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March 24, 2011 - 10:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, elba, Oakfield, Alabama.

Along Maltby Road, Elba.

Bliss Road, Oakfield.

Gorton Road, Alabama.

March 24, 2011 - 8:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire.

A chimney fire has been reported at 3591 Maltby Road, Oakfield.

Oakfield Fire along with Alabama, Elba and East Pembroke were initially dispatched, but Oakfield's chief asked that all units but Oakfield be held in their halls.

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March 24, 2011 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul, on her way back to Buffalo from a day spent in Rochester, called us and asked if she could stop by The Batavian's office and introduce herself.

She spent about 15 minutes here. I didn't want to dive too deep into an interview because I'm hoping to arrange a series of interviews with all of the candidates. But a chat about how beautiful Genesee County is and what a wonderful hub Batavia makes for the rural region turned into a discussion about protecting small businesses.

It turns out that Hochul's decision to run for the board in the Town of Hamburg was driven by her frustration with an effort to bring a Walmart to town.

Her mother owned a small shop in the village and Hochul saw her struggles to keep her business going and didn't want to see Walmart do any more damage to the local businesses.

"I decided to run for office because I want to have a say in the policies that effect local businesses," she said.

As for what she could do in Congress, she said tax codes and laws that give any incentive for manufacturers to move jobs overseas need to be reviewed and repealed if necessary.

She also said it's time to revisit NAFTA.

"We need to look at the policies put in place that were intended to help our area but they backfired," Hochul said.

She said a resurgence in manufacturing jobs in Western New York would be the best way to protect locally owned stores.

"We need to make sure the small shops in our cities and villages are not boarded up," Hochul said. "These shops sustain people who live in the community."

As she's been quoted as saying already, Hochul reiterated that she's not afraid to stand up to powerful interests, including her own party if necessary.

She pointed out her public opposition to Gov. Paterson's proposal to require residents to buy new license plates for their cars, and her efforts to fight Thruway tolls.

"No entity is too big that I won't fight if it's on behalf of my residents," Hochul said.

Finally: here's an invitation for Jane Corwin, Jack Davis or David Bellavia to stop by office of The Batavian any time.

March 24, 2011 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A pair of Rochester men were allegedly found in possession of $3,000 in cocaine in Batavia yesterday and charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The Local Drug Task Force identified the men as possible cocaine dealers and investigators received a search warrant for their car.

Taken into custody were Marcial S. Borgos, 61, of Bonesteel Street, and Jose A. Torres, 52, of Ernst Street.

Task force members as well as uniformed deputies participated in the search of the car.

Investigators allegedly found more than an ounce of cocaine.

K-9 "Pharaoh" participated in the search.

Borgos and Torres were jailed without bail.

March 24, 2011 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Philip M. Niccloy, 24, of 75 Summit St., Le Roy, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, 3rd. Niccloy allegedly took a GMC truck belonging to another person without permission. That night, Niccloy was allegedly involved in a single-vehicle accident on North Street Road. He was previously charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Niccloy was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

William Gordon Schultz, 37, of Evans Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to pay a fine.

David Richard Beedham, 43, of Randall Road, Le Roy, is charged with sexual abuse, 1st. Beedham is accused of touching the private area of a girl under age 11.

Mark Bryon Livingston, 53, of Wake Robin Terrace, West Henrietta, was arrested in Genesee County on a bench warrant for allegedly operating a car with a suspended registration.

Eric T. Weis, 28, of 9 N. Lyon St., Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Weis allegedly grabbed another person around the throat in front of three children while on MacArthur Drive. The alleged incident happened on Tuesday, Weis turned himself in on Wednesday.

Benjamin G. Evans, age unknown, of 8204 Park Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Evans was arrested on a  bench warrant issued out of city court for alleged failure to comply with conditions set by the court. Evans was jailed on $50,000 bail.

March 24, 2011 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

UPDATED at 4:09 p.m. with information from State Police.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: Traffic now open in both directions.

Three cars and a truck hauling fuel oil were involved in an accident this morning on Route 33 at West Bergen Road.

The truck over turned and landed on a car, trapping a woman in the vehicle. By all accounts, the woman -- Rosalie Pacino, of Batavia -- was conscious and alert throughout the ordeal, though she was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight.

