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October 10, 2011 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. in the general area of East Main Street, East Avenue, North Street, Bank Street, Summit Street, Ross Street, Vine Street, Elm Street, Trumbull Parkway, North Spruce Street, Naramore Drive and Clinton Street.

Homes and businesses nearby may 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.

October 9, 2011 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, fall.

A little fall color behind the Highway to Holiness Church. The church is on Maple Street, the tree is off Ganson Avenue.

October 9, 2011 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Genesee County Democrats, Genesee Justice.

Doug Call, 71, a former Genesee County Sheriff now finishing out his final term as a Town of Stafford justice, was honored with a picnic today in Stafford.

It was organized by local Democrats, and is one of their annual fundraisers, but Call was the guest of honor and several Republicans attended.

County Chairwoman Lorie Longhany said Call has been a good Democrat, but more importantly, he's been a good public servant.

"He's one of the best public servants Genesee County ever had," Longhany said.  "His service transcended politics. It was always about public service."

As Sheriff -- perhaps the only Democrat ever elected to Sheriff in Genesee County -- Call initiated the Stop DWI program, which included DWI checkpoints on roadways. The program would be challenged in court, but the county won appeals all the way up to the state's Court of Appeals. It's a program that is now widely used across the country.

Call was also instrumental in getting Genesee Justice started, a program Call estimates has saved the county millions and millions of dollars over the years.

For one thing, by putting criminals in intervention programs rather than locking them up, the county was spared the expense of a new, larger jail.

On hand to honor Call today were Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and Sheriff Gary Maha. Assemblyman Steven Hawley sent a letter and Darien Town Justice Gary Graber, who is incoming president of the state magistrates' association, spoke in praise of Call. Graber was first elected in 1980, when Call first became Sheriff.

A quiet man, Call doesn't put much of a spotlight on his own accomplishments.

"I’m humbled by (the honors today) because I just did things," Call said. "Apparently people think it’s important and they’re here."

He then added, "Other's could have done it."

October 9, 2011 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Town of Batavia Fire Department was dispatched to the report of an unknown type fire at the end of Briarwood Terrace.

As Engine 21 was rolling on the call, an assistant chief arrived on scene and reported that Engine 21 could stand down.

"The homeowner is operating a fog machine," reported the chief.

"Copy," said a dispatcher, "homeowner operating a fog machine."

Second dispatcher: "That's got to be a first."

Town of Batavia fire, back in service.

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October 9, 2011 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street.

Three people were arrested yesterday following an investigation by the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force into the transportation and sale of cocaine in Batavia.

All three face charges related to the sale of a controlled substance.

Members of the drug task force, along with Batavia police officers and Sheriff's Office deputies, executed a search warrant at 335 Bank St., Apt. B3, yesterday evening and allegedly found a quantity of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $1,500. 

Also seized was $750 in cash, drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Arrested were:

Julia B. Wescott, 29, of Batavia. Wescott was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal nuisance, 1st, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Thomas L. Hill, 22, of Rochester. Hill was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jade Cierra Wims, 18, of Rocheter. Wims was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.

Wescott is accused of allowing Hill and Wims to deal cocaine from her apartment on Bank Street, which is the basis of the "criminal nuisance" charge.

All three were arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail.

Photos: Top, Wescott, Hill and Wims.

October 9, 2011 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

Elba/Byron-Bergen shutout Oakfield-Alabama 49-0. Zack Dubois ran the ball 18 times for 146 yards and two TDs. Zac Gillard completed eight of nine passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Ramsey had three receptions for 105 yards and two TDs. Cody Naylor had a three-yard TD run. Tommy Manzella completed 12 for 128 yards for the Hornets. Ben Langdon had five receptions for 44 yards.

Several players had big games for the Lancers (5-1), including Gabe Stempin who had a 48-yard return on an interception. Andy Boyce had seven tackles, half a sack and a fumble recovery. Brandon Naylor had six tackles and twice was involved in sacks. Alex Jasinski had five tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Emiliano Acosta had five tackles, a sack, and half of another. O-A is 0-6 on the season.

