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Monday, September 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Blue Devils to honor hall of famers at dinner Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, blue devils, sports

The Batavia Boosters host their annual Hall of Fame dinner Saturday at Terry Hills.

Here are the images of the plaques for each honoree.

For more on the dinner and ticket information, click here.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Pedestrian struck by car on Ross Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A pedestrian has been hit by a car in the area of 224 Ross St., Batavia.

There are injuries. No indication yet how serious.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 3:57 p.m.: A person was transported to UMMC. There was an unrelated accident at 138 Ross Street shortly after this call. It was a property damage hit-and-run with the suspect vehicle last seen northbound but no description was provided.

 

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Law and Order: Man accused of stealing laser from employer and pawning it

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, crime, Le Roy, pembroke, Stafford

Stephen Michael Esposito, 25, of Folsomdale Road, Cowlesville, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and falsifying business records. Esposito allegedly stole a Spectra Precision Model 412 Laser from his employer in Stafford and then pawned it in Batavia, signing a document at the time stating he owned the property.

Robert W. Plantiko Jr., 29, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 1st, robbery, 1st, menacing, 2nd, assault, 3rd, and criminal mischief. Plantiko was arrested on a warrant stemming from an alleged incident Sept. 5 at 105 Watson St., Batavia. Plantiko was jailed without bail. Plantiko was also charged with harassment, 2nd, for allegedly punching another person during an alleged altercation at 7:09 p.m. Thursday at a residence on Ellicott Street, Batavia.

A 16-year-old resident of Roanoke Road, Pavilion, is charged with obstructing governmental administration and hindering prosecution, 2nd. The youth is accused of not allowing police into a residence on Thorpe Street at 10:06 p.m., Friday, when police showed up with a felony arrest warrant for Robert Plantiko. The youth was observed by Officer Frank Klimjack allegedly trying to hide Plantiko inside a kitchen cupboard.

Samuel Gene Coughlin Jr., 18, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Coughlin was charged after police were dispatched at 2:53 a.m. Thursday to the parking lot on Jefferson Square on a suspicious condition complaint. A 17-year-old resident of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was also charged.

Aaron L. Klein, 43, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st. Klein was arrested following an investigation by Officer Marc Lawrence into a property damage accident reported at 2:57 p.m. Sunday at 34 Clinton St., Batavia.

Bobby L. Mobley Jr., 29, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana over eight ounces. Mobley turned himself in on an alleged incident from Sept. 14. He was allegedly found in possession of more than eight ounces of marijuana during a traffic stop on Jackson Street.

Maleak Hakeem Green, 21, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to obey a court order. Green allegedly violated a court order of protection.

David W. Zengulis, 51, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Zengulis was stopped at 9:06 a.m. Friday on Ellicott Street, Batavia, by Officer Frank Klimjack. Zengulis submitted to a breath test and allegedly registered a BAC of .30.

Mckayla J. Kosiorek, 20, of South Jackson Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Kosiorek was located at an address on Hutchins Street while police investigated an unrelated matter. Kosiorek was allegedly found to have a warrant for failure to appear.

Mark T. Zdrejewski, 61, of Meyer Road, North Tonawanda, is charged with four counts of issuing a bad check. Zdrejewski allegedly issued bad checks to a local business. He was arrested on a warrant.

Ty’ree D. Winkfield, 16 of Washington Avenue, Albion, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a Class D felony, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Winfield was stopped by Le Roy PD for an alleged traffic violation. Upon investigation, it was determined the vehicle he was driving was allegedly stolen from Albion. Winkfield was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Charles F. Chidsey, 28, of Clay Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Chidsey was arrested following a complaint of loud music.

Brian Wilson Herke, 29, of Townline Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Herke was stopped at 11:24 p.m. Sunday on Townline Road, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Shannon M. Malone, 42, of Route 98 Road, Varysburg, is charged with petit larceny. Malone is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Arthur Wayne Adner, 66, of Cobblestone Court, Holley, is charged with possession or transport or offer for sale of unstamped cigarettes. Adner was stopped at 11:26 a.m. Sept. 16 on Judge Road, Alabama, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Adner allegedly possessed 1,800 untaxed cigarettes.

Mitchell Andrew Cummings, 23, of Byron Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and a seat belt violation. Cummings was stopped at 11:43 p.m. Friday on Byron Holley Road, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona for allegedly driving without a seat belt.

Amanda Rose McDonald-Mruczek, 32, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for an attempted petit larceny charge. McDonald-Mruczek was arrested following an appearance in City Court for alleged failure to appear on an attempted petit larceny charge. She was jailed on $250.

Timothy S. Spiotta, 46, of Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Spiotta was stopped at 9:20 p.m. Wednesday on Farnsworth Avenue, Oakfield, by State Police.

Roger W. Little, 47, of Byron, is charged with criminal mischief and harassment. Little was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 11:08 am

Hydrant flushing planned for Wednesday around East Main and Bank

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Wednesday Sept. 24 from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area north of East Main Street and east of Bank Street. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

Firefighters learn to move heavy metal in three-day class in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in emergency services, fire service

Over the weekend, firefighters from seven counties in New York, including departments in Genesee County, were in Le Roy for a training class on rescusing people from accidents involving large vehicles.

