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Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Photos: Corfu-Pembroke Winterfest 2015

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Corfu-Pembroke Community Winterfest, pembroke

A look at yesterday's Corfu-Pembroke Community Winterfest.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Photo: Solo singers at Batavia Middle School

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, education, music, schools

Jules Hoepting, a student at Oakfield-Alabama, warms up before her graded soloist performance at Batavia Middle School on Saturday.

Vocal soloists from throughout Genesee County converged on the school for a series of performances that could be part of their grade (depending on the school) and used to determine who will be part of an all-county music recital in March.

The program is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Sarah Wether, from Batavia, warms up with her instructor David Grillo.

The hallways were filled with students, parents with parents, waiting the turns to perform.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Single mother thrilled with new Habitat home in Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, Habitat for Humanity

As a 22-year-old single mother, Megan Curry never thought homeownership was a realistic goal, but then a co-worker told her about Habitat for Humanity and how the organization helped her move into her own house.

Soon, Curry and her son Kayden will be living in their own home on Old Oak Orchard Road, Elba.

The property was donated by MY-T Acres Farm and the Call family. Habitat volunteers, along with Curry, built the three bedroom house from the basement up.

"I never thought something like this would be possible, so the fact that I can be a homeowner and the fact that I helped build my own house is a big deal," Curry said. "It's really empowering."

Pictured are Stephen Curry, Megan's father, Kayden and Megan, her grandmother Phyllis Darling, sister Kayla Curry and her mother Laura Curry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Sponsored Post: Paid summer internship for college students offered by The Batavian!

PAID SUMMER INTERNSHIP FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS OFFERED BY THE BATAVIAN!  The deadline for applications is March 1, 2015. E-mail a cover letter and resume to [email protected] All eligible candidates will currently be enrolled in a college or university and have taken at least one journalism course.
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Two vehicle accident reported on Route 98, Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

A two-vehicle, injury accident is reported on Oak Orchard Road near Edgerton Road, Elba.

Elba Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

A second ambulance is requested to the scene, non-emergency.

First responders report a slick roadway.

Route 98 is closed from Ford Road to Edgerton.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Cold and a bit of snow in the forecast

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Weather forecast from Mark McLean, 13WHAM, our news partner:

On Ultimate Doppler HD we don’t see any widespread precipitation now, but a few flurries are showing up, especially west of Rochester and I wouldn’t be surprised if some light patchy freezing drizzle is mixing in as well. Right now we officially have gray skies with the temperature in the upper 20s near Rochester. Across WNY the temperature is in the upper 20s or lower 30s now and will likely stay in this range through midnight. The hour by hour forecast shows the temperature falling sharply after midnight with a quick burst of snow likely. We expect the temperature will be in the upper teens by morning. Lake snow showers will continue for the morning. On the neighborhood forecast notice that the temperature doesn’t go up from there. We see the temperature staying in the mid to upper teens all afternoon with a few sunny breaks late in the afternoon. On the futurecast we have several storm systems we’re watching for WNY. The first will impact the region Monday afternoon and evening. Light snow is likely with several inches of accumulation possible, especially south of Rochester. The snow futurecast shows the expected snow amounts nicely. Behind the system Monday, Arctic air will continue to cross Lake Ontario creating additional lake snow showers Tuesday.

The weather forecast this evening will stay overcast with a few flurries and patches of freezing drizzle at 7 and 10pm. The temperature will hover in the upper 20s or low 30s during this time. An Arctic cold front will cross WNY overnight and drop the temperature into the upper teens by 8am. A few lake effect snow showers will be possible in the morning.

The 7-day forecast shows Arctic chill sticking around for most of this week. Monday looks bitter cold with the morning starting in the single numbers. We expect light snow Monday afternoon with several inches of accumulation possible. Tuesday will also be frigid. A few passing snow showers are expected with the high once again in the upper teens. Wednesday will still be cold, but not as harsh. With a few sunny breaks the temperature will move into the mid-20s. Another area-wide snow will arrive Thursday with a high in the low 30s. Friday will turn blustery and colder again with lake snow showers, the early day high in the mid-20s. Saturday will be frigid with mostly cloudy skies and a high near 18.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Le Roy beats Warsaw in girls hoops, 47-32

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

A 15-point second quarter built on a foundation of pressure defense helped Le Roy pull away from Warsaw on Friday night in a girls hoops match up.

The first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie, but a series steals and pressured double-dribbles and travels gave the Knights extra scoring chances.

"That was probably the best defense we played all year," said Head Coach Brian Herdlein.

