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Results of Tuesday's village elections

By Howard B. Owens

Jennifer Keys, a regular contributor to The Batavian, was elected to a village trustee seat in the Le Roy election yesterday.

She was one of four people to win a contested seat in the five village elections held Tuesday.

Also winning in Le Roy was Robert Taylor.

The winners in Corfu were David Bielec and Thomas Sobczak.

(via WBTA)

Bergen man suspected of DWI dies shortly after arrest

By Howard B. Owens

A 47-year-old Bergen man suspected of DWI died shortly after being arrested Tuesday evening, despite the best efforts of Sheriff's deputies and EMS personnel to revive him.

Richard Fox, of 7936 Swamp Road, was pronounced dead at UMMC at 7:33 p.m.

The incident started at 5:59 p.m. when Deputy Timothy Wescott was dispatched to the Fox residence after a 9-1-1 call reported that Fox had just gotten in his car while intoxicated and driven off.

When Wescott arrived at the address, he reportedly found Fox's car in the driveway and Fox was in his residence, so Wescott questioned him about the alleged drinking and driving.

Based on the interview, Wescott conducted a field sobriety test. Fox reportedly failed the test and was placed into custody.

After Fox was handcuffed and placed in a patrol vehicle, he asked to speak to his wife.

Fox is described in a Sheriff's Office press release as cooperative throughout the entire process.

After Fox finished talking with his wife, Wescott noticed that Fox had become unresponsive. About this time, Deputy Chris Parker arrived on scene.

Wescott and Parker began to administer CPR to Fox and the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department ambulance was dispatched to the location.

The medics took over resuscitation procedures and began the transport to UMMC.

Efforts to revive Fox at UMMC were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead.

The investigation into his death is ongoing by the Sheriff's Office, Coroner Robert Yungfleisch and the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office.

Woman taken by Mercy Flight to Strong following accident on Ellicott

By Howard B. Owens

A 79-year-old Batavia woman was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital following a semi-truck vs. car accident at Jackson and Ellicott streets this evening.

The car was apparently flipped over by an 18-wheeler and it landed on its roof, narrowly missing the gas pumps at the Red Apple Kwik Fill.

The driver of the truck, Slawomir Milczek, said he never even saw the car until after he stopped to check his brake lines and saw the vehicle on its roof at the gas station.

“I didn’t see any car," Misezek said.  "I just come here, and ‘oh, my God. The car is in the gas station. What happened?’ I don’t know."

Sgt. John Peck said the initial investigation indicates the driver of the car failed to yield the right-of-way as she turned onto Ellicott from Jackson.

The car, driven by Josephine Barone of Swan Street, was caught under the wheels of the trailer, thrown into a railroad-crossing sign and flipped over onto its roof near the gas pumps.

“I don’t know what her condidtion is, but I did speak to her briefly and she was conscious and alert," Peck said. "I’m sure a lot of it is precautionary, but I don’t know the extent of her injuries.”

Mercy Flight landed in the parking lot of the Salvation Army.

Misezek was emotional and animated as he described the accident to local media (pictured above).

“Then I hear very big noise. Boom." Misezek said. "I think, my air hose is broken. And then I was a stoppen on the railway, so I can’t stop, so I move a little bit forward, OK. And then I was stoppen there. I just went from the truck and ‘what’s going on?’ I didn’t see anything around me."

LISTEN (recommended): Slawomir Milczek describe the accident (mp3).

Capacity turnout for community meeting on sex offenders

By Howard B. Owens

Good turn out tonight for the community meeting on sex offenders called for by Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian and organized by Police Chief Randy Baker and members of his department.

Top photo is Det. Pat Corona explaining some of the information available to the community on sex offenders.

After his opening remarks, Det. Corona showed a video about the New York sex offender database.

And it was at that point that I had to leave rather abruptly to cover the accident at Jackson and Ellicott.

Motor vehicle accident prompts Mercy Flight to land on Jackson Street in Batavia

By Billie Owens

A motor vehicle accident in downtown Batavia prompted the landing just minutes ago of a Mercy Flight helicopter in the parking lot of the Salvation Army Store on Jackson Street (the old Star Market).

At the accident scene nearby, a car is reported to be on its roof, which required extrication of the occupant(S). Mercy EMS met the helicopter out of Buffalo at the gate of the Salvation Army.

No further details yet.

UPDATE 7:36 p.m.: The Life Flight helicopter is airborne, bound for Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.