The Heavy Metal Extrication Class was organized by Tim Hogle, an assistant chief with the Le Roy Fire Department.

"As you can see from some of the scenarios, if something tips over, they're learning what they need to do and what they need to use to get people out of the cars," Hogle said.

On Friday, participants sat through a full day of classroom instruction. On Saturday and Sunday, they were on site at Ron Coniber's shop on Randall Road dealing with rescue situations involving tractor-trailers, box cars, dump trucks, tow trucks and buses.

Locally, firefighters from Stafford, Le Roy, Town of Batavia and City of Batavia participated. Other firefighters came from as far away as Ithaca and Watertown.

"With all the highways that come thorugh Genesee County, from the Thruway to Route 19 to the 490, all of them, we have a lot of commercial traffic coming through here and sooner or later we're going have an accident," Hogle said. "We're going to need to be able to work together throughout the county, using the resources each department has, for a rescue."

If this sort of thing interests you, become a volunteer firefighter. Visit ReadyGenesee.com.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:58 am

The p.w. minor story told in new display opening at HLOM

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, history, hlom, p.w. minor

Jane Read and Anne Marie Starowitz were at Holland Land Office Museum on Saturday morning setting up a new exhibition about the history of local shoemaker p.w. minor. 

The grand opening of the display is Oct. 2.

Employees and retirees of p.w. minor are invited to a preview at 3 p.m. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m.

Many of the items in the display were provided on loan from The new p.w. minor.

 

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:49 am

Richenberg wins sixth straight ARC 5K

post by Howard B. Owens in 5K, ARC 5K, elba, sports

For the sixth consecutive year, Mike Richenberg won the ARC 5K in Elba on Saturday. He finished with a time of 19:06. Claire Skowronski, 12, finished the race in 22:08.

Richenberg overcame a nagging calf injury to notch the win.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

Lindsey Coniber, 13, and Laura Neumann, 12 participated in the race.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Car reportedly hits pole on West Main, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A car vs. pole accident is reported on West Main Street, across from Tops Market.

Unknown injuries.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 6:48 p.m.: Photo submitted by Greg Rada. We've not heard any further transmissions related to this accident.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

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Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 7:58 am

Johnny Bench, from Buffalo to Batavia with a Hall of Fame career along the way

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Downs, sports

Johnny Bench was just a 19-year-old kid from a town of 600 people in Oklahoma when he arrived in Buffalo 47 years ago.

"I didn't venture much beyond the Kenmore District and North Tonawanda," Bench said during an interview Saturday at Batavia Downs when asked if this was his first visit to Batavia. "I was still trying to figure out who I was and who I was supposed to be."

His 98 games as a Buffalo Bison in 1967 helped answer some of those questions.

"I matured (in Buffalo)," Bench said. "I had older players I played with. They gave me a lot of guidance, worked with me, helped me along. It was a great stepping stone, more importantly for the Dom Zannis, the Jim Duffalos, the Steve Boroses, the Duke Carmels, the Frank Obregons and the Gordy Colemans, and there was Dick Stigman, a pitcher, too, and Rollie Sheldon. It was a maturation process. These guys had pitched before. I kept calling games and learning stuff and doing stuff and you had to get the most out them. I felt like I could paint the picture, but I had to pull it all out of them. That was the secret and the thing I learned the most and enjoyed the most here."

That list of former Bisons -- who, unless you were a Bisons' fan in 1967, you probably never heard of -- were all 30 years old or older. Bench was the youngest player on the team, and one of only six players who hadn't yet turned 23.

But through the years, Buffalo stayed with Johnny Bench. All those names, easily recalled. He turned a question about his legacy into remembrance of a time before he became rookie of the year, an MVP, won two home run crowns, 10 gold gloves and played on two world championship teams.

"We played at the old War Memorial Stadium, but then they had the riots," Bench said. "We had to go over to Niagara Falls and play on the old football field with the temporary snow fence. The yardage lines were still there on the infield."

Arguably -- and some of us would say it's beyond dispute -- Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher in baseball history.

We can talk about his 389 career home runs, his 1,376 RBI, his 3,644 total bases, as well as two home run titles and three RBI titles, but suggest he's best remembered as an offensive catcher and he's quick to rebuff the audacity of dwelling on how he swung a bat.

"The 10 gold gloves didn't hurt," says the man whom base runners feared and pitchers counted on to do a very basic thing time after time: catch the ball.

"That was my main job, getting a win for the pitcher," Bench said. "I took great pride in the fact that I wanted to get that pitcher a win and if we got a win for him, we got a win for the team. Individually, I could throw runners out, I could block the plate, I could get hits, I could call a great game, but calling a great game was the most important."

And it was guys in Buffalo, like Zanni, Duffalo, Obregon, Stigman and Sheldon, who taught him to call a great game.

Bench was in town for a memorabilia show at the Downs. So were Pete Rose, Tony Perez and George Foster, along with other sports stars.

