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June 10, 2019 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, batavia.

The Department of Defense today released this video of Batavia resident David Bellavia discussing the fight with insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, that led to his nomination for a Medal of Honor, which he will receive in a White House ceremony on June 25.

There is also an Army webpage available about Bellavia and the award.

June 10, 2019 - 4:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

John J. Saddler, 31, no address provided, is charged with disorderly conduct with obscene sexual language and gestures. It is alleged that at 10:51 a.m. on June 7 on Jerome Place in Batavia that Saddler was observed outside screaming sexual obscenities and making sexual gestures toward the public. He was arrested and released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on June 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Peter Post. While officers were attempting to speak with Saddler about the disturbance he allegedly caused moments earlier, he became belligerent and allegedly said he was going to shoot Batavia city police officers. He was then charged with second-degree harassment and is also due to answer that charge on June 11 in city court. Batavia Police Officer Peter Post handled the incident, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Sean M. Madigan, 33, of Collegeview Drive, Batavia, is charged with forcible touching and unlawfully dealing with a child. Madigan was arrested after an investigation of an incident which occurred at a restaurant in the Home Valu Plaza on West Main Street Road in Batavia at 6 p.m. on Dec. 27. It is alleged that while he was working at the restaurant, he subjected an employee to unwanted physical contact and provided alcohol to subjects under age 21. After his arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in court on June 18. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Carlton L. Beardsley, 24, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, and Brittany M. Smith, no age or address provided, are charged with obstruction of governmental administration. It is alleged that at 4:08 p.m. on June 3 on West Main Street in Batavia, that they fought with police while police were investigating a reported assault that had occurred on West Main Street. They are due in Batavia City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Shaneeka R. Wroten, 26, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Wroten was arrested on East Main Street in Batavia at 6:53 p.m. on June 6 after allegedly proceeding beyond the point of sale at a local store without paying for merchandise. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on June 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

Jessica M. Pfenninger, 36, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 12:41 p.m. on June 6 after police investigated a shoplifting complaint at Dollar General on East Main Street in Batavia. Pfenninger was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on June 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post.

Crystal M. Bouter, 30, of Church Street, Medina, is charged with failure to appear in court on April 3. She was arrested on a warrant and issued an appearance ticket for June 11 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

June 10, 2019 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, notify, batavia.

Official announcement:

On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor to David G. Bellavia for conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.

Then-Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on November 10, 2004, while serving as a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia was clearing a block of houses when his platoon became pinned down. He quickly exchanged an M16 rifle for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, entered the house where his squad was trapped, and engaged insurgents, providing cover fire so that he and his fellow soldiers could exit safely. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle arrived to help suppress the enemy, but it could not fire directly into the house. Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia reentered the house, armed with an M16, and assaulted insurgents who were firing rocket-propelled grenades. He proceeded to kill one insurgent and wound another, who then ran to another part of the house. Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia was soon engaged by another insurgent rushing down the stairs when the previously wounded insurgent reemerged to engage him as well. Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia returned fire, killing both attackers. He then took enemy fire from an insurgent who had appeared from a closet across the room. He pursued him up the stairs and killed him. Soon thereafter, he moved to the roof where he engaged and wounded a fifth insurgent, who fell from the roof of the building. That remarkable day, then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia rescued an entire squad, cleared an insurgent strongpoint, and saved many members of his platoon from imminent threat.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND:

David Bellavia enlisted in the United States Army in 1999. After previously serving in Kosovo, he deployed to Iraq in 2004 with Company A, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division. He was released from duty on August 16, 2005. David now has his own daily radio talk show for WBEN in Buffalo, New York. He continues to serve the military and veteran communities through a number of philanthropic organizations.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
THE MEDAL OF HONOR:

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

June 9, 2019 - 5:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, batavia.

POTSDAM -- Lily Hamill, of Batavia, was recently named to the President's List at the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Hamill, whose major is Literature/Writing, was among 909 SUNY Potsdam students who were honored for academic excellence in the Spring 2019 semester. College President Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D., recognized the students for earning top marks.

