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March 8, 2017 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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A train derailment is reported at the railroad crossing at Donahue Road, Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: I just returned from the scene. The train jumped the tracks in the area of the wastewater plant, about a mile east of Donahue Road. No injuries, no toxic spills.

NOTE: We are out of power at both the house and now the office (power at the house went out about two hours ago), which has hampered our ability to do updates. There are trees down all over the place. I've driven past a few that I didn't even bother to get pictures of. I've got pictures coming of trees down on Morton Avenue, Central Avenue (down at the roots, hitting a house) and behind Tully's restaurant two cars were hit by a downed tree, one was heavily damaged. There was also power lines down on Route 5 near the fairgrounds and a person was reportedly trapped in a car for a time with power lines on it. We have pictures coming of all this plus this morning's on South Jackson Street fire.

ALSO, Our friends at 13WHAM tell me gusts up to 71 mph have been recorded at the Rochester Airport. Also, if you have storm damage pictures to share, send them to [email protected] or text them to (585) 260-6970. Let me know if you want your name included with the photo and include location information.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: We continue to hear reports of trees down and wires down all over the county. There is a tree down, but I didn't catch the location, that has caught on fire. Also a truck hauling a trailer had the trailer flip at another location. Route 63 from the city line to Galloway Road is closed because of power lines down. A tree reportedly hit the house, according to a reader, and it may be along 63 where the fire is in the tree.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: There are 615 power outages for National Grid customers in Western New York, affecting nearly 100,000 customers. There is close to 100 in Genesee County affecting more than 12,000 customers.

UPDATE 3:33 p.m.: Statement from CSX:

CSX crews are en route to a CSX freight train derailment in the vicinity of Donahue Road in Batavia. Crews and other CSX personnel will work with local officials to render any necessary assistance. The train derailed at approximately 1:15 p.m. today.

The number of rail cars involved in the incident is still being determined. There are no reports of any leaks or spills of any freight from the train, and no injuries to the crew.

The train was headed from Chicago to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The train has two locomotives and 29 loaded freight cars. The train is carrying a variety of freight including rubber gloves, dry goods, toilet paper, food products and furniture. One rail car containing black powder, which is characterized as a hazardous material, is also among the freight.

The cause of the incident is subject to investigation.

Also Route 98 in the city is being shut down, but not sure of which end. Also tree down on North Avenue near Naramore Drive, completely blocking.

UPDATE 3:51 p.m.: On Roanoke Road there's a tree down in a yard with power lines down. There's a person on location attempting to cut the tree despite the live wires and "he won't stop."

UPDATE 4:05 p.m.: One-vehicle rollover, believed with no injuries, on the Thruway overpass on Route 98.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: Center Street in both directions and School Street in both directions are being barricaded. National Grid has a prolonged repair in progress.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: Statement we received from Sen. Chuck Schumer's office:

“Our office is in close contact with Federal Railroad Administration and local officials in Batavia. Our thoughts are with those who were impacted by this derailment, and with the first responders currently on scene. While we don’t yet know why the CSX train derailed, Senator Schumer will work closely with FRA and other federal safety organizations to quickly get to the bottom of what caused this serious accident,” said Jason Kaplan, spokesman for Senator Schumer.

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March 8, 2017 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, news.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced today that Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 17th and will end on March 19th. St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is a notoriously deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of celebrations and drivers on the road.  New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across the board effort to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths.

Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron says, “St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that often involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. For those who will be celebrating this holiday, please remember that planning a safe way home is an important part of any party plan.”

The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association and funded by local STOP-DWI programs as well as the STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their enforcement and public awareness efforts. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have made great strides in reducing the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. You can do your part to become part of the solution by downloading our FREE mobile app “Have a Plan” at www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

March 8, 2017 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

High winds have just hit Genesee County -- there is a high wind warning in effect throughout the day -- and the first report of poles and wires down comes from Alabama.

Wires and poles are down on Lewiston Road and Knowlesville Road with arcing and sparking.

UPDATE 9:37 a.m.: Lines down on Vine Street, Batavia.

