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March 5, 2011 - 10:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire, Lamb Farms.

A possible barn fire has been reported at Lamb Farms, 6880 Albion Road, Oakfield.

The caller was a passerby who said she could see smoke and flames from one of the back barns.

All Oakfield units dispatched, Alabama and Elba dispatched mutual aid. East Pembroke to standby in Oakfield's hall.

UPDATE 10:26 p.m.: Oakfield chief reports there is no fire. All units back in service.

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March 5, 2011 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Baseball, believe it or not, is just around the corner, and right on schedule, the booster club for the Batavia Muckdogs hosted its annual hot stove dinner and auction at the Batavia Party House.

More than 200 people were on hand for dinner and both a silent auction and a live auction with auctioneer Todd Jantzi of Bontrager's (below).

The booster club presented a donation to the Michael Napoleone Foundation. Above, accepting the check from Shirley Fanara, right, are Laurie Napoleone, center, and Ann Marie Suttell, president of the foundation.

More pictures after the jump:

March 5, 2011 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A flood watch remains in effect through tomorrow night, and now the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch starting late tonight through Sunday night.

Heavy wet snow is expected with accumulations of 6 to 8 inches.

The snow is predicted to start around daybreak and taper off later in the afternoon.

Winds are expected to be 10 to 20 mph.

The weather service said its forecast confidence is "medium."

Meanwhile, rain today and snowmelt still could produce minor flooding along creeks and in poorly drained low-lying areas.

March 4, 2011 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Heavy rain and warmer temperatures are heading toward Genesee County and that could lead to flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

A flood watch is in effect from Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening.

Tonight temperatures are expected to hit 48 degrees with an 80-percent chance of rain.

The coming storm could dump as much as two inches of rain and, combined with snowmelt, could cause creeks to rise and low-lying areas to fill with water.

Overall, any flooding is expected to be minor.

March 4, 2011 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in consolidation, Rose Mary Christian.

Rose Mary ChristianCouncilwoman Rose Mary Christian believes she has new evidence to feed her opposition to consolidation between the town and the city.

Christian and colleague Patti Pacino recently attended New York Conference of Mayors' Winter Legislative Meeting in Albany.

She says she heard horror stories about how consolidation is going in other municipal jurisdictions.

She said lawsuits and fees are skyrocketing.

From WBTA:

"One of the areas is with the fire department: volunteer versus paid. And now the volunteers want to get paid," Christian says. "The other one was the (village) police department, and where their jurisdiction is going to stop. Are they going into the town?"

Christian says Seneca Falls was one of the only approved consolidations in New York State. Municipalities almost everywhere else have voted it down. Christian says those votes have been very lopsided, and she believes it would be the same way here -- based on what she's heard about the town.

"So obviously they have to work everything out in our area," she says, "before they even consider putting this forth."

Christian says there’s a much better alternative.

"You can have shared services, without doing any of this," she says.

March 4, 2011 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight.

Mercy Flight will receive a USDA-backed loan to purchase a new state-of-the-art helicopter to be based in Batavia.

The $3 million loan was announced by Sen. Charles Schumer.

Mercy Flight will purchase a Bell 429 helicopter that will replace two older 1970s-era helicopters in the current fleet.

Genesee County and Mercy Flight recently signed a long-term lease for its facilities at the Genesee County Airport to help Mercy Flight secure the loan.

The new helicopter is expected to be in service in June.

March 4, 2011 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Alabama.

Raymond Gandolfo, 38, of Massachusetts Street, Buffalo, is charged with three counts of identity theft, three counts of forgery, criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and grand larceny, 4th. Gandolfo is accused of using a stolen credit card between 10:13 a.m. and 10:35 a.m., Sept. 25, to purchase merchandise at three separate stores on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. The total value exceeded $1,000.Gandolfo was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and returned to the Erie County Holding Center without bail.

