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February 23, 2009 - 9:20pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, brighton.

Brighton may have been just 8-12 going into Monday night's Section 5 Class A girls basketball playoff game with host Batavia, but one of those wins came against the Blue Devils. And several of the losses came to Monroe County League Division I and II schools.

So Bill Wade knew his team was going to have their hands full.

Even with a sloppy ending, that including many missed layups and free throws, Batavia escaped with a 44-39 win to advance past the opening round.

"I'm very happy," said Wade, whose team beat the Barons by two and lost by one in the regular season. "One of the things I said when I took over coaching the team was that I was going to enjoy every win our team gets - and I'm enjoying this win. We do have to fix some things. But if we didn't win, we weren't going to get a chance to fix them."

 Wade also notes that Brighton's record is deceiving. The team had some injury problems to key players that were factors in the losses.

The five point victory was the biggest margin of victory either team has had in the three matchups this year and the reason was because of the Batavia defense.

When the Blue Devils had a 51-50 win in January, Brighton hit nine 3-pointers in the win. The 12th seeded Barons did not hit a shot from beyond the arc against the fifth seeded Blue Devils Monday. Wade gives a lot of credit to the defense of Brittany Hein, who he calls one of the best defensive players he's ever coached.

"We tried to give them different looks," Wade said. "We normally play a 3-2, but we were almost in a 2-3 tonight. They run one in and four out and they are very wide. (Leanna) Brooks is a good post player and driver, and we had a hard time adjusting to her last time. We tried to contain her drive so we didn't have to help on other girls, then we tried to be in their vision on every shot."

Wade is also looking towards his senior leaders in these playoffs. And Brittany Mazurkiewicz didn't disappoint.

She converted 8-of-9 free throw attempts and scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.

"She started taking the ball to the basket," Wade said. "We used a little pick-and-roll play and she was taking the ball to the basket and getting fouled."

 Jaycee Shirk had four points and eight rebounds with Hein pitching in four assists and Brittany Wormley scoring six points.

Brenna Bauer had 15 points to lead Brighton (8-13).

Batavia (15-6) will get another home game on Thursday because No. 13 Aquinas surprised No. 4 Sutherland 69-59 Monday.

"Since I took over, I've talked about changing the culture," Wade said. "First I wanted to get kids to want to come out and play, and second, I wanted them to believe they can win a big game. If we win or lose, the next game is going to be a step in the right direction in changing the atmosphere if we play a good game."

February 23, 2009 - 4:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, consolidation, seneca falls.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Batavia could learn a thing or two from Seneca Falls. The town and village of Seneca Falls have become the centerpiece of a statewide campaign of the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who claims that merging municipalities saves taxpayers money.

As the city and town of Batavia pull up their sleeves and really get serious about consolidation—we've all seen the flow chart!—it might benefit to step back and take a look at how things are going over in Seneca County. Officials over there seem to be following the exact same process as our own. They even hired the Center for Governmental Research as a consultant to study the potential merger.

And ever since the initial research came out in November, Cuomo has been promoting the potential $978 savings in property taxes per year for Seneca Falls homeowners. But... it turns out, it's not so black and white.

From an article in today's Democrat & Chronicle:

A closer look at the potential savings in abolishing this Seneca County village of about 7,000 people and having the town take over its functions shows far more modest overall savings than suggested by Cuomo — with other taxpayers paying more as village taxes go down. Seneca Falls also has some unique circumstances that mean its potential savings would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.

"In almost every case, these changes involve a tax shift from village to town taxpayers," said Charles Zettek, vice president of the Center for Governmental Research, who studied the Seneca Falls project and came up with the figure Cuomo quotes.

According to Zettek's figures, abolishing the village, while saving village taxpayers an average of $978 a year, would increase the levy on town residents who live outside the village, who now pay almost no town taxes, by $375. The figures are based on property worth $100,000.

In addition, another big chunk of the savings would come from a $495,000 state grant designed to encourage government consolidations — in effect, a shift in costs from village to state taxpayers.

