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October 26, 2010 - 6:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

For the next 30 minutes, parts of Genesee County are in the path of a thunderstorm that has prompted a warning from the National Weather Service.

The thunderstorm warning is effect until 7 p.m.

Winds may exceed 60 mph.

The line of storms were located 17 miles west of Medina and 13 miles west of Darien and moving east at 50 mph.

The weather service said that while these thunderstorms contain very little lightning, "do not wait for the sight of lightning or sound of thunder to seek shelter."

UPDATE: Warning cancelled. The Weather Service reports that doppler radar showed the storm weakening at 6:46 p.m.

October 26, 2010 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau.

With a vacant $80,000-a-year position, the City of Batavia is moving forward to eliminate its own youth director position and share the top youth manager position with Genesee County.

By restructuring Youth Bureau staffing, the city hopes to save $15,600 a year while maintaining current programs -- some of which have been around since the 1950s -- at current levels.

"We really need this program to work," said Councilman Bill Cox. "What I like about this proposal is (it's) not only is a reduction in our budget, it's another step toward working together. Whether you call it consolidation or call it shared services, it's one more step toward working with the county."

sam_barone.jpgUnder terms of the proposal, the county's current youth director would become the top manager of the city's Youth Bureau. The shared director would work for the city one day a week and the county would provide an additional five hours of clerical support.

The total cost to the city will be $21,365.

Under the current budget, total compensation for the Youth Director position is $78,960, which is based on the salary, taxes and benefits paid out for the former youth director, who retired six months ago. Her base salary was $59,369. However, according to Jason Molino, she didn't use the city's health care plan, so replacing the director position could actually cost $12,000 more.

The projected $15,000 savings with the shared-services agreement is based on the current budget.

In the restructured Youth Bureau, the city would retain a youth coordinator position, raising the compensation from $56,676 to $60,853. A new position, youth program specialist, would be created with a compensation package of $50,000 (base salary of $29,457), and a part-time rec leader position would be retained at $9,453.

Much of the funding for youth programs in the city comes from state grants that have been in place for decades. Among the programs funded is a six-week summer youth program at all five city parks. The summer programs have been in place since the 1950s and are free to the public. They mostly serve youths 6 to 14. Without the grants, the programs wouldn't exist.

Grants also fund a youth/neighborhood technology center, open 2 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Funded by Time Warner, the center provides seven computers and tutoring.

The Town of Batavia also makes a contribution toward the cost of the city's youth programs because some town children participate in the programs.

"It’s very important there are some opportunities for youths," said Councilman Sam Barone (pictured). "There’s an old saying, 'You can pay me now, or you pay me later,' but if we give our youths an opportunity to learn and grow it will pay off for us later."

October 26, 2010 - 2:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Walnut Avenue.


Paul Schlaggel stands with the giant pumpkins he's selling in front of his place on Walnut Avenue, Batavia.

October 26, 2010 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, South Beach, Ken Mistler, Suzanne Corona.

South Beach owner Ken Mistler announced today that he won't require Suzanne Corona to carry a sign in front of the restaurant saying "I stole from South Beach."

"Her sincere apology was restitution enough for me," Mistler said.

Corona, already facing a public lewdness conviction for her part in a sex act at Farrall Park in June, could have been charged with a felony for trashing the South Beach lunch buffet one afternoon last month. To avoid the charge, she signed a contract with Mistler last week admitting her deed and agreeing to carry the sign for four hours.

Mistler said Corona's husband reached out to him through a mutual friend to ask if during the four-hour walk he could be their to protect his wife from public abuse.

"It was at that point that I realized that this affects more than Suzanne," Mistler said. "It affects her whole family. I can't punish her family for something she did."

Reached this afternoon, Corona said she was grateful to Mistler for his decision.

"That is very wonderful of him," Corona said. "I told this to the media before and it got cut out -- he's a very fair man, a nice man and I respect him very much. I can't thank him enough that he's chosen this direction for my family."

After Corona got out of the hospital following an eight-day stay, she immediately came to Mistler ready to sign the contract, Mistler said. He said he figured that was a hard eight days lying in a hospital bed thinking about what she had done and the anticipation of the walk was probably difficult to think about.

He said he didn't feel the need to ask any more of her.

"She never said she wouldn't do the walk," Mistler said.

While Corona is off the hook for the four-hour "walk of shame," Mistler said he is suggesting to her -- only a suggestion -- that she volunteer for four hours with a local agency such as the animal shelter or help with a charity event.

"I've done that before," Corona said. "I've volunteered in soup kitchens. I've volunteered at a hospice. I can certainly do something for him in that regard. I most certainly will."

