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Meet Town of Batavia FD's new Engine 24

By Howard B. Owens

Yesterday, I was given a chance to learn all about the latest piece of equipment acquired by the Town of Batavia's volunteer fire department:  A rescue truck that will go into service in about three weeks.

It arrived at the station on Tuesday and cost the department about $460,000.

"This is a 25-year purchase," said Dan Coffey, who with Nate Fix served on the truck purchase committee and researched the needs and specifications for a new fire truck. "A lot of thought went into this purchase. We started planning this in 2005."

The truck already has 3,000 miles on it -- the mileage from Minnesota, where it was assembled, to New York, where a contractor put on many of the finishing touches, and that was by design said Deputy Chief Paul Barrett.  All of those miles got the engine broken in and gave the seller a chance to uncover any potential problems before the department took delivery.

The video contains more information on the truck and its capabilities and purpose.

Pictured above with the new Engine 24 are four members of the department who happened to be on hand yesterday, Deputy Chief Paul Barrett, firefighter Ryan Scapano, Asst. Chief Randy McIntire and firefighter Doug Smart, Jr., who is home on leave from Iraq.

The outgoing Engine 24.

Happy Fourth of July

By Howard B. Owens

The Batavia Area Jaycees hung flags along Main Street this morning. I think it's always a great sight to drive down Main and see the flag-lined street.

Weissend wraps up 11 years running HLOM

By Howard B. Owens

Patrick Weissend is leaving his post as director of the Holland Land Office Museum to become a brank manager for the Bank of Castile in Medina. Supporters of  the museum, its staff and board members gathered at the museum last night to give Pat a festive send off and to thank him for his hard work and dedication.

Offense Comes Alive in 12-0 Win

By Mollie Radzinski

Batavia (9-5) went up 2-0 in the bottom of the 1st and never looked back as they shutout Jamestown (5-10) 12-0.

Devin Goodwin singled in his first at bat before Xavier Scruggs hit one out of the park to start off the night.Three two-out runs in the 3rd kept things going.  Alan Ahmady singled and was followed by a Scruggs walk.  Ryde Rodriguez placed a ball far down the first base side on a two-run triple.  He then came in when Luis De La Cruz reached on an error by the Jamestown shortstop Chase Austin.

 The Muckdogs had a big five-run 5th to cement their victory.  The inning started off with a solo homerun by Ahmady.  Scruggs and Rodriguez then singled and walked, respectively, and De La Cruz came up with a RBI base hit.  Later in the inning, Ryan Jackson walked to load the bases before D’Marcus Ingram doubled on a line drive to center to clear the bags.

Scott Schneider got the start, going an effective three innings with three hits and four strikeouts.  Eric Fornataro (2-0) followed him for the win in four innings of work with just one hit, one walk and three strikeouts.  LaCurtis Mayes shut down the Jammers in the 9th, striking out two while only allowing one walk.

Batavia moves on to face Auburn at home tomorrow night.

Route 98 resurfacing project begins Monday in Batavia

By Billie Owens

A $500,000 project to resurface state Route 98 (Oak Street) in the City of Batavia gets under way Monday, according to the New York Department of Transportation.
Keeler Construction of Albion, Orleans County, was awarded the construction contract. The project is funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
“This resurfacing work is one of many DOT projects that will improve our transportation system and bring jobs to communities across the state,” Acting DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee said in a press release. “I thank Governor David Paterson for certifying this important infrastructure project and our congressional delegation for bringing critical economic-recovery funding to New York State.”
Of the $1.1 billion New York State received for highway and bridge projects under ARRA, a total investment of $74 million in economic-recovery funding is expected to be certified for Rochester-area communities.
The Route 98 (Oak Street) project stretches from Main Street to Noonan Drive, just south of theThruway. It's preventative maintenance, amied at providing a smooth riding surface and extend the life of the pavement. The work includes pavement joint repairs, pavement milling and overlay; drainage structure repairs; an upgraded traffic signal at the intersection of Rt. 98 and Richmond Avenue; installation of detectable warning surfaces at sidewalk ramps; and fresh pavement markings. 
The current four-lane road will be re-painted to provide one 14-foot travel lane in each direction and an eight-foot parking lane along both sides. Left turning lanes will be included at the intersection of Richmond Avenue.
A single lane of northbound and southbound traffic will be maintained throughout the construction phase. Street parking will be permitted along Route 98, except during a two-week period (approximately) from mid-July through the end of July. That's when milling and paving operations are scheduled to take place. Access to all driveways and side streets will be provided at all times.
Initial work includes spot pavement repairs and adjustment of manholes and drainage structures in the northbound curb lane. The project is expected to be finished before school starts in September, possibly sooner.

