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July 14, 2016 - 12:20pm

Pictured at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are, back from left: Mark Niederpruem, Warehouse manager; Dan Wolf, chairman of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; Dave Nutting, VIP Structures; Front from left: Paul Battaglia, chairman of Genesee County Economic Development Center; Bill Schreiber, CEO; Michael Patterson, CFO; Larry Webster, CEO Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; and John Gould, chairman of O-AT-KA.

Submitted photos and press release:

O-AT-KA Milk Products is pleased to announce that it held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded warehousing storage and material handling facility in Batavia on July 11.

In attendance were O-AT-KA’s and Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s Board of Directors; key vendors and contractors for the project; banking representatives; local business leaders and invited guests.

“Project Rubicon affords O-AT-KA the opportunity to address three key focus points of our business; namely, employee safety, product quality and operational efficiencies," said Michael Patterson, O-AT-KA’s chief financial officer. "The viability of the project was supported via our strong relationships with the community, the municipalities and our key vendors and stakeholders."

O-AT-KA’s commitment to innovation is demonstrated within the expansion which added over 235,000 square feet to its Batavia plant. A second phase of the project has been initiated to capture efficiencies and optimize material handling equipment and processes. The new facility and equipment phase of the project allows the company to meet increasing customer demand, improve global competitiveness and allow for future growth of production capabilities. The project will significantly improve upon O-AT-KA’s already high standards of safety and quality.

“The implementation of Rubicon will advance our ability to serve customers, significantly improve our competitive position and is testimony to the vision and commitment of our farmer owners,” said Chief Executive Officer Bill Schreiber.

Founded in 1959, O-AT-KA is a manufacturer and co-packer of dairy-based products and ready-to-drink shelf stable beverages and is one of Genesee County’s largest employers. It is located at the corner of Cedar and Ellicott streets.

July 14, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, street repairs, news.

Press release from the city Department of Public Works:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be repairing a broken water main on Washington Avenue today. There will be a water service interruption for residents on Washington Avenue from Lewis Avenue to State Street and Willow Street. Other residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.

July 14, 2016 - 11:52am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Bethany, Pavilion.

Floyd William Howell, 45, of Transit Road, Bethany, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. At 7:04 a.m. on July 12, Howell was arrested on Sparks Road in Pavilion for allegedly taking a vehicle and using it without the owner's consent. He was arraigned in Pavilion Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He is to appear in Pavilion Town Court again on Sept. 6. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl, assisted by Deputy Eric Seppala.

Ward Edward Royse, 41, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of petit larceny. At 6 p.m. on July 12, Royse was arrested following the investigation into a pair of larcenies at Kmart. It is alleged that Royse stole several items from the store on June 26 and then again on July 4. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on July 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Hale.

Jakob Matthew Bishop, 18, of West Oak Orchard Street, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bishop was arrested on the charge following an investigation into a suspicious activity call at 8:45 p.m. on July 13. Bishop was in the midway of the Genesee County Fairgrounds at the time of his arrest. He was issued an appearance ticket for Aug. 4 in Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy James Diehl.

July 14, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Billie Owens in townsend energy, Le Roy, news.

Townsend Energy in Le Roy is in the process of burning off fuel in some propane tanks and will continue to do so for the next two days, reports an emergency dispatcher. Flames are visible from Main Street in the village and the dispatch center has received calls about it. There is no problem or cause for alarm as this is routine maintenance at the facility.

July 14, 2016 - 10:35am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, accidents.

A car vs. bicycle accident with injuries is reported at 500 E. Main St., in front of the pizza restaurant. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 10:44 a.m.: The bicyclist was transported to UMMC with a complaint of arm pain. He will be issued a citation. A police officer at the scene said the bicyclist was riding eastbound on the sidewalk and proceeded to cross Harvester Avenue as a pickup truck, also eastbound on East Main Street, with the right-of-way was attempting to make a right turn onto East Main Street Harvester. The truck driver said he tried to stop in time to avoid striking the bicyclist but was unable to do so.

July 13, 2016 - 11:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in indian falls, pembroke, accident, news.

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UPDATED 9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 14.

An adult male visiting Genesee County from Buffalo died this evening in a drowning accident at Indian Falls.