March 8, 2017 - 9:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, Notre Dame, news.

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Whether through fatigue, Notre Dame's defense or just that's the way the ball bounces, a dearth of scoring in the fourth quarter last night cost the Elba Lady Lancers a chance to advance to the regional championship round of post-season basketball.

The Lady Irish prevailed in the Class D consolidation game between the two Section V champions. The final, 44-31.

Elba had a first half lead after scoring 15 points in the second quarter, going into the locker rooms up 19-18, were down by only two points, but a four-point fourth quarter for Elba enabled Notre Dame to pull away and secure the win.

Head Coach Tom Redband said his girls struggled with free throws and layups in the second half and fell out of rhythm.

"I don’t think it was adjustments they made," Redband said. "We just missed free throws and some layups that normally we make and that’s basketball. Sometimes they fall, some times they don’t. It just kind of caught up to us."

Tom McCulley, head coach of Notre Dame, said he thought Elba trying to guard a couple of his bigger players, such as Callie McCulley and Margaret Sutherland, took a toll on Elba.

"Eventually our size and strength just wore them down to where we could get the ball to where we wanted to and make our shots down the stretch," McCulley said.

He said he was exceptionally proud of his team.

"All season long I’ve been telling the girls, 'we just have to do what we do,' " McCulley said. "We are going to have nights where we can’t find the basket and nights where we’re a little sluggish but if we stay to who we are, we just don’t press and try to relax, these girls are good enough to where eventually it’s going to happen for them.

"That’s what you’ve seen in the second half of the season. We’ve figured out what works and doesn’t work and these girls are playing phenomenally well together and it’s nice to watch."

For Notre Dame, Sutherland scored 16 points, McCulley, 13, Morgan Rhodes, 9.

For Elba, Maddie Muehlig scored seven, as did Nicole Boldt. Tatum Draper scored six and Madison Howard scored five.

Notre Dame plays for the Far West Regional Championship in Class D at 3 p.m., Saturday, at Buffalo State.

Top three photos by Destin Danser. For more photos of the game and a chance to purchase game photos, click here. Bottom photo by Howard Owens.

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March 8, 2017 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, 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.
March 7, 2017 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, bergen, alexander, Stafford.

Marlek Eugene Holmes, 43, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Holmes, an inmate in the Genesee County Jail being held on sexual assault charges, and who has a prior charge related to alleged misconduct in jail, is accused of damaging a food tray and bed sheet belonging to the jail.

Teresa Anne Anderson, 42, of Sandybrook Drive, Hamlin, is charged with petit larceny. Anderson is accused of finding a change purse on the floor near a slot machine at Batavia Downs and taking the money inside and ticket vouchers and discarding the purse between two slot machines.

Nicholas Gerald Schafer, 18, of Broadway, Darien, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, moving from lane unsafely and illegal parking on a highway. Schafer was allegedly involved in a property-damage accident on Route 98, Alexander, at 10:55 p.m. Friday. The accident was investigated by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Milton Quinones Guzman, 38, of McKenzie Street, Bergen, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from the lane unsafely. Guzman was stopped at 6:52 p.m. Thursday on Clinton Street, Bergen, by Deputy Michael Lute.

Ramon J. Galvez, 35, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, was arrested as a fugitive from justice. Galvez was located during a traffic stop on Washington Avenue, Batavia. He is wanted in Franklin County, Wash., on unspecified charges.

Russell R. Miles, 48, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Miles allegedly violated a stay away order.

Jacquelyn K. Hildebrant, 35, of State Street, is charged with dog running at large. Hildebrant following an investigation into a complaint that her dog attacked another dog at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27 on State Street. (Previously: Dog on State Street reportedly involved in two aggressive incidents within weeks of each other)

Marcus L. Speed, 29, of Mellvile Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Speed was charged following a traffic stop on West Main Street, Batavia, at 1:06 a.m. Sunday by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Shaun A. Surowka, 59, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Surowka was charged following a traffic stop at 12:43 a.m. Sunday on West Main Street by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Melissa R. Piazza, 27, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with identity theft, 3rd, criminal possession of stolen property, 4th and petit larceny. Piazza was arrested on a warrant for allegedly using the credit card of another person without consent.