Maybe that's a question we need to put to our own leaders. In the CGR report put together for the Batavia consolidation, we can read that taxpayers stand to reap a savings of 15 percent on their property taxes. Well, to be more specific, the document reads that consolidation would "reduce the combined property tax levy of the City and Town by 15% per year." So what does that mean for town residents? Will city residents get a reduction while town residents see an increase?

What about this quote from Zettek—not too heartening:

"This whole thing is an art form, figuring out who benefits and who doesn't," said Zettek, who said that generally government-merger plans can trim expenses "in the 2.5 percent to 5 percent range."

Well, if it's an art form, why did we hire bureaucrats to do it?

Or what about this statement from the village administrators:

"In terms of savings from shared services, you're really talking about nickels and dimes," said village administrator Connie Sowards, whose job would be abolished if the plan goes through. "The big thing is the cost shift."

I would suggest reading the whole article by Jay Gallagher. It's quite informative. Don't about most folks, but I'm all for the idea of consolidation, but it seems more and more that the devil is in the details, none of which have yet been definitively worked out.

Let's hope the upcoming "plan" can really spell things out for us.

February 23, 2009 - 10:20am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, grants, Albany.

Several city leaders are in Albany today, where Council President Charlie Mallow hopes to swing a couple deals for future grants. In an e-mail to local media outlets, Mallow said that he and Councilwoman Marianne Clattenburg "were able to secure private meetings with some very influential people and there are several issues the city is looking to move forward on." As a result, Mallow requested City Manager Jason Molino and Assistant City Manager Sally Kuzon, to join them in the capital for help with "this very important lobbying effort." mallow and Clattenburg have been there since last week.

Tonight's council meeting has subsequently been cancelled.

We sent an e-mail to Mallow this morning to see if he could supply us with any more details about these "private meetings." We also asked why he felt the presence of Molino and Kuzon was required.

His response:

Being successful and keeping the tax rate down requires us to obtain grants.This year city taxpayers were subsidized $580,000 by state grants. in prior years we were only able to secure a small fraction of that money. That is a number that was unthinkable in past years and it comes from a lot of hard work and a professional staff. We have made a conscious effort to go out and get what our city needs instead of relying on that money to come from local taxpayers pockets.

I was able to setup several meetings with key individuals in the governor’s office. I asked Jason how we could use this time and these contacts to our best advantage. Sally and Jason's knowledge on the specifics of our requests are needed on an informational basis to those we are meeting with. The more successful we are in making our case for funding the higher the probability we will be successful with future grant opportunities, that is our ultimate goal and the reason we are here in Albany.

February 23, 2009 - 8:16am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Announcements, theater, entertainment.

From the Batavia Players:

To begin its 77th Year as one of New York State’s oldest continuous Community Theater organizations, Batavia Players, Inc. is pleased to announce it’s first offering this 2009 Season.  The Annual Shakespeare in Springtime Program this year will feature “A Comedy of Errors”.   The uproarious mistaken identity misadventure opens on the stage at John Kennedy Elementary School on March 19th and runs until Saturday, March 21st.  Show time is 7:30 each evening.  Tickets are available at the door or at Go Art!, 201 East Main Street in Batavia.  Ticket Prices are $10 for Adults and $8 for Students and Senior Citizens.

“A Comedy of Errors” is the shortest of Shakespeare’s plays and perhaps the most humorous.  It revolves around the story of two sets of identical twins that get separated shortly after birth.  The fun and frivolity ensues when both sets appear in the same town 30 years later.  Directed by E. Jane Burk, the play consists of a cast of 25 professional and community theater actors.  “Comedy’s” set is designed by Kevin Partridge and Patrick Burk.   Both Mr. Burk and Mr. Partridge also appear in the show.  Costumes are designed by Patrick Burk, Beth Ann Hooker and Alice Judkins.

