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February 19, 2011 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

UPDATED 11:15 a.m.

The body of 73-year-old Kimberly Drew was found in Murder Creek this morning, about 400 yards from where his ATV overturned Friday afternoon.

Drew was reportedly out on his property gathering maple sap for his syrup business when he apparently tried to cross the swollen creek, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

Dibble said it was a portion of the creek he frequently crosses, but this time the waters were much higher than usual. It's unclear what happened at that point.

Drew, who lived on Broadway Road, is a former town supervisor, serving from 2000 through 2003.

"He was a very nice man, a good guy," said current Supervisor David Hagelberger. "The town would like to express our condolences to his family and friends."

According to Dibble, Drew left his house about 1 p.m.  He was scene by somebody about 2 p.m.  Concerned family members reported him missing at 5:20 p.m.  His ATV was found on a portion of Murder Creek near on the south side of Route 20 in the Harper Road area of Darien. The creek passes under Route 20 just west of Harper Road.

More than 50 volunteer firefighters participated in the search, which began about 6:30 on Friday, was suspended overnight and resumed at 7:30 this morning.

Drew's body was found at 8:40 a.m. on the side of the creek. Dibble said the water receded overnight making the search easier.

In all, seven fire companies participated, including Darien, Corfu, East Pembroke, Alexander, Alden, Crittenden, Attica and Bennington. Genesee County Emergency Services and Sheriff's Office also participated in the search. During Friday's search, Mercy Flight was in the air for about 30 minutes before winds forced the helicopter back to base. Water rescue teams from East Pembroke and Alden helped in the search.

"It was a team effort," said Darien Chief Dale Breitwieser.

The cause of death has not yet been determined. Dibble said it's not known at this time if Drew sustained injuries in the accident or if there was another medical issue that precipitated the accident.

February 19, 2011 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

The roof on the Kwik Fill at Jackson and Ellicott streets, Batavia, was peeled right off by strong winds this morning.

The incident was reported at 6:23 a.m.

City fire responded.

An electrical line was arcing so National Grid was called in to shut off power.

There is a wind advisory in place until 6 p.m 

The wind may hamper search efforts for the missing man in Darien.  It's possible that any aircraft that could be used to assist in the search will be grounded due to high winds.

Scattered snow showers are expected throughout the day.

February 18, 2011 - 11:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

The search for a man reported missing in Darien has been scaled back for the night and will resume at 8:30 a.m.

The 73-year-old man was reported missing late Friday afternoon. His ATV was found in a creek behind My Saloon of Route 20 near Harper Road.

Water rescue teams from Alden and East Pembroke fire departments participated in the search and will return in the morning.

Darien fire along with Alexander and Corfu fire departments are participating in the search.

Overnight, a smaller search team will remain in the area, periodically checking the creek, according to Tim Yeager, emergency management coordinator.

The Office of Emergency Services along with State Police and the Sheriff's Office are also taking part in the operation.

(Initial Report)


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February 18, 2011 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Corrections.

Yesterday, in our story on the scuffle at the DSS office, we identified the suspect as Steven Joseph. His correct name is Steven Joseph Mancuso-Haitz.

We also said he was a resident of a complex called Mancuso Heights in Stafford.

It is unlikely there is a development in Stafford called Mancuso Heights, or even in the Town of Batavia, as one of our readers suggested this morning.

Mancuso-Haitz is apparently homeless and had only recently arrived in Batavia on a bus from Florida.

I'd feel a lot worse about this, but the Batavia Daily News reporter misunderstood the information in the same way I did.

I ran into one of the deputies from the scene at the courthouse this afternoon and as we discussed the confusion, it was clear how it came about. We all, I'm sure, regret the error.

February 18, 2011 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Grand Jury.

Adam R. Kopp is indicted on charges of burglary, 2nd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, and petit larceny. Kopp is accused of entering a residence on Bloomingdale Road, Alabama, on Jan. 12, with the intent of committing crimes once inside. On that date, he is accused of possessing hydrocodone and acetaminophen. He is accused of stealing on that date hydrocodone and acetaminophen tablets.

