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June 7, 2011 - 12:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department.

Today, the former Batavia Motel on West Main Street became a training structure for volunteer firefighters as the Town of Batavia Fire Department began a bit of the dismantling process.

The hotel, acquired by the town a couple of months ago, is to be torn down (or burned down) to make way for an expansion of Lion Park.

The town condemned the property at  3768 W. Main Street Road in December, sending about seven residents looking for new places to live.

A couple of months after condemning the property, the town completed the purchase.

Town of Batavia Fire Chief Randy McIntire said the department isn't sure how much training it will be able to do on the building. The town may want it down pretty quickly and there might be some complications related to asbestos removal. 

At least for the next few weeks, however, firefighters -- and perhaps local law enforcement -- can use the worn-down structure for training.

Tonight, firefighters worked on venting -- the practice of cutting holes in the roof of a burning structure to allow heat and smoke to escape.

BTW: If this looks like your idea of fun and public service, visit to find out more about volunteering for your local fire department (city residents can volunteer for the Town of Batavia Fire Department).

June 7, 2011 - 12:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, County Airport, Memphis Belle, aircraft.

I got four emails from four different people this morning about a B-17 being parked at the Genesee County Airport.

It turns out it's been there almost a week. The plane is the Memphis Belle, a prop plane used in the movie of that name. Its proper home is the Geneseo Airport, but since that is a grass field, all the recent rains have made the runway too soggy for landing such a large bird.

The Memphis Belle is expected to depart some time Wednesday.

June 6, 2011 - 11:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, golf, terry hills.

That's QB legend Dan Marino in the midst of a group of some of Batavia's loveliest ladies. The women made it to the edge of the sixth fairway at Terry Hills for the sixth straight year during the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Tournament. As always, the ladies had brownies ready to lure celebraties so they could meet them, get some autographs and snap a few pictures.

I came across the group while searching for Jamie Farr.  

When I finally did meet up with Farr, after he finished the fifth hole, I introduced myself and all he seemed to hear was "web site" and started telling me all about his site. Dashed was my chance to chit-chat about MASH a little and part with, "See you in the funny papers."

Pictured above are (in no particular order) Margaret Perry, Kathy Leffel, Kate Martin, Barb Thurber, Donna Gillard, Joan Torres, Diane Burroughs, Jean Woodcook, Carrie Jones and Anne Barone.

Among the more than dozen celebs they met today were Marino, Jim Kelly, Ben Rothelisberger, Archie Manning and Chris Berman.

Lisa Nistico with Farr.

June 6, 2011 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Batavia woman accused of issuing unauthorized checks to herself from her employer's business account, will serve five months in a halfway house and five months in home confinement, a federal judge in Buffalo ruled today.

Deborah Dutton, 55, must also pay $85,000 in restitution to her former employer. 

Dutton previously admitted to forgery for falsely issuing checks to herself from 2007 to May 2010.

During sentencing, prosecutors noted that Dutton had a prior theft conviction in 1984.

Her defense attorney said Dutton has started the restitution process by selling a collection of dolls. She will also put her home up for sale.

June 6, 2011 - 7:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, corfu.

Ronald L. MacGregor, 42, of 66 Lake St., Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. MacGregor was arrested following an investigation by Le Roy Police into an allegation that MacGregor entered a local pharmacy possessing a forged or altered prescription script and passed it to pharmacy staff. MacGregor was jailed on $3,000 bail.

Martin Fitzgerald Jones, 40, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Jones was arrested on a warrant out of city court.

Dwayne William Brown, 25, of North Main Street, Holley, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding (90 mph in a 55 mph zone), passing in a no passing zone, operating out of class. Brown was stopped at 2:53 a.m. Saturday on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Frank Bordonaro. Bordonaro allegedly observed Brown riding a motorcycle on Route 33 while going 90 mph.

Joseph Thomas Bortle, 39, of Knowlesville Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Bortle is accused of trying to shoplift $26.97 in batteries from Kmart. During the investigation, Bortle was allegedly found in possession of a narcotic analgesic pill for which he didn't have a prescription.

