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July 15, 2016 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, UMMC, news.
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      Kim Diamond

A Livingston County woman has been accused of possessing more than $50,000 in stolen medical equipment that disappeared from UMMC last year.

Kim Diamond, 47, was allegedly trying to sell the equipment on eBay after stealing the equipment.

She was arrested by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office on a charge of possession of stolen property. She has also reportedly been charged locally with grand larceny.

The property was reportedly found in her home in March and investigators have been positively identifying and valuing the equipment since.

Our news partner, WBTA, which broke the story of the thefts in March, reports that Diamond was employed by UMMC at the time of the thefts.

Following arraignment in Livingston County, she was released on her own recognizance. 

July 15, 2016 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bushville, batavia, news.

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I don't know much about cranes, but I know a really big one when I see it, and this monster was working today on the new bridge over the Tonawanda Creek on West Main Street Road in Bushville.

July 15, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mucklands, business, agriculture, elba, news.

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Representatives from onion companies from all over the world were in Genesee County today to see the world famous Elba Mucklands.

The tour is part of a convention of onion industry leaders hosted by the National Onion Association in Niagara County this week. The attendees had breakfast in Batavia and then toured the mucklands.

The visit included a presentation by Christy Hoepting, a researcher with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, who is studying the impact of weeds on onion growth and how best to control them in the field.

There was also a presentation on experimental onion varieties being grown in the muck.

There were people in the tour group from not only the United States, but also Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.

"This is a beautiful and productive place," said Kim Reddin, director of public and industry relations for NOA. "Absolutely, it's unique and one of the main growing areas in the eastern part of the United States."

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July 15, 2016 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, covington, Bethany, Pavilion, news.

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The Bethany Fire Department was among area departments, including Wyoming, Attica and Pavilion, to respond to a report of a field fire at 10:11 a.m. in the Town of Covington. Traffic was closed on West Middlebury Road while firefighters battled the blaze cutting through a field of grass and hay.

Photos and information provided by Glenn Adams.

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July 15, 2016 - 2:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, baseball, sports, news.

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Visiting teams are bringing more top prospects to Batavia over the next couple of nights, with a first-rounder starting for Aberdeen tonight, and the son of a former major leaguer who missed last season because of an injury tomorrow night.

This evening, Cody Sedlock, the 27th overall pick for the Baltimore Orioles, takes the mound against the Muckdogs in his second professional start. Hailing from Rock Island, Ill., Sedlock set a new school record in strikeouts this season for the University of Illinois. 

On Saturday, Hunter Harvey (photo) continues his comeback effort. The son of former major league pitcher Bryan Harvey was a first-round pick for the Orioles in 2013.

Last night, Aberdeen also put a prospect from Rochester on the mound. Steven Klimek, a graduate of Greece Arcadia before attending St. Bonaventure, pitched two and a third innings, fanning six and not allowing a hit against eight batters.

Photo of Hunter Havery courtesy Mike Janes/Four Seam Images.

July 15, 2016 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake performing arts center, crime, Darien, news.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Vans Warped Tour at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday:

Jacob P. Hildreth, 18, of Bristol Street, Canandaigua, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a controlled substance and a quantity of marijuana.

Caleb T. Jenderseck, 19, of Lapham Road, East Aurora, charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Aaron Michael Reid, 20, of Seneca Street, Buffalo, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Richard L.J. Reynolds, 19 of Village II Drive, Hilton, charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

July 15, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) authorized a public hearing for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, at the agency’s July 14 board meeting. The hearing is required as the company is seeking incentives over $100,000.

Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, plans to expand beyond its West Seneca location and build a second site on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will involve construction of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center that will create 30 new full-time jobs. The new location will be built along the New York State thruway near the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership campus.

The company is seeking approval for $437,652 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total approximately $4.35 million.

“This is a significant investment being made in our community that will create new jobs and help continue the economic growth of our region,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC Board of Directors.

July 14, 2016 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

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Here are a few photos from Thursday at the Genesee County Fair. We'll have more photos and a story about the 4-H Livestock Auction sometime Friday afternoon.

