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March 8, 2016 - 11:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

David Michael O'Connor, 55, of Byron, has been charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer, the Sheriff's Office has announced.

O'Connor is accused of firing a single round from a .22-caiber rifle from the window of his apartment at the Byron Hotel at Deputy Andrew Hale yesterday, blowing out the windows of Hale's patrol vehicle while Hale was performing a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Byron Arrow Mart.

Nobody was struck by the projectile and there were no injuries.

Hale was supported at the scene by Deputy Joseph Corona, who spotted a person in a second-floor window of hotel building.

O'Connor was taken into custody without incident.

He was initially charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal mischief and held on $25,000 bail.

With the new charge, O'Connor is now being held in the Genesee County Jail on no bail.

Previously: Single gunshot in Byron highlights the dangers of modern law enforcement

March 7, 2016 - 9:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

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With his life on the line this afternoon, Deputy Andrew Hale had to hope for the best after a single gunshot rang out in Byron and shattered two windows in his patrol vehicle.

He needed to assess the situation, and to do that, he had to get out of his car. He had to get out without knowing where the shot came from, and no immediate idea of where or how he should take cover.

It was a perilous moment.

"Where do I hide?" Hale said during a press conference at the Sheriff's Office less than four hours after the incident at the Arrow Mart in Byron. "Where do I go? That's not stuff they can teach you at the academy. That's something you've just got to roll the dice and hopefully, you get lucky."

Fortunately, Hale said, he had immediate backup.

Deputy Joseph Corona was at the side of his patrol vehicle just a few hundred feet away when he saw Hale exit his SUV.

"I did observe Deputy Hale exit his vehicle with kind of a stunned look on his face on what possibly may have happened," Corona said. "I saw him look around to the side of his vehicle at which time when he looked at the side of his vehicle, I watched the exterior glass fall out of his vehicle onto the parking lot of the Arrow Mart, at which point I saw him going to radio for assistance. At that point, I'd already placed my vehicle in drive. I went to go offer support and offer a cover for Deputy Hale, so I put my patrol vehicle in front of him and his vehicle. I didn't know what situation was going on but he said 'possible gunshot'; so in my mind, I utilized our vehicles, I utilized our training, I made sure Deputy Hale was OK."

Hale said, "It was good when somebody showed up at the scene and you know you've got a friend."

Corona noticed an open window on the second floor of the Byron Hotel and a man moving in and out of the window. Corona thought it was likely that's where the shot came from and tried to yell commands to the man by the window.

"He did not obey my instructions," Corona said. "Whether he didn't hear me or wasn't paying attention to me, I didn't know at that point. "`

The Arrow Mart was busy and there were civilians all around the intersection of Route 262 and Route 237. Corona and Hale shouted instructions for people to take cover and leave the area.

Backup arrived from the Sheriff's Office and State Police.

Hale, Corona, Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble and Undersheriff William Sheron entered the hotel and went to the second floor.

David Michael O'Connor, 55, of Room 3, Byron Hotel, Byron, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, a Class D felony, and third-degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony. Additional charges may be filed. He was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Hale and Corona were at the intersection running a traffic detail, watching for drivers without seatbelts. Corona would mark the spot and Hale would initiate the traffic stop.

At noon today, Hale stopped a vehicle in the parking lot of the Arrow Mart and wound through the routine -- speaking with the driver, who admitted to driving without a seatbelt, gathering his license, registration and insurance information and then returning to his patrol vehicle to check the data on his computer.

Once in the SUV, Hale heard "a pop" and the glass of his patrol vehicle's rear, passenger seat, windows shattered.

"At that point, you really don't know what's going on and you're trying to figure out, first, 'Was that a shot?' and second, 'Where did it come from?' " Hale said. "We were both sitting out in the open. It's a residential neighborhood and there are people 360 degrees around you and you don't know what window or what person. You don't know anything except that you potentially had gunfire."

The no-seatbelt driver got out his car.

Hale admitted, yeah, of course, it crossed his mind that the driver was the attacker. A person getting out of a vehicle is a big red flag for a cop, Hale said, but the driver immediately put his hands up and asked Hale if he was OK.