Jordan Gerard Merica, 19, of Alleghany Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Merica was stopped on Route 77, Darien, for alleged traffic violations at 4:40 p.m. Friday by Deputy Patrick Reeves. 

Brian Patrick O'Grady, 46, of Lyman Road, Bergen, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol. O'Grady was allegedly involved in a property damage accident on Dublin Road, Bergen, at 11:45 p.m. Sunday. O'Grady allegedly left the scene of the accident and was located at his residence a short time later.

Elizabeth Ann Lindner, 24, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with forgery, 2nd. Lindner is accused of passing a forged check.

June 6, 2011 - 7:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Central Avenue.

A 22-year-old Batavia resident was hospitalized early this morning after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Central Avenue in the city.

Police are asking people with information about the car and driver to call 345-6350.

Luis A. Mercado was listed this morning in stable condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

At about 1:36 a.m., Mercardo was walking on Central when he was struck by a white sedan.

The car reportedly has a loud exhaust and is possibly a Dodge Stratus. It sustained front end damage and most likely a broken windshield.

June 6, 2011 - 6:15pm

A South American-based dairy processing company will get $767,096 in tax incentives to help the company establish a new yogurt factory in Batavia, the Genesee County Economic Development Center announced.

The incentive package for Alpina Products includes a property tax abatement, a sales tax exemption and a reduction of mortgage taxes.

GCEDC announced in April that Alpina agreed to become the first tenant for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park off Route 5 in Batavia.

The plant, when completed, is expected to add 50 jobs to the local economy and if successful, Alpina officials said they would expect to expand their operations in Batavia.

More than half of the tax incentive package comes in the form of a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) arrangement that will reduce the amount of anticipated property taxes paid by Alpina by more than $458,000 over 10 years.

Alpina will pay property taxes on the current assessed value of its 10-acre facility, but because building the plant will increase the land's value, Alpina will get a break on that increased assessment for 10 years. During the first five years, Alpina will pay no taxes on the difference between the current assessed value and the new assessed value. Starting in year six through year 10, Alpina will pay 50 percent of the increase in additional taxes, and pay 100 percent from that point forward.

The sales tax exemption of $260,000 will be on construction materials and office equipment, but not manufacturing equipment.

The mortgage tax exemption is $48,750.

The anticipated economic benefit to Genesee County is expected to exceed $30 million over 10 years.

Alpina will invest $15 million to purchase the 10-acre parcel and construct the plant.

In other GCEDC news, Wellsville Carpet Town at 3990 Call Parkway, Batavia, will receive a $14,375 mortgage tax exemption to help the company refinance its current $1.5 million real estate loan. GCEDC says the abatement will help retain 45 jobs in the county.

June 6, 2011 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, Fill the Boot, City Fire.

Friday's MDA "Fill the Boot" drive sponsored by the IAFF local was an amazing success according to city firefighter Greg Ireland.

Ireland said city firefighters collected $7,156 for "Jerry's Kids."

That tops a record set last year by city firefighters when they raised $5,601.

"We are very grateful to the wonderful people of Batavia and Genesee County who gave to this great charity," Ireland said.

June 6, 2011 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26.

There were 44 write-in votes cast in the May 24 special election for the NY-26 congressional seat and Jeff Allen, who mounted a local write-in campaign through The Batavian, social media and a limited marketing budget, got 15 votes.

That made him the top vote-getter among all write-in "candidates."

David Bellavia, who specifically dropped out of the race and endorsed Jack Davis on the Tea Party line, received nine votes.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley received four votes as did former rep, Shirtless Chris Lee, who resigned after it was revealed he was apparently trolling Craigslist for dates.

Notable single vote "candidates:" Reader JoAnne Rock, reader Peter O'Brien, local businessman and Oakfield School District Board Member Marc Johnson and Elba resident and nationally known author Bill Kauffman.

June 6, 2011 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, pembroke.

Semi-professional football has arrived in Genesee County.

The Lyndonville Tigers are now playing their home games in Pembroke.

The team is comprised of players from throughout Genesee and Orleans counties and plays in an eight-team league that stretches from Jamestown to Troy.

