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October 25, 2015 - 7:39am


The Batavia Cemetery Association hosted its annual ghost walk last night, with local actors playing the roles of historic figures who are buried in (with the exception of William Morgan) the cemetery on Harvester Avenue.


Gen. John Martindale, played by Derek Maxfield.


Philemon Tracy, played Tim Buckman.


Mary Elizabeth Wood, played by Anne Marie Starowitz.


Dean and Mary Richmond, played by Charley and Connie Boyd.


Patrick Weissend as Joseph Ellicott.

October 24, 2015 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, accident.

An accident with injuries is reported at Ford Road and Oak Orchard Road, Elba.

Elba fire and Mercy EMS responding.

October 24, 2015 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.


Officials in the Village of Corfu held an open house today to show off their wastewater treatment plant, which has undergone $1.8 million in renovations, increasing capacity while lowering energy consumption.

The plant takes in untreated sewage and runs it through three stages of treatment to remove the solids, with the clean water eventually flowing in to the Tonawanda Creek and the dried and composted sludge being shipped off to a local landfill.

The plant is currently treating 66,000 gallons of sewage per day and the electricity cost has been cut from $4,000 a month to $2,000 per month.










October 24, 2015 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia are serving pancakes this morning at the Community Center of ARC on Woodward Road, Batavia. The annual fundraiser continues until 2 p.m.





October 24, 2015 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.


Attica scored on their first three possessions in their Class C Section V playoff match against Le Roy on Friday night in Attica, but then the Oatkan Knights defense tightened up, including stopping the Blue Devils twice in the red zone, so Attica never got past those initial 19 points.

In the end, Le Roy pulled out a 20-19 victory.

Nick Egeling gained 115 yards on 17 carries. He scored on a 41-yard run. Nate Flint also scored on the ground, while going for 31 total yards on five rushes.

Josh Laurie was 7-12 passing for 113 yards and TD. He gained 18 yards on the ground on seven rushes.

Reed Kacur hauled in that TD pass, one of three catches for 79 yards. Ryan Boyce had two receptions for 18 yards and Flint had two for 16 yards.

On defense, Benny Piazza, nine tackles, Anthony Natrigo, eight, Kacur, eight, and Egeling and Luke Hogle had six each.

Photos by David Boyce.









October 24, 2015 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS, batavia.


Jim Nigro remembers well the night the Batavia Blue Devils scored 63 points. In was 1962 and he was a freshman on the squad that squared off against a team from the Syracuse area. The fans came into town with banners and shouting about beating the farmers, and the Blue Devils buried them 63-20.

The 2015 Blue Devils came two points shy Friday night of tying that school record in a 61-0 victory over Midlakes in the first round of the Section V Class B playoffs.

Batavia advances to the semi-finals against Hornell at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, at Cal-Mum.

QB Greg Mruczek was a perfect 10 for 10 passing for 144 yards and three touchdowns.  Dominick Mogavero ran for 79 yards and two TDs on four carries. Ryan Hogan had three TD receptions, gaining 60 yards. Malachi Chenault caught four passes for 44 yards.  Ray Leach gained 97 yards, returning two punts for touchdowns. John Garlock and Cody Dioguardi each scored. Terren Lovria and Leach had seven tackles, Mogavero six and Trenton McGraw, six with two sacks.








To purchase prints of photos, click here.

October 23, 2015 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.


Dave and Robyn Tufts held an open house today in the former WBTA building on East Main Street that they are renovating into apartments and office space.  The restoration preserves and enhances the mid-century modern architecture and when completed will contain four apartments and office space. The exterior and one apartment are completed and a second apartment will be done soon. The downstairs office space is build-to-suit ready for a tenant.

Previously: Local developer announces plans to restore and preserve Mid-century building in city's central corridor



October 23, 2015 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, fire.

A hay baler is on fire at 10162 Perry Road, Pavilion. It's next to a barn and attached to a tractor with diesel fuel in it.

Pavilion fire is dispatched.

October 23, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Tractor, batavia, business.


Pete Colantonio, of Empire Tractor, goes over some of the controls of a New Holland Skid Loader with Pete Kingston, of Geneseo, during Empire Tractor's Skid Loader Rodeo.

The most skilled entrants can win prizes.

The rodeo involves driving the skid loader through a timed obstacle course.

Empire Tractor, on East Main Street Road, Batavia, is hosting the event through this afternoon and then again tomorrow starting at 9 a.m.

Lunch is being served both days.




October 23, 2015 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Buffalo Federal Detention Facility.

