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Godfrey's Pond is 100 years old

By Howard B. Owens

Godfrey's Pond celebrated its 100th anniversary Sunday and more than 200 people showed up to celebrate during the open house and BBQ.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented a state Assembly proclamation commemorating the event.

"For the past 100 years, Godfrey's Pond has expanded to become one of the leading sports clubs in Western New York, if not our entire state," Hawley said.  "I am very proud to join my fellow outdoors sports enthusiasts here for this wonderful occasion and would like to thank the members of Godfrey's Pond for their dedication and leadership in responsible environmental stewardship."

Pictured with Hawley is SCOPE representative Jack Taylor.

Hit-and-run driver injures dog in Darien

By Howard B. Owens

Yesterday morning at about 9:20, an unknown driver on Richley Road in the Town of Darien struck and injured a dog.

The driver did not stop.

The owner of the dog took it to a local animal hospital for care. There is no word on the condition of the dog.

Deputy Rchardson of the Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.

UDPATE: The following information was provided by Chief Gordon Dibble.  A man in his 80s was driving his wife in for medical treatment. A neighbor wrote down his license plate number. The man, when contacted, said the dog ran off appearing uninjured. There was no damage to the car. The dog was treated, but the extent of his injuries are unknown. No citations are planned.

UPDATE II: The Sheriff's Office has release an accident report on this incident. The driver is identified as Joseph A. Szczeny, 86, of Batavia. He came upon a slow moving vehicle towing farm equipment on westbound on Richley Road and he moved to overtake the vehicle and the dog entered the roadway from the south shoulder. Szczeny car struck the dog.  Szczeny said he slowed down and started to pull over when he saw the get up and run to the driver of the slow vehicle. Thinking the dog was OK, Szczeny drove off. The dog, a two-year-old boxer/lab mix named Buddy owned by the operator of the slow vehicle,, was taken to Batavia Animal Hospital for treatment.

Police Beat: Batavia man charged with hitting woman in front of child

By Howard B. Owens

Robert J. Propst, 29, of 45 Central Ave., Batavia, was charged with charged with harassment in the 2nd degree and endangering the welfare of a child following an alleged dispute at his home address. Propst reportedly hit a woman and the act was allegedly witnessed by a child. He is being held on $2,500 bail. The alleged incident occurred at 1:10 p.m. yesterday.

Jonathon Kent, 21, of 59 Mill St., Apt. A, Batavia, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputies came into contact with Kent following a suspicious vehicle complaint at Batavia Mobile Home Park.

Donald A. Bouse, 37, of 36 Dellinger Ave., Batavia, and Jason T. Helles, 35, of 419 E. Main St. Batavia, were arrested yesterday following a traffic stop.  Members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force report they observed Bouse driving without a license.  Upon investigation, deputies determined that two bench warrants for Bouse had been issued in Monroe County.  The warrants were for petty larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Helles was reportedly found in possession of a suspected crack cocaine pipe and prescription pills.  Bouse was issued a ticket and released to Monroe County officials. Helles was issued an appearance ticket. UPDATE: I was curious how the Sheriff's deputies knew Bouse was driving without a license. Chief Brewster replied with this statement: "We were aware that there were outstanding warrants for Bouse as well as the fact that his driving privileges had been taken away. It was just a matter of finding him and when we did, he happened to be driving. "

Conor M. Kobis, 18, of 81 Pound Road, Elma; Shawn M. Riccio, 18, 24 Cardinal Lane, West Seneca; and, Michael J. Walsh, 18, 315 Eden St., Buffalo were charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by persons under 21 yesterday. The trio were reportedly observed drinking in the parking lot at Darien Lake, where New Kids on the Block were playing. All three were issued appearance tickets.

UPDATE: Just received from Le Roy Police:

William Parker, 36, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt for having contact with a person who had an order of protection against Parker. Parker was found inside the home of the protected person. He is held on $750 bail.

Busy week-end for Care-A-Van

By Robin Walters

Our friends from Ride to Recovery stopped by our pickup truck to get some sweets before the parade started.


Pastor Eric Sheppard of Church on the Rock in Attica joined us for street church on Central Avenue. We had 16 folks attend.  We helped 37 families with Groceries with a total of 98 family members. We had 82 people attend the weekly picnic.


There would have been some really cool video of the parade, but this PR director needs a few more lessons in running the video camera!

Have a super week!

