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May 18, 2012 - 6:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, thruway, accidnt.

A one-vehicle rollover accident has been reported on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 386.

Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 6:41 a.m.: Very minor injuries. The location is just east of the Clinton Street Road overpass.

UPDATE 6:44 a.m.: Rescue 20 back in service. Engine 24 to the scene to secure the vehicle.

UPDATE 6:46 a.m.: At the request of the NYS Thruway Authority, Engine 24's response cancelled. Town of Batavia back in service.

May 17, 2012 - 9:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in yorkshire hall, pembroke announcements.

Press release:

For the past four years Yorkshire Hall, on Route 5 in Pembroke, has offered its popular "Tea Tasting Show" -- a combination of high tea, farcical comedy, and "delicious teatime foods" to bus tour companies and large groups.  The George Walker family, operators of Yorkshire Hall, would frequently receive inquiries from local individuals who wanted to attend.  Unfortunately," Walker explained, "it's not feasible to do the show for fewer than 25 guests.  That's why we're very excited to have a last minute opportunity for local tea and entertainment aficionados to see this show."

Walked said that a bus tour group attending Yorkshire Hall's Tea Tasting Show this Saturday has ended up with smaller than expected numbers, "and this means we can open the doors to local individuals or small groups who have always wanted to see this show."  The show, which beings at 2:30 p.m. and provides three separate tea services with special treats accompanying each tea, also includes comedy, songs, and a surprise gift for each guest at the end of the show.  Yorkshire Hall also contains a "Tea Treasures Table" of specialty teas and tea related gifts, which is only open during shows.

"We know this is very 'last minute,'" said Walker, "but we wanted to get the word out that local people who have begging for a chance to see this show have a unique opportunity on Saturday.  Reservations are required and information about the show is available by clicking on the "Tea Tasting" tab at, or by calling Yorkshire Hall at 716-474-4300.

May 17, 2012 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Le Roy, Duyssen Family Farm.

The early spring cold snap was a set back for some of the strawberry plants at Duyssen Family Farm in Le Roy.

The plants growing in the hoop houses, however, are coming on strong, according to John Duyssen. He expects strawberries ready for picking by Memorial Day.

The different growing cycles of the two groups of plants, however, should extend the amount of time strawberries are available at the farm.

The farm is located at 9187 Bater Road, Le Roy, and as soon as the strawberries are ripe, customers will be welcome to pick their own.


May 17, 2012 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Village of Le Roy residents are wondering why a security guard suddenly appeared at the Bank of America branch on Main Street.

Speculation centers around concern over protests against B of A, but those took place during the bank's shareholder's meeting May 9 and mostly in other parts of the country.

A spokesman for B of A said the bank doesn't discuss bank security.

May 17, 2012 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, alexander.

A Dumpster fire is reported at 4107 Broadway, Alexander.

Alexander Fire Department responding.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: A chief on scene says Alexander's engine can respond non-emergency. The fire is almost out.

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May 17, 2012 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motorcycle accident with minor injuries is reported in the area of 1138 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Alabama Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: Patient being transported to UMMC.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Alabama back in service.

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May 17, 2012 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, United Way, Genesee ARC, Day of Caring.

Yesterday, as part of the United Way Day of Caring, members of the Batavia Lions Club showed up at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycles and whipped 25 bikes into shape for local charities, including Genesee ARC. Near the end of the day, four clients of Genesee ARC showed up to pick up their new rides. Pictures are Hank, left, Amber, Tim and Andrew.

May 17, 2012 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino is marking its seventh anniversary with a weekend celebration that includes a Preakness party and prize drawings.

Batavia Downs Casino opened at 10 a.m. on May 18, 2005 with just 586 machines. Now open 20 hours a day with 640 machines on site, the facility’s growth has meant more jobs and more money given back to the counties and cities that the public benefit corporation serves. With a 27 million dollar expansion also set to start, the facility’s staff is looking forward to the future.

“We are pleased with not only where we are but also with what’s on the horizon,“ said Michael Nolan, chief operating officer of Batavia Downs Casino and Western Regional Off-Track Betting.

