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December 31, 2018 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts, news.

Most viewed stories of 2018:

Here are the 10 stories I wrote during 2018 that I like the best:

From all of us at The Batavian, Happy New Year. Thank you, readers and sponsors, for your support of our effort to provide news coverage of our community. Billie and I are grateful for the opportunity and pleasure of living here and being able to do what we love, which is local community news.

December 31, 2018 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, crime, news, notify, Stafford, Oakfield, pembroke, Darien.

Robert A. Maharrey is indicted for the crime of disorderly conduct. It is alleged that on Aug. 10, at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center located in the Town of Darien Center, Maharrey engaged in fighting or with violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior by punching or striking a female patron in the face. In count two, he is accused of second-degree harassment for allegedly subjecting a female patron to physical contact, or attempting or threatening to do so. In count three, Maharrey is accused of disorderly conduct for allegedly engaging in fighting or with violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior with Live Nation Security staff members. In count four, he is accused of second-degree harassment for allegedly subjecting a Genesee County Sheriff's deputy to physical contact by spitting in his face. In count five, the defendant is accused of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony, by allegedly intentionally preventing a Sheriff's deputy from performing a lawful duty and causing injury to the deputy. In count six, Maharrey is accused of assault on a police officer, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly intentionally preventing a second deputy from performing a lawful duty and causing serious physical injury to that deputy.

Jacob M. Balla Sr. is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E violent felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 19 in the Town of Pembroke, in violation of an order of protection, that he struck, shoved, kicked or otherwise subjected the protected party to physical contact or attempted or threatened to do so. In count two, Balla is accused of second-degree harassment, a violation, for allegedly intentionally harassing, annoying or alarming the protected party by striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting the person to physical contact or attempting or threatening to do so.

Lashawn Brown-Dixie is indicted for the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 17 Brown-Dixie drove a 2016 Chevrolet on Interstate 90 in the Town of Stafford while having a BAC of .18 percent or more. In count two, she is accused of DWI, as a Class E felony, for the same incident. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney's Office, Brown-Dixie is accused of having been convicted of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Dec. 14, 2010 in Town of Marathon Court, County of Cortland, and the conviction was within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

December 31, 2018 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Adam B. Thomas, 29, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and public appearance under the influence of a narcotic drug. At 10:19 a.m. on Dec. 28, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received the complaint of an intoxicated male operating an electric scooter inside a department store, causing a disturbance. Sheriff's deputies arrived and initiated an investigation into the complaint. The scooter operator was identified as Thomas and he was allegedly determined to be under the influence of a narcotic drug. Following a subsequent search, it is alleged that Thomas possessed a powdered substance that tested positive for the synthetic opioid fentanyl. He was taken to jail, processed and issued appearance tickets returnable to Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 17. The investigation was conducted by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Matthew Hawkeye Pape, 27, of Lockport Road, Oakfield, is charged with first degree criminal contempt. At 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 following the investigation of a domestic incident on Lockport Road, Pape was arrested on the charge. He allegedly struck another individual in the head with a door, causing physical injury, thereby violating an order of protection issued by Town of Oakfield Court. Pape was arraigned and jailed in lieu of $5,000 cash bail. He is due in Oakfield court Jan. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Sgt. Jason Saile.

Zachary Erin Brazzell, 20, of Alabama Street, Medina, is charge with: DWI -- first offense with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; no/inadequate headlamp; and unlawful possession of marijuana. Brazzell was arrested at 20 River St. in Batavia at 4:12 a.m. on Dec. 30 following a traffic stop. Brazzell was issued appearance tickets returnable to the City of Batavia Court on Feb. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

December 31, 2018 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A two-car accident with possible minor injuries is blocking traffic at Woodrow Road and West Main Street in the city. City fire and Alexander ambulance are responding (no Mercy rig is currently available).

December 31, 2018 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Grid, weather, news.

Press release:

With strong winds in the forecast for large portions of Upstate New York, National Grid is increasing its overnight staffing and will have line crews report for duty earlier than normal tomorrow morning. The company is prepared for the upcoming weather and provides the following safety tips so customers can be prepared as well.

