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March 12, 2011 - 10:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Stafford Fire Department.

The Stafford Volunteer Fire Department held its annual installation dinner and awards ceremony at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia on Saturday night.

Above, Karen Nostrant, who received the Chief's Award from Fire Chief Dave Rumsey, dedicates her award to the late 3rd Assistant Chief Paul Hendel, who died Feb. 17 at the age of 49.

Brian Breemes (pictured below with Rumsey) was named Firefighter of the Year. Breemes achieved 226.7 hours of firematic/EMS activity.

Ben Fox won the EMS Achievement Award with 154 hours.

The most EMS training hours were achieved by Chris Scopano with 170.5 hours, while Chris Bobo had most firematic training hours at 126.17.

The department has 40 active members. Total activity and training hours for the department in 2010 was 3,880.48.

The department responded to 237 calls: Fire, 39, rescue and EMS, 146, hazardous condition (no fire), 10, service calls, 2, good intention calls, 28, and false alarms, 12.

More pictures after the jump:

March 12, 2011 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Police.

Batavia police officers made 575 criminal arrests in 2010 and responded to 16,606 calls.

Chief Randy Baker released the department's annual report, which notes that patrols logged more than 100,000 road miles.

Officers also completed 1,685 hours of training.

There were 534 motor vehicle accidents in the city, with 98 reported as personal injury accidents. There was one fatality.

Major investigations included a fatal fire on State Street, the Wiard Plow fire and assisting Elmira police in the investigation of an infant's death.

Full press release after the jump:

March 12, 2011 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Hiroshige Yamabe, an exchange student at Batavia High in 1988-89, currently lives in Japan and has been in contact with his former host family following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country two days ago.

Yamabe sent the following e-mails to Jason Smith. Smith said Yamabe has visited Batavia frequently since his high school years. He currently works for Boehreinger Pharmaceutical in Japan.

March 11:

"It was horrible experience in my life. But mostly people in Tokyo are OK. But we can not go back home, just staying at the office. Anyhow, I am responsible for confirm the production sites/plants close to the centre of origin. Hope phone line will be improved. thank you."

March 12:

Dear all,

Thank you so much for your concerns. Yes, I tried to call Jason and James but not made it. Then I called to the funeral home.

We are all safe. Last night I stayed at the office waiting for the recovery of transportation. We could not catch the taxi and I saw people made a long line. Even though catching the taxi, then it seemed to be a heavy traffic. When I come back home this morning by subway, I did not see so much damage on the building except some items fell down.

In Tokyo now all the infrastructure are fine. But the northern part is terrible. Boehringer Japan Group has three plants in Narita, Yamagata and Fukushima. I am a little bit worried about Fukushima Plant. Cause it is just few kilometre away from the nuclear plant. Anyway, I shall be quite busy for the next few weeks. Thank you again and get in touch.

Kind regards,

H. Yamabe

Now we have a little shaking again...

UPDATE:  Here's a new e-mail from Hiroshige:

Thank you, Jason. Just I talked with my mother. My brother & sister's family, they are all safe. I just concerned about my colleagues' family in Northern part area in Japan has anything wrong. Public transportation is not recovered. So I am still in the office at mid-night. But pretty fine.

March 11, 2011 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

The day is coming, according to Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, when the I-90 corridor from Buffalo to Albany will rival any high-tech corridor in the world.

Peterson made his bold prediction at the Genesee County Economic Development Center's annual luncheon at Genesee Community College.

More than 100 people attended the 90-minute event that featured presentations by GCEDC executives and elected officials -- both predicting a bright future for economic development in Genesee County and complaining about New York's hostile environment to business.

Peterson said high tech will be drawn to Western New York through the cooperative efforts of the industrial development agencies in Genesee, Orleans, Niagara and Monroe counties.

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde (pictured above) echoed Peterson in his closing remarks.

"We will help bring back manufacturing to Western New York and we will do it with high tech, green tech and advanced manufacturing," Hyde said.

With five shovel-ready projects, Genesee County is poised to employee 3,000 more people, Hyde said.

"That's more than double the existing manufacturing work force in Genesee County," Hyde said.

He added that once the Alabama STAMP project is completed and completely built out, Genesee County will employ 9,300 more people.

"But it's not just about jobs," Hyde said. "It's about building a tax base."

Hyde said that process is already benefiting Genesee County.

"We have 114 active projects," Hyde said. "That's up 65 percent from 2005. Those projects collectively pay out $4.5 million annually into the tax jurisdictions of Genesee County, towns, schools and the city."

