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May 11, 2022 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, elba.

A controlled burn is reportedly out of control at 4491 Old Ford Road, Elba.

A volunteer firefighter called in the fire.

Elba Fire dispatched.

The burn ban is in effect until Saturday.

May 9, 2022 - 6:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, crime, batavia, notify, Le Roy, elba, Oakfield.

Bria Chaquan Carson, 30, no street address provided, Rochester, Chas Westley Burgess, 36, street address redacted, Rochester, and Robert Earl Wyche, 49, street address redacted, Rochester, are each charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd. Each was allegedly found in possession of fentanyl and cocaine at a location on Oak Street in Batavia at 3 a.m. on May 7. The case was investigated by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell and Deputy Morgan Ewert. All three were arraigned in City Court. Carson was released on his own recognizance. Burgess and Wyche were ordered held on no bail.

Mikhail Eric Lundberg, 32, of State Street, Blasdell, is charged with DWAI/combined drugs and alcohol. Lundberg was arrested on a warrant stemming from an incident at 9 a.m., Dec. 29, on Main Street in Corfu. He was arraigned in Town of Pembroke Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Kevin Brown Goodenough, 65, of Stone Road, Rochester, is charged with sexual abuse 1st. Goodenough was arrested in connection with an incident reported at noon on Oct. 8, 2017, on Lincoln Avenue in Le Roy. He was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court and ordered held on $10,000 bail, $15,000 bond, or $40,000 partially secured bond.

Kayla Jean Nicolucci, 30, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny. Nicolucci is accused of shoplifting from Walmart at 4:59 p.m. on May 7.  She was released on an appearance ticket.

Jerome Wayne Amesbury, 56, of Gilbert Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment 1st and stalking 4th. Amesbury is accused of stalking and harassing a victim on Gilbert Road in Bergen at 9:52 p.m. on May 7. He was arraigned in Bergen Town Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Jimmy L Moore, 45, of Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. He was stopped by state police at 4:34 p.m. on May 7 in the city of Batavia. He was released on an appearance ticket.

May 8, 2022 - 3:37am
posted by Press Release in baseball, sports, elba.

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Press release:

Northstar Christian Academy downed Elba 10-3 in varsity baseball action Saturday at the Field of Dreams in Alexander.

Tim Leary collected the victory on the mound for Northstar, striking out eight while allowing six hits.

The Knights were led by Dominic Kurmis with three hits, including an RBI double and AJ Mitchell added a team-high four RBI on two hits.

The Lancers stayed in it for six innings behind strong pitching by Caden Muehlig. Muehlig went the distance for Elba, allowing four runs over the last six innings, striking out eight.

Jayden Allport led Elba with two hits and an RBI, while Lucas Walls smacked an RBI double. Hunter Gaylord, Connor Scott and Jake Engle also added hits for Elba.

In the second game of the day for Elba, the Lancers fell to Byron-Bergen 6-2.

Carter Prinzi and Brody Baubie led Byron-Bergen at the plate with two hits apiece. Braeden Chambry also singled for the Bees.

Baubie and David Brumsted combined to strikeout nine with Brumsted earning the win.

Elba got six strong innings on the mound from Scott, as the junior hurler struck out 11. Tyler Kauffman, Gaylord and Walls had hits for the Lancers.

May 3, 2022 - 5:53pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, elba, art, Craft Show, notify.

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Jim Stucko recalls when he was going to bed at night and his father would head for the kitchen. The elder Stucko was going to prepare a few batches of his winning rye bread recipe so he could bake it and take to some friends in the morning. 

Not only was Stucko, a former Elba resident, a talented sculptor and artist, but he was also “an amazing cook,” his son said.

“I miss the guy a lot. Every time I cook something I think of the conversations we had in the kitchen,” Jim said during an interview Tuesday with The Batavian. “My parents rocked this world.”

Art pieces from John and wife Sophie Stucko’s collections will be on display with late artists Patricia Burr and Eunice Hare Murphy for a first-ever Mother’s Day Craft Sale and Basket Raffle 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Elba Firemen's Recreation Hall, Route 98, Elba. The event is being organized and hosted by Elba Betterment Committee. 

“The whole thing is part of the grant we received from GO Art! for our project: Elba Betterment Committee presents Art Around Town. The idea for including our local artists actually came from one of our members, Kelly Dudley, who has always wanted to do this sort of thing at The Mill in Elba,” EBC President Pauli Miano said. “After contacting families, three were willing and excited to share their loved ones’ talent with us.”

