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batavia

May 16, 2015 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in swine club, 4-H, agriculture, batavia.

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The 4-H Swine Club hosted its annual pulled pork BBQ at the Fairgrounds today.

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May 16, 2015 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dogs, animals, batavia.

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The Seneca Siberian Husky Club, which is based in Rochester, held its show today at Falleti Ice Arena.

Above, Shira Barkon, of Pennsylvania, with Jewel.

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Rick Church, of Michigan, with Sadie.

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Jan Haring, of New Jersey, showing Trooper for judge Dr. Richard Hideman.

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May 16, 2015 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia.

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GO ART! hosted an Appraisal Fair today at Seymore Place.

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Appraiser H.P. Prazer with John Seartz and Louis Call.

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Appraiser Jason Helenbrook of Gold N Time.

May 16, 2015 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beertavia, batavia, downtown.

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Set up is under way for today's Beertavia in the parking lot off School Street, behind Angotti's Beverages. More than 50 craft brews will be served.  The event is from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets start at $40 and are available at the door.

May 15, 2015 - 9:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bank of castile, relay for life, batavia.

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Here's your chance to enjoy a special Date Night every night for a year (significant other not included). 

Employees at the Bank of Castile branch on East Main Street, Batavia, are auctioning off this grand prize as a fundraiser for Relay for Life.  The prize value is more than $700. 

Tickets can be purchased at the branch, $1 for one ticket, $3 for five, and 10 for $5.

The raffle was organized by Michelle Cryer, who wasn't available today at picture time. Pictured are Lauren Drier and Amber Reese. 

May 15, 2015 - 9:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Business Education Alliance, BEA, business, batavia, byron-bergen.

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The Genesee County Business/Education Alliance held its annual meeting this morning at Terry Hills. The event featured presentations by students who have been through BEA programs, awards and election of officers.

Jay Wolcott, a teacher with Byron-Bergen High School, received an APPLE Award, as did Ed Shaver (second picture), a teacher with Elba High School.

Other awards: Business Partner of the Year, Dan Harvey, formerly of Graham Manufacturing; and partner in education awards to Graham Manufacturing and Amada Tool America.

Wolcott and Shaver are pictured with Eve Hens, director of BEA.

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Nick Corsivo

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 Students from Alexander Central School who attended BEA Camps last summer. Lauren Young, Nick Allen, Andrew Young.

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Heather Dries and Chrstine Stevens, students at Byron-Bergen, in Wolcott's manufacturing systems classes.

May 15, 2015 - 4:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, batavia.

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A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported at Main and Jackson streets in Batavia. City fire is responding along with Mercy medics.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: One person was transported to UMMC with a hand injury.

May 15, 2015 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

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A plan to relocate Arby's further west on Main Street is meeting some stiff opposition, both from residents of Vernon Avenue and planners.

County Planning staff recommended to the County Planning Board that members reject a series of zoning variance requests, and after hearing from several Vernon Avenue residents and receiving a petition signed by 95 percent of the residents in opposition to the fast-food restaurant proposal, the board members followed staff recommendation.

The board's vote doesn't kill the project, but it means the City of Batavia Planning Board needs a majority plus one vote to approve the plan.

Kyle Hessler was among the Vernon Avenue residents who spoke and he acknowledged that he lives next to property that is zoned for commercial development -- though it's currently residential -- and he isn't opposed to commercial development in the city, or even on the property. He just thinks the proposal as presented is bad for Vernon Avenue residents.

It would unduly impact traffic on the street and the ability for traffic to easily pull onto Main Street. He doesn't think the barrier for sight, vision and sound between the restaurant and the neighborhood is adequate. And he thinks the parking will prove inadequate. 

Some residents complained that they felt like the developers were trying to sneak the project through, but Robert Kiesler, an architect from Rochester representing the developer, said there is nothing secret about the process. It is going through the public approval process completely in the open, as required by law.

Out of that process, the developer gets a chance to learn what modifications to the plan need to be made to ensure it doesn't negatively impact residents, or if the development is even viable.

The process is designed to give residents a chance to have their say, as Thursday's meeting demonstrated, he said.

The developer is proposing a 2,100-square-foot restaurant that would replace three residential units. It would have a drive-thru with a driveway on Vernon Avenue. 

