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December 20, 2010 - 7:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car has gone off the road and down an embankment in the area of Lockport and Lewiston roads in Alabama.

A minor injury is reported.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 7:31 a.m.: Thus far, first responders have been unable to locate the accident.  The 9-1-1 call did not provide automatic GPS data. A chief notes that there is also a Lockport Road and Lewiston Road intersection in Niagara County. It sounds like first responders have searched the area a good deal on Lockport and Lewiston on both sides of the road. The caller did state her car was "well down" the embankment.

UPDATE 7:35 a.m.: Another call has come in for an accident off of North Byron Road, and dispatchers think it may be the same accident with a more accurate location.

UPDATE 7:40 a.m.: The accident appears to be in the area of 7335 N. Byron Road. Note: Lockport Road becomes North Byron somewhere west of Route 98. Elba ambulance requested to the scene to check minor cuts on the driver's face.


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December 20, 2010 - 6:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A car has struck and deer and is now smoking at the intersection of Peachey and North Lake roads, Bergen.

The driver was not injured.

Bergen Fire is being dispatched.


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December 19, 2010 - 11:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia Police are investigating three burglaries that occurred over the weekend.

Two of the burglaries may be related.

The first break-in was reported at the Batavia Industrial Center, 56 Harvester Ave. A suspect or suspects entered a business and stole musical instruments and other equipment.

There was also a break-in at the Sherwin-Williams paint store, 16 Liberty St. Some merchandise along with a small mount of cash was stolen. Store employees are conducting an inventory to determine exactly what was stolen.

The third burglary occurred at the UPS Store, 8351 Lewiston Road, where some cash and a small safe was stolen.

The burglaries occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning.

December 19, 2010 - 9:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

A resident on Broadway in Darien says that a person walked into his basement, and when confronted the intruder fled on foot.

He's described as a white male with facial hair and wire-rimmed glasses.

He was last seen walking south on Route 238.

Law enforcement in route.

UPDATE 9:44 p.m.: A subject has been detained. He's being taken back to the complainant's house.

December 19, 2010 - 6:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Brandi Bruggman.

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When a friend of Brandi Bruggman's looked down at his Converse one day, he thought they looked like a dirty mess.

He didn't want to throw out an otherwise fine pair of shoes though, so he asked Bruggman if she could paint some art work on the shoes -- they were made out of canvass, after all.

An intriguing challenge, and Brandi gave it a try.

He loved the "new" shoes, and so did his friends.

brandiart01.jpg"Somebody saw the shoes and wanted them, and then somebody saw those shoes and wanted them, and now I have a business," Bruggman said.

The 20-year-old Alexander native sells "Bruggies," as well as hats and other wearable items at Glass Roots, 12 Center St., Batavia, as well as through her Facebook account.

Each item is hand painted, coated to make it waterproof, and inspired by the individual buying it. She said she often talks with the customer, finds out that they like, asks them to provide some adjectives, and then "goes with that vibe."

Ironically, Bruggman said, before she started selling wearable art, she was having a hard time finding a market for the kind of art that hangs on walls. Now, she's selling a lot more wall art.

Often, the people who buy her shoes, or other items, realize how good she is and they commission a painting for a room in their homes.

In all, Bruggman said that since she started creating "Bruggies" in June 2009, she's sold about 200 hand-painted items.

A theater design technician major at Niagara University, with a minor in fine arts, Bruggman would love it if her fledgling business became her full income.

"If I could paint every day, that would be awesome," said Brandi.

Though, the business can't get too big, she cautioned, because she won't let anybody else paint shoes for her. She does it all herself.

Painting clothing has expanded her as an artist, she said, both from working with different materials and techniques. She's learned to use an airbrush to paint T-shirts -- but since each item is custom created, she's often painting subjects she might not otherwise.

"It's cool that I get to draw into new things," Bruggman said. "I draw things I never would have drawn before. The other day I drew a boat. I never drew a boat before.

"It's been opening new avenues of art for me," she added.

Examples of Bruggman's shoes and hats -- as well as a mural she painted -- are on display at Glass Roots, and an order for shoes, or other items, can be placed at the store. Prices for hand-painted Converse start at $85 (other shoes can go for as little as $65). A tote ranges from $20 to $50, hats from $35 to $45.

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December 19, 2010 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animal shelter, animals, pets, Bethany.

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Kiera Gross, above, got just what she wanted for her 11th birthday. She was surrounded by friends and dogs and cats.

Gross wanted her birthday party to be something that would help support the animal shelter and pet adoption. Volunteers for Animals helped out by bringing some dogs and kittens to the Bethany Fire Hall today.

Guests were asked to bring a donation to the party. More than a dozen of Kiera's friends joined in the party, which included games with the pets, a chance to make a pet bed and lots and lots of petting and cuddling the animals.

