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August 18, 2011 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Main St. Pizza Company.

A hand-painted sign on the back of Main St. Pizza Company on East Main Street, Batavia, has the local zoning board's blessing, according to shop owner Vic Marchese.

He said that the zoning board approved a variance for the sign on Tuesday, even though the county planning board had recommended disapproval.

The sign was painted by local muralist Vinny DelPlato earlier this summer. It was only after Delplato completed the work did Marchese learn the painting, considered a sign, not art work, needed city approval.

August 18, 2011 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Batavia Development Corp..

Press release:

Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) today announced its appointment of Julie Pacatte as the Economic Development Coordinator for the BDC. Ms. Pacatte was selected following a statewide recruitment process.

Ms. Pacatte has been involved with various aspects of economic development for the greater part of 20 years. From 1993-2003, she worked in real estate development in both Florida and Maryland. From 2003-2005, Julie served as the director of external affairs for the Schoharie County, NY, Chamber of Commerce in the Capital District region. From 2006-2010, Julie served as an economic development associate and Empire Zone coordinator for the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency prior to relocating to Clarence, NY, with her family last year.

BDC President Ray Chaya said, “We are delighted to have Julie join our team. She brings a great deal of experience and background to Batavia and we look forward to working closely with her and other groups in the community to further push the city’s economic development efforts.”

The Batavia Development Corporation is a local development corporation established in 1994 to assist with economic development, redevelopment and job creation efforts within the City of Batavia. Since 2003, the City and BDC have accessed several statewide economic development programs in order to make small business loans and grants locally. As a result, more than $1.3 million has been awarded to 80 small businesses in the city that has leveraged nearly $2.5 million of private investment. Approximately 280 jobs have been created or retained in the last seven years.

“Julie brings a breath of fresh air to our economic development plans for the city. Her experience with communities of similar size to Batavia will be great asset moving forward,” commented BDC Vice President Dan Fischer.

Ms. Pacatte will be focused on administering the city revolving loan funds, assisting with small business development and growth, industrial/mixed use development, downtown growth/revitalization and administering economic development grant programs.

Currently the BDC offers two separate small business loan programs: a loan up to $30,000 to create or retain jobs and a grant/loan program providing up to $10,000 grant/$10,000 loan targeting business owners that are low to moderate income or have at least 51 percent of their employees in the low to moderate income level.

The new economic development coordinator position was funded through a formal partnership between the BDC and the City of Batavia. The partnership between the BDC and the city calls for $90,000 annual budget for a two-year trial period offering a $60,000 salary. The city has contributed $10,000 while the balance of funds are committed from the separate revolving loan program. Ms. Pacatte’s office is located in City Hall on the second floor.

Please contact Julie Pacatte at 345-6380 or visit the Batavia Development Corporation website at www.bataviadevelopmentcorp.org for more information.

August 18, 2011 - 3:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, Tonawanda Creek, indian falls.

A caller reports that several cars are parked along Waddington Road, on the south side of the Tonawanda Creek at Indian Falls.

The caller reports that anyone who got out of those cars and went to the falls, would've had to cross posted private property to get there.

A deputy has been dispatched to the area.

While that portion of the Tonawanda is county property, most of the area around the falls is private property, except for an entryway to the creek east of the falls at Route 77.

Last week, a 17-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell on some rocks while swimming and diving at the falls.

August 18, 2011 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

A Corfu resident admitted today in Genesee County Court to drug dealing and faces up to two and a half years in state prison if Judge Robert C. Noonan imposes the maximum sentence available under a plea bargain.

Brandon R. Brade, 29, entered a guilty plea to one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th.

Brade was facing four more felony counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Noonan has a range of sentencing options available, from probation with no jail up to the maximum, because Brade has no prior felony convictions.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 7.

Meanwhile, Brade is out of jail under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Brade was accused of selling cocaine to an undercover agent and arrested in February.

August 18, 2011 - 11:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A State Street resident who is under supervision of NYS Parole was stopped on Richmond Avenue by a parole officer and allegedly found in possession of cocaine.

Local Drug Enforcement Task Force members assisted in the arrest of John Henry Butler, 29, of 160 State St., Batavia.

Butler was allegedly found in possession of a quantity crack cocaine and a search of his residence allegedly turned up drug paraphernalia.

