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August 13, 2011 - 7:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

There were four arrests and 78 people were cited for alleged underage drinking during the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Collin T. Hayes, 18, of Reservoir Road, Avon, is charged with two counts of trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue twice after being ejected and told not to return.

Brian K. Barmore, 19, of Gerry-Ellington Road, Gerry, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Kari D. Barmore, 22, of Gerry-Ellington Road, Gerry, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Andrew J. Stella, 24, of Forbes Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with public lewdness after allegedly urinating in the lawn area in view of other patrons.

The following people were issued citations for allegedly possessing or consuming alcohol under age 21.

Tricia J. Sullivan, 20, of Windsor Lane, East Aurora
Colby N. Kittner, 20, of Boncroft Drive, West Seneca
Alexander C. Buscaglia, 20, of Center Street, East Aurora
Aaron M. Kosowski, 19, of The Meadow, East Aurora
Jennifer M. Jacob, 18, of Garrett Lane, Niagara Falls
A 17-year-old, of Lewiston Road, Niagara Falls
Ashley E. Grace, 20, of South Street, Addison
A 17-year-old, of Landing Creek Court, Williamsville
Lauren R. Sauvagean, 17, of Autumn Lane, Lewiston
A 17-year-old, of Madison Avenue, Niagara Falls
A 17-year-old, of Briggsboro Lane, Fairport
Catherine M. Kuhi, 20, of Canisteo Street, Hornell
Jamie F. Hillman, 19, of Hyland Drive, Hornell
A 16-year-old, of Southview Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
A 16-year-old, of Orchard Grove Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
A 16-year-old, of Feren Drive, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Daniel S. Kelly, 19, of Fulton Street, Hornell
A 17-year-old, of Temple Street, Avon
Rhiann E. Korth, 18, of Genesee Street, Avon
A 17-year-old, of W. Henrietta Road, Rush
Tyler K. Olejniczak, 18, of Indian Falls Road, West Seneca
A 16-year-old, of Brooklyn Street, Portville
A 17-year-old, of Kimberly Lane, Derby
A 17-year-old, of Ludel Terrace, Lackawana
Denise M. Polaski, 19, of Parnell Drive, Churchville
Christopher D. Barrett, 19, of Five Points Road, Rush
A 17-year-old, of River Road, Caledonia
Robert W. Lysko, 19, of Middle Road, Caledonia
Shawn E. Grimm, 18, of Billington Road, East Aurora
A 17-year-old, of Jamison Road, Elma
Ashley M. Strazzella, 19, of Church Street, East Aurora
Macie A. Eberth, 18, of Hall Road, Elma
Lia E. Colvin, 18, of Anne Drive, Alden
Alyssa M. Savage, 19, of Beryle Drive, Cheektowaga
Carissa D. Brittain, 20, of Center Avenue, North Tonawanda
Peter F. Jackson, 20, of Blanchard Heights Groton
Meghan M. Klimchuck, 18, of Dorchester Road, East Aurora
Jessica L. Goodison, 18, of Gleed Avenue, East Aurora
Payton A. Spinelli, 18, of Hillside Drive, Elma
Karianne R. Carrick, 18, of Bullis Road, Elma
Christopher M. Stelmaszyk, 18, of Willston Heights, Marilla
A 17-year-old, of North Blossom Road, Elma
A 16-year-old, of Lakeside Road, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Sara A. Shembeda, 19, of North 18th Street, Olean
A 17-year-old, of Derby Road, Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada
Megan A. Dwaileebe, 20, of Bates Street, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Elizabeth M. Colarusso, 20, of Highland Terrace, Olean
Julie C. Wesolowski, 19, of Foxpoint West, Williamsville
A 17-year-old, of Milestrip Road, Orchard Park
Blair A. Pembleton, 18, of Dantroy Drive, Williamsville
Jenna N. Goudy, 20, of Joseph Drive, Tonawanda
A 17-year-old, of Meadow Lawn Road, Orchard Park
Emily M. Lawrence, 19, of Green Road, Churchville
Geana M. Barone, 18, of Country Lane, West Seneca
Kathryn N. Mazurowski, 18, of Mill Road, West Seneca
A 16-year-old, of West Main Street Road, Batavia
Christian A. Worth, 20, of South Nine Mile Road, Allegany
Natalie J. Vetter, 18, of Neubaer Court, West Seneca
A 17-year-old, of Laine Road, Hornell
Joseph D. Mauro, 20, of Pearl Street, Hornell
Kaliegh E. Porcaro, 19, of Sharps Hill Road, Arkport
Caroline M. Hooker, 18, of Moss Road, Hornell
Lydia C. Lindahl, 18, of Cassandra Circle, Churchville
Vincent G. Giglio, 18, of Bromley Road, Churchville
Maxwell P. Wise, 18, of Norway Spruce Drive, Rochester
Taylor T. Jager, 18, of Evergreen Drive, Rochester
Courtney M. VanVolkenburgh, 18, of Whitney Road, Ontario, Canada
Kaleigh R. VanVolkenburgh, 19, of Whitney Road, Ontario, Canada
Erinn D. Rodman, 19, of West Foster Street, Palmyra
Joel M. Sapienza, 18, of Birdsall Parkway, Palmyra
Kaitlyn M. Wegman, 19, of Turtle Creek Lane, Hilton
Ashley T. Whitney, 19, of Country Village Lane, Hilton
Kelly J. Knight, 19, of Old Well Road, Greece
Hannah J. Rader, 18, of Grandview Lane, Rochester
Kassandra K. Magin, 18, of Grandview Lane, Rochester
Jessica L. Nielsen, 20, of Beverly Street, Rochester
Angela M. Andrese, 19, of Eglantine Road, Rochester
Name redacted uponrequest, 19, of Roosevelt Highway, Hamlin