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity.
  • Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or to your local emergency response organization.
  • Generators used to supply power during an outage, must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life-support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life-support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642- 4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1.)
  • Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices.
  • Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any crews working to restore power.
  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
December 31, 2018 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA: 

Here is a look at current prices as of Sunday night, Dec. 30. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.27, down 6 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.49.

The New York State average is $2.62 – down 4 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.64. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.69 (down 2 cents since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.69 (down 4 cents since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.46 (down 5 cents since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.60 (down 3 cents since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.60 (down 4 cents since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.51 (down 4 cents since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.71 (down 5 cents since last week)

Heading into 2019, gasoline demand is expected to dwindle during the month of January, an expected change following the busy holiday travel season. At the same time, OPEC will begin production cuts on Jan. 1, with hopes that the shift in global supply will push oil prices higher. The effectiveness of the cuts will likely not be known until later in the first quarter.

Over the past few years, OPEC and partnering countries have demonstrated a strong resolve to comply with proposed cuts in production. It is likely that the cartel will reconvene in April, and if there is a need to further balance global supply and demand, OPEC will likely tweak current production numbers at that meeting.

December 31, 2018 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is announcing that due to the severe wind weather warning currently forecast for this evening, they will be moving up the time for their New Year’s Eve fireworks show to 9 p.m. from the previously scheduled midnight start.

“In order to ensure the safety of our valued guests and at the advice of our fireworks vendor we have decided to move up the showtime,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming.

Those wishing to see the fireworks may do so by exiting the building by the Homestretch Grill, or by viewing them inside via the enclosed Grandstands on the second floor.

December 31, 2018 - 10:22am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

As a driver for his hometown Domino's Pizza, Batavian Gary MacDonald has made plenty of on-time, accurate deliveries.

He also is doing the same as a league bowler at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia and Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen as indicated by his big scores last week.

MacDonald, a 36-year-old right-hander, recorded his first United States Bowling Congress-certified 800 series in the Wednesday Night Misfits League at Mancuso's, posting games of 299-229-279, and followed that up the next evening with a 699 series in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl.

Using a Roto-Grip Haywire ball he bought three years ago from pro shop owner Brian Green, MacDonald strung 11 strikes in the opener before leaving a solid 10-pin, came back with eight strikes in the 229 and added 11 more in the third game -- striking out in the 10th for the 807. A 9-pin on a high hit in the third frame was his only errant shot in the last game.

"I wasn't nervous at all and I wasn't keeping an eye on the score," said MacDonald, who rolled his only certified 300 game in December 2015 in Bergen. "I'm just having fun bowling in the two leagues."

The big series raised his average to 206 at Mancuso's.

For more high scores during an abbreviated Christmas week of league bowling, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2018 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

A high-wind watch has been issued for Monday evening through Tuesday morning with winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 65 mph expected.

Winds of 58 mph can cause property damage, the National Weather Service warns.

Homeowners are encouraged to secure personal property.

Strong winds may also bring down trees and power lines, leading to power outages. 

Travel in high-profile vehicles will be difficult.

December 30, 2018 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, pembroke, indian falls, news.

A truck struck the Thruway overpass at 797 Main Road, Pembroke. No injuries. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding.

December 30, 2018 - 10:00am


Thank you for shopping with us! Have a blessed New Year! Love from Christine & Ben, Alisa, Val, Amanda, Jill, Margie, Stacy, Gretchen, Leslie, Pam and Bob! ~ The Yngodess Shop!

December 29, 2018 - 5:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, sports, basketball, Batavia HS, Attica.

It's a whole new ballgame for the Batavia Blue Devils now that the team's full squad is showing up ready to play on game night, and Friday Attica got a taste of what a healthy Batavia can put on the court.

After jumping out to a 10-1 lead to start the championship of the larger schools' bracket of Lions Club Tournament in the Anthony Zambito Gym at Genesee Community College, Batavia pretty much controlled the game the rest of the way for a 70-50 win.

Mason McFollins is back in the lineup and the difference is noticeable.

"He's offensively talented and so that helps us out because we were struggling to score while he was out," Coach Buddy Brasky said. "Now, by him scoring it opens up other things for us and it makes it easier for some of the other guys to score. He's a big piece of it because he's our number one option offense."

