Land Office Museum in the early 1970s.

It was around that time, maybe a couple of years earlier, that it was apparently stolen.

In 1973, an unidentified couple bought it from a guy selling antiques out of the trunk of his car in Pavilion.

A few weeks ago, the now-elderly couple decided to donate it to the Genesee Country Museum, but the museum director there immediately recognized it as property of HLOM and called up Director Jeffrey Donahue to see about returning it.

A few days ago, Don Read, Bob Turk and Donahue drove to Mumford to recover the framed relic.

The ticket was issued in May 1866 by Sheriff Parley Upton (unknown family connection to Gen. Emery Upton) to Henry Todd, a local newspaper editor. It was donated to the HLOM by Philip Skelton Jr.

The murderer hanged was Levi Mayhew, a veteran of the Civil War who became the lover of another man's wife. The cuckold's wife wanted her husband dead and tried to get Mayhew to poison him, but he wouldn't do it. When she threatened to do it herself, Mayhew decided to kill the husband, Theodore Dunham, himself by beating him to death in Indian Falls.

Mayhew was hanged on May 4, 1866.

The last hanging in Genesee County was apparently 10 years later when Thomas B. Quackenbush was punished for the Dec. 3, 1875 murder of Sarah Norton, also in Indian Falls. He was executed by hanging in August 1876 by Sheriff Ward.

UPDATE: It looks like the last execution was Charles Stockley, hanged on Aug. 19, 1881 at the age of 24. Stockley shot and killed his former boss in a dispute over the man's daughter.

July 14, 2011 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Sheriff's Office, Genesee County Jail.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of death of 42-year-old Nikko C. Gambino, an inmate of the Genesee County Jail, who died Friday after being transported to UMMC.

Gambino was reportedly going through withdrawals from drugs and suffered various other medical issues, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

Medical examiners have yet to determine the cause of death and are conducting an autopsy.

Gambino most recently made news locally after he was caught allegedly smuggling drugs into the jail. In that case, the search warrant was executed at UMMC, where Gambino reportedly had to pass the drugs before they could be recovered.

At the time, the Covington resident was serving an intermittent jail sentence for impersonating a federal law enforcement officer.

In a press release, Maha said Gambino was being closely monitored by corrections officers and medical personnel because of his health issues.

On Friday, at 2:12 p.m., a corrections officer spoke with Gambino who reportedly motioned he was OK. At 2:26 p.m., an officer making his rounds "noticed that Mr. Gambino wasn't doing well," Maha said.

The officer summoned assistance and another corrections officer administered CPR.

Gambino was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 3:05 p.m.

As required by regulations, the NYS Commission of Corrections was notified immediately of Gambino's death. The commission will conduct its own investigation, as required by law.

There is no sign of foul play, Maha said.

July 14, 2011 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following arrests were made in connection with the Kid Rock concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.

Richard W. Wilson, 16, of Lemunyan Hill Road. Wilson is charged with assault, 2nd, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and sale of imitation drugs. Wilson allegedly sold an imitation drug and then fought with deputies. A deputy was injured during the scuffle, suffering numerous cuts on his forearm, requiring several stitches. Wilson was jailed on $20,000 bail. The injured deputy is Youth Officer Chris Erion.

David T. Costrino, 50, of Brown School House Road, Holley, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Costrino was allegedly found in possession of Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

Austin G. Costrino, 25, of Brown School House Road, Holley, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Costrino was allegedly found in possession of Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

Travis M. Queary, 28, of 7038 Texas Road, Croghan, is charged with arrested for trespass, disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of marijuana. Queary allegedly refused to leave the concert venue after being ejected. He then allegedly caused a disturbance in the campground area and during the investigation of that incident was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.  

Tara M. Victor, 32, of Juniata Place, Buffalo, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a controlled substance not in original container. Victor allegedly possessed a controlled substance in an unmarked bottle with out a prescription.

Joseph G. Marchese, 49, of Ladner Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Marchese allegedly punched a security guard while being escorted from the venue.

A 17-year-old of Hulberton Road, Holley, is charged with disorderly conduct. The youth allegedly caused a disturbance in the parking lot. The person was jailed on $250 bail.

A 17-year-old of Allen Road, East Concord, was charged with trespass. The youth allegedly returned to the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Kelly L. Prue, 40, of Strathmore Circle, Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct. Prue allegedly spat on a passing employee.

Burt T. Lyon Jr., 46, of Wehrle Drive, Lancaster, is charged with petit larceny. Lyon allegedly stole a display sign.

The following citations were issued for allegedly possessing alcohol under age 21:

Samuel J. Kroter, 20, of Church Street, Barton
Korey D. Hunsinger, 20, of Cole Hill Road, Nichols
Zachary K. Spaulding, 20, of Grove Street, Angola
Graig G. Leone, 20, of Grove Street, Angola
Cassondra M. Duckman, 20, of University Avenue, Atlanta
Christopher W. Moody, 19, of Cainal Lane, Grand Island
A 16-year-old of Hulberton Road, Claredon
A 16-year-old of Ridge Road, Holley
A 16-year-old of Vanderbilt Avenue, Niagara Falls
Matthew Soto, 20, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls
Joshua J. Clark, 18, of 12 C Street, Niagara Falls
Carleigh M. Preisch, 19, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls
Alexander J. Kaempf, 20, of Willow Ridge Lane, Lancaster
Tyler D. Guarasci, 18, of Williamsburg Lane, Lancaster
Chantal R. Ellis, 20, of Richland Road, Rochester
Kara M. Morris, 18, of Wendhurst Drive, Rochester

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