August 13, 2011 - 2:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

So I'm driving back from the Indian Falls incident and I'm on Route 5. As I approach Jim's Saloon -- it's about 8:15 p.m. -- I see a school bus parked out front. My first thought, "that's odd." When I get closer, I see a group of young women wearing pink sashes -- odder still.

So I whip my truck around, grab my camera, walk over and ask what's going on.

It's a bachorlette party.

It turns out, you can charter a school bus from First Student for any sort of group event.

Pictured are, more or less from the left, Samatha Lyons, Marla Mosler, Brianne Sliker, John Lawson (yes, a guy), Crista Swiatowy (the bride), Jamie Stone, Brittany Sliker, Alexandra Stimson, Kristina Rumble, Vickie Chatley and Jennifer Fisher

Swiatowy is marrying Justin Simson.

August 13, 2011 - 1:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke, indian falls.

One of Batavia High's standout students was among a group of heroes Friday who came to the rescue of a teenage girl who hit her head on a rock when she fell several feet from a cliff at Indian Falls.

The girl, Kourtney McCorry, 17, of Spencerport, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight, but was conscious and alert after being pulled from the water.

Deputy Timothy Wescott said he was able to interview McCorry at the scene before she was transported and she was aware of her surroundings, recognized her father and understood what was happening.

She remembered, according to Wescott, climbing up the cliff of the falls with the help of her boyfriend. She grabbed the branch of a tree and the branch gave way. She fell and remembers seeing rocks below her and then she blacked out.

"She said she didn't know if she blacked out because she hit the rocks or out of fear of what might happen to her," Wescott said.

Evan Sutherland, a Batavia High School basketball player and member of the championship mock trial team, was at the falls with his friend, Andrew Hoy, a recent graduate of BHS and the Blue Devil's all-time leading scorer in basketball.  

Sutherland (left inset photo from one of his mock trial appearances this year) was the first to dive in the water to try and rescue the girl, Hoy said.

"I had just walked up and I got to like the edge of the cliff and saw her falling and she landed head first on the rocks," Hoy said. "It looked like her neck snapped. Then she went under for a few seconds and we couldn’t find her. We were still standing at the top and then she floated to the top of the water and my friend Evan Sutherland was the first one to react and he jumped into the water and there was another one of her friends over from where she fell from and he jumped in, too. They both dragged her out."

Hoy said the girl regained consciousness while she was still in the water, and Westcott said McCorry remembered coming to in the water surrounded by people.

The Batavian tried to interview Sutherland at the scene, but one of the Log Cabin's unruly patrons interfered with the interview and told him not to talk to the media.

Attempts to contact Sutherland Friday night were unsuccessful.