Batavia Players, Inc. is starting its second year of a five-show season.  They also are looking to establish a permanent performance space by the 2011 Season.  This year’s season includes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe - to be performed in June, Summer Youth Theater Production of The Wiz – August 20th – 22nd, A Wilder Evening – One Act Plays by Thornton Wilder  - September 18th – 19th and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown which will feature the City of Batavia All Elementary Chorus as its holiday offering in December.

Anyone interested in Batavia Players can call 585-343-9313 ext 31 or call Patrick Burk directly at 585-343-9721.

February 23, 2009 - 8:15am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Announcements, business, books, Present Tense, Facebook.

From Present Tense bookshop:

Present Tense now has a Facebook page! We will be updating it frequently with store events, book recommendations, and all the interesting, unusual, and amusing news and notes from the world of books! Here's the link: Facebook.

If you already have a Facebook account you can automatically get our updates by clicking the Become a Fan link. You can still view our page even if you are not a Facebook member, just follow the link above.

We hope you find our new Facebook page interesting, useful, and entertaining!

February 23, 2009 - 7:56am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, weather, snow, winter.

We could see as much as five inches pile up by dinner time tonight. The National Weather Service out of Buffalo has issued a lake effect snow advisory for the region until 6 o'clock this evening. From the advisory:

Bands of lake effect snow will persist through the day. New accumulations in the most persistent bands will be in the 3 to 5 inch range. Brisk west to northwest winds will also lead to areas of blowing snow and poor visibilities.

In lake effect snow, the weather can vary from locally heavy snow in narrow bands to clear skies just a few miles away. If you will be travelling across the region be prepared for rapid changes in road and visibility conditions.

There's not much to see out on the radar so far.

However, things look a little greasy out on the Thruway.

February 22, 2009 - 1:37pm
posted by St. Joseph School in batavia, school, carnival.

St. Joseph School Penny Carnival!

Please join us for our 20th Annual St. Joseph School Penny Carnival. March 28th 11-4.  Corner of Main and Summit in Batavia.
The fun includes: games and prizes; our famous "Cake Walk"; food and refreshments; baked goods sale; numerous raffles including:  $1000 cash giveaway; $250 Toy-R-Us Shopping Spree, $100+ lottery-ticket basket, 13 different theme baskets. Please call the school at 343-6154 with any questions.
Hope to see you there!

February 22, 2009 - 1:09am
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, community awareness.

 

 

 

 

Paul Ohlson, Founder Of Care-A-Van Ministry and Elder Ron discuss challenges of the day at one of our trips out.

 

 

What a glorious day God provided for Care-A-Van today! The sun was shining brightly as we headed out.  There was a bustle of activity outside the bus. As I was walking back up from one apartment, a mom was walking back down the still icy driveway. I helped her back to her home. Her son was going to come back up and get the groceries.

 

As we entered the home, I gathered up her precious daughter into my arms. Jalisa (mother’s permission given to use her name) smiled brightly up at me. She was so precious! Her son was busy getting on his boots to come back to the bus with me.

I asked if Jalisa could walk yet. She said she takes tiny steps. I set her down on the floor and took her hands. The sight below me was stunning. Her tiny little bare pudgy feet began to take tiny little steps across the floor. As each step was taken she would topple from one side to the other. It then dawned on me! This is how it is when we begin our walk with Jesus. We start our walk and belief with small tiny steps. With not quite sure what is happening in our hearts and souls, we topple from side to side. However, just as I was there to hold Jalisa’s hands, Jesus is there holding us up. He never lets go of us. He is our comforter and provider.

 

Provision and comfort was in great need today at the apartment complex. As the economic tide is turning, there are more and more needs in the community. We prayed with families for God to provide employment. A young mom needed a mattress for a bed for her young child. We called RAP and got a listing of where places that the mom might find this need met. We prayed with a young mom who had just moved out on her own with her young son to start a new life for the two of them.

 

Comfort and hope was given to a young couple who were struggling with so many challenges and issues in their life. The ministry team shared of God’s love with this beautiful young couple. We shared of the hope and life there is with having Jesus in your heart and life. Paul offered prayer and support to the young man as Sue and I prayed and comforted with the young woman. We encouraged them to find a church. God showed them hope with that allowing Christ in their hearts and taking those tiny steps one at a time that there is peace for them in their future life together.