The victim has been identified as Bradley Augustin, 22.

State Police are handling the investigation and no foul play is suspected.

Witnesses and first-responding firefighters said there were about 30 people at the falls tonight swimming and jumping into the water, even though Genesee County's moderate drought conditions have left the Tonawanda Creek with low water levels.

Triniti Morris, from Hamburg, was among the swimmers. She said people were having a good time and then somebody mentioned somebody was missing, and other people were saying, "no, no, nobody's missing."

One of her friends then spoke to a young man who seemed to be having trouble swimming and he said he was OK.

About five minutes later, somebody noticed he was missing.

Another male dove into the water and located him and several people helped pull him onto the rocks, at which point another young woman began giving him CPR.

Morris said the woman performing CPR got the victim to throw up and she thought the victim had started breathing when paramedics, she said, instructed the woman providing CPR to turn the victim on his left side. At this point, Morris said, two State Troopers arrived and ordered everybody to leave the scene, including the woman performing CPR.

Morris was concerned that nobody continued CPR, but Pembroke Fire Chief Jamie Waff said typically, when certified CPR personnel arrive on scene, they take over from witnesses who first started CPR.

"It’s great to see bystanders starting CPR, but it’s very confusing when they're wrapped up in the situation and we don’t know if they’re actually certified," Waff said. "When we get on location, we’re actually certified in CPR with the defibrillator. If anyone told her to leave, that is probably the reason because there were certified personnel on location to take over at that point."

Adding to the difficulty of the situation at Indian Falls, Waff said, is the congregation of drunken patrons at the bar, who sometimes cause issues when firefighters are attempting to perform a rescue.  

"There’s always an issue when we come here because you’re usually dealing with intoxicated people who think you aren’t doing it fast enough," Waff said. "Our number one concern is firefighter safety. We have to make sure all of our guys are safe as they go down. It’s a law enforcement issue because you are dealing with a bar-type situation."

It was a tense situation at the scene and one neighbor of Indian Falls was upset enough to provide reporters with a profanity-laced commentary on what he perceives as inattention by the owner of the Log Cabin Restaurant, the Town of Pembroke and local law enforcement to the dangerous situation at Indian Falls.

Barry Guthrie doesn't think anybody is doing enough to keep swimmers and divers off the falls.

"We've been fighting this for 10 years," said Guthrie, who moved in 2002 into a house near the falls once owned by his grandparents. 

He said he's been to the town, but the town, he said, can't determine who holds title to what, and he said that even though the Log Cabin has posted signs all along its property that say "No Trespassing," he doesn't think the owner takes the situation seriously because he believes the falls are public property (Genesee County owns the Tonawanda Creek from the City of Batavia to the Tonawanda Indian Reservation).

Responding to the scene were Town of Pembroke fire, Indian Falls fire, Genesee County Emergency Services, the Rope Rescue Team, Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight, the Sheriff's Office and State Police.

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July 13, 2016 - 7:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, indian falls, drowning, pembroke, Alabama, news.

Possible drownings are reported in the falls by the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are called to respond along with Mercy medics. The caller reports two possible victims are in the water at the falls and not coming up. The Alabama Volunteer Fire Department Chief is asked to contact the GC Emergency Dispatch Center.

UPDATE 7:13 p.m.: The command post is set up in the Log Cabin restaurant parking lot.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m.: The restaurant is located at 1227 Gilmore Road in Corfu. A trooper says one male subject who was found is not breathing. A Mercy Flight landing zone is being set up. "Looks like they're doing CPR." Onlookers at the scene are said to be a problem for first responders.

UPDATE 7:24 p.m.: Mercy Flight has a five-minute ETA. A responder with a backboard "for CPR purposes" is requested at the edge of the falls.

UPDATE 7:26 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 out of Batavia has a three-minute ETA.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: Medics on scene, including Mercy medics and Mercy Flight personnel "are aware that it's a recovery mode at this point."

UPDATE 7:43 p.m.: Mercy Medic #3 is called to the scene for "firefighters with some abrasions."

UPDATE 7:45 p.m.: The chief in command at the scene reports there is one fatality and that it will take about 30 minutes to bring the male victim up and out of the area. It's unknown how long the victim may have been under water. There are no other victims. About 30 people were in the water at the time of the incident, according to the scene commander and other witnesses.

