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Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:58 am

Council hears from public on proposed changes to trash collection law

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection, Genesee ARC

There was nearly a full house for Monday night's public hearing on proposed changes to the City of Batavia's garbage collection law.

Most speakers -- and most applauders -- argued for some variation of "keep Genesee ARC" as the city's official garbage collection agency.

A couple of speakers said the city should get out of the garbage business.

There was no vote or comment by the council itself Monday. Council members did what they do at public hearings -- sat and listened.

The council is considering a proposed change to the ordinance that would take the cost of garbage collection off the tax rolls, end a 28-year relationship with Genesee ARC, and leave it up to each individual resident to contract with a garbage collection company of his or her choice.

Even the speakers who favor free choice said they would go with Genesee ARC if the price was competitive.

"If ARC chooses to provide trash service I will go with them," said John Roach, who supports the proposal to get the city out of the trash business. "It's the right thing to do and a good many people feel the same way."

But many supporters, such as Carol Grasso, said the city has pulled a fast one on residents by proposing a single-payer, pay-as-you-throw tote system and then when people protested, just saying, "OK, we'll get out of the trash business."

"Council may have misunderstood what we wanted," Grasso said. "Many of us wanted it to stay the way it was."

Grasso suggested that if the council votes for the new ordinance, come November, local voters may just "throw out the garbage."

Mary Ellen Wilber suggested that supporters of ARC may just seek the 400 signatures necessary for a ballot initiative to overturn any decision that gets the city out of the trash business.

"We need to do something together as a city and work together," Wilbur said. "You guys need to understand it wasn’t really broken. I don’t know what happened that this came to this point, but it has to be equitable for everybody."

Thomas Houseknecht said the proposed change unfairly increases the cost for city residents who can least afford the increase and offered to serve on a committee that would help the city come up with a better plan for garbage collection.

Several people made such an offer, and even supporters of choice, such as Jim Rosenbeck, said the city hasn't collected enough public input, studied the issue thoroughly and given it enough time.

"Trying to make the decision in two months is unfair to people," Rosenbeck said.

While he also offered to serve on a trash committee, Rosenbeck clearly favors getting the city out of the trash business.

"I don't believe the sky will fall if the city gets out of the trash collection business," Rosenbeck said. "It works in the town. It works in other communities. I think if trash piles up on the streets, you folks are charged with making sure that's taken care of, and I trust that you will."

Donna Rae Sutherland said the city getting out of the trash business is "bad governance" because it's the city's responsibility to provide shared services that benefit all residents.

Part of the economic calculation, she said, needs to include the local impact of Genesee ARC on jobs created, taxes paid, money spent locally -- the whole multiplier effect of local employment.

A trash collection committee should be formed, she said, to come up with a plan in conjunction with ARC that will increase recycling and create shared revenue with the city.

A select-your-own system, she said, is just going to lead to problems.

"Absentee landlords and unruly tenants will certainly clash over who pays and who is responsible for trash collection," Sutherland said. "Neighbors with garbage contacts and business owners with Dumpsters will find other people’s trash added to their own. Pocket parks and green spaces and back alleys will become drop garbage zones and our streets will become more congested with trash vendors."

Roach said, free choice works in other communities and there's no reason it can't work in Batavia.

"Former City Council President Charlie Mallow has moved to Webster where they have this free choice system and everybody has a different service provider," Roach said. "According to the former city council president, it is not a major problem, trucks running up and down the streets or anything like that. It’s workable. Glens Falls doesn’t have a problem. Saratoga doesn’t have a problem. The Town of Batavia doesn’t have a problem. Get out of the trash business. I don’t need anybody telling me who I have to hire."

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Photos: Retiring police officer and firefighter honored by Batavia City Council

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Capt. Jay Steinbrenner, who retired recently from the City of Batavia Fire Department, and Sgt. John Peck, who retired from Batavia PD, were honored Monday night by the City Council with proclamations recognizing their decades of dedicated service to the city.

Top, Steinbrenner with Councilman Brooks Hawley, and below, Peck with Councilwoman Kathy Briggs, and bottom, Steinbrenner, Chief Jim Maxwell and members of city fire.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Supporters of ARC plan to turn out at public hearing tonight on Batavia's new trash law

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

Organizers of the Facebook group "Batavians Want to Keep ARC Trash Collection" have been exhorting their members this week to show up at 7 tonight at City Hall for a public hearing on the proposed trash ordinance.