"Somebody who just shot at you doesn't throw up his hands in the air and ask if you're OK," Hale said. "Once I was kind of assured he wasn't a threat, my eyes went elsewhere."

The driver did not receive a citation.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman wouldn't speculate on what additional  charges O'Connor might face, but yes, there is an attempted murder of a police officer to consider.

O'Connor was allegedly found in possession of a .22 bolt-action, single-shot rifle. Maha said that when he entered Room #3, after the scene had been secured, he observed a box of shells on the bed. A casing was still in the rifle, but the slug has not yet been recovered.

Maha said only a single shot was fired.

Nobody was hurt.

There is no known motive at this time. O'Connor does have a local DWI arrest on his record from 2003 but had never had prior contact with Hale.

O'Connor "made certain admissions," Maha said, but wouldn't say what O'Connor said or characterize their nature.

Maha said there were indications O'Connor was under some recent stress and that he may have been a little intoxicated, though not noticeably intoxicated.

The job of law enforcement seems to have gotten more dangerous in recent years, Maha said.

"People seem to be more aggressive," Maha said. "I think it's a sign of the times, whether drug abuse, or alcohol abuse or stress, a lot of people out there with mental health issues."

Hale noted that so much of the work of law enforcement can be routine and it's easy to get complacent, but that's the last thing you want to do these days. So much has changed. 

"You try and remind yourself, and incidents like this do remind us that we do have to be vigilant out there," Hale said. "We have to pay attention. A simple stop for a seatbelt and look what it turned into. It's not that easy sometimes. You've got to see and keep yourself sharp and do your job.

"As the Sheriff stated," Hale added, "policing has changed now and the traffic stop has become, as a stated earlier, a 360. It's no longer just in front of you. You have to be more aware of the hostility toward police officers. You know, people walking down the street, you never know. I guess that's just part of the job now."

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March 7, 2016 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

A deputy making a traffic stop was reportedly fired upon early this afternoon at the Arrow Mart in Byron.

Deputy Andrew Hale and Deputy Joseph Corona were conducting a traffic detail when Hale initiated a traffic stop, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

After speaking with the driver, Hale was returning to his vehicle when he heard a pop and the rear window of his patrol vehicle shattered.

He radioed for backup and Corona noticed that an upper floor window of the Byron Hotel was open.  

Once backup arrived, Hale, Corona and Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble entered the building and located a man inside.

The suspect "made some admissions" and is currently in custody, Maha said.

No one was injured in the incident.

The Sheriff's Office is planning a press conference for 4 p.m.

March 7, 2016 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, byron, Bethany.

Justin T. Calmes, 37, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass and illegal disposal of items. Calmes allegedly dumped items into a dumpster at North Spruce Apartments when he did not have permission to use the dumpster.

Andrei P. Sliker, 25, of Silver Road, Bethany, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Sliker was taken into custody at 9:31 p.m. Thursday by Batavia PD and transported to City Court, where the matter was resolved.

James R. Kosiorek, 23, no permanent residence, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court by Rochester PD. Kosiorek was turned over to Batavia, was arraigned in City Court, and released.

Jessie M. Cramer, 30, of South Jackson Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Cramer was located on Jackson Street during an investigation into an unrelated matter. He was released on $500 police bail.

Kimberly M. Volk, 27, of Montclair Avenue, is charged with criminal using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Volk was contacted by police in front of Dollar General after a report of a verbal argument. She was allegedly found in possession of two glass crack pipes.

Shane Eric Ashton, 46, of Walkers Corners Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and moving unsafely from lane. Ashton was stopped at 2:34 a.m. Sunday on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Triton Adam Drock, 21, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to register change of address within 10 days. Drock was arrested on a warrant  of Town of Batavia Court. 

March 6, 2016 - 2:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

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A vehicle reportedly flipped over at Liberty and East Main streets in the City of Batavia, unknown injuries. City firefighters and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 2:50 a.m.: No injuries. Three people in the vehicle. A male said he was the driver and police were conducting a field sobriety test when we left the scene.