“The State Department of Transportation office serving the greater Rochester region has been able to double its preventative maintenance paving program this year because of the economic recovery funds provided to us,” Acting Regional Director Robert Traver said. “A strong preventative maintenance program is critical in keeping the state’s transportation system in a state of good repair for the thousands of citizens who use it.”
Traver noted the significant support of the congressional delegation, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and Assembly member Steven Hawley in delivering this regional transportation project.
The economic-recovery funds coming to New York State for transportation projects must follow the same process required for distributing all federal transportation funds. The funds are allocated to projects that are selected by the 13 regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) across the state, which are comprised of local elected officials, local transit operators and NYSDOT representatives. MPOs vote unanimously on projects for their Transportation Improvement Program, and the projects are candidates for economic-recovery funds. The preventative maintenance project was approved by the Genesee Transportation Council to be eligible to receive ARRA funding.
Similarly, regions of New York State without MPOs are served by NYSDOT, which consults with local elected officials and selects projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The department worked with local officials and the governor’s Economic Recovery Cabinet to identify shovel-ready projects eligible for recovery funds.

Two Churchville men charged with stealing scrap metal from LeRoy public works

By Billie Owens

Two Churchville men were arrested and charged in LeRoy with petit larceny by Sargeant Michael J. Hare at 1:39 a.m. today (July 3).

The arrests were made after police noticed a suspicious vehicle in LeRoy Village at the Department of Public Works on North Street.

Daniel J. Gray, 28, of 5839 Chili Riga Center Road and 25-year-old Nathaniel M. Dean of 5 Willowbrook Drive allegedly loaded their car with various kinds of scrap metal, sewer grates and new sign posts, all property of the DPW.

Both men were arraigned in Town Court by Justice Charles Dusen and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail. They were scheduled to appear again in court at 1 p.m. Aug. 3.

Tickets still available for the Muckdogs on July 4th

By Howard B. Owens

Contrary to a report in another media outlet, there are still tickets available for the Batavia Muckdogs game tomorrow, July 4th.

Traditionally, the Muckdogs July 4th game, with fireworks, is the best attended game of the season, but don't let the inaccurate report of no seats being available keep you from the ballpark.

That said, you might want to get to Dwyer ASAP to reserve your seats.

Fire alarm at Lowe's

By Howard B. Owens

A fire alarm has gone off at Lowe's, 4180 Veterans Memorial Drive.  A manager has reportedly told the fire alarm company there is no visible fire, but their is no clue why the alarm went off. Fire units are responding.

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Today's Deals: Foodie Friday!

By Howard B. Owens

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St.  The name says it all -- when you want a good steak, Larry's is an excellent choice.  Not only is the food good, but it's a great dining atmosphere and the service is always great.  We have a $50 gift certificate for $25.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, N.Y.: Ribs, brisket, steak, prime rib -- Center Street is a meat lovers paradise. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, N.Y.: Have you tried the homemade Italian sausage yet? You should. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, N.Y.: One of Genesee County's more popular restaurants. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (plus $1 service fee).

Sport of Kings Family Restaurant, 419 W Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A favorite locally owned family restaurant that is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. We have TWO $15 gift certificates for $7.50 each (two separate winners).

Picasso's Pizza, 419 W. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A great variety of pizza, subs and salads -- and try the wings, too. We have three $5 booklets of $1 gift certificates ($15 value) for $7.50.  The gift certificates can be used collectively or individually).

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.

Larry's Steakhouse


Center Street




Sport of Kings




Batavia Downs


Batavia scores eight times to pull out eight victory

By Howard B. Owens

Catcher Ivan Castro homered and Xavier Scruggs picked up two-RBI to lead the Muckdogs to a 8-2 victory over Jamestown Thursday night.

In a game in which Batavia notched only six hits while scratching out 8 runs, Ryde Rodriguez also contributed two singles.

The winning pitcher was Michael Blazek (2-0), who tossed 5 2/3 of scoreless ball in relief.

Batavia, now 8-5, is in second place in the Pinckney division, a half game behind Williamsport.

The Muckdogs host the Jammers tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium. Auburn is in tomorrow night for a 7:05 p.m. game.

Both games will be followed by fireworks.

