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May 20, 2016 - 10:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in fie, batavia, Oakfield, elba, Stafford, news.

A working house fire is reported at 8157 State Street Road. Town of Batavia, Stafford, Elba, Oakfield and Alexander volunteer fire departments are responding to the scene.

UPDATE 10:49 p.m.: Personnel from the NYSP, Batavia PD and GC Sheriff's Office are on scene, too.

UPDATE: Confirmed fatal fire.

UPDATE 12 a.m.: Town Code enforcement and a Water Department rep called to the scene.

UPDATE 1:30 a.m (by Howard): I've just returned from the scene. Two children, approximate ages 2 and 3, died in the fire. The mother was reportedly out of the house at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. We'll have a full report in a separate post later.

May 20, 2016 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, pembroke, news.

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When GS-39 called in "out of service" at 3 p.m. today, the dispatcher thanked him for his 30 years of service to the people of Genesee County.

Sgt. Jim Meier said during an interview that morning that there is a bit of sadness that comes with drawing the curtain on his career in law enforcement. He's enjoyed the work and the people he worked with.

"I knew the day was coming sooner or later, but it's been 30 years and I feel like it was just yesterday when I started," Meier said. "I really do."

Meier began his career at the Sheriff's Office in 1986, working the jail for a year before moving into patrol work, after earning his degree in criminal justice from Genesee Community College.

He's a graduate of Pembroke High School.

"I don't know if there is anything specific (that inspired the career choice)," he said. "I looked at things I thought I was good at and went into criminal justice and I found it interesting and it just kind of progressed from there."

He never found the job particularly hard, he said.

"I mean, there are some things that we do, like when we're at the death of family members, it can be a bit taxing, but I never found anything difficult," he said. "It all came pretty naturally."

Asked for a key memory from 30 years with the Sherriff's Office, the first thing that came to mind was the passenger train derailment in Batavia in 1994.

"I think I was a week out of supervisor school and I can remember it like it was yesterday," Meier said. "It's amazing that nobody died in that derailment, but it was the most eerie thing in the world when you go to the scene and you don't know what to expect and all of the sudden you see the twisted metal all over the place. It was unbelievable."

There are a lot of young guys in local law enforcement now, and Meier encourages them to stick with it, even when the hours are long and the sacrifices pile up. It's worth it, he said.

"The advice I give all the young guys is this, when you start this job, you have to come in and do it with eyes wide open, meaning you're going to have to work midnights, you're going to have to work holidays, you're going to have to work weekends," Meier said. "You're going to have to sacrifice some things you may not want to sacrifice, but there's a lot of good things that you get from making those sacrifices."

May 20, 2016 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Basom, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, news.

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Local law enforcement is looking for two people who entered the Smoke Rings Smokeshop on Shanks Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, shortly after 2:30 a.m. and attempted to rob it.

Employees fought back, and although the suspects managed to escape, leaving one employee with cuts on his head caused by the butt of the suspect's rifle, the melee helped produce some evidence investigators hope will lead to an arrest.

Including the face of a suspect exposed for the closed-circuit cameras in the store.

The suspects are described as a white female and white male. Both came in wearing camouflage-colored clothing, face masks and carrying guns, according to Sheriff's Investigator Kris Kautz.  

In the struggle, the white male also lost the red wig he was wearing. Kautz recovered both the mask and wig during his investigation at the scene.

An employee who was injured was transported to an area hospital and required stitches, but the injuries were not life threatening.

When the would-be robbers entered, they grabbed one employee and took him to a back room and tried to restrain him with plastic ties. He managed to escape. The perpetrators did not realize another employee was in the store, apparently. A struggle then ensued. The female suspect fled immediately, but the male fought and was subdued. He was restrained in a back room while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement but managed to escape through a back window.

It's believed he managed to go to a get-away vehicle, possibly a white or light-colored or small SUV, such as an Equinox or Trail Blazer. 

The would-be robbers left empty-handed.

