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December 9, 2010 - 11:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos, Bethany.


Just after sunset in East Bethany at Cacner Road and Francis Road.

December 9, 2010 - 10:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.


A downtown storefront is not the usual place you'd expect to find a batting cage, but Bruce Dedman and partner Mike Sputore have moved their baseball business to a location near Liberty Street.

bruce_dedman.jpgThe facility features two 70-foot cages and hitters can either face off against a machine or live batting-practice pitching.

Pitch 'n Hit Baseball Training Center was previously located on Harvester Avenue. With the location change, Dedman said, the cages will now be open year-around. In the past, the business would shut down in the spring, when players return to their teams.

The batting cages were just an off-season workout, Dedman said.

Genesee Community College's ball team is putting the cages to good use, and several high school players also work out at the facility, Dedman said.

He's also working on arrangements to make provisions for softball players.

Most hitters pay for monthly memberships, but half-hour and hourly rates are also available.

The business is located at 214 E. Main St. Hours: 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Appointments are also accepted.

Hitters should use For more information, write to [email protected] or call (716) 560-0031.


December 9, 2010 - 9:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Lee.

Genesee County's congressional representative Chris Lee (R-26) has been appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, perhaps the most significant committee in Congress.

Ways and Means is the chief committee for any revenue-related issues and reviews a broad range of legislation. It is among the most sought-after committee appointments in the house.

Members of Ways and Means are prohibited from serving on other congressional committees.

Lee is beginning his second term representing New York's 26th Congressional District.

Full press release after the jump:

December 9, 2010 - 3:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCC, entreprenuership.


GCC was filled with young entrepreneurs today as students from more than a dozen high schools in the region participated in a trade fair, selling wares from their virtual businesses.

Debbie Dunlevy, college tech prep project director at GCC, explains the program:

In September 2003, six districts in the GLOW Region, with the assistance of the College Tech Prep program at GCC, began a pilot program related to the Business Career Cluster. There have been up to 11 GLOW school districts participating in the program and currently there are nine with a company. This program integrates an Entrepreneurship class with the international Virtual Enterprise program.

Students enrolled in the class seek to establish a business from the ground up. They design a business plan, decide on a product to “sell," design a marketing a plan, work with payroll and taxes and, in general, learn about all aspects of running a business without assuming any of the actual risks since the entire project is completed virtually using the internet, fax, phone and U.S. Mail.

Students participate in a Trade Fair during the fall term and an end of year competition in the spring semester. All of the schools are members of the Rochester Area Consortium, which includes 10 Monroe County secondary schools, three Erie County schools, plus the nine from the GLOW Region.

At the Trade Fair, students set up displays with the objective of getting visitors to “purchase” their product. Awards are given to the top three schools in the areas of best booth, salesmanship and most sales. Money from the Trade Fair sales is deposited into the company accounts.

All visitors are given $10,000 in virtual money to spend at any of the booths.

This program exemplifies the main goal of College Tech Prep program, which is to provide rigorous academics coupled with hands on or practical application.


December 9, 2010 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, T.F. Brown's.


For more than 20 years, the Mancuso family and the Batavia Lions Club have teamed up to host a Christmas Day dinner for any local residents who wish to join in a community meal on the holiday.

Seating times at T.F. Brown's this year will be at noon and 1 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Maud at 343-2091.

T.F. Brown's is not officially open on Christmas and there will be no bar service that day.

All are welcome to this free meal, which will offer the traditional Christmas Day fare of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, salad and dessert.

Local vendors supporting the dinner this year include Jeffrey Condidorio and Kathy Pettinella, who helped get food donated for the event. The Lion's Club contributes funds to ensure every child under 18 receives a Christmas present. Lion's Club members also work as servers, dishwashers and busboys.

Photo: From left, Ben Mancuso, Bob Swanson, president of the Lion's Club, Joe Teresi, and Rick Mancuso.

December 9, 2010 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget.

Albany needs to tackle unfunded mandates before it imposes a property tax cap on local governments, says a resolution the Batavia City Council will be asked to consider at its meeting Monday.

In a report to the council from City Manager Jason Molino, he says mandates make local spending "artificially high."

The report doesn't specify what unfunded mandates the city is most concerned about, but does say that the New York Conference of Mayors has appointed a 20-member task force to identify unfunded mandates and recommend what to do about them.