The new trash law would require each city resident to contract individually for trash collection.

Genesee ARC's director Donna Saskowski has said the agency is ready to go into the competitive trash business, but some ARC supporters are advocating for an ongoing exclusive contract with ARC.

One message:

Hope to see Many People at the Council meeting tomorrow night at 7 for the Public Hearing on the Latest proposed ordinance which would require all residents to hire their own trash contractor by June 1st. If you think it is a bad idea, we really need you to come and show your support and let Council know!

Residents who wish to speak either for or against the proposed ordinance should plan on showing up early and signing in. Speakers will be called to the podium in order of sign-up.

The council will also hold a public hearing on the proposed budget for 2013-2014, which lowers taxes based on the proposal to take garbage collection off the tax roles and have residents become responsible for their own garbage collection.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Sheriff responds to allegation that investigator placed bets with bookie working in fire department

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Sheriff Gary Maha was on vacation last week when The Batavian sought a response from him on allegations raised by Larry Andolina, attorney for Greg Phillips, that Sgt. Steve Mullen had mishandled the investigation of a bookmaking case involving two city firefighters.

Phillips is one of three men, including another former city firefighter, who admitted in December to bookmaking (taking sports bets). 

This afternoon we received the following response from Maha:

Allegations were made through defense counsel (Mr. Andolina) that Steve Mullen had in the past placed bets with his client. Information was that these alleged bets were placed four to five years ago.

As you know, placing a bet is not illegal, however if this was true, it would be a violation of our rules and regulations.

Based upon these allegations, we initiated an internal investigation. Steve Mullen retired prior to the completion of our internal investigation, therefore this became a moot issue as I could not discipline him if these allegations were sustained. All personnel matters are confidential.

Phillips and co-defendants Brian Bordinaro and Lance Engel each entered guilty pleas Dec. 11 to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling, 2nd. Last Tuesday, they each learned that Judge Robert Balbick intends to give them weekend community work details as part of their sentences.

After the hearing, Andolina spoke with the media and said the reduced charge (the bookies were originally charged with the Class B felony of enterprise corruption) was the result of the Sheriff's Office mishandling the case. Pressed for proof, Andolina mentioned Mullen's retirement, but declined to produce any other evidence.

Later that evening WIVB aired a story that more specifically accused Mullen of placing bets, but it was scant on details and offered no factual information to back up the allegation. The story was based entirely on anonymous sources.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

Join The Batavian Club and help support our state championship basketball coverage

Part of the premise of The Batavian Club is your membership helps support what we do. Well, here's a chance to directly help what we do in a way that will have immediate benefit.

Both Batavia and Notre Dame are playing state championship games this coming weekend. I plan on trying to do the impossible and cover both teams (the games don't overlap, which helps).

I estimate the cost of coverage will be about $400. You can help us cover that expense by joining at an annual membership level.

Each new member who joins at an annual level while this post is on the home page will receive a free 13x19 inch print on matte paper of the basketball photo of their choice from the 2012-2013 season. The retail value of the unframed photo is $35 and you'll receive it for free along with more than $300 in gift certificates to local businesses.

After joining via PayPal, e-mail me, howard@thebatavian.com, and let me know what picture you would like me to print for you. Or if you use the downloadable form and send in a check or credit card number (or phone your membership in), write down (or tell us), which picture you would like.

This offer applies only to pictures that I've taken. We'll need to receive your request in one way or another in order to fulfill this offer.

Any businesses interested in sponsoring our basketball coverage should call us at (585) 250-4118.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

Law and Order: Two Rochester men caught allegedly transporting 2 lbs of marijuana through Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, Bethany, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Stafford

Hector Antonio Leon-Figueroa, 31, of Avery Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, speeding and obstructed license plate. Omar Leon-Figueroa, 30, of Curlew Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Hector Antonio Leon-Figueroa's vehicle was stopped at 4:36 p.m. Saturday on I-490, Bergen, for alleged traffic violations by Deputy Kevin McCarthy. During the stopped, McCarthy allegedly discovered the vehicle was carrying two pounds of marijuana. Hector Antonio Leon-Figueroa was jailed without bail. Omar Leon-Figueroa was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Joshua T. Fullmer, 20, of 3124 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. While Batavia police officers investigated an incident at 3:41 a.m. Saturday, Fullmer allegedly approached and shouted obscenities at the officers. He allegedly acted in an aggressive manner and squared off in a fighting posture. Fullmer was subdued and taken into custody. He was later released on an appearance ticket.