Herdlein added that his girls staying out of foul trouble also helped move the nights to a 4-9 record.

The result was a 47-32 victory.

Erin Cappotelli and Kayla Heimlich scored 10 points each for Le Roy, Paige Biggins, 9, and Ava Vescovi, 8.

For Warsaw, Abbey Monahan had 10 points, Ashton Babbit 9 and Tammi Rutherford, 6.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Weather advisory for light snow and freezing drizzle in effect until 11 tonight

post by Billie Owens in weather

A winter weather advisory for snow and freezing drizzle is in effect until 11 p.m. for most of Western New York. The National Weather Service in Buffalo.

The weather outlook is hazardous and the mix of freezing drizzle and light snow will create a light coating of ice, procuding slippery spots on untreated roads as well as sidewalks and parking lots.

"A surface that appears just wet may in fact be icy," says the advisory.

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Trumpeter plays National Anthem every morning at VA to honor veterans, and his father

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia VA, Frank Panpento, veterans

A few of mornings ago, it was just a degree above zero. I wondered if Frank Panepento was really going to be outside by the giant old flag pole outside the Batavia VA Hospital, brass trumpet in hand, blowing out the National Anthem.

I heard he had been out to the VA every morning for the past several months, honoring the veterans and their caregivers with the Star Spangled Banner.

Panepento's tribute started over the summer, and except for missing a couple of days in August, he's been in a small parking lot near the illuminated flagpole every morning at 7, regardless of the rain, the wind, the cold or the snow.

"It's such a beautiful facility that does such beautiful things, every day, every single day," Panepento said. "I said, 'God give me the strength. Let me do this.' Once I did it one day, I said, 'why can't I do it two days?' Once I did it two days, 'why doesn't someone do it every day?' "

Panepento would like to see other horn players take up the cause, not just here, but throughout the nation.

Next month, he will need neck surgery, so he's been recruiting friends to fill in for him, as well as trying to work out something with Batavia High School to have students take turns with the patriotic wake-up call.

"If you're a horn player, why aren't you playing?" Panepento asked. "For me, if I see an opportunity to play, it doesn't get any better than this. It doesn't for me."

Panepento played for the St. Joe's Drum Corps when he was young, but then put his horn away in 1972. In 1991, he helped form the Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Corps and started playing again.

His father had passed by then. He died while a cancer patient at the VA hospital.

A few months before the elder Panepento's death, he told Frank he was determined to beat cancer. He wanted to go up to the VA and walk on the grounds.

The two men parked in the same parking lot where Panepento plays every morning now, got out of the car and started to walk.

They walked shoulder to shoulder for a few feet toward the flag pole, then Frank's father sagged and Frank caught him. They were still at least 15 feet from the large, white cement base of the standard.

"I'm praying, 'God, please give me the strength to hold him,' " Panepento said. "I couldn't go left. I couldn't go right. I didn't want to drop him. I was able to get him to the flagpole and lean him on that flagpole. I said, 'Are you OK, you OK?' I ran back to the car, praying, 'Oh, dear God, please don't let him fall.' I drove over there and I was able to get him car. That was the last time Dad was out. That is when he came to the stark realization (of) what cancer was doing to him and all the implications of what it meant."

Not long after, Panepento's mother passed while staying at the state veterans home on the same grounds.

Frank's father died at a time when Panepento wasn't playing. Father never heard son play the National Anthem. At the funeral, Frank couldn't play taps for his dad. These are lost opportunities Penepento regrets.

"We forget our veterans," Panepento said. "What do we do? We just remember on Veterans Day, or we just remember them on a particular day, or the caregivers who take care of our veterans. It should be something, it's something I need to do. So when I come here, it's like 'Hello Dad, hi, Ma. Thank you God. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to just be here and play.' I'm just grateful to be able to play for him today. I'm just sorry I wasn't able to do it for him then."

NOTE About the video: I've been out to the VA center four straight mornings at 7. The first morning, I went to the wrong location (didn't miss by much) and didn't see Frank. The next morning, the bitter cold caused technical issues with my camera. The following morning, operator error meant the video was out of focus. Today, video in focus, but wind ruined the sound. So, the video is yesterday's audio with this morning's video. Perhaps only a musician would notice it's slightly out of sync, but as a matter of full disclosure, that's the explanation.

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Sponsored Post: Saturday morning photography classes to begin January 31!

