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April 10, 2009 - 7:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion.

Tracylee Cayea, 39, of Lakeville, reportedly entered the home of a person in Pavilion on Tuesday and then refused to leave after numerous requests that she depart.She is charged with criminal trespass in the second degree.

Michael P. Johnson, 23, of Batavia, reportedly failed to stop for a stop sign, which led to police pulling him over early this morning. On further investigate, officers concluded he may have been drinking, He is charged with DWI with a BAC of .08 or more.

Jovoun Webb, 23, of Brockport, was arrested early yesterday morning and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Webb reportedly came to the attention of a Sheriff's deputy after allegedly failing to yield the right of way and unlawful tint on his windows. The deputy reports he smelled marijuana while talking with Webb. A search, the deputy reports, led to the discover of marijuana on Webb and in the center console of his vehicle. Webb allegedly has 8 suspensions on his license in four different states.

William A. Henderson, 34, of Rochester, was arrested for DWI yesterday in Corfu.  Henderson was identified after State Police received a tip from Wende Correctional Facility in Alden that an intoxicated individual had driven away from the facility.  A short time later, a state trooper spotted the suspected vehicle at Routes 33 and 77.  The trooper reported that Henderson failed several field sobriety tests. A small amount of marijuana was reportedly found in Henderson's vehicle. Henderson reportedly has two previous DWI convictions. Henderson was charged with DWI, operating a vehicle without a seat belt and possession of marijuana. He is being held on $10,000 bail.

April 9, 2009 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

Units from Genesee and Erie counties have responded to a structure fire in Corfu at 4 Main Street, the former location of Pizza Pantry. 

An ambulance was called to the scene for a firefighter who reportedly fell in the building, but he exited safely and the extent of his injuries, if any, are unknown at this time.

The building is a two-story brick structure that was apparently gutted, but there is no significant exterior damage.

The initial call came in at about 12:35 p.m.

Dan Fischer at WBTA is also working on getting information on the fire.  Updates as they become available.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Tim Yaeger says the firefighter mentioned in our first report is fine. He was treated and released. A second firefighter was struck by a piece of equipment and broke a tooth.

Linda Doll of Corfu says she called in the fire. She was returning from a funeral in Batavia when she saw smoke as she pulled into the village. As soon as she turned onto Main Street, she saw flames coming from the back of the building, she said. She immediately called 911.

UPDATE: The following photo was submitted to The Batavian by James F. Gerber, photographer for the Alden Fire Department.

UPDATE: Joanne Beck reports that the cause of the fire is suspicious.

The cause remains under investigation. Yaeger said it started on the outside of the building, and a witness reported children in the area.

April 9, 2009 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, stimulus.

We've just received a copy of a press release from the governor's office which says the City of Batavia will receive $700,000 to repave Route 98 between Main St. and Noonan Drive. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

From the press release:

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the Rochester area is expected to receive at least $74 million in transportation and infrastructure funding through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This critical funding will go toward much-needed highway and road repair, bridge span work and other long-term improvements to the region’s infrastructure and will create an estimated 1,776 jobs. The Governor was joined by Senator Charles E. Schumer at a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Maintenance Facility in Canandaigua.

“I want to thank President Obama and New York’s Congressional Delegation for their work to secure these funds, which will provide Rochester-area projects with the financing they need to move forward,” Governor Paterson said. “These investments update aging infrastructure, making our roads, highways and bridges safer, while also creating jobs, bolstering economic development and ensuring a brighter future for our State.”

In addition to these funds, the DOT will also award $82 million in traditional highway and bridge contracts next year to the Rochester area. This region will also receive approximately $29 million in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding, which the recovery funds enabled us to restore to the State budget. In total, the Rochester area will receive more than $185 million in highway and bridge funding in State Fiscal Year 2009-10.

UPDATE: Shortly after originally posting this, I interviewed Charlie Mallow about the funding, then before I could post it, I ran out to cover the fire in Corfu. Here's a few minutes of Charlie talking about stimulus money, other grants and ongoing improvement projects.

April 8, 2009 - 7:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, genesee county, legislature.

Steve Ferry, a Darien Town Council member, made his case tonight that Genesee County Legislator should serve staggered four-year terms rather two-year terms with all nine seats up for election in the same year.