July 13, 2016 - 5:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, crime, meth, news.

An Oakfield resident who was reportedly a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his part in a methamphetamine distribution ring.

James Heney "Mitch" McAuley Jr., 67, also will be barred from associating with members of the Hells Angels for five years upon his release from prison.

McAuley had previously entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Federal investigators say McAuley, a vice president of the Rochester chapter of the Hells Angels, was a leader role in a distribution ring that obtained meth from a source in California and had it shipped to New York for sale in Rochester.

The operation continued from at least 2002 through July 2010, with McAuley running it even after he was taken into custody on a racketeering charge in 2007.

Richard W. Mar, 64, president of the Monterey chapter of the Hells Angels, provided the McAuley and his co-conspirators with the meth.

The co-conspirators included: McAuley's wife, Donna Boon, 50; Richard Riedman, 42, of Webster; Gordon Montgomery, 57, of Batavia; Jeffrey A. Tyler, 51, of Rochester; and Paul Griffin, 62, of Blasdell. 

All have also entered guilty pleas to various related charges. 

Boon received three years probation and 12 months of home incarceration. 

Monterey chaper President Mar is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 16.

Authorities also tied McAuley to a baseball attack on a patron in a Rochester bar and a subsequent attempt to cover up the crime.

Robert W. "Bugsy" Moran, 61, of Rochester, entered a guilty plea in February to conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. 

Gina Tata, 52, of Rochester, pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the conspiracy and was given three years probation.

Timothy M. Stone, 36, of Gates, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

July 13, 2016 - 5:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, Alexander Central School District, news.

Press release:

Picone Construction has begun Alexander Central School District’s $6.8 million capital improvement project, which addresses energy efficiency upgrades, health and safety improvements, and site work at both the elementary and middle/high schools.

Alexander Elementary School improvements involve the reconstruction and/or replacement of: flooring, exterior masonry, mechanical systems, electrical components, hazardous materials, playground equipment and associated site work, pavement, drainage, and miscellaneous other repairs.

Alexander Middle/High School work includes the reconstruction and/or replacement of: roofing systems, pool area and system components, interior and exterior masonry, egress pathways, mechanical systems, electrical components, hazardous materials, running track and associated site work, pavement, drainage, and miscellaneous other repairs.

The architect of record is SEI Design Group.

Picone Construction Corp. has been providing Professional Construction Services to the Western New York area since 1931. The firm specializes in design / build, general contracting, and construction management services.

July 13, 2016 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

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A person has reportedly been stabbed at the traffic roundabout on Oak Street in the City. Batavia PD responding.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: No stabbing, no crime. Batavia Police Sgt. Chris Camp says when officers arrived on scene and found a bloody person, who jumped out of his car and flagged them down, they initially believed he was a stabbing victim. Upon investigation, it was revealed that there had been a dispute nearby on Walnut Street and a man punched out a window at his own house, and got cut up as a result. That's why he was bloodied when police found him at the roundabout.

July 13, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, batavia, news.
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     Darren Annovi

Darren Annovi, the 42-year-old resident of 400 Towers in Batavia, who is accused of placing his live cat in an oven and baking it to death, must undergo a forensic mental health evaluation, Judge Robert Balbick ruled today at Annovi's arraignment in City Court.

A key issue at the arraignment was whether to release Annovi on bail or on his own recognizance. Typically, a person with no criminal record and a high score on the bail evaluation would be a sure bet to be released without bail, and since state guidelines don't take into account the nature of the criminal charge, but Balbick was concerned about the last sentence in the bail evaluation.

He said that it indicated Annovi might a danger to the community. 

That assessment reportedly came from corrections officers at the jail and Assistant Public Defender Lisa Kroemer suggested that since they weren't trained mental health professionals, maybe that shouldn't weigh heavily in the bail hearing.

She thought an evaluation by a professional would be appropriate.

Bail is supposed to be based on the likelihood the defendant will appear for his next court date, but Balbick said he thought it reasonable to consider Annovi's mental health state since that, too, could be a factor in whether he would appear as ordered.

Annovi is charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

He is scheduled to next appear in City Court at 9:30 a.m., July 21.

