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February 6, 2019 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

Reports are coming in of roads becoming slick and town and county salt trucks are being deployed throughout the county.

There is a weather advisory in effect for freezing rain with accumulations of four-tenths of an inch through the course of the day.

Power outages and tree damage from ice are possible. 

The National Weather Service warns travel could be difficult, especially during the evening commute.

UPDATE 10:20 a.m.: With some minor accidents reported earlier, a dispatcher reports there are multiple-accidents pending, including one on the Thruway (no injuries) with a car into the trees.

February 5, 2019 - 3:33pm

Every year, the University at Buffalo’s Dental School participates in a national event called “Give Kids a Smile Day,” in which children ages 1 to 18 who do not have access to dental care can receive free dental services.

This year, the Dental School has chosen Batavia city schools to participate in the event on Saturday, Feb. 9. These include Batavia City School District, Notre Dame High School and St. Joseph’s Regional School.

Coordinating the event is Paula Fischer, Rural Dentistry Program project coordinator at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, and a Batavia resident. Also a resident of Batavia is Dr. Joseph Zambon, dean of the Dental School.

It is not too late to sign up for the free program, Fischer said.

A bus will leave the parking lot at JCPenney at 9 a.m. to take children to Buffalo. Fidelis, a major event sponsor, has made the bus available, Fischer said.

To sign up, call Paula Fischer at (716) 829-6240.

UB Dental’s Give Kids a Smile event offers free dental care, including exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions and orthodontic consultations (braces).

In addition, other services offered are hearing and vision screenings and healthy eating demos. Every child and parent will receive oral health supplies and lunch bag.

Both Zambon and Fischer grew up in Batavia and are thrilled to be able to offer this free service to their community.

“Every year the dental schools GKAS event grows, and this year we were discussing expanding its reach, and I immediately thought of Batavia,” Fischer said. “I reside in Batavia with my family and I currently serve on the City of Batavia Youth Board.

"My children attended John Kennedy Elementary, St. Joseph Regional School and Notre Dame High School. I reached out to Wade Bianco, Karen Green and Julia Rogers to assist with getting the word out. They were excited to offer this opportunity to their students and families.”

The first Give Kids a Smile Day started in 2002 in St. Louis, Mo., where free dental care was delivered to nearly 400 children. The American Dental Association recognized that this grassroots effort had great potential to raise awareness nationally about the importance of oral health to overall health, and about the staggering need that exists among millions of children who go without care, Fischer said. 

So, in 2003, Give Kids a Smile evolved into a nationwide program with the collaboration of the American Dental Association, Henry Schein, Proctor & Gamble and DEXIS. UB Dental School has been participating since 2003. Thousands of dentists and volunteers give their time to provide free oral health education, screenings and treatment to underserved children, Fischer said.

Since 2003, more than 5.5 million children have been cared for by more than half a million volunteers.

February 5, 2019 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, Darien, alexander.
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Charles Cooper Joshua Cooper

Charles Elias Cooper, 35, of West Seneca Street, Lodi, and Joshua Dennis Cooper, 32, of Dunlap Road, Ovid, are charged with: soliciting without a permit; a scheme to defraud in the second degree; and 6th-degree conspiracy. In addition, Joshua Dennis Cooper is also charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. At about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office received a report of individuals trying to scam residents for driveway repair work on Alleghany Road (Route 77) in Darien. The investigation revealed that the defendants were allegedly performing work at a residence without the property owner's permission and then tried to charge the property owner multiple sums of money. The defendants were arrested and arraigned in Darien Town Court. The investigation was handled by Deputy Kevin McCarthy, Deputy Kevin Forsyth, Deputy Kyle Krzemien, and the NYS Police Commerical Motor Vehicle Unit.

Emily Elizabeth Dale, 27, of Water Street, Attica, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; speed not reasonable and prudent; moving from lane unsafely; and unlicensed operator. Dale was arrested following an investigation into a motor vehicle accident on Maplewood Road in the Town of Alexander at 5:38 p.m on Feb. 1. Dale was allegedly operating her motor vehicle in an intoxicated state when she drove off the roadway. Her operating privileges were allegedly suspended at the time. She was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation. She is due in Town of Alexander Court this afternoon (Feb. 5). The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute, assisted by Mathew Clor.