 

We are thankful for all of you that continue to partner with us. We are thankful for the steps that are being taken by all of us to walk one step at a time with each other to bring hope to the city of Batavia.  We saw so many issues that were discussed at the Interagency meeting this past week. I felt so much hope within knowing now who the contacts are for the needs of these people. I am thankful for the time that Vicki from Domestic Violence has taken with us. We are thankful for the offer of training from this organization. We are thankful for RAP. We are thankful to all you churches who are waiting with open arms to receive these hurting souls. We are just thankful that with Jesus as our pilot, we can all walk one tiny step together to truly make a difference!

 

As the sun comes up each new day, may we all step into the day with the reminder of the peace and hope that comes from our Lord! Praises to our Lord for another blessed day on the streets!

 

God Bless

Robin Walters

Care-A-Van Ministries

 

February 22, 2009 - 12:28am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, hockey, spencerport.

The Batavia hockey team's run through the Section 5 Class B sectionals has come to an end.

Spencerport topped the Blue Devils 5-2 at the ESL Centre Saturday and Batavia's season comes to an end.

Mike Leone scored his first goal of the season for Spencerport and it proved to be the game winner at 1:57 of the second period.

Rocky Grattaudaria, Steve Doud and Kevin Keacock also had goals with Steve Hogan dishing out three helpers.

Pat Finnell and Will Mulcahy had the Batavia (11-10-2) goals, with Adam Kurek stopping 20 shots.

Tyler Lariviere had 26 saves for Spencerport (14-7-2). 

February 21, 2009 - 11:25pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Attica, sports, holley, wrestling.

 

Attica's Luke Pariso wasn't supposed to beat defending New York State Public High School Athletic Association champion Cody Hutcheson of Bath. Pariso has won a couple of sectional titles, but Hutcheson was a monster.

Pariso won the 171-pound title at SuperSectionals Saturday at Rochester Institute of Technology, but that was far from the biggest upset of the day.

Holley's Kyle Steadman has a season record of just 35-10 after the weekend, but he's moving on to states after shocking the thousands of people there to watch the SuperSectionals. He beat Genesee Region League foe Dave Jennings of Attica at 189 pounds, 3-1 in overtime, to move on.

"It feels really good, coming back from sixth place and taking the title," Steadman said.

Steadman wasn't even ranked in the top five by armdrag.com and was seeded sixth in his weight class. It was the second Holley grappler to win the championship on Saturday and could be the fourth to advance to states next weekend.

"I hope Tim (Banks) goes because he has a lot of points," Holley coach John Grillo said. "He should go to states because of his past reputation and history of going to states. Quinton Murphy had an electrifying match, but Kyle Steadman was a surprise. He had a lot of losses, but has wrestled quality kids all year. We knew he had it in him and we just had to get it out of him."

Steadman had an escape early in the second period of the finals and Jennings had one early in the third, but there wasn't much offense in the title round. But Steadman had a takedown in overtime, beating the fourth-ranked wrestler in the weight class.

"I wrestled him before and I know he's really strong on top," Steadman said. "I just had to go my hardest and give it all I had - never quit."

Steadman had a pin and a decision in Friday's opening two rounds before winning a 7-2 decision over Caledonia-Mumford's Jon Grann in the semifinals.

The other Holley wrestler to win a championship was Murphy at 119 pounds. The defending state champion at 103 pounds didn't need much time in the finals to get a return ticket to the big show. 

After a technical fall and two pins earning him a trip to the championship match, he dropped Palmyra-Macedon's Tyler Marlow in 1:36.

"It felt great," Murphy said. "I'm really known for that move so when I knew it was there, I went for it."

Banks was the other Holley finalist at 130 pounds, but lost to Pal-Mac's Matt Hausbrouck 3-1 in overtime.

