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April 22, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosts its annual spaghetti dinner from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, at the YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

The event benefits local children's projects. 

The cost is $7 per person and includes spaghetti and meatballs, salad, Italian bread, lemonade, coffee or tea and dessert. 

Pictured, Matt Landers, Shanon Ford, Frank Ciaccia, Jeanne Walter and Peter Guppenberger.

April 22, 2016 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

The City is pleased to announce the following recipients for the 2015 City Recognition Awards:

Business of the Year WBTA FM & AM is recognized for the positive contribution and support they have provided within our community. WBTA demonstrated continuous community involvement with the Centennial Celebration throughout 2015. The station broadcasts a well-organized scheduled to interact with community business owners, volunteers, schools and government. WBTA also had involvement in the Emergency Management Planning and Support for the community. They continue to strive to provide excellence through their daily broadcasting which keeps the community involved and informed of the latest and greatest news.

This year, there are two Homeowner’s selected for the 2015 Recognition Award:

Homeowner of the Year Don and Pam Hirons are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining and improving their home on 137 Summit St. and taking pride in their neighborhood. They have accomplished the creation of a neighborhood coalition to keep a close connection with the homeowners and participate in the revitalization of Summit Street. Don and Pam strive to keep their neighborhood safe and thriving within the community. These two are true hometown heroes who serve as role models for other citizens determined to revitalize a neighborhood.

Homeowner of the Year Tonya Passamonte and Adam Steadman are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining their home on 12 Washington Ave. and taking pride in their neighborhood. Tonya and Adam created extraordinary displays for Halloween and Christmas which were admired by many. They fabricated festive displays using memorable characters from childhood stories. As holiday music plays in the distance, the community comes alive, drawing the attention to approximately 500 children during the Halloween season. As the children walk away with a piece of candy they are also walking away with a memory and tradition. Tonya and Adam’s community spirit does not go unnoticed.

Community Volunteer of the Year Larry Barnes is recognized for his extraordinary efforts that he brings forth to our community. As the City Historian, he donates his time to share the connection between the past and the future for the City of Batavia. Larry works hard to catalog important historical documents at City Hall for future generations. He was an integral volunteer to the successful events during the 2015 Centennial Celebration. Larry has written a book on the City’s history, has produced many articles on the City’s Web site and continues to offer his knowledge in tours and group discussions. Larry’s true dedication and positive impact are instrumental to our community.

Employee of the Year Chad Richards consistently goes above and beyond the expectations of his position as a Police Officer. The department has received acknowledgements from the community of his courteous, compassionate and patient behavior as an officer. Chad is actively involved in the Emergency Response Team and has gone above and beyond his normal scope of duties as an ERT operator. Chad has been crucial in investigation and successful prosecution of many cases. He demonstrates his true commitment to the community by participating in community events, such as, “Shop with a Cop,” which was held at the Batavia Walmart during Christmas. Chad embodies the qualities that the City strives to maintain for all of their employees.

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2015 City Recognition Awards.

These awards will be presented during the City Council Conference Meeting on Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m., in the Council Board Room at City Hall.

April 22, 2016 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tenebruso, charity, batavia, news.

This past weekend, more than 400 people turned out for a fundraiser to benefit Michael Tenebruso, who is up against Stage IV lung cancer.  This video was made by Cosmic Video to document the event.

Those who wish to make a donation can send a check in Michael Tenebruso's name to Big Pauly's Pizza, 314 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY 14020.

April 21, 2016 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after introducing H.R. 5021, the Better Accounting for Medicaid Costs Act. The legislation will focus on reducing costs associated with Medicaid information requirements.

“States and the federal government currently spend over $500 billion a year on Medicaid,”Congressman Collins said. “If we are serious about tackling our nation’s budgetary challenges, we must confront this massive and out-of-control expense.

“Through common-sense measures, we can easily save taxpayer dollars, while improving transparency and accountability within the Administration. This legislation will protect states and the federal governments from unknowingly footing the bill for overly expensive Medicaid policy clarifications. Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide notice and comment rulemaking on sub-regulatory guidance that will cost states over $50 million or the federal government over $100 million in one year is simply smart policy.”

Lately, CMS has issued expensive Medicaid policy clarifications and interpretations through informal guidance such as letters to State Medicaid Directors, Informational Bulletins, and Frequently Asked Questions. Sub-regulatory guidance makes sense for certain updates and changes, given the Federal-State nature of the Medicaid program. However, some of these “clarifications” can actually present states and the federal government with high and unexpected costs.