Police Beat: Two men part of alleged scrap metal heist slapped with drug charge

By Howard B. Owens

Christopher H. Monfort, 37, of 113 Pine St., Rochester and Timothy M. Stone, 29, of 3735 Chili Ave., Rochester are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Monfort and Stone were part of the alleged scrap metal heist earlier this week. At the time of their arrest, they were allegedly found to have crystal meth in their possession. This additional charge has now been filed.

Nathan D. Bernard, 20, of 6084 Main Road, Stafford, is charged with attempted criminal trespass. A Sheriff's deputy reported that he was dispatched to 6084 Main Road, Stafford for a possible burglary in progress where a person was trying to gain access to the building through a basement window.  The deputy allegedly found Bernard with something in his hand and he was attempting to gain entry through a backdoor.  Bernard is held on $300 bail.

Steven Edward Ball, 35, of 11 1/2 Meadowcrest Drive, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt. Ball allegedly tried to contact his ex-girlfriend through her mother. There is reportedly an order of protection against Ball on behalf of the ex-girlfriend.

Cap and Trade

By Peter O'Brien

Here are some of my problems with the new stipulations in the Cap and Tax bill.

1. The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) plan.  It makes you retrofit your house with energy efficient items before you can sell it such as a sun light reflecting roof.  There will also be air quality testing and infrared readings of your home that will need to be conducted.

2.  If you have an income up to 150% of the poverty line you are going to get a monthly check from the government to offset the costs associated with the bill.

3.  If Medicare and Social Security funds are hurt by the bill they can tap into the general fund.

4.  Numbers 2 and 3 tell me they know that this is a job killing bill and that prices of almost everything are going to increase.

5.  Not one person knows completely what is in this 1500 page monstrosity.

6.  Carbon Dioxide is plant food.

7.  We sit on several mountains of coal (literally) in this country.  It is our most abundant form of energy and we are going to kill it for the myth of global warming.  Since 2002 temperatures have been falling because the sun has been in a state of quiessence.

8.  The new CO2 tax opens the door to tax you for having a child and putting another CO2 producer on the planet.

9. The earth has been warmer than this before.  The warmer it gets the better it is for farming and therefore easier to "stamp out hunger".

Man allegedly makes left hand turn into oncoming traffic on Route 20

By Howard B. Owens

A vehicle driven by a Darien man reportedly failed to yield the right-of-way while making a left turn on Route 20 yesterday afternoon causing a two-car crash.

Duane D. Leo, 70, who was reportedly driving a 1999 Plymouth SUV, allegedly made the turn and was hit by a 1996 Jeep driven by Justin W. Loomis, 24.

Leo lives at 1331 Herkimer Road, Darian and Loomis is from 8934 Luckenbach Hill, Springwater.

Leo was transported to UMMC with a minor head injury.

The accident occurred at 1919 Broadway. We origionally reported this as an accident involving a tractor trailer.  No tractor trailer is mentioned in Deputy K.R. McCathy's report, so the original report must have been in error in that regard.

Minor injuiries reported in head-on crash on Route 5 Tuesday night

By Howard B. Owens

Two cars  hit head-on on Route 5 near Kenny Road in Le Roy on Tuesday about 8 p.m.

Both drivers were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Deputy M. R. Butler investigated the crash and reported that Paul D. Bennett, of 15 Myrtle St., Le Roy, was attempting to make a left-hand turn into the Kwik-Fill station when she spotted a vehicle in the oncoming lane. She reportedly attempted to swerve back into her own lane but didn't make it.

The other driver  was George J. Vagg, of 10321 Creek Road, Pavilion.

Bennett was driving a 2007 Nissan sedan and Vagg was behind the wheel of a 2001 Chevy SUV.

Vagg, 76, reportedly suffered minor cuts to his face. Bennett reportedly complained of abdominal pain.

'I messed up,' Elba robbery suspect texted wife while hiding from police

By Howard B. Owens

It didn't take Dennis M. Abrams long on the morning of June 18 to figure out he apparently had made a huge mistake.

Within 30 minutes of leaving the M&T Bank in Elba with one of his buddies holding a bag full of more than $20,000 in cash allegedly taken at gunpoint, Abrams was lying in the brush along Lewiston Road sending a text message to his wife, Bianca.

"I messed up," was the simple message, according to Abrams' written confession.

"She called me because she did not know what I was talking about," he wrote. "I told her I could not talk because the police were close. I told her we had robbed a bank and that it had gone wrong. I then hung up because the police were close."