Previously: 400 Towers resident jailed without bail for allegedly killing his cat by burning it alive in hot oven

July 13, 2016 - 12:39pm

Information provided by Volunteers for Animals:

Volunteers For Animals will be offering a microchip clinic during Hogs for Paws at Stan's Harley Davidson from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13th. The motorcycle dealership is located at 4425 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia.

Cost of microchipping is $30 per animal, which includes the injection, a collar ID tag and national registration. Accepted payment is either cash or checks (made out to Volunteers For Animals), sorry no credit cards. No preregistration necessary.

Each dog or cat must be accompanied by someone who can control it. Cats MUST be in carriers. You will need an email address for registration purposes. Free registration is done through FoundAnimals.org

What is a microchip?
The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it and is encapsulated within a biocompatible material. The whole device is small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle and can be simply injected under the skin of our pets, where it will stay for the life of the animal.

This provides a permanent, positive identification which cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed - a safe, simple and inexpensive way to protect your pet against loss or theft. The computer memory in the microchip contains a unique number -- no two animals will ever have the same number. A radio signal is used to read this number through the skin of your pet. It is routine for animal shelters and veterinarian offices to scan pets for microchips.

Real stories about local pets...

Molly the dog, pictured right, was found in Oakfield after being missing for TWO YEARS. After setting traps, leaving food and lots of patience, they were finally able to catch this bedraggled pooch.

Molly was taken to the Genesee County Animal Shelter and that is when they found she was microchipped.

They called the owner and gave her the incredible news that her dog who had ran away two years ago was at the Shelter. It was quite a reunion which never would have happened had Molly not been microchipped.

Microchips talk for animals when collars and tags go missing.

Chevy was a stray cat, pictured left, that came into the Shelter from Summit Street in the City of Batavia.

She had been on her own throughout the winter. She had a BB lodged in her side and patches of fur missing, most likely from a car engine fan.

She was posted for adoption on our website and within days her family spotted her on the website. They came into the Shelter and sure enough it was her. They lived a block away on Tracy Avenue.

Chevy had bolted from the house in the fall. They were lucky in many ways: the nice person on Summit took her to the vet for her care and brought her to the Shelter and they spotted her on the website.

Had Chevy been microchipped, the folks at the shelter could have found her family more quickly without risk of her being adopted by someone else. Even house cats need to be microchipped!

July 13, 2016 - 11:52am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, health, business.

Press release:

The city of Batavia is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. The City is one of 154 "companies" across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the first year Batavia has won the award.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

The City of Batavia reached full participation with all its collective bargaining units in 2014 and currently realizes a 97 percent participation rate among all eligible employees and spouses.

“Our Wellness Initiative has been part of the City’s strategic plan since 2013,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “We’ve seen outstanding results in a very short amount of time, and this translates to healthier City employees and dependent spouses and fewer dollars spent on healthcare costs.”

Participating City employees and their spouses are measured against an Interactive Health Index (IHI) designed to help members understand where they stand for future risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes. The index is composed of five modifiable risk factors: smoking, glucose, blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol – all potential causes of serious health problems.

“Our wellness program is all about cost avoidance,” said Dawn Fairbanks, Human Resources specialist. "The unhealthiest of medical plan members cost an annual average of $21,766 per person, while the healthiest plan members cost only $310 per person.

"Our goal is to help each member identify their base line and introduce them to resources to help them improve on those numbers – essentially moving them from unhealthy towards healthy.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, 86 City employees and spouses were asked to improve scores related to the IHI, and one year later, 51 of those have improved scores, while 25 have remained the same and only 10 have regressed.

Interactive Health’s workplace wellness programs transform companies and their employees by helping people understand how they can improve their health. Beginning with a thorough health evaluation to identify risk, individuals learn more about their health status through: rapid outreach by health coaches, connection to personal physicians and other resources, and a personalized course of action.

In addition, members who engage with the Interactive Health member website during their program have a 12-percent higher rate of achievement of personal health goals than those who do not take advantage of the online tools.

July 13, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, city fire department, news.

Pictured from left are: Chief Dan Herberger, Lt. Greg Ireland, Firefighter Mark Holley, Firefighter Sean Huggins, Firefighter Matt Morasco, Firefighter Ryan Clair, Firefighter David Pollock, Firefighter Matt Pillsbury, and Capt. Robert Fix II.