The legendary Log Cabin Restaurant, which includes a bar, is next to the falls and while the rescue was under way, the owner sent a representative to talk to journalists at the scene from The Batavian and the Daily News with a request that media outlets not report that the kids who swim and dive at the falls might enter the falls from the Log Cabin's property.

It's unknown how McCorry, Hoy and Sutherland, among the other youths enjoying the falls Friday, entered the area. 

The section of the Tonawanda Creek in the area of Indian Falls is owned by Genesee County and people can enter the area from near Route 77 without trespassing on private property. 

The volunteer fire departments of Indian Falls and Pembroke were the first emergency responders on scene.

Indian Falls and Pembroke volunteers set up a rope line across the creek and walked through the water to the north bank.

The Genesee County Rope Team -- made up of more than 20 volunteers from all of the county's volunteer fire departments -- responded to the scene along with Genesee County Emergency Services.

The team found a clearing in the brush along the creek's cliff on the north side and lowered a stretcher down to McCorry's location. Medical personnel were then lowered down.

It took more than 90 minutes to stabilize McCorry and slowly lift her to the top of the cliff.

Indian Falls Fire Chief Ed Mileham (bottom right inset) explained that it's a slow process to ensure both the safety of the victim and the rope crews.

"When you look at the fact that she's down 70 feet, the safest way up is up the bank," Mileham said. "We had 20 guys here from the (rope) team, they got down there, two of them set up harnesses and then they go down the bank -- yeah, by the time they get set up and everything, there's a little bit of time, but she appeared to be stable, so the guys were able to take their time and make sure they were safe before they got down in there."

Friday's mishap wasn't the first time this summer that Indian Falls and Pembroke responded to a near drowning at the falls.  

On June 5, another person looking for some recreation on the falls fell in and had to be rescued.

"It’s pretty dangerous," Mileham said. "If they don’t get far enough from the falls, they hit the rocks."

However, only two calls this summer is a far cry from how things used to be, Mileham noted.

"There’s been a problem down here for years," Mileham said. "Back in the '60s and '70s it used to be quite a place for kids to party and swim. I’ve been told that at one point there were 10 to 12 drownings here in one year from diving off the falls."

The Alabama and Oakfield fire departments also assisted at the scene.

August 13, 2011 - 12:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

There is a one-car rollover accident reported at Sandhill and Shanks roads, Alexander.

There are injuries, but all victims are out of the car.

Alexander Fire Department is responding.

August 13, 2011 - 12:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A motorcycle is reportedly on fire on Main Street near Jackson Street, downtown Batavia.

City fire is dispatched.

The fire is reportedly right in front of The Mane Attraction Salon & Spa.

UPDATE 12:24 a.m.: Fire is out.

August 12, 2011 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Thorpe Street.

Police have responded to a disturbance on Thorpe Street. About 20 or more people were in the street yelling at each other, swinging at each other and making threatening gestures toward each other just before four Batavia police cruisers arrived on scene.

Within seconds, the street was nearly empty.

Earlier this evening, Batavia PD responded to a disturbance on Thorpe. The supervisor assigned a patrol to stick close to the area for the evening. That officer would have gone off duty just about the time the disturbance broke out.

August 12, 2011 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, South Beach Restaurant.

Even though there are some finishing touches left yet for the new patio at South Beach, the grill is open. Chef Arvin Ortiz opened the grill today with an offering of hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork. Throughout the remainder of the summer, the grill will be opened for lunch and dinner this weekend and, for now, lunch during the week. At times the menu will include ribs, chicken and other grilled dishes. Menu service from the main kitchen is also available on the patio. This afternoon, starting at 4, there will be live music on the patio, and the Ghost Riders play starting at 8 p.m., Saturday.

August 12, 2011 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, corfu.

Kasean Shannon, 19, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with three counts of sexual misconduct. Shannon allegedly had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old on three separate occasions in 2010.

Daniel Stephen Boynton, 25, Red Cedar Drive, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Boynton was stopped at noon, Thursday, on Route 77 in Corfu by Sgt. Greg Walker for allegedly driving 48 in a 35 mph zone. He was allegedly found in possession of a small quanity of marijuana.

Nicholas W. Higbee, 30, of 280 Matila St., Rochester, is charged with DWI, operating on a suspended or revoked license and unlawful possession of marijuana. Higbee was stopped at 12:03 a.m. on Route 77, Village of Corfu, by Officer Richard Retzlaff.