Alexander A. Chandler, 21, of 25 Bacon St., Le Roy, is charged with assault, 3rd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Chandler is accused of punching another person in the face several times, causing cuts and and breaking the victim's glasses, while at Denny's, 364 W. Main St., Batavia, at 12:41 a.m. Sunday.

Andrei P. Sliker, 22, 11172 Silver Road, Bethany, is charged with disorderly conduct and harassment, 2nd. Sliker allegedly tried to punch the manager at the Days Inn during a disturbance at 3:25 a.m. Sunday. As officers attempted to take Sliker into custody, he allegedly became belligerent and shouted obscenities.  Sliker was jailed on $250 bail.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 47, of 119 State St., Apt. 4, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She is accused of stealing a laptop computer from another person.

Michael Patrick Sullivan, 50, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sullivan is accused of throwing a box that contained a computer modem at a female, striking her in the head. He also allegedly punched the victim in her chest. Sullivan was jailed on $500 bail.

Fawn Lynn Marie Kaczmarek, 24, of Darien, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Deputies Kevin McCarthy and Patrick Reeves responded to a reported altercation between two people at 9:25 p.m., Friday, and found Kaczmarek allegedly with an infant outside not wearing appropriate clothing for the 33-degree weather.

UPDATE, this just in from the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office:

Deric J. Hewitt, 28, of South Jefferson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana, DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, inadequate brake lights and failure to notify DMV of address change. Hewitt was stopped at 1:30 a.m. Friday in the Village of Perry by Deputy Colin Reagan. Also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle was Hewitt's reported passenger, Sean M. Miller. Hewitt was released to a third party after his vehicle was towed.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

Today's Deals: Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, Bourbon & Burger Co., Ficarella's, Oliver's, and more!

post by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alabama Hotel, 1353 Lewiston Road, Basom, NY: A historic and legendary tavern and restaurant. The Alabama Hotel is famous for its fish fries, but also serves a variety of top-quality entrees, featuring Certified Angus Beef. Now with expanded hours. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia, NY: Fine dining in an atmosphere of casual elegance. Lunch and dinner, steak, prime rib and seafood. Ask about Bohn's catering services and banquet facility. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Color Salon, 35 Center St., Batavia, NY: Our attention to detail, combined with the focus on precision haircutting techniques will ensure that your hair will be your best accessory when you leave The Color Salon. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, up-dos, as well as waxing services. We carry products such as KMS and Paul Mitchell. Now available: Bella Taylor purses! We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Daphne's Restaurant, 241 Swan St., (Off Rt. 63/Ellicott St.) Batavia, NY. Daphne's is destined to become a favorite for any who enjoy something special in a dining experience. Formerly the old St. Nick's Social Club, now unrecognizable to those who used to frequent the club, Daphne's provides you with a warm, inviting atmosphere and decor, which complements the array of wonderful dishes. We offer homemade seafood and pasta dishes, meatballs that are addicting as well as large salads, hot sandwiches & homemade potato chips. Fresh desserts are prepared in our own kitchen (tiramisu has been the top seller so far). We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Give your Valentine the gift of flowers or choose from our selection of Valentine's gift baskets. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.00.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

Greg'ry's Bakery, 13 N. Lake Road, Bergen, NY: The bakery offers a variety of the finest cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, breads, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and so much more. Each treat is made the same as it has been for decades and baked right here. Come in and sample some for yourself! We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Salsa & Curry, 13 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: An authentic Mexican restaurant, offering all of your favorite dishes from enchiladas and burritos to tacos and fajitas, as well as daily Indian food specials. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. Come try one of our many delicious burgers that we have to offer, as well as our HUGE Bomber Sandwich, homemade chicken fingers made to order, and the all-time favorite Dumpster Plate with many choices. We deliver. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY. A retail and special order bakery located in Stafford. Offering a wide variety of items such as cookies, filled cupcakes, quick breads, pies, breakfast pastries, daily. On Fridays, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery offers fresh artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough and rye starting at noon. The custom cakes are out of this world with 3D characters or gorgeous wedding cakes to suit any budget. For all your sweet treats, we have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

SOLD OUT

Note: If you've never purchased Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and processclick here.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 1:49 am

House sitter dies after fire breaks out in Alexander residence known as 'the old school house'

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, fire

UPDATED 7:56 a.m.