Murphy says that he "just wants to re-win" a state title, while it is a different story for Steadman. He will be working with 2004 state champion Andrew Grillo - John's son - over the next week to prepare for another shot at an upset.

"Coach has to get me prepared because I've never been to states before," Steadman said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 Hutcheson will get to states with a wild card, but his loss to Pariso definitely stung. 

The Attica senior was ranked second but very few gave him a shot to knock off a state champion because he had never advanced past sectionals. But Pariso scored early and then got defensive to earn the title and a trip to Albany next weekend.

"I knew I had to go hard," Pariso said. "He has really good endurance so I knew I had to push the pace on him. I had that inside trip and put him on his back."

Pariso got that 2-point takedown with just 15 seconds left in the first period and then had an escape midway through the second to make it 3-0. He simply hung on in the third period to get the 3-0 decision.

"I didn't want him to get a reversal and put me on my back," Pariso said. "It could be 4-0, 4-3 or maybe a pin. I just rode him real tight and kept on at his cross-wrists and rode him for the rest of the match."

Pariso had two decisions on Friday and then topped Batavia's Anthony D'Aurizio 3-1 to advance to the finals. Now he looks forward to facing an even bigger challenge than what he's seen in Section 5 next week.

"I can't wait," Pariso said. "There is a real tough kid from Section 4, Kyle Beckwith, who has won a couple of national titles. I'm going to have to push the pace and beat him to, win a state championship."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 The Batavia wrestling team had nine grapplers compete in SuperSectionals, but end up with just one champion.

Nick Lazarony was the second ranked wrestler at 112 pounds and won three decisions to make it to the finals, where he was paired up with top-seeded Joe Smaldone of Geneva. 

Both were going to get a trip to states via wild card, even if they lost. That was enough reason for Smaldone - who took second at 112 last year - to forfeit his finals match. 

Lazarony had a crack at states last year and will have another one this season. 

"He's looking good," Stewart said. "There are a couple of good kids we've scouted so far. He is in the top six there for sure. He still has to wrestle, but it's well deserved. He's given us four good years."

Ryan Darch was seeded No. 1 at 160 pounds and three easy decisions en route to the finals, where he was paired up with Brandon Mills of Canisteo-Greenwood, who was the No. 2 seed.

Darch took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Mills was called on a technical violation, then scored another point in the second period on an escape.

But Mills had a takedown at the mid-point of the frame and tied the match at 2. He had an escape in the third period and then kept Darch from making a move the rest of the way. He tried, making a few attempts to lunge and get ahold of Mills, but the Canisteo grappler was too slippery.

"It was a very defensive match," Stewart said. "He got caught in that little scramble there and tried to battle back from it. It is what it is."

Darch should get a wild card trip to states, but we will not know until it is announced Monday night.

Batavia's Troy Ireland lost to Mills in the semifinals, but won his wrestle-back to take third. He won a 7-6 decision over Wellsville's Ethan Lamphier.

After losing to Pariso in the semifinals, D'Aurizio lost his bid for third place against Byron-Bergen's Zack Green. Green won the third-place match with a pin at 3:53.

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The highlight match of the Division II card was at 135 pounds, where two three-time defending state champions and NCAA Division I scholarship recipients squared off.

Warsaw's Ian Paddock - who will attend Ohio State next year - won a 3-0 decision over Pal-Mac's Alex Ekstrom - who will attend Oklahoma. 

Two other Genesee Region League wrestlers made the finals but lost as Kendall's Jake Requa took second at 96 pounds and Lyndonville's John Brabon was second at 140.

 

February 20, 2009 - 10:12pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame.

 Notre Dame coach Mike Rapone will accept Notre Dame's 11th top seed in sectionals Saturday night.

You might think that even though the other 10 plaques are in his basement, because of a lack of room to display them, this one doesn't mean anything. But it does.

"It is nice because it is a nice accomplishment," Rapone said. "I always use the expression, and the kids never get it, that the top seed a $1.61 will get you a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts. All it does is put a bulls-eye on your back. It is a nice accomplishment, but it makes you the No. 1 target."