Assistant D.A.'s filling in gaps with town courts not a conflict, Friedman says

By Howard B. Owens

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told the County Legislature's Public Safety Committee this afternoon that he isn't too concerned about his assistants serving local towns as stand-in prosecutors.

Legislature Ray Cianfrini, District 1, raised questions about the practice during Friedman's regular  report to the committee, but Friedman said the practice doesn't interfere with either of the two assistant DAs (of the four) who take on extra cases in the towns.

"It's the same question if an assistant D.A. wanted to go out and sell fire wood in his off hours, I wouldn't have a problem and I don't see a conflict," Friedman said.

Friedman stressed that the work the staff members are required to get done is getting done, and because of the nature of the job, they often work odd hours (such as helping law enforcement with cases late at night), that even if they respond to a town case in the middle of the day, the county's work is still getting done within the required weekly hours.

Because freshly minted attorneys can earn quite a bit of money as "assigned council" (defense attorneys), Friedman said he doesn't begrudge his attorneys making extra cash as town prosecutors.

After the meeting Cianfrini said he was satisfied with Friedman's answers, but he is still concerned about public employees moonlighting because of the pension issue -- he wants to make sure that the extra work doesn't obscure whether the public employee is putting in a full work day from a benefits standpoint.

Towns often require paid prosecutors because State Police officers are not allowed, unlike Sheriff's deputies, to prosecute their own cases. When people are cited for speeding, or other traffic infractions -- but not misdemeanors or felonies -- the deputy or officer who issued the ticket acts as prosecutor.

But when State Police issue a ticket and then don't show up in town court, because they are prohibited from acting as prosecutor, cases are often dismissed, costing the towns revenue, according to Bethany officials I spoke with last week.  Bethany is looking at hiring a part-time prosecutor, which many towns along the Thruway did some time ago, because of the revenue potentially lost when traffic tickets are not enforced.

Friedman said the practice of the assistant D.A.s to handle these infractions is raising no time or conflict-of-interest issues for his office.

In other Public Safety Committee News:

  • Deputy Chief Jerome Brewster said the Sheriff's Office requested a $50,000 grant for video equipment to record interviews the criminal suspects, but received only $15,000.  The department is reviewing its options now.
  • The Sheriff's office will use $2,000 in available grant money to purchase equipment to assist in domestic violence investigations. The equipment: Compact Digital Video cameras. (These little suckers are great I-witness journalism tools -- I wonder if the Sheriff will let me train his deputies to be I-witness journalists -- when they're not investigating actual cases, of course).
  • Genesee Justice will be able to lease electronic monitoring devices for five months to test whether the equipment can help adequately with home confinement cases. Cost: $5,800.
  • Approved extension of a contract American Rock Salt for purchase of sodium chloride. Highways Director Tim Hens said many local agencies have been signing new contracts recently at $50 and $60 per ton. ARS has agreed to much more modest price increase, from $38.98 per ton to $39.76.

Deadlocked Senate has county manager nervous about revenue

By Howard B. Owens

While it's pleasant to think that a broken state Senate means no state-damaging legislation can get passed, some of the bills pending while the Senate argues over leadership roles are important to the operation of local governments.

One of those bills, if not passed, could cost Genesee County as well of all the local towns, villages and the City of Batavia up to $8 million in annual revenue. The funds are used by the county to fund capital projects as well as pay down debt; for the city, towns and villages, the tax is part of operational revenue.

"That's going to cause a significant amount as havoc as we're trying to finish out our fiscal year," said County Manager Jay Gsell.

Every two years, the legislature must reauthorize authority for an a local-option additional 1 percent sales tax in Genesee County, as well as 36 other counties. The 1 percent is added to the permanent three percent levied by the county, plus the state's four percent makes for the 8 percent paid by county residents on local purchases.

It's only that 1 percent that must be reauthorized every two years.  And so has been the case since 1996.

To make up that revenue, Gsell said, the county would need to raise property taxes by $1.80 per assessed $1,000 value of a property.

If the bill isn't signed into law by September, the tax revenue could be lost and it could impact regional revenue for this year and the 2010-2011 budget.

"There is nobody even now who will even say we have a quote unquote quorum and we're going to official going to conduct business," Gsell noted. "My sense is there is so much back and forth and posturing going on that these, what should really be just ministerial functions, are not going to occur."

Audio: Jay Gsell talks about sales tax.