February 4, 2019 - 5:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, batavia, Le Roy.

John A. Snook is indicted for the crime of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Dec. 15 in the City of Batavia Snook intentionally violated a duly served order of protection by being in the presence of the protected party. In count two, Snook is accused of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly entering a dwelling unlawfully on Jackson Street. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Snook is accused of having been convicted of first-degree criminal contempt on Jan. 5, 2015 in Genesee County Court and that conviction was for violating a stay away family offense order of protection. It was also within five years previous to the crime alleged in the current indictment.

Matthew J. Arelline is indicted for the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 3 in the Town of Le Roy that Arelline drove a 2015 Mitsubishi on Route 19 while he was intoxicated and while a child age 15 or less was a passenger. In count two, he is accused of DWI, as a misdemeanor. In count three, he is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17.

Kelicia M. Storey is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. It is alleged that on Sept. 26 in the Town of Le Roy that Storey drove a 2015 Kia on Route 19 while intoxicated. In count two, she is accused of DWI, per se, as a misdemeanor, for having a BAC of .08 percent or more at the time. In count three, Storey is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count three that she had three or more suspensions in effect at the time that were imposed on at least three separate dates: Sept. 27, 2015; Jan. 14, 2017; and Aug. 19, 2018.

February 4, 2019 - 12:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin Michael Waleski, 31, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. At 3:24 a.m. on Jan. 27, Batavia police responded to an address on South Main Street in Batavia for a report of a disturbance. Waleski was subsequently issued an appearance ticket for second-degree harassment after he allegedly punched another person in the face. He is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Brendan David Curry, 38, of Batavia-Elba Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated, with a previous conviction within the last 10 years; DWI; and refusal to take a breath test. Curry was arrested on Feb. 1 at 1:10 a.m. following an investigation of a vehicle off the roadway on State Street Road in Batavia. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released under supervision. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on Feb. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Paul P. Parise, 49, of Kingsbury Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; and aggravated DWI -- with a BAC of .18 percent or higher. Parise was arrested at 8:33 p.m. on Jan. 22 on Kingsbury Avenue following an accident wherein he allegedly drove while intoxicated and struck an unoccupied vehicle parked roadside then left the scene. He is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Joey A. Evans, 28, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with trespassing. He was arrested at 5:35 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the JCPenney store in Batavia City Centre following an incident there. He had been told not to return following a previous incident. He is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

February 4, 2019 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, accident, news, notify.
Video Sponsor

With his three children in his minivan, along with one of their friends, returning to Elba on Saturday afternoon, Justin Calarco-Smith was being cautious, he recalls. He had already come through a couple of snow drifts on Route 98. 

Shortly after passing Batavia Elba Townline Road, he came upon another drift with near whiteout conditions when he noticed a silver SUV ahead of him lose control and start to slide sideways.

He didn't actually see the southbound pickup truck driven by Jeffrey S. Toussaint, 59, of Albion strike the silver SUV because of the poor visibility but he was able to stop in time to avoid being entangled in the accident.

Calarco-Smith is the funeral director at H.E. Turner Funeral Home. He's been to fatal accident scenes before but on Saturday he was one of several passersby who tried to render aid to the victims of the crash. This was a close call involving his own family and he said it took him some time to process what happened.

Despite the efforts of people on the scene to assist Teresa M. Norton, 53, and Thomas M. Norton, 22, a mother and son from Albion, they did not survive the crash and were pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Karen Lang.

"Upon seeing the SUV and pickup truck on the west shoulder of Route 98, I immediately pulled my van over to the east shoulder (it got stuck in the ditch) and called 9-1-1 to report the accident," Calarco-Smith. "After I hung up with dispatch, I exited my car, and along with three other bystanders who stopped to try to help, I got out to see what I could do to help. A female bystander asked if I had blankets for the victims to keep them warm. I ran back to my van and got a blanket out of our trunk and handed one to her."

The accident was reported at about 1:30 p.m. Winds through Genesee County that day were about 30 mph, two days after a major snowstorm had hit the area. Several sections of Route 98 that afternoon had significant snow drifts on the roadway, including the area where the accident occurred. The state's Department of Transportation is responsible for the maintenance of Route 98 and there was no snow fence erected on the west side of Route 98 where the accident occurred.