To achieve the honor of being on the President's List, each student must have satisfactorily completed 12 numerically-graded semester hours, with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges -- and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence.

The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit http://www.potsdam.edu.

June 9, 2019 - 5:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, Basom, elba, Oakfield, batavia, darien center.

POTSDAM -- The following local students have been named to the dean's list for the spring 2019 semester at Clarkson University:

Kristian Bank, of Darien Center, a Mechanical Engineering major.

Hannah Bowen, of Batavia, a Psychology major.

Logan Cadieux, of Oakfield, a Mechanical Engineering major.

Zachary Dusky, of Basom, a Mechanical Engineering major.

Jacob Perez Gangi, of Elba, a Civil Engineering major.

Dean's list students must achieve a minimum 3.25 grade-point average and also carry at least 14 credit hours.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues.

Through more than 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, science, and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations, and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

June 9, 2019 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Glenn S. Loomis Post 332, American Legion, veterans, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

Glenn S. Loomis Post 332, Batavia American Legion, celebrated its 100th Anniversary on Saturday in Centennial Park.

June 9, 2019 - 4:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, batavia, byron.

CANTON -- Students are being recognized for earning dean's list honors during the spring 2019 semester at SUNY Canton.

"On behalf of the college's deans, I congratulate all of our honor students for their exceptional commitment to their SUNY Canton education," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. "This achievement serves as a milestone on their successful journey through college." 

Dean's list recognizes full-time students who have earned a GPA between 3.25 and 3.74. All honors are a mark of distinction and recognition of outstanding academic efforts and scholarship.

Students who earned Dean's List honors include three students from Genesee County: 

  • Dominique J. Johnson, of Batavia, who is majoring in the SUNY Canton Management program.
  • Shea Norton, of Batavia, who is majoring in the SUNY Canton Criminal Investigation program.
  • Kyley Pascarella, of Byron, who is majoring in the SUNY Canton Management program.

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service.

Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 18 online degree programs.

The college placed first in 14 categories in a SUNY-Wide Student Opinion Survey, most notably in career services, tutoring, library resources, and classroom facilities. The college's 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also offers varsity esports and cheerleading. For more information, visit www.canton.edu.

June 9, 2019 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in scanner, news, batavia.

City police are responding to 1 W. Main St. for the report of five or six children playing in the water behind the courts facility.

June 9, 2019 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, scanner, batavia, news.

A child on a bicycle was struck by a vehicle at the junction of Main Street and West Main Street in the city. Police, fire and Mercy medics are on scene.

June 9, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in baseball, batavia, sports, news.

Photo circa 1958. That’s Dave Reilly sliding and his infamous pal Charlie making the "safe" sign.

Submitted photos and story by Dave Reilly.

This year Batavia will be celebrating 80 years of baseball. Through the names Clippers, Indians, Pirates, Trojans, back to Clippers, and since 1998 the Muckdogs, the local team has provided adults and kids with a source of entertainment during the summer.

It also indirectly affected me ending up in the back of a police car about 60 years ago.

In the late '50s and '60s when I was about 10 to 15 years old (before girls), baseball was king with my friends and me.

In the daytime in the summer we would constantly be on our bikes with our bats and mitts riding all over looking for a place to play ball. One of our favorite places was the Little League park on State Street, which was deserted during the day and another field right by MacArthur Stadium where the Indians (as they were called from '57-'59) played.

We had a group of our guys and there was another ”gang” who lived in the stadium area who we would play for bragging rights.

As long as we were near the Indians' field we would go there when the team was at home and see if we could talk to, get autographs from, or maybe even score a broken bat from our heroes. The “heroes” were in reality 21- or 22-year-olds who had slim chances of getting to the majors, but they were still gods to us.