Legislators seemed inclined to favor the idea, but bristled at the idea that the Legislator could enact a change without proper study and community committee meetings.

At the end of the meeting, Ferry told the legislators that they are leaders and should lead.

"You are elected officials, public servants, and if serving the public means putting it on the ballot, then do it," Ferry said.

Ferry's position is that the current two-year system is a disincentive for people to get involved in the local policy decisions and that too many legislative seats draw only a single candidate each election cycle.

"It seem ridiculous to have a legislative board having all nine people up for election at the same time," Ferry said.

Legislators, by and large, rejected the notion that there isn't enough public involvement in the county government.

"One reason we don’t have a lot of people involved is this is a well run county and we don’t have a lot of controversy in the county," said Legislator John J. Hodgins.

April 8, 2009 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, stimulus.

We just received this message from City Council President Charlie Mallow:

I just received the word from the governor's office that Batavia will be included in the first round Transportation Stimulus announcement tomorrow morning in Canandaigua.  Although I have few specifics regarding the exact announcement as it pertains to our city, it is my understanding that there is at least one city project will be included. I will be attending to represent the city tomorrow, Thursday, April 9, 10 AM at  125 Parish Street, Canandaigua.

Governor Paterson will announce transportation Stimulus funds at a DOT maintenance facility in Canandaigua. Ground breaking for this work will start within 180 days.
 
My apology for the the lack of information as to what streets will be receiving the repairs, I will have more for you after the meeting.

UPDATE: Rose Mary Christian left the following remark in the comments:

I'm very happy that our city will be on Governor Patterson list to recieve some of the stimulus money from the state. I must say Jason Molino and Sally Kuzon worked very hard for Batavia to compete against other communities. The city taxpayers should be very pleased with this process because it was their money ( from the VLT) to put into this project. It was our manager and his assistant who presented this to our Albany officals. Great job Jason and Sally, Rose Mary

April 8, 2009 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools.

The cause of death of 9-year-old Michaela L. Fidanza is still unknown, but school officials have notified parents of children attending John Kennedy Elementary School that New York health officials have not ruled out Meningitis.

Yesterday, the school had told parents that the Genesee County Health Department had determined it wasn't Meningitis.

Now the school is telling parents that "persons who may have exchanged saliva" with Fidanza in the past seven days should contact a physician.

WBTA obtained the letter to parents this afternoon and posted a copy on its Web site. The full text reads:

This is a message from the Batavia City School District for families whose children attend John Kennedy Elementary. You received a letter yesterday about the deal of a student at JK. In the letter, we indicated that the Genesee County Health Department had ruled out Meningitis as the cause of death. The NYS Health Department, because of the seriousness of the situation, feels that meningitis cannot be ruled out even though the tests are negative, because all symptoms support the meningitis diagnosis. The New York State health Department advises that persons who may have exchanged saliva with the patient during the last seven days should contact their physician. Any child who becomes ill with fever, rash or stiff neck, should be seen by a doctor immediately.

In today's edition of the Daily News, Scott DeSmit reports:

The ME's office looked immediately for signs of meningitis, a contagious viral disease.

"They were thinking that it was possibly meningitis but so far, the cultures have been negative for that," he said. "But they told us it takes four days to be sure. They don't think that's a cause but we don't know."

April 8, 2009 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

There's still a chance of snow in our immediate future, with light snow predicted for this morning and a chance of snow on Friday.  It looks like it we will have cold nights, mild to cold days the rest of the week.

Here's the National Weather Service forecast:

Today: Scattered snow showers, mixing with rain after noon, then gradually ending. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a west wind between 16 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. West wind between 6 and 13 mph.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 48. West wind between 10 and 15 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 29. West wind between 3 and 8 mph.

Friday: A chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. East wind between 6 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Friday Night: A chance of rain and snow before 10pm, then a slight chance of snow between 10pm and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 47.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 26.

April 8, 2009 - 6:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Pavilion, Bethany.

A Conesus couple is charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree for allegedly stealing four chain saws from Morg's Sawz & Stoves in Pavilion. The crime allegedly took place March 26 in the afternoon. The suspects were picked up that day by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. Arraigned yesterday in Pavilion Town Court were Michael G. Boggs, 31,and Jennifer R. Boggs, 26.  The couple remains incarcerated in Livingston County.

