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May 23, 2011 - 11:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul made a campaign stop in Batavia today, stopping by Scooter's Family Restaurant on West Main Street.

Geoff Redick, of The Batavian's news partner WBTA, was on hand to snap a couple of pictures and talk with Hochul briefly.

She recently came out ahead of Republican Jane Corwin in a Siena poll – an eyebrow-raiser in New York’s 26th Congressional District race, which has been staunchly Republican in the past. Hochul gives the credit to her campaign.

"People are listening to us – the message is getting out there," Hochul told WBTA. "We've been pounding this message home for weeks. And (residents) want somebody who's a fighter, a very Independent Democrat, and I'm their candidate."

Retiree Art Wilford was sitting down to lunch when Hochul walked in. He thinks she’s got a chance tomorrow.

"I'm normally Republican," he said, "but she's got a nice personality. I don't know her that well, but she seemed to be well-spoken, and suited for the job."

Art says he may even vote for Hochul: "There's a good possibility," he said.

(via WBTA)

May 23, 2011 - 9:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A 6-year-old child on South Main Street fell down a flight of stairs, about 15 feet, and was unconscious but breathing when Mercy EMS arrived.

With a storm coming, a Mercy ambulance is hurrying to the airport so that the child can be taken to a hospital by Mercy Flight before a storm hits the area.

There is a 10-minute window available.

The child was reportedly reviving during transport.

UPDATE 10:07 p.m.: Mercy Flight in route to Strong Memorial Hospital.

May 23, 2011 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, education.

Above, President Stuart Steiner delivers his commencement speech to the 2011 graduates of Gensee Community College.

Steiner is finishing out his final academic year as president of GCC.

After the jump, a list of graduates highlighted by the college.

UPDATE: We've added Dr. Steiner's speech after the jump.


May 23, 2011 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion, Bethany.

Erika L. Brumsted, 24, of 5079 Batavia-Bethany Townline Road, East Bethany, and Steven C. Shaw, 24, of 2692 Dunham Road, Varysburg, are charged with petit larceny. Brumsted and Shaw are accused of shoplifting from Tops Market.

Terry David Czworka, 48, of Black St. Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, aggravated driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to keep right, moved from lane unsafely, possession/consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Czworka was stopped at 1:19 a.m., Saturday, on Asbury Road, Pavilion, by Sgt. Brian Frieday.

Timothy John Hagen, 27, of Walden Creek, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Hagen is accused of violating and order of protection.

Brian P. O'Grady, 46, of Lymon Road, Bergen, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. O'Grady is accused of violating an order of protection. O'Grady allegedly made several phone calls to his estranged wife that did not pertain to their child.

Robert K. Geandreau, 38, of 404 Ellicott St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to keep right and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Geandreau was stopped at 7:54 p.m., Saturday, on Ellicott Street by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Brenden M. Mullen, 26, of 11 Holmes Ave., Batavia, is charged with DWI, no inspection and refusal to take a breath test. Mullen was stopped at 2:38 a.m., Saturday, by Officer Eric Dibble.

May 23, 2011 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Overhead on the scanner: "I hope everybody's got their windows up. The rain's coming in sheets eastbound."

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Same voice, "I'm in the middle of a monsoon."

May 23, 2011 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26.

Typically, only about 20 to 25 percent of registered voters show up at the polls.

What do you say, Genesee County, should we aim for 30 percent, or higher?

The Batavian "Get Out The Vote" effort is up to more than $1,600 in pledges for various local charities.

If Genesee County leads all counties in the NY-26 in voter turn out, the following donations will be made:

The Batavian, $100 to the Genesee Justice Foundation.

Jeff Allen, $100 to Care-A-Van Ministries.

Dan Jones, $26 dollars to Care-A-Van Ministries and another $26 dollars to the USO.

Dave Olsen, $25 tor GJ and $50 for The Loyola Recovery Foundation.

Joanne Rock has pledge $25 to GJ.