In the early stages of looking at the 2011/2012 city budget, Molino says, there is a potential $1.1 million shortfall, due mainly to rising retirement costs.

Retirement costs are expected to go up by $371,000, but with the proposed property tax cap, the city would only be able to realize an additional $72,000 in additional revenue, leaving a deficit of $289,000. That deficit would mean a cut in city services, Molino said.

The city manager's report does not advocate a tax increase, and the proposed resolution notes that New York has some of the highest property tax rates in the nation. Taxes are high, according to the resolution, because state mandates imposed by Albany on local governments are so inefficient.

A property tax rate cap will only work, according to the resolution, if mandated expenses are repealed. It also says that without mandate relief, and a property tax cap, local governments will be forced to drastically reduce services and eliminate jobs.

December 9, 2010 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, religion.


Hundreds of local residents gathered at Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia on Wednesday evening for "A Service of Prayer and Remembrance."

The annual service sponsored by funeral home company H.E. Turner and Co., is a chance for people to remember loved ones who have passed and light a candle in their honor. The candles can then be taken home and relit on Christmas Day.

Rev. Greg Brotzman and Rev. Donald Shirk (pictured at the microphone below) participated in the service, which included music and a memorial sermon.



December 9, 2010 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A two-car accident with injuries has been reported on Lewiston Road in front of Tops Market.

The vehicles are blocking the roadway.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

December 8, 2010 - 7:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Darien.

Michael Aaron Witkop, 18, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with sexual misconduct. Witkop is accused of having sexual intercourse with a girl under 17 years of age, who is considered too young to give consent.

Timothy J. McGall, 22, of Mill Pond Road, Byron, is charged with aggravated DWI and DWI. McGall was arrested Monday following an investigation into an accident on Swamp Road in Bergen at 10:10 p.m., Oct. 31. Based on an investigation by the Monroe County Toxicology Laboratory, McGall was allegedly found to be driving with a BAC of .18 or greater.

Brittany Lynn Frey, 20, and Scott Alexander Lawrence, 19, both of Griswold Road, Darien, are charged with petit larceny. Frey and Lawrence are accused of shoplifting from Kmart on Tuesday.

December 8, 2010 - 7:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Darien.

An estimated $25,000 in damages was done to a garage in Darien on Tuesday when an unattended torpedo heater apparently ignited a blaze.

The heater was being used to warm up some machinery, according to a report by Deputy Dana Richardson.

The fire occurred at 1210 Herkimer Road, Darien, and was called in by homeowner Lawrence Stabell at 9:51 a.m.

No injuries were reported in the blaze. The garage, which was destroyed, was not attached to the house.

Darien Fire responded with mutual aid from Alexander and Bennington fire departments.

(initial report)

December 8, 2010 - 7:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

There will be less snow today, and at midday even a little sun.

In the Pembroke area between now and 9 a.m., a narrow band of lake effect snow may drop an inch or two of snow.

There's about a 30-percent chance of snow after 3 p.m.

Winds will be about 15 mph, decreasing to under 10 mph overnight.

There's a chance of snow showers and flurries tonight and tomorrow.

December 8, 2010 - 7:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany.

A driver from Wyoming County was injured Monday morning after her car slid off the roadway on Bethany Center Road near Paradise Road and struck a tree.

Karen J. Vanburen, 38, of Alwardt Road, Wyoming, was transported to UMMC with non-life threatening injuries.

The 6:40 a.m. accident was investigated by Deputy Brian Thompson.

No citations were issued.

December 8, 2010 - 7:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford.

Unsafe speed for roadway conditions is being blamed for an accident at 11:49 a.m., Sunday, that sent three people to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

The accident occurred on School and Byron roads in Stafford. At the time of the accident, responders on scene reported icy conditions and requested the town highway department respond to salt the road (Initial Report).

Cited was Collin M. Camp, 19, of 20 N. Spruce St., Batavia. Camp was among those injured in the accident.

Also insured was his passenger, Michael F. Sullivan.

A passenger in the second vehicle, Patricia Scheurlein, 71, was also taken to a hospital.

The driver, Thomas J. Scheurlein, 72, of 5881 Griswold Road, Stafford, was reportedly injured but not transported.

According to the report by Deputy Brian Thompson, Camp was southbound on Byron Road around a "reduced speed curve" near School Road. He failed to negotiate the curve, according to Thompson, traveled onto the shoulder of Byron Road before being hit head-on by Scheurlein's car.