October 26, 2010 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, sports, Falleti Ice Arena.

If the city were to sell the Falliti Ice Arena, it would have to get at least $450,000 for the 30-year-old facility according to City Manager Jason Molino.

That base price would cover current debt on recent improvements to the facility, the Zamboni ice resurfacer as well as the cost of separating the HVAC and sewer line, which is shared with the Batavia Fire Department headquarters.

Councilwoman Patti Pacino, for one, doesn't think any investor will pay as much as $450,000 for a facility that old and attached to a municipal building. What's more, she's worried that once the building has new owners, they will be under no obligation to provide community services, such as hosting local hockey leagues and high school programs.

What if some day they wanted to turn it into a discotheque, or something else, she mused.

"That (loss of community use of the facility) frightens me," Pacino said.

bill_cox.jpgCouncilman Bill Cox  (pictured) said he's pleased with how well things are going with the current management company, but doesn't think the city should own an ice arena.

"The ice arena is (a) great service and it’s enjoyed by people from throughout the county, but it’s not a vital service to the city," Cox said. "I believe we have to get out of areas that really aren't vital city services and involve private business."

Councilman Bob Bialkowski is all for selling the facility. He said he already received calls from local business people supporting the idea of selling it, wondering what the city was doing running an ice rink to begin with.

Technically, the city doesn't run it. For the past four seasons, a management company, Firland, has run the rink, and by all accounts, has done a good job. Firland has made all of its obligated payments to the city, totaling more than $160,000.

If the agreement were renewed -- which Firland wants to do -- the city could expect $400,000 from Firland over the next 11 years, enough to cover debt service, including the $75,000 still owed on the Zamboni machine.

If the city were to sell the facility, Molino said in a report, the sale price might only be four or five times current revenue, or between $300,000 and $400,000.

That's just a guess at this point. If the city were to get serious about selling the arena, a request for proposal would need to be written and an appraisal done -- a process that would cost the city thousands of dollars.

That cost scared off some council members from supporting the RFP process and by consensus, the council went along with a suggestion by Molino that the city generate a request for interest statement and float it around to potential buyers -- just to see if there is a market for the facility.

"It’s not every day that an ice rink goes on the market that’s 30 years old in a rural market like this," Molino said.

City Attorney George Van Nest also cautioned council members that finding a buyer could be difficult.

"There are going to be several strings attached, which is going to make it less attractive to a purchaser," Van Nest said.

Councilman Frank Ferrando said the currant arrangement with Firland seems to be working out well and from what he hears, hockey and ice skating are "booming" at Falleti.

"We need more booming kind of things happening in Batavia," Ferrando said. "I would hate to see us lose that just because we want to get rid of (the building)."

October 26, 2010 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Alabama.

Michelle Richmond, 41, of 207 Washington Ave., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and speeding. Richmond was stopped at 2:52 a.m. on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Darryle Streeter.

William L. Verney, 29, of Alexander, is charged with conspiracy, 6th. Verney was arrested by State Police on Monday for an alleged incident reported on Oct. 10 on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. No further details were released.

Jeffery A. Fitzsimmons, 18, of Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Fitzsimmons was arrested by State Police at 1:05 a.m., Saturday, on Route 63 in the Town of Alabama.

Harold Miles, 52, of Batavia, is charged with introduction of prison contraband, 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Miles was arrested by State Police on Saturday for an alleged incident reported on Oct. 19. No further details were released.

October 25, 2010 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, Democrats, Andrew Cuomo.


Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made a campaign stop -- he's running for governor -- in Batavia this afternoon at Larry's Steakhouse on East Main Street.

The room was packed with local Democrats and several members of the media.

We'll have more coverage later.

UPDATE:  My digital recorder failed me. I was planning to post an audio of Cuomo's speech, but the file didn't save right.  All I have is his meeting with reporters (audio starts just after a TV reporter asked about his plans for the lieutenant governor). There are more pictures after the jump.


October 25, 2010 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Pavilion.

Andrei P. Sliker, 19, of 15 Thorpe St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal contempt. Sliker alleged grabbed and pushed a woman who had a court order of protection against Sliker. Sliker was jailed without bail.

Matthew R. Hinze, 19, of Batavia, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, loud/inadequate muffler, a license plate violation and unlawful possession of marijuana. Hinze was stopped at 11:09 p.m., Friday, on Route 63 in the Town of Batavia, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Jennifer Pearl Hepp, 28, of Walker Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation and driving left of the pavement markings. Hepp was stopped at 2:42 a.m. on Route 238 in Alexander by Deputy Jason Saile.