Justin Thomas Stephenson, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. The nature of the warrant was not released. He posted bail.

Alisha A. Soule, 20, of Route 237, Stafford, was arrested on two warrants for alleged failure to appear on a traffic ticket and alleged failure to pay a fine.

Thomas A. Culver Jr., 38, of Wood Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to report to the Genesee County Jail per terms of his jail sentence. He was jailed on $2,000 bail or $5,000 bond.

Ryan C. Bishop, 26, of Scottsville West Henrietta Road, Scottsville, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, and lights not meeting standards. Bishop was stopped at 2:18 a.m. Thursday on Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Chad E. Alwardt, 37, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, lights not meeting standards, aggravated unlicensed operation, expired inspection, unlicensed driver. Alwardt was stopped on Jackson Street at 12:54 a.m. Friday by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

March 7, 2017 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Neptunes Gardens, batavia, pets, animals, news.

An SPCA necropsy of a dead animal found in the basement of a former pet store on Ellicott Street has determined the animal was a cat, Batavia PD announced this afternoon.

The cause of death could not be determined, but the SPCA found no signs of abuse and the absence of bite marks or claw marks inside the box indicate it was dead before being placed in the box.

Neptune's Gardens closed more than five months before the dead cat was found by an employee of I.D. Booth, owner of the building, while cleaning it out so the retail space could be rented to another tenant. 

The employee posted a picture of the dead animal on social media and said she had found the skeleton of a dead dog. Regional media outlets, including The Batavian, and the dozens and dozens of people who shared the initial post, did not question the conclusion that the bones were dog remains.

The Batavian spoke with members of local law enforcement a few days later who indicated the remains were probably not of a dog.

During the 31 years that Nick and Kathy LaFarnara owned Neptune's Gardens (the storefront was Ellicott Street, but the actual address is on Liberty Street), people would drop off boxes of kittens and sometimes puppies and the LaFarnara's would try to find homes for the animals.

"We always took them to the vet and made sure they were healthy before we sold them for $5," LaFarnara said. "They object was to find them good homes."

The kittens and puppies needed to be at least 8 weeks old, depending on size, by state law. LaFarnara said she was told the dead kitten found in the box was 6 weeks old.

"The only time anybody ever dropped off kittens that were 6 weeks old, we took them to Lollypop Farms because we could not legally keep them," LaFarnara said.

She said she has no idea how the kitten wound up in the box in the basement.

As far as opening another store across the street, LaFarnara said she and her husband are still discussing it.

March 7, 2017 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, jobs, business, Darien.

Press release:

The region’s largest seasonal employer is looking to fill 1,800 open positions across its multiple departments, including amusement park, water park, lodging, entertainment, retail and food service.

Darien Lake has already begun accepting applications for the upcoming season with some positions starting as early as April. The park will open for the 2017 season on May 6 with full, daily operations beginning June 15.

Darien Lake will be hosting an open job fair at the Park’s Lodge on the Lake Hotel on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the job fair and the types of positions available, visit www.darienlake.com/jobs.  

Interviews for the following positions will be held during the job fair: food service, park services, games, admissions, ride operations, lifeguards, rentals, warehouse, retail, hotel/campground, attractions, and security officers. Representatives from the Darien Lake Amphitheater, run by Live Nation, will also be at the fair to discuss seasonal opportunities.

“We’re seeking friendly, ambitious applicants of all backgrounds who are interested in helping us create memorable experiences for our guests,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “While we look forward to meeting our new team members, we are also thrilled to welcome back more than 800 rehires every year, filling a total of more than 2,000 positions.”

Special Perks and Benefits

·       Free Admission to the Park – An employee ID is equal to a 2017 Darien Lake season pass. Come as often as you like, free of charge!

·       Free Park Tickets for Friends & Family -- Where else can you work and earn free tickets to Darien Lake? Share the fun with your friends and family all season long.