Ian Taylor McPhail, 22, of Gorham Street, Canandaigua, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. McPhail was reportedly found in a car parked on the shoulder of Colby Road at 1:15 a.m. by Deputy Frank Bordonaro.

August 12, 2011 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center has been experiencing telecommunications issues today, Friday Aug. 12. Those issues include dropped calls, incomplete calls and incorrect transfers. The trouble appears to be widespread, affecting outer sites in Le Roy and Pembroke, as well as the hospital at North Street and Jerome Center at Bank Street. It is unclear at this time as to whether only United Memorial’s service is impacted or if this affecting the community at large.

If someone is experiencing a medical emergency, they should call 9-1-1.
Those making calls to the hospital, Pembroke Diagnostics, Le Roy Diagnostics, Batavia Family Care, Le Roy Family Care, Byron Family Care, Urgent Care in Le Roy, Summit Physical and Occupational Therapy Center, Surgical Associates or the Women’s Care Center are encouraged to hang up and dial again if they encounter difficulty in reaching one of the sites.

United Memorial apologizes for any inconvenience to our patients and is working with the telecommunications provider to diagnose and resolve the issues.

August 12, 2011 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following people were arrested in during the Blink 182 concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Matthew T. Beeler, 21, of Peter Street, Buffalo, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, trespass and disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with security guards while being ejected and told not to return. A short time later he was located inside the venue and was arrested for trespass. While being processed, Matthew allegedly kicked a file cabinet causing damage. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Daniel G. Medvin, 29, of Lynbrook Avenue, Tonawanda, charged with two counts, of trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue twice after being ejected and told not to return.

Joel B. Zajaczkowki, 18, of Alexander Road, Alexander, arrested for trespass after allegedly being found on Darien Lake property after previously being banned.

Sean H. Ford, 27, of Grand Island, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with security inside the concert venue.

A 17-year-old of Norbrook Road, Fairport, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Andrew D. Haley, 32, of Glenn Street, Springville, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, after allegedly smashing the back window of a vehicle in the parking lot.

Steven R. Gardner, 21, of Woosdshire, North Getzville, is charged with trespass after allegedly re-entering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

John E. Bodzak, 21, of New Hackensack Road, Wappingers Falls, is charged with trespass after allegedly re-entering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Timothy J. Elledge, 19, of 84th Street, Niagara Falls, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Jordan C. Czaplicki, 18, of Princeton Lane, Fairport, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Timothy J. Bayer, 19, of Ayrault Road, Fairport, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Patrick J. Erckert, 20, of Long Meadow Road, Amherst, is charged with trespass and possession of alcohol with intent to consume after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return and being found to be intoxicated.

The following people received citations for allegedly possessing and/or consuming alcohol under age 21.