"As a partner in this community we’ve created jobs for this region and will look to create even more with this expansion. Our monetary distributions to the counties and cities that we serve will also increase.”

Further details can be found at

May 17, 2012 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

One person is complaining of back pain following a motor-vehicle accident at the intersection of Main and Bank streets, Batavia.

Batavia FIre Department and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: City fire back in service.

May 16, 2012 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education.

GCC President Jim Sunser is going through his first budget process with the college and he told county legislators Wednesday that he would rather not, at this stage, be asking the county for more money.

But, he said, for the sake of maintaining the quality of the institution, the county needs to provide another $50,000 in funding.

The proposed $37 million budget also anticipates the first tuition increase in four years -- raising the price for full-time students by $75 per semester.

"Any new president in his first year as an administrator would enjoy having the luxury of coming to the legislature or the students in the community and saying we're not going to increase funding from any source," Sunser said.

"But I don't think that would be in the best interest of the institution or the students we serve. We're developing an extremely austere budget as it is. I think it's important to take a look at these adjustments so we can maintain the quality of the academic program and the student services we provide."

Sunser met with legislators during the Ways and Means Committee meeting, which GCC hosted in its board room.

Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock said of course the legislature would like to do everything it can to support the college, she isn't sure the money will be available to increase the county government's share of funding.

The county is looking at $1.8 million in increases in mandates expenses such as Medicaid, health care and pensions, which far exceeds any tax increase the county could enact without the State Legislature overriding the tax cap law.

Plus the county is looking at a multimillion bill to repair roads and bridges, some of which will soon be unsafe for autos to driver over.

"These are the things that are frustrating for legislators, because these are the kinds of initiatives we would like to support," Hancock said. "These are very difficult times."

Sunser said the $50,000 increase in the county's share of funding would still represent only about 5 percent of the county GCC's budget.

He said that given the fact that Genesee County's share is the lowest in the state for any single-sponsor community college, the county faces the possibility of losing control of the college without an increase in funding.

As a single-sponsor college, all of the trustees are local residents appointed by the legislator who have a keen understanding of the community's educational needs, Sunser said.

It's possible in the current economic environment that state officials will look at that 5 percent funding level and conclude the county has an outsized amount of authority over the college for the small size of the contribution.

"I want to make sure folks in Albany and else where understand how supportive Genesee County is of the college," Sunser said. "The legislature, the community and the board of trustees devote an inordinate amount of time supporting the college in all kinds of ways. That's a relationship I would like to maintain."

The budget includes 2.75-percent pay increase for faculty and staff, which is mandated by current union contracts.

While the county share of GCC's budget is the smallest in the state, GCC also keeps its budget lower than other community colleges, Sunser said. 

Typically, GCC professors earn less than they might at other nearby community colleges, and that has been a problem recently as the college has tried to get accreditation for its new veterinarian tech program.

The accreditation agency is concerned that while the college has qualified instructors now, the college is not paying salaries that are competitive enough to retain the faculty and then replace them if they leave, which would render students in the program without qualified teachers.

May 16, 2012 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

This morning, 3-year-old Kaylee took her rottweiler Koda for a walk on Chase Park, along with her mother Debbie. 

May 16, 2012 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Bethany.

William Delose Hirsch, 25, of Buchman Road, Bethany, is charged with menacing, 2nd, reckless endangerment, 2nd, and unlawful imprisonment, 2nd. Hirsch is accused of driving a motor vehicle at 8:49 p.m., Monday, from Batavia to Pavilion in a manner that was reckless and menacing to his female passenger. Hirsch is accused of not letting that woman exit the vehicle while on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia. Hirsch was arraigned in Pavilion on the first two counts and in city court on the third. He was released on his own recognizance.

Neil Patrick Jacobs, 48, of Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Jacobs is accused of possessing a firearm after being ordered to surrender all firearms to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. The alleged failure to surrender the firearm was in violation of two orders of protection issued by Family Court on April 23. Following arraignment, Jacobs was placed under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

A 16-year-old resident of of Railroad Avenue, Alexander, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. The youth is accused of hosting an underage drinking party.