The artist pieces will be on display in the Rec Hall. Burr and Murphy were art teachers at Elba Central School, and all three artists shared their work in the community by donating pieces to the school, churches and other organizations, Miano said. 

The Stucko couple collaborated on a lot of projects, Jim said. John would make wood cabinets and Sophie’s handmade stained glass would adorn the doors. She was from Batavia and John from Albion, and after they married they purchased a home in Elba, Jim said. His parents were avid outdoors lovers, and his dad memorialized various species of birds and fish in a painstaking fashion. 

“The birds were carved, the feathers were burnt into the wood for texture, and then he painted them. I bet he’s got 100 hours into the painting,” Jim said. “It wasn’t a job; it was a labor of love. He would stay in his shop painting, and if he didn’t like it, he would paint it again.”

He remembers his dad scouring books for just the right species of bird, and fine-tuning the colors and textures of each piece. His work grew so popular that people would offer to commission him for particular projects, though John rebuffed them. He preferred to create exactly what he wanted, and not necessarily what others had in mind, Jim said. Quite possibly the artist was a perfectionist, and it showed in his work. 

One of his last pieces was a pileated woodpecker for someone he connected with over a love of the outdoors and birds. 

“It was absolutely mind-blowing,” Jim said. “He was highly skilled in many venues, and he was a people person. Until we started to go through photos, I never realized how much my dad smiled.”

Jim chuckled as the thought about his folks’ resolve to remain strong — or strong-willed in some cases — throughout their busy lives. John Stucko was active with his craft, which included gourd carvings, until he died in 2019 at 89. Sophie died a few years prior in 2017 and was 83.

There will be 25 vendor tables featuring hand-crafted items and food. The committee wanted to ensure there wouldn’t be a lot of duplicated items, so each vendor is to be selling a particular craft. They range from wood signs and handmade purses to floral arrangements, ornaments and, for the sweet tooth, a bakery section with cookies, cakes and cannolis, Miano said. 

The committee will also be serving food to purchase, and the first 50 Moms will receive a free carnation. Genesee County Sheriff’s Office staff will also be on hand with photo and fingerprint equipment for families that request it for their children.

Eunice Hare Murphy was a 1948 Elba Central School graduate. She then completed her degree in Art Education at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.  She completed her MS in Elementary Education from SUNY Brockport. Her first teaching job was for the West Bloomfield School District.  Her family shared that she drove her small Chevy with a standard transmission back and forth from Genesee County every day.  

Over the years, “Eunie”, as she was known to her friends and family, taught art at Byron Bergen Central School, and finished her distinguished career as an educator at Elba Central.  She taught classes in Art, Crafts and Photography.  Eunice was a member of the Writer’s Guild in the 1970s and even tried her hand at poetry.

Eunice loved gardening, and with the help of a variety of rocks and different plants, enjoyed making clever and, at times, eccentric gardens. While teaching at Elba she was the yearbook advisor, and helped to develop the Variety Show which ran for years afterward as a fundraiser for the yearbook. Eunice lost her four-year battle with cancer in 1988 at the age of 57.

Patricia Burr’s enthusiasm for painting is evident in a collection of 14 sketchbooks, each with memories of the places and people she visited during vacations, workshops, and even in study hall at Elba Central School. Along with pencil and ink sketches is a drawing rendered in brown eyebrow pencil while in the dark at Kleinhans Music Hall without a pen.

Her minivan didn’t leave her home without “the art stuff,” just in case she would find an interesting scene. This could be while waiting for the doctor or dentist, or even during time-outs during jury duty; that was the time for her sketchbook.

Burr’s philosophy was to “make a drawing because you gain much more information by observing the subject than you do when you simply snap a photo.” Scribble a few color notes, date and time of day, weather alongside the sketch to help when planning to paint later in the studio, she said.
Burr was inspired by fellow painters Margaret M. Martin, Franklin Jones and Don Getz. Her education included Albright Art School, Buffalo State College, University of Buffalo and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Active all of her life, Burr died at age 96 in 2014. 