Among the variances requested is reducing the buffer between the commercial property and residential property from 10 feet to two feet, constructing a building one foot higher than allowed, constructing a smaller driveway than normally permitted and reducing the number of required parking spaces from 84 to 24.

May 15, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia, Western OTB.

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Officials at Western OTB think the odds of hitting a jackpot are better if their proposed hotel overlooks the Batavia Downs racetrack.

It is, after all, the oldest lighted harness racing track in America and the reason Batavia Downs exists in the first place.

Shoehorning it into the constrained space around the track, however, will require some bending of the rules.

There are zoning variances needed to lot size, lot frontage, front, side and rear setbacks and building height.

The scope of the variances prompted county planning staff to recommend disapproval of the project.

After Western OTB VP Mike Nolan pleaded with the board to support the project, saying it's the only viable option to ensure Batavia Downs continues to thrive and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, planning board members were unwilling to say no to the plan. They also didn't say yes.

The board took no action and the plan is now kicked back with no recommendation to Town of Batavia planners. It will be up to the town's Planning Board to decide whether to grant the variances.

Yes, Town of Batavia, not City of Batavia.

When the hotel plans were first announced, for the 80- to 100-room hotel, officials were talking about a location on the south end of the track, near Tops Plaza, but Nolan said further study on that location indicated it just wasn't viable. It's simply not big enough.

The current proposed location is on the north end of the track and would require the removal of some of the current paddock area.

It's critical, Nolan said, that the hotel be attached to the gaming facility and that it have suites with balconies overlooking the track.

A board member asked, why not in the parking lot on the west side of Park Road?

"It's important that horse racing stays strong and vibrant," Nolan said. "Over in the parking lot, it wouldn't have the same appeal as overlooking the oldest lighted harness racing track in America."

The target audience for the hotel aren't travelers passing through the area, but people willing to travel to Batavia specifically to place bets on races and drop coins in slots.

The desk for the hotel would, in fact, be in the gaming facility itself. (Some of us might call it a casino, but the state's compact with the Senecas prohibits Batavia Downs officials from calling it a casino).

The gaming environment in WNY is getting more competitive, Nolan said, and with the Senecas planning a new $400-million casino a short drive away, it's critical Batavia Downs up its wager on local gaming. Western OTB recently completed a $28-million upgrade to Batavia Downs and the hotel represents the next phase in making Batavia Downs more attractive to gambling dollars.

The land for the hotel would be sold to private investors who would own the hotel and operate it as a franchise of a national hotel company.

Nolan noted that when Western OTB took over Batavia Downs, since Western OTB is a public benefit corporation, it took $3 million in assessed value off the tax roles. The new hotel would be assessed at something in the neighborhood of $7 million, and while tax abatements used to help fund development would delay the full value of that tax levy being realized by some local governments, eventually it would generate substantial tax revenue for the county and school district.

Even if the private developers decided to eventually sell the property and Western OTB became the owner, the property would stay on the tax roll, Nolan said.

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May 15, 2015 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, GCEDC, business, batavia.

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The backers of a proposed bio-gas plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park are in the early stages of site planning and they hope, if all goes to plan, to be operational in a year.

The plan was presented for review Thursday night to the Genesee County Planning Board and the board unanimously recommended approval at this stage of the process.

The plant would take organic waste from food processing plants -- primarily the two yogurt plants in the ag park -- and convert it into methane to generate heat that could be resold to the plants and electricity that the plants could also purchase.

The plant would generate more electricity than the plants could use -- enough to power 800 homes a day -- so additional capacity would be transferred into the electrical grid.

The plant, said architect Robert Keiffer, of TY Lin International, Rochester, is environmentally friendly, would help make the yogurt plants more sustainable and more efficient to operate, and help attract business to the ag park.

The owners of the plant would be CH4 Biogas, which already operates a plant in Covington.

CH4 has a purchase agreement with Genesee County Economic Development Center for five acres in the ag park. The project would be eligible for economic incentives from GCEDC.

The proposed facility would be 8,500 square feet, housing processing equipment, an office, bathroom, dock area and de-packaging area.

The waste accepted by the facility would be organic and non-hazardous. The waste would go through a methane-capture process, pumped into a grinder and put into a receiving tank.

