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Howard B. Owens's blog

July 10, 2020 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shawn Heubusch, news, crime, batavia, history.

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While doing renovation work in his home, Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch found under his old flooring layers old newspapers, all from 1927. 

The headlines help tell a story of at least one case that should be of interest to a lawman: The escape, escapades, and eventual capture of Floyd Wilcox.

Wilcox, of Oakfield, escaped from Genesee County Jail, presumably to avoid a possible sentence of life in prison after his fourth felony arrest, this time for grand larceny, under the recently enacted Baumes Law.

According to the articles, Wilcox (aka Floyd Gill), and an associate convinced a farmer to give them gas with a promise to pay once they were fueled up. When the duo drove back by the farm and didn't stop to pay, the farmer pulled out his pistol and started firing at the fleeing vehicle. The farmer jumped in his own truck and gave chase. A short time later, he found the abandoned vehicle with a flat tire from a bullet and spotted the two men running over a hill.

Later, Wilcox was a suspect in a safe-crack job in Hornell and a stealing a vehicle in Rochester. He was eventually apprehended by a Batavia PD officer on a street in the city. A subhead in the Batavia Daily News reads, "Did Not Try Very Hard to Keep Out of Reach of the Authorities."

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Chief Heubusch isn't the only person finding old newspapers in old homes these days. The 1942 edition of the Batavia Daily News was found by our contractor in a wall of our house, which is undergoing renovations following our fire in April.

One of the stories is about an Army officer accused of sedition for distributing "America First" literature. It turns out, the publication of this story by Associated Press was controversial because the Army released the information to a reporter on a stipulation that no newspapers in the nation run it with only a one-column headline. Many editors found this AP requirement an unethical bargain giving the government power to dictate the nature of coverage. You can read about it in this book on Google Books.

July 10, 2020 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, 61st senate district, news, Elections.

Unofficial ballot counts are done for Genesee County in the Democratic primary for the 61st State Senate and the NY-27 special election, according to Lorie Longhany, Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections.

In the primary:

  • Kim Smith: 1,083
  • Joan Seamans: 796
  • Jacqualine Berger: 769

In the NY-27 special election:

  • Chris Jacobs: 6,127
  • Nate McMurray: 3,848
  • Duane Whitmer: 1,059
  • Michael Gammariello: 71
  • Write-ins for Beth Parlato: 188

The count of the NY-27 GOP primary has not yet been completed.

Longhany said that count along with official results should be released on Monday.

July 10, 2020 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news.

Myrtle Burrell worked for 34 years keeping the children of Le Roy safe as a crossing guard working for the Le Roy Police Department after her retirement from Sylvania. 

She was even on duty in the middle of winter on her 90th birthday.

Five days ago, Burrell, at the age of 92, passed away.

Burrell rarely missed a shift and said in 2017, "I don’t believe in missing time unless something is really wrong. I guess I'm too dedicated."

Her dedication made her a community icon and a treasure.  It was common for members of the community to volunteer to do spring cleanup in her yard for her, as they did in 2015.

Click here to read her full obituary.

July 10, 2020 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy village greens, Le Roy, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

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Staff at the Le Roy Village Green prepared hot dog drive-thru meals for Le Roy residents on Thursday evening to thank them for the community's support of the senior residential health care facility during the pandemic.

Residents also made signs to display at the Green's entrance expressing their thanks. Residents were kept inside during the event because of the heat.

Above, Director Samantha Vagg delivers two meals to a Le Roy couple.

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Sam Vagg, Sue Diflippo, Kate Flint, John Gagnon, and Kellie Kreiley.

July 10, 2020 - 12:10pm

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The Batavia Business & Professional Women's Club Inc. honored seven local nonprofit organizations in Genesee County with monetary awards in recognition of their service to our community this week.

Recipients included: Genesee Cancer Assistance, Bethany Fire Department, Project Stork, Crossroads House, Alzheimer's Association, Lake Plains Community Network and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County. 

Several students also received scholarship checks, including: Wyatt Gaus and Paige Haile of Batavia High School and Madison Heaney of Leroy High School along with Sarah Adams, Lydia Geiger, Andrew Lin, Morgan Reimer of Batavia High School, Ally Flint of Leroy High School, Montana Weidman of Notre Dame High School and Evan Whitmore of Alexander High School. (Not pictured: Ally Flint, Lydia Geiger, Madison Heaney).

The funds awarded will be used to further their education in the field of their choice.

For more information about the club, visit the club's Facebook page.

Information and photos submitted by Joy Hume.

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July 10, 2020 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release from the campaign of Ed Rath, candidate for 61 State Senate:

New York State and the Department of Health's failure to protect our most vulnerable citizens is extremely troubling. That is why, I launched a petition demanding a transparent investigation into the State’s handling of COVID in nursing homes.  Dozens of residents signed my petition and shared their concerns with me. I will continue to call for an independent investigation and work everyday to protect our seniors and keep our community safe. To sign my petition, you can do so here https://edrathforsenate.com/2020/06/03/our-seniors-deserve-justice/.

July 10, 2020 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
July 10, 2020 - 8:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A pedestrian has reportedly been hit by a car at West Main Street and Oak Street in the City of Batavia.