Ryan T. Sault, 20, of Jorpark Circle, Spencerport
(name redacted upon request), 20, of Spencerport Road, Rochester
(name redacted upon request), 20, of Spencerport Road, Rochester
David K. Ferris, 19, of South Union Road, Spencerport
Tyler J. Hogan, 20, of Washington Street, Spencerport
Jarek W. Flanders, 19, of Syracuse Street, Tonawanda
Casey J. Uplinger, 20, of Scott Street, Tonawanda
Samantha L. Gallivan, 20, of Elmwood Park, South Tonawanda
Sara D, Koetzle, 20, of Simson Street, Tonawanda
Steven A. Bukolt, 20, of Moorfield Court, East Amherst
Tarin D. Trytek, 19, of River Road, Baldwinsville
Aubrey N. Switzer, 17, of Sumac Drive, Baldwinsville
Marc A. Paone, 19, of Corlear Drive, Baldwinsville
Kelsey L. Poorman, 17, of West Genesee Road, Baldwinsville
Eric A. Esposito, 19, of Deer Run, Williamsville
Alyssa M. Wahl, 20, of Lakeview Terrace, Lakeview
Gabrielle M. Hesketh, 18, of Winterway Lane, Hamburg
Chelsea M. Machniak, 20, of Cindy Lane, West Seneca
Mary E. Bennett, 19, of East Fillmore Avenue, East Aurora
Raelyn M. Woltz, 20, of Bedford Avenue, Buffalo
Sarah R. Floss, 17, of Salt Road, Clarence Center
Anthony J. Dinicola, 18, of Covintree Green, Clarence
Sean T. Mullane, 20, of Colony Court, Amherst
Kiernan B. Smith, 18, of Peddington Circle, Rochester
Ronn D. Tisby, 17, of Egret Drive, West Henrietta
Jocelyn A. Grace, 20, of Pershing Avenue, Niagara Falls
Tabatha M. McNamee, 20, of Ferndale Avenue, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Michael R. Dombrowski, 18, of Glenwillow Drive, Hamburg
Camille L. Arth, 18, of Evergreen Drive, Lakeview
Nicholas H. Nardowski, 18, of Lakeview Road, Lakeview
Claire C. Foglia, 20, of Laurie Lea Drive, Williamsville
Arielle L. Cravatta, 17, of Klein Road, Williamsville
Brabdon T. Cardon, 17, of Marisol Drive, Miromar Lakes, Fla.
Kalene N. Faricellie, 17, of Woodacres Drive, East Amherst
Corey M. Hohl, 17, of Paul Drive, Amherst
Anthony B. Mineo, 17, of Glenhaven Drive, Amherst
Colin C. Cardinate, 20, of Calvert Blvd., Tonawanda
Meghan K. Gray, 16, of Fillmore Avenue, East Aurora
Bailey E. Danahy, 19, of Potters Road, Buffalo
(name redacted upon request), 17, of Shunpike Road, Lockport
Sarah E. Steffan, 18, of Cottonwood Drive, Williamsville
Travis A. Scamurra, 18, of Guinevere Court, Getzville
Aral A. Egilmez, 20, of Plumwood Court, East Amherst
Sean J. Morgan, 18, of Woolworth-Ontario Road, Ontario, Canada
Jacob B. Mascari, 17, of Berg Road, Ontario, Canada
Riley F. Jenkins, 18, of Highland Drive, Williamsville
Stefany R. Stempien, 18, of Kippen Drive, East Amherst
Courtney L. Koby, 17, of Kevin Court, Clarence Center
Rachel E. Cahlstedt, 19, of Oakbrook Drive, Williamsville
Lindsay A. Moshides, 19, of Floss Lane, East Amherst
Kaitlyn E. McKnight, 18, of Plumwood Court, East Amherst
David J. Neimanis, 19, of Northington Drive, East Amherst
Shannon M. Hughes, 18, of Valley Brook Lane, East Amherst
Lauren E. Cavaretta, 17, of Kippen Drive, East Amherst

August 12, 2011 - 11:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Bontrager's Auction, Harris Wilcox Auctions.

I attended a couple of auctions Thursday, one on Liberty Street conducted by Harris Wilcox out of Bergen Byron, and the other on East Main Street Road conducted by Bontrager out of Batavia.

Auctions are a fun place for photography, but the Liberty Street auction had a little extra photographic interest -- a box of four old cameras, with three of them in good working condition and no visible damage. At $25, I was the successful bidder.

The East Main Street auction was at a location on the other side of the road from Blondie's. It's most recently been a car dealership (though vacant for at least three years) and was once the State Police barracks in Batavia. Ah, if only I could have afforded the wood-hulled boat that went for a mere $1,100.

Both real estate properties were also sold.

Slide show of more photos below, and photographic prints from both events can be purchased by clicking here.

August 12, 2011 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A person is trapped in a car following a rollover accident at Colby and Sumner roads, Darien.

The victim is conscious, but there is a smell of gasoline leaking.

Darien Fire Department is dispatched with mutual aid from Corfu.

UPDATE 9:46 a.m.: Everybody is out of both vehicles. Two flatbed tows requested. One car is "in pieces." Another is on its roof. Something will be needed to transport a gas tank that was ripped from one vehicle. Mercy Flight, Mercy EMS canceled. Corfu back in service.


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August 12, 2011 - 1:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Art and culture clashed with reality Thursday night at the Genesee County Planning Board meeting when two projects dealing with a bit of Batavia's past and a bit of its present were considered.

First up was a permit for demolition of the former Elks Lodge at 213 E. Main St. The board recommended approval of the permit with only one dissenting vote, from Lucine Kauffman.

Later in the meeting, the board was asked to consider a permit for sign painted on the back of a building on East Main Street.