Lorie Longhany, $26 to the Child Advocacy Center wing of Genesee Justice.

Ricky G. Hale, a local plumber, has pledged $100 to Genesee Justice.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has pledged $1,000 -- with $500 going to the Genesee Justice Foundation and $500 going to Justice For Children GLOW Foundation. Any other members of the legal community like to step forward?

Ken Mistler pledged $100 for Volunteers for Animals.

County Clerk Don Read has pledged $100 for Crossroads House. 

Remember, it doesn't matter who you vote for. You can vote for one of the four candidates on the ballot -- Jane Corwin, Jack Davis, Kathy Hochul or Ian Murphy -- or you can write in Jeff Allen or Joanne Rock. Or you can turn in a blank ballot.  

The important thing is to vote. Do it for Genesee County. Do it for your favorite local charity. Do it for democracy.

May 23, 2011 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, kathy hochul.

Ad from Jack Davis

Ad from Kathy Hochul

And that's all that I could find on YouTube.

May 23, 2011 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A one-vehicle rollover accident with no injuries has been reported in the area of 986 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

The driver is reportedly out of the vehicle and walking around.

Alabama Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE 7:43 a.m.: An assistant chief on scene reports that "he didn't roll it, he just went off the side of the road." No injuries. Alabama equipment held in the hall.

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May 23, 2011 - 1:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26.

More than an hour into our chat on Sunday afternoon, Jack Davis looked at my iPhone and said, "That's probably made with Gorilla Glass."

It is.

Davis, founder and president of I Squared R in Akron, then explained that his very first customer was Corning, the inventor of Gorilla Glass.

The recipe for Gorilla Glass -- a very tough, durable type of glass -- sat on a shelf for decades until high-tech electronics such as flat-screen TVs and smart phones needed just such a product.

In order to manufacture the glass, Corning turned to Davis, whose company makes just the kind of silicon carbide heating elements Corning needed to start manufacturing Gorilla Glass for Apple and other companies.

When it came time to ship the elements, Dave found out they were going to Japan.

"It broke my heart," Davis said. "We don’t make those (iPhones) here, we don’t make the TVs, we don’t make flat screens. (The elements are) just another product we ship over there and they can back engineer it and that business will be gone."

Jack Davis is making his fourth attempt at winning a seat in Congress -- this time to replace Shirtless Chris Lee in a NY-26 special election -- for one reason, and one reason only: To save American jobs.

"We have to grow, dig or manufacture to produce wealth," Davis said. "Unless you do that, you’re just growing your debt. We have to make everything we use or consume."

Davis knows Batavia and knows what losing a manufacturing base can do to a community. Among his company's early customers were Sylvania and Doehler Jarvis.

"Batavia has been hit like many of the industrial cities have been," Davis said. "You have a lot of farms, but you did have a big manufacturing base.

"Cities and communities that have lost the jobs are a lot more receptive to my message of saving jobs and getting out of those free trade agreements," he added.

Davis isn't against all trade with foreign countries. He just thinks it should be fair trade. If we trade with another country, he said, that country should buy as much product from the U.S. as we buy from them. If not, they get slapped with a tariff on the difference.

A tariff that targets trade imbalance, he said, would address the uncompetitive practices of countries such as China, where the Yuan is artificially lowered by 40 percent against the dollar.

“Give the guy down the street a 40-percent advantage on you and you’re screwed," Davis said.

On top of that, the Chinese government gives its own corporations tax breaks not available to U.S. manufacturers and labor is 1/20th the cost that in the United States.

The U.S. needs to level the playing field, Davis said.

"There are plenty of entrepreneurs left in this country," Davis said. "Right now they're spending money overseas, rather than in this county, but if given a level playing field, they will come back."

Bring up just about any topic with Davis, and the conversation soon turns back to jobs and fair trade.

Asked about how he could help counties such as Genesee address its crumbling infrastructure problem, he said the solution is jobs, just as it is for most of the problems in the United States.

