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January 6, 2011 - 6:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A two-car head-on collision as been reported in front of Orcon Industries, 8715 Lake St. Road, Le Roy.

The initial caller reported it was a low-speed impact, but there are apparently minor injuries.

Traffic is being shut down at Route 19 and West Bergen Road.

There are fluids in the roadway.

Le Roy Fire and Ambulance responding.


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January 5, 2011 - 7:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Batavia man who admitted in federal court to storing and receiving sexually explicit images and video involving children is being sent to prison for five years.

Samuel W. Nigro, 33, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Nigro was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to two victims and will be on supervised release for five years after his prison term is completed.

In December 2009, the Nigro's computer was seized during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. A forensic analysis revealed a total of 5,239 images and 113 videos of child pornography stored on the computer.

January 5, 2011 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, fire, Darien.

This video of yesterday's fire in Darien was posted on YouTube by a retired firefighter who runs Erie County's Firewire web site.

January 5, 2011 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in new york, Andrew Cuomo.

Newly minted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his first State of the State message today and came out strongly against taxes:

The New York Times:

Mr. Cuomo proposed to freeze the salaries of the vast majority of public employees for one year, to limit new spending to no higher than the rate of inflation, to limit school property tax increases and to “hold the line” on taxes in general.

“New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Our young people will not stay, businesses will not come, this has to change. Put it simply, the people of this state simply cannot afford to pay more taxes, period.”

Cuomo pledged to cut spending, consolidate agencies and reform programs such as Medicaid.

We've been receiving reactions today from local leaders. Their full statements after the jump:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

In today’s State of the State Address, the governor acknowledged the dark times ahead, but looked to a brighter future on the horizon. Many of his cornerstone proposals, from a property tax cap to an independent redistricting commission, have been advanced by the Assembly Minority Conference for years.

What we must do now as state legislators is change the way we operate in Albany and run state government like a private-sector business. We need to find savings in the state budget through consolidating state agencies and ending optional Medicaid programs that other states do not offer.

Unfunded mandates that force localities to raise property taxes and drive our families across state lines must be repealed immediately. Powerful job-creating programs like IDA’s need to be embraced, not ignored. I am eager to work with the governor to accomplish these goals that will improve the quality of life for Western New Yorkers.

State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer:

Today, the Governor’s State of the State address echoed opinions of so many New Yorkers, including myself – especially for the state to close the budget deficit, impose a property-tax cap, and create private-sector jobs. 

I have been an outspoken advocate and introduced legislation on many of these issues during my first term and I am pleased to hear the Governor make them his major legislative priorities.  More importantly, New Yorkers have been demanding property tax relief and a smaller and leaner State government over the past few years as well. 

As the 2011 Legislative Session begins, the governor and legislature have an opportunity to turn our state’s fiscal and economic future around. I am eager to begin working with the governor and my senate and assembly colleagues during the 2011 Legislative Session.”

Steve Hyde, director of the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

The governor’s message today was one of change, coming together, and hope for a prosperous economic future for the Empire State. During his State of the State, Governor Cuomo mentioned his idea of creating 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC’s) throughout the state which will be chaired by Lt. Governor Bob Duffy. 

Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), was impressed with the Governor’s message. “I’m optimistic that the REDC’s will help foster job growth and benefit Genesee County. The private industry uses pay-for-performance and competition to drive success and I think that our state will succeed through rewarding performance.”

He continued “… if done right the REDC’s have potential to better integrate the GCEDC’s regional partners, including Greater Rochester Enterprise and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, with the development communities, local governments, and the state’s Economic Development Agency. These ongoing partnerships will lead to more efficiency and development for all of Western New York.”

Genesee County has continued to grow and strategically invest to develop shovel-ready industry specific sites for medical devices, food processing, distribution logistics and high-tech advanced manufacturing companies. A mega site, Western New York Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP), is under development in Genesee County, Alabama, NY and has the ability to transform Western New York.

