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June 6, 2015 - 8:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

A resident on Alleghany Road in Corfu reported a "robbery" to a 9-1-1 dispatcher, and then hung up, but the first police officer responding said it wasn't a robbery, it was a larceny.

"No money was taken," the officer said.

What was taken was an empty can. It's normally a money receptacle for money people buying campfire wood from the residence.

The suspect, wanted for attempted larceny, ran into the woods.

A possible description is a late teens to age 25 white male, 5' 6" to 5' 9". He has on a ball cap and backpack. The backpack is military green. He was also wearing a green shirt and shorts (no color provided on the shorts).

UPDATE (By Billie) 8:15 p.m.: An officer reports the suspect may be at the entrance to Darien Lake Theme Park.

June 6, 2015 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, religion, St. James Episcopal Church.

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St. James Episcopal Church celebrated 200 years in Batavia today with a special service highlighted by musical performances and officiated by Bishop William Franklin of the Western New York Diocese and former interim pastor Allen Farabbe.

A six-piece brass ensemble and percussion section, led by Dave Porter, performed “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Lift High the Cross” and “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.”

The Genesee Chorale, conducted by Ric Jones, also performed, with accompaniment by pianist Doug Henson.

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June 6, 2015 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pudgie's Lawn and Garden, Gardening, batavia.

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Pudgie's Garden Center hosted a butterfly clinic today taught by Ardell Olin. Visitors could learn about what plants attract butterflies and the type of habitats they prefer. (For example, they like rocks to land on to dry their wings.)

Above, Tracy Dean, of Alexander, with her son Keith prepare to leave with a couple of plant purchases after talking with Olin.

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June 6, 2015 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, veterans, PTSD, batavia.

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The names of five more veterans were added to a walkway of honor at the VA's PTSD Clinic in Batavia this afternoon. There are 45 names on the walkway. Each year, the names of those who have been through the PTSD program but passed in the previous year are added to the walkway.

June 6, 2015 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 5K, darien lake, coor me rad.

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June 6, 2015 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 5K, sports, all babies cherished, batavia.

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The first runner rounds the corner on Bank Street this morning to start a 5K race benefiting All Babies Cherished.

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June 6, 2015 - 9:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama, outdoors.

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Five-year-old Ryan is all business as he waits for the start of this morning's youth fishing derby at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. It's the 24th year for the event. This year, as of 8:10 a.m., 30 children had signed up.

Ryan is with is dad, Dave, and brother, David, 7. The family lives in Alabama.

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June 5, 2015 - 8:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lawn Fete, batavia.

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The 59th annual Resurrection Parish Lawn Fete is under way.

Festivities continue tomorrow from 1 to 11 p.m., and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday outside the church, 2 Summit St.

The annual parade is tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

There are rides, raffles, live music, games and a beer tent to keep both the kiddies and adults entertained.

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June 5, 2015 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Police Facility.

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The way Ron Panek sees it, there's no way the city should build a police station at the Salvation Army location on Jackson Street.

Panek is Batavia's certified floodplain manager, trained by FEMA in Washington, D.C., on issues related to floodplains in municipal areas.

The Police Facilities Task Force, which had winnowed possible locations for a new police HQ down to three locations, including Jackson Street, heard from Panek and Assistant City Manager Gretch Difante during a meeting Thursday evening.

"As floodplain manager, I have to strongly discourage (the Jackson Street location)," Panek said. "I can't tell you, you know, you can't do this, but common sense should tell you that in a catastrophic event, we don't want our critical response facility in a floodplain."

Panek said he decided to bring his concerns to the assistant city manager and city manager after he saw Jackson Street was still under consideration by the committee after eliminating several other proposed locations.

The task force considered what Panek and Difante had to say and as a matter of consensus, agreed to drop the Salvation Army location from consideration.

It's not just the obvious problem of the facility becoming potentially unusable during a flood emergency that concerned task force members, it's also what such a building decision could do to the price of flood insurance for city residents.

There are two programs that impact local insurance rates and evaluators for both programs would take a dim view of the city building critical response facility in a floodplain.

Both Difante and Panek hedged on any sort of guarantee that rates would go up, but certainly left the impression that would be the expected outcome.

The issue is important to all residents of the city, Difante said.

"There are 1,050 properties in the special flood-hazard area," Difante said. "Without some kind of relief, these individuals can't sell their homes. Some have had to abandon properties, or they can't afford repairs or they wind up in a short sale for a loss. Do we really believe that if 1,050 properties suffer we don't all suffer? It affects the whole city."

There are residents, City Manager Jason Molino said, paying more than $1,000 a year in flood insurance, which is higher than their city taxes. He said taking two houses, one in a floodplain and one not, and doing a comparison on lot size, building size and year built, a house in the flood zone is assessed at about 15 percent less than a house in a flood area.