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March 5, 2016 - 4:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in the area of 2421 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

A person reportedly suffered a neck injury.

The victim is in the car of a passerby and is roadside awaiting the arrival of first responders.

The vehicle is on its side in a ditch.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

March 4, 2016 - 10:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news.
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   Timothy Weinstein

A 43-year-old Darien man has been charge with a felony and jailed on $20,000 bail for allegedly striking a woman with a 1x1 wooden board (length unspecified) and pushing her from his pickup truck at Route 77 and Sumner Road, Darien, just before 8 a.m. this morning.

The board strike broke the woman's arm, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Emergency dispatchers received a call about a woman with a broken arm who had been pushed from a vehicle at 7:52 a.m. The initial report also said the woman's face had been cut by a knife, but the Sheriff's Office report doesn't mention that injury.

Timothy M. Weinstein is also accused of breaking two mobile phones belonging to the victim and of growing marijuana.

He was identified as the suspect soon after the incident was reported and taken into custody a short time later.

He lives not far from the incident scene on Alleghany Road.

Weinstein is charged with secomd-degree assault, third-degree criminal mischief, criminal mischief, 4th, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, criminal possession of marijuana, 3rd, and unlawful growing of cannabis.

Following arraignment in Town of Darien Court, he was jailed on $20,000 bail or $40,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by deputies Lonnie Nati and Andrew Hale, investigators Chad Minuto and Joseph Graff, the Local Drug Task Force, Corfu PD and the State Police.

March 4, 2016 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC, business, news.

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gcedcannual2016-2.jpgWhen the 1366 Technologies plant opens in Alabama in 2017, it will be profitable on the first day of operation, Brian Eller, VP of manufacturing, revealed today during the annual meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center at Batavia Downs.

The solar wafer manufacturer has recently completed contracts with solar panel manufacturers that will fulfill orders for 60 percent of plant's production capacity, Eller said.

"This is part of the steady, deliberate process," Eller said. "We keep knocking them off to reduce the risk to the business, because if you sell everything before you start, then you execute, you don't have to go to market and figure out your market."

Eller was the keynote speaker for the annual meeting, which was attended by more than 350 people.

During his 20-minute presentation, Eller described the methodical approach 1366 Technologies has taken to build its business and the foundation for success. It's a classic start-up model: Begin with a prototype product and get it to market and see how it does, concentrate on a single product, then target a niche of customers, then scale your production once you're ready to reach a market with the potential to achieve substantial returns on investment.

The company was founded in 2008 in Bedford, Mass., where it set up a small, prototype plant to test its proprietary process for manufacturing silicon wafer chips for solar panels. That plant has produced and the company has sold thousands of wafers.

With the process established, 1366 began looking for a site appropriate for its business, settling on Alabama and GCEDC's STAMP project because of the promising local workforce, proximity to universities and the availability of clean, hydro energy.

"One of STAMP's strengths is the talent pool in the region," Eller said. “You know, the thing about changing the world is you need skilled people around you."

The company is planning a $700 million investment in its new facility, to be constructed on about 8 percent of the 12,500-acre WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. STAMP is the brainchild of Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC. The center is assisting in the project with tax abatements worth a potential $97 million over 10 years. The state and federal government have also pledged millions for infrastructure at the project site, which GCEDC and regional economic development agencies are working to fill with other high-tech manufacturers.

When the plant is at full capacity -- producing enough wafers each year to provide three gigawatts of electricity -- it will employ 1,000 people. In the near term, 1366 will hire 150 people, though Eller said there isn't a timeline on the hiring process yet. The company is still in the process of hiring consultants, planners, architects and engineers.

Eller did promise the development process will be public and transparent and that all who compete for contracts on the project will do so on a level playing field.

Eller is full of confidence that 1366 will revolutionize solar technology.

"Our process slashes the cost of making the wafer in half and in doing so drastically reduces the cost of solar energy," Eller said. "Those reductions, well, they accelerate adoption. We believe solar will be ubiquitous. It will displace coal as the cheapest fuel source on the planet."