Shawn R. Hugar is indicted on charges of DWI as a misdemeanor, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated DWI ("Leandra's Law"). Hugar is accused of driving drunk on Aug. 23 in the Town of Darien while a child less than 15 years old was in the vehicle.

Lynn A. Hertweck is indicted on charges of DWI as a felony and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater as a felony. Hertweck is accused of driving drunk on Oct. 3 on Route 19, Town of Bergen.

February 18, 2011 - 12:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke.

Dustin M. Locicero, 26, formerly of 16 Gibson St., Bergen, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and four counts of identity theft. Locicero, currently an inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility, is accused of possessing a stolen credit card at the Wilson Farms store, 8132 Buffalo Road, Bergen, on March 18, and allegedly using it to make three separate ATM withdrawls and one merchandise purchase. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Dana Richardson and Investigator Timothy Weis.

Stephen John Farrell, 44, of the Bare Hill Correctional Facility, Malone, is charged with burglary, 3rd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Farrell is accused of using force to enter a Bergen business during the early morning hours of Feb. 11. The entry door was damaged. Farrell was arraigned in Genesee County Court and bail was set at $10,000.

Cody James Sundown, 20, of Sailles Plank Road, Irving, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Sundown was arrested on a bench warrant out of Town of Pembroke Court. Sundown is accused of damaging another person's vehicle on Nov. 27.

Matthew Scott Williams, 23, of 21 Maple St., upper, Batavia, is charged with a violation of probation. Williams was taken into custody at 7:47 p.m., Thursday. Williams was wanted on a bench warrant out of Town of Elba Court. He was jailed on $5,000 bail. (For previous arrest reports on Williams, click here.)

February 18, 2011 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Tracy Avenue.

A futon caught on fire this morning at 29 Tracy Ave., but the apartment was not damaged.

The initial alarm came in around 10 a.m. and city firefighters responded.

Firefighters found the futon outside the apartment, where the resident had dragged it.

According to Lt. Jay Steinbrenner, the resident was apparently smoking on the futon when he fell asleep. When he woke up, he tried putting the fire out himself. He apparently tried a few times, according ot Steinbrenner.

"This apparently went on for an hour and a half," Steinbrenner said.

When the futon flamed up pretty good, the resident dragged it outside and called 9-1-1.

February 18, 2011 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, weather.

It's 50 degrees, the skies are clear, the sun is out -- yeah, sure, it's windy, but surely this is a sign of early spring, right?

Don't get your hopes up.

By 9 p.m., temperatures are expected to dip to 36 degrees, and it will be below freezing by 10 a.m.

There's a 50-percent chance of snow over night.

The the next 10-day forecast shows nothing much above 30 degrees.

BTW: There's also a wind advisory in effect until 6 p.m. Winds will be 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 55 mph.

February 18, 2011 - 12:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Terry Anderson, Peace Garden.

It's an auspicious time for Terry Anderson to return to Batavia to dedicate a peace garden.

Anderson, who grew up in Batavia, was chief Middle East correspondent for Associated Press when he was abducted on March 16, 1985, in Beirut following a game of tennis. Anderson was held in captivity by Hezbollah for six years and nine months.

As Anderson returns to his boyhood home, the Middle East is exploding in a way it never has before. Governments in Tunisia and Egypt have been toppled by pro-democracy demonstrators. Even the Iranian government, which backs Hezbollah, is facing youthful opposition.

Anderson is cautiously optimistic about what he sees happening.

"I watched Yasser Arafat and Isaac Rabin shake hands on the White House lawn," Anderson said tonight during a meet-and-greet at Batavia Downs. "It was one of the most optimistic days of my life, because I covered that conflict for years, and (look at) what has happened since.

"It doesn’t always turn out for the best. But yes, I see something new in the Middle East. I see something that promises something hopeful for the future."

One of America's most acclaimed and recognized journalists, Anderson was invited to return to his former hometown to help raise funds for a War of 1812 Peace Garden planned for a plot of land adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum.

