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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Weather causing problems for trucks traveling through Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Tractor-trailers are finding it's tough going on Route 20 and on Route 77, Darien.

Several trucks are blocking Route 20 between Bowen Road and Darien Alexander Townline Road.

There are also trucks backed up on Route 77.

Darien Fire Police are requested to Route 20 to help with traffic control.

Salt trucks and plows are requested to both locations.

UPDATE 11:29 p.m.: Route 20 being reopened.

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

CSX train leaking diesel fuel on mainline in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen

A CSX train is reportedly leaking diesel fuel while stopped on the mainline between West Bergen Road and Dublin Road in Bergen.

Bergen fire dispatched.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: (on scene) West Bergen is blocked by stalled train. Unknown how much fuel has spilled. ESU team responding. 

UPDATE 4 p.m.: The housing on a brake broke and sent shards of metal into the fuel tank, causing two puncture points. An estimated 1,000 gallons of fuel leaked out, about 500 at the spot where the engine stopped. CSX a is bringing in a crane to lift the engine so the wheel can be replaced. CSX crews are cleaning up the spill, which is confined to the gravel track bedding, under the supervision of DEC. Bergen fire has cleared the scene. The crossing at West Bergen Road will be closed for several hours. 

Shredded wood at rail crossing on West Bergen, caused by the damaged brake cover.

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Accident reported on West Main Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A motor-vehicle accident is reported in the area of 306 W. Main St., Batavia.

Mercy EMS requested to the scene to evaluate a person complaining of chest pain, believed to be from a seat belt.

UPDATE 1:12 p.m.: City fire is back in service.

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Hawley says election shows deep Upstate and Downstate division

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), in response to the deep divide between Upstate and Downstate New York revealed in the recent elections, is renewing his push for his “Two New Yorks” legislation, numbered A00391. This legislation would permit counties to place an initiative on the ballot to poll citizens on whether or not they want to see New York separated into two states. Hawley believes this is an important first step toward true representation for Upstate New York.

These recent elections have made one thing clear: New York City has a tight grip on the electoral politics of this state, and it is not working for Upstate New York. Longtime Upstate New Yorkers are being driven out of the state they were raised in because of oppressive taxes and the lack of well-paying jobs,” Hawley said. “I’ll be making my ‘Two New Yorks’ legislation a top priority to find out if Upstate New Yorkers want to take the step to separate from New York City and Downstate interests.”

The upstate/downstate divide was made abundantly clear in this year’s gubernatorial elections, where Gov. Cuomo’s entire margin of victory came from New York City alone. He won New York City by 569,278 votes, but only won the election by 480,605 votes. This means that without New York City, he would have lost and New York’s next governor would be someone more aligned with the Upstate priorities of lower taxes, a better business climate, and the restoration of Second Amendment rights.

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Photos: Mid-November snowfall in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

There's been steady snowfall in Batavia all morning. Wet snow. Just an inch or two.

There remains a lake effect snow warning in place for the region. The forecast for Genesee County is for five or six inches of snow through Wednesday. Portions of Erie County may be harder hit with up to two feet of snow.

Top photo: Ellicott Street

Centennial Park

Centennial Park

Ellicott Street from Court Street

County Building #1

Main Street

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Photos: Free coats from firefighters at Jackson School

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, IAFF Local 896, Jackson School

Fire Chief Jim Maxwell and Principal Diane Bonarigo help a student at Jackson School try on a new winter coat at the school this morning.  

IAFF Local 896 gave out about 90 winter coats to students at the school.

UPDATE: Here's some additional info about the coat distribution:

City of Batavia firefighters, Local 896 distributed 90 brand new 100-percent American Made winter coats to children grades K-1 at Jackson primary. This is the second year firefighters have partnered with the national not-for-profit Operation Warm. More than $3,600 was raised to provide the coats. Local 896 would like to thank all who supported this great program. It truly is more than a coat. The coats give children a sense of pride having something brand new and all their own. New coats also promote a healthy lifestyle for children during the winter months and having a positive impact on school attendance.

Firefighter Adam Palumbo

Firefighter Chuck Hammon stretches out his arms to show a student how to test the fit of his new coat.