It's worth noting, perhaps, that Bench, Rose, Perez, Foster, and the other stars were signing autographs for a fee. Bench and Rose commanded the highest price, especially on a jersey or bat, but they all got paid.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, of course, is that fact that as players, none of them were enriched the way today's stars are lavished with cash. Bench never earned as much as $500,000 in a season and Rose never made it to the million-dollar mark until his final year as a player-manager with the Reds.

So it's not surprising, perhaps, that these heros of so many youths so many years ago would travel to America's small towns, sit under bright lights on folding chairs at plastic tables and sign their names for fans and speculators for a fee.

While Bench was affable and at times chatty with patrons who came through his line about an hour after Rose had finished, Rose seemed detached from the parade of people pushing baseballs, bats, jerseys, baseball cards and 8x10s onto the table in front of him.

An assistant sternly rebuffed a fan who asked if Rose would pose for a picture. No, she said, but he could kneel in front of the table while somebody snapped a keepsake.

Rose didn't even look at the camera.  

Rather than a smile, Rose wore the look of a man who seems beaten down by a decades-long wrestling match with the Lords of Baseball over his legacy.

In contrast, there sat a youthful, smiling Johnny Bench, with his Hall of Fame ring secure on his left hand, scanning the field and letting nothing go unnoticed.

"That's my jersey," he says to a woman with a camera standing off to the side waiting to snap a picture of a friend who will get an autograph.

As a man tries to get a picture of his friend with Bench as Bench signs a picture, Bench tells him to wait. "I'm not looking up," he says.

When the same photographer seems to move the camera before the shutter snaps, Bench says, "that one's not going to turn out," but the quick-release snapper has moved on without noticing.

Without being asked, he poses for another photographer with a bat at the ready.

When he meets a Batavia Muckdogs season ticket holder, he says as he signs, "I don't even know what a Muckdog's baseball hat looks like. I'd like to see one."

The 66-year-old Johnny Bench smiled and signed and kept chatting even in the face of a line dozens of people long. His massive hands -- hands that make grizzly bears stand up and take notice -- etched a beautiful cursive on whatever he was asked to sign.

Johnny Bench is always the team player.

"Winning an MVP award or rookie of the year, it's a fantastic honor, but there is nothing like the feeling though when I walked into the clubhouse after game seven of the '75 World Series and we were World Champions," Bench said. "That's when I knew what it was all about, because every player was a world champion. Every player, every owner, every sponsor, every equipment manager, and all the fans were world champions. That's when you can really share and realize the importance of what team sport is about."

Bench isn't without some pride over his individual accomplishments. When asked to sign a 1972 San Diego Padres game program with Nate Colbert on the cover, Bench smiled, "Old Nate," he said. "I hit five homers in the last week of the season to beat him for a home run title."

In 1972, Colbert had 38 dingers. Bench had 40.

To enjoy a career like Johnny Bench, that's one in a billion, but just getting the chance to go pro for today's young athlete is nearly impossible.

Bench, who went straight from high school to the Reds instructional league team at age 17 in 1965, said today's young athlete should take advantage of the wealth of college scholarship opportunities.

"When I played, only one in every 500,000 kids who played Little League baseball ever signed a contract," Bench said. "I don't know if they want to go up against the numbers, but the fact that there's so many scholarships out there available, I'll still push education every chance I get. Be a good student, study various things, find something you love and be prepared in case athletics doesn't work out."

If you do want to be an athlete, Bench said, work hard, practice, study the sport, prepare, understand the game. Watch the great ones to figure out what they do and how they do it.

"I think Ozzie Smith is a guy who taught kids how to play shortstop," Bench said. "I taught kids how to catch better."

Which brings us to Johnny Bench's final word of advice: Catch every ball.

"My theory in life is, 'catch every ball.' Somebody says, 'my kid wants to be a catcher, what do I tell him?' and I say, 'catch every ball.' If you learn to catch everything that comes your way, then people say, 'wow, you're a great catcher,' or 'you're a great shortstop,' or 'you're a great first baseman,' or 'you're a great businessman.' If they throw stuff at you and you have the answers, they're going to say, 'this guy really knows what he's doing.' People are going to rely on you and they're going to trust you and more things will come your way."

Pete Rose

Tony Perez

Lou Piniella

After the show, Pete Rose stopped at Larry's Steakhouse for dinner. Pictured with Sandy Mullen and Brenden Mullen. Photo submitted by Steve Mullen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 12:34 am

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Person reportedly trapped in hay baler on Alexander Road, Alexander

post by Billie Owens in alexander

A person is reportedly trapped in a hay baler at 10850 Alexander Road. Alexander fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.: A farm worker died in this accident. According to investigators at the scene a farmer and his crew were using a tractor with an attached hay baler and they noticed the baler was not releasing. The farmer and workers attempted to correct the problem and a male became caught in the baler as they were attempting to fix it. It was a newer model baler, investigators said. The accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office and more information is expected to be released later. (Report courtesy Alecia Kaus/Video News Service).

UPDATE 3:36 a.m.: The victim is identified as Scott R. Booth Jr., 23, of 34 Market St., Attica.

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