Even though the Genesee Region League has had some strong teams, as have Le Roy and Batavia, this is the only local team to earn a top seed in the boys tournaments.

The Fighting Irish are 17-3 and have been tested, playing strong GR teams like Oakfield-Alabama, Pembroke, Elba and Kendall as well as non-league foes like Prattsburgh and Houghton.

"I think my goal is always to get as competitive a regular season as I can," Rapone said. "You want your team to be ready for what the future brings. I think our schedule this year was one that will have us ready."

This postseason could be historic for Notre Dame as Rapone is nearing second on the all-time wins list in Section 5. With just one win, Rapone will tie Scio's Roger Rigby for second on the list with 527 career wins.

Ed Nietopski from Cardinal Mooney leads the Section 5 wins list with 545.

"You don't sit down when you start coaching and say this is what you want to do," Rapone said. "As I get closer, I realize that it is a great accomplishment for the school and our basketball program, as much as for myself. It is also about all the players I've coached over the years. They are the ones winning the games."

Notre Dame's top player right now is senior point guard Kevin Francis, who has been on the team through a top seed and two No. 2 seeds that didn't win titles.

"In the last couple of weeks he's been a little more vocal in terms of what we need to do," Rapone said. 

Rapone has seven sectional championships and is looking for an eighth this season. Standing in his way could be fourth-seeded Elba (11-9), which knocked the Fighting Irish out of the playoffs in the semifinals last season.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oakfield-Alabama won the GR Division I title with a 17-3 record, but are only a third seed in Class C1.

This might be the best team O-A has ever had, but Avon (19-1) and East Rochester (18-2) are the top seeds in what might be the toughest bracket from top to bottom.

Pembroke went 13-7 and are a ninth seed in that class while Byron-Bergen went 4-16 and are ranked No. 15.

The Batavia boys squad went 17-3 and are relegated to a second seed in Class A1. The Blue Devils are behind Aquinas (17-3) in a very competitive group.

Attica (10-10) are the sixth seed in Class B1 and Le Roy (9-11) are the third seed in Class B2. Holley is 4-16 and ninth in the classification.

Kendall went 12-8 and is a fifth seed in Class C2, with a great shot at pulling an upset and winning a title. Alexander (8-12) is 10th and Lyndonville (1-19) is 16th.

February 20, 2009 - 2:05pm

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Three potential ambulance providers are being talked about to replace the city of Batavia ambulance service, which will cease to operate as of September 1, according to the Daily News.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell told a group of municipal representatives from across the county last night that Rural Metro Corp., Twin City Ambulance and Monroe Ambulance would "likely" submit proposals to the county to take over service.

Explains Joanne Beck in that article:

Volunteer fire companies would still have a role ... and would be able to respond to emergencies and do some transports unless the provider specifically asks for every transport. UMMC has offered space to house ambulances of the future provider and that provider would set itself up as a business, Gsell said. It would make its money by charging customers for each service call. There isn't to be any type of fee charged to the municipality, he said.

Rural Metro is a nationwide corporation whose stock currently trades at $1.25 per share with a six-month high of $2.50 coming at the end of September. The company operates out of 22 states in the continental U.S.

From the company's Web site:

What began with one man's vision has grown today into a company with approximately $500 million in annual revenues and more than 8,000 employees who provide health and safety services throughout the United States. Annually, Rural/Metro's employees respond to more than 1 million calls for assistance.

Monroe Ambulance is a 34-year-old service that operates out of Rochester. From the mission statement:

Monroe Ambulance provides Advanced Life Support with area volunteer ambulance and fire departments, ensuring that patients who live in outlying areas have access to all of our life saving paramedic services. This includes back-up Advanced Life Support to area volunteer agencies, fire departments, and ambulance corps.

We provide medically supervised transports for patients needing transport with minimal assistance (i.e., patients able to move, sit, and walk on their own with slight assistance, such as those traveling home from same day surgery).

