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July 15, 2009 - 9:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, Mercy Flight, ambulance.

Employees of Mercy Flight's ground ambulance service in Genesee County can expect to be held to high standards, CEO Douglas H. Baker told a gathering of local leaders last night in a meeting the Fire Training Center.

"I'll probably be in Genesee County more than you want to see me," Baker said. "I'll be here nearly every day. I'm going to make sure that this is either done my way, or it's not going to be done at all. We're not going to be embarrassed."

Baker made it clear that Mercy Flight employees will be expected to be professional, compassionate, courteous and enthusiastic. He said while the job is hard at times and enthusiasm can wane, he expects employees to reflect his enthusiasm for the profession.

"When our crews respond, they will be kind and responsive," Baker said. "If they're not, I don't care how good of an EMT they are, they're not going to work for us."

Baker said he expects the level of service in the county to be the same or better under Mercy Flight.

The organization has ordered four new ambulances that are in production now.

While it remains Mercy Flight's goal to retain as many city ambulance service personnel as possible, all potential employees will need to pass a background check and make it through an interview process.

"We're not going to hire somebody just because they're working now," Baker said.

But he also assured leaders that the new service will seem very familiar to them because they will see a lot of familiar faces and many of the same policies and practices that current personnel are using will remain in place.

"In general we will keep doing what you've been doing for all these years, unless you want us to change," Baker said. "We intend not to change, not even the people."

Indicating that Mercy Flight's goal is to be responsive to community concerns, Baker said that if officials aren't happy with anything that Mercy Flight is doing, it's their responsibility to make sure Mercy Flight managers or executives know about the problems so they can be addressed.

Ambulances will be based at UMMC North Street, UMMC Bank Street and at the airport, with another kept on standby. If it proves that that configuration isn't working for the community, and the statistics back up any issues identified, Mercy Flight will move ambulances to new bases as needed. And if necessary, Mercy Flight will add a fourth, or even a fifth crew, if it turns out more resources are needed to meet guaranteed response times.

"I don't want to be making decisions about where the ambulances should be," Baker said. "I want the community to decide where the ambulances should be."

Each municipality is being asked to sign a contract with Mercy Flight, but if officials from a particular town or city don't sign, Mercy Flight will still respond to emergencies in those communities. The only difference is the local leaders will not be able to hold Mercy Flight to guaranteed response times.

"I'm thrilled for an opportunity for a contract," said Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post after the meeting.  "I think they carry the greatest degree of professionalism. And I'm pleased there's another step in getting government out of the ambulance business."

Batavia City Councilman Sam Baron also said he feels good about Mercy Flight coming into Batavia. He said city residents can feel confident that the level of ambulance service under Mercy Flight will be just the same as what they've had in the past.

AUDIO: After the meeting, I recorded a separate interview with Mr. Baker.

July 15, 2009 - 7:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

New Today: Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson Street, Batavia, N.Y.  Family photos are more than just photographs. When you need photos for that special occasion, Carlson's is a great choice in Genesee County. We have a $100 gift card for $50 (with $2 PayPal fee).

Sport of Kings Family Restaurant, 419 W Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A favorite locally owned family restaurant that is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. We have a $15 gift certificates for $7.50.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. The patio is open. It's also a great place to host group events.  See the ad on the right side of the page for contact information. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Jackson St. Grill and Belladessa's Pizzeria, 9 Jackson St., Batavia., N.Y.: Ever try to eat one of their giant cheeseburgers? Can you beat the champ, Mark's record time of 7 minutes, 13 seconds? We have TWO $10 gift certificates for $5 each (two separate winners).

Picasso's Pizza, 419 W. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A great variety of pizza, subs and salads -- and try the wings, too. We have three $5 booklets of $1 gift certificates ($15 value) for $7.50. The gift certificates can be used collectively or individually.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, N.Y.: If you're looking to try a perfect neighborhood eatery, check out Delavan's. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Present Tense Books, 101 Washington Ave., Batavia, N.Y.: Present Tense is a great independent bookseller which sponsors a variety of book-related events and sells some great gifts. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Note: We're changing pick-up/mail policy. Please read.