March 11, 2011 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

A little bit of old Batavia is going to come back to a new bar on Jackson Street, according to co-owner Derek Geib.

Geib and partner Michael Hyland are busy renovating 9 Jackson St.

Longtime residents will remember the building as the one-time Silver Slipper, and later the Candlelight, before becoming Fuel.  The location was most recently the Jackson St. Grill/Belladessa's.

As a restaurant, Silver Slipper's once gorgeous mahogany bar was boarded over and the back bar painted white.

Geib and Hyland have removed all of that clutter and the dark-brown wood of the bar and walls, as well as a large mirror behind the bar, are visible again. The partners have also partially exposed the brick wall of the original structure.

The duo will dub their new establishment "Bourbon & Burger Co."

And the name reflects what Geib, most recently co-owner of Matty's Pizzeria, hopes people will think of when they think of the tavern -- a place to drink and a place to eat.

"It will be a bar and I don't want people to think just 'food,' Geib said. "I want them to get the idea that it's both."

As for the food, though, Geib is aiming high.

"We'll have the best burgers in town," Geib said. "If you ask 10 people where their favorite place to go for a burger, you'll get eight different answers. We want to be the number-one answer."

If the liquor license process goes according to plan, Geib thinks the doors on Bourbon & Burger Co. will open by May 1. The new tavern's application is going before the Batavia City Council for consideration at Monday's meeting.

March 11, 2011 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Police, lt. eugene jankowski.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski, day-shift supervisor for the Batavia Police Department, recently received a trophy for a sharpshooting contest he participated in last month.

The award was for Jankowski's efforts in the 2011 International Defensive Pistol Association Indoor National Championships held at the Smith and Wesson shooting sports center in Springfield, Mass.

Jankowski tells us, "It was my first major IDPA match and I won First Place Sharpshooter in the Stock Service Pistol Division. This win now moves me up to Expert Class. My goal is to be in the Master Class by the end of the year.

"I used a standard Glock, model 34, 9 mm. Other than caliber, it's very similar to my police duty pistol. This match is one of only two national matches held each year and there were approximately 300 shooters in attendance."

For more on the IDPA, click here.

March 11, 2011 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Japan.

Emergency personnel responded around 2 p.m. to a call of a woman suffering some sort of heart condition at the Thruway travel plaza.

Once on scene, a Pembroke/Indian Falls chief informed dispatch that the woman was feeling a good degree of stress because her daughter is in Japan.

"She just learned her daughter is OK," the chief said.

Today, Japan was hit by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake followed by a huge tsunami.

March 11, 2011 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A former Batavia resident who was caught in Wisconsin posing as an attorney and stealing money from his supposed clients admitted his crimes in a Milwaukee Court on March 3.

Thomas J. Lyon faces a two-year prison term and then will still need to answer to alleged probation violations out of Monroe County.

Lyon was previously convicted in Monroe County for grand larceny.

Facing 11 criminal counts, Lyon entered a guilty plea to charges of practicing law without a license, theft, identity theft and forgery. The remaining charges where dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The case made headlines in Wisconsin because Lyon reportedly bragged to an associate that he was like Frank Abagnale Jr., the former con artist depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the hit movie, "Catch Me If You Can."

In addition to posing as an attorney -- even making court appearances -- Lyon also assumed the identity of a deceased notary public. Police also accused him of running a prostitution ring, but Lyon was never charged with any crimes related to those allegations.

Previously, Lyon was arrested in Genesee County on an alleged bad check charge.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 7.

Previously: Milwaukee's accused "Catch Me If You Can" fake attorney has Batavia roots

March 11, 2011 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, corfu.

Stephen Wade Thompson, 33, of West Main Street, Attica, is charged with criminal mischief. Thompson is accused of slashing tires on two vehicles in the Town of Alexander.

A 17-year-old resident of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. The teen is accused of getting into a fight with another person at 9:25 p.m., Thursday, in the area of 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

Amy Lou Platten, 41, of Main Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Platten is accused of violating an order of protection.

March 11, 2011 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26.

David Bellavia has started a petition drive to get his name on the ballot for the March 24 special election to replace former "Craigslist Congressman" Chris Lee.

Unable to secure a GOP or Conservative line in the race, Bellavia is apparently going to try and do it the hard way -- gathering 3,500 valid signatures from NY-26 voters.

A letter has gone out, according to D&C reporter Jill Terreri, seeking volunteers to help the Batavia resident gather signatures.

