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Howard B. Owens's blog

May 22, 2015 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in world war i, war, history.

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All of these local names, Dewey Sackett, Charles Votrie, James Hannah, Lee Kingdon, Willis Peck, Glenn Loomis, Florence Carney, John Arneth and many more. All young lives cut short in the War to End All Wars.

That was nearly 100 years ago. We may see their names on gravestones, or memorial markers or on honor rolls, but we know only the names. We don't know where they lived, where they worked, who they loved, what they dreamed or how they died.

They're war dead. That's what we know. So we honor them.

Former Le Roy resident Terry Krautwurst thought we should know more. We may read the names, but we shouldn't forget the people, so he has given us, residents of Genesee County, a gift -- a gift of remembrance.

For the past six years, Krautwurst has researched the war dead of Genesee County from World War I. He combed through newspaper articles and federal archives in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., in an attempt to identify all of the World War I men and women from Genesee County who died while serving their country.

He's compiled biographies, complete with military service records, detailing those lives, lifted from newspapers and death records, concerning 78 people who died during the war while in uniform.

That's a longer honor roll than probably anybody ever really knew about.

It was discrepancies in honor rolls that prompted Kautwurst's research in the first place.

"In 2009, while researching the World War I career of my grandfather, Stanley Crocker, of Le Roy, I noticed that the number of names on honor roll lists of Genesee County war dead that had been published in area newspapers varied," Krautwurst said. "They varied not just in number, from 52 to 61, but also the names themselves varied."

Untangling the mystery of the lists became a passion for Krautwurst.

"It seemed only right and proper to set the record straight," Krautwurst said. "I decided to research and resolve the discrepancies and produce an updated and maybe more accurate list. I figured it would take me a few weeks."

Krauthwurst donated the research of his six-year-long research project to the Genesee County History Department last week.

"Terry has performed an invaluable service to the county," said Michael Eula, director of the history department. "This is a tremendous resource and I doubt it's going to be seen in many other counties around the country regarding the first World War."

The deeper Krautwurst dug, the more discrepancies he found, including misspelled names, incorrect dates, hometowns and military assignments.

He kept detailed files on each of the war dead and his records, and the stories he tells of each person, fills eight volumes that will be available to the public at the history department in County Building #2.

"This provides a wealth of primary source information to first and foremost family members who still may be still wondering what happened generations ago and researchers looking at the local impact of the first World War, so this is an incredibly rich and valuable addition to the county archives," Eula said.

Krautwurst photocopied more than 1,200 military documents, which in some cases, include eyewitness accounts of a soldier's death and letters from a fallen soldier's parents.

"Sometimes, when I opened a soldier's file, I found his dog tags, which I photographed," Krauthwurst said.

Flipping through the pages and reading Krautwurst's articles, you learn family histories, the schools that soldiers attended, where they worked before getting drafted or enlisting, what they did in their spare time and, importantly, how and where they died.

Some died in the fields of France or the hills of Italy. Some died in combat, others hours and days later after their mangled bodies were borne on a stretcher to some field hospital. Some died from disease and some died in accidents.

"What has caught my eye is the playing out locally of what historians have talked about for a long time regarding the first World War," Eula said. "For example, a number of deaths were not the result in combat. Somebody gets killed in an auto accident when they're training someplace in the country. It shows the complexity of the moment."

The archive, Krautwurst hopes, will help us know better the people behind the names who sacrificed everything in a war often remembered for its brutality and how it reshaped society.

"These people who gave so much were right on the edge of forgotten," Krautwurst said. "I just didn't want that to happen."

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County Historian Michael Eula with the eight volume of World War I war dead compiled by Terry Krautwurst.

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May 22, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

As part of the 2015 agency performance goals, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the first of a series of outreach meetings to engage local taxing jurisdictions throughout the County about the various activities and programs and incentives offered by the GCEDC. 

On Tuesday, May 26, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Town and Village of Bergen at the Bergen Town Hall on 10 Hunter St. in Bergen at 6:30 p.m. 

Among the topics for discussion will include development and business recruitment and expansion activities at the Apple Tree Acres. Among the businesses that currently operate out of Apple Tree Acres include Liberty Pumps, Leonard Bus Co. and Ad Tech. Hyde also will provide information about how payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) impact the tax base among other topics.