A $1 PayPal service fee applies on items more than $10. The fee is 50 cents on items below $10.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. People who have won a certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible to win a certificate from the same business as before. Gift certificates cannot be combined with other offers without prior approval of the merchant. Gift certificates bought separately cannot be combined for a single purchase. By state law, gift certificates cannot be used for alcohol purchase.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. The winner has up to 48 hours to make arrangements to pick up the gift certificate at The Batavian office in Downtown Batavia, or, unless other arrangements are made, the gift certificate will be mailed to the address associated with the PayPal account.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

T.F. Brown's

SOLD

Sport of Kings

SOLD

Carlson's Studio

SOLD

Jackson St.

SOLD

Picasso's

SOLD

Delavan's

SOLD

Present Tense

SOLD

July 14, 2009 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

City fire crews are responding to a general fire alarm at 137 W. Main St., the Dunkin' Donuts location.


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July 14, 2009 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke.

Two teenagers were injured in a one-car crash last night in the 8700 block of Simonds Road in Pembroke that investigators say was caused by driving too fast.

Holly A. Peffer, 17, of 10374 Clarence Center, Clarence, was reported as the driver and she suffered an injured leg. Her passenger was reportedly Chelsea K. Loomis, 16, who complained of abdominal pain.

Both were transported to Erie County Medical Center for evaluation.

Deputy K.R. McCarthy reported that the car, a 1999 Ford SUV, was northbound on Simonds Road at an "unsafe speed" at about 11:40 p.m. when it left the roadway along the east shoulder. The car hit an earth embankment and rolled over.

July 14, 2009 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for a seven-week session ($56 value) for $28.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: Brighten up your home or office with flowers!  We have a $20 gift certificate for $8.50.

The Mane Attraction, 99 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: The Mane Attraction is a spa and salon offering pedicures, manicures, hair styling and message.  We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, N.Y.: People come from all over the region for a fine dinning experience at Alex's. Alex's is best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, N.Y.: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Sport of Kings Family Restaurant, 419 W Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A favorite locally owned family restaurant that is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. We have a $15 gift certificates for $7.50.

Note: We've made a couple of changes to the rules below.

A $1 PayPal service fee applies on items more than $10 and .50 cents on items below $10.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  People who have won a certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible to win a certificate from the same business as before.  Gift certificates cannot be combined with other offers without prior approval of the merchant, nor can gift certificates bought separately be combined for a single purchase. By state law, gift certificates cannot be used for alcohol purchase.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option when necessary. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

Sport of Kings

SOLD

Adam Miller

SOLD

Alex's Place

SOLD

The Mane Attraction

SOLD

The Enchanted Florist

Blue Pearl Yoga

SOLD

July 14, 2009 - 1:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

P7130020.JPGA twenty-year-old Attica woman suffered burns on her legs in a three-car crash The Batavian reported on yesterday afternoon.

Amanda L. Gilhooly, of 1432 Nesbitt Road, Attica, managed to escape from her 2004 Saturn sedan before it burst into flames. She suffered burns on her legs and was transported to UMMC after the 4:37 p.m. crash.

According to the Sheriff's Office report prepared by Deputy C.J. Minuto, a 2006 Subaru SUV driven by Amie L. Gray, 26, of 62 Leydecker, Apt. 2, Seneca, was heading northbound on Route 98 when Gray was unable to stop or avoid a Jeep driven by James Delvin, 66, of 4452 Shortsville Road, Shortsville. Devlin stopped in the road to make a left-hand turn into a driveway of a construction site. 

Upon impact, according to the report, Delvin's Jeep spun counter-clockwise into the southbound lane, where it was hit in the back a second time by the Saturn driven by Gilhooly.

Photo above submitted by Deputy Chief Paul Barrett of the Town of Batavia Fire Department. For more photos, see the original post.

July 14, 2009 - 1:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Falleti Ice Arena.

The City of Batavia might sell Falleti Ice Arena. Then, again, maybe not.

The City Council instructed City Attorney George Van Nest on Monday night to prepare an RFP (request for proposal) that would allow private investors to bid on the property, but council members also expressed some skepticism that in the current environment, any investors who would offer a realistic price could be found.