·       Opportunities to Advance -- Our team members are on a fast track to success. With so many great opportunities, both new and returning employees can take on new challenges and develop their leadership skills.

·       Great Resume Building Experience -- Darien Lake offers great experience for future business leaders. Understand your labor force, how to manage inventory and interact with guests, all under the sun and in a place that’s all about fun.

Interested applicants can apply online at www.DarienLake.com/jobs or call the Darien Lake Job Line at 585-599-5108

March 7, 2017 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news.

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Statement from Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Sheriff's Office:

The attached was found in a Village of Alexander parking lot and turned over to the Sheriff's Office this morning.

The bills are not valid currency and believed to be used to train bank tellers in China. These fake bills can be found for purchase online at sites such as eBay and Amazon and are also available in various denominations. The printing is not as precise as real money and the colors are not quite right but they might pass for real at a glance.

The Sheriff's Office has not received any reports to date of this type of counterfeit bill actually being used to purchase goods and recommends that merchants and citizens be aware and examine all bills during transactions. Use of these bills may constitute a felony and the Sheriff's Office or your local police should be contacted if any are encountered.

March 7, 2017 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

High winds are expected to hit the area tomorrow so the National Weather Service has issued a wind warning starting at 9 a.m. and lasting through 10 p.m.

Winds of 25 to 35 mph expected with gusts of 60 mph.

Strong winds can lead to downed trees, property damage and scattered power outages. Travel for high-profile vehicles could be difficult.

March 7, 2017 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, 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.
March 6, 2017 - 8:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Jackson School kicked off its winter reading program today; this year it's called "Camp Read-A-Lot." 

The program is intended to encourage students to read at least 15 minutes per day.

Today, faculty and staff performed a play for the students called Camp Read-A-Lot, which tells the story of the campers who will get lost if the students don't read every day.

Thursday is family reading night at the school. There is a book fair from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. and 7:15 to 7:30 p.m. Reading rotations, which includes community guest readers, begins at 5:30 p.m. The Hill Brothers perform a reading-themed concert in the gym at 6:30 p.m.

March 6, 2017 - 8:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in McCormick Family Dairy, alexander agricutlure, news.

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McCormick Family Dairy in Alexander has been named the 2016 Conservation Farm of the Year by Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District.

About the award from Soil & Water:

This is a large family farm CAFO in the upper Tonawanda Creek watershed south of Alexander. Most of their land drains directly into Tonawanda Creek and the dairy farm itself is less than a mile from the Creek. Most of the drainage channels flowing from the steep hillsides above their lands are directly draining into the Creek.

With about 950 dairy cows, manure management has been a large part of their program for many years. They have tried several types of manure treatment and silage leachate collection systems. A large manure storage pit is located above the farm and manure is pumped to or hauled over land to it. It is over 50 feet higher and about 4,000 feet away. Some other practices they have employed include tile drainage, rotational grazing, zone building and rotational graze about 85 acres using more than three miles of fencing.

The McCormicks have been excellent stewards of the land and were chosen as this past year’s recipients for their continued efforts at environmental conservation and sustainability.

Photo: Aaron Reichert, Jen Reichert, Tim Pohl, Michelle Pohl and Dan McCormick.

March 6, 2017 - 7:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

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A 56-year-old woman from Batavia was killed in a single-vehicle accident in Alabama after the minivan she was riding in went off the east shoulder of Route 77, into a gully and struck a tree.

The driver of the 2003 Dodge Caravan reportedly suffered a medical event before the car left the roadway.

Coroner Karen Lang pronounced Karen Mann dead at the scene.

As a result of the accident, one person was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight and the other two people in the vehicle were transported by Mercy EMS to Strong.

Mann was a backseat passenger. 

State Police say this is still an ongoing investigation and released no further information at this time.

(initial report)

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March 6, 2017 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, news.

State Police opened an investigation Saturday into a report of racist graffiti being left on the side of a building in Pembroke that is owned by a church based in Cheektowaga.