The city has been a part of the National Flood Insurance Program since 1977. The current city fire station and Falleti Ice Arena complex was build with federal grants prior to 1977. If the city was seeking similar funding today, there's no way the government would fund that facility in a floodplain.

The location of the fire hall in a floodplain is another reason, Molino said, that the city shouldn't also build a police station in a floodplain, even though a new building would be elevated, use other strategies to mitigate flood damage.

"If you have a catastrophic event, I'm sure the building would be good, but it would be surrounded by water," Molino said. "You wouldn't have access to it. You wouldn't have utilities. You wouldn't be able to use it."

Under the NFIP, FEMA could tack on a $20 surcharge on everybody's flood insurance policy if the city built a new police headquarters in a flood zone.

"We are obligated to follow FEMA's rules and regulations," Panek said. "If we do not follow all of the rules of FEMA, which highly discourages building critical response facilities in flood zones, we could be sanctioned by the NFIP."

One of Difante's tasks since starting her job last year has been to get the city into a federal program that, essentially, helps lower insurance rates for property owners. The city's flood readiness and mitigation efforts are rated, points are assessed; and the higher the point total, the lower the insurance rates.

Difante met with a federal auditor May 14 and that date is a significant demarcation on how the city is scored going forward. In other words, the location of the fire hall doesn't hurt the city's score, because it's pre-existing, but building a new critical response facility in a floodplain could potentially lower the city's score.

"(May 14) was Day 1," Difante said. "That day started the new rules. They're going to look at things differently. It's not a clean mathematical scale. There is so much human decision making that goes into it. It's subjective, so I don't want to say it will hurt our score, but they can take points off for that, yes. Does that mean rates go higher? I don't know if we can say that. There are also other ways we can make up points. It's a very multifacited, multilayered system."

The decision to drop Jackson Street leaves the task force looking at two final locations -- Alva Place and Bank Street, in the heart of Downtown Batavia, and at the former Wiard Plow Factory location on Swan Street.  The task force is inviting the public to a 6 p.m. meeting June 23 to hear a presentation on how the task force arrived at the two final locations and to solicit public feedback. The meeting will be in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Near the close of Thursday night's meeting, task force members raised the issue of what happens to the Brisbane Mansion if the police vacate the building for a new facility. A couple of task force members were worried some residents might raise that as a concern. Chairman Marc Staley said there is an easy answer to that question: The task force wasn't charged with deciding the fate of the Brisbane Mansion. That is beyond the purview of what it was asked to study.

June 5, 2015 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted applications for assistance from Manning Squires Henning Co., Inc., and ADK Hospitality, LLC, at its June 4, 2015 board of directors meeting.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is proposing to expand its corporate offices and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia by up to 5,000 square feet. The project also would include renovations of the company’s existing shop and office space.

Founded in 1958, Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is a general contractor that has worked on various high profile projects over the years including work at the Rochester School of the Arts, Kodak Park, Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse, Monroe Community College, and Bausch & Lomb Rundell Library among many others.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is seeking sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $170,556 in estimated incentives. The capital investment would be approximately $1.3 million and would retain 88 jobs and create five new jobs.

ADK Hospitality, LLC, is proposing to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s gaming facility. ADK Hospitality, LLC, is seeking an estimated $638,193 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

June 4, 2015 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew, Le Roy, business, entertainment, music.

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The Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew in Le Roy kicked off a summer series Battle of the Bands on Wednesday night.

For each of the next 10 weeks, 10 bands will compete to move on to the next round. One band each Wednesday is playing from at least 8 to 9 p.m. (the period of judging, the bands may play longer).

The series kicked off with a performance by JP Shaggy, from Syracuse.

There will also be bands in the competition from the local area as well as Buffalo and Rochester, said Jimmy B, from Jimmy B entertainment, who is organizing the event with Smokin' Eagle co-owner Jon Marcello.

There is a panel of five judges. They will judge the bands on stage presentation, time management, sound quality, band synchronization, band enthusiasm, and attitude and audience response.

The top six bands move onto the semi-finals. Round 2 will be three weeks of two bands each week, top seed vs. bottom seed. 

The finalists will compete Sept. 19, which is a Saturday, from 2 to 10 p.m. That event will be a fundraiser for a charity yet to be selected. There will be other entertainment along with raffles and drawings.

JP Shaggy is Jason Krueger.  To find out more about him, visit his Facebook page.

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June 4, 2015 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, arts, schools, education.

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Le Roy High School hosted a student Fine Arts Festival yesterday evening. Here are 12 photos from the event.

