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October 1, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emory Upton, history, batavia, news, notify.

34951981upton.jpgAt the intersection of Main and Ellicott stands a monument to Gen. Emory Upton, Batavia's most revered military figure, and for good reason, says history professor and now Upton biographer David J. Fitzpatrick.

Upton distinguished himself during the Civil War in battles at Salem Church, Spotsylvania, Opequon Creek, and in other engagements.

"He was one of the outstanding regimental commanders of the war," said Fitzpatrick, who teaches at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. "He had a tremendous tactical success at Spotsylvania."

The fact that Upton is still discussed among military leaders and those interested in military history, though, has more to do with his ideas and what he scribbled on paper than what he accomplished on the battlefield.

Some of what Upton wrote has led to more than 50 years of the Army officer being misunderstood and misrepresented, though, according to Fitzpatrick.

In the mid-20th century, Upton gained a reputation as a Prussian-inspired militarist with little respect for democracy. That assertion doesn't fit the documents in the historical record, Fitzpatrick contends and he makes that case in his new book: "Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer" (University of Oklahoma Press).

"Upton is an important figure in U.S. military history," Fitzpatrick said. "He's a figure a lot of people don't know about."

While you might expect a book steeped in military policy and battlefield strategy to be dull and dry, Fitzpatrick has written a story that is fascinating and at times even a real page-turner. Upton was a man both of action and ideas dealing with some of the most important considerations that would shape history after his death in 1881.

Batavia's Civil War hero was born to a farming family in Genesee County Aug. 27, 1839. A devout Methodist and a fervent abolitionist, Upton attended the era's most famous integrated college, Oberlin, before being accepted into West Point, graduating eighth in his class in May 1861 (The only blemish on his West Point career was a fight with a Southern cadet who made remarks behind his back, hinting that Upton had sexual relations with a black girl at Oberlin. Upton took offense and when the cadet wouldn't explain himself, Upton challenged him to a duel that became a fight in a West Point dorm.)

After the war, Upton was sent on an 18-month tour of Europe and Asia to study the military tactics of countries on those continents, especially Germany. When he returned he wrote "The Armies of Europe and Asia," "A New System of Infantry Tactics" and "Tactics for Non-Military Bodies" (aimed at civilian associations, police and fire departments); and more than 20 years after his death, his unfinished work, and most important book, "The Military Policy of the United States," was released by the War Department.

There were aspects of the military position in Germany that Upton admired and these served as a basis of Upton's recommended reforms to the U.S. military. This led to charges among critics that Upton and his like-minded reformers were trying to foist Prussian militarism on the United States.

These charges were amplified with the publication of a book in 1960 by Russell Weigley, "The American Way of War," which traced the intellectual development of military strategy and policy, and Stephen Ambrose, with "Upton and the Army," in 1964.

To Fitzpatrick, the real offense to Upton's legacy was the book by Ambrose. Weigley can be forgiven for getting Upton wrong, Fitzpatrick said, because he wasn't writing a biography, but Ambrose's biography began as his dissertation (and was published verbatim in book form). 

"Ambrose was doing a biography but didn't dive into the sources he should have," Fitzpatrick said. "I think Ambrose read Weigley and just decided to echo Weigley."

Fitzpatrick poured through the letters of Upton, among other documents, with help from Sue Conklin, who at that time was Genesee County's historian, and the Holland Land Office Museum (Fitzpatrick was provided a CD of images of all the Upton letters in the HLOM's collection).

And going through Upton's letters isn't an easy task.

When arranging a visit to the County's history department, Fitzpatrick told Conklin his topic and Conklin told him, "Have you seen his handwriting?"

"No," Fitzpatrick admitted.

"You might want to consider another topic," was her droll response.

Fitzpatrick doggedly stuck with Upton's letters, however, which provided insight overlooked by Ambrose into Upton's thinking on military planning and civilian government.

Upton believed the Union could have ended the Civil War before the close of 1862 (it wouldn't end until 1865) if the military had been led by more competent officers, had been better equipped, staffed with more men, and Gen. George McClellan hadn't been hampered by interference from civilian bureaucrats, notably Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

Even though Upton had been critical of McClellan during the war, his animosity toward Stanton was even deeper.

"He starts to twist history to make Stanton into the bad guy and McClellan a genius," Fitzpatrick said. "He wrote (in a letter) that he was having a hard time with 'the McClellan question,' as he calls it. It is really causing me trouble, he said. I hear him saying that he's having a hard time making the facts fit the story. Stanton was a meddling failure, not that it was McClellan himself who caused his failures."