For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/elbabetterment/

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Top photo: A duck sculpture by the late artist John Stucko, and several artworks by Stucko and artists Patricia Burr and Eunice Hare Murphy to be on display at the Mother's Day Craft Show and Basket Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Elba Firemen's Recreation Hall on Route 98, Elba. Photos by Howard Owens.

April 30, 2022 - 5:00pm
posted by Joanne Beck in batavia, elba, fitness, business, notify, news.

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A new business on Harvester Avenue is taking an old concept of “brick-and-mortar” and feeding it with some bright thinking, owner Macy Paradise says.

Paradise, a 2003 Batavia HIgh School grad and owner of Paradise Fit in Elba, has branched out to include an all-inclusive facility for kids, adults, seniors and developmentally disabled folks. His logo is a brain inside of a lightbulb to represent a bright idea.

“The goal of this space is to have a more skill-building style,” Paradise said during the grand opening of The Brick Community Enrichment Center on Friday at The Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. “The Brick concept comes from an original idea that Joe Mancuso had in 1959, offering kind of a brick and mortar flex-use space for entrepreneurs. We wanted to rebrand that here, this being a flexible space, using it for all sorts of reasons. So we are trying to rebuild the community brick by brick.”

Paradise spoke while taking a short break from his DJ gig at the event. A versatile host of all things music for special events, celebrity debuts and even dance parties for, in this case on Friday, kids aged three to 12. The site’s overall concept was to host group fitness classes for all ages, and that grew into allowing space for skill-building classes, private events and to offer a more affordable rental option for bridal and wedding showers, birthday parties and the like. 

Paradise, 37, is a Batavia native who returned after a stints in each of Los Angeles, Calif. and Colorado. While living out west, he frequently returned to host events at the former City Slickers and Billy Goats, plus TF Browns. He also ventured into Erie County to host various entertainment gigs, such as international Electronic Dance Music producer and DJs Barely Alive and Virtual Riot, in Buffalo.  

The Brick Community Enrichment Center offers fitness classes from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in May, and Paradise is planning other sessions for young and older alike, and also for people with developmental disabilities. It complements his main business, Paradise Fit, which offers personalized training, coaching, nutrition programs and meals, and an app for support. A personal trainer who also owns and operates the Elba-based fitness facility, Paradise initially started with personal training in Elba, doing one-on-one training sessions with clients. He proudly calls Elba home, having purchased one there in 2019, two years after moving back to Western New York. 

Meanwhile, he began to look for a space to do group fitness classes and was also hired as the Harvester Center's marketing director. 

“I found this space … and decided to open it up,” he said. “It’s another thing to do in Batavia.”

For more information or to get in touch with Paradise, call (585) 356-7737, email [email protected] or visit www.brickcommunitycenter.com or check out @TheBrick on Facebook.

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Top photo: Owner Macy Paradise cuts the symbolic ribbon to his new place, The Brick Community Enrichment Center, during a grand opening dance party Friday at The Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. Macy Paradise and partner Nici Johnson show off the logo for The Brick Community Enrichment Center. Photos submitted by Steven Falitico/Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

April 30, 2022 - 12:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, agriculture, news.

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Friday was "Drive Your Tractor to School Day" at Elba Central School and several students did just that,

Photos by Debra Reilly.

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April 29, 2022 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Mercy Flight, news, notify, accident.

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There have been nine accidents involving the Bell 429, the model helicopter being flown by James E. Sauer, 60 of Churchville, and Stewart M. Dietrick, 60, of Prosper, Texas, when it went down in a field near Norton Road in Elba at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined the cause of four of those accidents.  Three of them were the result of human error and one was an apparent mechanical failure.

The preliminary evidence in Wednesday's crash of the Mercy Flight aircraft, said Aaron McCarter, air safety investigator with the NTSB, is that the rear tail section of the aircraft became detached during the flight.

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Aaron McCarter

"Onboard (the helicopter) were two pilots and seasoned professionals about 1300 or 1 p.m. local time, several credible witnesses of the helicopter transitioning the area behind me over Elba, New York, at about 2,000 feet observed and heard a loud boom. We don't know which occurred first (the tail separating or the boom). The tail separated from the helicopter and was found 300 feet from the main wreckage."

The main wreckage was in a gully just a few yards from the edge of Norton Road, about a mile north of Edgerton Road.

McCarter said he will be at the accident scene gathering evidence for three to five days.