Attorney says he's ready to defend Scott Doll in murder trial

By Howard B. Owens

BATAVIA, NY -- Scott Doll didn't kill Joseph Benaquist. That's the defense attorney Paul Cambria said he will present at the Corfu man's murder trial starting May 3.

Cambria won't rely on expert psychological testimony to try and explain Doll's actions or statements, Cambria said at a hearing in Genesee County Court this morning.

"There is no such defense," Cambria told Judge Robert Noonan after District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked for the results of any psychological evaluation of Doll. Cambria said no such evaluation has been done because Doll's state of mind won't be an issue in the trial.

"The defense is the defendant is not guilty. That’s the defense. We do not intend to offer any sort of psychological testimony. He didn't do it. That’s the the defense of the case."

Today's hearing was primarily to give Doll a chance to accept any plea offer before the trial date is confirmed, but Friedman hasn't made a plea offer to Doll.

"It has been the understanding from the start of this case that it had to be tried and Mr. Cambria agreed with that assessment," Friedman said.

The two attorneys, as well as Cambria's co-counsel, Daniel Killelea, discussed various issues regarding evidence in the case.

Killelea raised a concern about the prosecution's inability, so far, to narrow the time of Benaquist's death further than some time between 4:45 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. p.m., Feb. 16-17, 2009 (the prosecution puts the time of attack at between 4:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.).

"Obviously, a more narrow time is important to us as we prepare our defense, and at trial, to effectively represent Mr. Doll," Killelea said.

Judge Noonan said he couldn't really order the prosecution to name a more particular  time if Friedman doesn't have the evidence to draw that conclusion.

Outside of court, Cambria said the Sheriff's Office and District Attorney reached a hasty conclusion that Doll killed the 66-year-old Benaquist, who was found bludgeoned to death in the driveway of his Pembroke home. Cambria said they concluded Doll was the killer even before all of the forensic evidence was gathered.

"They rushed to judgement here," Cambria said. "In two days they had an indictment. We’re getting reports now (from the forensics lab). We just got one last week. And here they are rushing to judgment two days after it’s over. As far as we’re concerned, they have their opinion and when they get to court and they get crossed examined and we put in our evidence, then the jury will make a determination."

Sheriff's Office investigators say Doll was found covered with blood wandering on the east side of North Lake Road. 

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

For previous coverage, click here.

Photos: Cambria, back left, Killelea, and Doll exit the court house. Inset: Paul Cambria talks with the media.

Alleged shoplifting leads Le Roy Police on string of arrests

By Howard B. Owens

It started out as a simple shoplifting accusation against a 16-year-old girl in Le Roy and wound up leading to a series of arrests including charges of assault, underage drinking and stealing.

The initial complaint came in on Feb. 27, when Le Roy Police were called to a local business that alleged a 16-year-old Village girl had stolen items and when confronted by management, the girl fought with them causing injury.

The girl was charged with petit larceny and assault, 3rd. She was jailed on an unspecified amount of bail.

During the investigation, police found two people under age 21 in possession of alcohol. Charged with unlawful possession of alcohol were Kenneth Michael Gray, 18, of 77 Myrtle St., Le Roy, and Nicholas A. Thurley, 19, of 61 Myrtle St., Apt. A-7, Le Roy.

Another person, Alan J. Delano, 19, of 556 Peck Road, Spencerport, was arrested on a warrant out of Monroe County. He allegedly gave a false name to police. He was charged with one count of criminal impersonation, 2nd.

Delano was jailed, but posted bail and was released from Genesee County custody and immediately picked up by Monroe County on the outstanding warrant.

Detective John Condidorio then determined that a coat containing a wallet and three credit cards found inside of a car was stolen from a house in Brockport. On Sunday, Condidorio relocated Delano and he was charged with three counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Police Beat: State police arrest man on drug charges in Alabama

By Howard B. Owens

John P. Richter, 57, of East Amherst, is charged with DWI, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia (scales) and unlawful possession of marijuana. Richter was stopped by state police on Route 77 in Alabama at 2:35 a.m., Monday. No further details were released.

Kyler S. Hapeman, 19, of 306 Caroline St., Albion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Hapeman was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during a traffic stop by Deputy Kevin McCarthy at 7:16 p.m., Monday, on Knowlesville Road in Alabama.