This legislation requires CMS to go through notice and comment rulemaking if the Secretary of HHS determines that Medicaid sub-regulatory guidance will cost states more than $50 million or the federal government more than $100 million in one year, increasing transparency and accountability within the entitlement program.

April 21, 2016 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, elba, news.

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Press release:

Imagine a classroom where students can design and manufacture an iPhone case, whistles or even a part for an RC car for pennies on the dollar.

It's happening at Elba Central School with the help of a 3-D printer, which the school acquired as part of Genesee Valley BOCES Make and Take Workshop back in February.

A 3-D printer works much like a more familiar 2-D text and picture printer.

"3D printers take a digital file and turn it into a three-dimensional object layer by layer," said Elba's Technology coordinator, Mary Beth Stacy. "Engineering classes can print their designs and see if they will actually work instead of just assuming that it will. The printer we have can actually print many of it's own parts."

"The students design the objects using CAD software and then print it," Stacy said. "Sometimes the design works and sometimes it fails. Great life lessons about learning from their mistakes and not giving up are being reinforced, along with critical thinking and problem solving skills."

Instead of ink, users can choose their own material. Most educators use a low-cost plastic filament.

"The students are really excited to see it," Kevin Rombaut, technology teacher at Elba Central School said. "It allows them to see rapid prototyping and modeling. It gives them actual objects that they can see and hold other than just a computer rendering or imagination.

"It allows them to create parts and/or objects and to re-invent. I had one student break a part on their RC vehicle. They took it, drew a new one, changed the design to offer more support, and printed a new part out."

Elba Central School is doing what it can in keeping current with technology to help their students succeed in the future.

As Stacy pointed out, "Our students' futures will have technology embedded in their daily lives."

April 21, 2016 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Photo by Jim Burns.

Shortly after 4 p.m., this semi-truck on Elm Street, near Main Street, took out phone and cable lines.

April 21, 2016 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

stolenplownypdapril2016.jpgState Police are requesting the public's assistance in locating a snowplow stolen from a local business.

Investigators believe whoever stole the plow might try to sell it locally.

The plow was stolen from a business in the Town of Batavia in early April and looks just like the one pictured on the right. It is a Western MVP 3 and is fairly new.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or was approached to purchase a similar plow is asked to contact the State Police at (585) 344-6210.

April 21, 2016 - 9:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Intoxication played a significant role in the drowning death of a 49-year-old Batavia man who's body was found in the Tonawanda Creek near Kibbe Park in August, according to information released by Batavia PD this morning.

In a statement, the police say that a Medical Examiner's investigation has concluded Troy Hickman drowned and was intoxicated at the time of his death.

No further information about the incident was released.

April 20, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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City residents are invited to City Hall today to share their ideas for the future of Batavia.

As an early-stage step toward devising a new comprehensive plan for Batavia, the city is hosting an open house today where residents can step through a series of questions and write out answers for their ideas on the challenges the city faces, how to address those issues and what their visions are for Batavia.

The open house lasts until 7 p.m.

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April 20, 2016 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in zombie properties, abandoned properties, batavia, news.

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Pat O'Brien was a little surprised, but not shocked to learn yesterday that the house on Ross Street that he moved into Monday was the subject of a $841,500 fine by Batavia City Court for a long string of alleged code violations.

Before O'Brien bought the home, the city determined the responsible party for the property was HSBC Bank. The bank was allegedly issued a summons to appear in court to answer to the code violation charges, but reportedly, no representative of HSBC ever appeared.

When defendants fail to appear in court as directed, judges have the discretion to find the party guilty and after another demand to appear in court, in the defendant's absence, the judge can issue a sentence.

That's what Justice Durin Rogers did Friday against HSBC and another entity responsible for a local property that has allegedly failed to appear on the matter.

That defendant is Kaja Holdings 2, LLC, held responsible for 21 Hutchins St., Batavia. Kaja was found guilty in absentia of 1,092 violations of the city's property maintenance code.

HSBC was found guilty of 3,336 violations.

Rob Sherman, corporate communications for HSBC, did not respond to a voicemail left yesterday requesting comment.

Kaja Holdings did not respond to a request for comment. 

City Manager Jason Molino said the judgments against HSBC and Kaja are part of the city's ongoing, aggressive efforts to deal with so-called "zombie" homes -- homes that have been left abandoned and vacant for extended periods of time following a foreclosure.

"We going to push aggressively with non-responsive individuals with an interest in properties in hopes of getting people's attention and start getting them to respond," Molino said.

Molino said the city was only notified on Monday that the Ross Street property had been transferred to the new owners.

"We're pleased with the outcome," Molino said. "It's exactly what we like to see."