Calarco-Smith estimates there was one to two inches of snow covering the roadway at the time of the accident.

Because of Calarco-Smith's job, and as a resident of Elba, he knows many of the first responders who arrived at the accident. He praised his friends for how they conducted themselves at the scene.

"These same friends who were out in the elements constantly checked on my children assuring them all would be fine, while I was away from my vehicle," Calarco-Smith said. "I can't say enough about the professionalism, kindness and caring they demonstrated while on the scene. They are truly the calm in the eye of the storm."

A note about the video: I shot it Sunday afternoon so I make reference to "the accident yesterday." At the time I shot it, I anticipated publishing it Sunday, not Monday. That didn't happen. The video is intended to provide a look at the area of the accident scene and discuss what conditions were like on Saturday.

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The farm field west of the location of the double fatal crash on Route 98 in Elba.

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The site on Route 98 in Elba of a double fatal crash on Saturday.

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Snow fence west of Route 98 a location south of Townline Road.

February 3, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, accident, news, notify.

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A mother and her adult son from Albion were killed Saturday afternoon in a two-vehicle collision on a snow-covered Route 98 in Elba.

Teresa M. Norton, 53, was driving a 2008 Suzuki SUV north on Route 98, with her son, Thomas M. Norton, 22, in the passenger seat, when the vehicle hit a long patch of deep snow in an area about a mile north of Batavia Elba Townline Road. Norton apparently lost control of the Suzuki and it slid sideways. A 2011 Chevrolet pickup truck was southbound. The truck, driven by Jeffrey S. Toussaint, 59, of Albion, struck the Suzuki on the passenger side.

Toussaint was transported to Erie County Medical Center by Mercy EMS for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The property west of the accident, according to county records, is owned by Torrey Farms. According to sources, there were no snow fences installed along the west side of Route 98. NYS Department of Transportation is responsible for maintenance of Route 98, including erecting snow fences where they might be needed.

The Batavian was at the crash scene shortly after the accident and that section of Route 98, as well as a section south of Townline Road, were heavily covered in snow, at least several inches thick.

First responders described the roadway as hazardous when they were arriving on scene.

DOT snow plows arrived at Route 98 about 30 minutes after the accident.

Both mother and son were pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Karen Lang.

New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the accident and is leading the investigation with assistance from troopers and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The investigation is not yet complete.

The Elba Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the accident with mutual aid from Town of Batavia and Town of Oakfield fire departments.

Photos: Reader submitted photos.

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January 31, 2019 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Genesee County Highway Department and Emergency Management Services, has canceled the travel advisory for all of Genesee County as of 5 p.m., Jan. 31.

Motorists are encouraged to continue to drive with caution due to present blowing and drifting snow accumulation on roads and sub-zero wind chill temperatures.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger said the state of emergency has also been canceled.

We can confirm, there is a lot of blowing and drifting snow and low visbility at times on county grounds. Photos and video coming, hopefully later tonight.

January 31, 2019 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

A winter storm warning and wind chill advisory remain in effect for Genesee County until 7 p.m., with the wind chill advisory in effect until 7 a.m., Friday.

Up to three inches of lake effect snow is possible today before 7 p.m.

A travel advisory and state of emergency remain in effect for Genesee County.

January 31, 2019 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, thruway, Le Roy, notify.

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Two truck drivers were cited today in connection with a 21-vehicle pile-up on the Thruway in Le Roy yesterday that hospitalized a state trooper.

Trooper Dominique Wilson sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred at 2 p.m. in the eastbound lane of the Thruway near mile marker 382. Wilson remains hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

Also injured were Michael L. Bushek, age 60, of Palmyra, and Edward F. Dejoy, age 55, of Hamburg. Both were treated and released at Strong.

Tractor-trailer drivers, Richard Magezi, 41, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Michael L. Lambert, 54, of Hartford, Conn., were ticketed for allegedly disobeying a traffic control device, speed not reasonable and prudent, following too closely, and driving across hazard markings.
 
The investigation revealed that 19 vehicles, including 16 passenger cars, one box truck and two tractor-trailers, were involved in the crash.