Linda M. Clemens, 49, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief and harassment, 2nd. Clemens was arrested by state police at 11 Mix Place, Batavia, at 7:30 p.m, Sunday in connection with an alleged incident in Stafford. No further details were released.

Accidents from the state police blotter:

8:35 a.m., Sunday, Thruway, Le Roy, mile marker 379.6, one vehicle; Driver 1: Patrick D. McCarthy, 41, of Stratford. No injuries reported.

Legislator Zambito throwing his hat in the ring for County Attorney job

By Howard B. Owens

(Updated 8:17 a.m., Tuesday)

Charles Zambito -- currently the county legislator serving District 2 (Elba, Byron and Bergen) -- would very much like to be the new county attorney.

With the retirement of John Rizzo this month, Zambito has let his fellow legislators -- who will pick the new county attorney -- know that he would like the job.

"It’s something that I had my eye on if there was an opening, but who knew if there would be an opening?" Zambito said Monday afternoon. "This is the opportunity and I’m interested."

Inarguably, the Elba resident is qualified. He's clerked for two local judges, worked as a public defender in Monroe County and spent 11 years in the local district attorney's office. He's also got decades of experience in insurance liability and litigation, not to mention the more than eight years he's served as a county legislator.

"Obviously, my experience with the county legislature got me interested in it, but it’s the kind of job that sort of fits with what I’ve been doing for the past almost 30 years," Zambito said.

The legislature will meet in closed session on Wednesday morning to discuss the county attorney position. Zambito's application for the job is likely to be considered. The topic is also on the Ways and Means Committee agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

County Legislature Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock said since the legislature has not yet discussed the issue as a group, she couldn't say how Zambito's application will be received, but she said Zambito certainly seems qualified for the job.

"He has the experience," she said. "He's a good attorney and he has experience in insurance and risk management."

She added that his experience as a county legislator also helps.

In talking with Chuck on Monday afternoon, he clearly has an enthusiasm for the job and is hoping that the other legislators will support his application. He isn't applying for the job just because it seems like the thing to do -- he sees it as the right thing for him to do at this point in his career.

"I think I can fit in fairly well," Zambito said. "John’s been there a long time – over 30 years – I don’t know that anybody can just step in and replace him, but I think I can probably do as good a job as anybody with my background."

Legislative committee moves forward with $600,000 airport hangar project

By Howard B. Owens

A new eight-bay hangar at the Genesee County Airport, with a price tag of about $600,000, received an initial OK from the Public Services Committee this afternoon.

In three resolutions -- one for construction of a required taxiway apron, another for a consultation agreement, and one for creation of a capitol project budget -- the legislative committee put in motion an effort to increase the amount of hangar space for airplanes at the facility.

Tim Hens, county highway superintendent, said the hangars will generate $30,000 in revenue.

"We already have a waiting list," Hens said. "The last set we built, we filled before they were even completed. The hangars will have an 11-year payback."

The committee voted unanimously to award the contract for apron construction -- at $359,704 -- to Stafford's A.D. Call & Sons. Hens noted it's been a long time since a local contractor won a bid with the county of this significance.

The FCC provides the grant money for construction of the apron, which is required to get the grant money to proceed with the design of the hangars.

C&S Companies out of Syracuse was awarded the design contract.

Once the design is completed, the actual construction of the hangars will go out to bid.

Sales-tax revenue has already been set aside to pay for the anticipated $600,000 construction cost, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

On the same committee agenda today, the committee approved purchase of two new vehicles for the highway department. The winning bidder is Van Bortel Ford in Pittsford. Some committee members expressed an interest in awarding the contract to Le Roy Motors, which offered a bid only $300 higher than Von Brotel. Gsell cautioned the committee that state law prohibits "local preference" in awarding contracts.

Police Beat: Man accused of breaking into ex-girlfriend's basement and sleeping

By Howard B. Owens

Charles Daniel Bucci, 34, of 22219 Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and criminal mischief. Bucci is accused of kicking in the basement door of his ex-girlfriend's house, breaking the glass in the process. He was reportedly found at 2:49 a.m., Saturday, sleeping in the basement.

Sara Jo Likus, 24, of School Street, East Pembroke, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal trespass. Likus is accused of entering a residence in Le Roy without permission on Wednesday evening and getting in a fight with a woman at that residence. A 5-year-old child was home at the time.

Malik I. Ayala, 18, of 44 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with robbery, 2nd, petit larceny and endangering the welfare of a child. Ayala is accused of stealing an MP3 player from a 15-year-old youth in the parking lot of MacArthur Park. Another suspect has been identified and is being sought by police. Ayala was jailed without bail.