"The on-scene portion of the investigation is only a small part of a much larger list, or process," he said. "Most of the work being done by the investigative team happens behind the scenes when the on-scene portion is over. In 10 days, I will be completing the preliminary report. In approximately 12 months, the factual report, followed very shortly by the probable cause, signed off by the Transportation Safety Board members (will be released)."

The cause won't be determined until the investigation is complete, and that investigation, regardless of what the evidence shows now, looks at all factors of the case, McCaster said.  That includes mechanical, environmental, and human elements, and how all three elements interacted.

While both Sauer and Dietrick are experienced pilots, they were on a training mission.

"Even though they are seasoned pilots, you know how much time they had in this particular helicopter?" McCarter said. "I'm not trying to equate aircraft with cars, but have you ever gotten to a car rental that was completely different than yours? It takes you a while to kind of figure out where all the buttons are and how how to maneuver. So that's what we're looking at, we're looking at their familiarity with the machine, how much experience did they have in this particular machine, in addition to all the other aircraft that they have flown."

Wreckage to be examined in Delaware
The wreckage, which was spread over a 2,000-foot area from beginning to end, will be transported to Clayton, Delaware.

"It will be transported back to this facility to a two-dimensional assembly of it on a hangar floor and we'll be able to see how the helicopter -- it can assist us in determining how the helicopter came apart and what happened first."

He added, "We will be doing a thorough engine check. We're gonna be checking on the rotor blades. We're gonna be checking the tail rotor. And we're gonna be downloading data."

While the Bell 429 doesn't have a "black box" as most people are familiar with -- its data isn't in a hardened protective case -- McCarter is confident the flight recorder data can be recovered.

Investigators will also look at flight and maintenance logs and any reports on the helicopter's performance on previous flights.

The aircraft was manufactured in Canada so by international treaty, Canadian aviation experts will be participating in the investigation.

McCarter indicated he doesn't believe there was anything of the ordinary for a training mission prior to the crash.  The mission started at the Genesee County Airport at 11:15 a.m. and the crew did a typical training flight pattern around the airport for about an hour before heading toward Elba.

Once the tail separated, McCarter said, the pilot would have found it impossible to maintain directional control over the aircraft.

"That tail rotor is what keeps the nose of the helicopter pointed in the correct direction," he said. "Because the torque when the rotor blades are spinning around the helicopter, the fuselage wants to spin in the opposite direction, if you remember your high school physics, so the tail rotor actually keeps the nose of the helicopter pointed in a specific direction."

Of the nine prior crashes involving the Bell 429, four claimed six lives.

Prior aviation crashes locally
Of the nine Bell 429 crashes, one was in Batavia on Oct. 6, 2021. That 429 was also owned and operated by Mercy Flight but was not the same aircraft involved in Wednesday's accident. There were no injuries when that helicopter had a hard landing at the Genesee County Airport.  The cause has not yet been determined.

There has been one other helicopter crash in Genesee County over the past 30 years. On Dec. 27, 2003, in Byron, when a pilot practicing autorotations over an airport open field made a hard landing. The pilot was seriously injured. 

The NTSB reported, "The pilot reported that he felt a shudder during the autorotation and tried to regain airspeed by using forward cyclic, but he was unable to regain airspeed. Examination of the helicopter found evidence of low main rotor rpm. No discrepancies were found with the flight controls and engine."

Previous airplane accidents, as reported by the NTSB, in Genesee County:

  • March 31, 1983, Batavia, Cessna 182, mechanical failure, four aboard, no injuries;
  • Sept. 24, 1983, Batavia, Cessna 152, an unexpected gust of wind on landing, two aboard, no injuries;
  • Oct. 7, 1984, Cessna 150H, pilot error at dusk, no injuries; 
  • May 17, 1985, Batavia. Piper PA-22-150, commercial-rated flight instructor encountered unexpected wind at takeoff, no injuries;
  • May 29, 1985, Batavia, Piper PA-28-235, loss of power during takeoff, two aboard, no injuries;
  • Oct. 15, 1986, Le Roy, Piper PA-38, instructor error, two aboard, no injuries;
  • June 20, 1987, Batavia, Cessna 177RG, mechanical failure resulting in an emergency landing, no injuries;
  • March 17, 1991, Le Roy, Cessna 172M, inexperienced pilot error in poor lighting conditions, four aboard, no injuries;
  • Feb. 15, 2004, Batavia, Cessna 172E, the inability of the pilot to maintain control in winds on an icy runway, no injuries;
  • June 15, 2007, Cessna 172s, student pilot error, no injuries;
  • Feb. 7, 2009, Le Roy, Cessna 172A,  pilot error in heavy winds, no injuries;
  • July 15, 2011, Batavia, Murphy Aircraft Elite, pilot error, one serious injury;
  • Aug. 2, 2012, Alexander, Piper PA-25-260, pilot error, no injuries;
  • Sept. 20, 2014, Bethany Center, Cessna 182A, pilot error, no injuries;
  • June 11, 2915, Le Roy, Brandt Leroy E Challenger II, pilot error, no injuries;
  • Oct. 27, 2019, Batavia, Beech A36, pilot error in heavy winds, four aboard, no injuries;
  • June 1, 2020, Le Roy, Beech 36, pilot error, no injuries.