The focus on Stanton, however, Fitzpatrick concludes, isn't because Upton is against civilian leadership of the military, but rather a concern that a war secretary with too much power could potentially use that position subvert the country's republican form of government.

Upton's reform ideas included mandatory retirement at age 62 for officers, rotation of officers between artillery and infantry, promotion on merit rather than seniority, and more training for officers.

While Upton was distrustful of democracy -- like Alexander Hamilton, fearing mob rule -- he saw the role of the military as protecting the nation's republican style of government. 

He took note of the dictatorial powers assumed by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln -- "arbitrary arrests, summary executions without trial, forced impressment of provisions, and other dangerous precedents" for Washington; and in Lincoln's case, the suspension of habeas corpus, arbitrary arrests, and the seizure of the railroads, along with "opening the treasury to irresponsible citizens" -- and concluded with a query. If that is what happens when good men without a genuine dictatorial impulse are president, what would happen if a true authoritarian took office and there was a war?

Upton wrote, "Let us not stultify ourselves by talking of the danger of an army, but rather reflect that the lack of one may at any time, in the space of two years, bring upon us even graver disasters than Long Island or Brandywine, or the two Bull Runs ... Our danger lies not in having a regular army but in the want of one."

In other words, Upton concluded a professional military, vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, as a safeguard against civilians, especially the president, grabbing dictatorial power.

Upton was one of several reformers, Fitzpatrick said, who saw the need for a more highly trained military and professional officer corps heading into the 20th century but in Upton's lifetime, most of Upton's reforms were thwarted by politics. For the North, another insurrection seemed impossible and there was no apparent external threat to U.S. sovereignty, so reform didn't seem like a pressing need. The South was distrustful of the Army in general following Reconstruction.

The lack of external threats prior to 1860 is also one reason Fitzpatrick thinks Upton's idea that the war could have lasted less than two years with better preparation is unrealistic.

While it's interesting to contemplate how history might be different if the Civil War had come to an end before 1863 -- no Jim Crow South, as one potential outcome -- it would have required the Union to have in place a large, well-trained and equipped Army by 1860 and Congress would never have approved the expenditure.

"The only reason to have a large, well-trained Army prior to 1860 was to repress the South and Congress would never have done it, so it's kind of a moot question," Fitzpatrick said. "You never could have ended the war in 1862 because you would never have gotten the Army you needed."

By 1881, Upton began suffering from debilitating headaches. He was transferred to the Presidio in San Francisco but managed to delay assuming the command for three months while he sought treatment in New York. A doctor diagnosed a sinus problem and provided an electric treatment, which brought no relief. Upton probably suffered from a brain tumor. He transferred to San Francisco but the headaches grew worse. On March 15, 1881, he wrote his last words. A two-sentence letter to the adjutant general to tender his resignation. He then apparently took his own life with a revolver.

He was proceeded in death by his wife, Emily, and they are buried together in Auburn.

At the time of his death, "Military Policy of the United States" was incomplete and unpublished. The manuscript passed to a friend and slowly it circulated among the Army's officers, gaining a reputation for its insightful look at military policy and strategy. In 1904, the War Department published the book minus three chapters.

One of the chapters dealt with Roman military history and when Fitzpatrick first came across it, he thought it rather odd. It was placed between two unrelated chapters, which was also odd.

Years later while continuing his research, Fitzpatrick recognized Upton probably wrote the chapter quickly in a period of inspiration and that it contained a lesson relevant the political situation of the time.  

While Upton admired President Ulysses S. Grant as a general, he was appalled by the corruption in his administration.

The Roman Republic possesses an interest, civil as well as military. "Forewarned is forearmed." Free people like the Romans admire heroism and love to reward military achievement.

No monarch in Europe has to day [sic] the power of an American President. With the consent of the Senate, from the Chief Justice down, he has the gift of more than 90,000 civil offices, any one of which save the judiciary, he can vacate and fill at pleasure.

Ever since the acceptance of the pernicious maxim "To the victor belong the spoils," these offices, like so much gold have been distributed by the senators and representatives to the men who have been, or maybe, most loyal to themselves or the party. 

With the people thus accustomed to executive corruption let us imagine, as under the Roman System, our President, in uniform, booted and spurred, galloping from the White House to the camp, his military retinue swelled by senators and representatives, fawning for favor and scrambling for spoils, how long it be asked would our liberties survive ... 