Amy Lynn Showler, 34, of 9 Pearl St., lower, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Showler is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Wendelyn Leigh Ruiz, 48, of 177 Menard Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI and reckless driving. After receiving a report of a vehicle operating erratically and forcing oncoming vehicles on to the shoulder on Route 33 in the Town of Batavia, Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello made contact with a vehicle allegedly driven by Ruiz. Upon investigation, Sgt. Sanfratello concluded that Ruiz was allegedly operating under the influence of prescription drugs.

Adam A. Fusco, 28, of 3613 Retsof Road, Retsof, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Fusco was reportedly stopped by Deputy Patrick Reeves at 9:58 p.m., Friday, in the area of 675 Main Road, Pembroke.

Kurt Walter Guhman, 37, of 6213 Route 5, Stafford, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Guhman is accused of taking his wife's mobile phone during a domestic dispute, preventing her from making a call for help. Guhman was arrested at 8:15 p.m., Friday. He was jailed on $500.

William Holtz McGorray, 44, of 237 Wright Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, and unsafe turn/failure to signal. McGorray was reportedly stopped by Deputy Jason Saile on Wright Road 2:44 a.m., Friday.

Joseph Nicholas Striegel, 19, of 509 Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Striegel is accused of hosting an underage drinking party. He was arrested at 1:14 a.m., Sunday.

Matthew Scott Williams, 22, of 5012 Hundredmark Road, Elba, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Williams is accused of stealing a shotgun.

Matthew Legler, 20, of 736 Paul Road, Chili, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Legler is accused of stealing a shotgun.

Andrew Steven Novak, 47, 7235 Telephone Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI as a felony and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater as a felony. Novak was reportedly involved in a car accident on Linwood Road, Le Roy, at 5:58 p.m., Sunday. Novak was also issued tickets for alleged failure to keep right and moving from lane unsafely.

Jason M. Wolf, 46, of 8770 Wenner Road, Williamsville, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding and passing in a no-passing zone. Wolf was stopped by Deputy Patrick Reeves at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, on West Main Street Road, Pembroke, after the Sheriff's Office received a complaint of an erratic driver on Route 5, who was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed and passing other cars illegally.

Karri A. Kunst, 36, of 43 Ballantyne Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, operating with a BAC of .08 or greater. Kunst was stopped at the intersection of Clinton Street and East Main Street in Batavia by Officer Matthew W. Baldwin after the dispatch center received a report of an erratic driver on Clinton Street Road, Town of Batavia.

Steen L. Bordonaro, 43, of 30 Woodcrest Drive, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, possession of an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana. Bordonaro was stopped by Officer Frank Klimjack, who was following up on a report of a subject getting involved in a fight at a bar in Oakfield and driving to the city. Klimjack reportedly stopped Bordonaro's vehicle on Lewiston Road in the City of Batavia. Bordonaro was arrested at 12:24 a.m., Sunday.

James N. Lauricella, 23, of Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, equipment violation and a license plate violation. Lauricella was arrested by state police at 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Scott B. Humel, 23, of Pembroke, is charged with disorderly conduct (creating a hazardous condition). Humel was arrested by state police at 12:49 a.m., Sunday. No further details available.


Accidents reported on the state police blotter:

8:41 p.m., Saturday, at Park Road, Batavia, two vehicles; Driver 1: Not identified (apparent hit-and-run); Driver 2: Margaret V. Janus, 39, of Albion. One injury reported.

5:36 p.m., March 12, parking lot of 48 Deli Express, Town of Batavia, two vehicles; Driver 1: Mark J. Geitner, 40, of Attica; Driver 2: Marsha K. Barton, 71, of Batavia. No injuries reported.

Support the businesses that support The Batavian

By Howard B. Owens

Speaking of supporting locally owned businesses, here's an updated list of the local and regional businesses that support The Batavian.

Without these local sponsors, Billie and I wouldn't be able to bring you the news of Batavia and Genesee County. Please make it a point to patronize these businesses, and let the business owners know you do so because you saw their name on The Batavian.

When you spend your money in local businesses, your dollar goes farther because more of it stays in the community to provide local jobs and support local charities. Make shopping local your first choice.