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May 20, 2016 - 11:08am

Press release:

Beginning this week, Medicare beneficiaries will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if they may be eligible for help with their out-of-pocket medical and drug expenses. Genesee County Office for the Aging encourages beneficiaries who receive these letters to take action to learn more about the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and Extra Help.

The letters are sent annually to people with Medicare with limited incomes who could be eligible for—but are not enrolled in—an MSP, which helps with Medicare out-of-pocket costs, or Extra Help, which helps with the costs of prescription drugs.

“These letters are not a scam,” said Kimberly Perl, HIICAP coordinator at the Genesee County Office for the Aging. “They are an important notification that Medicare beneficiaries should review and consider. We can help determine if they’re eligible, apply, enroll, and even understand how to use their new benefits once they’ve been approved.”

A Walk-In Day to assist potential beneficiaries has already been set on May 31st between the hours of noon and 2 p.m. at the Office for the Aging, located at 2 Bank St. downtown Batavia. Anyone receiving a letter—or who believes they or a loved one may be able to get help from these programs—should contact the Office for the Aging first at (585) 343-1611 so they may properly inform you of what you will need to bring.

In addition, Medicare beneficiaries can go online to see if they are eligible for MSPs, Extra Help and other benefits that can supplement their monthly budget. The National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckUp® is a free, confidential screening tool that can connect older and adults and younger adults with disabilities to these programs. Learn more at BenefitsCheckUp.org.

May 19, 2016 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama, news.

A car vs. tow truck accident is reported on Route 77 at Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Unknown injuries.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:57 p.m.: Emergency responders are told to stage in the area until law enforcement secures the scene. There is a possible disturbance in progress.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports Alabama fire and Mercy EMS can go back in service.

May 19, 2016 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Developmental Disabilities, steve hawley, news.

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Joshua Derrick speaks Thursday evening during a forum at GCC on how best to protect the rights of people with disabilities and how better to assist them in the communities where they live.

The forum was hosted by Assemblyman Steve Hawley and is part of a series of nine forums around the state conducted by the Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities.

The forum focused on improving ways to support the rights of people with developmental disabilities, expansion of community-based care programs, the effectiveness of current transition plans for people in sheltered workshops and identifying whether the input and desires of people with disabilities are being appropriately considered.

"Information gathered at the forum will help us to better serve the needs and choices of people with developmental disabilities," Hawley said. "For many, the transition process to a more integrated work setting has resulted in frustrations and disappointing changes in services and care programs. New York must do a better job of assessing and meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities."

Also attending the form were Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch and Assemblyman Bill Nojay.

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May 19, 2016 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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May 19, 2016 - 9:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, batavia kiwanis, news.

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Batavia High School's top academic seniors were honored today by the Batavia Kiwanis Club, and they were also congratulated by an unexpected guest at the meeting, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was in town for an event at Genesee Community College and stopped by the Kiwanis meeting after that event.

Hochul told the students that they've been fortunate to grow up in a community that has nurtured them and, unlike the era of her youth in WNY, provides more career opportunities at home. She encouraged them to get their college educations and then return home where they can not only better themselves and their families but their communities as well.

The top 10 students are Alexis Vasciannie, Ross Chua, Louis Leone, Sarah Wezel, Skylar Laesser, Noah Dobbertin, Andrea Gilebarto, Dharina Rathod, Samantha Cecere and Quinn Schrader.

Awards were also given out for vocal and instrumental achievement and citizenship.

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May 19, 2016 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, news.
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     Scott Reed      Deborah Reed      Jonathan Reed

 

Three residents of a Log City Road home in Elba have been arrested by State Police following an investigation into a series of alleged sex crimes.

Three members of one family from Elba were arrested following a State Police investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and rape.

A father, mother and adult son were all charged.

The probe in the alleged crimes by Troop A's Bureau of Criminal Investigation began after State Police received a complaint in March.

Scott A. Reed, 50, of Log City Road, is accused of sexual abuse against a minor over a 10-year span. He is charged with course of sexual conduct, 2nd.

His wife, Deborah S. Reed, 51, of Log City Road, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She is accused of failure to provide adequate protection to other children in the home after learning of past abuse by Scott Reed.