Team President Taylor McCabe said over the past seven seasons, the Northeast Football Alliance league has consistently produced "action packed and extremely competitive football."

The Tigers, who finished last season in third place at 8-4, opened the season Saturday, taking a 20-13 loss against Finger Lakes.

Here's the schedule for the remainder of the season:

GAME Date Time Away Team @ Home Team
1- Sat 6/4/2011 5:30 PM Finger Lakes @ Lyndonville
2- Sat 6/11/2011 5:30 PM Lyndonville @ Buffalo
3- Sat 6/18/2011 5:30 PM Jamestown @ Lyndonville
4- Sat 6/25/2011 5:30 PM Southern Tier (Warriors) @ Lyndonville
5- Sat 7/9/2011 5:30 PM Lyndonville @ Southern Tier (Diesel)
6- Sat 7/16/2011 7:00 PM Lyndonville @ Finger Lakes
7- Sat 7/23/2011 5:30 PM Buffalo @ Lyndonville
8- Sat 7/30/2011 5:30 PM Lyndonville @ Jamestown
9- Sat 8/6/2011 5:30 PM Lyndonville @ Southern Tier (Warriors)
10- Sat 8/13/2011 5:30 PM Southern Tier (Diesel) @ Lyndonville 

All home games are played in the Pembroke park just south of the high school.

June 6, 2011 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, downtown, BID, gulls.

Last week, we reported an update on the downtown gull situation.

BID Director Don Burkel asked that we share the following information with readers:

If you are having a problem with gulls landing / nesting on your building there are some possible solutions by the USDA Wildlife Services:

  • String 100-pound test fishing line in a grid pattern
  • Use a “BirdX” (sound system)
  • Use inflatable “Scarymen” by Reed Joseph Co.

If you need some advise on your particular gull problem, Carl Cranker, biologist for the USDA Wildlife Services, would be willing to visit your property. There is no fee for consultation and accessing your situation. If you want the Wildlife Services to perform a service, i.e. remove nests or eggs, there would be a fee involved. You can contact him directly by calling (315) 532-4835 (cell) or email: [email protected] .

June 6, 2011 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) is urging legislative leaders to make controlling property taxes the number one priority of the remaining weeks of the 2011 Legislative Session. The Tax Foundation recently released a study that shows homeowners in Orleans, Niagara, Monroe and Genesee counties face a property tax burden ranked in the top 10 nationally, based on percentage of median home value. Orleans, Niagara and Monroe occupy the top three spots respectively, while Genesee comes in eighth.

“To see all four counties in the 139th Assembly District paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation should serve as a loud and clear reminder to legislative leaders that we have no greater priority during this year’s session than to provide property tax relief to Western New York families and businesses, coupled with mandate relief for local governments and school districts,” Hawley said.

“Furthermore, 22 out of the 25 highest-taxed counties are found in Upstate New York. State government has placed Upstate’s economy at a massive, competitive disadvantage by increasing costs on localities and has forced families out of the homes they spent their entire lives working to build.

"I have consistently supported implementing a property-tax cap that will re-open Upstate New York for business and embrace the homeowners that have built their lives here, and I urge my colleagues in state government to join me in putting all of their energy behind this measure.”

Hawley is a co-sponsor of multiple bills to cap property taxes under consideration in the Assembly. While skyrocketing property taxes must be addressed immediately, so must the contributing factors that have led to such crushing levies.

“The cost-drivers handed down from Albany to local governments are a ploy to support unsustainable levels of spending,” Hawley said. “The passage of a property tax cap is not only crucial for homeowners, but it is also a vital component of the fight to repeal unfunded mandates that force localities to raise taxes year after year.

"The property tax crisis is truly symptomatic of New York’s most crippling problem – an unending appetite for spending. Passing a property tax cap is not the end of a long struggle, but rather the first domino to fall that will bring down unfunded mandates and reign in state spending.”

June 5, 2011 - 8:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia Police are looking for a subject last seen heading east on Highland Park following an unknown incident *on Jackson Street.