In 1957 the star was Ken Kraynak, who led the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in and thus won the Triple Crown trophy. We had an in with him, too, because for the summer he was dating my buddy Charlie's older sister.

In 1959 the “man” was Al Luplow, who went on to spend nine years in the major leagues. Once again, Charlie stood out but this time for the wrong reason.

Luplow was there in the clubhouse the afternoon Charlie mouthed off to some kid and got his arm broken. Al tried to comfort my friend who was screaming in pain until the ambulance got there. At least Charlie got his cast autographed by most of the players, but he never did learn to keep his yap shut.

When we were younger, 10 to 12 years old, we might have been allowed to walk to the game, but one of our parents would usually pick us up afterward.

Batavia Baseball Bargain -- the 'Knothole Pass'

Also, we would most likely sit in the grandstand section and watch the whole game. We were there for the baseball.

Back then, they had a season ticket for kids called a “Knothole Pass.” It cost one dollar and was good for almost every game. We sure got our money's worth out of that.

I guess the team figured they would make up the money by us kids buying the proverbial peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks. I rarely had any money though, so they lost out on me. Also, I hated Cracker Jacks and still do.

In 1960 Batavia did not field a team due to financial problems. I'm not sure what we did with our summer nights that season, but it probably involved whining at our parents that, “There's nothing to do in this one-horse town.”

However, in 1961 the team returned as the Pirates and we returned as teenagers and some of the shenanigans that come with that wonderful age came with us.

Our parents didn't know it (do they ever?), but now we were likely to spend more time fooling around outside the stadium than in it. Also, we would more apt to be in a group of guys and the monster of peer pressure was lurking around to rear its ugly head.

One of our obsessions was trying to get a foul or home run ball that was hit out of the stadium.

But, in those days, minor league teams had no money to keep replacing expensive baseballs. So, they hired a few teenagers to go get the balls and return them to be used again.

Now, I'm not saying that the team intentionally hired mean bullies for that job, but it sure seemed that way to us younger kids. 

The teenagers were faster than us and mostly got to the balls before we could. But, on the few occasions when we actually snagged a foul or homer before them, let's just say that they didn't ask in a polite way to get it back.

We'd usually submit pretty easily, but if not we might go home with dirt on our clothes or a bruise somewhere. I do not recall ever getting to keep one of those baseballs.

Around that time, like many young teens, we began to get daring and try to smoke cigarettes. Of course, even though many of our parents smoked, we'd be in big trouble if they caught us doing it: "Do as I say, not as I do."

Acts of Derring-do

So, we couldn't smoke inside at the game because someone might see us and tell mom and dad. In fact, one time in elementary school I had a candy cigarette (there's a great product for kids) in my mouth outside and by the time I got home, my mom had gotten a call that I had been smoking!

So, if we wanted to sneak a cigarette we'd have to hide outside somewhere. One night, this is what got us into a bunch of trouble.

Behind the center field fence of MacArthur( now Dwyer) Stadium was a stone structure everyone called the Civil Air Patrol Building.

Apparently, during World War II, volunteers used be stationed there with binoculars to keep an eye out for German bombers who wanted to take out the Doehler-Jarvis Tool and Die factory or some other Batavia target.

By 1961 it was pretty much deserted except for men's and ladie's restrooms, which were kept open for people in the park area. 

(Author's Note: I was surprised on a recent visit to Batavia to find the old building still standing, albeit in ragged shape and marred by graffiti.)

My friends Charlie (yup, him again), Jay, Mike, and I were in the vicinity of the Civil Air Patrol Building during a Pirates' game. We were most likely once again on a futile mission to get a home run or foul ball.

At some point we went into the men's room to sneak a smoke. We were such chickens to get caught that we even shut the door. But, since the building was really not in use, there were no lights and this is where someone, maybe me, came up with a completely idiotic idea.

Enter Excelsior

In another open but unused room there were some old, cushioned chairs. They had either fallen apart or been vandalized so the stuffing of the cushions was hanging out.