Press release:

City of Batavia Fire Department held its inaugural swearing-in ceremony on July 7th at fire headquarters. Interim Chief Dan Herberger delivered the oath office that evening to the six newest firefighters and two newly promoted fire officers.

The firefighters' range of hire is from May 2015 to April 2016 and the officers were promoted in June 2015.

Members being sworn-in also had their badge pinned by a family member or Chief Herberger.

Firefighters would like to thank all special guests who attended and especially family members for being so supportive.

Special guests in attendance were Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Councilman Brooks Hawley, City Manager Jason Molino, Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Public Works Director Matt Worth, and Fire Department Chaplain Kenneth Comer.

July 13, 2016 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

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To purchase prints, click here.

July 13, 2016 - 12:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, news.

A 2006 Honda Civic, color gray, reportedly hit a utility pole in the Village of Corfu and then fled the scene.

Deputies are responding.

July 13, 2016 - 12:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pokemon Go, games, batavia, news.

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     The gym at HLOM

See the people walking around town staring at their phones? You may have seen more of them these past few days. It's easy to assume they're checking a social media account or texting. That assumption is likely incorrect in each and every case.

Actually, nearly every one of those people you see, usually in twos or threes, with noses down, eyes locked on their smartphone screens, are playing a game, a game that gets people off the couch, out of the house, onto the street and doing something Luddites often complain people don't do in the always-connect age: talking with each other.

The game is Pokemon Go, a version of the iconic Pokemon game updated for the era of smartphones.

What all these people are looking at is a virtual world superimposed on the real world, a world you can't see unless you download the app and create an account. They are seeing a world populated by the likes of wartortlesbutterfrees and caterpie, hunting for pokespots and gyms, building their strength and resources for their team to battle for control of those gyms.

"I've had it since Friday night," said Michael Snyder, of Batavia. "I saw my brother running to get a Pokemon over by Kelsey Road and he said, 'you gotta get this game.' He said, 'It's so much fun,' and it is. It motivates me to get outside and it's so much fun."

Pokemon started in the 1990s as a card game and players traded cards much like baseball cards. In 2006, the first video game was made for GameBoy and the Pokemon franchise has been one of Nintendo's most popular games every since, but Nintendo had largely ignored the mobile market until the release of Pokemon Go.

Since then, Pokemon Go is the most downloaded app (more than 7.5 million downloads) in both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Nintendo's stock has gained $7.5 billion in market value in two days. Even though the game is a free download, in-app purchases have reportedly generated more than $14 million in revenue (Google and Nintendo reportedly invested $30 million in developing the game).

The game uses technology first built for another social playing game developed by a former Google employee and leverages data from Google Earth. 

When you download the game, you design your avatar and then see your avatar standing on a map of your real-life community. The location of your avatar corresponds with your actual physical location. If you're at home, your avatar is on the map where your house should be (buildings are not shown). If you get out and walk about, then your avatar walks along the street and turns as you turn.

If you happen upon a Pokemon, then you try to flick a white and red ball at it to capture it. Sometimes you miss, sometimes you snare it and then it escapes, and sometimes you get to keep it.

The first goal of Pokemon is to "catch 'em all." (Link: How to play Pokemon Go.)

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     Time to catch a Zubat.

The more you capture the more you can do with the game. You move up levels, your Pokemon can evolve and you incubate the eggs you acquire pokestops so you get more Pokemon. At level five, you can join a team. The teams are Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) and Valor (red). Once you're on a team, you can capture a gym for your team and train in a gym and defend your gym. The stronger and more evolved your Pokemon, the better your chances of capturing a gym and holding a gym from attacks by other teams.

"I've been playing Pokemon since I was a kid," said Luis Ortiz, of Batavia. "Even as a kid, you would wish something like this would come out and it finally has."

The game is popular, people say because it gets you outside and you meet people and make new friends.

Ortiz was at the Peace Garden Tuesday afternoon, as were about a dozen other people. That used to never happen on a typical  day, even one as sunny and pleasant as Tuesday, but that crowd was nothing like the one several people said was there on Monday night (or we witnessed on Tuesday night). As many as 30 people were in the garden at one time.

