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April 7, 2010 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, crime, Alabama.

A State trooper is still investigating the case of two dogs that were found shot dead by their owner Saturday night on Bloomingdale Road in Alabama.

State Police spokeswoman Rebecca Gibbons said a person has admitted shooting the dogs (his name is not being released at this time), but said he did so because the dogs had health problems.

The man is somebody the woman knows.

The dogs were turned over to the Department of Environmental Conservation for examination.

Gibbons said the case remains open.

April 6, 2010 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A two-car accident on West Main Street, Batavia, reportedly caused minor injuries.

The two cars have pulled into the Parisee's parking lot and West Main is not blocked.

City Fire and Mercy EMS are responding.

April 6, 2010 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

policepushcar.jpg

This minivan became disabled as it turned from East Main Street to Bank Street, Batavia, and was partially blocking the intersection.

A Batavia police officer arrived, spoke with the driver, the boy got out of the passenger side and helped the officer push it out of the way.

April 6, 2010 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Jared Michael Stalker, 26, of 8874 Hartshorn Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to keep right, and consumption or possession of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Stalker was stopped by Sgt. Brian Frieday at 4:11 a.m., Saturday, on Hartshorn Road in Batavia.

Vincent J. Monteiro, 31, of Buffalo, is charged with DWI. Monteiro was stopped by State Police on the Thruway in Le Roy at 3:09 p.m., Saturday.

Accidents from the State Police blotter:

9:28 a.m., April 4, Arrow Hawk parking lot (Bloomingdale Road), Alabama, two vehicles; Driver 1: Richard A. Ferris, 55, of Interlaken; Driver 2: Zulfiqar A. Syed, 44, of Rochester. No injuries reported.

3:29 p.m., April 4, Kendall Road, Le Roy, two vehicles; Driver 1: Cortney Lee Green, 16, of Byron; Driver 2: Russell A. Lyons, 49, of East Bethany. No injuries reported.

April 6, 2010 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

treedown.jpg

Murrie Hokenson sent along this picture of a tree that fell in his neighbor's yard on Sunday.  The neighbors are the Szczesnys, and one son was visiting from New Jersey. His car was narrowly missed by the falling limb. The other son, Father Szczesny, normally parks right where the tree fell, but was tied up with Easter duties at the time.

April 6, 2010 - 7:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

A rollover accident with minor injuries has been reported at 3227 Stannard Road, Alexander.

Alexander Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.: No injuries. Mercy EMS canceled. "The vehicle is quite a way down in a gully."


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April 5, 2010 - 11:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Terry Anderson, hlom, Peace Garden.

holm_peacegarden.jpg

With a nod of approval (no official vote could be taken) from the Legislature's Human Services Committee today, Marilyn Drilling and Barb Toal are ready to push forward with plans for a peace garden next to the Holland Land Office Museum.

They need to raise $55,000 in the next 11 months, and Drilling said a key component of the fundraising campaign will include a dinner with Terry Anderson as the keynote speaker.

terry_anderson.jpgAnderson, who was held captive in Lebanon for more than 6 years, from 1985 to 1991, hasn't visited his hometown of Batavia in 19 years.

He didn't want to make it 20, said Drilling, executive director of HLOM, and he agreed to support the peace garden effort at no cost to the organizers.

"Who better to talk about peace than a man who spent so much of his wonderful life behind locked doors," Drilling said.

The dinner is planned for Sept. 9.

The county owns the land next to the museum and must approve any new use of the strip of real estate hard against the Tonawanda Creek. To grant approval, the Legislature must receive a finished plan, which includes at least the potential of approvals from the City of Batavia and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as contract language from County Attorney Charles Zambito and final engineering plans.

Without that, the Human Services Committee couldn't even poll members for consensus, but it was clear there were no objections from members for pushing forward with the project.

"Of all the people I've heard talk about it, I don't think I've heard anybody say they're not in favor of it," said Hollis Upson. "It's very interesting the amount of outpouring and number of volunteers who support it. It's been vary contagious."

Drilling is concerned that without a sense that the county supports the project, it will impede fundraising, which needs to proceed now.

There are 20 countries with official Peace Gardens, which is an international effort to promote and recognize peace among nations. The Peace Garden Foundation promotes the effort and was founded by current president Paula Savage, a resident and native of Batavia. The Batavia garden would be an honorary, not official, member. It would feature the 20 flags of the countries with official gardens.

Each country would be represented by its flag, and flag poles would be sold for donations of about $2,500 each, according to Drilling.