We are seeking information on staffing levels for Monroe.

Twin City Ambulance is based in Erie County and serves the suburban Buffalo area. More than 200 technicians make up its core staff.

Twin City was in the news a few years back over a controversial call not to send an ambulance to assist two policemen who had been shot in Buffalo. Critics claimed the call was a callous rejection. Company representatives said that the call was outside the ambulance crew's service area. That report:

We're seeking further information from Gsell on the logistics of having an outside company take over the ambulance service for the county. We will provide those details as they become available.

February 20, 2009 - 12:07pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, crash, emergency.

BATAVIA , N.Y. — Reports are coming through over the scanner. A tractor trailer has rolled over in the westbound lanes of the Thruway in Batavia, near the Lewiston Road Bridge. Multiple vehicles are believed to be involved in the crash. All available crews are being called to the scene, and Mercy Flight has been placed on standby.

We will provide more details as they become available.

Update (12:11 p.m.): The tractor trailer has rolled over into the median and three other vehicles are involved in the crash. Traffic is still moving westbound on the Thruway at this time.

Update (12:43 p.m.): Visibility at the scene of the crash is reduced nearly to nothing. From nowhere on Lewiston Road were we able to get a clear site on the crash scene. Whipping winds kicking up snow blotted out most of the scene. We were able to shoot a few seconds of video that show the traffic moving at a crawl heading westbound and just barely trickling through eastbound. The overturned trailer could barely be made out in the median. No other vehicles could be scene from the overpass.

We're still waiting on reports of injuries. Emergency crews on scene did report a slight leak coming from the tractor trailer. That was not identified, but it was reported to be contained.


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February 19, 2009 - 1:05pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame, Alabama.

 The Batavia and Oakfield-Alabama boys basketball teams had losses this past week against tough squads and both dipped one spot in the newest New York State Sportswriters Association poll.

The Hornets had the lead for almost the entire game, but lost to Akron in the final minute of the Genesee Region/Niagara-Orleans League Showdown Saturday.

Because of the loss, O-A drops from No. 11 to No. 12 in Class C.

Batavia had matchup problems and lost to Class AAA Irondequoit in the opening round of the Monroe County League tournament Monday, but were not faulted in the rankings. The Blue Devils are still the No. 21 ranked team in the state in Class A.

Notre Dame beat Elba and Lima Christian and are bumped from No. 9 to No. 8 in Class D.

February 19, 2009 - 12:12pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, union, firefighter, ambulance.

A constant chorus of car horns sounded support of the protestors circling the walk out front of City Hall this morning. Some two dozen members of Firefighters Local 896 braved the bitter winds to picket the City Council's recent decision to end its ambulance service by fall.

Some of the signs read: "Think! Where's your ambulance coming from?" and "Chest Pain? How long will you wait?" Such statements punctuated the argument that the gap in service could have quite dire consequences. Union President Greg Ireland spoke of a past incident, before the city had instituted its own ambulance service, when a man in arrest lay in the street with no transport available to get him to a hospital. In another instance, a victim suffering from third-degree burns had to drive himself to the hospital.

The occasion was also used to get out the word on a new Web site the union has launched at www.bataviaambulance.com.

Overall, the mood was civil yet determined as union members stalked the ground with purpose. Ireland stepped aside to speak with the media during the protest. We will post his comments in a video within the hour.

February 19, 2009 - 7:27am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, firefighter, ambulance.

A union of Batavia firefighters will set up outside City Hall "later this morning" to protest the City Council's decision to end the city-supported ambulance service this fall, WBTA's Dan Fischer reports. No time is given for when members of Fire Fighters Local 896 will hold the rally, which is being called an "informational picket."

February 18, 2009 - 11:00pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, hockey, Geneseo, livonia.

 The Batavia hockey team had a speed advantage over Geneseo/Livonia, but didn't get much of a chance to use it and because of that had a close game in the opening round of sectionals, which they won 3-2 at Faletti Ice Arena Wednesday.