The patient is said to have a head injury but is conscious and alert.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:49 a.m.: The patient is being transported to UMMC for evaluation and has a small laceration above his eye.

July 9, 2020 - 7:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, video, austin park, spray park, batavia.
Video Sponsor

Beating the heat at the Austin Park Spray Park

July 9, 2020 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 231 positive cases.
    • The positive individual resides in Darien.
    • The positive individual is in their 50s.
    • The positive individual was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • None of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Five new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • No individuals are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 267 positive cases.
    • Two new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • Six of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
July 9, 2020 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, NY-27, news, Chris Jacobs, Nate McMurray, Jacqualine Berger.

Not all the votes are counted yet -- delayed by the massive number of mail-in ballots filed -- but some candidates from the June 23 election are sounding confident of the outcome.

Chris Jacobs seems to believe he's won the NY-27 while Nate McMurray seems sure he's lost and Jacqualine Berger has declared victory in the Democratic primary for the 61st State Senate District.

Richard Siebert, the Republican commissioner for the Genesee County Board of Elections, said it will be 24 to 48 hours before local unofficial results will be released.

That said, based on what he's seen so far, it looks like McMurray will have 400 more votes locally from mail-in ballots than Jacobs in the special election to fill the unexpired term of convicted criminal Chris Collins. 

Siebert believes McMurray won every precinct in the City of Batavia.

Still, that won't be enough for McMurray to close the gap on in-person voting on June 23, when McMurray polled only 1,565 votes in Genesee County to 4,536 to Jacobs.

Results also aren't released yet for other counties but the campaigns typically have poll watchers in place during vote counting so they have some idea what to expect when tallies are released.

Last night, Jacobs released this statement:

"With the counting completed today and the outcome reaffirmed, I’m eager to get to work for the people of Western New York as their representative in Congress. I care deeply about this community and I will do all I can to serve it with honesty and integrity. I would also like to personally thank each Board of Election member and employee who worked tirelessly throughout this process and the entire election season. Conducting an election under these circumstances was challenging for all involved and I appreciate the sacrifices made.”

McMurray has not released a statement but he did tweet about the election outcome.

In the State Senate primary, Democrat Jan Berger released this statement:

Educator Jacqualine Berger has declared victory in the Democratic Primary Election to run for the New York State Senate seat vacated by longtime Republican State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer. Berger was victorious against Kim Smith, formerly of the Monroe County Department of Public Health, and Joan Elizabeth Seamans, a small-business owner. 

The race was too-close-to-call on the night of the election. After all the votes were tallied, Berger edged Smith by 141 votes. Berger received 9,246 votes (39%), while Smith earned 9,105 (38%) and Seamans received 5,475 votes (23%).  

“I am honored to have won this close election against two outstanding candidates. I congratulate both of my opponents for running strong campaigns under challenging circumstances,” said State Senate candidate Jacqualine Berger. “I am looking forward to the general election campaign, where we can work together to give the district the representation it deserves.”

Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner said, “We endorsed Jacqualine Berger because she understands the needs of the 61st State Senate district. I am proud of her victory in the Primary Election and look forward to supporting her this fall. The Democratic Party is united like never before, and ready to take on the Republican extremists.”   

Jacqualine Berger is the Deputy Supervisor in the Town of Amherst and an educator at Empire State College. Berger has a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Tulane University. She is a lifelong advocate for individuals with special needs, running a local Challenger Baseball program for children and adults with disabilities since 1991. In 2019, Empire State College awarded Berger the Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service.

Berger will face politician Ed Rath in the election this fall.

July 9, 2020 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
July 8, 2020 - 9:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 230 positive cases.
    • The positive individuals reside in Batavia and Darien.
    • One of the positive individuals is in their 40s and one is in their 60s.
    • The positive individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Six individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • No individuals are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 267 positive cases.
    • Nine individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • Seven of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
July 8, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

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City Church hosted another in a series of food distributions at St. Anthony's today.

Ryan Macdonald said the church will announce more food distribution days soon.

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July 8, 2020 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Batavia First Presbyterian Church, photos.

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James Spiecher, of Rochester, was in Batavia today for a funeral and he and his grandson Jaxon took a short walk down East Main Street and stopped in front of a sign at Batavia First Presbyterian Church that reads "God Loves Everyone No Exceptions."

Spiecher said he spoke with Jaxon about the sign and Jaxon said, "It’s really nice. It sounds really loving."

July 8, 2020 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Aubree Lacey Read turned 8 yesterday and for her birthday, she got to ride around Batavia in a horse-drawn carriage.  

Photos submitted by Savannah Read.

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July 8, 2020 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
July 7, 2020 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 228 positive cases.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • No individuals are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 267 positive cases.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Seven of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.

There are four people in mandatory isolation in Genesee County.

July 7, 2020 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, The Ridge NY, video, music, news, bergen, Le Roy.
Video Sponsor

The band Judah played at The Ridge NY on Thursday night. We recorded one of the songs as part of our series, "The Batavian Sessions."

Judah is: Anthony Blood (vocals/guitar), Brody Schenk (guitar), Joe Fornieri (bass), and Quintin Rich (drums). Rich is a resident of Bergen.

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