McFollins, the tournament MVP, scored 19 points against Attica. He hit three shots from beyond the arc.

Joe Martinucci continued his strong play in the painting, scoring 12 points.

Twin brothers Caeden White and Camden White also missed the start of the season but are back on the court causing problems for opposing defenses; Caeden always a danger to hit from the outside and Camden adding strength under the boards.

Caeden White scored eight points and was named to the All-Tournament team and Camden White scored six points.

They're very committed to basketball," Brasky said. "They come to everything we offer in the off-season. They are great kids, very coachable. And Caeden can really shoot it. Camden is a force inside. You wouldn't know they were twins just by looking at them. But it's kind of nice inside outside punch for us."

Camden White and Martinucci give the Blue Devils and nice inside rotation, Brasky said.

For the most part, Batavia was able to shut down Attica's big man, Dawson Nelson, except in the third quarter, when he scored 15 of his 19 points.

"We were trying to front them and trying beat them to across the lane not let them cut in front of us," Brasky said. "They like that high-low look where they flash the one forward up high and then he tries to dump it in low. We were trying to apply some more pressure to the passer to make the pass harder. I thought we did a decent job early, but in that third quarter we couldn't stop Dawson. He kind of took the game over in the third quarter."

McFollins, the Whites, Andrew Francis and Martinucci aren't all Batavia has going for them this season, Brasky said.

"Jake Humes is shooting the ball well for us," Brasky said. "Luke Grammatico is doing a lot of nice things for us. He hit a big three in the corner there when they're making a little bit of a run. So you know, they do some things on the court that don't maybe necessarily show up on the scoreboard but did their part.

"We've got like eight-man rotation going right now and they're part of their rotation and it's important that they can get (Andrew) Francis and Caeden and McFollins some rest."

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December 29, 2018 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, news, elba, oakfield-alabama.

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The Elba Lancers stepped on the gas in the final two minutes of their championship game in the Lions Tournament, smaller schools' bracket, against Oakfield-Alabama for a 69-61 win.

The intense play of Colton Dillon (top photo), tournament MVP, and Jon Boyce overcame a 30-point performance by Joey Burdick for the Hornets.

Dillon scored 18 points and Boyce scored 17. 

This was Dillon's third game back after missing the start of the season with an injury. He may have been the difference maker Friday night.

"He's such a dynamic athlete," Coach Ciaci Zambito said. "I mean the things that he can do you really can't coach. I'm super lucky to have a kid like that. The other thing is, he is one of the hardest working kids I've ever even been around or let alone coached. You've got to kick him out of the gym every day and on Sunday mornings. He will text me tomorrow morning asking to get in the gym. I can guarantee that."

Boyce, who has the big man on the court in Dillon's absence, said having Dillon back is one more piece of team chemistry that keeps the unit rolling.

"This is a team sport," Boyce said. "You can't do it by yourself. Every night, sharing the ball, taking care of each other you always. It's not just one person that can do it all. We're all fighting. We all know our role. Coach talked a lot about roles before the game. The whole season he's been preaching it. We all know our role."

Zambito gave O-A Coach Ryan Stehlar and the Hornets a lot of credit. He knew they would be a tough matchup and he had to have his guys ready.

"We really needed to match their intensity tonight," Zambito said. They play real hard and that's a testament to their coach. When we play Oakfield, we always know that we're going to get their best shot. He always has them ready to go.

"The second thing, as far as a scheme goes, we needed to get back in transition. They push the ball really well even after makes, which is rare for a high school team. They really get down the floor well. So we needed to come back and be ready to play defense."

Besides Burdick's big night (he hit five three-point shots), Travis Wiedrich scored 14 points for O-A.

Elba outscored the Hornets 22-13 in the final quarter. 

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December 29, 2018 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

Brynn Walczak had a big night for the Elba in girls basketball against Perry, leading a second-half rally that secured a 61-40 victory for the Lancers.

Walczak scored 23 points, hitting 10 of 15 shots and pulling down seven rebounds.

Coach Tom Redband said she "brought a lot of energy" in the second half.

Leah Bezon had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Maddie Muehlig scored eight points and also stole the ball from opponents seven times.