Hyde is convinced that STAMP will be a contender in the competitive funding pool that the governor announced. Funds will be allocated to the most innovative and creative regional job creating initiatives. The WNY STAMP project and the Buffalo East Tech Park in Pembroke, NY, have the potential to bring 11,000 jobs directly into Genesee County and add an additional 27,000 jobs through the supply chain impact between Buffalo and Rochester. Potentially, the REDC will assist to promote WNY STAMP and bring the project to a reality for Western New York.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton:

Governor Cuomo's property tax cap plan is a much needed New Year's resolution for New York State farmers.

Because of our land holdings, property taxes are killing us. We love the governor’s plan to cap taxes at 2 percent. Also, we love the cap because it's coupled with a recognition that long-term restructuring is needed to Medicaid, government consolidation and education reform.

Equally exciting is his mandate relief program, which will help shrink the massive tax burden local municipalities are forced to levy against its residents and businesses.

The governor made it clear today, as he did throughout his campaign last fall, that agriculture will be a central factor in his effort to revitalize the economy.

We are grateful for his vow to help get more New York-grown food into the New York City market. This is a no-brainer. This idea will benefit farmers as well as city residents who will have greater access to fresh local produce and dairy products.

We applaud his support to renovate the Hunt’s Point Terminal Market, which is a vital resource for farmers to deliver produce into the New York City market.

We’re looking forward to working with Lt. Gov. Duffy in his role as advisor to regional economic development councils. He’s already visited my farm and many others over the past several months. He has demonstrated a clear recognition of agriculture and its role in the economy and culture of Upstate New York and Long Island.

Governor Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy have pledged their commitment to the farm families of New York and we’re looking forward to working with this exciting new administration.

January 5, 2011 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

brett_blair.jpgUPDATE: The original press release on this said Brett M. Blair would be in court on March 11 for "sentencing." But the release didn't include any information indicating that he had entered a guilty plea to any charges. After the initial post, I spoke with Sgt. Steve Mullen of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and Blair and his attorney were in negotiations on a plea arrangement -- with Blair agreeing to detail his criminal activitiy -- prior to his arrest on Tuesday. So, the March 11 appearance will be for sentencing. His sentence on all charges will run concurrently. Further details on the plea arrangement are not available at this time.

--

A 27-year-old Bergen man has been charged with multiple felonies following an investigation by local and state law enforcement agencies into a series of crimes.

Taken into custody Tuesday was Brett M. Blair.

Blair is charged with:

  • Burglary, 2nd. Blair is accused of breaking into a Route 33, Town of Batavia, home Oct. 15 and stealing cash and jewelry. He was arrested on this charge by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
  • Burglary, 2nd. Blair is accused of breaking into a home on North Street, City of Batavia, on Oct. 22, and stealing electronic equipment. Batavia PD arrested Blair on this charge.
  • Grand larceny, 4th. Blair is accused of reporting a burglary to his residence on March 3 claiming that $2,475 in electronics and cash were stolen. Police say he had actually stole the items himself and filed a false report. Batavia Police made the arrest on this charge. (UPDATE: Blair was a resident of the city, on Lyons Street, at the time of this offense.)
  • Criminal mischief, 3rd. Blair is accused of breaking a window of an East Main Street business on Oct. 4. Batavia PD made the arrest.
  • Identify theft, 1st, and forgery, 2nd. Blair is accused of using a credit card stolen from his employer and using it at Kmart. The alleged crimes occurred between August and September. Blair is also charged with petit larceny. State Police arrested Blair on this charge.

A Sheriff's Office press release says that the three law enforcement agencies involved pooled their resources to help identify Blair as the suspect and make the arrests.

Blair was already in custody for unspecified reasons at the Monroe County Jail. 

After being taken into custody, Blair was arraigned in the town and city courts of Batavia and then brought before Judge Robert Noonan in Genesee County Court. He was returned to Monroe County Jail and is scheduled to reappear in county court at 1:30 p.m., March 10.

