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Motorcyclist reportedly suffers head injury on Sandpit Road, Alexander

By Howard B. Owens

A motorcycle accident has been reported at the intersection of Sandpit and Dry Bridge roads, Alexander.

The driver reportedly suffered a head injury.

Mercy Flight is being put in the air.

Alexander Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 4:04 p.m.: Mercy Flight in the air. Four minute ETA

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: Mercy Flight 5 in the air, transporting to Strong Memorial.


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Reyncrest Farms named Conservation Farm of the Year

By Billie Owens

The distinction of Conservation Farm of the Year 2009 has been awarded to John and Shelley Reynolds of Reyncrest Farms.

The Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors made the selection and will present the award at the "Celebrate Agriculture" dinner on March 13 at the Alexander Fire Hall.

Reyncrest Farms is located on 9666 Alleghany Road in Corfu. It grows feed crops on 1,500 acres and has more than 600 dairy cows.

The longtime family business was chosen because of its environmentally friendly ways, including crop rotation, growing grass buffers along streams and ditches and installing an extensive and sophisticated drainage system.

The Reynolds family also tries to be a good neighbor when it comes to spreading manure -- they limit it to dry days and will postpone the chore if a neighbor has a party.

It's not the first time Reyncrest has received the Conservation Farm of the Year award. It also won it in 1982 when the farm was operated by John's father, the late Ed Reynolds.

Reyncrest Farms built a new barn in 2008 and a new milking structure in 1997. The big, old red barn -- plainly visible on Alleghany Road -- was spruced up last year thanks to about $5,000 from the Campbell's Soup Co. The barn was one of only five chosen nationwide for refurbishment as part of Campbell's "Help Grow Your Soup" campaign.

New Today: Fastec Automotive Service

By Howard B. Owens

Fastec, 7184 West Main Road, Le Roy. Fast, friendly service, specializing in foreign cars, but Fastec can service any make and model. We have a $22 gift certificate for $11 that is valid for up to six months from date of purchase. It's good for an oil change or state safety/emissions inspection.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Jackson St. Grill/Belladessa's, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and flowers are a great way to show love.  We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Family photos are more than just photographs. When you need photos for that special occasion, Carlson's is a great choice in Genesee County. This is a great Valentine's gift. We have a $100 gift card for $50 (+$2 PayPal Service fee). The card expires in April.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10. Just in time for Valentine's!

Jackson St. Grill/Belladessa's, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When it's time for a great hamburger, Jackson St. Grill will serve you among the best around. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

Police Beat: Woman accused of stealing prescription pain killers

By Howard B. Owens

Diane G. Geary, 44, of 4036 West Main St., Apt. #8, Batavia, is charged with two counts of petit larceny and possession of stolen property. Geary was arrested by Det. Kevin Czora following an investigation into the theft of prescription hydrocodone (pain pills) and a social services check from another individual. Geary was jailed on $1,000 bail.

David W. Wells, 21, of 6962 Townline Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation, improper left turn and failure to stop. Wells was stopped at 1:44 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Jason Saile on Route 19 in Bergen.

Gene Robert Schmidt, 42, of 3150 Dodgeson Road, Alexander, was picked up on a warrant for an alleged violation of probation. Schmidt was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Dodgeson Road by Deputy Jason Saile and it was discovered there was a warrant for his arrest. Schmidt was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Rebecca Jo Cornell, 35, of 439 Sandhill Road, Caledonia, is charged with petit larceny. Cornell allegedly left the Target store in Batavia without paying for $101 worth of merchandise.

Robert M. Hopkins, 27, of 234 North Spruce St., Batavia, and Jason W. Lebar, 24, of 8170 Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, are charged with trespass. Hopkins and Lebar were reportedly on the grounds of the New York State Veterans Home without permission. They were jailed on $250 each.

Kimberly A. Brodsky, 18, of 4 Elm St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or more, operating with one headlight, operating with one headlamp and unlawful possession of marijuana. Brodsky was stopped by Officer Dan Coffey at 2:44 a.m. Sunday on Jackson Street.

Joshua R. Gebhard, 22, of 279 Palmer Road, Churchville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Officer Dan Coffey reported finding a small quantity of marijuana during a traffic stop.

Reported accidents from the State Police blotter:

4:34 p.m., Jan. 10, Route 98, Batavia, one vehicle; Driver 1: Susan A. Haight, 20, of Albion. No injuries. No citations.

4:00 a.m., Jan. 11, Route 5, Indian Falls, one vehicle: Driver 1: C.C. Bennett, 23, of Corfu. No injuries. No citations.