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June 4, 2015 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, National Grid.

Some 1,270 customers are without power in the Darien Area, around Richley Road, but the cause has not yet been determined, a spokesman for National Grid said.

Stephen Brady said crews have been dispatched to investigate the issue and devise a repair.

A Genesee County dispatcher said there was no related emergency call that might help suggest a cause for the outage. Dispatchers have received several calls from residents about the outage. They know about it, but don't know why it happened and have no further information to provide to callers.

The incident has been reported as three separate outages.

We'll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m.: Stephen Brady, spokesman for National Grid, said: "Stations and lines were re-energized at 11:24 a.m." There was a problem found with National Grid equipment on one of the utility's lines that caused a trip, he said.

June 4, 2015 - 5:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A 7-year-old girl had to run a half-mile to get assistance from an area farmer after the ATV she was riding in overturned and trapped the driver under the rollbar in an accident that occured at 6:50 p.m. near Colby Road, Darien, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The driver, James E. Lipinski, 52, of Richley Road, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later by Coroner Karen Lang.

The child was a family acquaintance.

She and Lipinski had stopped a short time before the accident and visited with local farm owner Daniel Miller. Lipinski then drove off toward another field.

The ATV, a 2012 Polaris Ranger, was reportedly driving in a field along a wood line when it came down a slope. Lipinski apparently attempted a right turn. It's unknown if the Ranger came down the hill too quickly or if Lipinski attempted too sharp a turn, but the ATV overturned onto the driver's side. Lipinski was partially ejected and trapped under the rollbar frame of the Polaris.

After the accident, the girl ran to Miller's location and took him back the site of the accident. Miller called 9-1-1 and assisted law enforcement in getting to the accident scene.

It's unknown whether the girl was wearing a seatbelt or if she was also ejected. She appeared to have sustained only bumps and bruises.

Lipinski's remains were taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office by C.B. Beach Funeral Home, of Corfu.

The girl was transported by Darien Ambulance to Womens' and Children's Hospital in Buffalo for evaluation.

The Darien and Corfu volunteer fire departments assisted at the scene. Also assisting the Sheriff's Office were Officer Richard Retzlaff, Corfu PD, and a state trooper. 

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by Deputy Michael Lute, Deputy James Diehl and Investigator William Ferrando.

June 3, 2015 - 10:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford.

Mercy Flight is landing at a location off Route 33 in Stafford following a report of a car hitting a deer in the area.

A person was initially reported suffering a head injury.

Stafford fire and Mercy EMS are on scene.

UPDATE 10:19 p.m.: Mercy Flight is in route to Strong Memorial Hospital.

June 3, 2015 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Adam Miller Toy and Bicycles, batavia.

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Bruce Reisdorf stopped at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle today for some repairs while in Batavia as part of his "Tour de Empire." Reisdorf is riding from New York City to Niagara Falls to help raise money for diabetes research and education. 

In Niagara, Reisdorf will take part on the Tour de Cure, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.

One reason he came through Batavia is his brother-in-law is Mike Easton, manager of the M&T Bank branch here.

You can find out more about Reisdorf and his ridet on his blog.

Also pictured, Adam Miller's owner, John Roche.

June 3, 2015 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, schools, education, batavia.

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Fifth-grade students at Batavia Middle School completed a 10-week course of study today into various worldwide leaders in human rights. The course culminated with each student dressing as their chosen leader and making a presentation for parents who attended the event in the school's library. The students were required to read a book, research a Web site and a database on their chosen leader. They also drew posters of the leaders.

Above, Betty Cherry as Maya Angelou.

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Allyson Clemm as Julia Ward Howe.

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Roger Jones as Booker T. Washington.

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June 3, 2015 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in trains, batavia.

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Hanging out this morning on Lehigh Avenue and later on South Jackson waiting for an Amtrak train (for another story) that we never saw (a long story), I took pictures of these two CSX trains.

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June 3, 2015 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy princess, agriculture, UMMC, business.

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Press release:

The Genesee County Dairy Princess honored the first baby born in Genesee County during the month of June 2015 as the Dairy Baby. Marleigh Grace Wright, a baby girl, was born to Tammy and Jeffery Wright, of Warsaw, on Monday, June 1st at 3:51 a.m. at United Memorial Medical Center. She weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 19 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Richard Edwards. Marleigh joins an older brother, Mason, 14, at home.

June is National Dairy Month which honors traditions and celebrates the contributions of the dairy industry by promoting nutrient-rich dairy foods.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, Pavilion sophomore,Emily Mikel, and her mother, Sue Mikel, presented the Wright family with a basket of dairy products including yogurts, product coupons, cheeses, and a number of other infant items.

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