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January 16, 2012 - 8:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Press release:

In an effort to streamline services for local businesses, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner pushing him to develop and execute a plan to consolidate duplicative economic development agencies and programs in the federal government.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve met with over 50 businesses and Chambers of Commerce, and all of them agree that we must cut the red tape in our federal government, eliminate the redundancy, and make it easier for our businesses to get the support they need,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “Today, I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner, asking him to work with the President and Congress, in an effort to eliminate waste and provide more efficient services to the businesses that drive our economy.

Last week, President Obama identified an opportunity to innovate government and eliminate waste by combining six trade and commerce agencies – the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency – into one new agency.

At a press conference today at the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Representative Hochul and Chamber President Colleen DiPirro called for a reduction in government agencies that overlap and cause a confusing maze of federal bureaucracy for business owners.

“I’ve been dealing with businesses, small and large, for 32 years and the challenge that they face day-in and day-out is getting through government regulations,” said DiPirro. “Having one-stop for business will not only save them money, but it will also save them a great deal of time. And as we all know, in business, time is money.”

Hochul added, “Just like businesses must cut wasteful spending, innovate and streamline services to better serve their customers, the federal government must do the same.”

January 16, 2012 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion.

A driver reportedly failed to stop for a stop sign off Perry Road at Route 20 in Pavilion Sunday night, leading to a two-car collision that sent one person to the hospital.

Lee R. Broadwell, 59, of Sheldon Street, Castile, was reportedly south on Perry at 8:08 p.m., when his 2007 Dodge SUV allegedly went through the stop sign at Route 20.

Broadwell's vehicle struck a 2010 Chevy sedan driven by Donald R. Sweeney, 22, of Peck Road, Hilton.

Sweeney's passenger, Andrew V. Sweeney, 20, was injured and transported by Mercy EMS to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Pavilion Fire Department responded to the scene and extricated Andrew Sweeney from the car.

Neither Donald Sweeney, Broadwell nor Broadwell's passenger were injured.

The accident report does not indicate that a citation was issued.

The incident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

(Initial report)

Reader submitted photo.

January 16, 2012 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, Darien, Le Roy.

Thomas J. Smith, 23, of 8048 E. Main Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Smith was stopped at 2:12 a.m. Saturday on Lake Street, Le Roy, by Le Roy Police.

A 17-year-old of South Lake Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and possession/consumption of alcohol under age 21. The youth was allegedly found by Deputy Patrick Reeves to have concealed a quanity of marijuana and alcohol in a duffle bag during a traffic stop on Main Road, Pembroke.

Brandi Elizabeth Schmiedicker, 18, of Genesee Street, Darien, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Schmiedicker is accused of hosting an underage drinking party, which was reported through Tipline.

Paul M. Flis, 19, of Salisbury Lane, Blasdell, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Flis was allegedly found behind the wheel in a stopped vehicle on Genesee Street, Darien, at 4:19 a.m. Sunday, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

January 15, 2012 - 8:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Bethany.

A wire is reportedly down and on fire in the area 9309 Clipknock Road, Bethany.

Bethany Stafford Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE  8:38 p.m.: National Grid contacted, no ETA given.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m.: National Grid reports 252 customers without power. ETA for restoration is 11:15 p.m.

UPDATE 9:05 p.m.: National Grid on location. Stafford fire back in service.


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January 15, 2012 - 8:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion.

A two-car accident, with one car rolling over, has been reported on Route 20 just west of Perry Road, Pavilion.

Pavilion Fire dispatched.

Law enforcement on scene requested that medics expediate their response. (Different call)

A chief on scene requests the status of Mercy Flight. Mercy Flight 2 is returning to Batavia from Buffalo and can be routed to the accident if necessary.

Patient is alert and conscious, but extrication will be required.

UPDATE 8:24 p.m.: One injury with complaint of neck and back pain, and three people who will probably not require ambulance transport.

UPDATE 8:28 p.m.: Pavilion command requests Mercy Flight continue to the scene.

UPDATE 8:35 p.m.: Landing zone being set up just south of the accident scene. Mercy Flight as a nine minute ETA. Patient extricated.

UPDATE  8:42 p.m.: Per a Mercy medic on scene, Mercy Flight can go back in service. The patient will be transported by ground ambulance.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Pavilion fire back in service. One fire police remaining on scene to help with traffic control until the vehicles are towed away.

UPDATE 9:29 p.m.: Reader submitted photo added.


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January 15, 2012 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, photos.

Dave McCarthy, a resident of Grandview Terrace in Batavia, had a special visitor today -- a fox decided to help himself (or herself) to suet on the snow. (Photo courtesy McCarthy.)

