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April 28, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, high school sports, softball, Batavia HS.

The upgraded softball field at Batavia High School will be dedicated Friday to honor Ed Anderson, a former coach and teacher with the school district.

Anderson taught sixth grade from 1965 until his retirement in 1998. He was the first varsity girls softball and girls soccer coach for the Blue Devils.

"He was known as an excellent teacher and is most famous for his annual weeklong sixth-grade camping trips to Allegheny State Park that he led for 30 years, said Sue Medley, who has been helping organize the dedication ceremony, which starts at 3:30 p.m., Friday, rain or shine.

Anderson coached junior high bowling from 1977 to 1987, softball from 1979 to 1998, soccer from 1978 to 1998 and girls basketball from 1988 to 1991.

The girls won their first sectional title in softball in 1982.

"Coach Ed Anderson left his mark on generations of Batavia Middle and High School students while serving the Batavia City School system for more than 30 years. He was a role model to all," said Athletic Director Mike Bromley. "He was a source of support and an example of calmness, determination and generosity for the athletes he coached. He fought tirelessly for equality and opportunity in girls’ sports."

While school officials had recognized the need to upgrade the softball facilities, it was only after a group of players and their parents filed a Title IX lawsuit demanding facilities more on par with what the boys baseball team enjoys by playing its games at Dwyer Stadium that a settlement was reached. That led to new bleachers, dugouts, infield, outfield fence, scoreboard and batting cage.

The team is scheduled to play Greece Arcadia at 4:30 p.m. Following the game there will be a celebration reception in the high school's atrium at 6:30 p.m.

The dedication committee is still seeking financial support. The committee has currently raised $3,400 with a goal of $10,000. Funds will be used for field signage, a permanent memorial, dedication ceremony and contribution to the Ed Anderson Outdoor Education Campership Fund on behalf of the community. To contribute, visit http://www.gofundme.com/coachedanderson.

April 28, 2015 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, housing, abandoned properties.

To whatever degree some council members were skeptical of a proposal to create a tax exemption to encourage investment by home buyers into vacant and abandoned houses, that skepticism is gone with the change of the season.

The Batavia City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the process to create the exemption. 

That process requires the council to pass a resolution, which it did, asking the Legislature to create a bill and generate a bill number amending the city's local law to create the exemption.

Once that's done, the city can give final approval to the exemption.

The exemption would apply to any single-family home that has been abandoned and vacant for at least three years and a would-be owner-occupant is planning on investing money on restoration.

The targeted home is one where the cost of rehabilitation exceeds the value of the home.

Typically, a home requiring less repair wouldn't yield much in the way of an increase in assessed value, making the proposed exemption of little value.

The exemption only applies to the portion of the property tax generated by an increase in assessed value as a result of improvements to the property.

There are a number -- though the exact number is unknown -- of vacant and abandoned homes in the city that can be salvaged before they completely deteriorate.

City officials have made the point several times that vacant and abandoned properties bring down neighboring property values and are a potential blight on the city.

In a report to Council, City Manager Jason Molino said vacant and abandoned properties are costing the city at least $25,000 in unpaid taxes per property, $11,300 in unpaid fees and fines and more than $500,000 in lost local buying power.  

The assessed value of the properties continues to fall while they sit dormant.

The proposed exemption is just one prong in the city's strategy to deal with vacant and abandoned properties. City officials are also trying to inventory all the properties and use code enforcement to get banks, mortgage and/or title holders to deal effectively with the properties or get them on the market.

Creating incentives for potential home buyers to invest in such properties will help spur banks into putting the homes up for sale, it's hoped.

Two previous objections raised by council members were addressed in Molino's report.

First, if the property owner is eligible for more than one exemption, the property owner will receive only one exemption and that will be the one most financially favorable to the property owner.

Second, on the objection that the proposed exemption creates an unfair disparity in benefits, there is already a tax-exemption program in place for property owners who wish to remodel their existing properties. The council approved the exemption in 2010 and it applies to all 3,611 single-family homes and 712 double-family homes in the city. It provides an exemption on the increase in assessed value for remodeling projects with greater than a $3,000 investment.  