“As part of the 2015 goals the GCEDC Board of Directors identified at the beginning of this year, we will enhance our outreach efforts to taxing jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout Genesee County about our economic development activities,” Hyde said. “We are always striving to increase outreach to the stakeholders we serve and identity new ways in which we can expand the quality of our economic development programs and incentives.”

May 22, 2015 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

A letter shared with Judge Robert C. Noonan by District Attorney Lawrence Freidman makes it pretty clear, Kesean Shannon doesn't want to go to prison.

The jailhouse letter alerts a friend of his possible court dates and asks him to get a woman he knows in court for his appearance.

"Tell her to be ready just in case I have to run," Shannon reportedly wrote. "I need a gun for real."

After entering guilty pleas today to five of the counts against him -- four of them for sexual activity with women who were asleep -- Shannon faces a possible maximum prison term of 15 years.

The guilty pleas were to counts of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree incest, first-degree sexual abuse and first degree criminal contempt.

In all, five women were victims of Shannon's crimes, including a blood relative and a woman identified in court today as his fiancée, and who is pregnant with his child.

That woman, whom he contacted in violation of an order of protection, leading to the criminal contempt charge (a felony because of a similar previous conviction), has been allowed to visit with Shannon in jail.

Friedman said his office objected to a City Court judge granting those visits, and even so, Friedman said, Shannon allegedly continuously violated the order of protection by writing letters to the woman.

"If this case had gone to the Grand Jury, we would have sought numerous criminal contempt charges against the defendant," Friedman told Noonan.

The discussion about Shannon's relationship with this woman came up after his attorney, Fred Rarick, asked Noonan not to extend the order of protection for the woman.

The woman does not fear Shannon, Rarick said, and wants to have contact with him.

Friedman argued that the order of protection should stay in place. He said he has a deposition from the woman where she says she does fear Shannon. The order of protection arises from a prior domestic violence case, Friedman said.

Noonan issued the order of protection, pending Shannon's sentencing, at which time, Noonan said, he would review any written request to forego an order of protection from the woman.

The reference to the gun came up while discussing Shannon's bail status.

Rarick sought a bail amount for his client pending his sentencing July 17.

Friedman cited the letter as well as the 22-year-old Shannon's criminal record, previous violations of court orders, the alleged ongoing disregard for the court order with his fiancée (today was the first time he heard of their plans to marry, Friedman said) as well as the potential lengthy prison term.

Noonan ordered Shannon held without bail.

In pleading guilty, Shannon admitted to attempting to rape a woman while she slept in June, 2014, and of sexually abusing women in 2012 while they slept, and of doing so again in October 2014.

May 22, 2015 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia.

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City of Batavia firefighters have been busy with training much of the day, working on accident-scene response and patient extrication in the parking lot next to the fire hall.

Among those getting in more practice time, Matt Pillsbury, the newest member of the department. Originally, from Massachusetts, currently living in Chili, he will soon move to Batavia.

May 22, 2015 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia.

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The Rotary Club of Batavia is hosting its annual hanging basket sale today outside the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union. The sale runs until 5 p.m.

Pictured are Susie Boyce and Susan Schuler.

May 21, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, Batavia HS, schools, education.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia honored the Top 10 students at their weekly lunch today.

In addition to the Top 10 honorees, Bryce Rogers received the Outstanding Citizenship Award, and Music awards were given to Chelsea Mountain, Mason Battaglia and Lauren Dunn.

Here's bio information on each of the Top 10 students:

Samir Jain is the son of Dr. Lalit and Abha Jain of Batavia. Samir will be attending Cornell University at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Samir is one of 25 seniors out of 20,000 in Western New York to be recognized with First Team honors on Business First’s 2015 All-Western New York Academic Team. He is captain of the varsity soccer and tennis teams, a member of the champion scholastic bowl and math teams, and an attorney for the regional-finalist mock trial team. Samir participates in community service as a volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership.

Katie Kesler is the daughter of Paul and Jana Kesler of Batavia. Katie will be attending Boston University in the fall to major in both Behavior and Health and Hispanic Language and Literature. She plans to attend graduate school to become an occupational therapist. Katie has been involved in Mr. Batavia, mock trial, student government, National Honor Society, Youth Court and jazz band. She was a scholar athlete on the varsity soccer team. She attends Grace Baptist Church where she helps out in the nursery and in a preschool class. Katie especially enjoys volunteering at YMCA Challenger Sports.