A man house sitting for a hospitalized friend at a residence known to neighbors as "the old school house" at 11030 Sandpit Road, Alexander, died Sunday evening after a fire broke out near the front of the building.

The victim has been identified as Scott A. Cramer, 47, of 11000 Sandpit Road, Alexander.

Investigators have determined the likely cause of the fire was electrical.

Cramer was found about 15 feet inside the doorway, which was initially blocked by flames. Once the fire was knocked down and the safety of the crew assured, firefighters were able to enter the residence to look for Cramer.

The Sheriff's Office reports that Cramer was pronounced dead at UMMC.

The fire was reported by neighbors and a member of the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department, who spotted flames coming from the front of the house as he drove past.

Both the neighbor and the firefighter attempted to locate the man inside, but he did not respond to calls and the flames were already blocking the entrance.

"I was hollering," Grant Whitmore said. "I couldn't get anything from the front door, so I went to the back of the house. There was a screen there and I was hollering, but I didn't hear anything."

Whitmore said there was a fire extinguisher near the front entrance of the house, which he tried using, but it proved ineffective against the size of fire that had already developed.

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, said there was only one way in or out of the residence and that was the front door.

Firefighters first knocked down the flames, but then entry was delayed because the area above the entrance was used for storage. There was a TV and filing cabinet in the space and fire crews were concerned about the soundness of the structure at that point.

"They were concerned about their safety, being trapped in there, so they had to make sure it was safe," Yaeger said.

Once found, Cramer was immediately taken out and brought to a Mercy EMS ambulance and transported to UMMC. Medics attempted CPR on Cramer from the time he was brought out of the residence and during his transport to the hospital.

The man was house sitting, watching over the property and taking care of the pets, while the homeowner is hospitalized at UMMC, Whitmore and Yaeger said.

There's no word on the fate of the pets.

The property owner is listed on county records as Joseph Snyder. The structure was built in 1850. The front of the structure, a later add-on, was heavily damaged in the fire.

Whitmore said Cramer had been house sitting for a week, possibly two, and that he often attended church with Whitmore and another friend. 

Fire investigators were working late into the night trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Along with Alexander Fire, Bethany, Darien and Attica fire departments responded to the scene. Town of Batavia's ladder truck was dispatched, but stayed at Alexander's fire hall on standby.

The Sheriff's Office is assisting in the fire investigation.

NOTE: We'll update this story with more information once it's released by the Sheriff's Office.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

House fire reported on Sandpit Road, Alexander

post by Billie Owens in Attica, batavia, alexander, Darien, fire

A working house fire is reported at 11030 Sandpit Road. Alexander and Darien fire departments are responding, and Town of Batavia and Attica are called for mutual aid. The location is said to be at or near "the old school house." Law enforcement on scene reports the propane tanks are shut off but the blaze "is really cooking." They have not yet determined if the occupant(s) are out. They are embarking on a search.

UPDATE 10:22 p.m.: The power company is called to the scene.

UPDATE 10:24 p.m.: National Grid is advised, no ETA given.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.: A patient has been located.

UPDATE 10:42 p.m.: At least one patient suffered multiple burns and CPR is in progress. Possibly another patient is en route to an area hospital.

UPDATE 10:44 p.m.: The firefighters are now focusing on rehabing the structure. themselves as need be.

UPDATE 10:48 p.m.: One person is at UMMC, transported by Alexander #10.

UPDATE 10:51 p.m.: Bethany firefighters have also assisted on this call.

UPDATE 11:03 p.m.: National Grid has a 20-minute ETA.

UPDATE 11:09 p.m.: Alexander #10 is returning to the scene. The sole victim was not the homeowner but a male house sitter.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m.: The Town of Batavia assignment is back in service.

UPDATE 11:17 p.m.: Mercy Medics who responded are told to go back in service.

UPDATE 11:21 p.m.: The power company is on scene.