The waste is then pasteurized in three 15-foot-high tanks. This optimizes methane release. Next, the waste is moved to digester tanks that are completely enclosed. Methane is collected and stored in another tank. It is then converted into electricity by a CHP engine. The engine is not located on site, but at the thermal end-user's location and enclosed to reduce noise.

The organic waste, if not sent to a digester plant, could be used on farm fields or simply taken to a dump. In either case, the methane eventually released by the waste would drift into the atmosphere. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas. This process captures 100 percent of the methane from the waste and converts it to electricity.

May 15, 2015 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, zoning, land use, business.

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Any city residents who are concerned about rooming houses opening in their neighborhoods need not worry much longer.

The city is working on a change to the zoning law that would prohibit new rooming houses, boarding houses, lodging houses, tourist homes and tourist camps inside of R-2 districts.

The change would also prohibit future development of such facilities in C-1, C-2 and C-3 districts. 

There are currently 10 rooming houses in the city with a total of 80 available rooms.

"At this point, we think we're saturated with an adequate amount of rooming houses and boarding houses in the city and this provides the ability to limit expansion," said City Manager Jason Molino. "The existing ones will continue to stay in place. They will continue to be regulated and reviewed and permitted every year, as they should be, but this will limit the expansion."

Molino presented the proposed change to the zoning ordinance to the Genesee County Planning Board, just one step in the process of making the change in the zoning law. The board unanimously recommended approval of the proposal.

The current codes governing rooming and boarding houses and multiple-family dwellings in the city are inconsistent with the city's master plan and strategic plan, Molino told the board.

Numerous studies, he said, have shown that rooming houses, in particular, and multi-family dwellings, intermingled in otherwise single-family neighborhoods, bring down property values and encourage the deterioration of whole blocks.

Such uses are also inconsistent with economic development in commercial districts.

This is an issue the city has been looking at for some time, Molino said, but officials became more aware of the need to tighten up the code after local property owner and investor Terry Platt purchased a large home on East Main Street and announced plans to convert it into a rooming house. The city's planning board denied Platt his application for the use, responding to concerns raised by neighbors and other residents; however, Platt challenged the ruling court and eventually prevailed and was able to convert the property into a rooming house.

"That certainly opened everybody's eyes to the potential of where these rooming houses could be located," Molino said. "It has a lot of impact that people perceive as being negative if rooming houses open in certain areas, so that certainly opened our eyes to the inconsistencies in the code."

The proposed zoning change could be perceived as inconsistent with a couple of emerging trends in American society.

First, is the seeming interest of Millennials to avoid home ownership and find suitable places to rent in cities. The second is a trend among some homeowners to use services such as Airbnb to rent rooms to travelers.

On the first point, Molino said he doesn't think Millennials are looking for the kind of rentals this zoning change would curtail.

"They're looking for a little more secure housing, generally, furnished housing, not shared common bathrooms, in areas that are close to amenities and part of a development," Molino said. "There's a disparity in the housing qualities when you start talking about Millennials and the population of empty-nesters who are looking to downsize. They're generally not looking to downsize into rooming houses."

While services such as Airbnb are growing in popularity -- there are even two houses available for guest lodging in Genesee County -- it hasn't been an issue in the city yet, Molino said. The proposed zoning change isn't really meant to address such services, but if it ever became an issue here, Batavia, like any city, would need to study the issue and find the most balanced solution available.

"You've got to look at what comes with it," Molino said. "Are there negative effects? Are there positive effects? Is it similar to a bed and breakfast or not? What comes with that activity? I think what most communities will start dealing with is, what are the positive and negative effects that come with the activity and do they balance each other house, and if not, what revisions of code or enforcement mechanisms do they want to put in place to balance it out."

The proposed zoning change will need to be go through a public hearing and be approved by City Council before becoming law.

May 14, 2015 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, schools, education, art.

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All of the entries in the Landmark Society's annual architectural drawing contest have all been hung in the children's room at the Richmond Memorial Library.

Local artist Brandi Bruggman is the contest judge this year. There will be winners announced in a ceremony at the library Tuesday night for first, second and third place, along with 20 honorable mentions.

Five schools are participating this year: John Kennedy, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, Elba, and Byron-Bergen. Every year, the fourth-grade students from each school in the county are invited to submit entries.