"In the current credit crunch, the chances are that any RFP is going to bring in bids in the low end," said Councilwoman Marianne Clattenburg.

But council members Bill Cox and Frank Ferrando protested that the city doesn't have any business being in business and that the ice arena should be privately owned.

Issuing an RFP doesn't guarantee the city will sell the facility.  Some minimum requirements would need to be met by the successful bidding, including a minimum price.

July 14, 2009 - 12:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, neighborhood improvement.

bob bialkowski.jpgWhen Batavia City Manager Jason Molino suggested Monday night that an ordinance proposed by the Neighborhood Improvement Committee to force landlords to better maintain their properties couldn't be quickly implemented, he found stiff opposition from council members who are tired of repeated constituent complaints about poorly maintained properties.

"We can't have any more bull," said Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian. "We can't push this aside any longer."

Some council members wanted Molino and his staff to act on the proposal within 30 to 90 days, even though the NIC's request gives the council until the end of the year to implement a new ordinance.

"This is not a turnkey piece of legislation," Molino said. "There is a lot of staff impact."

The proposed legislation would require city staff to inspect every rental property every 36 months, and every owner-occupied home each time it is sold. Once inspection requirements were met, a Certificate of Occupancy would be issued.

Items that could be inspected would include smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, plumbing fixtures, heating, appliances, wiring, safe exits and that the exterior is safe and sanitary.

Additionally, landlords would be required to register tenants with the city and ensure an agent of the property resided in Genesee County.

Molino maintained that it would take a good deal of research and study to determine the impacts on city resources, and whether additional resources would be needed.

Every council member spoke to the need for quick action to deal with a long festering issue in the city, but Councilman Frank Ferrando pointed out that NIC requested a deadline for action that might allow Molino enough time for research and ensure a new ordinance could be brought forward in a reasonable amount of time.

NIC requested that the council vote on a new ordinance by the end of the year.

"Let's follow the recommendation of the committee and give Jason and his staff the time necessary to do it right," Ferrando said.

After a bit more debate, the council agreed to instruct City Attorney George Van Nest and Molino time to figure out the impacts, write the proposed law -- which could include implementing the proposal in stages, such as tenant registration first, and annual inspections later -- and bring back a recommendation to the Council before current terms that expire this year end.

Pictured: Bob Bialkowski, who initially raised the idea of the proposed ordinance with NIC.

July 14, 2009 - 12:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weed abatement.

Time to start cutting or poisoning those weeds and cleaning up that debris on your property Mr. Slumlord or absentee land owner or other property owner who just simply neglects to maintain your land in accordance with City of Batavia standards.

The standards -- especially as pertains to weeds and debris -- are clearly spelled out in section 96 of the city municipal code.

The only difference is, after a vote of the City Council Monday night, the fines are a little stiffer, and if you persist and don't pay your fines, you could find yourself in Batavia City Court and possibly in jail.

The new enforcement mechanism calls for a $250 fine plus the expense of cleaning up the mess for those land owners who fail to cut or remove weeds as well as debris.

If the fines go unpaid or the problem uncorrected, tickets could be issued, which then require the land owner to appear in court. The potential penalty there is 15 days in jail for each separate offense -- the kicker is, each day of non-compliance is a separate offense.

So you need to ask yourself, how many days do you want to spend in jail?

July 13, 2009 - 11:36pm

rose mary Christian.jpgWe need to check -- Has Adam Miller started selling backpedals?  It seems so. A few were put in use at tonight's Batavia City Council meeting.

Suddenly, the idea of taking a good hard look at converting the Batavia Fire Department to an all volunteer force doesn't seem as attractive to as many council members as it did May 26, when City Council President Charlie Mallow raised the issue in a fiery speech about the high cost of the current paid-professional service.

At that meeting, council members Marianne Clattenburg, Bill Cox, Bob Bialkowski and Rose Mary Christian all expressed support for looking more closely at the idea, with Clattenburg endorsing Mallow's call to arms with a hearty, "here, here."

Tonight, only Mallow kept the flame lit.