Kenneth Laird, 56, of Bethany, is accused of getting into a domestic dispute yesterday with a person he has been ordered not to contact. Laird reportedly threw rocks at this person's car as the person tried to leave the scene of the dispute. Laird is charged with criminal contempt in the 2nd degree and harassment in the second degree.

April 7, 2009 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, taxes, economy, stimulus.

Buffalo attorney Jim Ostrowski lost the first round in his legal fight against New York State grants and government loans to businesses, but he's pushing forward with his crusade against "corporate welfare."

GCEDC's VP of marketing and communications, Chad Zambito is concerned that efforts such as Ostrolwski's could undermine economic development tools such as empire zones and damage efforts to bring business to Western New York.

"What it really does is it sends ends a message to site selectors nationwide that New York is really unfriendly to business," Zambito said. "It certainly sends a message to business people who might be looking at New York State that we might not be the most stable environment."

Zambito said Ostrowski's effort, if successful, would hurt the state because of New York's excessive tax burden.

Ostrowski doesn't buy it.

"That’s a really bad argument," Ostrowski said.  "If you look at Pennsylvania and Ohio, to reduce our taxes to their level, we would have to cut $40 billion out of the budget. Now corporate welfare only moves around about $1.5 billion per year, so it’s not an effective tool to compete with other states (with lower taxes)."

April 7, 2009 - 4:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Attica, cats, SPCA.

Milk and cats go together like dogs and bones. So it's no surprise that prison dairy farms, such as the one at Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica, is a magnet for felines.

But Governor Paterson's cost-cutting decision to eliminate farm operations at correctional facilities has put prisoners' "pets" in peril.

A tipster at Attica let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. He said inmates were told to quit feeding the cats, some of which are "orphans" from Genesee County.

But starvation and neglect tactics would be unlawful, a misdemeanor for "failure to provide sustenance" under Agriculture and Markets regulations.

The correctional authorities claimed no knowlege of the situation when Sue Davila inquired about it last week. She's a state licensed animal cruelty investigator with the Wyoming County SPCA.

Up to 100 cats are believed to be living at the facility, which Davila got permission to visit last week. She and SPCA board member Janice Stenman, aided by guards and inmates managed to round up 14 cats and kittens. Live traps were put out Monday to catch more.

The animals confiscated Friday were tested for disease and given immunizations. They were treated as needed for fleas, worms, ear mites and given antiobiotics. One very pregnant female had a gaping abcess on her neck. One had a respiratory infection, one was brain damaged and a male was neutured and declawed.

"Part of the problem is local -- people show up at night and dump their cats at the prison," Stenman said. "It's not entirely the prison's fault that (the cats) are there."

The problem is not new.

Stenman said a guard told her that four years ago an order was given to get rid of the cats. They were corraled into a shed and a truck driver backed up to the shed and gassed the cats with exhaust fumes. They were purportedly then dumped into a mass grave and their killer got a bounty of $8 per cat. No one wants to talk about it publicly, Stenman said, because they fear reprisals.

The dairy farm cats are indoors only -- use to being fed and thus unsuited to suddenly fending for themselves. Perhaps some may become adoptable once they are quarantined and evaluated.

Speaking of which, the folks at the donation-dependant SBCA are feeling kind of desparate.

"This situation has put horrible pressure on us," Stenman said, adding that money for food and medication plus a barn to use as a temporary quarantine site are the most immediate needs.

Wyoming County SPCA is a no-kill facility which can accommodate 200 cats, not 300. It also accepts animals from facilities in several other counties.

Lollipop Farm in Monroe County is also a no-kill facility that works with SPCAs and volunteers to care for homeless pets.

In Genesee County, the government animal shelter in Batavia can handle caging for 25 to 35 cats at a time, but by law only those from Genesee County residents.

Local animal control officer Aggie Jaroszewski said 578 cats were adopted or found foster homes through the Genesee shelter last year.

Those were the lucky ones. Many cats are euthanized. If feral populations in particular are allowed to grow unfettered, the incidence of sickness and disease increases. Last year, a cat tested positive for rabies in the Village of Leroy, Jaroszewski said.

Feral or nearly feral cat populations are not uncommon in mobile home parks and apartments, places where property owners often ban pets, Jaroszewski said.

April 7, 2009 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander.