Drilling sees the peace garden as a natural extension of HLOM, helping to bring in tourists.

Toal, who chairs the local Peace Garden Committee, said it's a natural fit for Batavia and the strong interest in the region from War of 1812 enthusiasts.

Batavia, she said, served as a key defense in stopping the British advance after Buffalo was destroyed. Many tourists interested in the War of 1812 make the trip to Batavia, she said, and the peace garden at HLOM would be an appropriate destination point.

No county funds would be used in building and maintaining the peace garden, which is why, Drilling said, it's important to get started on fundraising now.

April 5, 2010 - 9:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Nursing Home.

To help the county decide the future of its troubled nursing home, a search committee has recommended Center for Governmental Research as the consultant to study the county's options.

jay_gsell.jpgCounty Manager Jay Gsell said CGR was selected because it has no vested interest in the outcome of the research -- it doesn't own, operate, manage or develop nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

"The committee looked at the eight proposals and felt that CJR was the most neutral," Gsell said.

CGR will be asked to review the total range of options for the nursing home, which Gsell said could result in 10 to 20 possible recommendations. These include, of course, selling it, as well as having it operate under private-benefit corporations, public authority and management firms.

"The list is almost as creative or as plentiful as anybody in New York State would come up with that would be legal," Gsell said.

When asked what his response would be if some people said the county was still primarily focused on divesting itself completely of the nursing home, Gsell that is not even close to true.

"We can’t even, at this point, entertain that notion," Gsell said. "The county legislature is not prepared to make that kind of assessment, and from the legislators I’ve talked to, that’s not even on their radar screen. I can’t say that somebody hasn’t thought about it or that it's not an option somewhere down the road, but we’re not even close to making that kind of recommendation or having any information to say that’s even one of the top recommendations."

As for CJR, it's a non-profit firm based in Rochester. It's "About" page on its Web site says: 

George Eastman, the visionary leader who created Eastman Kodak, founded a bureau of municipal research in Rochester, NY in 1915 “to get things done for the community” and to serve as an “independent, non-partisan agency for keeping citizens informed.” Over more than nine decades CGR has grown from a bureau focused on the needs of one city into an organization with far broader reach.

Today, the Legislature's Human Services Committee approved the selection of GCR. The Ways and Means Committee will be asked to review the contract before it goes to the full Legislature for approval.

Previous coverage: Click Here.

April 5, 2010 - 7:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county.

Genesee County has been awarded an energy-efficiency grant for $500,000, the maximum amount available under the program.

The grant was awarded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The $500K will be used for energy efficiency projects in all 14 county facilities. No matching funds are required.

"This is the first step in a comprehensive energy efficiency program aimed at reducing our energy costs in the county," said Frank Ciaccia, assistant county manager, in a statement.

The county spends nearly $1 million a year on energy.

The first project will be a retrofit of the county buildings with energy efficient lighting and controls.

The project will net the county an immediate $31,000 in savings.

Previously: County planning to hire energy efficiency consultants

April 5, 2010 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gardening, roses, forsythia.

forsythia.jpg

Today, I spotted a forsythia bloom for the first time, meaning, it really is spring, and it's time for rose growers to prune their bushes.

April 5, 2010 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

townofbatfire_qualitysuites_grass.jpg

A grass fire has been reported just off the Thruway near Route 98.

Town of Batavia Fire is responding.

UPDATE: All units back in service.

townofbatfire_grass.jpg

April 5, 2010 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, accident.

Police are looking for a teal-blue pickup truck with a silver tool box that hit another car in the area of Ellicott and Main streets.

The driver of the truck apparently left the scene.

The license plate of the car is described as a New York registration with lots of numbers and some sort of decoration on the plate.

No further details at this time.

UPDATE: The two vehicles did not collide. The driver of a Ford Windstar reports that she took to a curb to avoid an accident. Her car had 8- to 10-inches of paint removed. There was no new damage to the truck, though he may have had damage from a previous accident. The truck was last seen turning onto Court Street and it may have pulled into the parking lot between Jackson and Court.

April 5, 2010 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, volunteer firefighters, fires.

Of the 18 fire departments in Genesee County, 15 of them responded to grass fires on Friday and/or Saturday.

staffordfire13.jpgA total of 13 separate grass fires were reported over the two-day period, according to Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger.

Over the 48-hour period, local fire departments responded to 58 emergency calls total.

No grass fires were reported Easter Sunday.