"I could foresee a problem with volunteers because of all the tall structures we have in the city," said Clattenburg. "I have real concerns if something disastrous happens."

clattenburg.jpgClattenburg said what she really meant at the previous meeting is that there should be some study on how the city can save money on fire service, such as looking at what cities of similar size as Batavia, with similar structures, do for fire service and how they keep costs down.

Christian, who wasn't quite as vocal in her support of Mallow's proposal in May, was more adamant in her opposition tonight to the idea of switching to an all volunteer force.

Christian made the repeated point -- disputed by Mallow -- that only paid professional fire fighters are trained in how to clear a building in an emergency, that volunteers are not allowed to get evacuation training.

"400 Towers is in my ward, and we have hospitals in the other wards," Christian said. "When you can prove to me that they have the training, then I can agree with it. Until then, I can't."

Christian also raised concerns about how quickly volunteers would respond, noting that current fire personnel can respond to an emergency anywhere in the city within three minutes.

When Bialkowski suggested that the City Council set some goals for what it hopes to accomplish with a reconsideration of the fire service, Christian interjected, "Goals are about money, and my goals are safety.  Money isn't always an issue."

And the theme was set for the discussion: This isn't all about money. We need to consider the safety issues as well.

"When we had that fire at Christina's, if not for the immediate response of the fire department, that whole block could have gone down," said Councilman Frank Ferrando.

Mallow reminded council members that terms of the current union agreement doesn't necessarily put safety first. Before any volunteer firefighter can be dispatched to a fire in the City of Batavia, all paid personnel must be called in, even if it means overtime.

"If we're going to talk about safety, let's really talk about safety," Mallow said. "Let's talk about these restrictions."

Mallow also said that there are bigger cities in New York, with bigger structures, that have all-volunteer fire departments.

"Just because we've always done it this way in Batavia doesn't make it right," Mallow said.

Council members are going to form a subcommittee to further study cost saving measures, including potentially coming up with a scheme to include volunteers with paid staff in a single department.

Christian (pictured top in file photo) is a candidate for a seat on the County Legislature and Clattenburg (file photo) is looking to move up from her Ward 2 council seat to a Council At Large seat.

July 13, 2009 - 4:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

P7130020.JPG

fire_crash_route98_01.jpg

UPDATE: One woman suffered burns to her legs and a second driver was transported to UMMC for evaluation following a three-car accident on Route 98 near Rose Road in Batavia about 4:45 p.m.

A Saturn driven by the woman who was burned was completely engulfed.

"She was lucky to get out of the car fast," said Town of Batavia Fire Chief Robert Hunt.

Her name, along with the other driver who may have been injured has not been released.

James Devlin, who was driving a Jeep northbound on Route 98 when his car was apparently rear-ended by A Subaru, was apparently uninjured and declined transport to the hospital.

"I was making a left turn and I could see the car coming up behind me and it wasn't going to stop, but there was nothing I could do," Devlin said. "She hit me and spun me around and then the other car hit me and that's the last thing I remember. I just got out because I saw the flames."

The third vehicle in the crash, a Saturn, that made the second impact with Devlin's Jeep apparently tore the gas tank from the Jeep, which immediately burst into flames.

It wasn't clear from officials on scene if the woman driving the Saturn was pulled from the burning car or if she got herself out. Devlin said he believed she got out of the car herself.

The preliminary investigation by Deputy C.J. Minuto indicates the driver of the Subaru apparently did not stop after coming over the crest of a hill and hit Devlin's Jeep, spinning it into the southbound lane, where it was again hit in the rear by the Saturn.

fire_crash_route98_02.jpg

P7130022.JPG

P7130024.JPG

P7130023.JPG
 

Pictures: Top, photo submitted by Deputy Chief Paul Barrett of the Town of Batavia Fire Department. The second photo, by Howard Owens, is the the burned-out Saturn.  Bottom: First picture by Howard Owens of Deputy Minuto and Det. Kirsopher Kautz look at the Jeep that was driven by Devlin.  Next three pictures by Paul Barrett.

NOTE: We are anticipating more pictures later.

Original Post:

A vehicle accident in the area of 9098 Route 98 has apparently left one person with burns and fire crews are being dispatched.