The fifth-seeded Blue Devils couldn't get the offense going against the 12th seed because officials called a total of 15 penalties in the game.

"I think we tend to play at the other team's level," Batavia coach Paul Pedersen said. "I told the team that anytime you are in sectionals, any team can beat any other team. We have been coming out flat and we need to fix that."

Batavia had a power play early in the first period, but couldn't capitalize and Geneseo/Livonia didn't wait long before starting the scoring. Max Hartnett scored off assists by Jeff Webster and Xavier Copeland at the midpoint of the frame.

It took five minutes, but the Blue Devils managed to tie the game with 2 1/2 minutes left in the opening period when Erik Pokornowski scored an unassisted goal.

The Lakers didn't wait long to get the lead back, scoring just 40 seconds later when Webster scored off passes by Copeland and Mike Donals.

"When we fell behind 2-1, we knew we had to work hard," Pokornowski said. "We had to keep working our system and just work hard and we would be okay."

Batavia failed to convert on three more power play chances before finally taking advantage of one. Geneseo/Livonia's Rick Hilimire was whistled for a cross-check and a game misconduct, meaning the Blue Devils had a power play for 1:30 and Hilimire had to sit for 10 minutes. Pat Finnell scored seconds later to tie the game off an assist by Pokornowski.

All momentum had shifted and Blake Polito scored 1:30 later to give Batavia an edge they wouldn't give up. It was his first varsity goal.

Geneseo/Livonia had some quality chances in the closing minutes, but a pass to the point bounced over a players puck with seconds left, killing any chance of a comeback.

Batavia (14-8) had a 29-16 shots on goal advantage as Austin Thiele made 26 saves for G/L (3-19-2) and Adam Kurek had 14 stops for Batavia.

The Blue Devils will play No. 4 Spencerport at the ESL Centre at Noon on Saturday.

"They beat us pretty good the first time," Pokornowski said. "Our goal is to win sectionals and we are going to have to play our best to beat them."

February 18, 2009 - 9:42pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, pittsford.

It may have just been a consolation game, but for the Batavia boys basketball team it was a must win.

The Blue Devils had lost to rival Pittsford Sutherland twice during the regular season and didn't want to head into the Section 5 Class A playoffs with two straight losses. So Batavia came out and had a 15-2 first quarter advantage and held on to beat Sutherland 55-52 in the consolation game of the Monroe County League Tournament.

"If we would have lost both games it definitely would have been a set-back heading into sectionals," Batavia coach Buddy Brasky said. "It is a positive getting the win because when you lose, doubt starts to set in. It was just a consolation game, but it was an intense game. It was definitely a good way to end the regular season and it gives us momentum heading into sectionals."

Joe Schlossel had another big game for Batavia and has turned into the team's second scoring option. Early in the year, Brasky believes Schlossel wasn't scoring this much because he played football and took time away from basketball. But now he's hitting his stride.

The senior forward scored eight of his 13 points with eight rebounds in the first quarter to get the Blue Devils out to the big lead.

"He's playing with more confidence," Brasky said. "Joe played football and it took him a while to get rounded back into basketball shape. He was playing well during the summer and football was a major commitment. He didn't touch a basketball for three months."

Just like any other Sutherland game, it wound up being a battle.

Batavia missed a few easy layups in the second quarter and Brian Lewis, Wayne Dillworth and Dan O'Keefe hit 3-pointers to get the Knights back into the game. Sutherland was back within three points near the end of the first half, but Andrew Hoy hit a 3-pointer to give Batavia a 27-20 lead at the break.

The third quarter was even and Sutherland cut the deficit to three points with two minutes left. But Hoy hit a 3-pointer, Schlossel had two free throws and Marcus Hoy hit 1-of-2 attempts and the Blue Devils held on for the three point win.

Hoy led all scorers with 21 points as Batavia (17-3) will be hosting Marshall in sectionals on Saturday, Feb. 28. In the meantime, Batavia will be scrimmaging East High and C.G. Finney to prepare for the tournament.

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