All of the fires were potential violations of the state's new ban on open burning, which prohibits residents from going through the spring ritual of piling up fallen leaves and branches and lighting a match. No open burning is allowed from March 16 through May 14 (for more on the new regulations, click here).

"While there was a high volume of grass fire calls, this happens every year time this year and it's why the DEC and New York enacted new regulations not to allow open burning," Yaeger said. "There is no green vegetation, very low humidity and just a little bit of breeze, so even just a few embers can blow off and start a very large fire."

So-called "controlled burns" this time of year create a number of problems for local fire departments, Yaeger said. Responding to the calls themselves can be dangerous, there is always a danger in fighting any kind of fire, and such fires can quickly spread to structures.

That's exactly what happened in Covington, Wyoming County, on Saturday when the Pavilion Fire Department (Covington is in the Pavilion district) responded to a barn fire at 1:34 p.m.

Byron Fire and several mutual-aid departments were tied up for a couple of hours on a rubber fire on Tower Hill Road. The Department of Environmental Conservation was called in for that blaze.

"One of the biggest concerns we have is when people out there are burning illegally," Yaeger said. "It's one thing to burn brush. It's another thing when they're out there burning tires, pesticides, tanks, things that were never allowed to be burned. That’s a real concern to us. It creates pollution and there's a bigger danger of secondary fires."

Over Friday and Saturday, Le Roy responded to four grass fires, Alexander three (all on Saturday), Darien, three, and Stafford, two. Stafford also responded to a locomotive fire (pictures here).

Stafford 2nd Asst. Chief Scott Kibler noted in comments that he and his fellow volunteers were on duty from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Batavian was with Stafford on the Roanoke Road fire, and the homeowner there seemed fairly embarrassed to have the fire department out to his house. He said he wasn't clear on the new burn regulations. DEC wasn't called to the scene and there was no apparent wllingness to ticket him.

Yaeger said he instructed fire chiefs back in October to use their discretion on whether to call out the DEC to a grass fire, at least for this first year, while people are still getting used to the change in the law.

"We want to inform the public of the new regulations and try to work with them," Yaeger said.

Yaeger said that if you see a possible controlled burn, but it's not out of control, it would be appropriate to contact DEC. If the fire seems to be spreading, witnesses should call 9-1-1.

April 5, 2010 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, east pembroke.

batavia_fireladder.jpg

A possible structure fire at 3611 W. Main Street Road has been reported.

The caller reports seeing a red glow from the roof of a barn.

East Pembroke Fire and Town of Batavia Fire have been dispatched.

UPDATE 10:29 a.m.: Batavia Engine 24 canceled. Ladder 25 called to the scene. Asst. chief says it does't appear to be a structure fire, but wants the ladder truck there to investigate.

UPDATE: Apparently, some moulding or caulking had become worn and a light was shining through, causing an ember-like glow. No heat. No fire. A reader submitted the photo above.


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April 5, 2010 - 8:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, new york.

Dr. Richard F. Daines is on a crusade. The one-time Morman missionary thinks people should not consume sugary drinks.

He wants the state to impose a one-cent-per-ounce tax on these beverages. He figures the tax would reduce consumption by 15 percent. He also estimates the tax will help raise $1 billion for the state.

And if you happen to believe this is just one more government intrusion on personal choice, then he thinks you're a dupe of the soft-drink lobby.

He ridiculed what he called the “personal choice” argument that government should stay out of people’s kitchens, saying it was being promulgated by “AstroTurf false-flag operations” that are really supported by the soda pop industry.

Read the story in the New York Times.

April 5, 2010 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, taxes, new york, unions.

At a time when New York is struggling to close a $9.2 billion budget deficit, the state's workers represented by labor unions received a 4-percent pay increase April 1.

The wage hike will saddle taxpayers with another $400 million in annual expenses to cover.

The contracts with the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation were negotiated by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007.

Gov. David Paterson thinks the unions should turn down the raises, according to Business First.

"All public employees are a critical part of our state government. They deliver essential public services and, for that, they deserve our respect," he said Thursday. "But New York remains mired in a fiscal crisis of nearly unprecedented magnitude that will require real sacrifices. In agreeing to forego these scheduled 4-percent salary increases, the leaders of New York’s public employee unions have a real and concrete opportunity to demonstrate they understand the dire nature of this fiscal and economic crisis, and that they are willing to become a serious partner in addressing it.”

Unions flatly stated they will not budge. They say their contracts were fairly negotiated and must be honored.