Francis N. Shiltz, 69, of Alleghany Road, Strykerville, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unsafe backing. Shiltz was allegedly involved in a two-car property damage accident at 6:49 p.m., Thursday, at the Rez Smokeshop.

Arturo Vasquez-Armas, 41, of 2336 Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with offering a false instrument for filing,1st, and criminal possession of a forged instrument, 3rd. Vasquez-Armas allegedly possessed a forged Social Security card while attempting to obtain a NYS non-driver ID at the Genesee County DMV office. Vasquez-Armas was jailed without bail.

Timothy Alan Duboy, 19, of Wethersfield Road, Warsaw, is charged with forcible touching. Duboy is accused of forcibly touching the intimate parts of another person. The alleged incident occurred at College Village on Jan. 25.

March 3, 2011 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A two-car accident with injuries has been reported at the intersection of Dublin and Jericho roads, Bergen.

Bergen fire and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 5:41 p.m.: Sounds like very minor injuries.

March 3, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

The dispatch center was just informed that because of unspecified technical problems, National Grid is planning to cut power to the entire Village of Corfu at 4:30 p.m.

The outage will effect businesses, residence and street lights.

The person informing dispatch said, "unless the problem gets worse and they need to cut power sooner."

He requested traffic control for Main and Route 77 during the outage.

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.: No power outage will be necessary to fix the electrical problem this afternoon, according to National Grid.

The transformers can be switched out, replacing the broken one, without power loss.

March 3, 2011 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

There were no injuries in a two-car accident at Main and Swan streets at approximately 1:50 p.m.

Batavia police and fire departments responded.

Traffic going eastbound was slowed for about 15 minutes.

March 3, 2011 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to rescind inequitable cuts to education funding that unfairly burden Western New York’s children. In a letter to the governor, Assemblyman Hawley detailed the ways that the budget proposal favors downstate students at the expense of those Upstate.

“There should be no barrier when it comes to the education of our children,” said Hawley. “Upstate pupils are slated to receive substantially deeper cuts per pupil than those Downstate; an average of $800 more. I am sure you would agree that each and every child in New York State should receive an equal education.”

Full text of Hawley's letter after the jump:

March 3, 2011 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Law enforcement units are in the area of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation searching for a black Sonoma pickup that may be driven by an alleged cigarette thief.

The driver is suspected of grabbing several cartons of cigarettes from a shop on the reservation and fleeing.

UPDATE 12:12 p.m.: A possible suspect stopped on Galloway Road.

March 3, 2011 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Pavilion.

A pair of brothers from Pavilion are being accused of dealing cocaine and were arraigned in Pavilion Town Court on Tuesday following their arrest by Deputy Brian Thompson.

Cocaine, marijuana and fireworks were allegedly found in their Ellicott Road home.

The brothers are David James Chauncey (top, right), 21, and Steven Michael Chauncey (bottom, left), 20.

Both were charged with criminal possession of a narcotic with intent to sell and criminal possession of marijuana, 4th, as well as unlawful dealing with fireworks.

Following their arraignment they were released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

March 3, 2011 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

In separate investigations, the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force announced the arrest of three Batavia residents allegedly involved in drugs.

Accused of dealing cocaine is Juan A. Roman, 33, of Walnut Street.

Roman allegedly sold a quantity of cocaine to an undercover agent.

An arrest was made Tuesday by task force members and Batavia police officers after Roman was seen walking on Main Street.

He is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Following his arraignment before Judge Robert C. Noonan, Roman was jailed without bail.

Arrested on Monday were Nicholas A. Pleace, 24, of Pratt Road and Suzan M. Fincher, 51, of Pratt Road.

Pleace and Fincher are accused of growing 19 marijuana plants at their residence on Pratt Road. They were also allegedly found in possession of cocaine and oxycodone.

The were both charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

The pair were released under the supervision of Genesee Justice following an arraignment in front of Justice Mike Cleveland, Town of Batavia Court.