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

Car well off roadway, possible injuries, on eastbound Route 490

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Le Roy

One vehicle is reported to be way off the road and there may be injuries in the area of mile marker 2.8 Route 490 eastbound. Le Roy fire and Mercy medics are on scene. The location is between the Le Roy and Bergen exits. Law enforcement is also on scene.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm

UPDATED: All-black female kitten with studded collar and pink bell found across from Williams Park

post by Billie Owens in animal rescue, lost pets

Here's an APB from reader Marilyn Dickinson:

This cute kitten was found at 8 p.m. on Friday in the Pearl Street neighborhood directly across from Williams Park. It was scared and hungry. Neighbors said they first saw the kitten a few days before.

She is totally jet black with no markings (a Bombay perhaps?) and looks to be 6 to 8 months old. She is wearing a studded collar with pink bell and a flea collar. Extremely friendly, likes being indoors, and continues to purr, purr, purr.

I called the animal shelter to learn if an owner called asking about it but no one had. We will be taking the kitten to the shelter when they have room.

If you're the owner or you know who is, please call Marilyn Dickinson 585-356-9398 (cell) ASAP.

UPDATE Nov. 20: From Marilyn Dickinson on Nov. 18: "Thanks to those who shared my post on FB and to The Batavian <https://www.facebook.com/thebatavian> for the APB on the kitten. I received a call from the owner a few minutes ago who saw the pic on The Batavian. I returned 'Patches,' along with the supplies and food we purchased, to the family who lost her last weekend. The kitten crossed Main Street traffic..perhaps her name should be "Lucky!" They were grateful and the children so happy to get her back home...before my husband kept her - awww!

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Smoke spewing from mobile home in West Main Street trailer park, Batavia

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

Smoke is reportedly coming from a mobile home in the West End Trailer Park at 4016 W. Main Street Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 2:04 p.m.: A chief on scene says someone is burning leaves, although it could appear to the caller that the smoke was coming from the mobile home itself.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

UPDATED: First lake effect snow expected some time after Monday evening

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The county's first lake effect snow of the season is predicted to hit between Monday evening and Wednesday morning.

Only one or two inches of snow accumulation are expected in the most persistent areas, but with wind, visibility could be down to a quarter mile at times.

Blowing and driving snow could make travel difficult.

Forecasters say there is some uncertainty at this time as to the timing and placement of heavy lake effect snow.

There is a storm watch in effect.

UPDATE 4:44 p.m.: The forecast has been upgraded to a lake effect snow warning, in effect from 5 p.m. Monday through 1 p.m. Wedneday. The weather service says to expect light to moderate snow tonight, followed by very heavy lake effect snow. Accumulations could total up to 6 inches. Winds, southwest 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph, will result in near blizzard conditions at times. Visibility will be near zero at times later Monday and the morning commute is expected to be slippery and slow. Some roads may become nearly impassable.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

Batavia can't overcome rash of red zone turnovers in Class B regional championship game

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

Six times during Saturday afternoon's regional championship match at Buffalo's All High Stadium the Blue Devils were on the brink of putting six on the scoreboard, and six times Batavia let the opportunity slip away.

The blown opportunities alone represent more points than Cheektowaga managed on their own in the Class B matchup.

"You can't win football games when you do that," Head Coach Brennan Briggs said after the 35-16 loss.

In five of the six times the Blue Devils reached the red zone but failed to score, Cheektowaga got the ball back on turnovers.

"It's disappointing turning the ball over so many times, but that's the game of football, Briggs said.

The other time Batavia came up short -- literally came up short -- was in the closing seconds of the half when Batavia had the ball inside the five with 1st and goal to go.

When fourth down rolled around and less than 10 seconds on the clock, the ball was two inches from the goal line. A Cheektowaga off sides put the ball on the one-inch line.

Batavia couldn't punch it in.

A score there would have made it 21-21 at the half.

Batavia's game plan called for the offensive to use the ground game, grind up precious minutes off the clock and keep Cheetowaga's quick-strike offense off the field as much as possible.

The fewer times the Warriors' Marshawn Gibson touches the ball, the better for any opponent.

Even though Gibson still carried the ball 12 times for 146 yards, plus an 81-yard reception, for four touchdowns, that part of the game plan worked.

On the first drive, Batavia learned that what film study revealed was true: Give the ball to Dominick Mogavero and let him chew up yards and the clock.

Time of possession tilted heavily in Batavia's favor, 33 minutes to 15 minutes, and Mogavero carried the ball 32 times for 160 yards.

"I feel a little bad for Anthony Gallo because he's such a good back, but our style of what we were doing, grinding it out, we saw how well that can work on that first drive, so we stuck with Dom because he's got a little bit more to him," Briggs said. "He just did a great job offensively and defensively."