Whether HSBC will still be on the hook for the $841,500 fine, Molino said he didn't know. That will be up to Justice Rogers to decide.

As for Pat O'Brien, he said he's thrilled with the house and happy to become a Batavia resident.

He took a job in Henrietta in the fall and found the house on the house listed for sale on the Fannie Mae Web site. He worked with local real estate agent Chuck Flynn to complete the purchase.

He's had a new gas line installed (it was cut off at the street), new electrical installed and the city turned the water on two days ago, making the house livable once again.

"Even though it looks a little bit bad on the outside, surprisingly, it's not that bad on the inside," O'Brien said. "Structurally it's really sound."

O'Brien said he liked Batavia because it's a small, quaint community that seems to have a lot going for it. Workers who have come over to his house have had good things to say about Batavia, he said, that it's a community on the rise.

And commuting to Henrietta, he said, is no big deal.

"Back in Jersey, I actually had a longer commute, so the commute between Batavia and Henrietta doesn't bother me," he said. "It's all Thruway. It's under 45 minutes, which I don't think is that bad."

Molino said O'Brien will be given time to get the house in good shape once again, which O'Brien said he intends to do.

"If you look at the house, it's actually not as bad as you think because the top third has all been aluminum sided and so I only have to repaint the lower two-thirds of the home, so like I said, I think by the end of the summer it should be a gem on the street," O'Brien said.

Our news partner WBTA AM/FM contributed to this story.

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21 Hutchins St., which is vacant and condemned.

April 20, 2016 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in unemployment, jobs, business.

The Genesee County unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in March, the lowest rate so far this year and lower than the 6.2 percent of March 2015.

The rate was 5.5 in February and 5.7 in January.

For the entire GLOW region, the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent, down from 6.7 percent a year ago.

The state rate is 5.2 percent.

On the jobs side, there were 22,100 non-farm positions reported in Genesee County for March, compared to 22,000 a year ago. 

The state's labor force participation rate, which had been in steep decline starting in 2009 has shown consistent increases over the past three or four months and is now 63 percent. A decade ago, it hovered around 66 percent. 

The labor force participation rate measures all people age 16 and older who either hold jobs or are looking for jobs.

Genesee County's labor force is reported as 29,900. It was 29,500 in March 2015; 32,800 in 2008. The lowest point for March over the past decade was last year.

April 20, 2016 - 8:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, genesee county, news.

Just as he did in all but one county in New York, Donald Trump was the big winner in Genesee County in Tuesday's primary election, while Hillary Clinton did not do as well against her remaining rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Republicans preferred Trump by a wide margin locally, giving him 3,673 votes to 1,234 for John R. Kasich, and 974 for Ted Cruz.

The local Democrats mostly went with Sanders, giving him 1,539 votes, with 1,262 for Clinton. 

Clinton carried the state, however.

April 19, 2016 - 6:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, business, news.

redosierapril192016.jpg

Bob Moore said he feels bittersweet about stepping away from the business he and his wife Noreen opened together 37 years ago, but he couldn't be happier with the new owners.

Tim Adams and Steve Foster become owners tomorrow afternoon of the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford.

Already business partners with Adams Welding and other business interests, Adams and Foster said not only did the restaurant business interest them, they couldn't stand the idea of an outside buyer taking over a local tradition.

"There's no place like it," said Adams, who was named Geneseean of the Year for 2013. "It would have been a shame to see it shut down or turned into a Chuck E. Cheese. That's what people have been saying, it could have become a Chuck E. Cheese, or somebody could have moved it to another location and we would have had another empty building here. It's a special place so it would have been a shame to have it lost."

Foster started working at the Red Osier 20 years ago, straight out of high school, first as a server and working his way up through the ranks as a bartender and in the kitchen before becoming manager 10 years ago.

"The Red Osier is just a special family," Foster said. "We're all family."

Adams and Foster will retain the restaurant's 70 employees.

Moore said he's not retiring, just stepping aside from owning and running his own restaurant. He will serve as a consultant to Adams and Foster as well as his son, who owns another branch of the Red Osier brand, based in Rochester. 

He's excited to see what Adams and Foster will bring to Red Osier.

"That's what we need, young guys, like we were 37 years ago," Moore said. "They're like my wife and I were, full of piss and vinegar."

There won't be substantial changes, but Foster said there is definitely a magic about the Red Osier to be recaptured and they hope to do that with some decor changes to start -- new uniforms, new white table clothes, a regional wine display, historic pictures of the restaurant are a start.

Moore approves. 

"These guys are full of ideas," Moore said. "I want to help them implement as much as I can. The place looks beautiful. Wow! What a facelift."