The subject is described as wearing a white tank top T-shirt, white flat-brimmed hat with a scruffy beard, riding a mountain bike and "still carrying the baseball bat."

*We didn't catch the original dispatch.

UPDATE 9:32 p.m.: Two acquaintances apparently had an ongoing dispute and one person allegedly hit the other with a baseball bat. The victim was transported by ground ambulance to the Genesee County Airport and taken by Mercy Flight to Strong. Lt. James Henning said there is a "person of interest" police would like to locate. Officers are also interested in talking to any additional witnesses, who can call the tip line at 585-345-6370.

June 5, 2011 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, alexander, trains, Old Creek Road.

This is part of an old train line that went through Genesee County at one time. I found this old bridge support on Old Creek Road last year and then, over the winter, while playing around on Genesee County's GIS map, I found an old right-of-way in Le Roy that is still owned by Lehigh Valley Railroad (even though Lehigh went bankrupt in the 1950s).

I traced the one parcel I found owned by Lehigh. At one time, it went through most of the county (The right-of-ways are still all separate parcels for the most part, owned by many different people.) The railroad left a permanent scar visible from the satellite images, so it's easy to trace. The line I found passed through this section of Old Creek Road in Alexander.

UPDATE: A caller says that this railroad location was part of the Delaware-Lackawana line, which merged with the Erie Line in 1961. The merger meant this railroad line was taken out of commission. The Lehigh line, he said, is further to the north.

June 5, 2011 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Cemetery.

One of the old, giant trees in the Batavia Cemetery fell down yesterday. The massive tree, which broke about 8 feet up its trunk, was located near the front of the cemetery, just south of the Richmond Mausoleum. It doesn't appear that any headstones were damaged.

June 5, 2011 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden.

Volunteers were in front of the Holland Land Office Museum parking lot today hawking hot dogs to raise funds for the International Peace Garden.

The peace garden supporters will be back at HLOM weekend after next.

June 5, 2011 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, alexander, flowers, Old Creek Road.

At least, I think this is a yellow flag iris -- that's the best identification I can do through Google. There's thousands of them off Old Creek Road, as well as other parts of the county. It's a non-native species and considered an invasive weed (it's certainly invaded Old Creek and Hunn roads), from what I found online. I got a little obsessed with getting a picture of this one particular plant around noon today -- trying different lenses, exposures, shutter speeds. This was the best I could do. 

June 4, 2011 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Linden, hobbies.

Linden resident Dick Harris bought is first Triumph motorcycle in 1955, and once he got that feeling of the open road and the wind in his hair, he hasn't spent a lot of time looking in the rear view mirror.

Harris, the son of a preacher, owns several versions of the legendary motorcycle now, including six that run and one he's restoring.  

In the room of his home where he stores the bikes, are pictures of Triumphs and places he's been, a shelf full of trophies he's won and a map of the United States. It traces the route to and from California he took during one of his three cross-country trips on a Triumph.

Just yesterday, the 78-year-old Harris went for a 150-mile ride.

"Every day that's nice, I try to get out," said the Linden native.

He left home at 17 and set out for Arizona, where he lived for a year. When he was 21 and discovered he liked riding motorcycles, he didn't exactly consult his preacher father.

"I didn't get on a bike until I was older, so my father didn't have much to say about it," Harris said.

He did get his dad to take a ride on a Triumph much later, when he was 80 years old.

While Harris didn't follow his father into the ministry, three of his four sons inherited his love for motor bikes. The picture below is of his son Dan's house, also in Linden.

Asked why he's enjoyed riding his bikes all these years, Harris kind of shrugged and said, "I don't know. Freedom, I guess. I like to get out on the road."

June 4, 2011 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Bethany, Genesee County Park.

Rachel Ingutti, a member of the educational staff at the Seneca Zoo brought a collection of snakes, lizards, salamanders and a tortoise to the Interpretive Nature Center at the Genesee County Park in Bethany today.

The turtle below is a new addition to the Interpretive Nature Center, giving visitors a live animal to view (rather than just the interesting collection of stuffed species on display at the center).




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

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