January 15, 2012 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, synthetic drugs.

UPDATED 3:27 p.m.

Emergency personnel were dispatched Saturday night to an address on Gilbert Street in Le Roy for a report of a youth having a seizure.

Le Roy Ambulance and Le Roy PD arrived on scene and learned that the seizure victim had allegedly smoked "Hammer Head," advertised as "incense" and "not for human consumption."

While on scene, police took into custody Tyler F. Longhini, 20, of 12 Myrtle St., for alleged underage possession of alcohol with intent to consume.

Longhini reportedly agreed to a breath test and allegedly blew a .19 BAC.

Police report that Longhini admitted to consuming Black Velvet whiskey while in the parking lot of McDonald's in the hours prior to police being dispatched to Gilbert Street.

Longhini was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to his grandmother.

Officer Emily Clark said there were three people at the Gilbert Street residence who said they had smoked the "incense," but only one of them suffered a seizure.

She said one of the people on scene said that the "Hammer Head" was purchased at a retail store on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

The seizure victim was transported to the hospital by Le Roy Ambulance and the remaining "Hammer Head" product was sent with the patient for medical personnel information.

Clark said this is the first time she's responded to the scene of a medical problem allegedly related to consumption of puportedly synthetic marijuana; however, she has responded to the scene of medical situations involving so called "bath salts." She said she's heard that other members of her department have responded to similar cases.

The victim's name has not been released and we have no information on his or her condition.

Previously: Potentially dangerous synthetic drugs readily available in Genesee County

January 15, 2012 - 2:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, budget.

In an effort to grapple with ever increasing retirement and healthcare costs, along with maintaining the city's contingency funds, Batavia City Manager Jason Molino is recommending a property tax increase for fiscal year 2012-13.

The proposed budget increases the tax levy by 4.32 percent, or $241,221, to cover anticipated expenses of $15,758,611.

The increase is about $4,000 less than allowed under the state's tax cap law, according to Molino's budget message.

The rate would become $10.94 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $37 per year, or $3 per month, on a home assessed at $80,000.

Near the end of his budget message, Molino, a huge hockey fan, writes, "Put in perspective, Time Warner Cable increased the standard cable rate December 1, 2011 by $4.55/month or $54.60/year, and now you can’t watch the Sabre’s games."

Molino writes:

However, as stated in this message the City is faced with challenging decisions due to detrimental increases in state mandated costs. Use of reserve funds have been tapped to larger extents this year as fixed costs in retirement and healthcare surge, and needed equipment replacements and sidewalk repairs are required. In addition, for the first year in the last five, it is proposed that the City utilize unappropriated/unreserved fund balance to assist with balancing the budget.

State aid for municipalities will likely be reduced again, Molino said.

Retirement contributions are expected to increase 15 percent over the previous fiscal year, or by $182,000.

Healthcare is expected to go up 16 percent, or $256,000 over the prior year.

Much of the healthcare increase is being driven by an increase in health insurance for retirees.

Even with the increase in taxes, the city will need to tap $100,000 from its undesignated reserves to help balance the budget.

The budget also includes setting aside funds for future, potentially larger, increases in retirement and healthcare costs. Those reserves built up in previous years will be tapped in this budget for $65,000 apiece.

"The State’s woes cannot be an obstacle to the City’s success, and this budget continues to put our best foot forward by building our great City to its fullest potential," Molino said.

Designated reserves for equipment replacement ($210,000) and sidewalk repair ($75,000) are also expected to be used in 2012-13.

The undesignated fund balance as of March 31, 2011 was  $493,273, which Molino said is far below the NYS Comptroller’s recommended levels of 5 to 10 percent of general fund operations, which would mean a healthy reserve would be $750,000 to $1.5 million.

The city will need to spend $36,000 on a new phone system, according to the budget message. The current system was scheduled for replacement in 2009 but wasn't. Its manufacturer will discontinue support for the system this year, making repairs more expensive and less reliable.

Water rates will go up 3 percent, if the proposed budget is approved, to $4.44 per 1,000 gallons. Water customers will also pay $8-per-year for anticipated infrastructure repairs and improvements. The fee increases 50 cents year-over-year.

There are no anticipated adjustments to the sewer rate.

In the conclusion of the budget message, Molino writes:

It is strongly encouraged that the City Council considers the proposed tax increase in order to safeguard against significant increases in retirement, healthcare or other costs. While it is understood that a property tax increase is not a popular decision, approving a modest property tax increase complemented with an increase in the contingency account may avoid the need for a more drastic tax increase in following years, which may require overriding the tax cap.