The only other fatal aviation crash in Genesee County since the early 1980s was on Oct. 2, 2020, in Corfu, which claimed the lives of attorneys Steve Barnes and Elizabeth Barnes. The cause of that crash remains undetermined.

CORRECTION: There was another fatal airplane crash in Genesee County on Aug. 11, 2001.  Two people were killed when a Dominiak Kitfox crashed in Byron. Alcohol and drugs were found in the inexperienced pilot's blood.

April 27, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Elba Central School, 2022-23 budget, notify, elba.

As Genesee County school districts provide details about their 2022-23 budgets, there seems no escaping inflation, and Elba Central Superintendent Gretchen Rosales isn’t afraid to admit she’s looking to cut corners.

Rosales, with the assistance of her district treasurer, Lisa Penna, has joined the list of district administrators who have pointed to the problem of rising prices for everything from electric and gasoline to wood.

“Some of the issues that we face include the sharp increase in utilities and other expenses. We have found that materials we need to operate have doubled in price. For example, the lumber for the high school construction class has nearly doubled,” Rosales said to The Batavian this week. “In order for our students to have the same experiences they have always had, we need to figure out where to cut corners in other areas. Everything from the cost of food to the topsoil we purchase has increased dramatically.”

Rosales and Penna have been working closely to create a budget that is “both fiscally responsible and also maximizes our expenditures to best serve the needs” of Elba Central School students, the superintendent said. 

The district has proposed a budget of $11,215,950, which is a 2.5 percent increase from the current budget. Rosales doesn’t expect any related tax rate increase, as the rate has decreased over the last year due to the estimated average assessed property values, she said. 

The financial plan includes a $100,000 Capital Outlay Project for enhancements to district security (re-keying the building, installing reinforced doors) and improving the heating/ventilation and air conditioning system and the boilers. 

A 65-passenger bus is also in the budget,  and that should be reimbursed by the state for up to 90 percent of the cost, she said. 

While the 2.5 percent increase is partially due to contractual obligations, instructional programs and BOCES services (occupational and special education), there are other reasons for this year’s proposed extra spending, she said.

Those rising prices, coupled with a steep increase in health insurance for employees, have prompted a focus on making cuts of any unnecessary expenses while “still providing top-notch instruction,” she said. 

“Being good stewards of the public's investment in education is not something that we take lightly; schools are not the only organizations feeling the pain of supply chain issues and rising costs,” Rosales said. “The families in the Elba community are feeling it just like everyone else.   Being cognizant of that reality is our primary focus right now.” 

She is thankful for a “great leadership team” that’s willing to be creative with new ideas for the student population. The district wants to hire a part-time social worker to better meet the needs of students in a post-pandemic time period, she said. That’s another common thread amongst county districts: counteract what was lost to students during two years of remote and hybrid learning away from class. The hiring process has just begun for this position, she said.

“We are also looking at enrichment and extension programs to help students bridge the learning gap that happened during COVID.  Schools will certainly need to contend with the COVID pandemic for years to come,” she said. “Elba is lucky in the sense that our small, tight-knit community is nurturing and supportive; we will continue to work through any challenges with this in mind.”

Another part of the upcoming budget vote are board members, both new and long-serving, she said. Current President Mike Augello will be stepping down from his role later this year, while newcomer Mercy Caparco and Travis Torrey run for two open seats.

Collaboration has been key to working on a budget, Rosales said, and she is “very thankful” for the help of Penna as district treasurer, her district clerk Donna Harris, a leadership team composed of department heads and the board.