So far, four property owners have entered the program with an average investment of $33,000 and resulting increase in assessed value of $22,225.

Councilman Eugene Jankowski said he received a number of favorable comments from constituents about the proposed exemption.

"People say we're on the right track," Jankowski said.

April 28, 2015 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire.

After 21 years of service to the citizens of the City of Batavia, Captain Mark Mikolajczyk was honored by the City Council on Monday evening with a proclamation presented by Councilman Kris Doeringer. 

April 28, 2015 - 6:50am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A transformer on a primary power pole is confirmed on fire at 5263 Clinton Street Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding. National Grid is notified. A caller reported flames "like a flamethrower" shooting from the pole.

April 27, 2015 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

Jordan Fluker, Mr. Batavia 2015, presented a check today to Genesee Cancer Assistance for $3,055, which is the proceeds from this year's Mr. Batavia event at Batavia High School. Pictured with Fluker are Joe Gerace and Patricia Arnold.

Photo submitted by Lisa Robinson.

April 27, 2015 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

An Oakfield man has been accused of impeding firefighters who responded to a report of smoke in a residential trailer on Overlook Drive on Sunday.

Jeffrey M. Johnson, 27, is charged with obstructing firefighter operations.

Town of Batavia Fire responded to the call at 5:20 a.m., Sunday.

Johnson was said to be uncooperative and allegedly refused firefighters entry into the trailer, which firefighters said was filled with significant smoke.

State Police were summoned and Johnson was taken into custody and jailed on $250 bail.

It was determined the smoke was the result of food left on an unattended stove.

NOTE: Johnson's arrest was reported in this morning's Law and Order, but we received additional information this afternoon.

April 27, 2015 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, thruway.

Kiran Thapa

This video of a three-vehicle accident last Tuesday on the Thruway going through Batavia already has more than 230,000 views and has drawn more than 400 comments.

The driver of the Camaro was charged with DWI.

Kiran Thapa, 32, of Columbus, Ohio, was allegedly driving with a BAC of .19. He was also charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, a Class E felony.  

Thapa was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

A spokesman for Troop T had no further information available on the accident at this time.

April 27, 2015 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Pavilion, bergen byron.

Dakota R.L. White, 16, of South Lake Street, Bergen, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. White is accused of possessing and selling a controlled substance at Byron-Bergen High School. White was arraigned and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

A 17-year-old resident of York Road, Pavilion, is charged with petit larceny. The youth is accused of stealing an item from Pavilion High School.

Amer Jusufbasic, 37, of Mohawk Street, Utica, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes, aggravated unlicensed operator, 2nd, unlicensed operator, driver's view obstructed and driving without an interlock device. Jusufbasic was stopped at 12:48 p.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Jusufbasic was allegedly in possession of 2,600 untaxed cigarettes. He was jailed on $1,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

Christine Amnita Soler, 37, of Phelps Road, Pembroke, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operator, 3rd, improper left turn, unlawful possession of marijuana and unlicensed operator. Soler was stopped at 10:16 a.m. Friday on Phelps Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Christopher Allen Sewar, 28, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Sewer is accused of stealing merchandise valued at $10 from Walmart.

Todd Vincent Amico, 51, of Burritt Road, Hilton, is charged with possession of 400 untaxed cigarettes. Amico was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 10:08 a.m. Friday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Amico was allegedly in possession of 2,300 untaxed cigarettes.

Jerell J. Jones Sr., 26, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. Jones was allegedly involved in two verbal arguments that required police intervention to prevent two separate physical confrontations. Jones was jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

Joshua H. Currier, 30 of Batavia, is charged with DWI. Currier was stopped by State Police on the Thruway in Henrietta on Thursday. He allegedly had a BAC of .12. 

Crystal L. Wojtkowiak, 19, of Attica, is charged with obstructing governmental administration and reporting false information regarding an incident. Wojtkowiak was arrested by State Police in regards to an unspecified incident in Alexander.

Laquasia M. Orr, 19, of Bronx, is charged with identity theft, 3rd. Orr was arrested by State Police in relation to an unspecified incident Saturday.

