Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Howard B. Owens's blog

January 25, 2017 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

A lake effect snow watch has been issued for the region from Saturday morning through late Saturday night.

From five to 10 inches of snow accumulation are possible.

Winds are expected from 15 to 25 mph from the west with gusts up to 35 mph.

Travel could be difficult at times.

The forecast confidence is medium. "There remains some uncertainty as to how far north the heaviest snow will advance," the weather service states.

January 25, 2017 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, news.

Repeated accusations of voter fraud by President Donald J. Trump haven't sat well with Richard Siebert, the Republican election commissioner for Genesee County.

"I take exception to the accusation," Siebert said. "It's an insult to elections commissioners."

Siebert said he and his staff, on both the GOP and Democratic side, work hard to ensure there are free and fair elections locally.

Trump has repeated claims, first made after he won the presidency through a larger margin of electoral college votes, that the only reason he lost the national popular vote by 2.9 million votes to Hillary Clinton is because millions of illegal ballots were cast.

He repeated the claim to members of Congress two days ago and his spokesman Scott Spicer seemed to back up the claim during a press briefing yesterday. This morning on Twitter, Trump said he was going to call for a federal investigation.

Siebert said he isn't aware of evidence to back up the claim and said as far as Genesee County goes it would be very difficult to cast a fraudulent ballot.

The Democrat commissioner, Lorie Longhany, has said that she is also upset by Trump's accusations.

The local voters roles are regularly purged of deceased people, he said, and the state's voter registration requires voters to provide the last four digits of the person's Social Security number, which are checked against records to ensure citizenship.

If a person shows up on Election Day at a polling location and their name isn't in the registration book, but the voter is sure he or she is registered and eligible to vote, the voter can complete an affidavit ballot. That ballot isn't scanned into the voting computer. It is hand checked at the commission office later and both Republic and Democrat staff must agree the ballot was legally cast before it is counted.

"In Genesee County it (voter fraud), I'll tell you, isn't an issue," Siebert said.

January 25, 2017 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Darien, pembroke, Le Roy.

Catherine E. Peet, 58, of Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing, 2nd. Peet allegedly damaged two vehicles with a shovel and threatened a person with that shovel during an incident reported at 9:35 a.m., Jan. 30, 2016 at a residence on Colorado Avenue, Batavia.

Timothy M. Scanlan, 25, of Genesee Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.  Scanlan was arrested following the execution of a search warrant by the Local Drug Task Force. Scanlan was allegedly found in possession of Suboxone and Lortab pills along with a large quantity of marijuana and an amount of cash.

Jessica L. Connoly, 38, of Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and uninspected motor vehicle. Connoly was stopped 7:52 a.m. Friday on East Main Street by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Scott T. Lasker, 42, of Harper Road, Darien, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Lasker was allegedly found in violation of a stay-away order during a traffic stop at 3:51 p.m. Sunday on West Main Street, Batavia.

Benito Hernandez-Vega, 36, of East Main Street Road, Le Roy, is charged driving under influence of drugs and alcohol, possession of a hypodermic instrument, aggravated unauthorized operation, 3rd, unlicensed operation and moving from lane unsafely. Hernandez-Vega was stopped 9:50 p.m. Jan. 13 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Nicole Salamone.

Adam Arsenault, 31, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration. No further details provided except that the arrest stemmed from an incident reported at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

Katrina L. Thigpen, 34, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 3rd, menacing, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Thigpen allegedly poured lighter fluid on a victim and his vehicle during a domestic dispute reported at 9:53 a.m. Monday on Thorpe Street.

Shah L. Zajic, 40, of Eleanor Place, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, driving without headlights and refusal to take a breath test. Zajic was arrested stemming from a traffic stop at 2:17 a.m. on Jan. 14 on Ross Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Candace M. Sanchez, 51, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. Sanchez was allegedly found in possession of the items by NYS Parole.

Gregory Wayne Houseknecht, 25, of College View Drive, is charged with petit larceny. Houseknecht allegedly stole merchandise from Walmart at 2:58 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Craig Shareef McKenzie Jr., 19, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a petit larceny charge.