Landmark Society Board Member Barb Miller is coordinating the contest with Elba Art teacher Stephanie Rudman and B-B Art teacher Melissa Condidorio.
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May 14, 2015 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, Girls on the Run.

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Molly Barker, who founded Girls on the Run in 1996 in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C., visited Batavia Middle School today to meet with the local members of the after-school girls activity and charity group.  

The girls won the visit after beating out 87 other schools in a contest to collect the most donated used shoes for people in need.

Previously:

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May 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Street Animal Hospital, business, batavia.

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Keith Carlson and John Kemp, who already hold ownership stakes in Attica Veterinary Associates, have purchased the State Street Animal Hospital from Fran and Norm Woodworth, who were ready to slow down their workload.

Carlson (pictured (Kemp wasn't available)), said not much will change at State Street. It's a good facility with quality equipment and an excellent staff, so there simply isn't much the new owners need to change. All of the current employees are staying on and the new owners plan to hire a new technician and possibly a new vet. 

The new owners work full time in Attica and will manage State Street.

Kemp has been an owner in Attica since 1988 and Carlson joined the staff there 15 years ago, becoming one of the four owners 13 years ago.

"Owning a small animal hospital is something John and I always wanted to do and the right opportunity came along," Carlson said.

May 14, 2015 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Leadership Genesee, batavia, michael ranzenhofer.

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Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has honored Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone as a Woman of Distinction at the 18th annual ceremony in the State Capitol, recognizing her outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life for the community and beyond.
 
“Peggy inspires participants of Leadership Genesee to enhance their capacity to lead, and every graduate of the one-year program can tell you how her philosophy has improved their personal and professional lives,” Ranzenhofer said. “Our community is lucky to have such a thoughtful, genuine leader.” 
 
“I have worked with so many people over the past 30 years, and one of the constant takeaways is leaders are people who understand the needs of others. Leadership isn’t about being first or most powerful; real power comes from ensuring those you serve are better because of your efforts. I appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer’s recognition of this philosophy, and I will continue to instill it in every Leadership Genesee participant,” Marone said. 
 
As a 2002 graduate of Leadership Genesee, Peggy is passionate about her community. She is an annual volunteer for the United Way’s Day of Caring. She also serves as a judge for Operation Graduation at Batavia High School, and she is a former member of the Genesee County Arts Advisory Committee. 
 
In addition to her community involvement, Peggy is a strong advocate for theater productions in Genesee County. For more than 25 years, she has held every theatrical role possible, including actress, director and stage manager. In 2010, she received an Excellence in Ensemble Acting from the Theatre Association of New York State.
May 14, 2015 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, sports, baseball.

Press release:

Single game tickets for all 2015 Muckdogs’ home games go on sale Monday, May 18, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Dwyer Stadium Box Office, over the phone by calling (585) 343-5454 or online at muckdogs.com. Normal box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The same great, affordable ticket prices are back again in 2015. Tickets range from $8 for box seats to just $7  for adult General Admission tickets and $6  for kids and senior General Admission tickets.

During the season, the ticket office opens on game days at 9 a.m. Monday-Friday and closes at the end of fifth inning. On Saturday and Sunday, the ticket office will open at 10 a.m. and close after the fifth inning.

Season tickets, coupon books, ticket packages, and group tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit Muckdogs.com or call (585) 343-5454 and press zero, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Muckdogs open their 2015 home schedule on Friday, June 19th vs. the Auburn Doubledays at 7:05 p.m. In addition to their Pinckney Division rivals, the Muckdogs will welcome the Boston Red Sox (Lowell), Detroit Tigers (Connecticut), Houston Astros (Tri-City) and the Oakland A’s (Vermont) farm teams to Dwyer Stadium in 2015.

May 14, 2015 - 10:39am
posted by laurie napoleone in Batavia Area Jaycees, business, batavia.

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(Jennifer Ray, left, and Cathryn Colby)

U.S. Jaycees President Jennifer Ray visited Genesee County this past week and attended meetings with local officials. The organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Ray is a civil engineer from “a little bit of everywhere,” but currently calls Baltimore her home. She says she moved to Maryland for a job after graduating from college and she only knew one person in the area. That person encouraged her to join the Jaycees and after two years of coaxing, she decided to become a member. That was in 2001. It was through the Jaycees that she met her husband, became connected to the community, and the reason she now lives in Baltimore.