Dylan Beckman is the son of Anthony and Jolene Beckman. He is attending the University of Rochester with an intended major of Optical Engineering. He plans to get some experience in the field, and then return to school to obtain a graduate degree in the field and eventually become an Optical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs. Dylan is vice president of his class, he is a member of National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Link Crew, mock trial, and participated in this year’s Mr. Batavia Pageant, securing third place.

Brandon Smart is the son of Doug and Bernadette Smart of Batavia. Brandon received the Dean’s Scholarship to the University of Rochester and will be majoring in computer science to one day become a researcher on the quantum computer team at Google. He is a member of National Honor Society, treasurer of the senior class, regional finalist in the 2015 Science Olympiad competition and seven-year veteran of the championship math team.

Andrew Maniace is the son of Rick and Kathy Maniace of Batavia. Andrew received the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship, and will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy in the fall majoring in nuclear engineering. He is in National Honor Society, math team, Science Olympiad, a contributor to "Blue Canon," and was a contestant in Mr. Batavia. Andrew has been a three-season scholar athlete on varsity cross-country, indoor and outdoor track teams for the last four years.

Bryce Rogers is the son of Paula and Durin Rogers. Bryce will attend American University participating in their prestigious Scholars Program having received the Dean’s Scholarship. Bryce intends to dual-major in International Relations and Economics while concentrating in Foreign Policy and National Security. At BHS, Bryce is an active member of the mock trial team, National Honor Society, is the managing editor of BHS’ Literary Magazine, and band president. Bryce is active in his community serving on the Genesee County Youth Court and the County Youth Board as secretary. Bryce is also the AmeriCorps Program coordinator for the Batavia Summer Recreation program.

Emily DiBacco is the daughter of Michael and Mary Beth DiBacco of Batavia. Emily is president of National Honor Society, Student Ex-Officio to the Board of Education, an editor for the "Blue Canon" literary magazine, a Link Crew leader, and a committee head for the Mr. Batavia Pageant. She has also been a scholar athlete on the varsity swimming and diving team, as well as a member of the Board of Education’s Code of Conduct Committee. Emily will be attending the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Business Administration and English, to pursue a career in publishing.

Rebecca Canale is the daughter of John and Cindy Canale of Batavia. Rebecca will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall majoring in Biology with a minor in Business in hopes of attending medical school to become a pediatrician. She is very involved in the school community, participating in varsity soccer, indoor and outdoor track, mock trial, student government, Tri-M Honor Society, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, beauty shop quartet, chorus, Link Crew, and Mr. Batavia. Rebecca also participated in the Roswell Park Summer Research Program as an intern in the Cell Stress Biology department.

Brooke Leddon is the daughter of Shane and Crystal Leddon of Batavia. Brooke is attending SUNY Brockport and majoring in Political Science with a double minor in International Relations and pre-Law. Brooke has been a part of the varsity swimming and diving team since she was in seventh grade.  She has been the team captain for the past two years.  Brooke plans on continuing her diving career at Brockport in the fall.

Kristyn Mott is the daughter of Amy and Jamie Mott.  Kristyn received the Dean’s Scholarship along with the Horizon Scholarship and will be attending Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. She will be majoring in business of Art and Design. She plans to work in the advertising and marketing community. Kristyn was a three-season scholar athlete for varsity soccer and indoor and outdoor track. She plans to continue pole vaulting with different local clubs while in college.

May 21, 2015 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, corfu.

Curtis L. Williams, 34, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. The warrants were related to charges of aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and 2nd. Williams was located walking on Ross Street and taken into custody. During the arrest, he was allegedly found in possession of cocaine. He was jailed on $3,000 bail or $6,000 bond.

Kevin Michael Lampman, 42, of Jackson Road, Holley, is charged with trespass. Lamp is accused of trespassing at Buttermilk Falls, Le Roy. Also arrested, Allyson Fraser Breon, 18, of Chili Riga Center Road, and a 17-year-old female of Westside Drive, North Chili.