Trooper James O'Callahan, spokesman for Troop A in Batavia, said it is against State Police policy to provide details on an ongoing investigation, but he did confirm such an investigation is taking place.

The property is on Marble Road and is owned by New Creation Fellowship.

March 6, 2017 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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   Jeremy Armstrong

A 26-year-old man wanted in connection with a shooting on Jackson Street on Dec. 2 has been located in East Hartford, Conn., and taken into custody.

Jeremy R. Armstrong is being held in Connecticut pending extradition following his arrest Feb. 28.

He is wanted on charges of second-degree attempted murder and criminal use of a firearm, 1st. 

Police say Armstrong fired several shots at close range.

He allegedly shot a person while on Jackson Street and the two men reportedly knew each other.

According to sources, the victim suffered shoulder and chest wounds. He was treated first at UMMC and then transferred to ECMC.

Armstrong was located in East Hartford outside the residence of a family member, according to police. He was taken into custody without incident.

"City detectives have been working closely with the East Hartford, Connecticut, Police Department after learning Armstrong may have been in that area," the police said in a statement.

Also assisting in the investigation and attempt to locate Armstrong were Connecticut police in South Windsor, Hartford, and New Britain, as well as the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police.

Batavia PD said no further information would be released since this is a pending investigation.

Individuals with information that may assist in the investigation are asked to call Det. Eric Hill (585) 345-6373, Det. Thad Mart at (585) 345- 6372, or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

March 6, 2017 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elba Fire Dept., elba, news.

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The Elba Volunteer Fire Department held its 2017 installation banquet on Saturday night and Don "Rat" Reinhard was honored for this 23 years of service as assistant chief. He was presented a handmade trophy by all the officers (trophy made by John Mudrzynski).

Michael Pfendler and Nathan Tabor were recognized for achieving the most training hours and Mike Schad Jr. responded to the most calls.

Photos and info submitted by Carrie Mudrzynski.

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Elba's fire police officers for 2017: Mark Wiatrowski, Mike Banks, Leonard Peterson Sr. , Kenny Miller and Kevin Dart.

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The firematic officers for 2017 who were able to attend the dinner: Caitlin Zipfel, Nick Esten, Mandy Esten, Jennifer Cardinali, George Underhill, Mike Schad Jr., Ryan Hart, and John Mudrzynski. Unable to attend: Mike Heale and Chris Lane.

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Corporate officers: Mark Wiatrowski, Kenny Miller, Don Gavenda, Linda Loder, Bob Zipfel, Sue Dart, Donna Hynes, Leonard Peterson Sr., and Glenn Bloom.

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The officers of the Ladies Auxiliary: Linda Loder, Lynette Gregori, Joyce Zipfel, Bobette Hyatt, Irene Griffith-Pierce and Marylou Andrews.

March 6, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in track and field, sports, Batavia HS, batavia.

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Members of the Batavia Blue Devils indoor track team performed well at the NYS champions Saturday at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

Anthony Ray placed ninth in the shot put with an overall throw of 50' 10". In the weight throw, an event he holds the record in for Section V, he earned all-state honors by placing sixth in the NY Federation and fourth among state competitors with a throw of 62' 7". That is his second-best throw ever and led all WNY competitors. He will compete in the shot put and weight throw next weekend at the Indoor National Championships at the Armory in Manhattan.

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The girls 4x400 relay team finished ninth with a time of 4:04.11, which broke an existing school record. They also qualified for nationals next week. The team is Claire Zickl, Regan Henrici, Brianna Bromley and Kiaya Franklin.

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Nate Crane is a team of one for Letchworth, so he trained with Batavia this season. In the pole vault he placed sixth in the NY Federation and fourth among state competitors. He cleared 14' 6" and will also compete next week at nationals.

Photos and info submitted by Coach Nick Burk.

March 5, 2017 - 11:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, 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.
March 5, 2017 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy, news.

There are unknown injuries after a car hit a utility pole in the area of 7332 Quinlan Road.

Lines are down.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance dispatched.

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