January 5, 2011 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

A car reportedly slid off the pavement in the area of 2825 Dodgeson Road and rolled over. 

The caller says she's shaken and isn't sure if she's injured.

She and a passenger are unable to get out of the car.

Alexander Fire and Ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 1:04 p.m.: Patients extricated.


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January 5, 2011 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports.

rotary_round1_04a.jpg

Perry and Notre Dame will move on to a finals match in the 2010 Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Tournament at GCC on Thursday.

Both squads won by big margins in first-round action Tuesday.

Perry beat Batavia High 50-31 and the Lady Irish overcame Alexander 60-44.

A few more pictures after the jump.  A total of 75 photos are available for sale by clicking here.

January 5, 2011 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Adam M. Kreutz, 22, of Fisher Road, Oakfield, is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and criminal mischief, 4th. At 4:40 a.m.,Tuesday, while in the Village of Oakfield, Kreutz allegedly drowned a family cat. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Jeffery Leonard Wheeler, 18, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Wheeler is accused of visiting a residence he is barred from visiting by court order. Wheeler was jailed on $2,000 bail.

January 4, 2011 - 11:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

A driver whose car hit a tanker truck as it pulled up to a fire hydrant to refill while crews battled a fully involved house fire on Broadway in Darien was charged following the accident with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Wallace Eugene Urf, 33, of Pavilion Center Road, Pavilion, was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by Deputy Lonnie Nati who investigated the accident.

Urf was reportedly uninjured in the accident, which occurred at 2:31 p.m. Urf's car hit Attica Engine 7 while the tanker was refilling to help fight a fire at 1081 Broadway Road.

After the accident, a firefighter was heard on the scanner to say Urf's car "blew through the intersection at Harlow Road" and struck the rear of the truck.

The Sheriff's Office press release listed no other charges.

January 4, 2011 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, elba, Oakfield.

As soon as the Elba Town Board found out about cash from scrap metal sales being used to buy a flat-screen TV, popcorn popper and coffeemaker for the highway department, the board instituted new accounting controls to better track funds from the sales, according to Town Supervisor Lucine Kauffman.

Disclosure of the sales and purchases were part of an audit report on nine Western New York governments and the Batavia School District by the NYS Comptroller's Office.

Investigators specifically looked into how procedures for scrap material sales were handled. The finding: Of the $132,000 in scrap sales, there was inadequate tracking and accounting of more than $27,000 in cash.

Elba had the distinction of the only flat-screen TV purchased with the cash.

"It was not a practice we (the board) knew about and we put a stop to it immediately," Kauffman said.

According to the report, the highway superintendent for Elba at the time, Allan Totten, made $5,605 in scrap sales from June 2006 to July 2009. The scrap buyer paid with a check for $1,119 in purchases and paid cash on 18 occasions, totalling $4,486.

When he got checks, Totten reportedly turned the checks over to the town and the money went into the general fund.

Kauffman says the Town of Elba contracts with a vendor to pick up scrap metal from its transfer station and it rents a receptacle from the vendor. Proceeds from the sale of this scrap metal has been in the form of a check mailed directly to her.

The scrap metal sold by the highway department employees for cash consisted of items they transported to the vendor. When he got cash, Totten treated it as a "coffee fund" -- petty cash to use within his department.

After auditors questioned this practice, Totten reportedly turned over $1,113 to the town. He didn't have receipts for the purchase of the TV and small appliances, but auditors said they visually confirmed those items were in the highway offices.

Kauffman said in response, that the town notified the scrap buyer that all purchases must be paid for by check from now on, that specific accounting of each transaction must take place. Furthermore, there is no "coffee fund" now.

Purchases for refreshments are reimbursable only under specific conditions, one of which is that the refreshments are for highway department employees from other municipalities assisting with Town of Elba projects.

These purchases will be specifically regulated as to how much money can be spent on authorized items. The town also adopted a code of ethics and wrote a scrap metal policy.