The preliminary investigation indicates that a tractor-trailer traveling eastbound lost control, jackknifed, and struck the rear of a Trooper Wilson’s troop car, pushing it out into the roadway where the patrol vehicle was then sideswiped by a second tractor-trailer.

There was a ban on tractor-trailer traffic on the Thruway at the time of the accident due to the winter storm passing through the area.

Le Roy fire, with Le Roy taking command, along Town of Batavia fire, and Bergen fire, and six ambulances from Genesee, Monroe and Livingston counties responded to the accident, which left the Thruway closed for several hours.

Top photo: submitted by a reader.

January 31, 2019 - 8:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

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While a travel ban related to yesterday's blizzard-like conditions was lifted last night, this morning a travel advisory remains in effect and is expected to remain in place until 7 p.m.

A winter storm warning is in place until 7 p.m. though the current forecast doesn't show much snow for Batavia today. That, of course, could change.

The photo above from a reader is of a truck rollover accident at Lewiston and South Main in Oakfield that occured around 10:30 p.m. The road is still closed but should reopen soon. The truck was carrying 80,000 pounds of blueberries. Complicating the effort to get it up right were the powerlines overhead. National Grid installed a new utility pole at that location overnight.

Updates on closings (for our prior post on closings, click here):

  • The Richmond Memorial Library will remain closed today.
  • WW at First United Methodist Church on Lewiston Road, Batavia is cancelled.
  • Pembroke Diagnostics -- 860 Main St., Corfu
  • Cardiac Rehab --  215 Summit St., Batavia
  • Le Roy Lab Services -- 3 Tountas Ave., Le Roy (Le Roy Primary Care remains open)
  • Town Hall in Darien is reopening today, but delayed by two hours. UPDATE: Town Hall closing at noon.
  • Classic Optical -- 44 Batavia City Centre, Batavia
  • The Divine Tree -- 19 Main St., Le Roy
  • Chassix is open and employees are asked to report for work.
  • UMMC Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center is closed.
  • High Voltage Tattoo & Piercing -- Closed today
  • Celebrate Recovery Meeting (at Northgate Free Methodist Church) for today, Jan. 31, is cancelled.

Send closings and cancelations to [email protected].

UPDATE 9:01 a.m.: We just spoke with Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. He said the forecasters with the National Weather Service say they expect a lake effect snow band that is currently south of Genesee County to shift north sometime this morning. The band should stay south of the Thruway. This could mean more snow and wind for Batavia, and if the shift does occur, certainly for the southwestern part of the county. He said, "they used words like two-thirds of the county" could be hit by the band. "It's sunny now but we don't want anybody to get lulled into the idea that the storm is past," Yaeger said. The travel advisory and state of emergency remain in effect. He said county officials will reevaluate the situtation around noon.

UPDATE 9:35 p.m.: There's a report of drivers stuck at the Flying J getting agitated. Drivers are reportedly yelling at each other.

January 30, 2019 - 9:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, weather, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Genesee County Highway Department and Emergency Management Services, has issued a travel advisory for all of Genesee County. Motorists are encouraged to avoid all unnecessary travel due to the significant accumulation of snow combined with strong winds and sub-zero wind chill temperatures and zero visibility at times.

 Advisory is in effect from 9 p.m., Jan. 30, until further notice.

Sheriff Sheron reminds motorists that dark traffic signals that are not working are to be treated as a four-way stop. 

January 30, 2019 - 7:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

In order to enact a travel ban today, Bob Bausch, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, signed a letter at 2 p.m. today declaring a state of emergency and that state of emergency is expected to be in place through tomorrow.

The travel ban could be lifted this evening, though, said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. 

"It was busy," Yaeger said. "It came in fairly quickly around noonish and started hitting very quickly. It has started to subside a little bit. Now, it's quieted down quite a bit. We're expecting the lake effect to move south but then reenter back into Genesee County tomorrow during the day."

Besides enabling the sheriff to declare a state of emergency, it gives county officials additional power, though Yaeger said there's no plans to, say, impose a curfew or ban alcohol sales. The county has also not used the state of emergency to ask for assistance from other counties or the state.