Meet the 2009 Batavia Muckdogs Thursday at Dwyer Stadium

By Russ Salway

Hey MUCKDOGNATION!!! You and your friends and family are all invited to an open house this Thursday June 18th at Dwyer Stadium from 6pm-8pm. Meet the players, watch practice, get autographs or shop at the team store! Gates open at 6pm and its free and open to everyone! Bring your camera and get some pictures of the new St. Louis Cardinals 2009 draft picks!!! Also don't forget the season opener is this Friday the 19th at 7:05pm with fireworks!!!  Let's fill the stands and make this a record breaking season attendance this year!  LET'S GO MUCKDOGS!

New shared jail with Orleans County not likely, says Genesee's county manager

By Howard B. Owens

Regardless of the report in Journal-Register in Medina says Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell, residents of Genesee and Orleans counties should expect a new regional jail to come out of discussion between the two counties.

The Journal-Register reported this morning:

Johnson and the Jail Committee have been working closely with Genesee County, talking about the possibility of opening a regional jail to accommodate prisoners in both Orleans and Genesee counties. The Center for Governmental Research has been hired to do a study to determine if a regional facility would be economically feasible.

“We have to look at what’s the best taxpayer solution,” Johnson said. “A study hasn’t been done since the early 1970s, and right now, the promising thing is the good working relationship we have with Genesee County.”

The relationship between the two counties is great, Gsell confirmed, and CGR -- the same consultants helping with the consolidation study in Batavia -- is conducting a study to help the counties deal with an increase in female inmates, decreasing bed space, aging facilities and the best options for dealing with prisoners in the 21st Century, but a new jail facility is pretty unlikely.

"We started looking at what are alternatives to incarceration," Gsell said. "We're looking at electronic monitoring, release under supervision and things of that nature ... and now what we're looking at is having CGR ...  --  would it be advisable to have us look at on a two-county basis, maybe even a three-county basis, along with either Livingston or Wyoming, at some other alternatives to just building brand new jail space."

Gsell said there are a couple of people in Orleans County who seem to really believe that the process will inevitably lead to building a new jail, but he doesn't see that as an option.  It would be difficult, he said, to co-locate one facility under current statutes.

 Full Audio of Jay Gsell Interview

Man stabs self in groin during domestic dispute

By Howard B. Owens

A man on Central Avenue in Batavia stabbed himself in the groin with a knife during a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

The original call had the woman claiming the man had hit her and then went in the house to grab a knife. She later reportedly changed her story and said she was not hit.

When police arrived, they found the man with the knife sticking out of his groin area.

Emergency workers were concerned about pulling the knife out on the scene and Mercy Flight was called.

Since this is a domestic dispute and the man did it to himself, we're withholding the exact location and names of the individuals involved. No chargers are planned.

Fire alarm tripped at 400 Towers

By Howard B. Owens

City fire crews are responded to 400 Towers, 400 E. Main St., Batavia, for a general fire alarm.

The fire alarm was activated. No word yet on whether there is an actual fire.

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State money not a good enough reason to consolidate Batavias, says Councilman Bill Cox

By Howard B. Owens

Here is the entire content of an e-mail from Batavia Councilman Bill Cox, Ward 1, on consolidation:

Here are my initial thoughts.

It took a lot of time and in-depth discussion for the consolidation committee to identify the major elements of a consolidation. That work had to be done to be able to go on from there. They did a good job putting their arms around issues. I believe the committee accomplished 50% of what ultimately needs to be done.

This committee or a new committee needs to address the other 50% which is to identify where you can consolidate operations to cut personnel, share existing equipment, share the cost of new equipment, share maintenance expense, share overhead to eliminate some management, etc.

Consolidation is all about cost savings through permanent cuts in operating costs, it is not about new revenue. Its about getting more done with less cost. Consolidating for the sole purpose of getting $923,000. in new revenue sharing from NYS is not a sufficient reason to consolidate. There is no guarantee how long it will be given. The State is in dire economic condition, and it cannot be relied on for the long term.

The report did not deal with the most significant areas that could represent real savings which is the cost to the city for police and fire protection. This represents about $6,000,000 annually. This is the area we  have to address first. We are choking in the cost to continue these services under the existing collective bargaining agreements. This appears to be taboo.