To historian, from example of Rome, might not fix the exact duration of the Republic, but he could make at least one prophesy of speedy fullfllment: At the first [meeting] held at headquarters the means would be discussed of prolonging the term of the President, if not the more startling propositon to declare him President for life.

"Upton wasn't writing about Rome," Fitzpatrick said. "It was about Ulysses Grant. He was writing at a time when Grant, running for a third term in 1880, was being seriously discussed. He had come to a different opinion of Grant. He had seen all the scandals of Grant's administration, and while he admired Grant as a general, the scandals appalled him.

"He's not talking about an imaginary president climbing on a horse. He's talking about Grant. If Upton was really a militarist interested in a military government, that wouldn't have bothered him at all."

September 29, 2017 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news, Pavilion, notify.

Michael Alan Shelter, 27, of Lewiston Road, Alabama, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .08 or greater; criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th; aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. At 2:23 p.m., deputies responded to a report of a motor-vehicle accident on Maple Road, Alabama, where the driver had fled the scene. Deputy Chris Erion and K9 "Destro" were dispatched and Shelter was located not far from the scene of the accident. The incident was investigated by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Aaron Robert Webb, 21, of West Combe Park, West Henrietta, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to stop at stop sign and insufficient tail lamp. Webb was stopped at 11:57 p.m., Thursday, on Telephone Road, Pavilion, by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Joshua A. Aughenbaugh, 23, of Junction Road, Pavilion, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment. Aughenbaugh is accused of holding a child behind a running vehicle in an attempt to prevent the child's mother from putting the vehicle in reverse. Aughenbaugh is also accused of butting heads with the woman and shoving her. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Leaha RaeAnne Wimmer, 25, of Allen Road, Albion, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Wimmer allegedly stole a debit card and made purchases with it.

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September 28, 2017 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

For a second time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has sent out invitations to members of the community for an announcement at City Hall only to cancel the same day. 

Cuomo’s office sent out invitations this afternoon and before 5 p.m. canceled the appearance. 

No reason was given for the cancellation. 

September 28, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, news, Le Roy, notify.

A truck driver died this afternoon when his truck left the roadway on the westbound Thruway in Le Roy and headed into a line of trees.

The driver was ejected and found nearby with only a slight pulse. He died a short time later and a coroner was called to the scene.

Troop T, State Police, are investigating the accident, but have little to go on at this point. A spokesman said there is no apparent cause for the driver to have lost control of the truck and no prior reports of erratic drivers in the area.

The truck was apparently making drop-offs and deliveries in the area and the nature of its cargo is not currently available.

Both lanes are now open, but the shoulder in the area of mile marker 392 is closed, making travel through the area slower.

The name of the driver has not been released yet pending notification of his family.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance responded to the scene.

(Initial Report)

Our news partner 13WHAM contributed to this story.

September 28, 2017 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's visit to Batavia has been rescheduled and he will be at City Hall at 1:40 p.m., tomorrow.

It's possible -- though no official will confirm it -- that Cuomo is here to announce Batavia is the winner in the Finger Lakes region of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative prize.

September 28, 2017 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in United Way, batavia, news, notify.

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The United Way of Genesee County has set a fundraising goal for the next year of $388,000 to help support 25 programs run by 20 local agencies.

Director Eric Fix also announced this morning at the kickoff breakfast at the Dibble Family Center an ambitious plan to build "Teen City," a new center to provide activities for teens from throughout Genesee County.

Plans are still being developed, including finding a location for the center in the City of Batavia, but Fix said the goal is to open the doors by fall of 2018.

He's working with Jeff Townsend of the YMCA to develop the center.

"One of the things we've both been told throughout our careers is teen centers don't work," Fix said. "You can't do teens. It just won't work. I personally feel with funding from United Way and other sources, with our community support, and all the great people at the table at the same time coming up with this concept it definitely will work."

Fix also celebrated the events and accomplishments of the past year, which included raising $385,000 in last year's campaign, which was headed by Bill Fritts, who is directing the fundraising effort again this year.

The 10th Annual Day of Caring attracted more than 400 volunteers who worked at 35 sites.

"If you missed it, it's the highlight event Genesee County of all last year," Fix said. "Out of anything that happens in the whole entire county, it was hands down the best event. I think I've seen tie-dyed shirts in my sleep but it was the signature event of the year."