A few minutes later, Abrams was taken into custody.

His confession closes, "I would like to state that I made a mistake and that I am sorry for ever making this type of decision."

Abrams reportedly said he "messed up," but it wasn't like he wasn't warned.

According to the statement of one of his alleged accomplices, Demone Dillon, Dillon told Abrams and co-suspect Michael Wells that robbing a bank wasn't smart.

Dillon was the alleged look out who stood in the doorway of the bank while Abrams and Wells reportedly pulled off the stick up.

"I told them that it was a bad idea to rob a bank, but they decided to go in anyway," Dillon reportedly told investigators. "I followed them to the foyer area of the bank because I was told to do so."

According to Dillon's statement, Abrams called him about 10 o'clock the night before the robbery and said he had an idea to make some easy money.

In the Abrams' confession, Abrams said he and his friends were playing football the night before and started talking about how they needed more money.

"I said I know about this bank that I drive by when I go to Orleans Corrections to visit my cousin," Abrams wrote. "I said the bank was secluded, so we agreed to rob it."

The next morning, Abrams reportedly drove his black Chevy Blazer to pick up Dillon and Wells and then they stopped at Rite Aid to buy rubber gloves. Dillon said he knew the gloves were meant to avoid fingerprints, but he said he still didn't know the plan was to rob a bank.

It wasn't until they arrived at the bank, he indicates, that he learned of the plan. While sitting in the bank waiting for drive-up customers to leave, Dillon said, "I think this is a bad idea."

Inside the bank, the statement of teller Patti Hackett paints a terrifying picture. She said two men rushed into the bank while she was on a conference call with other M&T employees and the men started yelling, and she heard another teller scream "don't hurt me."

She writes, "The guy who grabbed me yanked me out of my chair and threw me to the ground." The men were yelling "get on the floor. We're not going to hurt you."

Hackett told investigators that the same man who threw her to the ground pointed a gun at her head.

In his confession, Abrams said he brought his Walthers P22 into the bank. He said it can hold 22 rounds, but he thinks it had only nine rounds in it at the time of the robbery, and that he waived it in the air with the safety on.

After leaving the bank, Abrams said he drove his Blazer at the speed limit until a state trooper spotted the vehicle and turned on his lights. Abrams said he stepped on the gas believing he could out run the trooper's Tahoe.

By that time, either Dillon or Wells had reportedly opened the money bag only to have an apparently pepper-spray-laced dye pack explode. Dillon said within a half mile of the bank, he threw the bag out the back window.

Abrams said that both Dillon and Wells were screaming for him to let them out of the car and he stopped at the first intersection he came to and the two men jumped from the Blazer and ran.

Dillon said he first went to a nearby house and lied down on the porch, but he quickly got up and started running. He removed his clothes because they had become wet and heavy, he said in the confession.

Dillon never directly explains why he agreed to go along with Abrams and Wells on what he admits in his statements clearly seemed to be a plan for some sort of criminal activity.

But the need for cash seems to be a factor. 

"The reason I did this is because I'm in serious need of money," Dillon told investigators. "I have a 6-month-old baby and also two 5-year-old kids."

Abrams, who admits in his signed confession to coming up with the plan, owning and carrying the gun, and driving his own vehicle to and from the bank, is about to become a father. In his confession, he said his wife Bianca is seven months pregnant. In his Genesee County Justice interview, he also says he is a foster father, and while being employed with the same company for more than five years, his gross earnings were $700 a week.

The third suspect, Michael Wells, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Yesterday, Judge Robert Noonan ordered Abrams and Dillon held on $250,000 cash bail and $500,000 bond each.

Pictured above, from the top, are Abrams, Dillon and Wells.

Today's Deals: Flowers, gifts and jewelry

By Howard B. Owens

Today, four great deals from four fantastic local businesses:

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: Whether you need just the right gift or a memorial or simply want to brighten your own home or work place, The Enchanted Florist can put together a fantastic floral arrangement for you. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., Batavia, N.Y.: Need a gift? Need some sparkle? Valle's has a large selection of jewelry and gifts STARTING at UNDER $25. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, N.Y.: Plants, teas, herbs, mixes, a great place to shop to make your home more cozy, naturally. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, N.Y.: Always a great place for gifts, South Main just brought in a bunch of new merchandise from the region. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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.

Valle Jewelers


South Main Country Gifts

The Enchanted Florist

Herbly Wonderful

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 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
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