There were eight or nine other potential buyers who looked into the restaurant before Adams and Foster approached him, and he immediately thought they would be a perfect fit to take over his business.

Noreen agreed.

"We couldn't have done better," she said.

redosierapril192016-2.jpg

Tim Adams ad Steve Foster with Bob and Noreen Moore and a commemorative key Tim and Steve made for them at their metal shop.

April 19, 2016 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, genesee county, Highway Department.

An increase in funding from the state and lower asphalt prices will help the county catch up on road repaving over the next five years, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told the County Legislature's Public Service Committee Monday afternoon.

This year, the county will have slightly more than $2 million available for road and bridge projects, that's a 25-percent increase over last year.

The state is sending the county an additional $382,000 as part of a Pave NY program initiated this year and intended to increase funding to local governments for five years.

At the same time, the cost of asphalt has dropped by about 20 percent, Hens said.

"This will let us catch up over the next five years and get us where we ought to be," Hens said.

Maintenance has been deferred on many roads in recent years because of tight revenue and high asphalt prices.

That will help with the roads, but what about the bridges?

The county is responsible for 284 bridges (including culverts) and about 50 percent are deficient, Hens said.

The county needs about $15 million for bridge repair and maintenance, and while the state is starting a Bridge NY program, it won't meet all of the county's needs.

"Eventually, the county will probably have to bond some money or do something long term in the millions of dollars to catch up on those bridges," Hens said.

Many of the county's bridges are 65 to 70 years old.  

"They're running out of life and you take a bridge here or there on some of those rural roads and some of the detours get pretty long really quick," Hens said.

April 19, 2016 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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In the first quarter of 2016, the average population housed in the Genesee County Jail was 79, up from 60 in the first quarter of 2015.

The biggest impact on the county's budget with  an increased jail population, Sheriff Gary Maha said during his department review report to the County Legislature's Public Service Committee, is an increase in expenses for medication and medical care.

The majority of inmates have either substance abuse issues or mental health problems. This has been a growing trend in recent years.

The Sheriff's Office is also handling more female inmates, with an average of 18 this year compared to 11 last year.

Since the local jail can't house female inmates, they must be transported to and from jails in other counties in Western and Central New York willing to keep them. This is an added expense of the Sheriff's Office and takes deputies off of patrol.

Currently, staffing in the department is short five deputies. There are three new deputies going through the academy, but by the time the first one graduates, a current sergeant will retire and other retirements are anticipated this year.

The hiring and training process for a deputy, getting a deputy to the point where he or she can work a solo patrol, takes close to a year.

The department also lost a productive and dedicated deputy recently when Joseph Corona transferred to Monroe County. 

A legislature asked if that was because of better pay in Monroe County and Maha said that while the pay is better, and retirement benefits are better, Corona also had family and personal reasons for making the transfer and that a larger department offers greater opportunity for career advancement.

That said, Maha said, historically, the Sheriff's Office hasn't lost many deputies to other departments, so he doesn't anticipate this signaling a trend. 

The turnover is high in the Sheriff's Office because there just happens to be a lot of retirements hitting at the same time. Eventually, that should even out.

The emergency center call volume is up about 8.5 percent, but this largely reflects structural changes, not an increase in more calls for service.

Calls get logged when additional fire units are dispatched on calls, for example, and increasingly, multiple departments are being dispatched for calls in volunteer fire districts, so a call for service that was once counted as one logged dispatch is now logged as two.

The Sheriff's Office now also handles dispatch for State Police Troop A, which means more calls and traffic stops logged. 

Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Genesee Justice, is anticipating a 15-percent increase in funding from a federal grant.

Bail evaluations have increased 22 percent over last year, with the cases being handled by one full-time staff member and one part-time, and they're managing to keep pace with the case load.

"We certainly appreciate having that second person," Asmus-Roth said. "(Bail evaluation) is quite an involved process."

The Child Advocacy Center handled 241 cases in 2015.

The Sheriff's Office is participating in Project Live Saver, which provides tracking bracelets to children who might wander off, and 14 disabled children wear the bracelets currently.

Earlier this week, a 79-year-old woman with dementia wandered off from her home, leading to a multi-patrol search for her, and Maha said potential grants might help expand the program to other people who might wander off.

April 18, 2016 - 8:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

A person out walking a dog heard a bang, like a door slamming, and then saw a white male dressed in black quickly leave a residence on Morton Avenue.

Batavia PD responded and the subject was located.

Officers were checking for unlocked vehicles and, if they found any, were asking residents to check and see if anything was missing.

The resident of the original complaint was not at home at the time and it's unknown if the subject dressed in black made entry.

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

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