For Perry, Chelsea Pascoe also had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Lily Jaques scored 10 points and Auburn Milholien scored eight. 

“Our first two quarters were competitive," said Perry Coach Courtney Bell. "We executed and worked hard to keep it close. Once we lost steam it was hard to close the point gap. We played a good game and need to keep our level of play high.”

In other Friday games in girls basketball: 

  • Alexander 50, Wilson 48
  • Oakfield-Alabama 47, Cal-Mum 35
  • Pembroke 60, Rochester Academy 35
  • Le Roy 46, Byron-Bergen 43
  • Pavilion 50, Barker 40
  • No report available for the Notre Dame game.
December 29, 2018 - 12:28pm
posted by David Reilly in batavia, news, football, history, nostalgia.

Seeing this year's Batavia High School football team go all the way to the New York State Championship game and Notre Dame, my favorite college team since childhood, go to the NCAA semifinal brought back memories of playing football as a kid.

Short memories. Really short memories. You see, my official football career lasted for one week.

When I was a little kid, even at age 6 or 7, I became a huge Notre Dame University fan. I'm not really sure why.

Perhaps it was being Catholic. Maybe it was because my dad liked Notre Dame, although he couldn't really watch any sporting event without getting mad. He had a sixth sense for identifying which team was going to lose and then spending the whole game complaining that “they were getting gypped.”

I actually used to go to my aunts' house to watch sports to get peace and quiet.

When I was very young I was already cutting out articles from the newspaper about Notre Dame and my heroes Ralph Guglielmi, Johnny Lattner and Paul Hornung. When I was 10 in 1957, I watched every second of the Fighting Irish 7-0 victory over Oklahoma (on our black and white TV), which broke the Sooners' 47 game winning streak.

Around this same time I began to play football in the yard or at the park with my little friends. I'm sure the ball was bigger than some of us could hold onto, but we would run and tackle “like the big guys.” Of course, when I got my prized red helmet for Christmas (as described in a previous story) then it was really “game on."

What I'm leading up to here is that as I played and watched football more and more, I started to fantasize about playing for Notre Dame someday. I would drift off to sleep or get through a dull day at school by imaging myself running out of the tunnel onto that oh-so-bright green field at South Bend, Ind.

I would be dressed in my green and gold uniform and I would run and pass for touchdowns that would have the frenzied crowd shouting my name. The week after that 1957 Irish victory over Oklahoma my parents surprised me by taking me to South Bend to see Notre Dame play Iowa.

That whole experience -- the pep rally the night before, the school band playing the fight song, being in the stadium, the sights and sounds of the game -- all solidified my Notre Dame fandom. Even though the Irish lost the game, I was as hooked as a hungry bass chomping on a lure.

As I got older, I grew taller and a bit bigger than some of my friends. When we would play and they would try to tackle me, I would drag some of them along before they could get me to the ground so they started calling me “Tank.” That only boosted my daydream that I could be a real football player.

So, at age 13 as ninth grade approached, I was headed for Notre Dame High School, which in my mind would be the perfect lead in to Notre Dame University. I passed my physical and as the summer ended I arrived at the school with my heart pounding to get my uniform and walk over to the field on Union Street to embark on my football career.

But as happens in life, fantasy and hopefulness were in for a huge dose of reality.

The head coach was a man who had been our physical education teacher at St. Mary's Elementary School. At some point in the first practice coach blew his whistle and told everyone to gather around in a circle. It was time for a fun little activity called “Bull in the Ring.”

The upperclassmen clapped and cheered and seemingly couldn't wait to get at it. I had no idea what was going on, but I found out soon enough. Two players were called out to the center of the ring and essentially would run into each other until the coach decided that one of them had enough.

My opponent outweighed me significantly and went on in his upper-class years to become a team captain and an All-Catholic wrestler. In a minute I went from “Tank” to “Stank” and spent a long time soaking in the tub that night.

Day two brought two more obstacles: going up against way bigger guys and sunburn. Apparently Coach's view of freshman and jayvees was that they were there to be used as punching bags for the varsity.

With a minimal amount of instruction we were lined up on defense for the varsity to run plays against. At a whopping 135 pounds I was placed at defensive end against a senior who was at least 190. Play after play he would just knock me backward into the dirt like a bulldozer would a sapling.