Their son, Jonathan M. Reed, 22, is charged with several counts of second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child in the Town of Perry, and with second-degree rape, third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act in the Town of Lancaster.

Jonathan is accused of sexual contact with two teenage girls.

May 19, 2016 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

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A WBTA reporter confirmed with Genesee County Airport authorities that a plane made an emergency landing, not at the airport, but on Saile Drive itself, within the last 10 20 minutes. No word on any injuries or other details yet. Town of Batavia Fire Department responded to the scene.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Troopers are waiting to confer with FAA officials before releasing information about the incident.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: East Saile Drive will be closed between Bank and State streets until an FAA rep can come and investigate the scene, which would take a couple of hours.

UPDATE 2:02 p.m.: Trooper Daniel Hollands, of NYSP Troop A, Batavia, said law enforcement responded to Saile Drive after receiving a call from the Emergency Dispatch Center at 1:15 p.m. that a plane landed on the roadway on Saile Drive. They arrived to find the pilot and sole occupant uninjured. No word on who contacted the dispatchers. It will be up to the FAA to release the ID of the pilot and other pertinent information, Hollands said.

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May 19, 2016 - 1:00pm

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after reports surfaced that health insurers operating in New York’s Obamacare exchanges requested premium rate increases by as much as 89 percent.

“These requested premium increases come on the heels of the total failure of the New York-based, Obamacare-created CO-OP Health Republic, which has already cost taxpayers more than $265 million at the end of 2015,” Congressman Collins said. “The failure of Health Republic forced thousands of beneficiaries onto more expensive plans and, based on the insurer requests, these beneficiaries will see substantial rate increases next year.

“Now Obamacare’s runaway premium costs are devastating families, businesses, and individuals in Western New York. President Obama’s health plan needs to be left behind with the rest of his failed presidency.”

The report detailing the insurer requested rate hikes can be read here. Health insurers in New York requested increased rates hikes of 17.3 percent on average.

May 19, 2016 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in charity, benefit, quinten betances, River Fanara, news.

(Submitted photos.)

A Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for Quinten Betances and Rivers Fanara will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Salvation Army headquarters at 529 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

The boys' mother, Melissa Eichelberger Betances (daughter of Doug and Sherry Mellenthine) passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 16.

Come out and show your suppport for these little ones. Tickets are $10, at the door or prepaid by contacting Tammy Griffin at 356-7631.

There will be basket raffles, 50/50, baked goods for sale, and much more.

May 19, 2016 - 12:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, muckdogs, baseball, news.

Press release:

Single-game tickets for all 2016 Muckdogs’ home games go on sale Monday, May 23rd beginning at 9 a.m. at the Dwyer Stadium Box Office, over the phone by calling (585) 343-5454 or online at muckdogs.com.

Normal box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The same great, affordable ticket prices are back again in 2016. Tickets range from $8 for box seats to just $7 for adult General Admission tickets and $6 for kids and senior General Admission tickets.

During the season, the ticket office opens on game days at 9 a.m. Monday-Friday and closes at the end of fifth inning. On Saturday and Sunday, the ticket office will open at 10 a.m. and close after the fifth inning.

Season tickets, coupon books, ticket packages, and group tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit Muckdogs.com or call (585)343-5454 and press zero Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Muckdogs open their 2016 home schedule on Wednesday, June 22nd vs. the State College Spikes at 7:05 p.m. In addition to their Pinckney Division rivals, the Muckdogs will welcome the Baltimore Orioles (Aberdeen), New York Mets (Brooklyn), New York Yankees (Staten Island) and the Tampa Bay Rays (Hudson Valley) farm teams to Dwyer Stadium in 2016.

May 19, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, tree removal, downtown, news.

Crews from the city Bureau of Maintenance are removing five dead trees along Main Street downtown. The trees will be replaced. They can't simply dig out the trees due to brick paving and utilities underneath such as water pipes and electricity line. So the dirt must be washed from the roots in the extrication process.

May 19, 2016 - 11:26am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, road repairs, water main break, news.