Kayode Ayodeji Animashaun, 30, no address provided, is charged with strangulation, 2nd. Animashaun is a detainee at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center on Federal Drive, Batavia, and was allegedly involved in an altercation with another detainee, which was reported Oct. 12. Animashaun allegedly struck the victim and placed the victim in a choke hold causing injury. Animashaun is scheduled to appear in Town of Batavia Court Nov. 30.

October 22, 2015 - 9:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

NOAA's most recent winter weather outlook predicts that winter in Western New York will be warmer than average, while there is an equal chance of precipitation being above or below average. The weather outlook is about probability and averages. It doesn't address the likelihood, or not, of significant storms.

October 22, 2015 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

caseybb2015_0.jpgPress release from the Hilton Central School District:

The Hilton Board of Education has selected Casey Kosiorek as the next superintendent of the Hilton Central School District pending formal appointment to the position at the next Board of Education meeting on Oct. 27. He will step into this role when David Dimbleby retires at the end of this calendar year.

“The Hilton School District Board of Education would like to sincerely thank the staff and community members who participated in the search process,” said Board President Daniel Wellington. “We have reviewed all the information given to us from the finalist interviews as well as their Day in the District. Together with our own observations and your invaluable input, we have taken great care to select our next leader and are confident that Casey will carry on the tradition of keeping our schools at the heart of the community.”

Kosiorek is currently the superintendent of the Byron-Bergen Central School District and has served in that position since 2012. Kosiorek earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Master of Science degree in Education from Canisius College. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as the next Superintendent of Schools for the Hilton Central School District,” Kosiorek said. “I look forward to learning and understanding the great pride, traditions, and work that has taken place and I’m excited about working with all stakeholders in the Hilton learning community to continue on the trajectory that has been set on doing what is best for our students. My family and I look forward to becoming a part of the community in the near future. I am humbled by this opportunity.”

The Board worked with Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES District Superintendent and Search Consultant Jo Anne L. Antonacci throughout the search process. Wellington stated, “The Board was very pleased with the process that Mrs. Antonacci led us through and the resulting selection of our new Superintendent.”

October 22, 2015 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Brach Machine Inc., batavia, business.


Bill and Nancy Brach clearly love their business, Brach Machine, Inc., which is now in its 30th year in Batavia. Yesterday, the Brachs showed a visitor around their shop with verve and eagerness to share the details of what they do, how they do it and why it's important. 

Going through the stockroom of completed parts, Nancy stops and remarks, "These are parts that most people wouldn't have a clue as to what they are."

"I have no idea," the visitor admits.

"Right, exactly," said Nancy, "but there's someone for whom these are a vital part of their business."

Making vital parts for business is what Bill Brach set out to do when he started his business in 1985. Brach machine makes the tools that make it possible for other manufacturers all over the world to make the parts that make our daily lives a little bit easier.

The ignition on your car, die cast. Your refrigerator handle, probably die cast. The sprinkler head on your hose, die cast.

"You've had your hands on hundreds of die castings," Bill said.

When asked to describe his business, Bill has a ready answer that he enunciates clearly in a voice of good cheer that tells you it's a well-rehearsed line intended to precisely describe the business he's in, as precisely as the tools his employees make.

"We manufacture consumable tooling for the high-pressure die-casting industry."

That's it. That's what Brach Machine does. In a nutshell.

High-pressure die casting involves injecting metal in liquid form -- zinc, aluminum, magnesium, copper, lead, and tin -- into molds to make parts, tools and pieces. Brach Machine makes the parts that make the injection possible.

It's no wonder Bill chooses his words carefully. What he does isn't easy and mistakes are measured in fractions of a millimeter. After showing a visitor a tool that can measure a gap that is a quarter of the width of a human hair, Nancy explains such exacting specifications are necessary for their customers to achieve the quality their customers expect.

A tool that comes out of Brach Machine, cut and crafted from a piece of iron with no do-overs, might be worth $4,500 or more. It needs to be cut and shaved and polished to exact specifications. 

That means the people Bill and Nancy hire need to be able to do quality work and have some level of experience suitable to the task. Such employees are hard to find, especially in a tight job market with the unemployment rate hovering near 4 percent.

Brach Machine is advertising for employees more than they ever have and is hosting a pair of open houses to celebrate both 30 years in business and to commemorate Manufacturing Day.

The open houses are Tuesday Oct. 27 and Thursday Nov. 5 with three times available for tours each date: 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 2:30 p.m. Spots are limited, so the open house will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. RSVP to: Tim Gleba, production supervisor, via e-mail [email protected] or phone 343-9134.