While some might dispute that the sign is a work of art, it was painted by Batavia's renowned muralist Vinny DelPlato.

Main St. Pizza Company Owner Vic Marchese commissioned the work to provide DelPlato some extra work while the artist was in town this summer and he thought it would be a cool use of some blank space on the back of his building.

Only after the mural/sign was painted -- it depicts the top of Main St.'s pizza box -- did city officials let him know the painting constituted a sign for his business and he would need a sign permit.

The sign also allegedly violated city ordinances for size and location.

Last month, the county planning board recommended disapproval of an application for a variance to allow the sign. 

The board's votes are not binding. They're recommendations to the municipal planning and zoning boards.  

In the case of the Main St. sign, the application was resubmitted, according to board discussion, because the Batavia planning board agreed to consider it if a sign for Batavia Computer was added to the back of the building.

The Main St. painting isn't actually behind Main St. Pizza. It's behind Batavia Computer, and the owner of Batavia Computer said he thinks the location of the painting will confuse people about the location of his business, according to board discussion.

"It seems like this is a neighbor issue, but we're being asked to straighten it out," Kauffman said.

The revised plan leaves the painting in place, but ads door signs for both Main St. Pizza and Batavia Computer. The board seemed willing to consider a sign variance for Batavia Computer, but only as a separate application.

"We don't even know if the owner of Batavia Computer wants the sign," said board member Bob Bennett. "We have nothing with his signature on it."

Felipe Oltramari, senior planner for the county, said that part of the reason for the staff's recommendation to disapprove the application was that allowing such a large sign would set a precedent.

"How would the city say no to the next application?" Oltramari asked.

Kauffman noted that the point of a variance is to make an exception, not set a precedent.

The board held no discussion of the proposed demolition of the former Elks Lodge. A representative of UMMC and of the demolition company appeared at the meeting and were ready to answer questions, but no questions were asked.

In briefing Oltramari said there is no documented historical significance of the building.

County planning staff recommended approval of the demolition permit.

After the meeting, Oltramari shared a draft of a modification to the building that was approved in 1950. The modification added the current facade of the building. In our earlier report, we said that Frank Homelius designed the facade -- information that comes from a book about Frank and his father Henry Homelius. However, Frank died in 1941.

Photo: Taken the day DelPlato was finishing the Main St. painting.

August 12, 2011 - 12:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC.

A group of people who either hold the purse strings or are in a position to influence business owners who might be willing to relocate to Genesee County received a tour Thursday of the shovel-ready business parks in Genesee County.

The group included representatives of commercial lending institutions in Rochester and Buffalo, real estate agents and staff from the Small Business Forum and the USDA Rural Development office.

Also on the bus were representatives from Sen. Kristen Gillibrand's office and the office of Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer.

After lunch and a briefing at Batavia Downs, the group stopped first at the planned site of Alpina Products in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. From there they headed out to Bergen, then to the Med-Tech Park, then Town of Batavia's Gateway project, then Pembroke and Buffalo East, followed by the location of the proposed STAMP project in Alabama.

August 12, 2011 - 12:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

Two people were arrested and two people received citations in connection with the Journey/Foreigner concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.

Arrested were:

Carl A. Dreschsel III, 34, of Wildwood Drive, Lancaster, was charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly knocking another patron down during the concert.

Kyle B. Kelly, 22, of McKinley Street, Rochester, was charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after leaving and being told he could not reenter. 

Two 17-year-olds, both from Ontario, Canada, where charged with underage drinking.

August 11, 2011 - 4:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, hlom.

The Holland Land Office Museum has acquired a painting by Richard Wright Ware that depicts a bit of West Main Street and the Tonawanda Creek that no longer exists.

Sometime in the late 1950s or '60s, the Batavia native painted the picture showing a view from the Walnut Street Bridge -- which was a traffic bridge then -- looking west down the Tonawanda with the former commercial buildings of West Main Street depicted on the right.

Those buildings would eventually be demolished, and the Walnut Street bridge converted for pedestrian use. That stretch of Main Street is now a grassy, tree-lined area.

County Clerk Don Read, at right, who serves on the HLOM board, acquired the picture at an auction and paid $600 for it.

Ware, known for his landscapes around Batavia and Naples, gained some regional acclaim and held shows locally in Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

"We like to have representative works of local artists," Read said.