Mirnes Kozarac, 35, of Lansing Street, Utica, is charged with unlawful possession of untaxed cigarettes. Kozarac was allegedly found in possession of 2,200 untaxed cigarettes during a traffic stop by Deputy Travis DeMuth at 10:16 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke. Also charged was Salim Selimovic, 60, of Mulberry Street, Utica, who was allegedly found in possession of 5,800 untaxed cigarettes.

Randy Robert Reiner, 22, of Washington Street, Akron, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Reiner was arrested after Deputy Richard Schildwaster stopped at 10:26 p.m. Jan. 16 on Main Road, Pembroke, to check on a disabled vehicle. Reiner was allegedly found in possession of 16 marijuana smoking devices that contained marijuana residue.

January 25, 2017 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
January 24, 2017 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A car has hit a pole in the area of 2732 Galloway Road, Batavia.

Unknown injuries.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding.

January 24, 2017 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Le Roy.


A head-on accident is reported in the area of 9286 Warsaw Road, Le Roy.

Injuries are reported.

Traffic is being shut down on Route 19 at Munson Street and at Perry Road.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance responding.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 7:08 p.m.: No serious injuries. This was not a head-on collision, rather a driver slid sideways and was then broadsided by another vehicle. Also, there is a car vs. pole accident on Route 5, Le Roy, but no injuries reported.

UPDATE 7:27 p.m.: In the Warsaw Road collision, the occupants were all out and walking around when first responders arrive. Both vehicles are heavily damaged.


Photo below, car vs. pole accident on Route 5.


January 24, 2017 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Trump Administration, environment.

So far it looks like a sweeping activity freeze placed on the Environmental Protection Agency by the Trump Administration will have little impact locally.

The new directive bars the EPA from issue new grants or entering new contracts.

In some regions this could mean brownfield redevelopment projects could see funding delayed or eliminated, but City Manager Jason Molino said none of the Batavia Opportunity Area projects depend on federal funding, so the change in policy will have no impact on the BOA.

Molly S. Cassatt, managing director of the county's Soil and Water Conservation District, said there are no pending grants impacted by the order, but she isn't sure about the status of a recent grant application. The district joined seven other counties in the region, she said, on a grant application for a sediment and nutrient reduction project in the Genesee River Watershed. The eastern half of Genesee County, which includes Oatka and Black creeks, is part of that watershed.

If that grant is blocked, she said, there is still state money available to help with the project in those creeks.

County Manager Jay Gsell said he isn't away of any immediate impact on county government.

The Trump Administration has also ordered the EPA to cease all public communication, including the issuing of press releases, participation in social media and blogs and website updates.

We emailed the EPA to check the status of funding for cleanup of the superfund project in Le Roy, the Lehigh Train Derailment Site, which was seemingly neglected until 2012 when the Le Roy tic issue came up, and a staff member responded referring us to the Buffalo EPA representative. We called his office and he is out of the office for the day.

The USDA has received the same communications order.

We tried calling the local USDA office, located on Liberty Street, and we were referred to the public relations officer for the region, based in Syracuse. This would probably be standard procedure anyway, but the officer asked us to email our question about local news media communication. He's since responded that he will provide a response as soon as possible.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer issued the brief statement about the EPA's freeze on grants and contracts:

“EPA’s fundamental mission to protect clean air and clean water for public health and safety is being impeded by the unprecedented decision to freeze all grants and contracts. This decision could have damaging implications‎ for communities across New York, from delaying testing for lead in schools to restricting efforts to keep drinking water clean to holding up much-needed funding to revitalize toxic brownfield sites. The Administration should reverse this damaging policy immediately,” Schumer said.

January 24, 2017 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, news.

(File photo.)

The Town of Oakfield's renovated and expanded Community and Government Center will receive a 2016 Project of the Year Award for small cities/rural communities from the Genesee Valley branch of the American Public Works Association.

The award will be presented at RIT on Jan. 26.

A letter to Alan Dennis, Oakfield's public works administrator, said the award was based on the project's excellence, creativity, ingenuity and efficiency. The award recognizes the alliance between the managing agency, the engineeer, and contractors who worked together to successfully complete the project.