UPDATE 12:07 p.m.: The sole victim transported to UMMC subsequently died, according to Tim Yaeger, Genesee County Emergency Management coordinator. More T/K.

UPDATE 1:52 a.m.: All Alexander units back in service.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Blues victory over Jets in men's hockey has special meaning to O'Geen family

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hockey, sports

Through 36 years in the league, the entire history of the league, Charlie O'Geen has never held the Batavia Men's Hockey League Championship Cup.

Today he did.

His son, Brian, a teammate, along with other teammates on the Genesee Orthopedic Blues, carried the cup to him after their 4-3 over the Max Pies Jets.

O'Geen is layed up in a hospital in Buffalo.

"I so wish he could be here," Brian said. "I was in tears last night  because I was afraid this was going to happen and he wasn’t going to be here."

The Blues jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Jets fought back, but could never notch that final goal to tie it up.

"We got on them early," said Jeff Rauter, standing in for O'Geen as team captain. "We played a little physical. They like to play physical, so it makes the game go faster. They've got some good players on the team and we just contained them."

To purchase prints of the photos, click here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Laurie Call and teammates stifle Section VI's top scorer to stomp Sherman in Far West game

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Notre Dame, sports

The other basketball hero to come out of Genesee County Saturday was Laurie Call.

Call was given the job of guarding Sherman's Elle Reed, the top scorer Class D Section VI, who averaged 32 points a game coming the Far West Regional Championship game.

Reed was held to 19 points in the contest, and fouled out with more two minutes remaining in the game.

Notre Dame beat Sherman 70-32.

"This wasn't the team we scouted," Sherman's head coach, Mel Swanson, told the Jamestown Post-Standard.

By Swanson's estimation, the Notre Dame girls were much more proficient with three-point jumpers, which helped the Fighting Irish jump out to a quick 20-4 first quarter lead.

Melanie Taylor scored 24 points and Riley Norton added 14 and Emma Francis, 9.

Swanson also expressed some frustration with playing against a private school, which is something Setion VI teams don't face until they match up against Section V.

''It is tough. It's an inequality. Their players played hard and they were very good players and they did great things with the basketball. But when you're a small school like ours that graduates 30-something kids and you have to compete at that level It's just such a different field they get to draw from. .... "

Notre Dame enters the Final Four state championship round ranked #5 in the state and will square off against #2 ranked Fort Edward at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, at Hudson Valley Community College.

PHOTOS: By Bare Antolos. Click on the headline to see more photos after the jump.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Woman severs finger in accident

post by Billie Owens in accidents, pembroke

A woman in her mid-20s had part of a finger severed after her hand got stuck in a piece of machinery -- we did not hear what kind. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding along with Mercy Medics and law enforcement.

The location is said to be near the Flying J Travel Center, north of the Thruway overpass, by a trail. She is roadside. Her left index finger is completely severed at the first knuckle and the ring finger is partically severed at "the last knuckle."

UPDATE 5:57 p.m.: The patient is being transported to Erie County Medical Center. Pembroke and Indian Falls are back in service.

UPDATE 7:50 p.m.: According to a reader, the woman was on a four-wheeler that was towing another four-wheeler with a rope. The woman got her hand caught in the rope.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

When his teammates needed it the most, sophomore comes up big for Blue Devils

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, sports

With six-and-half seconds left in the game, down by two, who are you going to give the ball to? Jalen Smith? Justin Washington? Jamesson Etienne?

How about a lanky sophomore who spent most of the season on the JV squad?

According to Batavia Blue Devils Head Coach Buddy Brasky, Jeff Redband was always part of the plan.

"He's the second best shooter on the team," Brasky said. "I don't care what grade he's in."

For most of the night, the Far West Regional Championship game between Batavia, the #9 Class B seed in the state, against the #1 ranked Olean Huskies, was a prototypical seesaw.

Batavia took an early lead; Olean tied it up. Batavia jumped out in front again to lead at the half, and Olean looked like they were about to put the game out of reach in the third quarter, scoring 21 points against Batavia's 10.

The fourth quarter, though, the fourth quarter belonged to Batavia, who outscored the Huskies 20-12.

"It's all about defense," said junior guard Jake Brasky. "In the beginning of the fourth quarter, we came out, we made a statement. We shut them down."

Even with the Huskies' taking fewer shots and missing the chances they got, Batavia had to claw back from what at one point was a 12-point deficit.