Jeffrey M. Johnson, 27, of Batavia, is charged with obstructing firefighting operations. Johnson was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 5:20 a.m. Sunday at 26 Overlook Drive, Batavia. No further details released.

April 27, 2015 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Total Tan.

Total Tan, with a location in Batavia, is the target of a false advertising lawsuit filed by the office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The Williamsville-based company has 26 outlets, including 15 in Western New York.

Schneiderman's suit accuses Total Tan of making false advertising claims by denying or minimizing scientific evidence linking tanning to an increased cancer risk; promoting indoor tanning as a safe way to reap the benefits of vitamin D and other purported health benefits; and asserting the safety of indoor tanning compared to tanning outdoors. 

“Make no mistake about it: There is nothing safe about indoor tanning. The use of ultraviolet devices increases exposure to cancer-causing radiation and puts millions of Americans in serious danger – young adults, in particular,” Schneiderman said. “Irresponsible businesses that seek to rake in profits by misleading the public about the safety of their services will be held accountable by my office. Advertising and marketing cannot be used as a tool to confuse and endanger New York consumers.”

The Buffalo News obtained a statement from Total Tan owners Cynthia and Keith Leonard through their attorneys at Harris Beach.

“The Attorney General’s claim that Total Tan produced misleading advertising is not true,” the Leonards said. “We are a small, upstate, family-owned business that refuses to be intimidated by Mr. Schneiderman, who is trying to impose his own view of the world on our industry and the citizens of upstate New York."

The suit also names another group of tanning salons, Portofino Spas.

Of Total Tan, the AG's office says the company made the following allegedly false statements in market material, including social media:

  • A testimonial from “cancer survivor Kurt Hollis” where he asserted to have treated his kidney cancer by tanning at Total Tan.
  • “Tanning Fact! A Tanning unit can produce as much Vitamin D as drinking 100 glasses of milk! Wow!!!”
  • Claims that vitamin D from indoor tanning will assist in either treatment or prevention of an array of serious diseases including cancer, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and blood clots.

Read the full press release here.

April 27, 2015 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

Kelly Rapone's daughter is worried sick about the whereabouts of her kitten, who has no experience as an outdoor cat. Tully is missing in the Bennett Heights area of Batavia. Tully is very friendly, but doesn't have a collar on. Tully "walks funny" because of a cerebral disorder. If you've seen Tully, can locate Tully or have Tully, call (585) 727-4737.

April 26, 2015 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

As firefighters finished extinguishing a fire that started in a back room on the second floor of the home at 122 State St., Adrian's biggest worry was for the safety of his cat, Prince Charming.

So named because he was the lone kitten born to his mother. He's a special cat.

Adrian's mother, Carla Laird, stood at the threshold of their house and called. She had managed to get the family's two dogs and another cat out once she became aware of the fire, but Prince had jumped from her arms and hid under the couch and wasn't coming out. 

Two firefighters were dispatched to try and find Prince Charming and minutes later they emerged with him in a cat carrier.

There were hugs all around, including from Adrian's uncle, Chris (top photo).

No people were hurt, no animals were lost in the fire of still undetermined origin. Carla and Adrian were getting ready to leave the house when the fire started. Carla's daughter was not home at the time.

The house was damaged enough that the Red Cross has been called to assist the family and their pets.

For more on the fire, read our initial report.

April 26, 2015 - 1:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A house fire is reported at 122 State St., upper apartment. City of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 1:53 p.m.: "There's a possibility of a person trapped inside the apartment," says a dispatcher. "We have an open (phone) line and can hear a person still inside." Heavy smoke is showing and flames are shouting out of the rear window, says a firefighter on scene.

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: City command reports everyone is out of the structure, then calls for a second alarm.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: Darien, Alexander Fast Team, and all available city fire manpower called in. Town of Batavia fire is to stage in its quarters.

UPDATE 2:02 p.m.: Command reports fire knocked down. Darien's response is cancelled. Alexander is continuing to the scene. National Grid has been notified. Mercy medics are on scene in case needed.

UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: The American Red Cross will be contacted to respond to the scene.

April 26, 2015 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, schools, education, fashion show.

GCC hosted its 34th Annual Fashion Show Saturday. These photos are from the 3 p.m. show.