"Obama shouldn’t be talking about cutting services and increasing taxes," Davis said. "He should be addressing this trade imbalance. We have about $2 billion per day going overseas. That’s our wealth going off shore. Until that’s addressed, we’re going to continue to have problems, problems with Social Security, problems with Medicare, problems with the budget, problems with the deficit."

And if that wealth continues to flow overseas, Davis said, eventually China is going to own the United States.

"I’m a patriot. I love America," Davis said. "I see what’s happening to it. I think  what kind of future are we leaving our children? We’ve got a $14 trillion national debt, half of it’s owed to the Asians, and if we’re not manufacturing anything, we have no way to pay this debt, so they’re going to own America."

He says once the Chinese own all the multinational companies, they'll also own all the lobbyists in Washington.

“We already know (the government) is for sale to the highest bidder and the Chinese are going to have all the money," he said.

Davis came to his anti-unfettered trade position through 56 years of working in international trade, he said, and seeing more and more companies that he did business with shipping jobs overseas.

He didn't think, and still doesn't believe, that's a sustainable path for the United States.

And he doesn't buy the pro-free trade arguments that globalization of trade benefits the United States, too. The U.S. won't have anything to trade, he points out, if all of the manufacturing plants -- as 53,000 of them have already done -- keep shutting down.

In pointing to my iPhone, he raised the issue that even new technology depends on products manufactured in the United States. His heating elements are used not only for Gorilla Glass, but for manufacturing all sorts of flat glass, from window panes in skyscrapers to the windshields of cars as well as an essential tool for manufacturing solar cells.

The high-tech industry needs a strong manufacturing base in the United States to remain competitive globally.

"There was one guy, I think he was with the Commerce Department, who said there’s no difference between computer chips and potato chips and I’m like, 'Man, how stupid can you be?'" Davis said.

Davis believes both the Republicans and Democrats are selling out the United States. Both parties are beholding to the multinational corporations and even big labor -- traditionally a stalwart in the Democratic corner protecting American jobs -- has sold out the American worker. Their national leaders in Washington, he said, are more interested in organizing in foreign countries now.

"The managers for these large multinationals, they’re not loyal to America," Davis said. "They’re loyal to their stockholders and they’ll just take their business to the cheaper place to manufacture with no thought of American workers. They have all the advantages of being in America, but they’re not taking care of it."

Toward the end of our conversation, Davis talked more about the campaign. 

He is disappointed most of all in the Republicans.

He said he registered Republican when he first could vote. He's voted for Eisenhower, Reagan and both Bushes. He's given the Republicans money, and now they just lie about him.

"To have them come after me so viciously and tell so many lies about me, it was a big, big disappointment," he said. 

"I always thought they were the integrity party," he added. "They’re the party of the thugs. They even sent a thug after me."  (A reference to Jane Corwin's chief of staff, Michael Mallia, harassing Davis following a veterans' event in Greece, allegedly calling the former Marine a "coward" (a charge the Corwin campaign has made no attempt to refute.))

But even as some polls show Davis losing ground and coming in third, he's not giving up the fight. It's too important to him. He clearly thinks he's needed in Washington to save American jobs, even if Washington doesn't seem to want him.

"The lobbyists, they don’t want me in Washington, because I’m going to make changes," Davis said. "When I get there, I’ll be one of 435, but I will probably have the biggest mouth. I’m going to call these people out and they don’t like that."

NOTE: We were previously privileged to have Kathy Hochul visit The Batavian. Jane Corwin has been invited numerous times but has pretty much ignored the invitation. Ian Murphy was invited, but said he didn't have a car to make the trip to Batavia.

May 22, 2011 - 11:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Landmark Society of Genesee County.

On Saturday evening, the Landmark Society of Genesee County handed out its annual architecture and preservation awards.