The parolee was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Following his arrest, Butler was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed with no bail.

August 18, 2011 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 26-year-old Batavia resident is accused of selling cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force on two occasions in the past six months.

Taken into custody is Patricia M. Anderson, of 193 S. Main St., Batavia.

Anderson is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Anderson was jailed with no bail.

August 18, 2011 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Present Tense Books, Genesee Cash Mob.

It is "Genesee Cash Mob" day at Present Tense Books, on the corner of State and Washington.

The event, organized by Chris Charvella, is designed to encourage local residents to shop at local businesses. Each week -- this is the first week -- people nominate a local business to support for the day by spending at least $10 at the store. Present Tense won the first-round voting.

August 18, 2011 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

There will be no more rides on the Ride of the Steel in 2011.

Darien Lake Theme Park is taking the roller coaster out of commission to complete repairs.

“While we regret to inform our guests that the roller coaster will be down for remainder of the season, we still have a large variety of rides and attractions for guests of the park of all ages to enjoy," said Christopher Thorpe, general manager of the park.

The Ride of Steel was closed Aug. 11 and riders evacuated after a chain fell off of it.

August 17, 2011 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, elba, Oakfield.

A silver SUV on Maltby Road reportedly struck two dogs and kept on going.

A deputy is dispatched to the area.

August 17, 2011 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, bergen.

Douglas James Clark, 40, of 4224 Batavia-Elba Townline Road, Oakfield, is charged with assault, 3rd. Clark is accused of throwing a rock at a person at 4 p.m., June 24, in Batavia. The victim was injured.

Charles Joseph Finnin, 41, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Finnin is accused of pushing another person during an argument.

Ronald Jason Scroger, 31, Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Scroger is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Katelyn Christen Kubala, 22, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kubala is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Jason Lance Washington, 21, of Eller Street, Buffalo. Washington was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office by the Erie County Holding Center upon his release from custody on a bench warrant out of Bergen Town Court. The original charge is grand larceny, 4th. Washington was jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash or $2,000 bond.

August 17, 2011 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

Among the 12 people arrested Aug. 11 at the Blink 182 concert at Darien Lake was a 27-year-old man who found himself on the other side of the badge after allegedly tussling with concert security.

Arrested and charged with disorderly conduct was Sean Ford.

According to the Buffalo News, Ford's day job is as a cop at the University of Buffalo.

“Unfortunately, University at Buffalo Police Officer Sean Ford was one of them and was issued an appearance ticket,” said Gerald W. Schoenle Jr., chief of UB’s police force, who added that it is the policy of his department not to discuss personnel matters.

August 17, 2011 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) today released the results of questions and answers from his virtual town hall, which were posted on his Facebook page. The purpose of the survey questions was to gain feedback on issues important to the residents in Hawley’s district.

In response to question #1, “Do you favor having two New Yorks?” by a ratio of nearly 6 to 1, residents favored Upstate breaking away from New York City.

Question # 2, “Do you favor a 90-day residency requirement before anyone can receive Medicaid benefits?” 86 percent voted in favor, while 12 percent voted not in favor and 1 percent voted “no opinion.” Hawley has introduced A6059, which would require a 90-day residency. 

Question # 3, “What do you favor as New York state’s vegetable?” 66 percent of residents favored sweet corn, while 19 percent of residents favored the onion and the remaining 15 percent chose “other.” 

Hawley noted that he would like to have more question and answer sessions like this via his Facebook page in the near future due to the high volume of feedback received.

In the meantime, Hawley encouraged constituents and supporters to follow him on Facebook (Steve Hawley) so that they can stay informed and up-to-date on legislative updates and issues of importance to residents of the 139th Assembly District.

August 17, 2011 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Notre Dame.

A reader sent this link saying that a group of students "worked really hard" on this video to promote their school. We don't have any other details.

August 17, 2011 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, food.

Rancho Viejo, Batavia's new Mexican restaurant, opened at 11 o'clock today.

Owner Leon Ramirez, right, said he decided to open a restaurant in Batavia because it seemed like a good market and there was no Mexican restaurant in Batavia.

Ramirez completely remodeled the former Ponderosa location on Ellicott Street.