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July 13, 2009 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

One person has been arrested, and one suspect is still at large, in a rash of vehicle break-ins in the City of Batavia over the past month, the Batavia Police Department said this afternoon.

In a press release, the police department indicated the break-ins are ongoing -- if they can be called break-ins -- because most of the times, the cars hit have been unlocked over night.

In most cases, GPS systems and other electronics as well as money and personal checks have been stolen.

Police investigators continue to urge people to lock their vehicles and not leave anything of value insides. GPS units are of particular interest to the thieves.

The name of the suspect arrested was not released.

Tips that might lead to the arrest of suspects can be called into 345-6350 or Det. Kevin Czora at 345-6311.

UPDATE: I asked Det. Czora if the name of the suspect already in custody could be released and he said he is withholding the name while the investigation is in progress.  The release of the name, he said, could jeopardize the eventual capture of the second suspect.

I also asked him about the suggestion brought up in comments on The Batavian when we reported on these burglaries last month that the police try a sting operation, and he said that wouldn't necessarily work in this case because the thieves are operating throughout the city. Their complete M.O. is to seek targets of opportunity -- unlocked cars -- which Czora said are numerous throughout the city.

"If we could just get people to start locking their cars and keeping their valuables out of their cars, it would be slimmer pickings," he said.

July 13, 2009 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, N.Y.: If you're looking to try a perfect neighborhood eatery, check out Delavan's.. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl Street Road, Batavia, N.Y.:  Herbly Wonderful offers teas, dried herbs, blends and spices. Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: noon to 5 p.m..

Sport of Kings Family Restaurant, 419 W Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: A favorite locally owned family restaurant that is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. We have a $15 gift certificates for $7.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, N.Y.: Ribs, brisket, steak, prime rib -- Center Street is a meat lovers paradise. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y.: Main St. wins consistent praise from diners for every item on its menu, but of course Main St. is most famous for its pizza and wings. We have THREE $5 gift certificates ($15 value, to be used together or separately) for $7.50.

Note: We've made a couple of changes to the rules below.

A $1 PayPal service fee applies on items more than $10 and .50 cents on items below $10.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  People who have won a certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible to win a certificate from the same business as before.  Gift certificates cannot be combined with other offers without prior approval of the merchant, nor can gift certificates bought separately be combined for a single purchase. By state law, gift certificates cannot be used for alcohol purchase.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option when necessary. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

Delavan's

SOLD

Herbly Wonderful

SOLD

Sport of Kings

SOLD

Center Street

SOLD

Main St. Pizza

SOLD

July 13, 2009 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford.

The engine of a tractor in a field near Mullen Road and Morganville Road in Stafford is reportedly on fire.

Crews from the Stafford Fire Department are responding, though the first responder is reporting the fire is out.

UPDATE: All equipment now being held in hall. Fire is out.


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July 13, 2009 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Welcome to Batavia, Mr. Douglas Randall. We're sure you will be a fine replacement for retiring City Code Enforcement Officer Mike Smith.

But if you want to keep your job, you better move to Batavia before July -- of next year.

Essentially, that will be the vote before the City Council at tonight's 7 o'clock meeting when the council is asked to approve a residency waiver for Randell, giving him time to locate a suitable abode.

July 13, 2009 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

The City of Batavia will go into the real estate business tonight, considering a proposal to sell 19 acres of land to the Town of Batavia for $150,000.

The land could serve number of needs for joint facilities, including a potential location for a Genesee County Chamber of Commerce facility, maybe the visitors' center, according to Town Engineer Steve Mountain. who spoke with WBTA this morning. 

Previously, Assemblyman Steve Hawley pushed through legislation in Albany that would enable Elba, Oakfield and both the town and city of Batavia to share a court facility.

The 19-acre location is on the south side of Park Road near Oak Street.

The City Council meets tonight in Council Chambers at 7 o'clock.

UPDATE: Curious about the Chamber of Commerce plans, I called Steve Lockwood, chamber chairman, who replied via e-mail: "There is no item on the City Council’s agenda that involves the Chamber.  I have no comment to make."

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