The garden has become Batavia's Pokemon hotspot because it contains two pokespots and there is a gym at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Pokespots are locations where you can fill your satchel with balls to capture Pokemon with, perhaps get eggs, and they are also places where you will find lots of Pokemon to a capture. The pokespots act as lures for Pokemon.

"The game gets people closer," Ortiz said. "We came out here last night another were about 25 to 30 people here walking up and down, saying, ‘Hi', so it’s really cool. It gets you outside and you get to do stuff."

Maximus Mantrow, from Greece, was driving his girlfriend past the garden this afternoon and she had her app open. They spotted the pokespots, the gym and several people in the garden, so they decided to stop.

"It’s cool," Mantrow said. "You meet a lot of cool people, you start talking, you make friends. It's fun."

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     St. Joe's

Montrow said he's always been a fan of Pokemon, but he wasn't planning on downloading the game until he did and now he's hooked.

"I was like 'I don’t know about this', but I was playing a little more and it’s got that addictive nature to it, you know," Montrow said. "You get this one and then you’re like, ‘oh, I can catch that one, too, and I can catch that’ and after that, you can evolve it into something else. It’s just a lot of fun."

Sarah and Sophie Matlow drove from Le Roy to Batavia this afternoon and were walking through Downtown (they didn't even know about the Peace Garden treasures yet) because there isn't that much Pokemon activity in Le Roy.

“I like Pokemon too much for a 17-year-old girl," said Sophie, a student at Le Roy High School, and Sarah, a student at Alfred State College, added, “and I just wanted to play it with her."

As we talked, a young man walked by and said, yes, he was playing, too, and added, "I just captured that gym," which is on East Main Street.

"Everyone is playing this game right now," Sarah said. "It’s crazy."

App user stats bear out the sense that Pokemon Go is wildly popular already. Besides being number one in the app stores, the average daily use of those who download it already exceeds all other social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Besides the social benefits of Pokemon Go, users say they love the idea of going outside and actually walking around to play a video game. They recognize health benefits.

"I've read about people getting leg cramps because they’ve been playing Pokemon Go so much; so people, like, hate on it so much because it actually makes you move, but it’s great," Sophie said.

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More of the story and more photos after the jump (click the headline or "read more" below):

July 12, 2016 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-car accident with unknown injuries is reported at South Main and River streets in the city.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:31 p.m.: There are no injuries.

July 12, 2016 - 6:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, pembroke, sports.

A youth basketball player with a head injury is reported in the gymnasium at Pembroke High School. He was unconscious, but is now alert. He is collared and boarded. Mercy Flight is on ground standby for now. Mercy medics are on scene. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are called and will be establishing a landing zone.

UPDATE 6:46 p.m.: Mercy Flight is headed to the scene with a 5-minute ETA.

UPDATE 6:51 p.m.: The head-injury victim is a 13-year-old male. Another victim, a person with a knee injury who collided with the other patient, may need ambulance transport. Mercy Flight is to land on the grass at the northwest corner of school property.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: The knee-injury patient will have his leg splinted and be transported to a hospital via private vehicle.

July 12, 2016 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, animal cruelty.

Mug shots of Darren Annovi.

A 42-year-old man who lives in 400 Towers on East Main Street in the city is charged with aggravated animal cruelty for allegedly killing his cat by putting the live animal in a burning hot oven last night.

Darren Annovi, of Apt. #630, was arrested after firefighters responded to a reported smoke-fire alarm activation call. Upon arrival at 9:08 p.m. on Monday, firefighters found the apartment filled with light smoke. "Further investigation revealed the cause of the smoke to be a deceased cat, located in the oven," says the police report.

"We interviewed the individual in reference to what had taken place and determined he was the one who caused the cat to die," said Batavia PD spokesman Det. Eric Hill. "Our investigation indicates the cat was alive when it was placed in the oven."

Hill said he could not discuss how police made that determination or what Annovi's motive may have been. The cat's age is unknown.

Batavia Police interviewed Annovi then arrested him. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court before Judge Balbick and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. Annovi is to reappear in Batavia City Court at 10 a.m. Wednesdsay. Batavia PD is working closely with the management at Batavia Housing Authority in reference to the case.

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