Batavia HS lost to Wellsville on homecoming night 38-6. No stats are available for the game.

Le Roy fell to 3-3 with a loss to Letchworth, 42-7. Tommy McQuillen rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries, scoring the Oatkan Knights lone TD.

Genesee Region League leader Barker moved to 6-0 with a 36-14 win over Attica.

Alexander picked up its first win of the season over Holley by a score of 39-7. No stats are available for this game.

October 9, 2011 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

In a game in which Pembroke went into the second quarter with a lead and a chance to beat the always tough Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, the Dragons ended up 24 points off the mark.

The Irish dominated on offense and defense from midway through the second quarter, scoring three TDs in the second quarter and a TD and field goal in the third.

Brothers McCulley, Tim and Doane, led the Notre Dame (5-1) offense with Tim tossing four touchdowns and completing six passes for 187 yards. Doane had two TD receptions and gained a total of 101 yards.

Nate Woods also scored twice, once on a passing play and once on a running play. Woods had 75 total yards.

Andrew Mullen came up big on offense and defense. On offense, he scored on a 35-yard pass play, his only reception of the day, and on defense had 10 tackles. Nick Taylor, Nick Conklin and Doane McCulley each had eight tackles with Taylor adding a QB sack.

For Pembroke (2-4), QB Cody Bedard carried the weight of the offense after running back Wyatt Chittenden was injured early in the game.

Bedard ran the ball 33 times for 120 yards, including one TD run. He completed five passes for 51 yards and had one interception.

Luke Thomas and Steve Weaver had five tackes each for the Dragons and Zack Franclemont had the team's lone sack.

Pembroke's other TD was scored by Trevor Gray, who carried the ball twice for four yards.

Notre Dame had 309 yards total offense, to Pembroke's 227.

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

October 9, 2011 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, St. Padre Pio.

The St. Padre Pio Parish in Oakfield held its fourth annual Oktoberfest on Saturday.

The daylong event featured BBQ pig, a beer tent, live music, a Halloween costume contest for the kids and a chance auction.

More than 750 people were expected to attend.

October 9, 2011 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, books, Literature.

Miranda Fix was at Coffee Culture on Saturday signing copies of her new novel -- her sixth -- "Calling all Angels."

Fix, a registered nurse with 30 years experience, describes her new book this way:  “It’s about my story and my experiences as a nurse surviving in a profession that is full of illusions, disenchantments and despair. But deep inside that sadness is a rainbow of color and these shades of blues, yellows greens and reds are the true colors of our angels. They are there for us, they guide us, empower us, pray for us and keep us safe. They are there when you call upon them…you just need to ask them for help. 

"Calling All Angels is a novel about true life and the amazing strength in the patients I have met along the way. Stories that will make you laugh and cry, but they are full of hope and wonder. I wish you love and happiness as in the ways of the angels…and remember to believe.”

The mother of two children, and grandmother to three, Fix lives in Corfu.

October 7, 2011 - 8:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, UMMC.

The UMMC Foundation is holding its annual Fall Auction at the Clarion Hotel tonight.

Director Lorie Stupp said the foundation expects to raise $30,000 from the event.  More than 260 tickets were sold.

The evening opened with snacks, drinks and a chance auction, followed by dinner and a live auction hosted by Bontrager's. 

There was also a sumptuous dessert table.

October 7, 2011 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bullying, Jackson School.

Teachers, teachers' aides, administration, staff and community members gathered in each of the city shool districts schools this afternoon for further education on anti-bullying initiatives.

From 12:30 to 3 p.m., with students on a half-day schedule, each school hosted a seminar on how to recognize and deal with bullying in schools, from pre-K up through 12th grade.

Shawn Clark led the discussion at Jackson Elementary School and said the turnout was strong and participation high.

"It links community members, businesses and the schools," Clark said. "What we're looking at is a communitywide impact here."

He said the programs were a year in planning and the district intends to conduct annual seminars to stop bullying.

October 7, 2011 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Salvation Army.