This is Ramirez's fifth location. He also owns Mexican restaurants in Mt. Morris (his home), Cornell, Waterloo and Fairport.

"I invite everybody down to give us a try," Ramirez said. "I promise them very real Mexican food."

Pictured with Ramirez is Jonathan Martinez.

August 17, 2011 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education.

New students for the 2011-12 academic year at Genesee Community College started arriving at College Village this morning.

Some 387 new and returning students will occupy 95 apartments by the end of the day Saturday.

For new students, coming in today and tomorrow, College Village has set up orientation classes, events and trips to help out-of-town students learn about Genesee County.

"We have fun programs and we have educational programs to help prepare students for residential life," said John Sisson, director of College Village.

On the educational front, students -- many of whom are living with non-family members for the first time --  attend sessions on how to get along with others and fire safety, for example.

The village has scheduled events Thursday through Sunday, starting with a shopping trip to Walmart, an ice cream social, a pizza dinner, a trip to Darien Lake and an afternoon Muckdogs game Sunday at Dwyer Stadium.

August 16, 2011 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Bowling, mancuso bowling center.

John Sisson, above, tries out the revitalized bowling lanes at Mancuso Bowling Center, behind T.F. Brown's, in Batavia.

All 24 lanes were screened (kind of like sanding) and recoated over the summer, according to manager Mike Sputore.

At one time, the Mancusos recoated the lanes only every few years, now they try to do it every year or two.

"We've noticed better scores with the more frequently we do it," Sputore said.

In an effort to spiff up the lanes even more, the walls have been repainted, the bowler's approach area resurfaced and many worn parts of the pin machinery replaced.

To help give bowlers a chance to try out the revitalized lanes, Mancuso's is offering $1 per-game specials from 4 to 9 p.m., Aug. 20 through Aug. 26.

Through August, Mancuso Bowling Center is open 3 to 9 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

August 16, 2011 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Rolling Hills Asylum.

Law enforcement is heading to the Rolling Hills Asylum in Bethany for a report of a suspicious condition.

A car or cars stopped and several people got out and are now "running around" on the property.

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: The car has apparently left the area, but it's been identified.

UPDATE 7:53 p.m.: The alleged trespassers, a male and female, reportedly went onto the roof, but did not enter the building.

UPDATE 7:58 p.m.: Vehicle located in the county park.

August 16, 2011 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

The ride operators who allowed Sgt. James Hackemer to board the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park on July 8 did not comprehend the instructions they were given regarding minimum ride requirements, according to a NYS Department of Labor Report.

The report was obtained by Buffalo TV station WIVB through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The report (PDF) also says that Hackemer went to the guest services booth to inquire about handicap access to rides and was given instructions on how to use exit ramps to access the rides. The report indicates that no one at guest services advised him not to board any rides, but he was offered a brochure listing physical requirements for all of the park's rides. Hackemer reportedly refused the brochure saying he already had a copy.

At 4:30 p.m., Hackemer -- who had lost his left leg and hip and part of his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq -- along with his nephew, entered the Ride of Steel boarding area through the exit ramp and stopped at the gate adjacent to the unload platform.

The unload attendent notified the ride operator that a disabled guest needed to board the ride.

Hackemer and his nephew, who assisted the war vet, were then allowed to board the ride in car 11.

The report indicates neither operator made any attempt to prevent Hackemer from boarding the ride.

According to witnesses, shortly after cresting the third hill, Hackemer was ejected from his seat.

The report states that the restraint system of the ride is specifically designed to lock the passenger's shins in place to help ensure a rider cannot fall out or be ejected.

"After exhaustive review of all the documentation and interviews, it appears that the ride operator and ride attendent training materials met the requirements of the manufacturer," reads the report. "However, issues concerning the employees' comprehension of the training material and their ability to retain the associated requirements of their positions, specifically in reference to rider restrictions, became apparent."

At a press conference July 22, General Manager Christopher Thorpe would not answer questions about the ride operators, including their immigration status. Reportedly, Darien Lake annually employs about 300 students who are in the United States on J-1 visas.

It's unknown if the ride operators were exchange students or residents of Western New York.

The DOL report notes that upon the recommendation of inspectors, Darien Lake's management has instituted a new training program, created new training materials and instituted an audit program to ensure ride operators understand the safety restrictions of Darien's rides.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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