Previously: Town of Oakfield showcases new community and government center with County Legislature meeting

January 24, 2017 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in women's rights, steve hawley, news.


The woman sitting is Mary Simpson Smart. She is 101 years old. She was part of a woman's march in Seneca Falls in 1920 as a 5-year-old by her mother's side just before women were granted the right to vote. She was back in Seneca Falls on Sunday to join the women's march.

She is also Assemblyman Steve Hawley's aunt.

Smart was born and raised in Lyons. A graduate of Wellesley, she is pictured with Angela Daddabbo, of Auburn. Smart wanted to meet her after spotting her Wellesley sweatshirt.

"I was so grateful to have met her," Daddabbo said. "What a lady!"

Smart was one of the speakers at the event.

The Finger Lake Times profiled Smart earlier this month. She's led quite a life across the sweep of 20th century American history.

Hawley's mother, Mary's sister, Ellen, was also born in Lyons.

Smart isn't Hawley's only family tie to the Suffragette Movement. Ella Hawley Crossett, a relative on his father's side and from Warsaw, is commemorated on a large plaque in the State Capitol with Susan B. Anthony.

January 24, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, chamber of commerce, news.

Genesee County should get a chance to compete for the governor's proposed increase in tourism spending, according to Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning on adding $5 million to the tourism budget, making the total statewide spend $55 million.

Rapone said she anticipates seeing the amount available for competitive grants increase, and while she didn't have specific projects to pitch right now, she said for the county to get a portion of the money, it would need to submit a project to the state for consideration.

That's how the chamber won a $90,000 grant to promote the state's Haunted History Trail. The trail points tourists to dozen of potentially haunted, historical locations from Warick to Dunkirk and is promoted statewide with the grant money.

Rapone said she's been around long enough to remember when the state government didn't take tourism seriously and allocated few resources to the industry, which she said does provide a significant boost the economy.

"I have to say, anytime there is money dedicated to tourism, that is a good thing," Rapone said.

Gov. Cuomo has shown a lot of interest in tourism, especially in boosting tourism around ag products such as wine and craft beer.

The local tourism bureau also receives state money through a complicated formula for matching funds. The formula is based on regional and local considerations and the amount of the request. Last year, Genesee County received $66,000, or about one third of the tourism agency's operating budget.

January 24, 2017 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in carter's restaurant, batavia, news, business.

The owner of Carter's Restaurant, Brenden Mullen, said this morning he isn't sure when or if he will again open the restaurant on Main Street in Downtown Batavia.

The doors were locked and shades drawn a few days ago.

On Jan. 11, Mullen posted on Facebook that he was going to change the style of the restaurant from fine dining to something more casual along with "the best specialty drinks in Batavia."

Reached this morning and asked to clarify the status of the restaurant, he said he was taking time off to assess his options and said he isn't sure if he will reopen with a new concept. He said remaining closed is an option.

NOTE: If you purchased a Deal of the Day for Carter's within the past 30 days, return the unused gift certificate to The Batavian for a refund. Mail it to The Batavian, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

January 24, 2017 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news.
    Jeremy Leising

An Akron resident is accused of selling fentanyl and of selling heroin on two separate occasions to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force in the Town of Alabama.

Jeremy R. Leising, 21, was a passenger of a vehicle stopped by the Erie County Sheriff's Office and when deputies learned of a warrant for Leising's arrest on a warrant out of Genesee County they took him into custody.

He was turned over the Local Drug Task Force on the warrant on charges of two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of controlled substance, 3rd.

He was jailed awaiting arraignment in Genesee County Court.

January 24, 2017 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Hidden Door, Pollyanna and Dot, batavia, business, news.


With the transition in leadership of the Business Improvement District, there was no announcement of the annual window decorating contest for Christmas and Beth Kemp, the new director, stopped by my office yesterday to note that the winner was The Hidden Door/Pollyanna and Dot, 202 E. Main St., Batavia.

January 24, 2017 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
January 24, 2017 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, pembroke.

Medics are requested to the scene of a car vs. pole accident in the area of 2081 Main Road, East Pembroke, to evaluate a patient with a possible head injury.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding.