The backpack program starts back up next week and Fix said he's personally excited to get involved in that again, working with clients of ARC at the Salvation Army to fill backpacks with food to help children from needy families get through the weekends each week. There will be 180 to 200 backpacks packed each weekend.

There are two events left in the United Way's 5K series, the Acorn Run this weekend in the Genesee County Park & Forest, and the Stiletto & Sneaker 5K at the YWCA on Thursday.

Fix said all the agencies supported through the annual fundraising drive are making a big difference in our community.

"It's not easy," Fix said. "They can tell you that. I can tell you that from talking to them and working with them. And it's our United Way effort that helps support their organizations and helps them do the work that they do.

"I can't say that they wouldn't exist without it, but I know that their lives would be a heck of a lot harder if they didn't have that money. So we appreciate everybody who gives to the campaign."

September 26, 2017 - 4:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, alexander, notify.

A 7-year-old boy is conscious and alert after being struck by a vehicle at 81-A Colony Run in Alexander. Alexander fire and ambulance responding along with law enforcement.

Also medic #80 from Wyoming County just arrived on scene and Mercy Flight #4 is on in-air standby. A first responder at the scene says the boy has lacerations to the front and back of his head. A Mercy Flight landing zone will be established.

UPDATE 5:04 p.m.: A first responder says the boy was struck by a vehicle going about 20 mph while riding his bicycle. Mercy Flight is airborne and will land at the Alexander fire rec hall.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: Medic #80 from Wyoming County is back in service.

September 26, 2017 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire services, Oakfield, news, notify.

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When the Oakfield Fire Department signed up eight new members a couple of years ago and then came to the village with a request for $18,500 to buy gear for the volunteers, Mayor Jason Armbrewster started to rethink how fire services are funded in Oakfield.

"Eight new members, that should be great news," Armbrewster said. "But to us as a board, we’re like, 'How are we going to come up with $18,500?' That’s when I was like, 'Why should we be controlling that destiny? Why should new members be a hindrance to our fire department?' ”

The village held a public hearing last night -- more of a fact-finding and public feedback process -- to explore the idea of getting the village out of the fire department business and forming either a fire district or a fire protection district.

One village resident wanted to know if this idea would save residents money.

"It’s not about saving money," Armbrewster said. "It’s about providing a better service."

Trustee David Boyle pointed out the idea could help provide both better fire protection and better services through the village for residents. He said the village has already had to cut other services just to keep the fire department going.

Currently, the fire department is part of the village and the Town of Oakfield contracts with the department for fire protection outside the village, paying for it with its own fire district. The fire district is a separate tax for town residents. The town accounts for more than 50 percent of the fire department's budget.

If the village decided to go ahead with the idea, it would need to decide whether to set up a fire district, which would need to happen jointly with the town, because it would cover both the town and the village, or a fire protection district, which would cover only the village. Then both the town and the village would contract with the Oakfield Fire Department (or conceivably, some other department) for emergency services.

The struggles for the department now include replacing aging fire apparatus, maintaining the fire hall at a cost of $18,000 a year, and recruiting volunteers.

Ambrewster said in his talks with other departments where recruiting isn't as difficult, good equipment and recruiting seem to go hand-in-hand.

Dan Luker, a longtime member of the Oakfield department, said he had one simple question: Why?

He said his mind wasn't made up on the proposal, but he was skeptical of the need.

"I don’t see where changing the structure of raising taxes is going to change people wanting to volunteer," Luker said.

Trustee John Igoe said he is also on the fire department board and he isn't sure the fire department will survive under the current arrangement.

Igoe, who said he will abstain on any vote on the proposal, said insolvency in a couple of years is a real possibility. 

"It comes to the point that maybe we have to look at shutting the doors because we don’t have any more money to keep the light and heat on because what we receive as a department isn't enough," Igoe said.

No decisions were reached at the meeting, but after two years of kicking the idea around, Armbrewster said a decision needs to be made soon.

"I either want to move ahead or say we’re not going to do this," Armbrewster said.

Photo: John Igoe and Jason Armbrewster.

UPDATE Sept. 26 5:15 p.m.: John Igoe's name was corrected in the story; it is not John Igor. The Batavian regrets the error.

September 26, 2017 - 9:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.
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      Lakara Johnson

An apparent domestic dispute led to two motor-vehicle accidents in Batavia yesterday afternoon and resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old city resident on assault charges for allegedly trying to run over a man in the parking lot of a business on East Main Street.