And writing the policy was made a bit harder, Kauffman said, because she couldn't find another jurisdiction that could provide an example of their own (written) scrap sales policies. They just didn't exist, Kauffman said.

That was one of the issues the comptroller's office apparently was trying to address in its audit of government agencies.

In the Batavia School District, auditors identified nearly $4,700 in cash sale proceeds for the period September 2006 through November 2008 that were not recorded or documented.

Some of the sales were recorded in the names of district employees and employees included personal scrap in the pile.

The City of Batavia and Town of Oakfield were found to have informal procedures for accounting for scrap sales and the audit report suggests that formal procedures be adopted.

January 4, 2011 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Darien.

darienhousefire04.jpg

The last hots spots are being extinguished and fire crews are just being put back in service following a house fire at 1081 Broadway, Darien, that was reported at about 1:35 p.m.

The homeowner, a single occupant, Diane Allison, was not hurt in the fire, though her home was destroyed.

There's no word yet on how the fire started, but the point of origin appears to be somewhere at the rear of the house.

Eight fire departments from Genesee and Erie counties responded, along with Mercy EMS, the Sheriff's Office, State Police and Genesee Emergency Services.

A driver who reportedly drove his car into a parked fire tanker was not injured in the accident.

Allison had cats in the house, but no word yet on their fate.

Route 20 should reopen within 30 minutes.

More pictures after the jump:

January 4, 2011 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

Corfu 01032011 125948.jpg

The Sheriff's Office released three photos purporting to show the suspect from yesterday's bank robbery in Corfu. The office says, "Anyone with information please call the Genesee County Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000. Additional photographs and information will be released as it becomes available."

Corfu 01032011 025412.jpg

Corfu 01032011 130247.jpg

January 4, 2011 - 12:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, M&T Bank, corfu.

There's no information tying a bank robbery in Corfu yesterday to recent bank robberies in the Buffalo area, according to Undersheriff Bill Sharon.

m7trob06.jpgAlthough Associated Press is reporting that authorities say the Corfu heist may be connected to two robberies in Amherst and two more in Buffalo, Sheron said no evidence has been found so far tying the robberies together.

"They don't appear to be related," Sheron said. "For one thing, the descriptions of the suspects are different. Of course, we're working with federal agencies to see if there is a linkage to any other robberies, either in the region or the state or nationally."

Investigators are back in Corfu today trying to gather more evidence and talk to more witnesses.

Sheron said witnesses to the 2 p.m. robbery on Monday could still play a key part in breaking this case.

"We're fairly certain that he (the suspect) was in the village from about noon until the time of the robbery," Sheron said. "We're looking for any citizens who might have seen him or noticed his activities."

There were pictures, apparently, of the suspect taken in the bank and the Sheriff's Office is working with the FBI to enhance the images and release them to the media. 

Other businesses in the area also had external security cameras that may provide additional leads.

Yesterday's investigation centered on boot prints in the snow that were found in a walkway between the bank and an apartment building. They led to a parking area behind Dadio's and seemed to have stopped there. A police dog was brought in to track the suspect, but that trail seemed to lead no further than the parking area.

While initial reports may have placed the suspect in a silver sedan, there's no solid evidence, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble, to say for sure that was a vehicle used by the suspect.

"What we have on the cameras will hopefully help out, but no one saw him get into a car or anything like that," Dibble said.

The suspect is described as a white male, just under 6 feet tall, average build, with possibly brown hair. He was wearing a yellow, work-type boot, maybe, and jeans. He also had on a gray hoodie that he pulled over his head and a black, ski-type mask covering the lower part of his face.

People with any possible information should contact the Sheriff's Office at 345-3000.

January 4, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Alabama.

