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January 3, 2014 - 6:59am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, east pembroke.

A vehicle is reported to be on its side on the eastbound Thruway near mile marker 399. Unknown injuries. East Pembroke Fire Department, Mercy medics and law enforcement are responding.

UPDATE 7:08 a.m.: Both occupants are out of the vehicle. Medics will evaluate them.

January 3, 2014 - 4:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Frost bite and hypothermia are possible in as little as 15 minutes for people not properly dressed for the weather, so the National Weather Service is urging people to use common sense.

If going outside, dress in layers of clothing, cover skin, minimize exposure to the cold weather.

The weather service says this morning is bringing temperatures in the low single digits for the area with a wind child factor of 10 to 20 below zero.

"If you are planning to venture out this morning," the weather service says, "use common sense."

January 3, 2014 - 2:51am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A working structure fire is reported at 4054 W. Main Steet Road, the Sunset Motel, Room #12. All available manpower is requested out of the Town of Batavia Fire Department. The motel has been evacuated.

UPDATE 2:53 a.m.: A crew from Oakfield is requested to fill in at Batavia's Station #1.

UPDATE 3:02 a.m.: "We've got to get ahold of this room," says a firefighter as the crews work to contain the fire to Room 12. "...We've got to vent this roof. I don't know how far it's got across these eaves." Smoke is showing from the north gable end.

UPDATE 3:07 a.m.: An engine and manpower from East Pembroke is called to the scene.

UPDATE 3:12 a.m.: There's no evidence of eastward extension of the blaze. They've vented the roof.

UPDATE 3:14 a.m.: National Grid is called in.

UPDATE 3:21 a.m.: Town code enforcement officer Dan Lang is called in, along with the American Red Cross to assist the motel dwellers. "The (motel) owner has no idea where the electrical shut off is," says a firefighter. No ETA for National Grid. A second ambulance is requested, a male with difficulty breathing will likely need to be transported to a hospital.

UPDATE 3:23 a.m.: Command reports fire is out. "Code enforcement Gerald is responding."

UPDATE 3:27 a.m.: They broke a lock to access the electrical circuit panel, which is located at the rear of the motel's west end. There is still smoke in the crawl space.

UPDATE 3:28 a.m.: The smoke in the crawl space is getting heavier. A thermal camera will be used to try and locate its source.

UPDATE 3:44 a.m. (by Howard): The building will need to be vacated for the night. Lodging is needed for the residents of at least four rooms.

UPDATE 4:12 a.m. (by Howard): Some units being put back in service.

UPDATE 4:43 a.m.: Town of Batavia is back in service. Firefighters contained the fire to a single room. Two tenants need to be relocated.

January 2, 2014 - 7:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Alabama.

Investigators found no mechanical issues with a car that crashed on Ledge Road, Alabama, in August, and split in two after striking a utility pole.

The accident claimed the the life of a 10-year-old Batavia boy.

The findings are part of a final accident report filed in October and obtained today by The Batavian through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The driver, the boy's father, Shawn P. Wolcott, told investigators the day of the accident that he had taken the car into mechanics several times because of issues with the steering and that prior to the accident he felt the car wobble and heard a pop or a knock.

Deputy Nathan Balduf, certified by the state for post-accident mechanical inspections, thoroughly examined Wolcott's 2004 Chrysler 300 and found no mechanical deficiencies that would have contributed to the accident.

Sgt. Bill Scott, a lead investigator for the Crash Management Team, concluded in his report that all the evidence pointed to the sedan drifting off the road either because Wolcott fell asleep, became unconscious or was otherwise distracted.

The Chrysler's front passenger fender struck a utility pole on Ledge Road. "After initial contact," according to the report, "the vehicle rotated counter-clockwise causing the vehicle to split in half."

Wolcott, who was uninjured in the crash, exited the front half of the vehicle as soon as it came to rest, according to witnesses, and pulled his son, Shawn Jr., from the back passenger seat.

One person reported seeing somebody performing CPR on the child.

Shawn Jr., was flown by Mercy Flight to Mothers and Childrens Hospital in Buffalo. He died five days later.

Wolcott told investigators he was driving to the reservation to buy a carton of cigarettes.

The accident was reported at 8:18 a.m.

Two people -- including his estranged wife and a person on probation with multiple arrests -- reported to authorities that Wolcott had been partying the night before and consumed drugs and alcohol. Wolcott denied the accusation to investigators.