The current process, which the industry has used for nearly four decades, requires multiple steps, using several machines and takes days. The 1366 process involves one machine that will produce a new wafer every 20 seconds.

The technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Instead of cutting and grinding solar ingots into flat wafers, which takes energy and produces waste, the 1366 process melts the silicon and floats it into thin layers that harden into silicon wafers.

Eller compared it to the Pilkington float glass process developed in the 1950s and still the process used today for manufacturing flat glass.

"Manufacturing process innovations like ours have true staying power," Eller said. "They simply don’t come along every day."

The solar industry is booming the world over.

Last year, 59 gigawatts of new solar capacity was brought online. That's the result of 240 million solar panels being produced. Eller said that's a big number, so to help understand it, he said, that's more electrical capacity than needed for a year by the entire State of New York.

"We make the most expensive part of the solar panel for half the cost," Eller said. "That was a hard problem to solve, but we've done it. Now we're free to pursue an $8 billion and growing solar market without distraction."

Eller acknowledged that there has been some bad news in the solar industry in recent years, with companies going under or changing directions, but Eller said the slow and deliberate process 1366 has pursued to build the company puts it in a position to succeed.

"The industry consists of exceptional businesses, both established and new, that are efficient, innovative and motivated," Eller said. "To be young in solar is not without its challenges and we are aware of other companies in solar that struggled to compete globally, focused on the wrong technologies or just simply scaled too quickly," Eller said. "We are focused on bringing a highly innovative product to market with deliberate and steady progress."

CLARIFICATIONS:

The folks at 1366 asked us to clarify, by "Day 1," they mean when the first plant is at full production, not the day the plant doors open. There will be a three- or four-month ramp up period to bring the plant up to production levels, which includes hiring and training workers.

Also, in reference to the amount of power from last year's productions of solar panels, we misunderstood.  It's not enough electricity to power of all of New York. It's enough for all New York households.

For prior coverage of 1366 Technologies, click here.

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Above, silicon nuggets. Silicon is produced from super heating silica, commonly found in sand, but also found in clay and rock (it's the most common mineral on the planet). When 1366 started to develop its process, silicon was still not a common wafer ingredient, but now 90 percent of all solar wafers manufactured today use silicon.

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Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer (above) and Assemblyman Steve Hawley (below) both spoke briefly and praised and thanked each other for their united effort to help provide the legislative support to bring 1366 to STAMP.

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Steve Hyde.

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Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature.

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GCEDC presented an Economic Development Award to the Batavia Development Corp., represented by Ray Chaya, the City of Batavia, Eugene Jankowski, and the Town of Batavia, Patti Michalak. Steve Hyde, back row, and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia to the right.

March 4, 2016 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, genesee county, Jay Gsell, news.

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It might seem odd that a man who has spent his entire professional career in government would distrust government, but if you understand there are different levels of government, it makes perfect sense.

And it explains why a man like Jay Gsell would use the experiences that shaped him as a youngster growing up in the 1960s to drive his chosen career path.

From the outset, Gsell avoided jobs in state and national bureaucracies and instead focused on local government, where he thought he could have the greatest impact, do the most good for the most people.

"I still have a rampant skepticism of state government and the federal government in terms of, you know, the attitudes in many cases where I don’t sense there has been a necessary evolution in many cases," Gsell said. "I like to think that what we do here at the local level, whether it’s at the city government level, a village level, town or county level, is we’ve done a lot a more, been a lot more progressive, been a lot more creative, tried to do things that work for the greater good of the greater number, with, I guess, a  sort of altruism."

Gsell's approach to his work as county manager -- a single-minded focus, dedication, and that sense of civic purpose -- is why he is the recipient of the 2015 Wolcott “Jay” Humphrey III Community Leadership Award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Not that local government is always perfect. Gsell, after all, grew up in New Jersey.

"Where I grew up in New Jersey, it was always government is just bad, you know," Gsell said "Even today you look at it and it still happens in New Jersey.  You look at the last three or four mayors in the city of Atlantic City. It’s not only a city that is totally bankrupt, but three or four of them were indicted. It’s kind of like the governors of Illinois. There’s a Who’s Who list on the post office in Atlantic City and it has more public officials on it than it does regular criminals."