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July 14, 2016 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pokemon Go, batavia, news, Peace Garden.

The folks who arranged the creation of the Batavia Peace Garden have a request of Pokemon trainers congregating there in droves -- please do them one simple favor: Pick up after yourselves.

Carol Grasso called WBTA today to pass that message along.

She stopped by the garden and spoke to three people who had biked there from Hilton, and she thought it was great and hopes people who come to the garden are having a good time, but she wants everyone to enjoy it.

"I guess there are some rare Pokemon there," she told WBTA.

She said she was told there will be a "rally" there Saturday and she hopes people will respect the garden and keep it clean.

“We work very hard on the Peace Garden and it is a beautiful spot and we’re just trying to encourage anybody who is looking for these Pokemon to at least put their trash in the trash can," She said. "We do have trash cans in the garden and we will clean them out every day and try to make them empty so there shouldn’t be any trashing going on.” 

She concluded her interview by noting that she was driving by right at that moment and there were about 15 people there playing the game.

"I hope they enjoy the garden, but take your trash with you or put it in the garbage cans," she said. "Thanks everybody. Have fun with the Pokemon."

Previously: Even in Batavia, Pokemon are everywhere

July 14, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after being announced as a speaker at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to carry Western New York’s message on behalf of Donald Trump. We need a Chief Executive who will put America first, defend our nation's security, secure our borders and put an end to the devastating trade deals that have sent American jobs overseas for far too long. Now is the time for our party to unite and focus our efforts on defeating Hillary Clinton and making America great again for all Americans.”

Congressman Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump. He is Co-Chair of Donald Trump’s Congressional Leadership Committee, Honorary Co-Chair of Trump New York, and has made countless media appearances as a surrogate for Donald Trump.

July 13, 2016 - 11:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in indian falls, pembroke, accident, news.

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UPDATED 9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 14.

An adult male visiting Genesee County from Buffalo died this evening in a drowning accident at Indian Falls.

The victim has been identified as Bradley Augustin, 22.

State Police are handling the investigation and no foul play is suspected.

Witnesses and first-responding firefighters said there were about 30 people at the falls tonight swimming and jumping into the water, even though Genesee County's moderate drought conditions have left the Tonawanda Creek with low water levels.

Triniti Morris, from Hamburg, was among the swimmers. She said people were having a good time and then somebody mentioned somebody was missing, and other people were saying, "no, no, nobody's missing."

One of her friends then spoke to a young man who seemed to be having trouble swimming and he said he was OK.

About five minutes later, somebody noticed he was missing.

Another male dove into the water and located him and several people helped pull him onto the rocks, at which point another young woman began giving him CPR.

Morris said the woman performing CPR got the victim to throw up and she thought the victim had started breathing when paramedics, she said, instructed the woman providing CPR to turn the victim on his left side. At this point, Morris said, two State Troopers arrived and ordered everybody to leave the scene, including the woman performing CPR.

Morris was concerned that nobody continued CPR, but Pembroke Fire Chief Jamie Waff said typically, when certified CPR personnel arrive on scene, they take over from witnesses who first started CPR.

"It’s great to see bystanders starting CPR, but it’s very confusing when they're wrapped up in the situation and we don’t know if they’re actually certified," Waff said. "When we get on location, we’re actually certified in CPR with the defibrillator. If anyone told her to leave, that is probably the reason because there were certified personnel on location to take over at that point."

Adding to the difficulty of the situation at Indian Falls, Waff said, is the congregation of drunken patrons at the bar, who sometimes cause issues when firefighters are attempting to perform a rescue.  

"There’s always an issue when we come here because you’re usually dealing with intoxicated people who think you aren’t doing it fast enough," Waff said. "Our number one concern is firefighter safety. We have to make sure all of our guys are safe as they go down. It’s a law enforcement issue because you are dealing with a bar-type situation."

It was a tense situation at the scene and one neighbor of Indian Falls was upset enough to provide reporters with a profanity-laced commentary on what he perceives as inattention by the owner of the Log Cabin Restaurant, the Town of Pembroke and local law enforcement to the dangerous situation at Indian Falls.