A 17-year-old from Walker Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Walker was charged after a drug-sniffing K-9 reportedly alerted on his vehicle.

A 17-year-old from Big Tree Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Walker was charged after a drug-sniffing K-9 reportedly alerted on his vehicle.

Michele Marie Davis, 27, of Wyoming Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Davis was stopped at 1:48 a.m., Sunday, on Perry Road in Pavilion by Sgt. Brian Frieday.

Charles William Wilder, 27, of Crane Raod, Oakfield, is charged with felony DWI, aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 or greater and improper left turn. Wilder was stopped at 2:29 a.m., Sunday, on South Main Street, Oakfield, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Angela A. Snyder, 32, of 432 E. Main St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Snyder is accused of shoplifting from the Dollar General.

October 25, 2010 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, downtown.


Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat running for governor, is reportedly going to make a campaign stop in Downtown Batavia this afternoon. He's scheduled to stop at Larry's Steakhouse, but that could be moved to the Homestead conference facility inside the mall, and he will appear either at 4:30 or 5 p.m. (we've heard different accounts).

One protester is already outside of Larry's. His name is Jay D. Fuller and he's from Medina. His sign reads, "Healthcare is about caring, not $$$" and "Paladino is right." When I spoke to him, he talked about some land-use/political issue in Medina. The connection, I gather is that Cuomo authorized state grants to the family Fuller has a dispute with. "I think he should know who the money is going to," Fuller said.

Meanwhile, as I left Larry's, Joe DioGuardi's tour bus drove by. DioGuardi is a Republican running for Senate. I'm not sure if he was just passing through or if he made an appearance. The bus turned off of Jackson Street, which is where the local GOP has set up shop.


October 24, 2010 - 10:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pavillion.

A 35-year-old driver from Honeoye Falls said she didn't see the tractor-trailer barreling down Route 63 before it plowed into her 2001 Volkswagen sedan.

The woman was sent to UMMC with non-life-threatening injuries and issued a citation for allegedly failing to yield the right of way.

The accident occurred at 6:27 p.m. (initial report)

Brandy M. Temple said she stopped at the intersection of Route 246 (Perry Road) and Route 63, and then proceeded southeast when her car was struck by a 2008 International driven by Dumitru Ban, 36, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Ban was not injured.

There is a stop sign on Perry Road at that intersection, but Route 63 is designated for through traffic.

The accident was investigated by Sgt. Greg Walker.


October 24, 2010 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Pok-A-Dot, Literature, John Gardner.


It's been said that the Pok-A-Dot was John Gardner's favorite eatery. In "The Sunlight Dialogues," Gardner mentions the 56-year-old diner in one passage.

For 14 years, the John Gardner Society has gathered at The Dot to remember the man and read from his work.

Saturday, nine people took turns reading from a variety of his works, including novels, poems, short stories and nonfiction.

Pictured above, Erica Caldwell, owner of Present Tense Books on Washington Avenue.

After the jump are more pictures from the event.


October 24, 2010 - 7:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Stafford, Seven Springs Road, CRX, railroads.

CSX is planning to shut down the railroad crossing at Seven Springs Road from Monday at 9 a.m. through Tuesday afternoon.

October 24, 2010 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee ARC.


Supporters of Genesee ARC were on hand Saturday evening for a dedication ceremony at its new community center, 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia.

Tom Houseknecht, center above, also announced that Genesee ARC's fundraising campaign for the facility exceeded goals. A total of $761,307 was raised. The goal was $750,000.

The center was also officially named the Edward S. Houseknecht building. Edward, who died at age 3, was the first child of Ralph Houseknecht Sr. and his wife. The tot inspired the entire Houseknecht family to aid other families with children with disabilities.

Pictured with Tom Houseknecht are his sisters, Katie Houseknecht and Mary Kay Barton.

October 24, 2010 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A driver said he was "playing with the radio" just before his car crossed into oncoming traffic on Lewiston Road, leading to a two-car accident at 6:42 p.m., Saturday.

The driver, Matthew J. Zon, 29, of East Main Street, Bryon, was transported to UMMC with non-life-threatening injuries. He was also cited for allegedly moving from lane and unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Thomas Oliver, 34, of Iris Avenue, West Seneca, who was driving the other car, was not injured.

Neither driver had passengers.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Cory Mower.

(initial report)

October 24, 2010 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, austin park.

Mercy EMS is being dispatched to Austin Park where a child has fallen off a swing and suffered a possible broken arm.

October 23, 2010 - 11:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Elba/Byron-Bergen.

Elba/Byron-Bergen beat South Seneca on Saturday, 23-7, in a Section V semi-final playoff game.