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Clockwise -- Kim Davis, Sarah Stefan, Loy Gross (Kiera's mom) and Taylor Heineman, work on making pet beds.

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Alannah Gross.

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Meet "Buddy." If I were more impulsive, I would have taken Buddy home immediately.  He's a super-good natured dog, very friendly -- a real "people person" -- and eager for a new master. The shelter is looking for a home for him very, very soon, so go adopt him.

December 19, 2010 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

A neighbor has reported a possible chimney fire at 1764 Main Road, Corfu.

The caller stated there was heavy black smoke coming from the chimney.

A chief on scene says the smoke has "calmed down" and nobody appears to be home.

East Pembroke fire and one tanker from Corfu are called in along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 12:48 p.m.: Corfu engine told to stand by at its hall.

UPDATE 12:54 p.m.: Firefighters need to make entry into the house. The house is clear, but the wood stove is in the basement and they can't see into the basement.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m.: Homeowner reached by mobile phone. He said the smoke is normal for the stove. He had just stoked it up before he left. East Pembroke Fire back in service.


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December 18, 2010 - 11:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photo, Bethany.

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Barn complex on Bethany Center Road, Bethany.

December 18, 2010 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, UMMC.

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Friday the ribbon was cut on a new $19.5 million surgical wing at United Memorial Medical Center.

More than 125 people attended the ceremony and toured the new facility, with more people taking advantage of the open house to see the state-of-art surgical wing.

ummc_ribbon_02h.jpgThe new facility includes five high-tech surgical suites and 19 recovery beds.

"Batavia in its history has had many pivotal moments, and this is certainly one of them," UMMC Board Chairman Tom Houseknecht said. "The entire community can be proud of this new surgery center."

UMMC Chief of Surgery, Dr. Matthew Landfried, said the entire staff is eager to begin working in the new 44,000-square-foot addition.

The first surgery is scheduled for Jan. 4.

Above, Mark Schoell, UMMC CEO, Tom Houseknecht, Dr. Matt Landfried and Bill Fritz, chair of the 2010 capital campaign, cut the red ribbon.

More pictures after the jump (to purchase pictures, click here):

December 18, 2010 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Motel, business, code enforcement.

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Seven residents of the Batavia Motel, 3768 W. Main St. Road, were told Thursday evening they had less than 24 hours to vacant the premises.

The Town of Batavia condemned the building because of numerous code violations.

Resident Eric Duda, who was made manager of the complex about seven months ago -- but still had to pay rent -- said he and his fiancé were able to find lodging for themselves and their 10-month-old infant.

But he said everything he owns is stored in rooms and there's no money to move it to other storage on such short notice.

"I figure I'm going to lose all of my possessions," said Duda, whose last extension for unemployment compensation ran out last week.

DSS helped him and his family move, temporarily, into the Mark Trail Motel, but he couldn't take his dog, and as of about 6 p.m. last night, he didn't know what he was going to do with his pet.

The motel has two detached wings. One of the wings has been vacant for some period of time because of a fire in the main office.

All of the residents lived in units on the east side of the property.

The property is owned by Panchal Bhupendrabhai (Duda called him "Sonny"), who lives in Irving, Texas. The assessed value is $55,000. He acquired the 2.9-acre parcel in 2007 from Sarojbahen Patel for $1, who acquired it in 2006 for $55,000. 

Earlier this month, the Town of Batavia authorized a purchase offer of $85,000 to acquire the parcel, which adjoins Kiwanis Park.

Supervisor Greg Post said the condemnation and interest in buying the property are unrelated matters.

The town has been interested since about 2007 or 2008.

"It's a matter of public record," Post said.

He added that "If there were a proper offer to sell the property, we would be willing to negotiate to buy the property."

Post said the living arrangements are a matter between the landlord and tenants.

"We certainly gave the owner time to comply (with code requirements)," Post said.

Still, the condemnation caught residents by surprised, and they all made quick trips to the Department of Social Services on Friday looking for help.

Maken Ithnnascheri, just moved into room #22 on Monday and spent every dime he had on the move and making the space habitable, including repairs and paint. He said he has nowhere to go and no place to take all of his possessions.

"I put a nice penny into it," he said. "They came here late last night and said we had to be out by five o’clock, and there’s no way. I have no place else to go. Where are we going to go in the cold?”

"Everything I have in the world," he added, "is in that room."

Ithnnascheri said he isn't currently eligible for DSS assistance to help him find new lodging.

The motel is in quite a state of disrepair, Duda acknowledged. He said the roof over three rooms leaks, there are broken doors and windows and several other problems with the property.

“It’s really just lots of little things," Duda said. "I just don’t know how it lasted as long as it did.”

Over the summer, he and the other tenants put a riser and cement cover over the septic tank, but it still leaks into the woods behind the motel.