Barry Guthrie doesn't think anybody is doing enough to keep swimmers and divers off the falls.

"We've been fighting this for 10 years," said Guthrie, who moved in 2002 into a house near the falls once owned by his grandparents. 

He said he's been to the town, but the town, he said, can't determine who holds title to what, and he said that even though the Log Cabin has posted signs all along its property that say "No Trespassing," he doesn't think the owner takes the situation seriously because he believes the falls are public property (Genesee County owns the Tonawanda Creek from the City of Batavia to the Tonawanda Indian Reservation).

Responding to the scene were Town of Pembroke fire, Indian Falls fire, Genesee County Emergency Services, the Rope Rescue Team, Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight, the Sheriff's Office and State Police.

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July 13, 2016 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, schools.

leroyad_dean2016.jpgA Western New York native is returning to the area to become the new athletic director at Le Roy High School.

The school board approved the appointment of Jennifer Dean to the position at its meeting Tuesday night.

Dean is a graduate of Cuba-Rushford, where she was a three-sport athlete. She majored in physical education at St. Bonaventure University and is certified in Physical Education by the NYS State Board of Education.

Most recently, Dean was with the Hamilton Central School District in Central New York, where she was a secondary Physical Education teacher as well as a coach for basketball, soccer, softball, track and field and field hockey.

In 2011, she was appointed to the AD's position and under her leadership the soccer team on a state champion and the school won four sectional titles as well as numerous individual track and field sectional and state titles. 

She was seeking a position closer to friends and family and is residing in Dale.

Dean replaces Jon Wilson, who is now the elementary school principal in Pavilion.

July 13, 2016 - 5:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, crime, meth, news.

An Oakfield resident who was reportedly a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his part in a methamphetamine distribution ring.

James Heney "Mitch" McAuley Jr., 67, also will be barred from associating with members of the Hells Angels for five years upon his release from prison.

McAuley had previously entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Federal investigators say McAuley, a vice president of the Rochester chapter of the Hells Angels, was a leader role in a distribution ring that obtained meth from a source in California and had it shipped to New York for sale in Rochester.

The operation continued from at least 2002 through July 2010, with McAuley running it even after he was taken into custody on a racketeering charge in 2007.

Richard W. Mar, 64, president of the Monterey chapter of the Hells Angels, provided the McAuley and his co-conspirators with the meth.

The co-conspirators included: McAuley's wife, Donna Boon, 50; Richard Riedman, 42, of Webster; Gordon Montgomery, 57, of Batavia; Jeffrey A. Tyler, 51, of Rochester; and Paul Griffin, 62, of Blasdell. 

All have also entered guilty pleas to various related charges. 

Boon received three years probation and 12 months of home incarceration. 

Monterey chaper President Mar is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 16.

Authorities also tied McAuley to a baseball attack on a patron in a Rochester bar and a subsequent attempt to cover up the crime.

Robert W. "Bugsy" Moran, 61, of Rochester, entered a guilty plea in February to conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. 

Gina Tata, 52, of Rochester, pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the conspiracy and was given three years probation.

Timothy M. Stone, 36, of Gates, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

July 13, 2016 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, Harvester Center.

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A grass fire is reported behind 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, which is the Harvester Center.

City fire is responding.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: There is a report of flames coming through the roof of U.S. Chrome. There is black smoke in the area.

UPDATE(s)(By Billie) 2:19 p.m.: The fire may be in a building or buildings behind GCASA; possibly 21-22 Masse Place. The city's first platoon is called to stand by in fire headquarters.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: The fire is out. It did not get inside a structure. It was contained to grassy brush behind buildings on Masse Place.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Tony Strollo, who works at Pinnacle Manufacturing Co. on Harvester Avenue, said he saw a grass fire about 12 square feet, and 12-feet high, approaching the building and he and plant manager Kelly Boyle used fire extinguishers to try and keep the blaze from reaching the building. "It was a big wall of fire," Strollo said. They went through seven extinguishers, keeping the flames at bay until the city fire crew could knock it down.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Pinnacle CEO Diana Kastenbaum said she's concerned about first responders' ability to access the area, which is overgrown with weeds, grass and shrubs. "I saw police had come down Main Street first and then I saw the fire trucks at the corner because they couldn't get in here. Nobody can really get to it. This area should be cleared. I just think this is very bad. You can see how dry the grass is and how hot it is today." She called the property owner posthaste and aims to get him to clear the brush and haul it away in the interest of public safety.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Chief at the scene, Capt. Craig Williams, says the initial investigation indicates sparks from Pinnacle Manufacturing Company's molten aluminum shop flew out open windows onto the grass, igniting the blaze.