Melissa Ann Peterson, 25, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Peterson is accused of placing a phone call to her grandmother and calling her "filthy, vulgar words," according to Deputy Brian Thompson, who reported that he was at the grandmother's house at the time of the phone call and was a "direct witness to this harassing, annoying call." Thompson was on scene investigating a report of stolen keys. Peterson was arrested and released on her own recognizance.

Tracy A. Niemi, 35, of 8510 Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with forgery, 2nd. Niemi is accused of altering a prescription form and attempting to pass it at a pharmacy in the city.

Jonathon James Breu, 19, of Meadow Drive, Geneseo, is charged with petit larceny. Breu is accused of stealing $63 worth of cigarettes from the Totem Pole Smoke Shop.

January 4, 2011 - 8:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Scratch Bakery, 24 Main St. Le Roy, NY: A real bakery right in Genesee County. Scones, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls and more. Call ahead, 297-2441, for availability or special orders. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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 $20 gift certificate for $10.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga or Tai Chi, 3 classes, a $36 value, for $18.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card 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

January 3, 2011 - 11:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos, Darien, Richley Road.

whitebarn_richleyroad01.jpg

Driving back to Batavia on Richley Road this morning, conditions seemed good to get a picture of this barn.

Also, I liked the stand of trees below. Anybody know what kind of trees they are?

standortrees_richleyroad01.jpg

January 3, 2011 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, crime, Darien.

deerstory04.jpg

Kris Clark and his father-in-law Andy Job have a simple request of people coming past their home in Darien: "Please don't shoot our deer."

Job has been raising deer on his Richley Road property for 15 years, and on at least two occasions, his deer have been shot and killed by passersby.

On Saturday, somebody in a sedan with a loud muffler pulled up to the fence line and fired a shot.

No deer were hit, but Clark, who lives at the house with his wife and two young children, was sitting with his family in the Florida room, which offers little protection from a ricocheting bullet.

deerstory05.jpg"I don't want our deer shot, but that's not my biggest concern," Clark said. "The deer fenced area is close to the road and my house is also within close range. With that in mind, my children were home and I am lucky that no one was hurt or killed."

Job started keeping deer 15 years ago, buying two pregnant does. He now has 10, but he's kept as many as 18.

Several years ago, somebody shot eight deer on his property and just left them dead behind the fence. Then two years ago, somebody fired a .22 caliber bullet at his 10-point buck.

The buck was wounded, but wouldn't let Job get near it so he could care for its wound. The buck died two weeks later of an infection.

Big bucks, Job said, are worthy anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. At the time, he had recently turned down an offer of $12,000 for the buck.

He didn't sell only because of DEC regulations that would have made a sale difficult and expensive.

But the deer are more than livestock to Job. They're also his pets. Clark said his father-in-law was upset when his buck died for reasons that had nothing to do with money.

When something like Saturday's gun shot happen, Clark said, the deer are spooked for days afterwards, making them less social and a little harder to get out of the back wooded area of the wooded area at feeding time.

The Sheriff's Office took a report on the shooting incident Saturday, but there isn't much to go on. It was dark and neither Clark nor a neighbor who also heard the shot got a good look at the car.

Still, Clark said, he's hoping somebody might know something and the Sheriff's Office can make an arrest in the case. Tips can be called into 345-3000.

Job said he welcomes people driving down Richley Road and stopping to look at his deer when they're near the front fence line. As long as they're just looking, Job said, that's fine.

Along with the deer, Job keeps geese, turkeys, an emu and chickens. More pictures from his place after the jump.

January 3, 2011 - 8:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

JNicholsShopInZoneResized1311.jpgChristmas came twice for Jan Nichols of Batavia.

Nichols picked up a big present at the Batavia Improvement District Office today -- a $500 gift certificate for a shopping spree at participating downtown businesses.

The prize was the award of a contest sponsored by the BID called "Shop in the Zone."

Thirty-five downtown businesses took part, with entrants being required to stop at at least 12 businesses and fill out a participation card.

The winner was drawn from all qualifying entrants.

The contest ran from Dec. 1-24.

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