The pole is broken. It has primary wires on it. It will need to be replaced. National Grid has been notified.

January 23, 2017 - 9:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy, news.

A car vs. pedestrian accident has been reported in the area of 8703 Lake Street Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire and Le Roy Ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 9:14 p.m.: A first responder reports the patient is still in the roadway.

UPDATE Midnight: The Sheriff's Office has released the accident report. The pedestrian is identified as Judith Nye, 68, of Lake Street Road, Le Roy. The driver is identified as Michael J. Merica, 33, of Telephone Road, Pavilion. According to the report, Merica stated he was southbound on Route 19 when he saw a pedestrian in his lane of travel. He swerved to avoid the pedestrian. The pedestrian, the report says, "stepped into vehicle #1." She was struck by the front passenger side of the vehicle, a 1999 four-door Lincoln Sedan. Nye was taken by Le Roy Ambulance to Strong.

January 23, 2017 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) has issued the following statement:

“For the past six years, 78 different tax cuts have provided $11.3 billion in savings for New Yorkers. Now, the Governor is attempting to reverse these efforts by proposing higher taxes and new fees, for a total of $4.5 billion per year if fully implemented.

"With a second-to-last-place finish for overall business tax climate last year, our goal should be to reduce the tax burden for families, seniors and small businesses. This tax-hike plan would move New York’s economy and cost of living in the wrong direction.”

January 23, 2017 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Americans across the country are witnessing President Trump deliver on his promise to put America first and take back our stolen jobs,” said Congressman Collins. “Western New Yorkers know all too well the failures of poorly negotiated free trade agreements.

"Our shuttered factories and decimated population are daily reminders that there is a vast difference between free trade and fair trade. Western New York’s middle class is rejoicing that we now have a president who backs up his rhetoric with actions to protect American jobs.”

January 23, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Banquet. There are three awards presented at the Youth Recognition Banquet:

· Youth Recognition Award — This award recognizes young people who have performed exceptional service to the community and/or have assumed extraordinary roles in their families. Typically, the best candidates for this award are high school students, but we also know there are 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds who exemplify distinctive qualities of service. Several youth will be recognized; however the Youth Boards reserve the right to limit the number of recipients.

· Adult Volunteer — This award recognizes an adult who provides service as a volunteer to youth in Genesee County.

· Adult Youth Worker — This award recognizes a youth service professional whose work surpasses normal expectations.

Recipients will be honored at the Youth Recognition Banquet on March 30. Nominations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 15. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960 or The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website,

January 23, 2017 - 9:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

19510dcsm.jpgOn Friday, we told you about Trevor Maier, the 10th-grade student at Oakfield-Alabama High School who traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of the 2017 Envision Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit, which included going to the National Mall for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Here's Trevor's write-up of his experience in our nation's capital.

This past week I had the chance to participate in the experience of a lifetime. The 2017 Envision Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit was attended by nearly 2,500 students from the United States and other countries from around the world. Carpe Futurum…Seize YOUR Future, was the theme of the summit. We learned that we can all be agents of change if we work and apply ourselves. My target group reviewed the topics of Drones, Clones, and Genomes. Technology is moving faster than ever and as a society we need to remain aware of the advantages and potential consequences with this progress.

The Summit also included well-known speakers like General Colin Powell, Spike Lee, Tucker Carlson, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Carly Fiorina and Abby Wambach. Each speaker gave an inspiring talk. They all discussed the importance of education.

But by far, my favorite part of the conference was attending the presidential inauguration. The security checkpoints required the group to arrive before sunrise. As we passed from one section to another it was apparent that every measure was being taken to keep this event safe. The wait didn’t seem to take as long as I thought. The inauguration was an extraordinary experience. The National Mall was filled with thousands of people and there was excitement in the crowd. Everyone cheered as the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, was being sworn in. My favorite speech of the summit was the inaugural speech given by President Trump. It was inspiring and hopeful, and being able to hear it in person is something I will remember forever.

I am very happy that I was able to attend such a historic event. As an American, I would recommend everyone go see the inauguration in person at least one time. It is something you will never forget.





Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button