Deputy Lonnie Nati, a certified drug-use recognition expert, was the first deputy on scene and did not detect the odor of alcohol on Wolcott and observed nothing to indicate Wolcott had consumed any drugs.

Investigators were also told that Wolcott was transporting two bags of marijuana in the trunk of his car, but a thorough search of the vehicle turned up no cannabis, though baggies were found that may have contained marijuana (based on odor) at one time.

Wolcott did have a prescription for hydrocodone for carpal tunnel pain in his wrists and he told investigators he had taken a pill the morning of the accident, but he'd been taking the prescription for years without incident.

According to the report, within the three years prior to the accident, Wolcott had taken the car in for service or repairs at multiple local garages, including Monroe Muffler, Midas, Dunn Tire, Castilone Chrysler, Chesley Automotive and Zirbel Automotive.

One person at an automotive shop told an investigator that Wolcott treated the car "like it's his only possession."

Wolcott told an investigator that a mechanic at Castilone, where the car was taken in April, said that the balance was missing from the rack and pinion and that the rack and pinion would need to be replaced.

The repair, he said, would cost $1,200, which he couldn't afford.

Repair receipts obtained by investigators from Castilone mention nothing about any problem with the rack and pinion, though notes indicate that Wolcott did complain about the handling and steering of the car. Wolcott reportedly told a mechanic that the "left front wheel feels like it's going to fall off."

The right front caliper, front rotors and pads were replaced during that visit.

In March, 2010, Wolcott had the front sway bar links replaced at Chesley's.

The struts were replaced by Monroe in late August, 2010. Monroe did alignments on the car in early August, 2010, late August, 2010 and September, 2010. Chesley's did a wheel balance in October of that year.

January 2, 2014 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Batavia was hit with a full blast of winter today with cold, wind and snow, but life went on.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory for this evening indicating we can expect more of the same overnight and travel conditions could be difficult.

Above, Shaun Coburn, a carrier for the Batavia Daily News, delivers papers on Lincoln Avenue.

Tim Kemp, on Lewis Avenue.

Postal carrier Donna Buckenmeyer delivers mail on Lewis Avenue.

Rick Adams on Ellsworth Avenue.

January 2, 2014 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NYSP.

Press release:

The New York State Police along with UNYTS are giving the gift of life by hosting a blood and registry drive Jan. 3 at the State Police barracks at 4525 W. Saile Drive, Batavia.

“The New York State Police family is well aware of the importance of giving blood or by donating or receiving organs as we have seen both sides. Members and members' families have given or have benefitted from the gift of life,” said Trooper Victor Morales Troop A, public information officer.

The drive is being held during the most critical time of year for blood and is in conjunction with the UNYTS Holiday Heroes Drive, which began on Dec. 20.

“Donating blood during the Holiday Heroes campaign is an easy way to support and to give back to our communities. This blood drive in Batavia is one of three locations that we are holding drives, the first was in Clarence and the next will be at the Lockport barracks on January 8th,” said Major Michael Cerretto.

The blood drive runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include Donate Life Registry drive as well, where they’ll be encouraging the public to sign up to become organ donors on the NY State Donate Life Registry.

While walk-ins are welcome appointments can be made by contacting UNYTS at 716-512-7940 or www.unyts.org (Sponsor Code: 1983-Batavia or 1985-Lockport)

January 2, 2014 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Darien.

Rob and Carol Magoffin took delivery of 9-month-old beefers Monday and as soon as the cattle arrived, they got spooked, ran and broke through a fence.

The calves haven't been seen since.

"I've been looking for them for four days," Rob said.

He bought them to raise as meat for his own household. He and Carol also have a few goats and chickens.

Their hobby farm is located in the area of Colby and Sumner roads, Darien.

One calf is all black and the other is brown with a brown and white face.

Since Rob had just taken delivery of the calves, there are no identifying tags or markings on them.

If you know of their whereabouts or see them, contact Rob or Carol at (585) 813-3881 or (585) 813-2769.

January 2, 2014 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A two-car accident, with one person complaining of head and neck back pain, is reported at East Main Street and Masse Place in the city. Mercy medics are on scene.

UPDATE 12 p.m.: The patient is being taken to UMMC.

January 2, 2014 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Ellicott Street.

The weather can only be described as nasty. It's 10 degrees, about four or five inches of snow is falling and it's still coming. The breeze is strong enough to add a pretty strong bite to the already low temperature.