Anderson will have a busy day Friday, starting with an 8 a.m. visit to Batavia High School. He will also have lunch with GCC President Stuart Steiner followed by a public lecture at noon at GCC. At 2 p.m., there will be a press conference with Anderson at the Genesee County History Office, 7 W. Main St., and at 5 p.m., the main event -- a dinner at Terry Hills ($25 per person), where Anderson will be the featured speaker.

Thursday night, Anderson arrived at Batavia Downs shortly after 7 p.m. and he was warmly greeted by a few old friends as well as people involved in organizing the peace garden effort. Anderson also took a few minutes to talk with members of the media who where there.

Anderson -- who recently finished a teaching stint at the University of Kentucky and is now contemplating a return to residency in Upstate New York -- was animated as soon as the topic turned to the turmoil in the Middle East.

He recalled that he was in captivity when Marcos fell in the Philippines, and that was followed by the regime falling in South Africa and then, of course, the toppling of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Soviet Union.

"It just proves again what we knew then – you can have all of the police and secret police and guns and thugs in the world, and when your people stand up and say, ‘no, we’re tired of you,’ you’re gone," Anderson said.

He added, "Every country is different, but there is something going around that they all seem to have in common: They are tired of dictators and corruption and denial of human rights."

A Vietnam veteran, Anderson said that as a 19-year-old Marine, he visited the most famous peace garden in the world, the one at ground zero in Hiroshima, Japan. So when he was invited to return to Batavia to help bring about a new peace garden he thought, "who's not in favor of peace?

"Why would I miss a chance to dedicate a peace garden? It may be on a smaller scale, but why wouldn't I support it?"

Photo: Jim Owen gets an autograph from Terry Anderson on one of his books.

February 17, 2011 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

A public hearing has been set with the Town of Batavia Planning Board to discuss a proposed change to the location of Oil Doctor, 4003 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

Owner Ben Thompson has requested permission to convert a portion of the existing building to an area for motorcycle sales.

The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m., March 1, at town hall, 3833 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

A copy of the application is available at town hall for review.

February 17, 2011 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Clarion Hotel.

Construction has begun on a $2 million project to add an indoor water park to the Clarion Hotel on Park Road, Batavia.

Owner Chan Patel (above) said he is looking forward providing year-round recreation to the region. He expects to draw customs from Buffalo and Rochester, not just Genesee County.

"We have a big staff," Patel said. "Even in the winter, we have 60 people on staff. During the summer there's plenty of work, but in the winter I have to cut down their hours. It's not fair because they have to support their families, too."

The 12,000-square-foot facility -- Palm Island Indoor Water Park -- includes a 197-foot and a 169-foot water slide, a pool equipped with basketball hoops, a spa, a play lagoon with waterfalls, small slides and dumping buckets, as well as birthday party rooms, a food and beverage concession and an arcade room with 15 games.

Patel said he planned the park so that there would be activities that would appeal to all ages.

"This will bring more business into town," Patel said. "It will be a benefit to the whole community."

He's even partnering, he said, with local businesses to help ensure his guests patronize those businesses.

He's also using local or regional contractors. The design was completed by Smart Design, of Batavia. Whitney East, of Rochester, is the general contractor, and Batavia's Arctic Refrigeration is handling all of the mechanical work.

The project received tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center worth about $91,600. That includes partial abatement of property taxes for 10 years worth $18,800, a mortgage-tax abatement worth $12,800, and exemption from sales tax on materials for construction of the park worth $60,000.

GCEDC estimates the $91,600 in tax abatement will have more than a $5 million multiplier-effect benefit for the local economy.

February 17, 2011 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

A chimney fire has been reported at 9565 Colby Road, Corfu.

Darien Fire Department along with a tanker from Alexander and Corfu fire have been dispatched.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m.: Power has been shut off to the residence. Pembroke fire requested to fill in at Corfu's hall.

UPDATE 5:13 p.m.: Fire appears contained to the chimney.


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February 17, 2011 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 26-year-old Stafford man apparently had a bad day at the Department of Social Services office and when a security guard told him it was time to leave, he didn't immediately comply.

"The situation became verbal and then it became physical," said Trooper Mark Catanzaro.