3 D Wine & Spirits
Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
Affordable Floor Covering
Alberty Drug Store
Alex's Place
American Home Remodeling
Anglican Community Church
Baker's Frontier Kitchens
Barrett's Batavia Marine and Sporting Supplies
Batavia Downs Casino
Blue Pearl Yoga
Bonarigo & McCutcheon
Bontrager's Auction
Bontrager's Real Estate
Carlson's Studio
Cedar St. Sales and Rentals
Center Street Smokehouse
Charles Men's Shop
Classic Home Improvements
The Color Salon
Country Cottage
Crazy Cheap Cars
D&R Depot Restaurant
Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern
Dog Grooming
The Enchanted Florist
Fastec Automotive
Genesee Dental Group
Glitz and Glamour
Great Kutz
Hair Studio 25
H.E. Turner & Co.
Holland Land Office Museum
House of K
The Insurance Center
Jackson St. Grill/Belladessa's
John's Service Station
Ken Barrett
L.C. Mosman
Lamb Family Medicine
Lawley Genesee
Lewis and Lewis
Main St. Pizza Company
The Mane Attraction
Mark Lewis Agency
Matteo & Mullen, CPA
Matty's Pizzeria
Max Pies
Movies in Motion
Neptune's Garden
Next Level Fitness
O'Lacy's Irish Pub
Oliver's Candies
Pauly's Pizza
Pellegrino Auto Sales
Present Tense Books
Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center
Roxy's Music Store
Sallome's Italian Deli
Select Collision
Sloat Tire
Small World Realty
South Main Country Store
St. Joseph's School
St. Paul's Pre-School
Southside Deli
T.F. Brown's
Valle Jewelers
WNY Fireplace Outlet
Wortzman Furniture

What can't you get in Batavia?

By Tiffany Barber

I think it would be interesting to learn what people feel they need to leave Batavia in order to get. To me this is the best way to figure out what the town/city is missing and perhaps there is someone one there that either knows somewhere we CAN get "it" in Batavia or we'll come up with some new business ventures for people.

Personally I feel like I need to leave Batavia to see a good movie.  I understand we have a 2 screen theater in town but the offerings are very limited - usually just big budget popcorn flicks or kid's movies. This means I have to drive to Buffalo or Rochester to see anything else - and I'm thinking pretty much everyone in Genesee county feels the same way.

The second thing is a good bottle of wine.  We have many liquor stores in Batavia but I have yet to find anything but the standard fare of mass produced wines. And to be clear although I enjoy nice wines this doesn't mean they have to cost a lot - anyone who has been to Marketplace or Premier knows you can get many excellent bottles of wine under $10 - so why can't we get this in Batavia.

So what do you NEED to leave town for?

Ralph Marsocci's Unopposed Run for Bergen Village Mayor

By C. M. Barons

I spoke with Ralph Marsocci by phone this Friday afternoon.  He is a tough guy to get hold of.  I tried first at his business, Ralph & Rosie's Deli, and an employee conceded, "I hardly ever see him."  But he did offer Ralph's cell number which connected.  I hadn't prepared Ralph for my call, thus he wasn't prepped for my questions. 

The Village elections are March 16th.  Two trustee seats and the mayorship are on the ballot- none opposed- all Republican-endorsed candidates.  For the past forty years, the good-ol-boy network (a block of approximately 300 call-activated dyed-in-wool Republicans) has limited contested races to sporadic (futile) write-in or third party skirmishes.  There is no active Democratic Party in Bergen.  The village political protocol leans to the food processing plant that has had so many names that locals merely refer to it as the canning factory.  Nothing has been canned there since the 1940s; the food is frozen.  The good-ol-boy network sees to it that cheap electric and water flow into the factory, and complaints of foul odors marring someone's summer barbecue fall on deaf ears. (Tip for Realtors: if you're showing a Village property, do it in the winter when the factory isn't running.  For Town properties- check the Zuber and Pocock manure spreading schedules.)

I had been disappointed by the current mayor, Wayne Bailey, a Bergen newcomer who's administrative apex amounted to renaming a few village roads.  They were avenues; now they're streets.  I asked Ralph Marsocci what his position was on street names.  He wasn't aware of Mayor Bailey's obsession with street-names, so I briefed him on the situation.  Ralph admitted that the issue was not something he had given any thought to. 

I moved on to my hot topic: property taxes.  "They're too high," he hinted.  My version has more to do with getting rid of property taxes.  I explained that income tax was fairer.  "Well, there's nothing we can do about that," he confessed.  I argued that the village was funded by property tax; how the village gets its money seems to infer complicity in the method of taxation.  Ralph wasn't going to commit himself on that topic. 