Initially, the fuel oil was described as a flowing freely from a broken spigot, but Bergen First Assistant Chief Jim Bridge described the fuel spill as only minor.

A hazmat unit was brought in to clean up the spill.

State Police investigators say that Robin F. Lewis, of Bergen, was stopped at the northbound stop sign on West Bergen Road. Mark Shaw, of Warsaw, was driving a 2006 KenWorth tractor-trailer westbound on Route 33. A 2006 Ford entered the intersection, attempted to make a left-hand turn and was struck by the truck.

The Ford then spun and struck a 2001 Ford driving by Audrey Waterman, of Bergen, which was stopped on Route 33 waiting to make a left-hand turn. The truck continued westbound, slid counter clockwise and struck a 2005 Subaru, driven by Pacino. Pacino was headed eastbound on 33. The truck rolled into a ditch trapping Pacino's car under the trailer.

Charges are pending.

Brandy Shot, of Bergen, witnessed the accident. She was driving on Route 33, heading to work in Batavia, two cars behind the accident and witnessed the entire incident.

She said a van with two girls in it was preparing to make a left hand turn on West Bergen Road and another car was making a left hand turn onto Route 33. The truck, westbound on Route 33, tried to slow and avoid the car, but hit it, spinning the car around 360 degrees. It struck the van with the two girls in it.

"When I saw those girls in the van, my heart just sank, because I'm a mother of two," Shot said. "I'm just so glad they were not even hurt at all."

The driver lost control of the truck. It jackknifed and overturned, landing on a passenger vehicle, pushing it off the road, Shot said.

When the driver got out of the truck, he found the car under his truck and told Shot that the woman in the car was conscious and alert and talking on her mobile phone.

The truck driver, according to Shot, suffered head lacerations.

The driver of the car that the truck initially hit was bleeding from her face, according to Shot.

Bridge said besides the woman airlifted by Mercy Flight, two people were transported to hospitals by ground ambulance.

Bergen Fire responded initially to the scene and units from Byron and South Byron were soon called for mutual aid. Also responding for mutual aid were Le Roy, Town of Batavia and Churchville. Pavilion responded to standby in Le Roy's hall. Genesee County Emergency Services, deputies from the Sheriff's Office as well as Mercy EMS and Bergen Ambulance were all on scene.

The accident is being investigated by Troop A of the State Police.

The scene is being cleared. The Bergen fire chief tell those remaining on scene, to "abandon their posts" because the State Police and the DEC are going to remove signs and barriers when that time comes. Jim's Service is still there.

(Initial Report)

More pictures after the jump:

March 24, 2011 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Oak Orchard Road.

Mercy Flight is being dispatched to a medical emergency in the area of 6400 Oak Orchard Road.

Law enforcement was on scene and requested a medical response for a laceration to the neck.

Elba Fire responded and requested Mercy Flight after arriving on scene.

The flight is coming from Buffalo and the ETA is 20 minutes.UPD

UPDATE 11 a.m.: Route 98 is closed in both directions in order to secure a landing zone for Mercy Flight, which now has a 10 minute ETA.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Mercy Flight is on the ground.

UPDATE 11:29 a.m.: Mercy Flight is in the air. Elba fire police working on getting Route 98 reopened.

March 24, 2011 - 7:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A gas-hauling tractor-trailer and multiple vehicles have been involved in an accident on Route 33 at West Bergen Road, according to scanner reports.

A dispatch says "we believe at least three or four vehicles involved."

There are no specifics on injuries, but two ambulances have been started and Mercy Flight is on standby.

Bergen Fire Department is responding as well as multiple law enforcement units. Byron and South Byron fire asked to respond mutual aid.

The tractor-trailer has rolled with a vehicle pinned underneath.

There is fluid leaking. It's unknown if the fluid is from the tanker or side tanks.

UPDATE 7:57 a.m.: Both directions of traffic on Route 33 are shut to traffic, from West Bergen and Lyman roads. State Police have taken command of the scene. A county Hazmat team is to report to the training center on Bank St. Road in Batavia to gather equipment to go to the scene. The tractor-trailer is leaking fuel "at a pretty good rate." The triage center for victims is going to be south of the West Bergen Road/Route 33 intersection. A tanker from Churchville is called along with LeRoy. All "civilians" are going to be "removed from the scene." One victim, who is conscious and alert, is trapped in the vehicle under the truck. Extrication will be needed.