March 3, 2011 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, byron.

Yesterday a reader said she was hoping I would take some more pictures of the countryside of Genesee County again soon, and with a nice sky and a little time late yesterday afternoon, what more encouragement did I need?

I started out along Caswell Road near South Byron (the two pictures below) and then headed out to this cemetery (above) along Batavia-Byron Road, which I spied some time ago as a potentially good place for a sunset picture.

March 2, 2011 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Brian Hillabush.

Brian HillabushBrian Hillabush, who spent nearly a decade at  Batavia Daily News building a reputation as a solid sportswriter who cared about the players he covered, was found dead at his home in Batavia this evening.

He was 33.

No cause of death has been determined, according to Sgt. John Peck of the Batavia Police Department.

The coroner referred the case to the Monroe County Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

There was no evidence of foul play nor anything suspecious about his death, Peck said.

Hillabush joined the staff of The Batavian in September 2008 and was sports editor until February 2009 when the original owner of The Batavian, GateHouse Media, ended its association with the site and laid off Hillabush.

Brian had been attending Genesee Community College.

In the past hour or so dozens of messages of condolence have appeared on the wall of Hilly's Facebook page.

March 2, 2011 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget.

All along the process, the city's 2011/12 budget had its detractors, from the 1.4-percent property tax increase to the $13 per household water and sewer rate increase and its creation of an economic development position.

But in the end, there were only two no votes among the nine Batavia City Council members as the budget passed muster Tuesday night.

"Batavia is in pretty good shape," said Councilman Frank Ferrando. "That took a lot of work the past three or four years. We've made cuts, we did away with the ambulance service, we did some things that weren't too easy and worked ourselves into a position from where I thought we could go bankrupt or 'where are we going to get the money?' to where we are today. This budget keeps that going. I think this is a sound budget."

Council members Sam Barone and Rose Mary Christian both voted "no."

The biggest objection raised by council members -- and by John Roach (top inset), the only citizen to speak to the budget -- was the creation of an economic development position.

The position will be funded by $10,000 from the city and money from the revolving loan grant fund.

"Nobody (from the GCEDC or BID) has come forward to say they want this position," said Councilwoman Kathy Briggs (bottom inset). "I question whether we can even use the revolving loan money. What did the original grant say about what percentage of the money can be used for administration? I think we need to put this on hold until some future time -- strike it out of the budget."

Councilman Bill Cox said at a time when the city's young people are moving elsewhere for jobs, and none of the critics of the plan have offered a better alternative for creating economic opportunity in the city, he supports creation of the position.

"We need take action," Cox said. "We need to take a step forward if we don’t take action on this we’re going to lose another year and we're going to go down even further. This is the only thing anybody has recommended that makes sense and is doable."

Councilman Bob Bialkowski raised concerns about increasing taxes at a time of economic distress. Bialkowski pointed to the situation in the Middle East and rising oil prices, rising grocery prices, and said -- along with the lack of cost-of-living adjustments for seniors on fixed incomes -- a tax increase is going to hit many people pretty hard.

Barone suggested there was still fat to be trimmed from the $22 million spending plan.

"I still think there are places we can cut," Barone said. "It's only 1.4 percent, but the economy is still in bad shape."

The tax hike amounts to about $70,000 in additional revenue for the city.

March 2, 2011 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Stephanie Lynn Corke, 29, of Root Road, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Corke is accused of taking possession of a dog owned by another person and making no effort to find the owner or return the dog.

Nicholas Aaron Doxey, 25, of Niagara Street, Lockport, is charged with petit larceny and endangering the welfare of a child. Doxey is accused of shoplifting from Target while in the presence of his child and family members under 17 years of age.

Joseph Thomas Bortel, 39, of Knowlesville Road, Oakfield, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to keep right. Bortel was stopped at 4:49 p.m., Tuesday, in the area of 130 Bank St., Batavia, by Deputy Timothy Wescott.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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