The work, Read said, can be combined with photos HLOM has of that section of Batavia, to give museum visitors an idea of what the area was once like.

Executive Director Jeff Donahue said HLOM is always looking for artifacts that help tell the story of Genesee County and he said he would welcome tips from local residents on anything that might become available. It's important, he said, to ensure items of local historical importance are preserved.

The painting is already on display at HLOM.

August 11, 2011 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, UMMC.

Batavia, with its legacy of demolishing its own history, is about to lose another landmark building.

The former Batavia Elks Lodge at 213 E. Main St. was purchased in December by United Memorial Medical Center for $143,500.

Workers have already removed windows and completed asbestos abatement.

Colleen Flynn, spokeswoman for UMMC, said the hospital regularly tries to acquire property adjacent to its own facilities when possible.

"We're sort of landlocked," Flynn said. "When certain buildings come up for sale we buy them for future growth."

Her own office on North Street is in a house the hospital acquired to create more space for staff, she noted.

The building housed the Elks in Batavia for nearly 100 years. The current Art Deco facade was added in the 1920s and designed by Frank Homelius, a Batavia resident and one of the premier architects of Western New York in the early 20th Century. His father, Henry Homelius designed many of Batavia's grander homes of the 19th Century. (*see update below)

Flynn noted that the building does not have any historical designation.

Laurie Oltramari, president of the Genesee County Landmark Society, said given the current state of the north side of East Main Street, she doesn't thinking losing the building is going to detract too much from the character of the city.

"You've got to pick your battles, I guess, and this isn't one I would pick," she said.

Though, Oltramari, added, she hates to see such a building destroyed without a plan.

UMMC will landscape the property once the building is removed and has no immediate plans to construct another building at the location.

Jeffery Donahue, director of the Holland Land Office Museum, was saddened to hear the news the building would be torn down.

"It's always a shame to lose one of the landmark buildings of Batavia," Donahue said. "We lose a little bit of history every time."

UMMC won an award from the Landmark Society earlier this year for its restoration of the former St. Jerome's Hospital, turning it into senior housing.

"The building (Elks Lodge) was not in good condition for renovation," Flynn said. "We do everything we can to protect and preserve Batavia's history."

Later in the day, Flynn issued a press release with the following quote:

The former Elk’s Club required extensive updates and renovations for reuse and was not handicap accessible. Coupled with the costs associated with making it handicap accessible and meeting NYS Department of Health regulations for healthcare use, it was decided that the building should be razed and the site would be improved with appropriate landscaping.

Over the years, Batavia has seen the north side of his downtown district demolished and replaced by a characterless mall and lost such grand structures as the Trumbull Cary Mansion and the Dean Richmond Mansion (the location is now a parking lot).

Local author Bill Kauffman, who has lamented previous losses to Batavia's cultural heritage, most notably in his book Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette, was upset this morning to hear about the Elks Lodge demolition.

"It's a shame," Kauffman said. "The Elks Lodge is a landmark of working-class Batavia, designed by Batavia's great architectual family."

UPDATE: County documents show an application was made in 1950 to add the current facade to the building. Frank Homelius died in 1941.  The information we use in the story above comes from a book on Frank and his father.

August 11, 2011 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 9/11.

The State Museum is setting up 30 displays of 9/11 artifacts around the state and one of them will be at Batavia City Hall from Aug. 29 through the end of September.

The display will be open on Sunday, Sept. 11.

"It's memorializing a tragedy, but I think it's good for the city to be able to host something like this," said City Manager Jason Molino. "It will give the community a chance to reflect on the events of 9/11."

While details are still being worked out, Molino said, there will likely be some sort of city-hosted ceremony on 9/11.

County Clerk Don Read said he was glad to see Batavia picked as one of the 30 host cities.

"I think it is an excellent opportunity for the public to put themselves in a frame of mind to reflect on tragedy," Read said. 

Read called 9/11 "one of those legacy events" -- such as the Kennedy assassination -- when everybody remembers what they were doing and where they were when they heard about it.

"It's a chance to learn more about 9/11 and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that day," Read said.

The State Museum has acquired more than 2,000 objects from Ground Zero and many of the artifacts that will be on display throughout the state, many of which will be viewed by the public for the first time.

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