UPDATE 8:07 a.m.: Town of Batavia rescue unit is called along with Jim's Service to lift the truck so the victim can be extricated. Mercy Flight will be landing at the intersection. The leak "appears to be contained at this point."

UPDATE 8:10 a.m.: Fire police will be stationed at Griswold Road and Route 33. Stafford Fire Department is called to the scene. The tractor-trailer was hauling 9,500 gallons of fuel oil.

UPDATE 8:25 a.m.: The section of Route 33 closed to traffic has been extended from Griswold to Dublin roads.

UPDATE 8:37 a.m.: Pavilion firefighters are asked to stand in at Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:49 a.m.: The county Highway Department in Stafford is called to the scene to provide a load of sand to absorb fuel oil in a ditch.

UPDATE 8:52 a.m.: The state has jursidiction of Route 33, so the county Highway Department may not be able to provide the sand. But officials will try to override that since this is an emergency situation. Otherwise, a state highway truck will need to be called in.

UPDATE 8:57 a.m.: A fire chief on scene says the fuel leak has been stopped and berms are in place to contain it. A state Department of Transportation truck is en route to the scene with sand. The victims trapped under the truck has been extricated.

UPDATE 9:16 a.m.: A representative from the state Department of Environmental Conservation is en route and asked about about the fuel spill and was told "There is an unknown, large amount in a ditch area."

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March 23, 2011 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Bontrager's Auction.

So tonight I drove out to the Wortendyke Road to the Bontrager Auction house -- not to take pictures (but you know, I always have my camera with me) but to bid on a set of 10 Don Carmichael prints.

If you've ever been in a local business and seen a pen-and-ink drawing of a local historic building, chances are, it's a Don Carmichael print. (Lorie Longhany has also done some wonderful drawings of local buildings).

I had my heart set on winning these at auction tonight, but it turns out it wasn't meant to be.

Still, the auction was great fun and I always enjoy taking pictures.

More pictures after the jump:

March 23, 2011 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos, elba.

Driving back from a meeting in Alabama this afternoon, I took a turn down Malby Road and wound up passing this barn in Elba. I've passed it before, but the snow on the shingles seemed like a nice touch.

March 23, 2011 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The Weather Service continues to insist that this storm will last until midnight and about an hour ago, predicted another inch of snow.

From about 4 p.m., the snow has been falling reasonably fast in Downtown Batavia.

There are reports of cars off the road in several parts of the county and a couple of minor accidents in the city.

A highway worker informed dispatchers a little while ago, "We've got icy conditions on every road out here. There is snow, sleet and freezing rain."

Drive carefully.

March 23, 2011 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, pembroke, soccer, Pembroke Central School District.

Adding boys soccer to Pembroke High School's fall sports line-up needs more study -- that was the request of a couple of speakers at Tuesday's school board meeting and the decision of the board.

The board will appoint up to 16 people to a new committee to study the issue. The committee will include coaches, parents and students representing interests in not only soccer, but football, volleyball and cross-country.

The primary concern of those opposed to adding soccer is that it will detract from, if not lead to the elimination of, other sports.

Elizabeth Gabbey said if Pembroke was a Class A sport, she would fully support adding soccer and even be at all the games, but with declining enrollment in Pembroke, a Class C program, she fears even the football program could die if competing for athletes and support with soccer.

 "Are we willing to risk our football program or our volleyball program by adding a fourth sport?" she asked. "If we lose our football program, what will happen to football cheerleaders? This is an impact that not is just adding a team."

She added that boys who play soccer have club teams they can join, which still provide a path to college sports, but that's not an option open to football players.

One of the football coaches, and a teacher at Pembroke, spoke against the way the issue has been handled to this point, implying that soccer supporters were trying to push through the program without giving opposition voices a chance to raise concerns.

"I also wish to express the opinions of the thousands of concerned and unpretentious residents of this community who chose not to provoke others to bias the democratic decision making here at Pembroke with an intimidating show of force," Matthew Peterson said.

"I simply wish to have this statement read aloud to illustrate on record that many others disagree with both the means and the ends of adding an additional fall boys' sports program, and I choose to do so without the media hoopla and disruptions that surely accompany the throngs of people incited to be here tonight."