We must have had a good vocabulary because we knew this straw filling was called "excelsior," a word that becomes important in this tale later on.

We took some handfuls of the excelsior back to the men's room, lit it on fire for light, shut the door, and commenced to fire up our Winstons or whatever brand we had. 

With no ventilation, within seconds the room filled with dense acrid smoke.

Not wanting to suffocate we had no choice but to throw open the door and exit posthaste while choking and coughing. As we regained our breath the gagging turned to laughter at ourselves as we realized how dumb we had been.

This hilarity did not last long.

We went back inside to stomp out the now smoldering straw, but didn't realize that the plumes had been seen by people inside the stadium at the game.

As we exited again, we looked up to see a Batavia City Police car speeding across the grass toward us. It turned out that a Batavia policeman (who shall remain nameless) had stopped at the game on his patrol and had seen the smoke, too.

What would you do if you were 13 or 14 and saw a police car coming after you? Of course -- RUN!

I'm not sure where the other guys bolted to, but I took off for a huge junkyard nearby. I spotted a rusted out delivery truck and hid inside.

I cowered there trembling like a kitten in a dog kennel. After a few minutes I got up the courage to peek out. There stood the cop with an annoyed look on his face.

“C'mon kid,” he said, “and don't even try running again. Your buddies are in my car already.”

Busted, I hangdoggedly trudged to the cruiser.

Meanwhile, Back at the Police Station...

As we sat in the police car sweating, we asked the officer what was he going to do with us?

“You're going to the station and the desk sergeant can decide how to deal with you,” he replied. “You know you could be charged with arson for setting that straw on fire.”

Then big mistake number two happened.

Someone, and it definitely wasn't me it was Charlie who said, 'It's not straw, it's excelsior.”

“Seltzer?”, the cop asked? “What the heck are you talking about? I know straw when I see it, and I'd advise you to shut up before you get in more trouble than you're already in.”

Charlie eventually became a lawyer, but in this instance he was ruled out of order.

Upon our arrival at the station on School Street, mistake number three occurred. As I exited the police car I tried to throw my pack of smokes underneath it.

They clunked off the side of the car and fell on the street just as the officer turned around.

“Nice try kid,” he snorted as he picked them up. 

Once inside, the desk sergeant saw us being herded in and asked the cop, “What were these guys up to?”

“I was at the baseball game and saw smoke coming out of the Civil Air Patrol Building," he reported. “I drove out there and these kids had been in there smoking cigarettes and set a bunch of straw on fire. They ran, but I got 'em,” he announced proudly.

“What have you guys got to say for yourselves?”, the sergeant asked.

Remember, Charlie couldn't keep his yap shut. With aplomb, he unbelievably inserted his foot into his mouth yet again: “Well sir, we were smoking but it was just a little fire. And it wasn't straw, it was excelsior.”

Wow. Fresh blood might be redder than the first cop's face, but that's doubtful.

Perp Walk for Rare Company

Mercifully, we did not get charged with arson. Our parents were called and had to come pick us up.

My parents almost never had company, but on this night a group of people were at our house and I had to do the perp walk through them to my parents' embarrassment.

For the next month my mother had me scrubbing walls, pulling weeds, and generally working from morning until night.

And Charlie's fate? His parents promptly enrolled him in military school in Syracuse instead of returning to Notre Dame.

It was questionable as punishment though; he went on to become a Captain and got to carry a sword around. It also served to add to his already big ego.

All of us had to go with our parents to see the Batavia Police Youth Officer Lewis Snell.

I'm not sure what admonitions he gave or what advice he might have given for our future, but it must have worked on some level because that turned out to be my last time in the back of a police car.

Unless I really go off my old guy wheels, I'm pretty sure things will remain that way, too.

Below, Batavia's minor league baseball field as it was when Dave Reilly was a boy, circa 1958.

Below, the old Civil Air Patrol Building as it stands today; the site of the excelsior escapade.