I gave him a break from my line of questions and asked what his own platform was.  "I'm interested in public safety," he noted, "I think we're over-staffed in that area."  He was describing the village public works department.  "I think we could cutback there and save a little."  I then asked him how he felt about consolidation; Bergen has both Village and Town administration and separate highway departments.  "Yes," he admitted, "I've been for that for a long time."  He didn't offer any detailed vision of a consolidated Bergen, but he seemed to agree that streets could be maintained without two highway departments.

I initially queried Ralph on his affiliation.  "I'm Republican endorsed," he noted.  I asked if he had decided to run or if the party had recruited him.  "I'd been thinking about it a long time," he answered, "I decided to run."  As I mentioned at the outset, a run without Republican endorsement was a masochistic act.  Ralph does not reside in the Village of Bergen.  His business is in the Village of Bergen.  If not for his party affiliation, residency might be questioned- a "Birthers" premise for disqualification.  However, Ralph does pay village taxes.  He has a long history of involvement in both town and village politics, and he has a more impressive involvement in village activities like Park Day, Youth Soccer, Oktoberfest, Masonic events, Bergen 10K Race; no one could question Ralph's qualifications as a standard bearer for the village.

I hadn't satisfied my desire to know the pivotal ingredient in Ralph's candidacy.  I knew his history in the community and his irrepressible drive to revive the business district.  Ralph already has outlets at hand to mobilize those efforts.  Eventually, he drifted onto a topic that seemed to exert more fire than inspiration.  "...Like what they did with the trash pickup," he elaborated, "I pay alot more for that."  Trash fees- okay- if that's what it took to get Ralph to run; I'm for it.  At the end of our conversation, I told Ralph he could count on my vote.  I meant it, and being morally opposed to uncontested elections, that's a major concession.

Flood warning issued for Erie County, but not Genesee

By Howard B. Owens

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Tonawanda Creek, but it sounds like the only severely high water will be in Erie County.

None of the roads listed that may flood -- Fletcher, Burdick, Kirby and Tonawanda Creek -- are in Genesee County.

The creek is expected to crest at 12.8 by Monday evening, and 12 feet is considered flood stage. The NWS issued gave no indication for high creek levels in Batavia and Genesee County.

The creek is running high, though.

The anticipated rainfall in Genesee County over the next 24 hours is expected to be less than an inch.

Photo: Tonawanda Creek off of Walnut Street in Batavia.

Popular authors Garth Stein and Robert D. San Souci visit Batavia

By Daniel Crofts

How often does this happen? Batavia got a visit from two acclaimed authors last week -- two days in a row!

The first was Garth Stein, author of the 2010 Tale for Three Counties committee pick, "The Art of Racing in the Rain." At the committee's invitation, Stein came to speak to readers and sign autographs at the Richmond Memorial Library on Thursday night.

This latest work is Stein's third novel and it's about a Seattle family as told by none other than -- Enzo, the family dog.

Stein's book had the honor of a 38-week streak on the New York Times bestseller list, won several awards and honors, and has been translated into 31 languages. Stein recently signed a film deal with Universal Studios and hopes to see the book made into a movie in the near future.

The second author was award-winning children's writer Robert D. San Souci, who came to speak to the children and sign autographs at John Kennedy Elementary School Friday afternoon.

San Souci's works include "The Talking Eggs," "Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella," the "Dare to be Scared" series and "The Legend of Scarface." He also wrote the story for the 1998 Disney film "Mulan." His visit to JK was arranged by Donna Katter, program assistant for Genesee Valley BOCES' School Library System.

Whether you were in the almost-over-crowded reading room at RML or sitting in the school cafeteria as hand after hand after hand shot up from the crowd of fifth-graders during the Q&A session, you would have gotten a good idea of just how much people still appreciate their writers.

Both authors read portions of their books and shared funny anecdotes from their lives and careers, including the setbacks they have faced while trying to get their work published.

Stein, for example, talked about having gone from one agent to another before he finally found someone who wanted to take a chance on a book narrated by a dog.

San Souci -- who realized he was destined to become a writer in second grade -- said that he wrote persistently for many years, facing a long string of what he called "thanks, but no thanks" letters from publishers.

Both men were kind enough to share some of their thoughts, insights and comments with The Batavian after signing autographs -- at RML and the JK Media Center, respectively.

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