Peterson also took issue with the idea that soccer playing boys don't have an option at the high-school level in Pembroke.

"The most misunderstood idea centered on soccer is that students here greatly desire to play soccer and are being denied," Peterson said. "That assumption is entirely false! Soccer does exist here and students do have the opportunity to play from ages 5 to 19 in the spring season through PYA.

"The argument and the hidden agenda is to add another soccer team to compete in the fall, funded by the school district, and competing with and drawing from a dwindling student population. Let us not lose sight of the reality that soccer already exists at Pembroke."

(Read Peterson's full statement here)

Scott Birkby said he's coached both football and soccer in the district for years and knows pretty much all the boys who play either football, soccer or both, and when this issue came up, he surveyed the players to see if a boys soccer team in the fall would hurt football.

"I don't have proof," Birkby said. "I don't have the boys signatures, but I can say from my research, the net impact for the short term would be a total of only three players."

Birkby suspects volleyball might be the sport eventually phased out, which may happen anyway because of declining enrollment and the lack of nearby teams from similarly size schools. 

He said the team must often travel two and three hours for matches against larger schools.

"It's not a very successful program," he said.

Tina Curtis (dark hair in the middle of the top photo) and Rene Birkby, parents who have been leading the effort to reinstate soccer, said they were taken aback by the opposition.

Curtis said the soccer-supporting group is ready to do what it takes to ensure the program is not a financial drain on the district.

"These boys are not asking for fancy new equipment or jerseys," Curtis said. "They’re willing to donate soccer balls and wear old uniforms. They’re only desire is to play soccer and represent their school. We are willing to work with the district to raise the funds to offset this program."

Superintendent Gary Mix (inset photo) applauded the parents for thoroughly and honestly studying the issue and the students for showing leadership in bringing it forward. But he said, inevitably, somebody is going to be disappointed by whatever decision is reached.

"Any direction we go from this point forward is going to be a challenge," he said.

The district is facing a number of difficulties with declining enrollment and state budget cuts.  

Only a small minority of schools of Pembroke's size can run successful programs in all of its sports, and success is important, he said.

"It's easy for us as adults to believe that the important thing is not winning or losing, but rather students having fun," Mix said. "That's true to an extent, but a big part of the fun is experiencing success."

March 23, 2011 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A minor-injury accident has been reported on West Main Street in front of Burger King.

Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

March 23, 2011 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke.

Statement by Matthew Peterson at Pembroke Central School District meeting, March 22, 2010

Dear esteemed Members of the Pembroke Board of Education:

I feel compelled to briefly express the thoughts of the “silent majority” of community members who greatly oppose the actions and the intent of the group of soccer advocates speaking to the Board of Education on March 22nd.   Having lived in the Pembroke community my whole life, I am deeply connected to the past, present and future issues concerning the Pembroke school district.  Let me also assert that I am writing this letter, NOT as a football coach and NOT as a teacher, but within my role as concerned parent, resident and alumnus.

First, I reject some of the tactics used to bring this issue to light.  I am referring specifically about the recent “announcement” sent home from school with students to encourage people to attend tonight’s Board of Education meeting to “support soccer.”  Students should not be receiving soccer propaganda at school, yet my elementary aged children brought home from school such a message last week.  Although I’m unsure as to the extent to which school resources were used to produce and distribute the propaganda, I am certain in my conviction that the forum to deliver the message was inappropriate.  I always assumed that the “take home folder” at the elementary grade levels was used to foster parent-teacher communication and was used for primarily academic purposes, not to further a specific social agenda for a small minority of residents.   Many community members have since expressed the notion that using innocent kids as pawns in a strategic manipulative way to falsely portray solidarity is wrong, and should be condemned  at tonight’s meeting.  I agree.

I also wish to express the opinions of the thousands of concerned and unpretentious residents of this community who chose NOT to provoke others to bias the democratic decision making here at Pembroke with an intimidating show of force.   I simply wish to have this statement read aloud to illustrate on record that many others disagree with both the means and the ends of adding an additional fall boy’s sports program, and I choose to do so without the media hoopla and disruptions that surely accompany the throngs of people incited to be here tonight.