“PEF will not reopen its contract with the state of New York,” said Kenneth Brynien, president of the Latham-based union that represents 58,000 white-collar state workers.

“What people don’t seem to grasp is, if you break a contract, you’re setting a terrible precedent. It ignores that you have legally binding documents,” said Stephen Madarasz, spokesman for CSEA.

There are 196,375 workers on the state payroll, and 94 percent of them are represented by a union.

April 5, 2010 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Darien, Le Roy, Alabama.

Jeff Allen Good, 34, of 3700 W. Main St., Room 1, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, possession of a hypodermic instrument, driving while impaired by drugs and driving left of pavement markings. The Sheriff's Office responded to a report of an erratic driver at 5:58 p.m., Sunday, who was forcing other cars off the roadway. The vehicle was located at 3700 W. Main St., and Good was identified as the alleged erratic driver. He was arrested by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Jarred Ray Lewis, 21, of 50 Bloomingdale Road, Akron, is charged unlawful possession of marijuana. Lewis was stopped at 4:24 a.m., Sunday, for a vehicle check at Main and Oak streets in the city. He was ticketed by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Michael Joseph Elmore, 19, of 814 Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a controlled substance not in its original container. Elmore was arrested following a traffic stop 6:49 p.m., Saturday, on Route 33, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Mark Christopher Kahabka, 18, of 3991 Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Kahabka allegedly hosted an under-age drinking party Saturday night.

Nicole Marie Clark, 32, of 72 Blue Ridge Road, Penfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to keep right. Clark was stopped by Deputy Eric Seppala at 1:20 a.m., Friday following a report of an erratic driver on Route 33, Town of Batavia.

Daniel Wayne King, 42, of 3481 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Following a traffic stop by Deputy Patrick Reeves at 2:35 a.m., Saturday, on Veterans Memorial Drive, King was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine.

Nicole A. Wilson, 33, of 126 E. State St., Albion, DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. Wilson was stopped on Route 19 in Le Roy at 12:45 a.m., Friday, by Deputy Chad Minuto.

Brett F. Dieter, 31, of Alabama, is charged with menacing, 3rd, stemming for an alleged domestic dispute that was reported to State Police at 1:06 a.m., Friday. Dieter was arrested at 8:29 p.m. No further details available.

Michael J. Nugent, 21, of Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia (scales) and unlawful possession of marijuana. Nugent was arrested in the Town of Batavia by State Police at 3:25 p.m., Friday. No further details available.

Dewey E. Towner, 43, of Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and a motorcycle helmet violation. Towner was stopped by State Police on Oak Street, Batavia, at 8:25 p.m., Friday.

Accidents from the State Police blotter:

11:44 a.m., April 3, Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, two vehicles; Driver 1: Norman G. Walsh, 79, Batavia; Driver 2: Tamera E. Carney, 55, of Warsaw. No injuries reported.

7:35 p.m., April 3, Lewiston Road, Batavia, one vehicle; Driver 1: Sherrill T. Langdon, 80. No injuries reported.

5:01 p.m., April 2, Gilmore Road, Pembroke, property damage accident (parked car); Driver 1: Kristin M. Pequeen. No injuries reported.

6:49 p.m., April 2, South Lake Road, Village of Bergen, two vehicles; Driver 1: Robert L. Reynolds, 23, of Bergen; Driver 2: Desarea M. Sherlock, 18, of Brockport. No injuries reported.

April 5, 2010 - 7:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander.

A teenage driver allegedly led law enforcement  on a four-mile chase early Sunday morning that started on Wortendyke Road in Batavia and ended in Alexander when the youth reportedly pulled over.

Charged with a long list of offenses was Chester Elmer Chase, 16, of 3189 Broadway Road, Alexander.

The initial pursuit started on Wortendyke when Deputy Patrick Reeves reported seeing a vehicle driven by Chase commit alleged traffic violations at about 2:38 a.m. Chase reportedly failed to stop at that time.

At one point during the pursuit, Chase allegedly turned off his headlights. Chase was also reportedly clocked at 102 mph at one point.

Chase reportedly did not pull over until he reached the intersection of Pike and Halstead roads, Alexander.

No injuries were reported a result of the pursuit.

The youth was charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer, 3rd, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to stop at a stop sign, operation without lights (two counts, Town of Batavia and Town of Alexander), speeding (80 in a 55 mph), driving left of pavement markings, failure to yield to emergency vehicle, failure to keep right, and speeding (102 in a 55 mph).

Appearance tickets were issued to Chase for town courts in both Alexander and Batavia.

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