The Jaycees provide an opportunity to be part of a global network and do projects that make an impact and to then raise awareness through social media, she said.

Dating back to 1915, the Jaycees was started by Colonel H.N. Micgran, a prominent citizen from St. Louis who approached Henry Geissenbier, who was the leader of the Herculaneum Dance Club, and asked they become involved in civic issues. Geissenbier and his young men friends formed the young men’s progressive association (YMPCA), which then became the Junior Citizens, called the JC’s … thus, the name “Jaycees.” The whole concept started in St. Louis but grew from there.

The Jaycees were originally an all men’s club that had a woman’s auxiliary and in 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing females as members. This decision prompted other organizations to allow women in as members. With Ray serving as the national president, and Cathy Colby as the New York State President for the Jaycees, it's obvious females not only joined the ranks, but have taken on leadership roles.

The Jaycees have more than 200,000 members and are always looking for civic-minded people from the ages of 18-41 to join the various chapters. Each one seeks solutions to local problems to create a "sustainable global impact." In meeting with local representatives, Ray addressed problems regarding local socioeconomic issues, citing the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunches. By meeting with different chapters, the Jaycees can share community and global resources to hopefully find solutions to an issue such as this.

On a global level, the Jaycees have assisted with numerous projects and in June, they have a National Summit in Washington, D.C., which brings together the Jaycees and various organizations to discuss national and global issues. Then they write resolutions and meet with legislators on Capitol Hill before returning to their local chapters to look at opportunities and ways to resolve issues. Ray mentioned the “Nothingbutnets” Project, which supports President Obama’s Malaria Initiative, and provides insecticide laced bed nets that prevent malaria in African countries. This is one of the many global projects the Jaycees work on. For more information on these projects, go to www.jci.cc

New York State Jaycees President Colby can be contacted at 716-474-3343 for anyone interested in learning more about the Jaycees and how to get involved in the local chapter. Her mantra is “choose your tomorrow” – encouraging the youth in the community to get out and make a difference in their communities.

President Ray said “young people are the movers and shakers. ... it is important to become active in the community by not only identifying problems, but acting on them… and that is what we do."

May 14, 2015 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, bergen.

Three 17-year-olds and Samuel M. Smith, 18, of Rochester, are charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. One 17-year-old is also charged with possession of burglary tools. Smith is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The four teens were allegedly caught trying to break into the Jell-O Factory on North Street. They were discovered after village police investigated a complaint of people with flashlights in the area.

Kamalpreet Sembhi, 24, of Bergen, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and crossing a road hazard marking. Sembhi was stopped by State Police on Oatka Trail, Le Roy. A trooper allegedly detected a strong odor of marijuana from the vehicle. Upon investigation, the trooper allegedly found a plastic baggie containing 2.4 grams of marijuana and a glassine bag containing 0.1 grams of cocaine and one blue metal pipe containing cocaine residue. 

Annette M. Mazur, 54, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to use designated lane and refusal of breath screening test. Mazur was stopped at 1:56 a.m. on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Deavin L. Herman, 20, of Ridge Road, Gaines, was arrested on a warrant. The underlying charge of the warrant was not released. Herman was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Dylan J. Perry, 23, of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, and possession of a forged instrument. Perry allegedly stole a check, forged it and cashed it. He also allegedly stole several pieces of jewelry and pawned them. Perry was jailed on no bail.

Matthew D. Derrick, 30, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Derrick allegedly threatened another individual. He allegedly has a prior criminal of contempt conviction.

Robert S. Flad, 47, of Center Road, Kendal, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to use designated lane. Flad was stopped at 12:28 p.m. May 8 on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Darryle Streeter.

Andrew M. Budlong, 19, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and failure to use turn signal. Budlong was stopped at 2:16 a.m. Sunday on Ross Street, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Molly Ann Chatley, 18, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, criminal obstruction of breathing and petit larceny. Chatley allegedly applied pressure to another woman's neck. She allegedly violated an order of protection. She allegedly stole $150 from the victim. She was jailed on $1,000 bail.

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