The 36th annual Salvation Army Fall Festival is under way now at the Salvation Army HQ, 529 E. Main St., Batavia.

Besides a rummage sale and bake sale, at 6 p.m. the Spud Fest begins -- baked potatoes with all the fixin's along with a drink and desserts for $10.

October 7, 2011 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, byron, Oxbo.

Byron-based Oxbo is merging with a Dutch company to help both companies better reach a burgeoning international market, but not much will change locally, according to a story in the Democrat & Chronicle.

Oxbo, which manufactures harvesting equipment, will continue to sell its own products under its own brand and employ at least the same number of people locally.

The Dutch firm, Netherlands-based Ploeger, also manufactures harvesting equipment.

The new firm will be headed by Oxbo President Gary Stich, VP of Sales Andy Talbott and two Ploeger executives.

Oxbo has facilities in Byron, Wisconsin and Washington, employing 500 people, and currently about 75 percent of its sales is in the United States.

October 6, 2011 - 5:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

Three people were charged today in connection with an alleged altercation following the Blink 182 Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Aug. 11.

The three individuals are accused of getting into an altercation in the parking lot while guests were leaving the venue.

The three individuals allegedly damaged the pickup truck of a man from Lancaster.

Arrested and released on appearance tickets were Timothy Patrick Donnelly, 22, of Ridgecrest Road, Rochester, Marie Dana Smith, 18, and Lorraine Deanna Smith, 20, both of Crossroads Lane, Rochester.

Donnelly was charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Marie Smith was charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, and harassment, 2nd. She allegedly had physical contact with the Lancaster man during the altercation.

Lorraine Smith was charged with criminal mischief, 3rd.

Investigator William Ferrando handled the case.

October 6, 2011 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce, Tompkins Insurance.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has for some time been concerned with rising medical insurance premium costs and the impact they have on the small business community. In order to better serve members that provide employee benefits, the chamber is pleased to announce that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Tompkins Insurance Agencies to provide health insurance programs for its members.

Tompkins Insurance will now be the health insurance provider for the chamber, a move that will immediately reduce health insurance costs for most members by eliminating service fees. This partnership also adds flexibility in making premium payments, as well as offering a wider variety of policies from which to choose.

“Tompkins Insurance is honored to have been chosen by the chamber to help it provide its valued members with quality, cost-effective benefits for their employees, especially in these unsettled economic times,” said David Boyce, president and CEO of Tompkins Insurance.

The licensed professionals at Tompkins Insurance will work with the chamber to identify different options in health insurance and other employee benefit programs. The goal will be to customize programs to meet the varied needs of members’ businesses in the most economical way.

“This arrangement is being put in place to address the issue of continually rising health insurance premiums in challenging economic times. The chamber is confident this partnership will help control costs and offer savings opportunities, flexibility and more options to our members,” said chamber President Lynn Freeman.

Jeff Boshart, board chair of the chamber said, “We feel this alliance with Tompkins Insurance is especially significant in that it not only provides our members with top-notch insurance programs and services, but that they will be provided to chamber members, by a chamber member.”

October 6, 2011 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Batavia is a city with a lot going for it, where the pluses more than cancel out the negatives, but to talk with local residents and business owners, you would never know it, according to a trio of consultants who spent time recently studying every aspect of life in Batavia.

The consultants, Charles Buki, with czb LLC, Kennedy Lawson Smith (pictured above), with Clue Group, and David Boehlke, made several visits to Batavia, spending time interviewing people, hanging out in coffee shops and restaurants (sometimes just listening to the chatter a table or booth over), walking residential neighborhoods and visiting local businesses, as well as gathering and studying all available data on the city.

Their conclusion, presented at a meeting Wednesday evening at city hall: There's too much negative talk about Batavia, and the negative attitudes hold down home values and discourage business development.

"The overarching message is this is a wonderful community, " Buki said. "Rarely do we get a chance to be in such a welcoming place, such a beautiful place. This is the kind of community we grew up in, almost everywhere we looked, there are strengths and opportunities."

But, Buki, Smith and Boehlke all said they were taken aback by the amount of negative talk about Batavia.