Prospective employees are welcome as well as anybody interested in one of Batavia's world-class businesses and manufacturing sites in general.

"The thing we want to share with people is this is a place where you can get a job, and it's a good job and it's a stable job and it's a fair-paying job," Nancy said. "It has benefits and we'll keep you here as long as you will stay."


Brian Doktor


Dave Beedham


Al Bailey





October 22, 2015 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Zonta Club, batavia, domestic violence.


Dozens of members of Zonta Club of Genesee County gathered at the Dibble Family Center on Wednesday to stuff care packages with food and household items to give to victims of domestic violence.

Pictured are members of the committee, Ann Marie Brade, Mary Barnard, Beth Kemp, Heather Parker, Rhiannon Hawley, Patti Pacino, Kristen Elkins, and Karen Crittenden.

October 22, 2015 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

There's a report of people selling CDs at the Tops in Le Roy, knocking on car windows, scaring people.

"It's been an ongoing problem in other parts of the county," a dispatcher tells an officer.

Le Roy PD is responding.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m.: A dispatcher confirms with a deputy that he had previous contact with the CD sellers and the deputy informed the sellers they need permits and to "move along."

October 22, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, budget.

The county serves the public, and increasingly, the public is online, which is why County Manager Jay Gsell thinks the county needs a stronger and more consistent digital presence.

In his 2016 budget, he's proposing a new position in the county's IT department that would be responsible for the county's Web site and its social media activity, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

"There is also a difference in generations in how they deal with us," Gsell said. "They are different in where they go for their information, where they look for information and how they interact with county government whether they're asking questions, registering complaints or things of that nature."

The county's Web site could be more user-friendly, but more importantly, Gsell said, it could contain more information that is more current and timely and relevant to residents.

"We're the public sector -- if we're not public and media friendly, we suck," Gsell said. "We're also not doing our job. The idea is to put information out and give it out so the public can access it."

Increasingly, people want to find their information and interact with government and businesses in social media, and the county should be where the public is, Gsell said, which means an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, for example.

"If you don't have a more duel-enabled communication, you're missing out on how you connect with people, how people connect with your services, how they issue complaints, how they issue praise in some cases, or even how we deal with some things we change, for instance, taking on credit card payments in the Treasurer's Office," Gsell said.

The salary for the new position will be about $35,000 and represent a total expenditure with benefits and related expenses of $58,000.

The position is part of a $106,756,416 spending plan being proposed by Gsell.  

On the revenue side, Gsell is proposing a $27,283,304 tax levy with a $9.89 tax rate per thousand of assessed value. That is a 3-cent increase over the 2015 tax rate.

One new position previously proposed that didn't make the budget is an additional Sheriff's deputy with a primary responsibility to keep a sharp eye out for drunken drivers.

The position would have been funded through STOP-DWI money -- fines levied against convicted drunken drivers -- but Gsell said he could tell the idea wasn't going over well with a majority of the Legislature, so he dropped the proposal from the budget. He said the consensus among legislators seemed to be that even if the position was legal and above board, it might engender the perception that there was a level of entrapment in the strategy to catch more drunken drivers. Any case of actual entrapment could open the county up to litigation, something the Legislature would like to avoid.

"It's not like it was, 'Oh, my, this is the best thing since pockets,' so we said, 'You know what, it's not worth the angst and having the legislators have a discomfort as we're trying to present a hundred plus million proposal to let that become the litmus test of what's going on for 2016,' so we pulled it out," Gsell said.

The budget also includes an increase in hours for the County Attorney, making the job a full-time position. The additional 7.5 hours per week means an additional $30,000 in salary and a total increase in expenditure for the position of $37,095, but that cost is offset, Gsell said, by a decrease elsewhere in the budget for contracted fees for outside counsel.  

The budget proposal also includes a new public health sanitarian in the health department and a new case manager in Genesee Justice. Gsell said the case load at Genesee Justice has started to overwhelm the current staff hours in that department.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature, also floated the idea that members of the body should consider whether it's time for a pay raise for legislators. There was no further discussion of the idea after he threw mentioned it.

October 22, 2015 - 10:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, town of batavia.

The time has come, says Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post, for town property owners to start paying the piper.

They've enjoyed the benefit, as well they should, Post said, of a zero-rate property tax for 35 years, and over the last 12 or 15 years, gotten that benefit while the town has spent cash reserves to keep its budget balanced.

With a drop in sales tax, increased costs for employee benefits, greater expenses in the highway department, and loss of income on certificates of deposits, the town needs to institute a property tax, Post said.