To read the budget message, click here (pdf).

Photo: City Hall photo, file photo.

January 15, 2012 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, DEC.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today.

Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.

“One of the ways that DEC monitors the health of New York’s deer herd is by performing post-mortem examinations to determine the cause of the illness or death,” said Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathleen Moser. “We depend on information provided by people who are outdoors to tell us when they see something that does not look right to them.”

Recently, DEC indentified an uncommon bacterial disease in a deer from Warren County. This bacterial disease does not affect humans. However, DEC is seeking additional information to determine the prevalence of this disease in the deer herd and is responding to reports of deer that are acting abnormally. Deer with this bacterial disease may have a swollen head, neck or brisket. They also may exhibit excessive drooling, nasal discharge or respiratory distress. To aid in this investigation, DEC would also like to examine any deer that are found dead from unknown causes.

People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.

January 14, 2012 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Darien, weather.

Here's five photos from my drive around the county Friday afternoon. It turns out four of them were taken along Simmonds Road in the Town of Darien. The fifth, bottom, on Ellinwood Road.

January 13, 2012 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, weather.

Welcome to Friday the 13th. The weather remains frightful, travel hazardous and a winter weather advisory remains in place until 7 p.m.

There is a wind advisory in effect until 4 p.m.

The pictures in this post were taken as I returned to Batavia from the egg tanker accident.

Above, off Route 20, Alexander

Browns Mill Road, Alexander

Creek Road, Batavia

Creek Road, Batavia

January 13, 2012 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

A driver hauling liquid egg from Pennsylvania to a plant in Ontario, Canada, was allegedly driving too fast for conditions, according to Deputy Chris Parker, and he lost control of his rig. The truck slid off Route 20 in Alexander and rolled over in a farm field about a half mile east of Sandpit Road.

The truck was hauling more than 6,000 gallons of liquid egg, which was going to be dehydrated and used as an ingredient for dog food. Nearly the entire contents of the truck spilled into the field.

The driver was not injured, though it took volunteer firefighters about 20 minutes to safely get him out the cab of the truck.

The accident was reported at 8:30 a.m. Alexander fire responded, Bethany's fire police handled traffic control on the east side of the accident. Darien fire was put on standby in its hall while Alexander was tied up on the accident.

January 13, 2012 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

High winds and blowing snow have been keeping county salt crews busy so far Friday morning.

There are currently reports of an accident on Route 63 and a report of car off the road in East Pembroke.

A UPS truck can't get up a hill in Pavilion.

Currently, National Grid reports no power outages.

The forecast for Genesee County through noon is for more of the same.

The National Weather Service says "blizzard conditions" exist now, though the morning portion of the storm is expected to bring only about one to three inches of snow.

WBTA reports tha Pavilion Central School is closed today and Alexandar Central has a two-hour delay.

UPDATE 7:27 a.m.: Car off the road on the I-490. An electrical wire is reportedly on fire outside the residence at 10 Maple St., Batavia. The caller reports "hearing electrical problems" in the basement. City fire responding.

UPDATE 7:31 a.m.: Engine 12 on scene at 10 Maple, nothing showing. Mercy EMS dispatched to Route 63 and Ellicott for the accident at that location for a patient evaluation. At 10 Maple, firefighter reports "It's a little smoky" in the basement.

UPDATE 7:39 a.m.: National Grid requested to 10 Maple. Power is out. Water has gotten on the breaker box. The cause of the smoke in the basement is out.  Also, in Le Roy, a truck can't get up a hill in the area of Gilbert Street. Law enforcement responding.

UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: National Grid requested to the scene at 10 Maple ASAP. "We have a signficant electrical situation here," a firefighter reports. There is arcing in the basement.

UPDATE 7:48 a.m.; National Grid has a 15 minute ETA for 10 Maple.

UPDATE 7:49 a.m.: Car off the road on Perry Road, Pavilion.

UPDATE 8:08 a.m.: City code enforcement requested to 10 Maple.

UPDATE 8:13 a.m.: A vehicle has struck a mailbox on Route 63 near Bethany Center Road.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: A tractor-trailer has rolled over on Route 20 at Sandpit Road, Alexander. No word on injuries.

UPDATE 8:41 a.m.: Regarding the truck rollover -- no injuries.

UPDATE 8:43 a.m.: Car off the road on Route 77 just north of the Thruway.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: Heavy wrecker requested to the truck rollover. The tanker was transporting liquid egg, completely biodegradable, and the liquid egg is draining out of the tank, so it will be empty by the time the wrecker arrives. The driver is now out of the truck.