"Destructive language and sentiment dominates discussions," said Buki (bottom inset). "Public as well as private institutions present Batavia poorly."

Even signs at the city entrance and public parks present a negative image, the consultants said, telling visitors "this is not a fun place," suggesting there are problems in the city that they should worry about.

"Batavia has a habit of seeing the glass as half-empty and half-empty and half-empty until it is dry," said Boehlke (top inset).

Among the positives for the city are more than 200 homes of historic value, several successful locally owned businesses, nice parks, recreational opportunities, a history of volunteerism, affordable housing and a central location between Buffalo and Rochester.

While local residents complain about declining neighborhoods, the city is actually dominated by a core group of good, caring homeowners, Boehlke said. 

While there is an overabundance of single-family homes that have been converted to two-, three- and four-unit complexes -- 25 percent of the housing stock -- there are fewer than 40 troubled properties in the city. Yet most of the chatter the consultants heard about neighborhoods is that there is widespread decline.

The negative attitudes about neighborhoods and housing are hurting real estate values. Homes are undervalued by as much as 20 percent (compared to similar homes in the Town of Batavia) said Boehlke, with a majority of owners and renters paying less for rent and mortgages than they can actually afford.

The perceived lack of real estate value discourages some property owners from making needed investments in their property, which can cause actual declines in value.

"This is not a city with a true housing problem," said Boehlke. "It’s a city with a tremendous opportunity."

Residents and city leaders have a habit of thinking "if only we had more enforcement" all of our problems will be solved, the consultants said. But arresting people on more misdemeanor crimes or (having) stronger code enforcement isn't going to fix much, they said.

The city needs to develop a strategic plan for community improvement and economic development, and downtown is at the core of it.

And one of the biggest problems downtown is what urban renewal wrought -- the mall, which both sucks the life out of downtown and is probably is what feeds a lot of the negative attitudes about Batavia.

Smith spoke about the history of downtown declines across the country, which is a product of interstate highways, the G.I. bill and suburbanization, changes in tax law (rewarding mall developers) and the rise of mega chains such as Walmart.

In some ways, Batavia is not unique, and urban renewal was a reaction to these changes in society, but the destruction of the north side of Main Street didn't just reduce the economic strength of downtown by 50 percent. It reduced it by 80 percent.

Vibrant downtowns need street-facing retail businesses on both sides of the street to thrive, Smith said.

Her suggestion: Deconstruct the mall so that there are more street-facing businesses and a mixture of retail, office and residential space.

There are ways to get it done, she said, if the community makes it a priority.

"We have heard everybody's pain and everybody's feelings," Smith said. "It's something you're going to have to grapple with over the next five to 10 years if you're ever going to fix downtown Batavia."

October 6, 2011 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A pair of Shortsville residents were arrested Wednesday for allegedly shoplifting from Kmart and Walmart.

After being apprehended at Kmart, they were allegedly found in possession of tools designed to defeat security tags at Kmart.

Charged with petit larceny and possession of burglary tools were Elizabeth Anne Smith, 26, and Daniel Gordon Vandewalle, 32.

The couple was stopped by loss prevention officers at Kmart and were found to have items allegedly hidden under clothing and in a purse.

When deputies searched the couple's car, deputies reportedly found items allegedly stolen from Walmart.

The case was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker, Deputy James Diehl, Trooper Daniel Hollands and Trooper Brian Pritchett.

October 6, 2011 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A driver is accused of running a red light at the intersection of Seven Springs Road and Clinton Street Road at 5:07 p.m., Wednesday, causing a two-car accident that sent three people to the hospital.

Cited for allegedly failure to stop for the red light was Jonathan C. Pestillo, 17, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia. Pestillo was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital minor injuries.

The other driver, Bonnie M. Behage, 70, of Ellenton, Fla., and her passenger, Jenna M. Aradine, 22, were also transported to Strong with minor injuries.

Pestillo was driving a 2005 Chevy SUV and Behage was driving a 2010 Hyundai SUV.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

(Initial Report)




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