1:40 p.m., Jan 15, T/A Truck Stop, Route 77, Pembroke, two vehicles; Driver 1: John R. Stellingwerf, 41, Fulton; Driver 2: Murphy Maurice, 44, of Denver, Colo. No injuries. No citations.

5:41 p.m., Jan. 15, Roanoke Road, Stafford, one vehicle; Driver 1: Kevin P. Heiman, 27, of Pavilion. No injuries. No citations.

6:34 p.m., Jan. 15, Shanks Road, Alabama, one vehicle: Driver 1: Cody L. Pahuta, 18, of Corfu. No injuries. No citations.

Ice rink events drawing crowds to area businesses

By Timothy Walton

FULL HOUSE: A packed house at the Falleti Ice Arena is just one of many times it fills the bleachers for events each year.

In this tough economy, getting people to spend money may be a hard thing to come about, as they are looking to cut back on expenses. This weekend at the Falleti Ice Arena, it showed that one area people didn't cut back on was youth sports and hockey tournaments. This weekend the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association (GAHA), hosted the Batavia Winter Classic Tournament and the turnout was one that had a positive effect on Batavia and Genesee County.

The tournament ran from Friday through Sunday and brought in teams from Buffalo, Rochester and Oswego in the Pee Wee A and B divisions, which is the age group for kids ages 11 and 12. There were a total of 8 teams that were in the tournament including two of the Batavia teams.

"Teams come into town, get hotels for the weekend, go out to eat and shop at the stores in the area in between their games." said tournament director John Hylkema. "They are spending money here".

How much are they spending? "I spent way more than I wanted to, but it's for the kids so I'm doing it for them" jokes Tom Strenberg who came to support the Oswego team. "There was the cost of the hotel (2 nights), meals all three days, and snacks here (at the rink). All the money is spent so the kids can have an enjoyable time." 

GAHA hosts about 7 tournaments each hockey season and this year, they will have the privilege to host the Midget 19-U New York State Championships in March which will bring teams from all over the state.

"These events at least double the spending at the concessions here and people are going to Timmy Ho's (Tim Horton's), Tully's, and other restaurants are making money too." says rink manager Bob Filighera.

The team from Oswego had plans to stop by the Miss Batavia diner and some of the team from the Buffalo Regals wanted to tryout TF Brown's and Sport of Kings in between their two games on Saturday.

GAHA tournaments aren't the only reason teams come to the rink. Each week many of the teams have league games that draw teams from Rochester and Buffalo area.

Both the local high school teams, Batavia Ice Devils and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish bring in out of town crowds as well including this weekend when the Ice Devils hosted Saranac/Peru and Notre Dame earlier this season hosted Eastchester/Bronxville/Tuckahoe in addition to the usual teams from the Rochester area.

New Journey For Care-A-Van Ministries

By Robin Walters

Beginning today, Monday January 18th, you will be seeing more and more of that big red bus around town. Four local pastors have teamed up with Care-A-Van to travel around the city on Monday and Tuesday mornings.  .

The above sign is the sign that will be outside the bus greeting folks.  There is  no set schedule for where the bus will be on the morning outings. Paul along with the team will just allow the spirit to move them as to where they should go for the day.

The ministry has just seen the need increasing and growing for people that are hurting and need  encouragement. prayer and just someone to talk to. Inside the bus there will be hot coffee, treats, but most of all wonderful pastors that will talk and pray with the people.

The Pastors that have volunteered their time are Pastor Mark Perkins of Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church, Pastor Dale Gooch of Emmanuel Baptist, Pastor Larry Becker of City Church and Pastor Charlie Piscitello of Batavia Christian Fellowship church.

Paul Ohlson , founder of the ministry stated the bus needs to be more mobile and

going out more often, and more days of the week,  but to do this we need Pastors that are willing to volunteer time. If there are any Pastors that would like to become involved on the morning outings, please contact Paul at 343-0328.

Also there are many different volunteer opportunites within the ministry as well for people.  Care-A-Van will be at the local Be A Star- Local Volunteer Fair being held at the Senior Center today from 4:00 PM-6:00 PM.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

A special thanks to these Pastors for helping get the bus rolling. A special thanks to all of you for your continued support of Care-A-Van.

As the sign says, "God Cares and So Do We" !

Wall fire reported inside Pavilion home

By Billie Owens

Firefighters are responding to a report of a possible house fire in Pavilion. There is reportedly fire inside a wall at a house located at 11072 South Lake Road -- Route 19, just north of Route 63, across from the old fire hall.

A second alarm has been called and there is visible smoke.