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There's a water main break on Bank Street in the City of Batavia. A portion of the street is closed -- between Main Street and Washington Avenue -- as crews from the Bureau of Maintenance try to repair the problem. But a worker said they haven't located the break point yet, so it's uncertain how long the repair will take.

May 19, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

Amidst concerns that the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees tends to pass budgets before consulting with local legislators on how much the county can afford to contribute, the Public Services Committee yesterday tabled a resolution calling for a $50,000 increase in the county's share of college revenue.

The college is planning a $40.5 million budget for 2016/17, with the county's share totaling $2,586,374.

That's a $50,000 increase over this year's county share.

"It really bothers me that your board has set the budget, rather than come to us first and say, 'hey, look, how much can you afford to come in with," said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature and a member of the Public Service Committee. "It bother's me that the board has determined how much we're spending before we even had a chance to look at it."

The county share is mandated by state law, and it can't be reduced below the prior year's share. College President Jim Sunser said if the Legislature reduced the county share by even $1 from the prior year, the college, by law, would be forced to cut tuitions.

"We'd lose 20 percent of our revenue and we'd be out of business," Sunser said.

The college has until July 1 to present its final budget to the SUNY administrators, giving the county time to consider further what it might want to approve and find out if legally whether the county can approve the county share without an increase now, but add more to the pot later in the year when it adopts its own 2017 budget.

One issue, Sunser noted during his initial presentation, because it's come up before, is that the college and the county budget calendars are out of sync. The college operates on an academic year and the county operates on a calendar year.

Sunser suggested the county adopt a five-year plan, knowing in advance that the plan is to increase the county share by $50,000 each year, but that plan can be modified annually if circumstances for the county or the college drastically change.

He also suggested, but it didn't seem to get any uptake from legislators, that the county approve this year's budget with no increase but with a plan to increase the share by $75,000 each of the next two years and than $50,000 in each of the following two years, thereby averaging an annual increase of $50,000 over five years.

One concern committee Chairman Bob Bausch raised is that the county is looking at a mandated pay increase for the district attorney of $27,705. The county is fighting the mandate, but if it loses, the resulting property tax increase, if approved, would push the county to the state's 2 percent cap limit. There would be no room for an additional $50,000 share to the college.

May 18, 2016 - 9:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A two-car collision is reported at West Main Street and Woodrow Road in the city. Mercy medic #2 and city firefighters are responding.

May 18, 2016 - 9:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A car vs. pole accident is reported at West Main and River streets in the city. A first responder on scene however reported no accident. Yet wires are down and pole #40 is split in half. City fire and Mercy medic #1 responded. National Grid is notified.

UPDATE 10:16 p.m.: National Grid is on scene.

May 18, 2016 - 4:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, welfare reform, news.
Press release:
 
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today bashed Downstate members of the Assembly’s Social Services Committee for blocking legislation to curb the bloating and rampant abuse of New York’s welfare programs. The bill, A.3960, authored by Hawley, would place a 90-day residency requirement on individuals applying for social services benefits in the state.
 
“New York is quickly becoming the nationwide safe haven for those looking to live off of our state’s taxpayers,” Hawley said. “Nearly a third of our state’s budget, over $50 billion, is spent on Medicaid alone, and we spent more on Medicaid in 2014 than Texas and Florida combined.
 
"It is for these reasons that people are moving into our state and immediately applying for social services, which places an added burden on taxpayers and perpetuates rampant abuse that people are sick and tired of. By enacting a 90-day residency requirement, we can assure individuals are moving here permanently, will pay taxes for an extended period of time, and contribute to society instead of taking free handouts from the government.”  
May 18, 2016 - 4:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, missing person, news.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help to find a teenage girl missing from Oakfield. Aleesha Johnson is a 15-year-old African-American with brown eyes, brown hair, weighing 183 pounds. She is 5' 5" and may be accompanied by an adult male. They may travel to Rochester.

Anyone with information is asked to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or the Genesee County Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000. You can also contact Deputy John K. Dehm at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3575, or e-mail him at [email protected]

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