Ashley R. Keene, 27, of Woodstock Gardens, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Keene allegedly stole oxycodone from a family member. She was jailed on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Sarah M. Wilson, 31, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with violation of an order of protection. Wilson allegedly placed a phone call to a person in the Livingstone County Jail in violation of an order of protection.

Steve D. Holmwood, 20, of Angling Road, Corfu, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Holmwood allegedly parked a vehicle on the grass at Williams Park. Upon investigation, he was allegedly found in possession of syringes and heroin.

Joseph William Freeman, 30, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct. Freeman was allegedly involved in a disturbance outside 4 Olyn Ave. at 11:17 p.m., Tuesday. No further details released. James Edward Wroten, 48, of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

May 21, 2015 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in career center, jobs bureau, jobs, economy, business.

Scott Gage, director of the Genesee County Job Development Center, has a simple message for anybody looking for a job or a better job: come on down.

There are currently 400 job openings listed with the career center and not nearly enough applicants to fill them, Gage said.

"If anybody is interested in work, definitely come down and see us at the career center, because there are a lot of openings," Gage said.

Yes, many of the jobs are entry-level production jobs, but they're good paying jobs, Gage said. There's also a number of professional-level jobs available.

The recession-era fear people had about taking a stab at a new job at a chance for career advancement or higher pay has disappeared, Gage said. More people are looking to move up, which helps create openings for other workers and it's also the sign of a strong local job market.

"There are not a lot of job seekers coming through our doors," Gage said.

May 20, 2015 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, St. Joe's, batavia.

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Info and photo submitted by Lauren Humphrey.

St. Joseph Catholic School students walked to meet sponsor pledges they raised in an effort to promote exercise and supplement funding for technology improvements.  The students have raised more than $3,000 to date and are still accepting donations. Visit our Web site, www.sjsbatavia.org  if you would like to make a donation online!

May 20, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, baseball, little league, health department.

Batavia Little League has paid for a health permit, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

Gsell said a VP with the league showed up at the County Health Department this morning and paid the fee, Gsell said.

The department had told league officials they couldn't sell pizza and hot dogs without a proper permit, which costs $175 per food stand.

May 20, 2015 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history, batavia.

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The Holland Land Office Museum has replaced its decade-old banner with two new posters featuring Joseph Ellicott and Gen. Emory Upton.

The posters were created by Vinyl Sticks and sponsored by Ken Barrett Chevrolet and Cadillac.

Speaking of HLOM, June speakers:

Tuesday June 9th, 6 to 8 p.m., Genesee County Historian Michael Eula; Topic: Why do wars happen? Genesee County and the problems of human conflict 1775 – present

Friday June 12th, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Erica Wanecski; Topic: Health Resorts in the 19th Century

For more information call the Holland Land Office Museum, (585) 343-4727​ 

May 20, 2015 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, visitors booth, chamber of commerce, tourism, business.

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Press release:

Here is a fun and interesting way that you can assist your community -- by volunteering a few hours at the Genesee County Visitor Information Center. If you love our surrounding communities, enjoy helping people, and feel that you could be great ambassador for Genesee County, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is looking you.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will reopen the seasonal Visitor Information Center on Friday, June 5th. The center is located at 131 W. Main St. in Batavia and operates in the summer months to assist summer visitors.

The Chamber is currently looking for a few helpful residents to greet visitors and provide directions and area information to travelers at our visitor “booth,” which is located in the parking lot of the Holland Land Office Museum.  Our volunteers greet visitors, hand out maps, dining guides, provide directions, recommendations and more. 

Available shifts are:

  • Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as every other Sunday 3 to 5 p.m.

If you are interested in a two- or three-hour shift, weekly or biweekly, please call Kelly Rapone (585) 343-7440, ext. 23, at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 20, 2015 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia.

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It's planter planting day in Downtown Batavia with volunteers from the Sun Catcher Garden Club of Batavia helping out. Above, Connie Moon and Barb Defazio take care of a planter at Main and Jackson.

May 20, 2015 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in little league, baseball, sports, health department.

Report from our news partner 13WHAM about the County Health Department requiring Batavia Little League to acquire a health permit to sell pizza and hot dogs.

May 20, 2015 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education.