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: Besides Pavilion, emergency responders are coming in from Alexander, York, Perry, Le Roy, Stafford, Bethany and a fast team from the Town of Batavia. The fast team from the City of Batavia was unavailable due to mechanical problems.

A clothes drier has been pulled from the wall. Fire seems to be contained within the wall behind the drier.

UPDATE 6 p.m.: Per Pavilion fire command, the fire is contained and all units are returning to service except Pavilion, a fill-in team from Wyoming County at the Pavilion Fire Hall and an ambulence from York.

UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: Fire is out, scene is clear, all units returning to service.

Oakfield family finds out about sister in Kentucky they didn't know they had

By Howard B. Owens

Six Oakfield residents found out recently that they have a sister in Bowling Green, Ky., whom they never knew anything about until the woman's daughter connected the siblings through Facebook.

The Bowling Green Daily News has a story.

Philip Semar, Sandy Berrios and Cindy Kline all made the drive this week from Oakfield to Bowling Green to meet 61-year-old Linda Richardson.

Richardson never knew her real father, William Semar, and didn't find out about him until she was 15. She then spent the following decades searching for him and hoping she would find out she had brothers and sisters.

On the day her mother died, her daughter told her about finding the Semar family in Oakfield.

Her other three half brothers are John, David and Willy Semar, all of Oakfield, but they couldn't make the trip to Bowling Green.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Richardson’s son, Teddy Freeman, of Bowling Green, “I had two aunts and now I have four.”

After warm embraces all around, the new family stood misty-eyed and chatting together for the first time in Walker’s front yard, the resemblance unmistakable.

“You all look so much alike, each in a different way,” Walker said, “the eyes especially.”

Bring out your inner artist at Art Ah La Carte

By Howard B. Owens

If you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, you haven't been to Art Ah La Carte yet.

Kimberly Argenta says she can teach anybody to create art.

"People have come in and said, 'I have no talent. I don’t know how to do anything,'" Argenta said. "I’ve actually had people come in and watercolor for the first time and their work comes out beautiful. They say they don’t have any creativity, yet I can pull it out of them. I believe everybody has creativity, you just have to find the right medium.”

Argenta has turned her passion for art and teaching into a business at the new Artisan Center at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia.

Classes started this week and cover a range of mediums, from painting to paper mache. Art Ah La Carte also has classes on altered tins, beading, drawing and turning old junk into art.

Caledonia artist Robert Garland is helping Argenta and teaching drawing. He said getting involved in Art Ah La Carte has sparked his own creativity.

Among the students in class on Friday evening was Linda Carson, who raised her hand when Argenta spoke about students coming in thinking they had no talent. She completed two watercolors so far, one in class and one at home, and she seemed to think the second one turned out pretty good.

"I thought I would just enjoy expressing myself in painting," Carson said. "I always wanted to try it, but ... " at which point Carson just shrugged.

Art Ah La Carte is open to individual students as well as groups. Argenta said people can form groups for a girls' night out or a guys' night out or any special event, such as a bridal shower.

“I just really felt that the community needed an inexpensive way to come out and enjoy an evening without breaking the wallet, yet they’re learning something," Argenta said.

Art Ah La Carte is part of the new Artisan Center being created by Patricia Hawley for Mancuso Business Development Group at the Harvester Center.

Hawley has been in talks with a number of artists, multimedia companies, writers and others about taking space in the new center.

Rollover accident with fire reported on Thruway

By Howard B. Owens

There is a one-vehicle rollover accident reported in the westbound lane of the Thruway at mile marker 399.1 in Pembroke.

The vehicle is reportedly on fire and one person may have been dragged from the roadway.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire are being dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 8:55 p.m.: First responder reports the car is fully involved.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m.: The fire is out. The Thruway is closed. Firefighters are now searching the area for possible passengers. It still unknown how many occupants were in the car.

UPDATE 9:39 p.m.: Fire units are leaving the scene. No further information available at this time.

UPDATE 10:58 p.m.: East Pembroke just cleared the Thruway and went back in service.

UPDATE Sunday morning: The Buffalo News reports this was a fatal accident. Mark Deacon, 53, of Buffalo, sustained head injuries in the accident and died at ECMC. He had been ejected from his 1997 Chevy Blazer after it overturned. Deacon apparently over corrected after his vehicle drifted onto the left shoulder. There is no report of other accident victims.

Pet of the Week: Golda

By Pachuco Owens

Golda has a heart of gold and she's enjoying life with a great family -- Russ and Diane Marchese. Sure beats living in a swamp. Golda, congratulations, you are deservedly the Pet of the Week!