The initial 9-1-1 call for assistance came into the Emergency Dispatch Center at 11:14 a.m.

Taken into custody and facing a possible harassment, 2nd, charge is Steven Joseph, who listed an address in Mancuso Heights, off Seven Springs Road, Stafford.

The security guard was checked by Mercy EMS as a precaution, but was not injured, though his jacket was torn.

Joseph did not appear injured either. 

Catanzaro said Joseph was at DSS seeking services, but "it wasn't going well." He became agitated and the security guard suggested he leave and come back another day.

During the confrontation, the guard wrestled Joseph to the ground and held him there until law enforcement arrived.

Catanzaro was first on scene. A city police officer and Sheriff's deputy arrived on scene seconds later.

UPDATE: A reader sent an e-mail saying that Mancuso Heights is actually in the Town of Batavia.

February 16, 2011 - 9:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Bethany.

I spent most of the afternoon in Le Roy looking for news. I came up blank, but as the sun started to set, I took some back roads home to Batavia. This was shot on Smith Road, Pavilion Bethany.

February 16, 2011 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, downtown.

At least eight buildings in Downtown Batavia were tagged with graffiti some time since later yesterday evening, according to police.

The police report doesn't specify which buildings, but the building owners were notified that police officers spotted the graffiti sometime around 2 a.m.

There has been a little tagging of downtown buildings in the past, but this new tagging does not match the previous words/symbols left.

Chief Randy Baker said the police officer wasn't even sure what the message of the tags were.

Baker suggested that anybody who is downtown after dark call police and report any suspicious activity around buildings.

UPDATE: Downtown property owner Ken Mistler is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the tagger.

February 16, 2011 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, corfu.

Anthony P. Dioguardi, 28, a resident of Wyoming Correctional Facility, is charged with four counts of sexual abuse, 1st. Dioguardi is accused of having forcible sexual contact with a child under 11 on two separate occasions in 2006. Dioguardi is currently serving a sentence on a conviction for similar acts, also in 2006. The case was investigated by Det. Kevin Czora, Batavia PD.

Amanda Ann Barclay, 23, of Angling Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barclay is accused of remaining in the presence of two people whom she is barred by court order from contacting.

February 15, 2011 - 9:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, van detta stadium.

No more muddy football games, practice sessions that can begin a month earlier and end a month later and lower maintenance costs are among the advantages of an artificial turf field. That's what about 30 attendees were told about at a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposed $3.9 million upgrade to Van Detta Stadium and the field.

The upgrade would also bring showers into federal Title IX compliance and disability access to the stands into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. It would also add 75 adjacent parking spots.

The financial impact of the project, some of which would be covered by state aid, would mean the district would need to collect about $110,000 in annual taxes from district residents over 15 years.

Superintended Margaret Puzio acknowledges that in a slow economic time a proposal like this might be counterintuitive. But the time is right, she said, because the recession means the district is likely to attract lower bids from contractors.

"It's important for the public to understand that this may be the last opportunity to do a project of this scope funded at this level," Puzio said near the end of the public hearing.

Afterwards, Puzio said she thought it was important to at least present the option to the public.

"I told the board, morally this is the right thing to do -- to let the public know this is available and let them decide," Puzio said.

The local share -- the amount local taxpayers will pay for directly -- is $1.6 million. The district already has more than $500,000 in its capital improvement fund, which leaves a little over a million to raise locally.

That would mean a tax increase of $6.41 annually to the tax bill of a property assessed at $75,000.

Revenue to pay the balance of the $3.9 million project cost is expected to come from state aid.

The public vote on the proposal is March 29.

Besides converting the playing surface to artificial turf -- which would greatly multiple the number of events and practices the field could be used for annually -- the proposed project also renovates and expands the press box. It adds coaches offices adjacent to the locker rooms and creates separate shower facilities for boys and girls.

The current showers can't even be used because they don't comply with requirements of Title IX.

There would also be a new concession stand area that would include public restrooms.

A 75-space parking lot would be constructed on a current playing field off Union Street (near the center, top left of the picture above).

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