Batavia made it look easy on the first drive of the game, scoring on a six-yard pass from Greg Mruczek to Gallo, but Cheektowaga struck quickly on its own first drive, as Gibson streaked 74 yards for a touchdown.

With the score 14-7, Briggs once again made a gutsy fourth-down play call. This time, a lateral to Trevor Sherwood who threw the ball cross field to a wide open Ryan Hogan for a 32-yard TD.

Then the wheels started to come off. A fumble, an interception, the failed goal line opportunity, and more fumbles and another interception in the second half just put Batavia in too deep of a hole.

Still, 2014 was an amazing season for the Batavia Devils, going 6-1 in the regular season and winning the program's first Section V title since 1991. The loss doesn't diminish a turnaround season.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Briggs said after the game. "We're very disappointed in the loss. We were hoping to keep moving on, but a Class B section V title is something for Batavia to be proud of and I think we can build off of this and do a lot of great things after this."

Mruczek, Gallo, Mogavero, along with Trevor Sherwood, Malachi Chenault, Noah Dobbertin and Danny Williams will all be back next year.

That's the core of any potential winning team right there, plus there are players in the pipeline, either from JV or varsity, ready to contribute.

"This (season) helped the underclassmen of Batavia football realize how important it is to be there in the off season," Briggs said. "Maybe we will get a little bit more commitment this off season from a kid who doesn't want to be there. We have a very good nucleus of kids coming back and I can't wait to get them going."

Top Photo: Gallo with the first score of the game.

Cheektowaga's Hakiem Black with a TD reception in the third quarter.

Dom Mogavero

Mruczek hands off to Mogavero.

Mogavero looks for a hole with Cheektowaga's Dylan Romanczak in pursuit.

Gunner Rapone wraps up Gibson in the backfield in the fourth quarter for one of the star back's rare loss of yardage runs.

Sherwood alone on the bench with his thoughts in the closing minute of Batavia's 35-16 loss to Cheektowaga.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 10:01 am

Maple Grove proves too fast for Le Roy in Class C regional championship

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

It was one of those days for the Le Roy Oatkan Knights. One of those days when nothing goes right.

It didn't go right on the opening kick off, which Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake's Mitch Padilla returned the ball some 80 yards to set up his team's first play from scrimmage on the Knight's two-yard line.

It didn't go right every time Le Roy had the ball. Not a single drive advanced further than the Dragons' 35 yard line.

For the first time all year, the Knights, who came into the game undefeated and the state's top ranked team in Class C, failed to score. 

As a coach said after the game, "we got beat by a better team. There's no shame in that."

Head Coach Brian Moran conceded his squad just couldn't match up against Maple Grove's speed.

The speed put defensive players in the Knights' backfield to stymie runs and pressure QB Mike McMullen. The speed opened holes for the fast and elusive Ryan Miller, who carried the ball 23 times for 208 yards and four touchdowns.

"That's one of the best Class C teams I've seen in 26 years," Moran said. "They deserve a lot of credit, their coaching staff and their kids, and I wish them all the best."

There was some hope that this talented Le Roy football team could have been the fourth team coached by Moran to reach the state finals, but it's never easy to win games in the post season. The level of competition gets better every week and you don't know how you match up until you play the games.

Moran finishes a 203-win career with a loss, but that isn't what was on his mind during the post game interview.

"I'll think what a pleasure it is to work with the kids," Moran said after being asked to reflect on his time as Le Roy's head coach. "We talk about it all the time, the wins and losses and the sectional titles, but the thing I'll miss the most is the kids."

There were clearly tears welling up behind Moran's Ray Ban sunglasses as he spoke.

Le Roy gained only 95 yards total offense, with 75 through the air as McMullen went 10-26 passing.

Most of McMullen's completions came on swing passes and short routes. The Dragons' defense simply gave him no time to get the ball down field accurately and speedy receiver Ryan McQuillen was double-teamed all afternoon.

"We knew coming in, watching the films, they were going to do that," Moran said.v"We tried to prepare for it, but to be honest with you, we couldn't match up in our preparation with the speed off the corners and their outside linebackers."

Le Roy was held to 20 yards on the ground, with Tom Kelso rushing for 19 on 10 carries.

Maple Grove's attack was entirely ground based. The Dragons' had 371 yards total offense. There wasn't a single yard of offense gained through the air.