There was no mention of any real specifics how to cut anything except one or two small cost reduction references. All the debt stays the same, all the taxes are still separated, all the main cost items remain in place. The other area which dwarfs all costs is consolidation of school districts. This alone would be tremendous and it would not even require the town and city to consolidate governments.

Until real cost reduction is identified in specific amounts and departments with a solid plan of action of how and when to implement the cuts, I could not vote for consolidation as it was presented. There is insufficient information to determine if a consolidation makes sense for the tax payers.

I am strongly in favor of reducing the cost of government and one good way to do this is through consolidation, but specifics of how, what, when, where, and how much, has to be identified and agreed upon prior to proposing anything for our taxpayers to decide. We have to reduce the tremendous burden of taxes in multiple categories our taxpayers are saddled with and this report did not address how we get there.

Public meetings on consolidation will be held Thursday and again June 30 at Batavia High School. Both meetings are at 7 p.m.

Senate's comedy of errors takes new twist

By Howard B. Owens

OK, so it isn't local, but the wranglings of the state Senate provides its own odd and pathetic form of entertainment.  Now, Sen. Hiram Monserrate, who originally bolted from his Democratic caucus to support insurgent Republicans, has decided to return to the fold.

Meanwhile, the Senate politicians can't decide who is in charge and a judge, like a kindergarten teacher during recess, may step in and decide who gets to play with the ball for while.

Well, at least while the Senate is even more dysfunctional than usual, Albany can't do much more damage to the state.

Case of H1N1 Flu reported in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A 53-year-old man is Genesee County's first confirmed case of H1N1 flu, inaccurately referred to as Swine Flu.

UPDATE: WBTA interviewed Randy Garney, interim health director.

The Genesee County Health Department announced this morning that the man was diagnosed in an Erie County emergency room.

He was not hospitalized and is now recovering at home.

Officials are working to determine who may have been exposed during the man's contagious phase. Officials will notify close contacts and family caregivers for signs of illness.

H1N1 is prevalent in the state, according to the health department, and it has been found in numerous counties.

Symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chill and fatigue. Some victims have reported diarrhea and vomiting, as well.

The health department warns that anyone with these symptoms should stay home. If medical attention seems needed, people should contact a doctor to determine if emergency care is necessary.

Take these precautionary measures to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Place your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

According to the state's health department site, 1,356 cases have been reported in the New York, including 493 outside of NYC.

Weissend leaving HLOM to become branch manager for Bank of Castile in Medina

By Howard B. Owens

Patrick Weissend, after 11 years as director of the Holland Land Office Museum, is changing jobs. He is joining the Bank of Castile as branch manager in Medina.

His 11-year-term puts him well ahead of the three-year average for museum directors in New York, but said the Bank of Castile offer was a great opportunity.

"I've been here for 11 years," Weissend said. "I love it here. It's a great place to work and great place to be and a great place to grow, and this opportunity came along and it can be like the opportunity of a lifetime that I can't pass up.  It's not something I applied for -- well, I did apply for it eventually -- It kind of just fell into my lap, so I had to take advantage of it."

Weissend, a Stafford resident, said he will continue to live in Genesee County and stay involved in community activities, as well as getting more involved in the Medina community.

Prior to becoming a historian, Weissend was an accountant.

The personnel committee will meet soon to discuss finding a successor, Weissend said. Meanwhile, he has three more weeks as director with HLOM.

"I have this feeling of both sadness and this feeling of excitement," he said. "You know, the sadness at leaving this place, which has become such a part of my life. In a sense, I enjoyed being Pat from the Holland Land Office Museum. It's weird that I'm not going to be that person any more. It's kind of like gone away, that person that I was, and now I'm going to be a new person. A lot of people have been reacting, shocked, shocked that I'm leaving. Some of my board members didn't believe me. Even my own mother said, 'I thought you would be there forever.'"

Meetings in Bergen and Byron This Week

By Susan Brownell

Just a friendly reminder....

 Public forums in Bergen and Byron will be conducted for the residents to
voice their support or concerns about consolidating the two libraries will be held at the following locations and times....