"We're continuing to monitor it at the point that we checked with our highway department superintendent and he's checking with the municipalities," Yaeger said. "But because the amount of snow at this point is manageable, we're going to continue to manage that. But that option is always open but at this point (no assistance) is needed."

Even as the snowfall slows down, the county remains on a ready footing. Each county fire department has personnel at their fire halls, City fire has extra personnel on duty, and the local law enforcement agencies have extra officers on patrol.

The Emergency Management Center is operating as a command center but Yaeger said it is at a "level 3" standard of operation.

"We are open and active and we're monitoring the weather and monitoring phone calls that are coming in the different situations so we have good situational awareness of what's going on in the county, so we can react to any of needs that may come up," Yaeger said.

The travel ban serves two primary purposes, Yaeger explained. It helps keep the public safe but it also helps keep first responders safe.

"The weather is our concern with the public out there," Yaeger said, "then the first responders trying to do their their work, to respond to emergencies, first to gain access there and then to be in these elements is extremely dangerous."

In this weather, it's especially important for first responders to get to stranded motorists quickly and safely.

"Because of the extreme cold you cannot be in those elements, or be in a vehicle and not be able to move and not have heat in your car," Yaeger said. "It is not safe at any point."

January 30, 2019 - 6:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia, elba, notify.

George F. Anderson, 38, of 61 Myrtle St., Le Roy, was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Jan. 29 and charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that Anderson failed to exercise reasonable diligence in maintaining control of a 4-year-old child by failing to be aware that the child left the apartment for about 40 minutes and was found crying in the common area of the apartment with no shirt on. Anderson was issued an appearance ticket to appear in Le Roy Town Court at a later date.

Craig L. Fien Jr., 46, 17 Mill St., rear apartment, Le Roy, was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Jan. 29 and charged with one count each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that between September and January, Fien knowingly possessed stolen property consisting of one pump shotgun (color black), belonging to the victim and he allegedly refused to return the gun to the victim when the victim asked then demanded that he do so. Fien was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Steven C. Kazmierczak, 34 of 92 Gilbert St., Le Roy, was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Jan. 17 and charged with one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that during a Probation check of Kazmierczak's residence, he was found unlawfully in possession of a shotgun due to a prior felony conviction. Kazmierczak was issued an appearance ticket and released to answer the charge in Le Roy Town Court at a later date.

Juaquin E. Davis, 23, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with first degree criminal contempt. Davis was arrested at 2:20 p.m. on Thomas Avenue in Batavia after he allegedly violated a Batavia City Court order of protection. He allegedly did so by being in the presence of a protected party and engaging in a verbal altercation with that protected party. He was arrested and issued an appearance ticket for Feb. 5 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

Alexander D. Kibler, 21, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with: speeding; driving while ability impaired by drugs; possession of alcohol in a motor vehicle; and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. Kibler was arrested at 1:24 a.m. on Jan. 19 on Walnut Street in Batavia after Batavia police conducted a traffic stop on a gray 2014 Jeep. Police subsequently allegedly found Kibler impaired by marijuana. He was issued traffic tickets and is due in City Court on Feb. 6. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Dorothy Gray De Roque, 46, of Mechanic Street, Elba, is charged with: DWI -- first offense; refusal to take breath test; and speed exceeding posted 55 mph. De Roque was arrested at 2:23 a.m. on Jan. 27 on Ford Road in Elba. She was stopped for speeding and allegedly found to be intoxicated and failed to submit to a breath test. She was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on her own recognizance. She is due in Elba Town Court on Feb. 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Taylor L. Finnin, 26, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and failure to appear. Finnin was arrested Jan. 26 on multiple arrest warrants after Batavia police were called to a South Main Street, Batavia, address on an unrelated matter. Finnin was arraigned in City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or bond. Finnin is to return to court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

January 30, 2019 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, weather, notify.

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Photos in Batavia from about the one o'clock hour.

Top photo, Batavia Downs.

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Main and Ellicott

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Jackson Street

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Parking lot at the courthouse.

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Ellicott Avenue

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Tonawanda Creek off of West Main Street.

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Centennial Park.

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Centennial Park.

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Genesee Community College

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State and North

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State Vets Home

January 30, 2019 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

 

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All county fire crews requested to assemble in their fire halls and notify dispatched when assembled.