Lakara D. Johnson, of Highland Park, was charged with attempted assault, 1st, unlawful imprisonment, 1st, and reckless endangerment, 1st.

The incident started when police were called to Main and Center for a two-car accident. By the time police arrived, one of the vehicles had left the scene. Officers then received a report of a second motor-vehicle involving the suspect vehicle. The driver allegedly tried to hit a male who had managed to get out of the vehicle and instead struck a picnic table at the business.

The vehicle again fled the scene and was located on Howard Street.

Johnson was located on Colorado Avenue and taken into custody.

She was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice pending further court proceedings.

September 25, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, pembroke, news, notify.

The Pembroke Dragons get a night off, get to skip a road game and they will pick up a win this Friday because Geneseo High School has forfeited its entire season over an apparent drug scandal.

This Friday's game was supposed to be Geneseo's homecoming game, too.

Geneseo Superintendent Tim Hays announced the district was scrubbing the team's season this afternoon.

"A number of players have been dismissed from the Geneseo High School Varsity Football Team," Hayes said in a statement. "These dismissals stem from serious violations of the District's Code of Conduct and Athletic Eligibility Standards.

"Due to the number of student-athletes involved and the serious nature of this incident, pursuant to our Athletic Code and New York State Public High School Athletic Association standards, the remainder of the varsity football season will be forfeited."

The Livingston County News reported today that police are investigating a report that a player brought OxyContin pills to Friday's game against Bolivar-Richburg. The player allegedly distributed the pills to teammates.

Geneseo won that game on the field 26-24 but that game will now revert to the loss column with the Geneseo Blue Devils giving up that win as well.

Pembroke moves to 5-1 on the season and next plays Attica on Oct. 6 at home.

"The Geneseo Central School District is committed to upholding the highest standards of excellence in all of our academic, extracurricular, and athletic programs," Hayes said. "We will continue to work with all of our student-athletes to ensure that their actions represent the expectations of the District and our community."

September 25, 2017 - 1:58pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Le Roy, news, outdoors, bow hunting, notify, sports.

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Melissa Bender, a resident of Le Roy, made history at the Pennsylvania Bowhunters Festival, after competing with an all-male crowd, becoming the first and only woman to win the steel boar challenge.

The festival is held in Forksville in the middle of September, every year since 1957. It is the oldest gathering of bowhunters in the world.

“People come from all over the place to go,” Bender said.

The three-day event offers a variety of shooting activities and events designed to prepare the Bowhunters for the upcoming archery season. The festival features the famous “Forksville Running Deer” target, mechanical bear and turkey targets, pop-up and moving small game targets, a timed clay pigeon shoot, stationary targets set at variable distances, and three game trails designed with all 3-D targets.

The grand prize for the steel boar challenge, was a wild hog hunt, which drew Bender to competing.

“It was really neat because they had never had a girl win it before,” Bender said. “They were super excited for me.”

Bender’s love for archery began after she went hunting with her husband.

“When I was out hunting, I hit a deer,” Bender said. “We tracked it for two days and we never found it.”

Bender decided that she wanted to be a better shooter, so she started with the help of a local archery organization.

“The people down there [at C&C Archery] are so willing to help anyone,” Bender said. “Especially young people in becoming better shots, either in archery, in competitive form, just for shooting, or just in hunting.”

C&C Archery, in Le Roy, has an indoor archery range, with all different kinds of targets. They offer a variety of services and products to help anyone be successful.

“If I hadn’t gone down there to sign up for [archery] leagues, I obviously would have never had the opportunity to win that challenge.”

Bender hopes to continue strengthening her archery skills to become a more ethical hunter.

“I want to have a better shot so that I don’t have to go through what I went through a year ago,” Bender said.

September 25, 2017 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Thurway, pembroke, notify.

State Troopers are investigating why a 47-year-old man from Hilton got out of his vehicle on the Thruway at 8:40 p.m., Saturday, and ran into traffic.

William H. Ferguson was struck and killed by a car near the exit of the Thruway in Pembroke.

The accident is being reconstructed by the State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.

No further information was released.

(Initial Report)

September 24, 2017 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, agriculture, batavia, news, notify.

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Local farmers and other members of the agriculture industry were briefed Saturday on various legislative issues by Rep. Chris Collins and a member of his staff.

The topics discussed included immigration, the new farm bill, the Waters of the U.S. rule and even a couple of non-agricultural items. The meeting was held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office on East Main Street, Batavia.