And more is on the way. The winter storm warning remains in effect through tomorrow.

January 2, 2014 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Press release:

Due to the Wind Chill Advisory in our area for the next two days, the Batavia Youth Center will be closed today and tomorrow (Jan. 2, 3). It is not safe for the children to be out and exposed to these cold temperatures. The Youth Bureau and Youth Center will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 6, 2014. 

UPDATES:

  • Red Osier in Stafford is closing tonight due to weather.
  • The county's swearing-in ceremony scheduled for this evening has been postponed and will take place Tuesday.

 

January 2, 2014 - 10:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

A 28 year old Le Roy man accused of stealing high voltage wire didn't appear for his sentencing today reportedly because he's been hospitalized at Strong.

Meanwhile, Judge Robert C. Noonan said that he's been notified Michael A. Nicometo, of 45 North St., hasn't reported to Genesee Justice per the terms of his release under supervision since Oct. 30.

In November, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nicometo's attorney, Brian Degnan, was given until close of business tomorrow to produce documentation that his client is indeed hospitalized.

"I have no problem picking a date (for Nicometo's next appearance), but if he's at liberty and located, he will be brought in," Noonan said.

Nicometo entered a guilty plea Sept. 20 to one count of third-degree burglary on an Alford basis. An Alford plea means the defendant is not admitting to the crime, just that the evidence, if presented to a jury, would likely lead to his conviction.

He was indicted by a Genesee County grand jury in early September on two counts of burglary, 3rd, and one count of grand larceny, 3rd.

Police arrested Nicometo in March following an investigation into the theft of high voltage wire from industrial complexes in the Le Roy area. He and an alleged accomplice were later accused of doing $32,000 in damage to the Dolomite facility in Le Roy.

The new scheduled sentencing date for Nicometo is 9 a.m., Jan. 17.

January 2, 2014 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The National Weather Service has revised its estimate for our weather over the next 24 hours, raising its alert from an advisory to a winter storm warning.

Heavy snow with a bit of wind is expected now through 6 a.m., Friday. From 4 to 8 inches of snow could fall today and another 2 to 4 inches tonight.

There's a wind chill advisory in effect from 4 p.m. until noon, Friday, with wind chill of 15 to 20 degrees below zero.

Winds will be 10 to 20 mph creating, at times, visibility under a half mile.

Travel will be difficult at times, the weather service warns. Use caution.

January 1, 2014 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts.

In 2013, The Batavian was visited 5,909,231 times and we served 9,794,627 page views. That's up from 2012 when there were 3.8 million visits and 5.4 million page views.

Here are the most viewed stories for 2013:

It's been four months since I posted the monthly top 10 most viewed stories, so below are the top posts for December, November, October and September.

December:

November:

October:

September

January 1, 2014 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy.

A chimney fire is reported at 7231 Lyman Road, Bergen.

Bergen fire is responding with mutual from Le Roy.

The first chief on scene reports smoke coming from the structure.

At the same time as this call, Le Roy has a call in the village for medical assistance. Pavilion is being dispatched mutual aid.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: Le Roy is back in service.

UPDATE 7:14 p.m.: Bergen is back in service.

January 1, 2014 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in year in review.

To purchase prints click here. If you click that link, you can also view a version of the slide show that includes captions.

January 1, 2014 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A fire is reported at Oak Orchard Road and West Saile Drive.

A person reportedly ran into a business and said there was a fire and a person from the business called 9-1-1.

Town of Batavia fire responding.

UPDATE 1:27 p.m.: A chief on scene reports it's a controlled burn at Offhaus Farm. Batavia back in service.

January 1, 2014 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Cold, wind and snow are in the forecast for this evening, though snowfall will be no more than four inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The wind chill factor will make it feel like it's 15 to 20 degrees below zero.

Winds of 15 to 25 mph will create blowing snow and add to possible white-out conditions. Visibility could be down to a half a mile at times.

Use caution when traveling and dress warmly.

January 1, 2014 - 10:25am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, Oakfield, fire, Alabama, east pembroke.

A possible chimney fire is reported at 6842 Fisher Road, Oakfield. Flames were seen shooting from the chimney, but no flames or smoke are showing now, says a firefighter. The residence has been evacuated. Oakfield fire is on scene. Mutual aid response was cancelled but units are asked to stand by in their quarters from Alabama, Elba and East Pembroke.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: Oakfield fire back in service.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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