There is an accident with injuries at East Road and Route 20. Bethany Fire on scene.

Le Roy Fire and Town of Batavia Fire working a multi-vehicle accident on the Thruway (Updates will continue on the original post). 

Darien Fire and the Sheriff's Office is continuing to work an accident on Route 20 that is tying up traffic.

UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: Eastbound traffic is being diverted off the Thruway at Batavia. Expect an influx of traffic into Batavia.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: The Sheriff is issuing a travel ban. A news release coming shortly.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Photos of dispatch center added.

UPDATE 2:46 p.m.: A tractor-trailer accident is reported at 6319 Main Road, Stafford. Powerlines are down. The road is blocked. An ambulance is requested to the scene. Stafford Fire dispatched.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: There are multiple reports of vehicles off the road at various locations. A trooper just informed dispatch he's going to a location on East Saile to check on an elderly couple.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Travel ban release:

Effective immediately, a travel ban for Genesee County has been issued and will stay in effect until further notice.  Blowing and drifting snow have created poor visibility and unsafe/hazardous traveling conditions for motorists. 

A travel ban means no travel for anyone except emergency vehicles which includes police, ambulance, snow plows, etc.

Sheriff William Sheron stated, “For your safety, and the safety of the residents of Genesee County, please stay home or where you are until conditions improve.”

UPDATE 3:09 p.m.: For the latest closures, click here. Email closure announcements to [email protected].

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: All Genesee County fire halls now fully staffed.

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: From the National Weather Service:

At 3:56 p.m. EST, two bands of lake effect snow are producing snowfall rates
of up to 2 inches per hour along with visibilities near zero. 
Temperatures are below zero with wind chills near -25 degrees below zero.

...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION... 

Blinding snow and whiteout conditions are occurring. A casual drive or
trip outside can quickly lead to a life-threatening situation without
proper winter gear. Please heed all travel bans. 

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Weather photos post. Click here. (Also, if you have photos or video to share, email [email protected])

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Motor-vehicle accident, unknown injuries, Route 77 near McAlpine. Alabama fire dispatched and Mercy EMS. Also, Stafford just cleared its accident.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: An Indian Falls chief is on scene of the McAlpine accident. No injuries. Whiteout conditions.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: A blizzard warning is in effect until 1 a.m.:

Dangerously cold wind chills and blizzard conditions. Heavy lake effect snow expected. Wind chills as low as 25 below zero. Additional snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph. Winds gusting as high as 35 m.p.h.
 

UPDATE 7:57 p.m.: A state of emergency was declared for Genesee County at 2 p.m. Read about it in this story. Also, the Thruway has removed in both directions. A travel ban remains in effect but could be lifted this evening.

UPDATE 8:06 p.m.: Click here to view a video from the storm taken this afternoon.

UPDATE 8:09 p.m.: A rollover accident is reported at 5969 Ellicott Street Road, near Paul Road. Bethany Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. Minor if any injuries.

 

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January 30, 2019 - 1:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in weather, genesee county news, notify.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Genesee County that will remain in effect through 1 a.m. Thursday.

A wind chill warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday, and a winter storm warning is in effect from 1 a.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday. Expect blizzard conditions and dangerously cold wind chills.

Heavy lake effect snow expected. Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph. Wind chills as low as 25 below zero.

Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes; but frostbite can occur in 15 minutes or less with apparent temperatures of 25 below zero or colder.

Strong winds will cause significant blowing and drifting snow, frequently reducing visibilities to zero. Travel is strongly discouraged.

This is a potentially dangerous situation to be outdoors. If you must be outside, be sure to cover all exposed skin.

January 30, 2019 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, weather, notify.

UPDATED at 2:26 p.m. -- in bold

So far much of Genesee County has avoided the winter storm pushing through Western New York but snowfall and wind started to intensify in the western part of the county within the past 10 minutes.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said it was pretty quiet in the county overnight even though Akron in Erie County got 12 to 15 inches of snow.

"I think the amount of ice on Lake Erie is limiting the reach of the snow," Hens said.

Sheriff William Sheron said a travel ban is now in effect and he is monitoring the forecasts.