Daniel E. Plath, 62, of Old Creek Road, Alexander, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, unlicensed operation, operating a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol and driver's view obstructed. Plath was reportedly on his way home from his girlfriend's house in Batavia at 2:44 a.m., May 12, when deputies were called for a report of a possibly drunk person trying to buy beer at a store.

May 16, 2012 - 4:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind motorists of the importance of using seat belts and child safety seats. The Sheriff’s Office will participate in the statewide seat belt enforcement mobilization, which will run from May 21st through June 3rd which is designed to further improve highway safety.

This initiative will urge motorists to buckle their safety belts or face receiving a ticket. The message is simple: “Click It or Ticket.” The Buckle Up New York, “Click It or Ticket” enforcement and education initiative sends a clear message that seat belts and child safety seats save lives. New York State has been a leader in passenger safety restraint since enacting the very first seat belt law in the country in 1984 by utilizing efforts that combines public education with increased police enforcement of New York's seat belt law.

Under New York State law, safety restraint use is required for: all front seat occupants regardless of age; all rear seat passengers under 16 years of age; children under age 4 must be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat.

New York's zero-tolerance policy for seat belt violations means that violators will receive a ticket if stopped for not using a safety restraint. The fine for such violations is up to $100 if a motorist is stopped for having a person less than 16 years old unrestrained, plus 3 points on their license.

According to state law, motorists can be stopped in New York by a police officer for not wearing their seat belt; another violation is not necessary to initiate the stop.

Properly secured children will be a priority for the Sheriff’s Office during this enforcement effort.  If there is any question as to the proper installation of your child’s safety seat, call the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office at 585-343-5000 to set up an appointment to have your safety seat and its installation inspected by a certified technician.

Please help us make the highways of Genesee County the safest they can be.

May 16, 2012 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, movies, entertainment, books, bill kauffman.

It's now official -- local author, historian and localist advocate Bill Kauffman is now a screenwriter, too.

Kauffman wrote a script based on a novel by Harold Frederic, a 19th Century resident of Utica.

The movie, titled "Cooperhead" and set in the Civil War, recently started production in King’s Landing, New Brunswick, Canada.

Actors Jason Patric and Angus MacFadyen are take starring roles and the movie is being directed by Ron Maxwell.

The story centers around a family torn apart by the war between the states.

Kauffman is a native Batavian and currently resides in Elba. No word on when his book about Batavia, "Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette," will be turned into a major Hollywood production.

May 16, 2012 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, United Way, Day of Caring.

More than 300 local residents showed up at Dwyer Stadium bright and early this morning to kick off United Way's Day of Caring.

It's the largest number of volunteers yet for the annual event.

Volunteers perform a variety of tasks for local agencies, from painting to weed pulling and other tasks. 

This year, among the volunteer efforts, Lions Club members showed up at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycles to recondition 25 bikes into rideable machines for Genesee ARC clients.

Though not part of the event at Dwyer, 40 students at Batavia High School participated in Day of Caring by doing volunteer work on campus.

In all, 40 businesses and organizations sent volunteers and tasks were performed at more than two dozen locations throught the county.

Joe Sacco, below, sang the National Anthem and "America the Beautiful" to kick off the event.

Top group photo by Kevin Carlson, of Carlson's Studio.

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

May 16, 2012 - 7:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

An accident with injuries has been reported in the area of 8607 Lake St. Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire Department and ambulance responding.

The victim is out of the car and walking. There's only one vehicle involved. It's off the road.

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May 15, 2012 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, batavia city schools.

A total of 1,179 people turned out to vote in the Batavia City Schools election today, approving a $40 million budget with nearly 61 percent of the vote and electing one new school board member.

Gretchen DiFante, one of two candidates not currently on the board, was the top vote getter in the election with 736 votes. Incumbent Gail Stevens garnered 623 votes and Phil Ricci, an appointee running for school board for the first time, got 616 votes.

Incumbent Gary Stich lost with 490 votes and newcomer Dennis Warner came up short with 472 votes.

The budget passed 690 votes to 446. 

Creation of a student ex-officio board member passed 852 to 214 votes and changing transportation mileage for students passed 808 to 240.

These are unofficial results.




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