Legislative Assistant Taylor Kloustin provided an update on key issues Collins is working on, including the H2A work visa program, workforce legislation, the upcoming effort to pass a new farm bill, and Waters of the U.S. rules.

Collins is meeting next week with the Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, to discuss immigration issues, most notably expanding the H2A visa program to allow workers from other countries to stay in the United States all year long when employed in certain farm jobs, such as dairy and livestock.

She said Collins is also interested in seeing the program revised for temporary workers so that they can get back into the country easier once they've established ongoing employment, such as a TSA-like precheck, perhaps with a biometric ID card.

There's also legislation pending that would move responsibility for farm labor from the Department of Labor to the USDA, which Kloustin said is an agency more familiar with the needs of farmers for labor.

The committee working on the Farm Bill renewal is expected to have language in place by November.

Collins is chair of the specialty crops caucus so his office is working with United Fresh on setting up a specialty crops awareness program in November for House staffers working on the Farm Bill so they can better understand the needs of specialty crop growers.

Dean Norton, an Elba dairy farmer, was one of those who brought the conversation back during the Q&A time to the Waters of the U.S. rule. The rule was approved during the Obama Administration and Trump has rescinded it by executive order. Farmers were upset by the bill because it could be used to regulate the smallest bodies of water on farms.

Norton and other farmers noted that what can be undone by executive order can be reimplemented by executive order in the next administration. They encouraged Collins to pursue legislation that would make Trump's order permanent.

Craig Yunker, CEO CY Farms, expressed concern about the direction the Trump Administration is taking on trade. He's particularly concerned about the seeming protectionist positions of Peter Navarro, a trade advisor to the Trump Administration. Yunker said with the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership there are already trade problems with Japan.

Collins said there's a lot of uncertainty about what will happen with trade during the Trump Administration because we're only eight months into his presidency. He thinks Trump has the right people around him, though, to handle the issue.

"Trump very clear at the U.N.," Collins said. "It’s America first; he’s going to look out for America’s interest. He is going to expect other countries to do their fair share. He's looking for fair trade.

"My worry is your worry," Collins added. "Typically, the retaliation is on ag. That’s the gotcha. Whether it’s Canada or whether it’s Mexico or whether it’s something like apples going to Asia, we do know they retaliate using ag. I share that concern, but the administration knows this. They’re smart guys. To me, it’s too early to tell."

Maureen Torrey, of Torrey Farms, a large grower of produce, said her big concern remains trade restrictions in Canada, which makes it harder to sell U.S.-grown produce north of the border, even though there is no restriction on produce from Canada being sold here.

"It’s pretty sad that within five miles of the border you have 95 percent the population of Canada and the only time I can sell is if they don’t have it and then I have to go through a process to have them to say 'yes, you can ship something', " Torry said. "We need to get that door a little bit more open."

One farmer wondered if the bipartisan spirit displayed by Trump when he reached a deal a couple of weeks ago with Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi is something the GOP leadership in both houses will pick up on and follow.

"To be honest I think Trump is going to lead it from start to finish," Collins said.

While Trump's deal on the debt ceiling and relief for the victims of Harvey and Irma may have shocked and even upset some members of Congress, the leadership is going to have to fall in line, Collins said. 

"I think he's telling Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, 'You better get behind me,' " Collins said. " 'I'm the president. I'm the CEO.' "

Collins said he's solidly behind the president on this point and thinks a lot of what the president wants to get done this congressional term, most notably tax reform, will require bipartisan effort. Even within the GOP, he noted, there are too many divergent interests for the Republicans to act unilaterally. 

"I applauded him for doing what he did, though others just thought it was the worst thing that ever could have happened," Collins said. "There are a lot of folks that want to protect their own turf, if you will, and they didn’t like it. But as I’ve said, 'How did we do on health care?' Not so good, and that’s something we unanimously agreed on until the rubber hit the road and the document’s there. That’s the whole problem."

The other non-farm issue to come up was North Korea.  

" 'Rocket Man', " Collins said with a chuckle. "I’ve got to give Trump credit. He is so good with nicknames. I think Rocket Man is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s poking at Kim Jong-un. It’s getting under his skin. And it’s appropriate. He’s going to be Rocket Man from now on.”

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Dean Norton, dairy farmer from Elba.

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September 24, 2017 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in freshLAB, batavia, business, news, notify.