June 8, 2019 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, batavia, VA, news.

bataviaptsdceremony2019.jpg

Five former residents of the Batavia PTSD Clinic who died within the past year were honored and remembered Friday in a ceremony that including reading their names (their names will be added to bricks in a path to the memorial flag pole) and laying a wreath in their honor.

The five veterans honored were:

  • Daniel R. Criswell, Army
  • Thomas R. Kintner, Marine Corps
  • Haley M. Messer, Army
  • Matthew J. Rizzo, Army
  • Matthew M. Shaw, Army

bataviaptsdceremony2019-2.jpg

bataviaptsdceremony2019-3.jpg

bataviaptsdceremony2019-4.jpg

June 8, 2019 - 2:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin Waleski, 31, an inmate in the Genesee County Jail, is charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a Class D felony. He is accused of damaging the jail inmate phone system on April 23. It is alleged that on that date he plugged the toilet in this holding cell, causing a flood. The water ended up in the basement of the jail and shorted out the phone system electronics, according to Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. He was arraigned on the charge June 3 and jailed without bail.

Jessica Nicole Weiss, 28, of Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Following a child endangerment complaint at a local motel at 4:20 p.m. on June 5, Weiss was arrested on the charges. She allegedly left her young children alone in their residence for a period of time. Weiss was issued an appearance ticket and taken to jail for prints and photos. She is due in Town of Batavia Court on July 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

June 8, 2019 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, public market, downtown, batavia.
Video Sponsor

The Batavia Downtown Public Market opened Friday at Alva Place and Bank Street.

June 8, 2019 - 12:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, Fill the Boot, batavia, video, IAFF Local 896.
Video Sponsor

Members of Batavia City Fire, IAFF Local 896, were at locations on Main Street and Ellicott Street in Downtown Batavia today for their annual Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for MDA.

This year, they raised more than $11,000 from thousands of small donations by residents passing by the firefighters with boots.

June 7, 2019 - 6:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, batavia, veterans, Medal of Honor.

davidbellavia_presser.jpg

When President Donald Trump drapes the Medal of Honor -- our nation's highest honor -- around David Bellavia on June 25, the Batavia resident will become the lone living veteran of the Iraq War to receive the honor.

Bellavia, who co-hosts a news talk show on WBEN, wasn't available for comment today. 

Bellavia is already a Silver Star recipient for his single-handed battle against a nest of insurgents during the Second Battle of Fallujah. 

He's also received the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.

The Batavian will cover the press conference in Buffalo next week and the award ceremony at the White House on June 25 at the invitation of Bellavia.

Photo: File photo from 2011 when Bellavia announced his first congressional campaign.

June 7, 2019 - 5:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, Le Roy, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for a 6,000-square-foot warehouse project at 52 Cedar St. in the City of Batavia at its June 6 board meeting.  

Cedar Street Sales & Rentals (Mucher & Clark LLC) will receive approximately $37,000 sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions to support the $165,000 project.

The project will generate revenues of about 28,000 into the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) fund over 10 years. The project supports 10 existing jobs and 1.5 new positions.

The GCEDC board also approved the acceptance of an application from W&M Humphrey Associates LP for a $3.1 million expansion for facilities on Munson Street in the village of Le Roy, which are leased to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP).

W&M Humphrey Associates is seeking incentives of approximately $465,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The 11,000-square-foot project includes the addition of flexible conference rooms, training areas, offices and support spaces, and is estimated to add 2.5 full-time equivalent positions to the 525 supported by GVEP.

“The BP2 program is an important collaboration between various entities, including the City of Batavia, Batavia City Schools, and Genesee County to enhance economic development opportunities in Batavia,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia.

June 7, 2019 - 2:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, scanner, crime.

An altercation is reported at MacArthur Drive and State Street in the city. Batavia High School security personnel are said to be on their way over their. Batavia police are dispatched.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: The person accused of instigating the fight is a 15-year-old male and police are out with him now.

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