Wednesday, June 17th 2009 - 7:00pm at the Byron Town Hall
Thursday, June 18th - 7:00 pm at the Bergen Town Hall

For more information, you can go to either library and pick up an information packet

or it can be downloaded from the Byron-Bergen Public Library's website at

Today's Deals: Main St. Pizza, Adam Miller, Essence of Candles and South Main

By Howard B. Owens

Four Deals Today;

Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: Main St. wins consistent praise from diners for every item on its menu, but of course Main St. is most famous for its pizza and wings. We have FOUR $5 gift certificates ($20 value, to be used together or separately) for $10.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 S. Main St. Road, Batavia, N.Y.: We've received nothing but positive feedback from readers of The Batavian who have purchased our previous gift certificates from South Main. This is a popular store and well worth a visit any Saturday or Sunday. This is a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, N.Y.: This winter, I hope I have the time to build a model.  I'll get everything I'll need at Adam Miller.  You or your kids will find your own kind of fun at Western New York's best toy store and bicycle shop.

Essence of Candles, 201 Liberty St., Batavia, N.Y.: Essence of Candles offers a variety of candles in dozens of fragrances, from jar candles to pillar candles and votive candles. All of the candles are handmade right here in Batavia. This is a $25 gift certificate for $10.50.

A $1 PayPal service fee applies.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  People who have won a certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible to win a certificate from the same business as before.  By state law, gift certificates cannot be used for alcohol purchase.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycles


Essence of Candles

South Main Country Gifts


Main St. Pizza Company


Police Beat: Pembroke man accused of having dangerous fireworks

By Howard B. Owens

Gary De Wind, 66, of 1341 Little Falls Road, Pembroke, is accused of illegally possessing fireworks. He is charged with unlawful dealing with fireworks and dangerous fireworks.

Michael R. Cowham, 24, of 6571 W. Sweden Road, Bergen, is charged with assault in the third degree. He is accused of getting into a confrontation with another person. That person suffered a cut on the face. The alleged incident occurred at a residence on Wood Street. Cowham was issued an appearance ticket.

Michael A. Butler, 36, of Egerton Road, Elba, is charged with DWI. Butler also received tickets for having an unsafe tire and driving an uninspected vehicle. Butler was reportedly a witness to an incident on Whitney Mill Road involving a person with cuts on his head. During the investigation, deputies determined that Butler apparently drove past the scene while intoxicated.

Lynn R. Baker, 47, of Bank Street, was reportedly spotted on Harvester Avenue driving his 1997 Ford Explorer on the wrong side of the road. After a traffic stop, a Sheriff's deputy determined Baker was apparently drunk. Baker was charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, and failure to keep right. Baker was issued an appearance ticket.

Paul Andrews, 35, of 2029 Route 238, Warsaw, and currently a resident of Genesee County Jail, is charged with criminal tampering in the third degree. Andrews reportedly urinated in another inmate's shampoo bottle.

Tera Williams, 36, of 147 Ross St., is charged with petty larceny. Williams reported stole merchandise from Kmart while employed there.

Kisuki Pagan, 20, of E. 166th St. #5H, Bronx, is charged with disorderly conduct. Pagan was allegedly involved in an altercation with another person inside 48 Deli Express, 8204 Park Road.

Top Items on Batavia's List

Licensed Dental Hygienist Position Available Robert S. Marchese, DDS Batavia, New York We are looking for a licensed dental hygienist to add to our team! Private practice with a wonderful team, a kind doctor and awesome patients! Full or part time position, 20 - 35 hours per week, no nights or weekends, paid holidays and time off, any experience considered, new graduates welcome to apply, willing to hire different hygienist for different days. Call us today - (585)343-8675 Or email your information to [email protected]
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Crossroads House is looking for a compassionate RN or LPN to provide dignified End-of-Life (EOL) Comfort Care to individuals who have received a three month or less prognosis. The Per-diem staff nurse must be able to work a minimum of one (24) hour shift per week. A shift consists of (5) hours in-house, (7:15 am to 12:15 pm), with the remaining (19) hours as on-call hours, working in-house as needed. Each per-diem staff nurse is required to work one (24) hour shift, one weekend day per month. This shift is split between being in-house and on-call, with the hours varying as needed. Must have a minimum of (1) year work experience, EOL experience preferred, training provided. If interested, please apply on-line at
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying, located in Batavia NY, and is looking for a compassionate caregiver to provide personal care and emotional support to our dying residents, consistent with Comfort Care Philosophy. Must have prior caregiving experience. Licenses or certifications are not required. Must be able to work weekends, overnight shift is required. (11pm-8AM) Day and evening shifts are also available on weekdays and weekends. Must be able to work as a team member and independently. If interested, or have any questions, apply online at or email [email protected]
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email [email protected]
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