Meanwhile, Jack Davis has taken out ads on WBTA seeking support for his petition drive to have his name placed on the ballot.

March 11, 2011 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC.

March 10, 2011 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

City Fire Department is responding to a report of wires arcing in the area of 536 Ellicott St., Batavia.

UPDATE 10:53 p.m.: National Grid notified. The primary wire to the house is arcing.

UPDATE 11:20 p.m.: Two National Grid trucks on scene.

View Larger Map

March 10, 2011 - 8:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke.

Wires are reportedly arcing in the area of 857 Main Road, Pembroke.

That's across from Yancy's Fancy cheese factory.

The caller says the wires are arcing pretty strongly.

"The caller said the last time this happened the factory lost power," the dispatcher said.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments dispatched.

UPDATE 8:26 a.m.: A chief says there's no fire, "but you can see where it was touching." National Grid has been notified.

View Larger Map

March 10, 2011 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, GCEDC, jobs, employment.

UPDATED 5:33 p.m. with comments from Steve Hyde.

While Genesee County Economic Development Center officials boast of 1,500 jobs created in the past five years, Department of Labor statistics don't show anything near that rate of job growth.

In 2005, according to labor statistics, there were 23,000 non-farm jobs in Genesee County; in 2010, there were also 23,000.

Since 2001, Genesee County has seen a net gain of 100 non-farm jobs.

That said, during the 2009/2008 recession, Genesee County fared better than the rest of the nation. While Genesee County lost 2.5 percent of its jobs from 2008 to 2010, as a whole the United States shed 5.1 percent of its jobs.

"Considering the past recession (Genesee County's job growth) numbers don’t look so terrible to me," said Tammy Marino, a researcher with the NYS Department of Labor based in Rochester. "They look reasonable compared to the rest of nation."

She added, "(The GCEDC) has probably done good job of bringing new jobs into the community, but it’s hard to see just because of the past recession, what we’ve been through in the past two years."

Steve Hyde, CEO of the EDC, said a lot of what his agency does is just try "stem the tide of decline" sweeping New York State.

"You look at the last 10 years and everyone around the country is shedding jobs and there are 100 more jobs in a recessionary environment than we had 10 years ago, on a relative basis, that’s a win for Genesee County," Hyde said. "New York is ranked the 50th most difficult state to do business in. Until we have systemic change in tax policy and and regulation policy, we're fighting hard just to buffer the tide of decline."

It's also hard, Hyde said, to compare DOL statistics with an EDC's job commitment numbers. Companies that get tax abatement and other assistance make a commitment to create a certain number of jobs over a four-year time frame. When the EDC says it created 1,500 jobs over the past five years, some of those jobs are still in the pipeline and wouldn't show up in labor statistics.

"We're working with companies working to grow or retain jobs," Hyde said. "What we're really trying to do is (incentivize) investments because when investment occurs by a company, it will create a long-term tax base and it builds roots in the community, which will lead to long-term job creation."

District 8 Legislator Hollis Upson, who sits on the GCEDC board, said just looking at the raw numbers doesn't tell the full story of job creation in Genesee County. 

"There's an awful of variables there and I don't know how to reconcile the Department of Labor statistics," Upson said. "If the EDC is creating jobs, they don't make any assumptions or have knowledge of jobs that might have been depleted. We (the county) might have lost 1,500 jobs."

In looking at job growth over the past 10 years, two sectors of employment for Genesee County stand out: Manufacturing, which has lost 800 jobs, and government, which has gained 700 jobs.

Marino said that Genesee County and the entire Rochester region is not immune from what is going on in the rest of the nation. Manufacturing jobs are being lost to free trade and greater efficiency driven by improved technology in factories.

"It doesn’t mean the existing companies are are not viable," Marino said. "But more manufacturers are taking advantage of technology to get more output with fewer workers. That trend has especially hit the metro area. We've had very steep job losses in the most recent years."

Genesee County has probably lost manufacturing jobs, just like the rest of the nation, Upson said, as it competes with China and other nations.

"Even Mexico is complaining now about losing jobs to China," Upson said. "Capital will flow to where the labor is cheaper."

But in the end, Upson said, a job is a job.

"We strive for those (manufacturing jobs)," Upson said. "We like those better then anything because they have the best ripple effect."

But, he added, New York is a mighty hard place to recruit manufacturers. He called New York punitive and overregulated.

"Even though manufacturing jobs would be the nice ones to attract, they are very difficult to do so given the umbrella we're working under in the State of New York," Upson said.