There are bad actors everywhere, of course, but the value of local government is it is the government that is closest to the people and where the average citizen can have the most impact.

As a child of the 1960s, Gsell is well acquainted with the Vietnam War and Watergate. Those towering events influenced his views on bigger governments tremendously.

In college, Gsell's English class was given an essay assignment, asking the students to share their take on the Vietnam War. Gsell's response, "Why don't we get the hell out?" The U.S. had no business being there in the first place and people were spitting on returning soldiers.

"To me, that's really where I started to say, 'wow, I’m having sort of an epiphany here' in terms of, you know, the attitude," Gsell said. "Shortly thereafter we started seeing what was going on in the next administration in Watergate and other things and it just kind of kept reinforcing the fact that those next levels, those upper levels of government were, one, not the place I wanted to work, and two, the trust factors, things of that nature, were not real high."

Gsell couldn't escape Jersey right away. He needed a place to start, and he landed a job in Trenton. While at Trenton, he completed his master's in public administration, finishing the course work in 18 months. Gsell ran track in high school and in college, so he was able to get his master's at American University at no cost by becoming a track coach at the campus.

Gsell doesn't run anymore, because of a heart condition discovered and dealt with in 2010, but he can be found most mornings on the city's streets out for long walks. It's how he prepares his mind and body for a full day of work.

From Trenton, he traveled to Norton Shores, Mich., and Eau Claire, Wis. 

He worked in both cities for an administrator named Steve Atkins, who became a career-long friend and mentor.

After several years of working together, Atkins told him it was time for him to strike out on his own, lead his own administration. Gsell went to Marshalltown, Iowa, and Atkins ended up in a new job just down the road in Iowa City.

Atkins retired five years ago, but he and Gsell still talk regularly.

"We never stopped communicating in terms of what we’ve done throughout our careers," Gsell said.

In Marshalltown, Gsell found himself inheriting a financial crisis brought on by corruption. Marshalltown's treasurer and the president of the Iowa Trust were involved in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that wiped out $107 million worth of investments for 88 local governments.

"We woke up one day in December of 1991 and everything was gone, except the stuff he (the president of the trust) had, the boats and houses and some of the other, shall we say, accoutrements of a high lifestyle that he still possessed," Gsell said. "The local governments were on the verge of bankruptcy."

Marshalltown itself was out $7 million.

"About a year and a half later after we recovered 95 percent of the money," Gsell said. "The city attorney and I worked together and we got rid of the city treasurer. He had her escorted out by a police. She was 15-year employee who thought that she was untouchable but I said, 'Elaine, you had to know better.' "

Even though the fiasco started before Gsell took over as the administrator in Marshalltown, the turmoil didn't leave him unscathed. After it was resolved in 1993, "it became fairly obvious that it was time for me to seek other employment."

So he applied for the open county manager's spot in Genesee County, replacing Charlie Myers, who had been on the job for 11 years -- a long time for anybody to hold a top slot in local government.  

The county started with 90 candidates and when it was reduced to 10; the final 10 were brought to the town of a series of interviews with three or four panels of local community members.

Obviously, Gsell won the job. He's been at it for 23 years and though he knows retirement can't be too far away, he has no immediate plans to stop.

He's still energized by the challenge of making local government work, even in a climate of state and federal mandates, financial restrictions and ever tighter budgets.

Among the accomplishments Gsell thinks he can point to are assisting with the consolidation of emergency dispatch and helping the city get out of the ambulance business, and now he's charged up about potentially helping the YMCA expand its programs and possibly move into a new building.

Genesee County has provided the kind of stability he expected when he took the job.

"To me, this is pretty nonpartisan at the county government level," Gsell said. "I recognized that yes, Sheriff is Republican, Country Clerk is Republican, the DA is probably a Republican, and certainly the majority of legislators. But when it comes to my job, because my code of ethics says you have to be apolitical or basically you don’t belong in this profession, that’s worked out very well here and I think this country, in general, has conducted itself in that way.