This year's winners were: Ben and Diane Bonarigo, adaptive reuse, for St. Mary’s Rectory, 18 Ellicott St., Batavia; William Steininger and Joan Bird for stained-glass window restoration and interior renovation, 9244 Upton Road, Batavia; Jennifer Weaver, for outstanding exterior paint treatment, 7083 N. Bergen Road, Bergen; James and Jillian Patric, outstanding exterior paint treatment, for 317 Washington Ave., Batavia; and, UMMC, Jerome Senior Apts., 16 Bank St., Batavia.

Pictures of the winners and full write-ups after the jump:

May 22, 2011 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Tim Wescott spent a few hours at Target on Saturday creating ID cards for children. The session includes getting their weight and height, getting fingerprints and snapping a picture. The parents receive (within seconds) a plastic, driver's license type of card with the identifying information of their children. The information is kept on file by the Sheriff's Office should it ever be needed to help identify the child in a crisis.

Wescott and other members of the Sheriff's Office have been out at many community events providing the ID service. Wescott said being in a retail store was the first time they had tried it in such location and he said the first couple of hours were pretty busy.

May 22, 2011 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway.

A car is off the road on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 396, which puts it about 8/10 of a mile east of the Slusser Road overpass.

Unknown injuries.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: Another caller indicates a vehicle is on its side. No person is seen outside the vehicle.

UPDATE 9:32 p.m.: First responder reports car on all four wheels. Mercy EMS can respond non-emergency.

May 22, 2011 - 9:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A tractor-trailer fire has been reported on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 389.8.

The driver reported engine trouble. The turbo was revving fast and he was unable to power it down.

The fire is contained to the engine compartment at this time.

Unknown what cargo the truck is hauling.

Town of Batavia Fire Department responding.

UPDATE 9:17 p.m.: The location is just west of the State Street overpass. The visible fire is out. The driver reports the engine has seized up. The truck is hauling welding rods.

May 22, 2011 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, Ian Murphy.

As part of our ongoing series of questions for candidates, we close with questions about "intellectual life."

From my perspective, to be qualified for office, it's not just about your policy positions, it's also about what you know, how you think and how you learn, because elected officials are asked to deal with problems that aren't always easily grasped by political ideology. Being intellectually curious is important to any job that's essentially a job of the mind.

The deadline for questions was Thursday at 11 a.m. None of the candidates, perhaps understandably, met the deadline. Kathy Hochul and Ian Murphy turned in answers Thursday evening.

In effort to get answers from either Jane Corwin or Jack Davis, I waited until Friday afternoon to post the questions and answers, but then we had a big breaking news story.

Jack eventually turned in partial answers. Jane Corwin, despite repeated calls and emails to Matthew Harakal, including one conversation in which he promised the answers "soon," we have yet to receive any answers. We requested them again today.

Below are the questions, after the jump, answers in the order received.

Perhaps write-in candidates Jeff Allen and JoAnne Rock would like to provide their answers in the comments.

What three books first published in the past 100 years have been most meaningful to you?

Name your three favorite songwriters and pick one song from one of those writers and tell us what that song has meant to you?

If you were asked to read a poem on the floor of the House of Representatives, what poem would it be and why?

Tell us about a museum you’ve visited any time in your life and how it had a lasting impact on your intellectual life or imagination.

Who is your favorite Western New York writer, musician or artist (any genre/style/medium)?

Do you have any hidden artistic talent? What is it (sing, draw, photography, etc.)?  If not, is there anything along those lines you aspire to -- ‘I really wish I could .... ?’

May 21, 2011 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, State Street.

There is report of smoke in the hallway of an apartment at 106 State St.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 10:58 p.m.: Burnt food. City fire back in service.

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May 21, 2011 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens.

The annual day of renewal in Bergen -- where community members come out to plant flowers and spruce up parks -- became a time for reflection this morning as the small village honored the memory of Eric C. Wall.

The 16-year-old Bergen resident was struck and killed by a train on Friday afternoon.

Pastors Matt Farrell of the United Methodist Church and Michael Merry of the Presbyterian Church led a short service and Mayor Ralph Marsocci said a few works of condolences.