UPDATE 5 p.m. (by Howard): Workers were able to see out the open windows and there were no people in the area, so cigarettes are not suspected. 

Because of the molten metal, firefighters had to be careful to keep water away from the building, setting up their lines to push the fire away from the structure. If water hits the molten aluminum it could potentially cause an explosion. Williams said firefighters were already well aware of that danger at this location. Williams said flames were at least 12 feet in the air and just a foot from the building when crews arrived.  

The biggest difficulty in fighting the fire was finding it. One truck went down Harvester and the other down Swan. Once they located the exact location, they were able to quickly put it out without damage to the structure. 

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Panek said the city will be looking at a possible code violation issue because of weeds exceeding 10 inches in height within 100 feet of the building. Kastenbaum said she has already placed a call to the property's owner raising her concerns.

The fire was in a pile of organic debris covering a mound of dirt. It covered about a 30 by 30 area, Williams said. 

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July 13, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, batavia, news.
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     Darren Annovi

Darren Annovi, the 42-year-old resident of 400 Towers in Batavia, who is accused of placing his live cat in an oven and baking it to death, must undergo a forensic mental health evaluation, Judge Robert Balbick ruled today at Annovi's arraignment in City Court.

A key issue at the arraignment was whether to release Annovi on bail or on his own recognizance. Typically, a person with no criminal record and a high score on the bail evaluation would be a sure bet to be released without bail, and since state guidelines don't take into account the nature of the criminal charge, but Balbick was concerned about the last sentence in the bail evaluation.

He said that it indicated Annovi might a danger to the community. 

That assessment reportedly came from corrections officers at the jail and Assistant Public Defender Lisa Kroemer suggested that since they weren't trained mental health professionals, maybe that shouldn't weigh heavily in the bail hearing.

She thought an evaluation by a professional would be appropriate.

Bail is supposed to be based on the likelihood the defendant will appear for his next court date, but Balbick said he thought it reasonable to consider Annovi's mental health state since that, too, could be a factor in whether he would appear as ordered.

Annovi is charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

He is scheduled to next appear in City Court at 9:30 a.m., July 21.

Previously: 400 Towers resident jailed without bail for allegedly killing his cat by burning it alive in hot oven

July 13, 2016 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

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To purchase prints, click here.

July 13, 2016 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, Stafford, Stafford Country Club, sports, golf.

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Press release:

The 40th Annual Genesee ARC Golf, Tennis & Bocce Tournament at Stafford Country Club held this past Monday was dedicated in memory of Ralph Houseknecht, a longtime tournament supporter, disability advocate and friend of ARC who passed away earlier this year.

Prior to the start of golf, ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said “Ralph spent much of his life helping Genesee ARC and the people we serve, most notably as the first local businessman to offer community employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities, when he ran Pepsi of Batavia.”

She encouraged the 120 golfers including five Houseknecht children and three grandsons to play in Ralph’s honor and enjoy the game as he did.

In golf play, coming out on top was Zach Fuller who shot a 72, followed by Mark State with 77, and a tie for third with Paul Barton and Tom Burgess, both shooting 79. Low gross honors for women went to Francesca Fuller with an 88.

In the low net category, Jim Gibson came in with a 65 followed by Chuck Graney, 66, and Bill Wassink, 67. Katie Houseknecht Berger had a low net score of 67 for women.

In the blind bogey competition, Alan Saskowski and John Ottaviano matched the blind bogey number drawn of 72.