Lastly, let me take this opportunity to clarify some misconceptions regarding the addition of soccer and/or any other additional fall sport.   The most misunderstood idea centered on soccer is that students here greatly desire to play soccer and are being denied.  That assumption is entirely false!  Soccer does exist here and students do have the opportunity to play from ages 5 to 19 in the spring season through PYA.  The argument and the hidden agenda is to add another soccer team to compete in the fall, funded by the school district, and competing with and drawing from a dwindling student population.  Let us not lose sight of the reality that soccer already exists at Pembroke.  Furthermore I must clear up why I and so many others oppose the addition of another soccer team at Pembroke, and it is NOT out of an inherent hatred of the sport, but rather at the effect that its addition would have to other sports.  Some falsely make the claim that adding soccer would not impact the success of other sports, and blindly cite other schools as evidence.  I believe that further studies need to be done, and further evidence needs to be collected before any decision can be made.  These studies must go beyond a few phone calls and random quotes, and consist of a thorough and unbiased study to determine if indeed such drastic additions to our sports programs are feasible.  Previous studies have been done and have shown that adding another fall sport will severely hinder other sports from competing at the high levels we’ve come to expect at Pembroke due to lack of available students.  We should not choose to add soccer simply because other schools have done it.  Pembroke is and has always been trend setters, not followers.  The decision to support the addition of soccer has also been justified with the simple notion that many students “want to play” and that the Pembroke schools therefore must address the “needs of all students.”   I believe that this is a dangerous precedent and should be cautiously addressed.   Such “mob rule” justification for decision making would open the door for other groups, advocating other fall sports to merely collect some signatures, make enough noise, and demand that their needs be met too.   In the face of these flawed arguments, we must begin to ask the right questions, “Why are we adding sports in a time of declining enrollment.”  “Why are we adding expenses in a time of economic despair?”   But most important of all, “What effect will this decision have on the proud and successful sports programs and traditions that have existed here at Pembroke for decades?”  No one in good conscience can claim that adding soccer will have zero impact.  And surely no one can then justify that catering to the will of a small boisterous minority is worth potential negative effect on the programs that DO currently exist to serve the students at Pembroke.

I have some humble, reasonable but important requests.  Please allow for this issue to go through the proper channels of investigation and discussion that is a natural part of any proposed change.  The District and Building planning teams have yet to hear this issue let alone discuss it.  In accordance with my first request, please allow time to form an unbiased committee that independently can gather facts and offer recommendations for both short and long term implications.  Simply put, please allow for the long and arduous process of fact gathering and delay any irrational action on this matter until we are certain that the right thing is being done in conjunction with our mission and vision which states, “We will maintain high expectations…and celebrate success in order to promote responsibility, accountability and pride.”  Diluting the programs renders this commitment statement impossible to fulfill, as the scantily filled rosters of a plethora of fall sporting options compete primarily against each other for mere numbers, and therefore inconsequentially against other schools in competition.  Success will be fleeting, pride less fervent, expectations lowered, and in our efforts to be all inclusive, MEDIOCRITY will become the norm.


Matthew Peterson
(A voice for the concerned but heretofore silent community member)


March 23, 2011 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Yes, it is March 23 and yes, we have snow.

March 23, 2011 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A weather advisory originally expected to expire at 4 p.m. has been extended to midnight, and the initial estimate of total snowfall has crawled up to 4-8 inches.

Buffalo and Batavia appear to be the primary targets of the storm.

Snowfall will be heavy at times and reduce visibility to a quarter-mile.

Morning travel is expected to be difficult.

There have already been a number of minor accidents in Genesee County and snow removal crews are out in force.

March 22, 2011 - 9:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.

A landing zone for Mercy Flight has been set up at Route 262 and Transit Road in Elba.

Route 262 is closed.

Elba Fire responded to set up the landing zone. Mercy EMS is on scene.

There was apparently an auto accident in the area, but we have no futher details. It's a medical emergency.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: Mercy Flight is in the air and going to Strong. The road will reopen shortly.

March 22, 2011 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy.

Traditional printmaking is on display at the Senior Center on Bank Street through April 29.

The prints were created by high-school students from Batavia and Le Roy.

These aren't digital, computer-generated prints, but handcrafted original images using silkscreen, linoleum, wood block, collography and stencils to create new works of art.




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

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