Merry spoke briefly before singing a song, but said he didn't know what to say on an occasion such as this.

"We have a high school that’s in shock, a community that is in shock," Merry said. "We have people of all different walks of life and none of us know, and I don’t know, how to comfort all of you, but I do know, there is always hope. What I know of Eric and the Wall family, they would want us to continue. They would want us to plant flowers."

Farrell also spoke of hope, the hope that is in the community and the hope promised by Jesus Christ.

After the service, Merry said he's spoken with his own child about the dangers of the train tracks going through the village before, and he wished he had included the same thoughts in his own remarks.

"We have to be careful around the trains," Merry said. "They go by here all the time and so it’s easy to forget about taking basic precautions. We can take them for granted but they are dangerous. By the time a conductor sees you, it's too late. They can't stop quickly at all.

"What I tell my own child," he added,  "is if you see the arms start to come down, stop immediately -- even if you're 20 feet away. You’re not invincible. If you see the arms come down, stop and wait."

After the ceremony, Eric's 12-year-old brother, Grady, helped plant an apple tree in the fountain park less than 50 yards from where Eric was killed. The memorial tree was a gift from the community to young Grady.

May 21, 2011 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NY-26, 400 Towers, kathy hochul.

Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, star of Sha-Na-Na, stopped by 400 Towers on Friday evening to talk with residents about Medicare, Social Security and his career in music and television.

Though Bauman's appearance was sponsored by Kathy Hochul, his talk was pretty non-political. Bauman mostly stuck to the facts of the programs and proposals, at least as he sees them.

Above, Bea McManis escorts Bauman into 400 Towers as Bauman displays Bowzer's trademark muscle flex.

May 20, 2011 - 11:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A 16-year-old Byron-Bergen High School student apparently tried to dash across train tracks on the north side of Lake Avenue on Friday afternoon and was struck by a westbound Amtrak train.

The youth was then hit by an eastbound CSX train.

Pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Robert Yungfleish was Eric C. Wall, of Bergen.

Eric walked home from school with two friends Friday. At some point on Lake Avenue, Eric and his friends went their separate ways and Eric started running north, toward home. He went under a pedestrian gate at the train crossing even while warning bells were clanging, according to witnesses.

Deputy Chief Gordon Dibble said it's impossible to know what Eric's intentions were or if he was aware that not just one, but two trains were bearing down on the intersection.

One village resident said there has been a problem recently with the crossing gates going down and the bells ringing even though no train was coming.

Eric made it across one pair of tracks before being struck, Dibble said.

After he was struck, Eric's body was apparently thrown across Lake Avenue, landing on the south shoulder of the roadway near the train tracks.

The accident was reported at 2:47 p.m. By 3:15 p.m., dozens of students from Byron-Bergen were in the village, all seemingly aware of what had happened and who had been killed. Many students were in tears.

At least six school officials, a few wearing "crisis team" badges, were on scene.

Mayor Ralph Marsocci said he knew Eric. Like many Byron-Bergen students, Eric would stop into Ralph and Rosie's delicatessen after school for a slice of pizza.

"He was a wonderful kid, as most of them are," Marsocci said. "He was always very polite, always said 'thank you.'"

In a village of only 1,200 people, Eric's tragic death would be felt by the whole community, Marsocci said.

"People are devastated," Marsocci.

Friends of Eric's who spoke with the media said that Eric was fun to be around.

"He was really funny," Nicole Adams said. "He was like awkward funny. He would make stupid jokes, but everybody would laugh. Whoever was with him was always happy because he was always funny."

Her sister, Shauna, added, "I barely knew him and every time I talked to him he made me laugh."

The girls said they found out about the accident because a friend was on a school bus that was in the area and saw the whole thing and called them immediately.

Dibble said investigators gathered a number of statements from eyewitnesses. 

The investigation is ongoing.

Assisting at the scene were the Bergen Fire Department and State Police.




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