The travel ban states that emergency personnel are responding to numerous personal injury accidents and vehicles off the road, so in the interest of public safety, there is to be NO UNNECESSARY TRAVEL.

The wind pattern may have shifted a bit from what forecasters expected as well.

"That's all it takes around here is a little twist in the wind and it goes somewhere else," Hens said.

With the snow band shifting south and Darien, Pembroke, and Alabama seeing increased snowfall now, the southern half of the county could see more snow today. Batavia, Hens said, is still forecasted to receive 6 to 8 inches of snow.

Hens said you can pretty much divide the county into four quadrants when it comes to snowfall. If the storm is blowing in off of Lake Erie, everything west of Route 98 and south of the Thruway gets hit. If the storm comes in from Lake Ontario, there's more snow east of 98 and north of the Thruway.

Hens said he isn't expecting much snow in Bergen and Le Roy today.

"Unless the moisture level picks up and the band expands we may not see much snow," Hens said, adding, "I've been in Buffalo for 47 years off and on and it (snow patterns) still fascinates me."

January 29, 2019 - 6:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, animal neglect, batavia, news, notify.

A former Batavia resident who admitted he lied to police about finding a starving puppy with ulcerated lesions on its paws pled guilty in City Court this afternoon to two misdemeanor counts, one for lying to police and the other for torturing an animal.

Brandon Welch, who is in his mid-20s and now resides in Long Island, appeared before Judge Robert Balbick with his private attorney Frank Ciardi.

Following a brief meeting outside the courtroom between Balbick, Ciardi and First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini, Welch agreed to accept the plea deal offered by the people.

Dressed as he was in the previous court appearance -- in dark slacks and a blue dress shirt -- Welch pled guilty to two Class A misdemeanors: falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (for claiming he found the starving puppy, when he actually had harbored the animal at his apartment on East Main Street for months); and torturing/injuring/not feeding an animal -- a violation of NYS Agriculture & Markets law, Article 26.

Another misdemeanor charge for owning/harboring an unlicensed dog was dismissed.

A felony charge for making a terroristic threat, for allegedly saying he would shoot the next police officer who showed up at his home, will be dismissed at Welch's sentencing in April. The DA's office found it problematic to get the two witnesses who allegedly heard the threat to travel to Genesee County for testimony, so the charge cannot be sustained.

Before accepting the plea deal, Welch made factual admissions to Cianfrini.

She asked Welch if on Oct. 4 he told Batavia police that he found a fawn and white colored pit bull near Route 33 and Seven Springs Road in Batavia when in fact he had harbored the animal at his home for several months. Welch replied yes.

Cianfrini asked if he failed to provide sustenance and medical aid for the puppy who was emaciated -- it was several months old and weighed only 9.2 pounds, had ulcerated paws, and was covered in feces and soaked with urine; Welch said yes.

Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. The Long Island Probation Department will conduct a presentencing evaluation for the judge in the interim.

A stay away order of protection from Welch was issued for two people.

Balbick said there's a range of sentencing options for him to consider in April. The defendant could serve up to a year in jail, either straight time or intermittant time; have conditional or unconditional discharge upon release; and be fined up to $1,000 for each of the two misdemeanor counts.

In addition, Cianfrini asked to reserve the right to seek reimbursement for a tab of $4,593.38 that the county accrued to house and provide medical care for "Opal" until she was well enough to be adopted (and she was), and to house and care for two other dogs Welch relinquished when he was arrested. The judge agreed to her request.

After signing paperwork and shaking hands with his attorney, Welch seemed to leave the courtroom in decidedly better spirits, smiling broadly and energetically walking out to his vehicle.

January 29, 2019 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

Press release:

In anticipation of the impending major snow/wind storm, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Genesee County Highway Department and Emergency Management Services, has issued a travel advisory for all of Genesee County.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid all unnecessary travel due to the expected significant accumulation of snow combined with strong winds and sub-zero wind chill temperatures.

These conditions will undoubtedly create white-out conditions and extremely dangerous travel for all motorists.  

This Advisory is in effect from today from 3 p.m. (Jan. 29) until further notice.

Sheriff William Sheron reminds motorists that dark traffic signals that are not working are to be treated as a four-way stop.

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