With only $2 million left in the fund balance, Post said it's time to slow the rate of deficit budgets.

"I don't want to risk our bond rating and the security and the financial future of my successor, and I don't think it's fair," Post said. "To be quite honest with you, it's possible to stretch it right down to the wire and leave and let somebody else figure it out, but I'm not wired that way."

The proposed property tax rate is $1.42 per thousand of assessed value. That will raise approximately $500,000 to help cover town expenses, but Post still projects spending more than $600,000 from cash reserves, leaving a projected fund balance at the end of 2016 of $1.4 million.

The total anticipated general fund expenditure for the Town of Batavia is $4.64 million, down from $4.92 million in 2015. Even with the $300,000 cut in spending, there isn't enough money to go around, Post said.

For the past several years, town revenue has remained flat and in some years decreased, Post said. A big portion of the sales tax that flows into the county (shared by the county government with the various towns, villages and the city) comes from the sales tax on fuel sales. With gas prices dropping from roughly $4 a gallon to nearly $2 a gallon, and the expectation that gas prices won't increase anytime soon, Post is projecting a drop in sales tax revenue for the town of $150,000.

"It's like running a business without no receipts," Post said. "You put a donation in and have a Santa Claus in the front ringing a bell hoping someone will throw enough money in to make payroll every week. That's kind of what it's been like here. You have to really work hard to leverage as many dollars as you can from every funding agency that allocates funds, make grant applications and sustain a model that supports success."

Building a sustainable local economy has been a big focus of the town board for decades, Post said, and those efforts have led to Gateway II with Ashley Furniture, Milton Caterpillar, Sanitary Sewer, and more recently Med-Tech Park and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

But those efforts haven't come cheap. The town invested $1 million in infrastructure to support such projects and has had to forgo revenue on construction sales tax and mortgage tax, given away in the form of incentives for developers and business owners. While Post doesn't begrudge those incentives, he says he has to budget with the reality he faces, which means he can't forecast those revenues on any potential new projects in the town, no matter how big.

"If we're not in that market (of tax incentives), then we don't get those projects," Post said.

Those projects have brought into the town tens of thousands of dollars in permitting and zoning fees, Post said.

Also, those projects have increased the total assessed value of property in the town by $128 million, with some $64 million of that increase already out of PILOT exemptions and taxable with the new property tax.

Without that increase in taxable assessed value, local property owners would likely be looking at a property tax of $1.75 per thousand rather than $1.42 per thousand, Post said.

Post praised town employees for doing a great job of finding ways to cut spending and gave employees credit for saving the town about $600,000 in expenditures in 2015, but there's only so much that can be cut, he said. There's a public hearing on the proposed budget Nov. 4 and he invites residents to make alternate proposals to the proffered spending plan.

October 22, 2015 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

If board members approve the Town of Batavia's budget for 2016, property owners there will find themselves paying a municipal tax on assessed value for the first time since the 1970s, Supervisor Greg Post said last night after the board passed a resolution moving the proposed budget forward in the approval process.

There will be a public hearing on the budget Nov. 4.

The tax rate would be $1.42 per thousand, creating a levy of $500,000, which would still leave the town's budget with a spending deficit of $600,000.

That's nothing new in the Town of Batavia.

Post, who has been in office for 12 years, said the town has been using its fund balance to avoid a tax levy for 15 years.

With sales tax lagging, income on investments of the fund balance nonexistent, increased pension and health-care costs, and dwindling reserves, the town has little choice but to institute a property tax, Post said.

Post spoke with reporters at length last night about the proposed budget and we will have a more complete on the budget story later this morning.

We will also have stories on the county's proposed budget and the plan to create a new position in the IT department to manage the county's Web site and social media presence, as well as a story about a local manufacturer who is finding it difficult in this tight job market to find qualified employees.

UPDATE: Here's the town tax story: After years of operating at a deficit, Town of Batavia asking land owners to pony up property tax

October 22, 2015 - 6:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, basketball, batavia.

Christina Volpe, who scored 23.5 points and 15.8 rebounds per game to help lead the 1999 Lady Irish to a 25-1 season and a state championship in 1999, has died at age 34 at home in South Carolina.

Volpe apparently succombed to cardiac arrest. The cause of her heart attack is unknown.

James Johnson, high school sports reporter for the D&C, has a lengthy and well-done story about Volpe posted this morning.

October 21, 2015 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is in possession of a Camper Trailer Hitch found near the intersection of Vine Street at North Street. Please contact Officer Davis with the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 to identify and claim this property. 




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