UPDATE 8:55 a.m.: Red Cross requested to 10 Maple to assist a displaced family.

January 12, 2012 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP project.

Press release:

Information addressing the comments of the Western New York Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) Draft Generic Impact Statement (DGEIS) will be discussed at 7 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Town of Alabama Fire Hall. All property owners in the Town of Alabama will receive a postcard announcing the meeting and the public is welcomed to attend.

A general overview of the WNY STAMP project, the environmental review process and responses to common topics from the DGEIS will be presented. The major topics that were brought up in response to the DGEIS, and that will be covered at the informational meeting include: traffic, chemicals, water and wastewater.

The proposed action, examined by the DGEIS, is the construction and operation of approximately 6.1 million square feet of advanced technology manufacturing and ancillary facilities, along with on-site utility improvements, on 1,337.20 acres of land in the Town of Alabama.

The WNY STAMP site is located along New York State highways 77 and 63, approximately five miles north of the I-90 New York State Thruway. The proposed action will involve rezoning the property pursuant to the Town of Alabama Zoning Law.

According to the DGEIS, the buildable area of the WNY STAMP project is 46 percent of the entire site. The remainder of the land would remain as open space. The intent of the master plan design is to blend the manufacturing park into the existing fabric of the community. The Hamlet of Alabama is separated from the STAMP site by a subtle ridgeline and gracious landscape setbacks from existing uses.

As part of the open space system, only 9.5 acres of wetlands would be impacted by the current design, and the site will retain its rural nature. The park will be built to high-tech industry standards, in line with employee expectations, and will respect its surrounding context and environment.

The completed DGEIS, which was approved by the GCEDC board, can be found on the GCEDC’s website www.gcedc.com

January 12, 2012 - 9:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Dale A. Swiatowy Jr., 36, of 16 Wood St., Batavia, is charged with two counts of falsely reporting an incident, 3rd. Swiatowy allegedly claimed on Dec. 20 that a man attempted to rob him near Evans Street, cutting him with a knife. On Dec. 23, Swiatowy allegedly reported being stabbed while being robbed on Liberty Street. An investigation by Batavia PD and Investigator Chris Erion of the Sheriff's Office revealed that both reports were allegedly untrue and that the wounds were self-inflicted. (Dec. 20 report; Dec 23 report)

James Russell Hughes, 52, of Oatka Trail, Le Roy, is charged with assault, 3rd. Hughes is accused of head-butting a woman during a domestic incident Jan. 2. An order of protection was issued for the woman at Hughes's arraignment.

Donna L. Richardson, 59, of 43 Main St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI and driving on a suspended registration. Richardson was stopped Thursday evening in the Village of Le Roy by Le Roy Police.

January 12, 2012 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba.

A driver reportedly failed to yield the right of way leading to an accident in the Village of Elba on Wednesday morning that sent one man to the hospital via Mercy Flight.

Injured was Lester R. Gillard, 87, of Elba. He reportedly suffered a head and leg injury.

According to a Sheriff's Office release, Gillard was westbound on Chapel Street when his vehicle entered the intersection of Main Street.

Southbound on Main, with the right of way, was a Byrne Dairy milk truck operated by Marc T. Smith, 28, of Brockport.

Smith was not injured. Charges may be pending.

Elba Fire Department and Mercy EMS responded.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Dana Richardson.

(Initial report)

January 12, 2012 - 8:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Grand Jury.

Tony R. Smith is indicted on a count of grand larceny, 3rd. Smith is accused of stealing property valued at about $31,000 from a business on Gilbert Street in Le Roy, including boxes containing brass draw lead nuts, copper draw lead terminals and aluminum blocks, between May and July 2011.

Roy K. Way is indicted on counts of felony DWI and and felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Way is accused of driving while drunk on South Pearl Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Batavia on Sept. 12.

Sara K. McCabe is indicted on a count of felony DWI, three counts of aggravated DWI (driving drunk with a child 15 or under in the car) and one count of operating a motor vehicle without a required interlock device. McCabe is accused of driving drunk with children in the car in the parking lot of McDonald's in Le Roy on Aug. 25.

January 12, 2012 - 8:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Once again, they're telling us snow is coming.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Genesee County and all of Western New York.

The predicted storm could dump an inch of snow over night and up to four inches Friday.

Heavy snowfall has been reported in parts of the Northeast that haven't seen much snow so far this season.

The advisory is in place until 7 p.m., Friday, though the National Weather Service predicts the heaviest snowfall for Friday morning.

Blowing snow will reduce visibility to near zero, according to the weather service.

Winds will blow at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.

Driving conditions are expected to be hazardous.

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