There were several contests on the course including the longest drive on 7, Jesse Luxon and closest-to-the-line on 15, Al Leaton. In the closest-to-the-pin contests, Mike Davison won a golf bag, courtesy of C.H. Wright on 8 (3’9”); Bruce Partridge, Donnie Miller and Mark Houseknecht won cash prizes on 12 and Katie Houseknecht Berger won a Schwinn bicycle, donated by Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle in the top prize on 14.

The hole-in-one contest on 8 was sponsored by Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Unfortunately, no one shot an ace to drive away with a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Sport.

In bocce, the first-place team was Yvonne Branton, Jane Scott, Kathy Zeliff and Chris Fix.

Top score in tennis went to Steve Clemm. First-place team honors went to Phil McNulty and Marjorie Fulmer and second-place team went to Hollis Upson and Jim Fulmer.

Gold sponsors of the event were Turnbull Heating & Air-Conditioning, The Bonadio Group, Graham Corporation, MTE Turf Equipment Solutions/Tom & Lynn Houseknecht, Crickler Vending and Relph Benefit Advisors. Silver sponsors were: The Daily News, Oakfield Family Medical Care, Alpina Foods, Erie and Niagara Insurance Association, In Memory of Ralph Houseknecht, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Tops Friendly Markets, Bessey Tools, Parkview Health Services, Genesee Valley PennySaver, Rochester Regional Health/United Memorial Medical Center, One Group and The Insurance Center.

Also supporting the event were 16 golf sponsors, four tennis sponsors, eight bocce sponsors and six Friend of ARC Tournament sponsors. Door Prizes, silent and Chinese auction items were donated by dozens of area businesses. The 2016 cart sponsors were Manning Napier, Orcon Industries and Philadelphia Insurance.

A total of 120 golfers, 12 tennis players and 32 bocce players participated in the annual event that raises money to benefit programs and service for people with disabilities served by Genesee ARC. The winner of the $1,000 cash drawing was Ron Brueckner with ticket number 11966. The ticket seller was Deb Hinze of Batavia. The ARC/Lullo Memorial tournament is named in memory of Danny Lullo. Mr. Lullo was a local businessman who came up with the idea to hold a tournament to benefit Genesee ARC programs and services for people with disabilities in our community.

The Genesee ARC/Lullo Memorial Tournament is the longest-running charity event held at the local private club.

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July 13, 2016 - 12:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, news.

A 2006 Honda Civic, color gray, reportedly hit a utility pole in the Village of Corfu and then fled the scene.

Deputies are responding.

July 13, 2016 - 12:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pokemon Go, games, batavia, news.

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     The gym at HLOM

See the people walking around town staring at their phones? You may have seen more of them these past few days. It's easy to assume they're checking a social media account or texting. That assumption is likely incorrect in each and every case.

Actually, nearly every one of those people you see, usually in twos or threes, with noses down, eyes locked on their smartphone screens, are playing a game, a game that gets people off the couch, out of the house, onto the street and doing something Luddites often complain people don't do in the always-connect age: talking with each other.

The game is Pokemon Go, a version of the iconic Pokemon game updated for the era of smartphones.

What all these people are looking at is a virtual world superimposed on the real world, a world you can't see unless you download the app and create an account. They are seeing a world populated by the likes of wartortlesbutterfrees and caterpie, hunting for pokespots and gyms, building their strength and resources for their team to battle for control of those gyms.

"I've had it since Friday night," said Michael Snyder, of Batavia. "I saw my brother running to get a Pokemon over by Kelsey Road and he said, 'you gotta get this game.' He said, 'It's so much fun,' and it is. It motivates me to get outside and it's so much fun."

Pokemon started in the 1990s as a card game and players traded cards much like baseball cards. In 2006, the first video game was made for GameBoy and the Pokemon franchise has been one of Nintendo's most popular games every since, but Nintendo had largely ignored the mobile market until the release of Pokemon Go.

Since then, Pokemon Go is the most downloaded app (more than 7.5 million downloads) in both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Nintendo's stock has gained $7.5 billion in market value in two days. Even though the game is a free download, in-app purchases have reportedly generated more than $14 million in revenue (Google and Nintendo reportedly invested $30 million in developing the game).