"We have a service to provide. We have to do the best for the people that we serve and also we have to keep thinking about the idea that it’s not because that you have a political persuasion or that you have a certain status in the community."

Gsell leads a healthy and sober life. He sees that sort of straight-and-narrow discipline as part of his chosen career as much as understanding the numbers behind pension plans and the complicated formula for figuring out the tax cap. He hasn't consumed an adult beverage since the day he watched O.J. Simpson in his white Bronco on an L.A. freeway in 1994. 

"You will never see me in a police blotter or blowing anything but a .000000," Gsell said. 

He's also never even touched, even in college, any recreational drugs.

"I lead a pretty pedestrian life in that regard," he said. "To me, it's part not putting myself in those situations where it's like 'oh wow, look at that. That person thinks that they could get away with stuff because of his possession and his title.' I don't run that way. Basically, you live like you wanted to be treated. That means you are pretty much clean as the driven snow. I am not perfect certainly, but I also don't put myself in situations that I think reflects on what I think should be the image of this organization and what I would like to think is my personal persona in the community."

Gsell has served on the Board of Directors for United Way in every community he's worked. He's also active in Rotary, as well as other community organizations over the years. Community involvement, he said, has always been a way for him to expand his horizons and meet new people.

"I guess I call it my passion to be involved in those kinds of initiatives and those kinds of efforts, that say, 'This isn't just my day job, but it is also how I try to improve the community,' " Gsell said.

March 4, 2016 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield fire, Oakfield, news.

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Oakfield Fire Department has a new pumper. Well, not new, exactly. It's what's called a demo model, so it's like new, but allows the department to upgrade at a lower price.

The department spent $356,000 on the new engine, which is red, continuing the department's evolution away from lime green apparatus.  

The pumper is "an attack truck." It will be dispatched first to the scene of a fire for equipment and manpower. It's a side pumper and cab-over, which increases cargo space as well as personnel space.

The department took delivery of the new engine last night and expects to have it in service in about a week.

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Fire Chief Pete Scheiber hands over a check for the new engine to Rick Chick, sales rep for Churchville Fire Equipment. Also pictured, Fire District President Jeff McIntire.

March 4, 2016 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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It was Family Reading Night at Jackson School on Thursday night, with parents joining their children for events at the school, including community volunteers reading to students.

Above, City Schools Superintendent Chris Dailey reading to a class.

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Barbara Holder, who retired many years ago from teaching, but still regularly volunteers at Jackson School, was the reader in another classroom.

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Batavia Police Officer Pete Flanagan.

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Shaley Johnson plays a puzzle game with Jesse Higgins.

March 4, 2016 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, as well as an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc.’s Koolatron project, at its March 3 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort will add two new attractions in time for its 2016 operating season, including a six-flume water slide and a roller coaster train. The new attractions are part of the company’s 2016 Tourism Destination Project aimed to enhance visitor experience.

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $189,200 and the project’s planned capital investment will total an estimated $2.8 million.

“We are very pleased to have such tremendous support from the GCEDC in our efforts to offer guests the highest quality, most memorable visitor experiences,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager, Darien Lake. “GCEDC’s investment in our 2016 Tourism Destination Project will help us remain one of the Northeast’s most attractive tourist attractions.”

“As one of Genesee County’s largest employers, Darien Lake is one of the most powerful economic contributors to our local economy, providing over 400 full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 2,000 seasonal positions each year,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman. “The GCEDC remains committed to investing in projects that will enhance the park and allow it to continue serving as one of our region’s most popular tourist destinations.”

In addition, the GCEDC board approved an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc., which provides distribution services to the United States for Koolatron Corporation, a Canadian-based manufacturer of consumer goods. Koolatron’s distribution center has operated in Batavia since 1979 and plans to add 25,000 square feet to its existing 45,000-square-foot facility in order to increase production and expand its global footprint.

The company was approved to receive a total of $172,096 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The capital investment for the project is approximately $750,000. Since the company is receiving incentives of more than $100,000 there will be a public hearing at a time, date and location to be determined.

March 4, 2016 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in polls, news.

March 4, 2016 - 8:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, accident.