Ten voters showed up to the Village of Alexander election meeting last night, five of them were candidates for village offices.

The voters also approved a $373,450 budget. The tax rate remains unchanged at $1.66 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Elected unanimously to one-year terms by the 10 voters:

  • Mayor: Richard Scharlau
  • Clerk/Treasurer: Vera Antonucci
  • Tax Collector: Nancy Bartz
  • Constable: Ralph Robbins

William Wagner was elected to a two-year term as village trustee.

April 7, 2009 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.

No Elba residents attended the Village Board meeting last night were the board unanimously approved a 2009-2010 budget.

General fund spending decreases by 5 percent, according to Village Clerk/Treasurer Beverly Hillabush. The water fund is down 5 percent and the sewer fund is down 1 percent.

"The decrease is due mostly to paying off a fire truck," Hillabush said.

Meanwhile, tax collections will be up slightly, to $73,275, though the village tax rate remains unchanged, at $3.25 per $1,000 of assessed value.

There was an increase in spending in the youth program, Hillabush said, because the village has decided to split its youth program from the Town of Elba's program. Hillabush explained that the town wanted to add more programs that the village didn't think it could afford. "We just couldn't come to terms," she said.

The village programs will be open to all students in the Elba Central School District.

April 7, 2009 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, weather, snow.

I stopped in LeRoy today and spotted this scene and snapped a quick pic -- snow in LeRoy in April.I stopped in LeRoy today and spotted this scene and snapped a quick pic -- snow in LeRoy in April.

April 7, 2009 - 6:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Lisa M. Derrett, 18, of Batavia, is charged with stalking in the 4th degree. Derrett was taken into custody following an investigation at Genesee Community College where she allegedly approached an individual she had been advised by law enforcement not to contact. She was released on her own recognize. An order of protection was issued.

April 7, 2009 - 6:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

So what do you think about the out-of-season snow fall? It looks like we will get a little more this morning:

... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM EDT THIS MORNING...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM EDT THIS MORNING.

PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE ADVISORY AREA TODAY... WITH ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES EXPECTED.

ALTHOUGH THIS SNOWFALL IS NOT EXPECTED TO BE SIGNIFICANT AS FAR AS ACCUMULATIONS GO... IT WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO IMPACT TRAVEL ACROSS THE REGION THROUGH THIS MORNING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NORMALLY ISSUED FOR A VARIETY OF WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS INCLUDING SNOW. WHILE THE WEATHER WILL BE SIGNIFICANT... THE WORD ADVISORY IMPLIES THAT SEVERE WINTER WEATHER IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

April 6, 2009 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

What is it with Republicans and posting on The Batavian? It seems not many of them post, and when they do, too often we figure out later that they are not using their real names.

  • MIchael Barney
  • Michael Farnsworth
  • Maddie LaNova
  • Niel Hamburger
  • Robert Drewinski

And now Frank Michaels: All apparently fake names espousing conservative, if not overtly, Republican views.

I'm not interested in making this a partisan issue, but geez ... the trend here is disturbing. Why can't local Republicans do, as many active local Democrats do, and comment freely under their real names?

Michael Barney, of course, turned out to be County Legislator Jay Grasso.

Farnsworth and LaNova left pro-Grasso comments on the post about Grasso, such as:

This is so not cool! Everybody goes on line with other names! I sat in a high school class that Legislator Grasso came to when I was a Senior. It is a local government seminar. He was pretty decent. He talked about how to access your local government and things like that. He also helped some kids with their exit projects. He did not come accross as political and I did not know his party from it. If he was posting s**t like "vote for grasso", then you should hammer him. He did not do this. Not cool at all.

Farnsworth, LaNova and Frank Michaels all have one thing in common:  They're using the same Road Runner business account IP address.

Grasso, for his part, denies emphatically that he is Frank Michaels.

"I give you my word," Grasso said. "I don’t need the aggravation from the Dems. They would eat me alive."

So here's my plea to local Republicans: We want your comments as much as anybody's on The Batavian, we just ask that you use your real names. Is that too much to ask?

And apologies to the Republicans on the site who are posting under their real names, and there are a few, but I wish the attempts at fake names would stop.  It would be good to have more conservative voices on the site (we often get accused of being a Democratic haven). We just expect both conservatives and progressives to use their real names.  Why try to subvert that? We almost always figure it out.

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