“Of course, the Board of Education has always had the community's best interests at the forefront of this process; we want to be fiscally responsible while still providing the best education around,” she said. “I think we have a great balance in the 22-23 budget.”

The district’s vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 17. There are four propositions to be on the ballot: The total budget, purchase of a new 65-passenger bus, authorizing a $100,000 Capital Outlay Project, and a vote for two Board of Education seats. 

For more information, go the district’s website at: elbacsd.org

April 26, 2022 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight, elba, accident, news, notify.

Charlene Schultz is used to hearing helicopters over her house on Edgerton Road in Elba.  She seems to live in a flight path for both the military and Mercy Flight. So she knows what a helicopter passing overhead sounds like when all is all right.

Shortly before 1 p.m. today, she knew she heard a helicopter that was in trouble.

"The motor sounded weird," Schultz said. "You know when you start your car and it goes woo-woo? That's what it sounds like to me twice. Like it won't start. Then it went out completely. Then it came back on and I heard the Big Bang."

She speculated the pilot managed to get the motor started again as the helicopter was heading down but it was too late.

She went outside expecting to see smoke but there was no smoke.  She got in her car and drove to the scene.

"Three men stopped me and I was from here to your car (less than 50 yards) and saw what I didn't want to see. So I turned around and came back home."

Major Eugene Staniszewski, State Police, confirmed this afternoon that two crew members aboard the flight died in the crash. Their names have not yet been released.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. Investigators from both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been dispatched to the scene.

"We will be here for quite a while," Staniszewski said. "This could be into tomorrow while we're still on scene and then after that, it usually takes quite a while, it could be months until they come up with a final determination (as to the cause of the crash)."

The helicopter was on a training mission, Staniszewski confirmed, and it was flying out of the Mercy base at the Genesee County Airport. 

The major said there is at least one person who saw the helicopter go down and several who heard the helicopter in the area.

One neighbor said she saw a Mercy Flight helicopter circle the area before she and her husband went to Walmart.  They only learned of the crash while at the store and returned home immediately.  Schultz, however, said she believes the helicopter that circled the scene showed up after the crash.  She said when she first saw it, she hoped it was a sign that the crew survived but then the Mercy Flight helicopter left without landing.

"We are interviewing several witnesses and local neighbors that live on this road," Staniszewski said. "We'll be working with Mercy Flight and NTSB and FAA to come up with a reason for this crash."

UPDATE:  The pilot was James E. Sauer, 60 of Churchville. The second person was a Bell Helicopter employee and pilot, Stewart M. Dietrick, 60 of Prosper, Texas. They were flying a Bell 429 that was based in Batavia. They were pronounced dead at the scene and taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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An unidentified helicopter circled the scene an hour or so after the accident.

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Power lines were cut because lines had fallen dangerously close to the helicopter, impeding the investigation.

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File photo of a Mercy Flight helicopter taken April 24 at GCC following a serious injury accident at Clinton Street Road and Seven Springs Road. Photos by Howard Owens.

April 26, 2022 - 3:23pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, helicopter, elba, accident, notify.

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Photo by Howard Owens

Multiple callers report a helicopter going down in the area of Norton and Edgerton roads in Elba. Elba Fire and Town of Batavia Fire, along with Mercy EMS, responding.

Genesee County Emergency Management Services has ordered the area to be closed to all unauthorized traffic.

UPDATE 2:03 P.M.: An area resident said that shortly before the crash she had seen a helicopter circling the area. It has been confirmed that it was a Mercy Flight helicopter. No information has been released yet about the crew. The crash site is at 7269 Norton Rd.

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UPDATE 2:26 p.m.: National Grid removes power lines that fell on the helicopter. Photo by Howard Owens.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: State Police said that two crew members died in the crash; their names have not yet been released. The helicopter was on a training mission. The cause of the crash is undetermined at this time.

April 7, 2022 - 5:39pm
posted by Press Release in fire services, news, elba, Le Roy, bergen, Alexander, Alabama.

Press release:

The NYS Principles of Instructions course is an introductory course for individuals who will be conducting training at the fire company level.  This 15-hour course was recently offered at the Genesee County Fire Training Center and is designed for fire service training officers and company officers. 