It's that climate that led to the EDC changing its public name about 10 years ago from Genesee Industrial Development Agency to Genesee County Economic Development Center, Upson said.

Genesee County's employment peaked in 2008 at 23,600 non-farm jobs.

The labor department tracks the county's jobs on a monthly basis, and online statistics go back 21 years. For this story, we're using the annual monthly average.

Looking at monthly comparisons, however, in a January-over-January match from 2010 to 2011, statistics show Genesee County picking up 300 jobs, from 21,600 to 21,900.

Typically, there are more jobs in Genesee County during summer months. In August 2010, there were 23,800 jobs. 

Over the past 21 years, the biggest month for non-farm jobs was June 2009 when Genesee County boasted 25,100 jobs.

Meanwhile, new unemployment statistics released this week show the county's unemployment rate rose from 7.9 percent in December to 9 percent in January. A year ago in January, unemployment was 9.6 percent.

As for the county's jump in government workers, Morino speculated that while schools have probably added staff, especially the community college, a lot of Genesee County's government job growth is probably driven by the presence of a Federal Detention Center and a Homeland Security office.

In fact, most of the county's government job growth came in 2002 and 2003 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Western New York, Morino said, tends to remain pretty stable in both good and bad economic times.

"We don’t see any extreme highs and extreme lows," she said. "During the past recession, the auto industry was hit very hard and we didn’t see any of that because we’re not really dependent on the auto industry. Also, housing prices remained stable. We didn’t see that big build up in housing values, and didn’t see them fall either."

March 10, 2011 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, skate park.

I went to the courthouse this afternoon to cover a case that, as it turned out, wasn't called, but I did spot this giant snow mountain behind the skate park. You really need to stand next to it to appreciate it, but here's a photo anyway.

There is still a flood watch in place for Genesee County, but eyeballing the Tonawanda Creek this afternoon, it didn't look too bad. Of course, if this pile melts off all at once ...

March 9, 2011 - 10:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Ramparts, sports, hockey.

Submitted by Pam Zola:

March 4 – 6, 2011 wasn’t an ordinary weekend for the Batavia Ramparts Bantam III team. Vying for a state title, the team traveled to the Onondaga Indian Reservation to play in the 2011 NYSAHA Championships. The team was led by Coach Duane Olin and Assistant Coaches John Zola and Jeff Bower and is sponsored by T. F. Brown’s.

In their first game during round robin play the team faced the Great Neck Bruins, the second seed out of the East. Winning with a score of 10 – 2, Batavia never looked back. Led by Captains Richard Francis and Sean Olin and Assistants Joe Saraceni and Will VanAuken, the team faced the number-one seed out of the North, The Norfolk-Norwood Icemen. 

Zachary Laird, John Sallome, Jake Bower, Tyler Andrews and Cameron Chamberlain as well as Goalie Tyler Stroud proved instrumental in the 6-2 win. The Cortland Flames faced Batavia in the last round robin game.  Playing well for the Ramparts were Jack Simpson, Tristan Aldinger and Julien Schimley as well as Kris Bank and Josh Preston

The 4 – 2 win propelled the Ramparts into the crossover game where they faced Canandaigua. Mason Versage, Kris Walker, Francis, Saraceni, Sallome and Laird led the team to the 6 – 1 win and put Batavia in the finals to once again face the Norfolk-Norwood Icemen.

With a 9 – 2 victory, the Batavia Ramparts Bantam III team won the State Championship – the first in 12 years for the organization. The team will travel to Portland, Maine March 18 – 20 for the Regional Tournament.

March 9, 2011 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, photos, Glass Roots.

One of my longtime goals has been to stop by Glass Roots at 12 Center St., Batavia, some time when Jeremy Almeter is blowing glass. Today, I happened to catch Jeremy in action along with Josh Taggart (bottom photo).

Almeter told me he and Josh can create any kind of glass object a customer might want -- just draw a picture and they'll make it.

March 9, 2011 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, missing person.

A 16-year-old boy has officially been missing since Jan. 21, but Youth Officer John K. Dehm had been tracking him and had a good idea where he was, according Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster.

Now, the whereabouts of Ronald J. Murray Jr., are unknown and the Sheriff's Office is asking for the help of anyone who might know where he is.

Murray is 5' 10", 170lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen leaving Batavia High School and failed to show up for classes at BOCES.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Dehm at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office at 585-345-3000, ext. 3575, or write [email protected]





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