Next week, the Lancers will play the Holley Hawks in a semi-final playoff game. Game time is 2 p.m. in Rochester. The Hawks beat Le Roy 35-21.

Dylan Bordonaro carried the ball 26 times for 261 yards while Eric Kowalik completed nine passes on 17 attempts for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions. Bordonaro had one rushing TD.

Elba/BB posted 463 yards total offense.

October 23, 2010 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, alex's place, Orleans County.

The owners and staff of Alex's Place, Park Road, Batavia, are in mourning this weekend following the apparent death of head chef Russell Bugbee, 31.

While the Orleans County Sheriff's Office has not officially identified Bugbee as the driver of a car involved in a one-car accident at 11 p.m., Thursday, in Murray, Alex's was closed Friday after word of the accident reached owners Matt and Jennifer Gray.

The accident remains under investigation and official identification of Bugbee as the victim is awaiting a medical examiner's confirmation.

Matt Gray issued the following statement this afternoon:

On Thursday night, Alex’s Place lost our family member and friend Russell Bugbee. Russ was in a one-vehicle accident on Route 31 in the Town of Murray, New York and was pronounced dead at the scene. We were closed for business yesterday and we would like to thank the community for the support and understanding they have shown Alex’s and our staff. A native of Connecticut, Russ moved to Batavia in 2007 for what he thought was a six-month project to help an old friend out in a new business venture, the purchasing of Alex’s Place. He never left, growing to love the town and the people (and hating the snow). Over the last three years he made Alex’s his own with his creativity and dedication, becoming an integral part of our daily lives both at work and out. At just 31 years old and so talented he left us far too early. A memorial service is planned to be held on Monday, November 1st at Alex’s Place, time to be announced. A collection is being held for his family and donations can be sent care of Alex’s Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY 14020.

October 23, 2010 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Notre Dame.


With just over two minutes left on the clock, Notre Dame took a five-point lead over number one seed Dundee, but couldn't hold on as the Scotsmen engineered a nearly 80-yard drive to secure a 21-23 victory.

Notre Dame got the ball back with 36 seconds to play, but Tom Whelehan, who completed eight passes on the day for 159 yards and three TDs, was unable to connect on four attempts before time expired.

Dundee's final drive, Scotsmen head coach Sheldon Gibson said, was something the team had two weeks to work on following a forfeit by their first-around playoff opponent. Dundee made good use of the time, Gibson said, including designing and practicing the final touchdown play that won them the game.

Rick Mancuso said that winning play was really well executed.

"We’ve got some inexperienced kids and they were really jacked up," Mancuso said. "The took advantage of our aggressiveness."

A year ago in sectionals, Dundee literally ran away with the game, posting a lopsided 76-13 victory. It as a different story Saturday.

Notre Dame was never more than two scores down and grabbed a four-point lead with two minutes to go.

"Notre Dame came out ready to play, very tough, very well coached, without a doubt," said Gibson. "They were well prepared. They had our number, I’ll tell you that."

Mancuso said he was proud of his team.

"I thought the kids executed both offensively and defensively," said Mancuso. "We had a couple of turnovers, a couple of mistakes at inopportune times, and you can’t do that in this type of a ball game, but I was really proud of our kids for battling back."

Mike Pratt and Beau Richter lead the running game, with Pratt gaining 135 yards on 28 carries and Richter adding another 51 on nine carries, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

"Pratt and Richter were coming through very small holes at full speed," Gibson said. "That’s very tough to stop."

Doanne McCuley caught three passes for 78 yards, including a long of 41 yards, while Nate Woods caught three passes for 58 yards, including two TD receptions -- both on tipped balls. Tom Dehr made the go-ahead TD reception in the 4th quarter on a seven-yard pass from Whelehan.

Notre Dame had 362 total offensive yards compared to 284 for Dundee.  The Irish also posted 21 first downs, compared to 14 for the Scotsmen. Time of possession also tilted in Notre Dame's favor, 36:08 to 23:52.

On defense, Whelehan had eight tackles with Pratt and McCulley having six each.

In other football action from yesterday: No. 1 seed Hornell beat No. 8 Batavia, 64-42; Wayland-Cohocton over Pembroke, 40-13.

Top photo: Nate Woods keeps his eye on a tipped ball before hauling it on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Whelehan. The TD at 7:30 in the fourth quarter put the Irish within four points of Dundee, 14-17. Below, R.J. Marchese, who has been out with an injury for four games, reacts to Dundee's final touchdown. Bottom photo, Woods celebrates a second quarter TD after catching a six-yard pass, also a tipped ball, from Whelehan. That first TD tied the score at 7-7.



More photos after the jump:




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