58 on Main, LeRoy is an art gallery and photo resource center and includes Baristas at 58 on Main, offering coffees, specialty teas, and light fare. Photography classes are instructed by Jim DeLooze, professional photographer for over 40 years. Students will see live demonstrations on depth of field, shutter speed, and ISO and will learn how to take their own cameras off automatic settings. Call 585-768-2402 or e-mail [email protected] to register.

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Davis settling in as newest member of the County Legislature

post by Howard B. Owens in county legislature

County government involves a $140 million budget, more than 700 employees in 27 departments, guided by a myriad of state and local laws, a tiered committee and commission structure and covering topics as diverse as criminal justice, mental health, roads and bridges and government assistance programs.

It would be impossible for any new member of the Genesee County Legislature to "hit the ground running."

The shared wisdom among local government observers is it takes at least a year to get even a basic knowledge of how the county operates.

With that in mind, the Legislature's newest member, Darien's Mike Davis, is taking a measured approach to learning his new job.

He's attending every committee meeting he can, making the rounds to various county departments and listening and reading.

"I need to learn what it's all about," Davis said. "I need to go to all of them (committee meetings) right now to understand the breadth of what's going on. Jay (Gsell, county manager) has taken me to on maybe a one-third tour of the county departments to meet the department heads and employees, and I'll continue to do that. We're going to schedule another one next week. I'll try to see who all these people are -- some 700 employees -- and figure out who does what and where."

Davis was a town justice in Darien and he said he's taking the same approach he did when first appointed to the bench: work hard and learn.

"I think I use common sense, and that's how I'm going to approach this," Davis said.

Davis's first committee assignment is Human Services, taking the slot once filled by Annie Lawrence, who is now supervisor in the Town of Pembroke.

Appointed to the office, he'll run for election in November.

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Deputy County treasurer resigns, new one is appointed

post by Billie Owens in genesee county

Press release from Genesee County Treasurer Scott German:

January 23, 2015

It is with very mixed feelings that I announce the resignation of James D. Stack, Deputy County Treasurer, and the appointment of Kevin J. Andrews as my next Deputy. Mr. Stack is resigning effective today to become a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff. James said becoming a deputy sheriff was a dream job of his since he was a young man. I will sincerely miss Jim, not only was he a great deputy to me, he is also a great friend. I wish Jim all the best in his new career.

Kevin J. Andrews, 26, of LeRoy, is my choice to succeed Jim as my next deputy. Andrews currently works in the Treaurer's Office as the Director of Real Property. I have worked with Kevin for four years and he has become a very valuable employee and will fit in well as Deputy Treasurer.

Kevin obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics/Statistics and Financial Economics from the University of Rochester in 2010 and has worked in the Treasurer's Office since he graduated.

Kevin and his wife, Alexandra, are expecting their first child in March.


Scott D. German

Genesee County Treasurer

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 11:51 am

Crash at routes 20 and 238, unknown injuries

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Darien

A motor-vehicle accident, unknown injuries, is reported at routes 20 and 238. Darien fire and ambulance and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: This is a pickup truck vs. car accident. Both drivers are reportedly out of the vehicles, talking. The vehicles are off the road; traffic is not blocked.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: A second Mercy rig is called in lieu of Darien's ambulance.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m.: The Darien assignment is back in service.

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 10:47 am

DEVELOPING: Feds raid residence on Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Midmorning some time, agents of Homeland Security, Secret Service, ICE and State Police raided a residence at 3618 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia.

The agents arrived in multiple vehicles including two black vans.

While we were on scene, agents were pulling out large and small green branches. It looked for all the world like they had cut up the family Christmas tree and were stuffing it into large black bags.

An agent on scene said, "I can't tell you anything, except those are not Christmas tree branches."

Agents also carried out boxes.

When we asked a Homeland Security investigator if we could talk to the scene commander, he said we would need to contact the public information office for information. He provided a phone number. That number is nothing but an endless loop of voice prompts, making it impossible to speak to a real person or even leave a message.

We're are continuing to try and track down further information.  

UPDATE 11:02 a.m.: Reviewing my pictures from the scene at higher magnification on the computer, the branches appear to be marijuana plants stripped of leaves (one branch still has some leaves on it, and they look like marijuana leaves). Will have pictures posted shortly.

UPDATE noon: Karen Wisnowski, spokeswoman for Homeland Security in Buffalo, confirmed there is an ongoing investigation in a joint operation between Homeland Security, Secret Service and State Police, but could not comment further. She said the case is under a court-ordered seal at this time. More information will be released once the seal is lifted.

UPDATE 5:10 p.m.: We checked in with Karen Wisnowski. No new information available yet.

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