Participants reviewed the qualities of a good instructor, job performance requirements, components of a lesson plan, cognitive and psychomotor lesson plans, dealing with adult learners, meeting individual learning needs, factors that affect learning, the instructor’s role in safety, new technologies in course delivery, and learning characteristics of different generations. 

Volunteer and career firefighters regularly attend training courses to continually develop and refresh skills making the job of quality instructors even more valuable.

Ten firefighters representing five county fire companies completed the program held March 16 through March 21, 2022.

ALABAMA

  • Ryan M. Thompson

 ALEXANDER

  • Anthony R. Johnston

BERGEN

  • Jared Hicks 

ELBA

  • Jennifer A. Cardinali   
  • Nicholas J. Esten        
  • Michael Heale
  • Michael J. Pfendler
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March 26, 2022 - 7:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball.

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Elba Central School hosted  “Heroes and Hoops” Friday night in the high school gymnasium.  The game was a fundraiser for the senior scholarship fund.  The senior basketball athletes played against local service members.

Photos by Debra Reily. For more, click here.

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March 25, 2022 - 10:54am
posted by Press Release in elba, sports, basketball.

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Press release:

Elba Central School is excited to host “Heroes and Hoops” tonight at 6:30 pm.  This showcase game benefits the senior scholarship fund.  The senior basketball athletes will complete for bragging rights against local service members.  The guest coach for the Elba athletes is our very own Tyler Winter, who is also a championship Aggie football coach, while the coach for the Heroes team is renowned girls’ basketball coach, Kenzie Bezon.  Leah Bezon, former Lancer basketball all-star, will join Coach Kenzie Bezon.

There will be a three-point contest at halftime, along with a basket raffle and concessions.  Tickets are $5 each and are on sale in the Elba Central District office.  Seating is limited, so get your tickets now!  American flags will be given to the first 50 entrants to the game; doors open at 6:00.  

March 14, 2022 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, Alexander, news, notify, elba.

Anthony Daniel Micucci, 27, of Darien Alexander Townline Road, Alexander, is charged with five counts of criminal contempt 1st, criminal contempt 2nd, stalking 3rd, and stalking 4th. Micucci was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating a complete stay-away order of protection. Micucci was also arrested by State Police on charges of stalking 3rd and two counts of criminal contempt 2nd.  He was jailed without bail.

Matthew Scott Williams, 34, of Hundredmark Road, Elba, is charged with harassment 2nd and endangering the welfare of a child. Williams is accused of head butting a person while in the presence of a child during a disturbance reported at 9:15 a.m., March 10, at a residence on Hundredmark Road, Elba

Michael Joseph Elmore, 31, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration. Elmore allegedly refused to obey lawful orders by deputies during an investigation at Days Inn in Batavia at 4:45 a.m., March 13.

Michael Andrew Kos, Jr., 43, of Hampton Brook Drive, Hamburg, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater.  At 8:25 p.m., March 10, Deputy Nicholas Charmoun and Sgt. Andrew Hale were dispatched to the Kwik Fill on West Main Street Road, Le Roy, for a report of a suspicious condition behind the building. At that location, they located Kos and upon investigation determined he was allegedly too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle. He was transported to the Genesee County Jail for processing and issued an appearance ticket.

Lauralee Pacer, 36, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear.  Pacer had previously been issued an appearance ticket. 

Shante R. Williams, 38, of Batavia, is charged with bail jumping 3rd. Williams was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

James D. Hooten, 33, of Batavia, and Brittanee J. Hooten, 33, of Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and conspiracy 6th. James and Brittanee are accused of shoplifting from the Kiwk Fill at 99 Jackson Street, Batavia. They were issued appearance tickets.

Shawn M. Twardowski, 39, of Le Roy, was arrested on multiple warrants for failure to appear for trespass and petit larceny.  Twardowski was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Lyndsay T. Young, 38, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Young is accused of striking another person in the face causing a scratch under the person's eye at 2:34 p.m., March 4, at a location on State Street, Batavia. Young was issued an appearance ticket.

Jolene Y. Stevens, 33, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear. Stevens was arraigned in city court and released on her own recognizance. 

Rufus G. Johnson, 28, of North-Chili, is charged with petit larceny. Johnson is accused of stealing merchandise from a business in Batavia. He was allegedly located with the merchandise and arrested. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Matthew S. Williams, 34, of Elba, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and criminal contempt 2nd. Williams was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 1:03 p.m., March 11, in Elba.  His release status is unknown.  No further information released.