Smoke is coming from a vehicle with heavy front-end damage following an accident at Route 98 and Lockport Road, Elba.

There's a possible minor injury.

Elba Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 8:56 a.m.: Lockport Road is completely blocked.

March 3, 2016 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, batavia.

A couple who met on Robbins Road, Le Roy, on Feb. 21 to discuss their relationship was subsequently arrested on felony charges after one was hospitalized and the other had her car seriously damaged.

Le Roy PD reports that Rebecca L. Rose, 23, of North Street, Le Roy, and Jeffrey W. Scott, of Walnut Street, Batavia, were in Rose's car discussing their relationship when things got heated. Scott allegedly became violent and caused $1,643.48 in damage to the interior of Rose's car.

Scott then reportedly got out of the vehicle and Rose allegedly backed over him and then, in pulling forward to leave, ran over him a second time.

Scott suffered pain and abrasions over several parts of his body. He was transported to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

Scott was charged with one count of criminal mischief, 3rd, a Class E felony, and Rose was charged with one count of assault, 2nd, a Class D felony, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Both were arraigned in Le Roy Town Court both were released on their own recognizance.

March 3, 2016 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Region Independent Living Center, batavia, arts.

artcoveimg_0620.jpg

Clients of Independent Living of the Genesee Region in Batavia have a new option for getting involved in artistic creation thanks to a donation of an Artcovz by the University Heights Arts Association in Buffalo.

Lawrence Kinney, who founded the association with is wife, Mary, made the kiosk with a 100-year-old humidor as the foundation and was on hand Wednesday for the donation ceremony.

Mary Kinney explained that a primary goal of the association is to make art accessible to communities that are underserved in the arts, such as those with limited ability to get around or limited finances.

"Anybody who passes by is welcome to take a project," Mary said. "The projects are free they contain everything from drawing to small sculpture projects, garden art, adult color sheets, CD samples, lectures, and we change out the art frequently. Also we have little donation box at bottom to allow people to pay it forward. We do accept donations of paper, pencils and old craft supplies."

Lawrence Kinney said part of the inspiration for the idea comes from the Little Free Library movement, were people set up boxes that act as roadside lending libraries.

One of his specialities as an artist is reclaiming old furniture, especially pieces made from hardwoods, and turning the furniture into art projects.

The one at the Independent Living center at 113 Main St., Batavia, began as an old humidor and he built it up into a kiosk with space for a varity of art materials.

The association is interested in connecting with any location, including local businesses, that would like to host a kiosk.

"Western New York has a wonderful art communtiy, but a lot of the art organizations serve seasoned artists and we want to serve underserved populations, like people with disabilities, who might not otherwise access programs as easily," she said.

March 3, 2016 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (NY-27) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) today released the following statements after H.R. 3716, the Ensuring Removal of Terminated Providers from Medicaid and CHIP Act,was unanimously approved by the House. This legislation included H.R. 3821, the Medicaid Directory of Caregivers Act (Medicaid DOC Act), legislation Representatives Collins and Tonko introduced to improve access to doctors for Medicaid beneficiaries.

“Ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries can quickly and easily find out what doctors they can visit is a commonsense and simple fix,” Congressman Collins said. “This legislation will increase health care access and efficiency for the most vulnerable, while reducing emergency room care. It’s a win-win. I want to thank Congressman Tonko for his steadfast efforts in helping to pass this vital reform through the House and look forward to this legislation being signed into law.”

“Ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries have the all the information they need when seeking care is a commonsense safeguard in our system,” Congressman Tonko said. “This bill will make it easier for patients to know their options and find a doctor. I have enjoyed working with Congressman Collins on this legislation, and I thank him for his work to improve care for Medicaid patients.”

The Medicaid DOC Act makes it easier for Medicaid beneficiaries to find doctors that accept their coverage by requiring states that operate a fee-for-service or primary care case management program to include a directory of physicians who served Medicaid patients in the prior year on the Medicaid program’s Web site. The listing on the state’s Medicaid website will include the physician’s name, address, telephone number, and specialty. This will help Medicaid beneficiaries easily identify doctors who can serve them.

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