December 7, 2010 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A two-car accident with minor injuries has been reported at the intersection of Bank Street Road and East Saile Drive.

Town of Batavia and Mercy EMS responding.

December 7, 2010 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, DSS.

Joshua Carney, 33, and Holly Carney, 27, both of 64 Spencer Court, Batavia, are changed with several felonies following an investigation by the Department of Social Services. Joshua Carney has been charged with nine counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of grand larceny, 3rd. Holly Carney is charged with 11 counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of grand larceny, 3rd. DSS investigators alleged that the Carneys failed to report commission income from his employer. The alleged failure to report the income meant the Carneys received $14,017.14 in food stamp and medicaid benefits from May 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010 to which they were not entitled. They were taken into custody by Deputy Chad Minuto and arraigned in Batavia Town Court.

Brandy Miller (aka Brandy Osmancikli), 37, of 2093 Lewiston Road, Basom, is charged with four counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of petit larceny.  Miller is accused of failing to report income from March 11, 2010 to May 27, 2010. She allegedly received $612 in food stamp benefits to which she was not entitled.

Jamie Hamill, 33, of 4311 Lockport Road, Elba, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, and three counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st. Hamill is accused of submitting forms to DSS without revealing that her husband was employed full-time. Hamill allegedly received $542.41 in temporary assistance benefits and $661 in food stamps to which she wasn't entitled between July 2009 and November 2009.

December 7, 2010 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, county legislature.

One of the spending cuts in the Genesee County budget that has been overlooked in coverage of other proposed cuts is that legislative members themselves are taking a pay cut.

For eight legislators, their 2010 pay of $11,468 is being cut to $10,895 in 2011. For the chair of the legislature, pay is being cut from $15,090 to $14,337.

Human Resources Director Karen Marchese said privacy laws prevent information from being released on health insurance compensation for legislators. Only three members are enrolled in the county coverage plan.

UPDATE: The expense for health insurance coverage for legislators, which included "buy back" (for coverage supplied by legislator's spouses) is $39,900.

December 7, 2010 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Nursing Home.

Keep it. At least for now.

That's the recommendation of a consultant hired by Genesee County to study the legislature's options for dealing with the increasingly expense-draining county nursing home.

Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research turned over a report this week to the county that said it's not a good time to sell public facilities and the county may not achieve sufficient returns from such a sale.

Genesee County faces an aging population, continued rising expenses and an uncertain future of federal funding for the nursing home. Those same factors would likely keep down the price a private buyer would be willing to pay for the home.

And the county would lose control of the facility and have no recourse if a private owner no longer used the home as a "safety net" for disadvantaged seniors.

There are numerous problems for the home going forward, CGR concludes, and recommends a number of changes in operation of the home.

It also recommends establishing a Nursing Home Board to oversee the operations of the home.

The full 121-page report is available by clicking here.

December 7, 2010 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, Genesee Justice.

Ed Minardo will be out of a job come Jan. 1, but Genesee Justice will carry on.

"It was certainly in my mind, 'Not on my watch,'" Minardo said after learning that County Manager Jay Gsell would recommend to the legislature that Minardo's plan to cut staff hours and eliminate his own job be approved.

And the legislature did just that Monday evening.

"I didn't want to see Genesee Justice and the great history of Judge Call (former Sheriff Doug Call) and Dennis (Wittman, founding GJ director), and the love and caring they put into it, evaporate into a memory."

Minardo said he was also motivated by the firm support Genesee Justice received from the legal community, including defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges.

"That's one of the things that made me fight so hard," Minardo said. "There was an unprecedented outpouring of support from what is supposed to be a formal legal community. The were going outside their comfort zones to express appreciation for the programs we run and the good work of our staff."

With approval of the labor union representing staff at Genesee Justice signing off on the plan to reduce work ours, Gsell was apparently able to find enough cost savings to make Minardo's plan "budget neutral," meaning it won't increase expenses for the county.

When Gsell first presented his draft budget to the legislature, it called for closing Genesee Justice as a division of the Sheriff's Office and moving many of its functions to the probation department.

At a public hearing, members of the legal community and crime victims assisted by Genesee Justice came forward and encouraged the legislature to protect the pioneering restorative justice program.

Next up for Minardo: Put together a non-profit foundation that will raise money to fill the budget gap for full Genesee Justice operations, including reinstating his job as director.

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