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Victor Figueroa's ambition is to open a Puerto Rican restaurant in Batavia specializing in empanadas, and after winning both the Top Competitor Award and the People's Choice Award on Saturday night at the FreshLAB's Foodie Challenge, that dream is a step closer to reality.

Figueroa along with four other top finishers in the cook-off held at BOCES will now be able to take a tuition-free course in restaurant management and then compete in a Shark Tank-like business plan pitch. The top two contestants will be offered spots to try out their restaurant concept in the new FreshLABs facilities inside the former Newberry Building on Main Street along with Eli Fish Brewing Company.

In all,12 aspiring restaurateurs signed up for the Foodie Challenge, eight competed Saturday night and the other finalists were: Gina Bianco, of Middleport, with an Eggplant Busiolo; Judy Hysek, of Batavia, with a vegan mushroom and sage stuffed ravioli with a cashew cream sauce; Rob Rudnicki, of Batavia, with a fish taco; and Ronald Smith, of Rochester, with a pollo de miel (honey chicken).

The contestants are expected to come up with a restaurant concept and menu that is unique to Batavia and Figueroa is counting empanadas as his path to victory. He made a Puerto Rican cheeseburger empanada with a passion fruit chili sauce.

“It’s one of our favorites in Puerto Rico," Figueroa said. "We eat them for lunch, lunch breakfast and dinner every single day. You can walk with them. It’s just one of those things, when we eat it takes you back Puerto Rico.”

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Photo of the winning empanadas by Alex Figueroa.

September 22, 2017 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, volunteers for animals, batavia, news, notify.

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The trails have not always been happy for "Cowboy," and now, the roads he's traveled have brought him back to the Genesee County Animal Shelter and into the care of Volunteers for Animals.

A couple of years ago, Cowboy was found abandoned in a field with a herd of cows. That's how he got his name. He had health issues, including a broken jaw that required his muzzle to be wired shut.

The volunteers nursed him back to health, but while he was still living at the shelter, a couple allegedly stole him. Cowboy was found with them after the duo allegedly robbed a store in Le Roy and then were involved in an accident on Keeney Road.

Cowboy was returned to the animal shelter. Eventually, he was adopted. His new owner seemed to be doing great with him. She was seen out regularly walking him and Cowboy seemed to be in great shape -- except for maybe wolfing down a few too many calories -- on home visits.

"It was a great adoption," said volunteer Gina Lippa, who was keeping tabs on Cowboy. "I actually went and did home visits for a while. Great adoption. The owner, well there were two owners, but the primary owner was doing wonderfully with him and multiple volunteers had seen her walking around town with him. When I did home visits his coat was clearing right up. She was doing great with him."

After about two months, Lippa lost contact with the owner.

Last week, by coincidence, Lippa found a picture of Cowboy on the adoption page of Fairport-based Lollipop Farm's website.

Arrangements were made to return Cowboy to Batavia and he arrived here at the shelter this afternoon.

It's not clear how Cowboy wound up at Lollypop. The adoptee owner was originally from New York City, so Lippa speculates that she returned to NYC, giving Cowboy to a new owner. At some point, Cowboy was delivered to Lollypop with all of his paperwork intact from the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Lippa said he's available for adoption. He's a sweet and gentle boy and shows no signs of food aggression or other aggression, but he's not at all fond of cats. He gets along with other dogs.

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September 22, 2017 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.
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      Bennie Wright

Bennie "Beans" Wright, 32, of Jay Street, Rochester, was arrested on a sealed indictment Wednesday night at a residence on Maple Street for allegedly selling drugs in the City of Batavia.

Wright was located and identified as a warrant suspect while police were looking for evidence in a shooting earlier in the day on Thorpe Street.

He is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force.

He is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Wright was arraigned in Genesee County Court and jailed on $25,000 bail.

September 22, 2017 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Kathleen Mary Barnes, 31, of Gaines Basin Road, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Following a complaint of shoplifting at the Rite Aid on West Main Street, Batavia, at 12:39 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect vehicle was spotted passing the Sheriff's Office on Park Road and a traffic stop was initiated. It's alleged that Barnes stole $300 worth of dental and oral care merchandise. The driver, Shane Beardsley, was arrested on a warrant. The investigation was conducted by investigators Joseph Graff and Chad Minuto and deputies Chris Erion and Kevin McCarthy.

Elise Mikhalyla Ruckdeschel, 24, of Chestnut Ridge, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Ruckdeschel was stopped at 12:46 a.m. today (Sept. 22) in the area of 3194 Route 5, Batavia, by Deputy Howard Wilson.