Results from Tuesday's school budget vote for the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District:

Proposition #1:  School Budget   Yes 205, No 43
Proposition #2:  Acquisition of School Buses and Related Equipment    Yes 194, No 41  
May 20, 2015 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education.

Results from Tuesday's vote in the Batavia City School District vote:

I.  Budget - $43,108,373 (increase of $122,011 or 0.28%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)
   Yes   - 426 (85.03%)
   No    - 75  (14.97%)

II.  Capital Reserve - $7,500,000, ten years
   Yes -  391  (81.12%)
   No -    91   (18.88%)

III.  Transportation Mileage Change - Grades 2-4 > 0.50 miles and Grades 9-12 >1.50 miles within the city limits (all outside city limits are eligible already)
  Yes -  405  (83.16%)
  No -   82   (16.84%)

May 19, 2015 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on Assembly Democrats to pass Brittany’s Law, which would establish a statewide registry of violent offenders. The legislation provides the public with crucial information about criminals with histories of violence to prevent future victimization. The Senate version, S.513, was passed on Monday and championed as a method to combat domestic violence and preserve the safety of New York’s communities and families.

“Every day this legislation sits dormant in the Assembly is another day that New York’s women are at risk of becoming victims,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, many victims do not know that their assailant has a violent history or has been incarcerated. This bill would make information of that nature accessible and help law enforcement track convicted felons to ensure the safety of the neighborhood or community in which they live. I am once again calling on Assembly Democrats to stop playing politics with women’s safety and passBrittany’s Law immediately.”

May 19, 2015 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, The Batavian Club.

The people who have joined The Batavian Club over the past two years have helped The Batavian tremendously. The membership dues have helped pay dues and helped us make more use of freelancers.

We even ended up hiring a contract worker to send out the most recent batch of membership kits (long, long overdue, which had a lot to do with my decision to just say, "I should hire somebody to do this work.").  

Join now and help us do more. We have a good group of people willing to help The Batavian and I'd like to throw more work their way. Join The Batavian Club and help employ local people.

You love The Batavian, so help us get better.

Use this button to set up a recurring annual payment of $50 (a discount for subscribing on an annual basis):

Use this button to make a single-year payment of $60:

May 19, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Falcone Electric.

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Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center officials announced today that the new owners of Falcone Electric, an electrical supply provider in Batavia, have completed repayment of a $100,000 revolving business loan issued by the GCEDC in 2010.

On January 1, 2010, Dan and Amy Vanderhoof purchased the assets of Falcone Electric from Michael Falcone with the assistance of GCEDC’s Revolving Loan Fund Program. The loan was issued to assist in the new owners’ purchase of the company and ensure that Falcone’s would continue to operate and provide jobs for the existing employees under the new ownership. Through the process, Michael Falcone was able to transition to retirement knowing that his three wishes for the business would be carried out – that Falcone Electric would remain a family owned and operated small business; it would maintain close ties to the local community; and it would support the employees and customer base that have been loyal to Falcone’s for many years.

The Revolving Business Loan also helped fund operating capital and the purchase of a computer warehouse management system. GCEDC provides this type of loan to fund investments that support enterprise sustainability, growth and job retention or creation.

“The GCEDC educated and guided us throughout the process in finding the loan program that was the perfect fit for our needs,” said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “It is comforting to know that there are financing opportunities for small businesses through local resources provided by entities such as the GCEDC.”

“Purchasing a business, especially a business with such a strong tradition, can be a daunting task especially in finding the capital to make such a transaction feasible, said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “Were it not for the Revolving Loan Fund program, we may not have been able to fulfill our dream in buying Falcone Electric from Mike.”

Upon the company’s purchase in 2010, the Vanderhoofs kept the company under the “Falcone” name and have made upgrades to modernize the store.

“We wanted to recognize Dan and Amy to simply remind small businesses that they have low-cost options when it comes to financing their business,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “What better testament to the revolving fund program than through business owners who were able to directly benefit from it.”

GCEDC offers revolving businesses loans at a minimum of $25,000 and maximum of $200,000. The utilization of the loan funds must be consistent with GCEDC’s mission to support enterprise sustainability and job retention and/or enterprise growth and job creation. For more information about GCEDC’s loan programs and incentive offerings, please visit www.gcedc.com.

Photo by Howard Owens.

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