The landlord has made various deals with tenants to make repairs at a discount but nothing ever seems to get done, Duda said.

He doesn't take issue with the condemnation, only the timing of it.

"It's something that I don’t understand," Duda said. "In order for a landlord to evict you, you've got 30 days. So how can the town come in and say you’ve got 24 hours and that’s it?

"I don’t know why he (the code enforcement officer) didn’t do this in the summer time when it would be easier for people to move," he added.

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December 18, 2010 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, Sheriff's Office.

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Deputy Edward Vlack is Officer of the Year in the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Jane Ferrando received the Distinguished Service Award.

Both were honored Friday during the Sheriff's Office annual holiday lunch at the headquarters office on Park Road.

Awards were also presented Deputy Patrick Reeves, Deputy Brian Thompson and Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello for Meritorious Service.

Commendations were presented to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Deputy Lonnie Nati, Correction Officer Lisa Aratari, Correction Officer Walter Kolmetz and Correction Officer Bob Mattice.

Top photo: Vlack receives his award from Undersheriff William Sharon, left, and Sheriff Gary Maha.

More pictures and full press release after the jump:

December 17, 2010 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, video.

This video was clearly shot at GCC during a basketball game. A State Trooper is seen talking with a white-haired gentleman who matches the description of John Parrinello being arrest.

If you get WHAM 13 out of Rochester, watch the 6 p.m. news for a report by Sean Carroll related to the video.

UPDATE: Click here for Sean's story.

Previously: Monroe County attorney, college trustee arrested during basketball game at GCC

December 17, 2010 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, weather, Tonawanda Creek.

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This was the view behind the courthouse late this morning at the Tonawanda Creek Falls.

As for the weather forecast: Nothing unusual predicted -- some scattered snow showers and more cold.

December 17, 2010 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oak Street, code enforcement.

Ron Graziaplena is taking his case to trial.

The Oak Street man who has raised the ire of neighbors, and is accused of numerous code violations by the city, will defend himself against the charges in a bench trial before City Court Judge Robert Balbick.

Graziaplena did not appear in court today, but his attorney was present to set the trial date, which is the afternoon of Feb. 21.

Previously: Dispute over ducks, other complaints, has Oak Street man headed to court

December 17, 2010 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

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The public is invited to tour the new surgical wing at UMMC this afternoon from 3 to 7 p.m.

A free shuttle service from the Bank Street and Washington Street parking lot to the North Street location is available.

December 17, 2010 - 8:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia,NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20gift certificate for $10.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY: A full menu, salad bar and drinks in one of the region's most popular entertainment venues. We have $25 gift certificates for $12.50. (Must be new or current Players Club member to redeem.)

Red Osier, Route 5, Stafford, NY: Truly, one of the landmark restaurants of the area. Red Osier features prime rib carvedtable side. We have $25 gift certificates for $12.50.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY:Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

SOLD OUT

December 16, 2010 - 10:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Christmas lights.

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As part of our ongoing series of local Christmas lights, here are six pictures taken tonight.

Above, Lincoln Avenue.

More after the jump:

December 16, 2010 - 9:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, State Police.

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Members of the State Police and Park Rangers were at the County Airport today practicing open water rescue, taking advantage of the cold weather to get some practice in winter conditions.

The practice involves a trooper and ranger taking off in the chopper and then coming back to the practice zone to pick up a practice rescuee. The purpose is to work on communication among rescuers to ensure all elements of the rescue are coordinated.

A complete sequence of pictures after the jump:

December 16, 2010 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, thruway.

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A tractor-trailer hauling cars is reportedly on fire on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 396.8, eastbound lane.

The caller reports flames coming from under the dashboard.

East Pembroke Fire dispatched.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: Cab now reported fully involved.

UPDATE 2:40 p.m.: One truck from Town of Batavia requested to the scene.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: A chief on scene requests an Oakfield tanker. "It's going pretty good," he says.

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: A couple of the cars on the truck are on fire. Indian Falls and Pembroke requested to the scene.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m. (Billie): Tankers from Corfu and Darien are now requested. There is heavy traffic congestion around the burning rig, impending the ability of responders to reach the scene more quickly.

UPDATE 3:08 p.m. (Billie): Corfu is asked to standby in the East Pembroke Fire Hall. Darien is asked to wait at the Thruway service area until called if needed.

UPDATE 3:16 p.m. (Billie): Eastbound traffic is being diverted off the Thruway at the Pembroke exit. The congestion has also made it difficult for empty water tankers to leave so those with water can get in there.

UPDATE 3:31 p.m. (Billie): The fire is out and the crews are doing overhaul to finish the work.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: Top photo, submitted by Thomas Schneider. Bottom two photos by Howard Owens.

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