Ballard Polk Maye, 31, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 4th, and headlight violation. Maye was stopped at 9:26 p.m. Tuesday on East Main Street, Batavia, by Richard Schildwaster.

September 21, 2017 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news, notify.

Projects that have received assistance from the Genesee County Economic Development Center for more than a decade have added $4.85 million to local property tax revenue, Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature yesterday during the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

Hyde, who is CEO of the GCEDC, made his presentation as part of the annual department review for the industrial development agency.

It has helped assist in a build-out of more than 2.5 million square feet of new manufacturing space around the county and another million square feet that have been renovated.

There are currently about 80 projects still within their 10-year PILOT (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes) cycle making payments to local taxing jurisdictions.

"Then there are 64 PILOTS that have actually graduated, so to speak," Hyde said (meaning, they're beyond the 10-year lifespan of their PILOTS). "They've expired and they're back paying full taxes. That aggregate (PILOTS and projects that have graduated) is paying almost five million dollars a year in tax payments to county schools and municipalities."

Hyde said as a return on investment for the county's portion of GCEDC's operating budget, that's about a 22-1 return.

"What's happened really is is that even though our total number of PILOTS have gone down, a lot them have graduated and are paying full taxes," Hyde said. "We're also doing larger projects these days. The shovel-ready strategy has made us more of an ecosystem that is attractive to bigger investment."

The biggest project in the pipeline is WNY STAMP (Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park), which contractors starting working on this past month, bringing in water lines and grading for roads and other infrastructure.

STAMP is expected to be the future home of the solar wafer manufacturing plant of 1366 Technologies, but Hyde said there is a lot of interest in the project.

"We're seeing a lot of conversation about STAMP and it's readiness to market," Hyde said. "We actually have a sales funnel with 10 projects in it right now. These are one- and two-year deals but the promise is there for continued growth."

The challenge for business development in New York, as always, Hyde said, is the reputation the state has for being a poor place to do business. That hasn't changed, but Hyde said there is improvement.

"To the credit of the state and the governor, they've done a lot over the past few budget years," Hyde said. "They've moved income taxes for manufacturing down to zero, so that's really helpful because most of our strategies are around shovel-ready sites. That's about bringing advanced manufacturing back and we've got a much better tax climate in New York to help us be successful."

September 21, 2017 - 3:34pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in corfu, accident, news, notify.

Photo credit: Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

A Corfu man died this morning as a result of injuries suffered during a vehicle accident at the intersection of West Middlebury and East Bethany roads, Middlebury.

The collision occurred around 8:30 when the driver of a 2013 Toyota Tacoma failed to yield to a 2014 International tractor-trailer.

The driver of the Tacoma, Dean M. Dale, 54, of Corfu, was traveling eastbound on West Middlebury Road when he struck the tractor-trailer traveling northbound on East Bethany Road.

Lifesaving measures performed by New York State troopers and Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies were unsuccessful and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The State Police collision reconstruction unit assisted in the investigation however, officials say it is still an ongoing investigation.

UPDATE 4:37 p.m.: Dean Dale was an employee of UMMC. UMMC released this statement:

We are deeply saddened to learn of Dean’s passing. He was a valued member of our Radiology team since 2012 and a dear friend that will be sadly missed by many.

Dean’s family, friends and UMMC team are in our thoughts during this difficult time.

September 21, 2017 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thorpe Street, batavia, news, notify.

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A suspect has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in the shooting yesterday on Thorpe Street in Batavia.

Being held without bail is Tyshawn King 24, of Maple Street, Batavia.

King is also charged with assault in the first degree.

The shooting was discovered by Batavia police officers after receiving a complaint around 4:50 p.m. of a fight on Thorpe Street.

Upon arrival, officers learned that there had been a shooting and the victim had gone to a house on Evans Street to seek medical attention.

Assistant Chief Todd Crossett said investigators still don't know what started the fight.

Two other people were detained yesterday and after being questioned were released.

The victim, who was shot in the hand and abdomen, is in stable condition at ECMC after surgery last night and is alert and able to talk, Crossett said.

Batavia PD thanked community members for assisting in the investigation.

People in the area of Thorpe and Maple pointed police to the residence where the suspect fled, at the corner of Thorpe and Maple, and shared information about what they saw.

"To them, it is very generic information, but in the big scope of things, when we put the pieces together, it really helps us," Crossett said.

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