"My name is Golda and today I am one HAPPY dog. I wasn’t always this happy. Back in September, I was wandering the swamps and picked up and brought to the Batavia Animal Shelter. I was one tired and sorry looking dog. My fur was raggedy and sparse and I didn’t have any fur on my tail! I had had many litters and my body showed it.

The good people of Volunteers for Animals brought me to the vet to be checked out. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and put on meds. It wasn’t long until I was adopted. I don’t know why, but that didn’t work out. I was returned to the shelter. I stayed at the shelter a little while longer and then went to stay with a foster family. 

Lucky for me, my foster family immediately felt that I belonged with them and adopted me! I have two canine sisters: Dixie, a black lab and Babs, a golden retriever, like me. My mom and dad make sure I take my medicine, give me special food and take good care of me. When my sister is home from college, she gives me a lot of attention, too. My fur is growing back and looks so much better. My mom is always telling me that I am beautiful and so special! I feel like Cinderella! My family loves me and I love them!

Four generations show up for haircuts

By Howard B. Owens

Four generations of Scarboroughs were at the Cutting Shack on Center Street today for haircuts.

For Gunnar Scarborough, it was his first hair cut.  He's on his father Nick's lap.  Nick will soon be redeployed to Afghanistan.

Also pictured, from left, Grandfather Mike, Patty Fragnito and Great-Grandpa Gary.

Akron man accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend in Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens

An Akron man faces six criminal charges and has been jailed on $50,000 following an alleged domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend in Pembroke.

Charles William Schilling, 26, of 9 Exchange St., Akron, is accused is of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home at 6 a.m. today and assaulting and threatening her in front of her 7-year-old son.

Schilling was arraigned on three felony and three misdemeanor charges.

He is charged with burglary 2nd, coercion 1st, criminal mischief 1st, menacing 3rd, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.

Revamped farm labor bill is no improvement, says Farm Bureau president

By Howard B. Owens

A so-called compromise bill on changes to farm labor laws would cost New York farmers more than $200 million in added expense, according to New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.

In a press release from the bureau, Norton says the proposed changes to labor laws are more onerous than any other state, except California, which has an agriculture industry three times larger than New York's.

Ironically, Norton noted, that primary backers of the bill -- legislative staff and nonprofits -- are exempt from the same kind of labor laws they now advocate for family farms.

"Food is a basic human need, and this legislation seeks to ensure that local farms won't be around to produce local food for local people. This bill would force us to turn our farms into factories, to meet these onerous labor mandates that virtually no other state in the union has. It's yet another example of Albany seeking to drive businesses -- and farmers -- out of New York," Norton said. 

The bill, S.2247b, was introduced by Sen. Pedro Espada Thursday night and it opens the door to collective bargaining on family farms and forces small, seasonal operations to pay unemployment benefits for temporary workers.

"This proposal forces mandates on our family farms that will put New York at an extreme competitive disadvantage," Norton said. "Sen. Espada and the legislature need to consider the long-term viability of the Upstate and Long Island economy before passing legislation that wrecks it."

City Council to discuss budget on Tuesday

By Howard B. Owens

The Batavia City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the 2010/11 budget.

Department items are scheduled for the following times:

7 p.m. -- administrative services

7:30 p.m. -- finance, personnel, youth bureau, assessment

8 p.m. -- police and fire

8:45 p.m. -- public works, water and sewer.

No time for public comment is scheduled; however, there will be a public hearing on the budget prior to a vote.

Federal charges brought against suspects in Le Roy meth lab

By Howard B. Owens

Five people arrested in early December in connection with a suspected methamphetamine lab at 28 Clay St., Le Roy, now face federal charges as well.

Christopher J. Elmore, 31, of 14 St. Marks St., Le Roy, was arraigned in Federal Court in Buffalo on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute or dispense 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Besides the Genesee County charges resulting from the meth lab raid Dec. 10, Elmore was accused a week later by Le Roy Police with passing fake $10 bills.

Also charged were manufacturing and distribution were:

  • Kari L. Riggi, 21, of 28 Clay St.
  • Koree R. Stephenson, 22, 6539 Dodson Road, Wyoming
  • Nathan D. Bernard, 21, 28 Clay St.
  • Joshua A. Miller, 20, 51 Myrtle St.

None of those four defendants face the additional weapons charge, which is an enhancement that can lead to more time in a federal penitentiary.

Elmore, Stephenson, Riggi and Bernard remained jailed in Genesee County on $75,000 bail.

Miller is out of jail under the supervision of Genesee County Justice.

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
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