The Dragons' advance to the state championship semi-finals with an 11-0 record.

"I'd be surprised to see anybody step up to the speed that they have in the rest of the state," Moran said.

Previously: For Brian Moran, the wins are nice, but boys becoming men is the bigger reward

Top Photo: A.J. Hulton hands off to Ryan Miller and Mitch Padilla runs along side to help disguise the direction of the run play.

Tom Kelso dragged down in the open field after a pass reception.

A Le Roy player with positive yardage late in the game. The ball was marked two yards behind where he's about to go out of bounds.

Mike McMullen pressured during a pass play.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Blue Devils drop regional game

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, high school spprts, sports

Batavia fell to Cheektowaga in the Class B regional championship game at All High Stadium in Buffalo on Saturday 35-18.  

Five red zone turn overs and an inability to punch the ball in from less than a yard out in the closing seconds of the first half doomed the Blue Devils. 

more coverage later. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Fierce advocate for Agent Orange victims dies, was Vietnam vet, Bronze Star medalist, author and scholar

post by Billie Owens in Kenneth J. Herrmann

The sick and disabled children of Vietnam lost a great champion on Nov. 2 -- an East Pembroke resident who worked tirelessly to help them. Kenneth J. Herrmann Jr. died that day at his home after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

He was an associate professor in the Department of Social Work for the College at Brockport for 37 years. He was also a Vietnam veteran who earned a Bronze Star medal for service in the Army from 1968-1969.

The devastation of Vietnam and victims of the highly toxic chemical herbicide Agent Orange were at the core of his lifetime passion for social work, education and aiding children.

He created and served as director of the Brockport Vietnam Program, a global, service-learning, study-abroad program. In addition, he was president and executive director of the Danang QuangNam Fund, Inc., (also referred to as Agent Orange Children) a nongovernmental organization he started in 2001 to provide direct monetary aid for Vietnamese victims. (His wife, Susan, is now in charge of the fund.) He was proud of receiving a Certificate of Merit from the Danang People's Committee for his efforts.

Herrmann wrote several books about his experiences: "I Hope My Daddy Dies," "Mister, I'm Nobody's Child," and "Lepers & Lunacy: An American in Vietnam" (also published in Vietnamese), and released in March by Berkeley Press, his final book "Child Welfare Practice: A Conversation About Reality."

He was also featured in a post-war documentary featuring Brockport students called "Going Back," which is about three vets returning to Vietnam to do humanitarian work. It's theme, Herrmann had said, is essentially making peace with yourself in order to make peace with the war.

That is hard for anyone, and for the people forever changed by Agent Orange, it is harder still, impossible for many. The compound was used from about 1965-70 and was intended to deprive farmers and guerilla fighters of clean water and food in the hopes they would move to areas more under U.S. control. Killing foliage also helped make the enemy more visible. No one and nothing was spared in its wake -- soil, wildlife, the entire ecosystem -- and when the Vietnamese people ate the food, they ingested the chemical, thereby passing down generation after generation, a host of chronic, debilitating health problems.

More than 20 million gallons of herbicides and defoliants were sprayed over 6 million acres of forests and fields, according to the federal government. The substance was later determined to be in violation of the Geneva Agreement and its use was gradually stopped.

(Agent Orange is not to be confused with napalm -- a toxic, jelly-like substance that, when ignited, sticks to almost anything it contacts and burns it in minutes.)

According to the Red Cross, more than 4 million people died were exposed to Agent Orange, and as a result, 2 to 3 million people spanning three generations and counting have died or suffered from many kinds of illnesses, diseases or severe birth defects. The numbers of those affected -- both here and abroad -- have been disputed, but not the longstanding and widespread scope of the noxious compound's impact.

Forty-nine trips were made by Herrmann to Vietnam, including his first post-war visit in 1998. When interviewed by The Batavian in 2010, he estimated that about 13,000 victims of Agent Orange and their families had been helped up to that point, thanks to donors and humanitarian workers like himself who support the Danang QuangNam Fund, Inc.

For his full obituary, click here: http://thebatavian.com/obituaries/45495/kenneth-j-herrmann-jr

Here are links to our previous coverage:

http://thebatavian.com/blogs/diane-dole/batavia-veterans-mission-helping-victims-agent-orange/14752

http://thebatavian.com/blogs/philipanselmo/east-pembroke-veteran-part-documentary-post-war-vietnam/4458

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