At the same time, the sun was beating down on my red head and fair skin. I don't remember if sunblock was invented then, but even so I didn't have any. So at the end of that practice I made my way home -- head spinning, mouth and eyes full of dirt, skin like a lobster.

In fact, I was burned so badly, that my mom wouldn't let me go to practice on the third day. I can't say I complained because I could barely get out of bed anyway.

Fortunately, it was the weekend and there was no practice on Saturday or Sunday. That gave me a couple days to heal and rest.

On Monday, I made a gigantic mistake. I had my mom write an excuse note for missing Friday's practice. This was comparable to a soldier's mom writing a note to General Patton.

“Dear General, please excuse my son from the war because he had the sniffles.” What was I thinking? As Coach read the note, he looked up at me with an expression of disgust.

“Really kid (he didn't know my name)? Sunburn? I'll see you out on the field.”

So, my mom had no idea, but her note resulted in me running a bunch of laps around the field in the blazing sun while the rest of the team ignored me like lima beans at Thanksgiving dinner.

The last day of my football career really wasn't a surprise. My fantasies of playing quarterback for Notre Dame University had been ground out of my imagination and beaten into the dust of the practice field. At this point, I was just hoping to survive one more practice.

I made it, but not by much.

The final straw was an innocent enough looking punt coverage drill. We lined up in two lines, the punter kicked the ball downfield and we were supposed to take off and go after the receiver. At the end of my line stood Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms. His biceps seemed as big around as a normal person's legs.

As I heard the snap count and sound of the ball off the punter's foot I took off.

Suddenly, it felt as though someone had swung a baseball bat and connected with my helmet. But it wasn't a baseball bat, it was the giant fist of Mr. Trunk Arms. Apparently, he was trying to simulate the contact that you would feel from an opposing team member. Yeah, like having a bowling ball dropped on your head would simulate an acorn falling from an oak tree.

Several seconds must have gone by before I realized that my face was in the dirt. My head was reeling and as I lifted it up my vision was blurry. In the cartoons this is often depicted by a bunch of birds flying around the person's head as they stagger away, and stagger is exactly what I did though I can't recall hearing any bird noises.

To this day I hate to admit it, but I think I was crying. The rest of the practice was pretty much a foggy haze in my brain, but I'm pretty sure neither ol' Trunk Limbs nor any other coach asked if I was OK.

That night, when the mist had cleared somewhat from my noggin, I made a decision. I had been working up to it for a couple days. Not only would I never run out of that tunnel in South Bend, I wouldn't be going across Richmond Avenue to the Notre Dame High School field either. I was done.

I don't remember exactly how I quit, but it was certainly no loss to the team.

A couple of the older players made some half-hearted attempts at shaming, words like sissy and coward might have been said, but I was more relieved than sad. Later on, I did letter in cross-country, track and basketball, so I was able to enjoy high school sports after all.

Of course, my childhood daydreams were just that. No player from Batavia, and there have been many good ones at NDHS and Batavia High School, ever played for Notre Dame University. Not to mention the grades needed to get into that venerable college that I didn't come close to achieving.

In fact, St. John Fisher where I did go just had intramural football back then and I didn't even play. A couple teams asked me, but in one swing Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms left an indelible ache that killed any notion of football ever holding any glory for me.

Photo  courtesy of Dave Reilly.

December 28, 2018 - 11:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, pembroke.

A transformer may have exploded, causing wires to come down and starting trees on fire in the area of 857 Main Road, the location of Yancey's Fancy / Kutter's Cheese Factory, Pembroke.

Dispatchers have received a couple of calls reporting the incident.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire dispatched.

UPDATE 1:39 a.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls are back in service.

December 28, 2018 - 6:30pm


Are you looking for something to do on New Year's Eve? Come spend the night with Eli Fish!

We will be offering a special New Year's Eve Dinner for Two menu from 4 to 8 p.m. with desserts provided by Eden Cafe.

Genesee Ted will be performing starting at 9:30, and we will bring in the New Year with a ceremonial keg drop and the tapping of a new brew -- BRUT-ally Honest IPA. Click here for more details.

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