That meant that with less then a minute to go, the game was notched at 60 apiece.

Wil Bathurst, Olean's leading scorer on the season, out maneuvered Redband on a lay-up to put the Huskies up by two.

As the Blue Devils hustled the ball down the court, a missed pass sent the ball bounding back toward Olean's goal.

Washington stumbled after the ball as he got tangled up with a Huskie. Redband sprinted down the court and managed to nab the ball before it went out of bounds.

Coach Brasky called a time out.

That's when he layed out the plan: Washington would bring the ball down the court and head for the basket. If he found a lane, he could go in for the shot, but if his path was blocked, he was told to pass it to Redband waiting in the near-side corner.

"I knew they would be all over Jalen," Brasky said. "They would not let Jalen get the last shot."

As Washington headed toward the basket, Olean's Patrick Scholla stepped in his way. Washington started to fall and he shoved the ball in the general direction of Redband, who was ready, right in the spot Brasky had told him to be.

"I put him there and told him on the bench, 'if it’s kicked to you, you’re going to nail the shot to win the game,' " Brasky said. "That's not exactly how we planned it, but we'll take it."

Redband, Washington, Smith and Jake Brasky were all pretty speechless after the game. It was a wild end to a hard-fought game.

"When Jeff hit that shot, I didn't even know what to say," Jake Brasky said. "I was shocked."

With a battery of television cameras in his face after the game, Redband struggled to find the words to express how we felt. We spoke later and he summed it up nicely.

"It's a blessing because to be on the team for eight games, six, seven or eight games now, and to get the game-winning shot to save all of our seniors' seasons and high school careers, it's the best feeling in the world," Redband said.

Smith said he wasn't surprised Redband came up big when the team needed it.

"I always knew he'd be on varsity eventually," Smith said. "He can shoot and he's a hard worker."

Etienne also came up big in the fourth quarter, scoring six of his 10 points on the night.

Again, Etienne stepping it up was by design, Brasky said.

"We thought we had an advantage high screen and roll because their big guy who was guarding Jamesson was hedging out on Jalen, so that left Jamesson rolling to the basket," Brasky said. "That’s one of our key sets and Jalen was the one who suggested (it). He came to me at half time and said I can hit Jamesson on the roll, so we kind of went to that at the beginning at fourth quarter."

All along, Brasky said he was worried about Olean's shooting guards, Nick Schmidt and Max Portlow.

"We knew it was going to be tough to hold them to 13 or under per quarter," Brasky said. "They have so many weapons. I said to my coaches before the game if their guards shot the ball well, it’s going to be tough for us to win. They’re guards shot the ball extremely well and we still won."

Schmidt scored all 12 of his points in the game on three-point jumpers. Portlow hit two three-point goals and Bathurst added two more.

Each three-pointer in the third quarter brought the Huskies' bench to life, and the whooping and hollering didn't go unnoticed by Washington.

"When the other team gets pumped and starts screaming, I don’t like it," Washington said. "It motivates me to play better."

Brasky told his players not to sweat the hot streak.

"When you live by the three, sometimes it’s fool's gold," Brasky said. "They have good shooters. Their guards are good shooters, but they’re hot and cold. They did get hot, but I kept telling the guys on the bench, they’re going to start missing. Weather the storm. We’re OK. Just get the rebounds when they miss."

And Batavia did get the rebounds, the most important from the likes of Etienne and Redband, who were able to convert rebounds under their own goal into scores.

In all, Redband ended the night with 11 points, including three three-point goals, and five rebounds.

Smith scored 24 points, hitting five three-pointers. Washington had 16 points and 10 rebounds, including nine big grabs on defense.

Bathurst led the Huskies in scoring with 18 points.

Even when his team was down by 12 in the third quarter, Smith said there was nobody on the team ready to throw in the towel.

"Our mentality is to fight to the end, to play to end and we talked about it during timeouts that we need to keep fighting and keep playing," Smith said. "When the fourth quarter started, we started to pick it up. They went on a little run, but our team sticks together and we play with confidence."

The Blue Devils trip to Glens Falls on Saturday is the first trip to the final four for Batavia since Washington was a freshman, when the team got knocked out in the first game. Washington, Smith and Jake Brasky said they're all feeling confident as they head into the state championship series.

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