March 1, 2022 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, crime, news, notify.

The Village of Elba's welcome sign proudly proclaims, "Onion Capital of the World."

Somebody apparently thinks that would make a fine item to own for themselves.

Recently, somebody cut down and stole the sign.

Until about 2013, the sign is well known for its phrase, "POP: Just Right."  That was changed because it didn't seem welcoming to some people.

Mayor Norm Itjen asks that anyone with information contact the Genesee County Sheriff's office at (585) 345-3000 or the VIllage of Elba @ (585) 757-6889.

Photo by provided by Norm Itjen.

February 27, 2022 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball.

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The Elba Lancers, seeded #3 in the Section V D2 bracket, will continue their quest for another sectional title after beating Hammondsport on Saturday 61-49.

Dakota Brinkman scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Adrianna Long scored 10 points and Kennedy Augello, nine.  Haile Deville had 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Lancers (15-6)  face #2 seeded Andover/Whitesville (17-3) at 6 p.m., Tuesday in Dansville in a semifinal match.

Photos by Kristin Smith.

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February 26, 2022 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball.

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Angelo Pena and Mike Lang each scored 14 points to help lead the Elba Lancers to a D2 sectional quarterfinal win over Andover/Whitesville 67-30.

CJ Gottler scored 12 points and Zak Marsecill scored 10.

The Lancers will take on Jasper-Troupsburg at a time and site to be determined on Monday.

Photos by Kristin Smith.  For more, click here.

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Photos below by Debra Reilly. For more, click here.

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February 17, 2022 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, elba, Mike Rapone, sports, basketball.
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It was Mike Rapone's night at Notre Dame and in front of a capacity crowd there to honor the legendary coach, the Fighting Irish emphasized the point with a win over archrival Elba 63-52.

Rapone said he wanted the focus to be where it should be, where it's always been, on the kids, but also admitted it was an emotional night for him.

"It really didn't hit me until tonight," Rapone said. "I've been talking, you know, this is my last year. It hit me tonight. It was pretty emotional."

Rapone coached at Notre Dame for 42 seasons amassing 709 wins (a Section V record), 32 Genesee Region championships, nine Section V championships, and two state championships.

On Wednesday, Jordan Welker led the scoring with 15 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Aiden Sisson scored 14 points each and Cody Henry scored 13.

For Elba, Zach Marsciell scored 23 points, hitting four three-pointers along the way.  Conner Scott scored 15 points.

February 3, 2022 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Torrey Farms, news, agriculture, farm labor, elba.

Porfirio Gabriel has worked for Torrey Farms in Elba for 13 years and helps the Torreys recruit workers from Mexico, specifically Comachuen, to obtain H2A temporary visas and work planting onions and harvesting squash, cabbage, and beans each year.

These workers, Gabriel told NPR for a recent story about money sent from workers back to Mexico to help support local economies, have helped Comachuen families receive as much as $5 million over three years, by far the town's largest source of income.

These funds sent to Mexico, called remittances, may have exceeded $50 billion for the first time last year, according to the story.

Travis Torrey sent the link to the NPR story to The Batavian noting that as regulators try to limit the number of hours farmer workers can labor each week they're really hurting the people they say they're trying to help.

"I think you can see that coming to WNY to work is their version of the ‘American dream,’" Torrey said. "Everyone that has come here has bettered themselves and families.  The inhumanity is denying them the opportunity.

"Without the farmworkers, there would be no farms," he added. "The same can be said if there are no farms there are no farmworkers."

A week ago, the state's Farm Labor Board, on a 2-1 vote, recommended the overtime threshold for farmworkers be lowered from 60 hours a week to 40 hours a week.

Both farmer-owners and farmworkers have repeatedly spoken out against the rule change over the past few years saying that workers will seek jobs in states that don't restrict potential earnings.

Torrey notes the rule change will hurt workers like Gabriel when they get their hours cut.

From the NPR story:

Gabriel is resigned to working in the United States as long as he can. He sends home about $7,500 each year from what he earns working the fields. That money is largely used to fund his children's education, paying private college fees so his eldest son can be a registered nurse.

His hope is that his children will get university degrees and not have to emigrate. "I am paying for their studies, so that they don't have to do what we had to do," Gabriel says.

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