To purchase prints, click here

April 26, 2015 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Sunrise this morning taken on the property known as Gateway II off Route 98, Batavia.

April 26, 2015 - 5:22am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A trailer is reportedly filled with smoke on Overlook Drive, Batavia. One person is still inside the structure. Town of Batavia fire is responding.

UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: We didn't hear any more transmissions on this incident, so we spoke with a dispatcher. The incident was smoke from cooking and the fire department has cleared the scene.

April 24, 2015 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Harley Raffle, Town of Batavia Fire.

You know, it could be you rolling down Route 98 on a bright, blue and breezy summer day on your way to the twists and turns of the Southern Tier aboard a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.

It could be you atop that iron mount filled with the same pride the men and women have who volunteer for their local fire departments.

It could be you at the Town of Batavia Fire Hall on Lewiston Road sometime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., tomorrow, buying a ticket for a chance to win that Harley, and signing up to be a volunteer, or at least having a hot dog...maybe get a free smoke detector, a coloring book or fire helmet for the kids and just hang out with the men and women who help keep our county safe. They'll cook you a hot dog. Or a hamburger.

Imagine, that.

Only a limited number of tickets are sold for the Harley Raffle, so you better tool on down to the Fire Hall tomorrow and plunk down some cash, or it might be somebody else riding that Harley.

Somebody's going to win it. It might as well be you.

April 24, 2015 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Tyshon Taylor

A teenager accused of participating in a violent robbery in March on Central Avenue is facing a possible three years in prison after entering a guilty plea in County Court this afternoon to a charge stemming from that attack.

Tyshon L. Taylor was originally charged with assault in the first degree, but the plea deal reduced the charge to attempted assault, 2nd.

In the initial report, Taylor was accused of hitting a person with a gun, but when Judge Robert C. Noonan questioned Taylor as part of the factual admission portion of his hearing, Noonan asked about the use of a knife. Taylor said no weapon was used at all.

After a conference among the attorneys at Noonan's bench, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman amended the count Taylor would admit to. Instead of second-degree assault, the charge was changed to attempted assault, 2nd. That kept it as a Class D violent felony and preserved the three-year potential prison term.

Taylor then admitted to participating in the forcible theft of property from a person while working in concert with another suspect.

His co-defendant is Preston Daigler, who is scheduled to appear in County Court on Monday on a possible plea deal.

Taylor was soft spoken and respectful throughout the hearing, often answering Noonan's questions with, "yes, sir."

Sentencing is scheduled for 11 a.m., July 6.  

Taylor remains in custody without bail.

April 24, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Batavia HS.

Blue Devil Jeff Redband has been named to the All-State First Team by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

With 27 points per game, Redband had the second highest PPG average of all the Class A ranked players.

Redband recently signed a letter of intent to attend Daemen College in Buffalo on a basketball scholarship.

Notre Dame's Josh Johnson was named to the fourth team in Class D.

April 24, 2015 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Shannon Dick

A 33-year-old Bank Street resident has been accused of selling drugs following an undercover investigation by the Local Drug Task Force and the execution of a search warrant at her residence.

Shannon H. Dick is charged with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of criminal possession of controlled substance, 5th.

As a result of the search warrant, she was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Prior to her arrest, the Grand Jury of Genesee County, indicted Dick on the first set of charges.

She allegedly sold cocaine to an agent of the task force while in the City of Batavia.

Dick was jailed pending arraignment in Genesee County Court.

The warrant allegedly uncovered crack cocaine and marijuana. She was issued an appearance ticket on those charges. 

Batavia PD and the District Attorney's Office assisted in the arrest and investigation of the suspect.

April 24, 2015 - 2:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, UMMC, healthcare, Dr. Victor Desa.

Dr. Victor Desa, a renowned surgeon who contributed his expertise and his time to the local community, has died at the age of 72.

Desa died in Rochester this morning, reports WBTA.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Among Dr. Desa's service to the community was time spent on the boards of United Memorial Medical Center and HomeCare & Hospice.

He was also always open to sharing with local residents his knowledge of the healthcare system, making frequent public appearances to speak on the topic.


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