The game uses technology first built for another social playing game developed by a former Google employee and leverages data from Google Earth. 

When you download the game, you design your avatar and then see your avatar standing on a map of your real-life community. The location of your avatar corresponds with your actual physical location. If you're at home, your avatar is on the map where your house should be (buildings are not shown). If you get out and walk about, then your avatar walks along the street and turns as you turn.

If you happen upon a Pokemon, then you try to flick a white and red ball at it to capture it. Sometimes you miss, sometimes you snare it and then it escapes, and sometimes you get to keep it.

The first goal of Pokemon is to "catch 'em all." (Link: How to play Pokemon Go.)

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     Time to catch a Zubat.

The more you capture the more you can do with the game. You move up levels, your Pokemon can evolve and you incubate the eggs you acquire pokestops so you get more Pokemon. At level five, you can join a team. The teams are Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) and Valor (red). Once you're on a team, you can capture a gym for your team and train in a gym and defend your gym. The stronger and more evolved your Pokemon, the better your chances of capturing a gym and holding a gym from attacks by other teams.

"I've been playing Pokemon since I was a kid," said Luis Ortiz, of Batavia. "Even as a kid, you would wish something like this would come out and it finally has."

The game is popular, people say because it gets you outside and you meet people and make new friends.

Ortiz was at the Peace Garden Tuesday afternoon, as were about a dozen other people. That used to never happen on a typical  day, even one as sunny and pleasant as Tuesday, but that crowd was nothing like the one several people said was there on Monday night (or we witnessed on Tuesday night). As many as 30 people were in the garden at one time.

The garden has become Batavia's Pokemon hotspot because it contains two pokespots and there is a gym at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Pokespots are locations where you can fill your satchel with balls to capture Pokemon with, perhaps get eggs, and they are also places where you will find lots of Pokemon to a capture. The pokespots act as lures for Pokemon.

"The game gets people closer," Ortiz said. "We came out here last night another were about 25 to 30 people here walking up and down, saying, ‘Hi', so it’s really cool. It gets you outside and you get to do stuff."

Maximus Mantrow, from Greece, was driving his girlfriend past the garden this afternoon and she had her app open. They spotted the pokespots, the gym and several people in the garden, so they decided to stop.

"It’s cool," Mantrow said. "You meet a lot of cool people, you start talking, you make friends. It's fun."

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     St. Joe's

Montrow said he's always been a fan of Pokemon, but he wasn't planning on downloading the game until he did and now he's hooked.

"I was like 'I don’t know about this', but I was playing a little more and it’s got that addictive nature to it, you know," Montrow said. "You get this one and then you’re like, ‘oh, I can catch that one, too, and I can catch that’ and after that, you can evolve it into something else. It’s just a lot of fun."

Sarah and Sophie Matlow drove from Le Roy to Batavia this afternoon and were walking through Downtown (they didn't even know about the Peace Garden treasures yet) because there isn't that much Pokemon activity in Le Roy.

“I like Pokemon too much for a 17-year-old girl," said Sophie, a student at Le Roy High School, and Sarah, a student at Alfred State College, added, “and I just wanted to play it with her."

As we talked, a young man walked by and said, yes, he was playing, too, and added, "I just captured that gym," which is on East Main Street.

"Everyone is playing this game right now," Sarah said. "It’s crazy."

App user stats bear out the sense that Pokemon Go is wildly popular already. Besides being number one in the app stores, the average daily use of those who download it already exceeds all other social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Besides the social benefits of Pokemon Go, users say they love the idea of going outside and actually walking around to play a video game. They recognize health benefits.

"I've read about people getting leg cramps because they’ve been playing Pokemon Go so much; so people, like, hate on it so much because it actually makes you move, but it’s great," Sophie said.

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More of the story and more photos after the jump (click the headline or "read more" below):

July 12, 2016 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-car accident with unknown injuries is reported at South Main and River streets in the city.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:31 p.m.: There are no injuries.

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