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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Police looking for armed man who tried to rob Family Dollar in Batavia this morning

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia Police are looking for a male, possibly Hispanic, described as about 5'2" and wearing blue jeans, who attempted to rob the Family Dollar on East Main Street this morning.

An employee told police that the man entered the store at 9:36 a.m. with a black scarf around his face, approached the cashier and asked for money while displaying a silver handgun. He then left the store without further incident and walked eastbound on the sidewalk.

The store stayed open for business. Police checked the area for the suspect, including nearby businesses. He was not located. Any person having information is asked to please call the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center at 345-6350.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Ninth-grader with BHS attending National Young Leaders Conference

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, education, schools

Press release:

Jay Lewis might be only 14 years old but he is full of ambition and has many aspirations. Jay, a ninth-grader who attends Batavia High School, was recently selected to attend the National Young Leaders State Conference. This conference will take place in Boston in April.

During this four-day conference, Jay will come together with students from schools located all throughout the Northeastern United States. These students will focus on a curriculum that is specially designed to develop essential leadership, communication, networking, decision-making, conflict resolution and critical thinking skills.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and I hope to learn how work with people in order to become a better leader. These are skills that you need throughout your whole life,” Jay explained.

Eric R. Knapp, an eighth-grade school counselor at Batavia Middle School, nominated Jay.

“Jay is a young person with exceptional character and values,” Knapp said. "During his years at the Middle School he was polite, respectful and was a fantastic role model for other students. He had a quiet demeanor about him yet, according to his teachers, in the classroom, he showed great enthusiasm for education and consistently showed outstanding effort. In addition to his exceptional character and leadership potential, his overall average his eighth-grade year was 96.296 percent."

As a freshman, Jay has earned 11 college credits through the Genesee Community College Math Science Preparation Program. He plans to attend college to earn a degree as an electrical or mechanical engineer and hopes to someday own his own business. Jay has many interests in and outside of school. He serves on the Genesee County Youth Court. He’s a member of the Ski Club, Batavia Middle School Modified Tennis Team, is an avid fisherman and hunter and a Greenwing Member of Ducks Unlimited.

Jay lives in Batavia with his parents, Jennifer and Jim Lewis.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

City ready to move quickly on Batavia Downs hotel project

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

The city is ready, willing and able to help get construction started quickly on a new, five-story, 80- to 100-room hotel at Batavia Downs, said City Manager Jason Molino.

While developers and Western OTB officials have yet to agree on the precise location of the hotel, COO Mike Nolan said this morning the most likely spot is overlooking the southwest turn of the track, adjacent the grandstands, near the Tops Plaza.

That location is within the boundaries of the City of Batavia, meaning it will be the city's zoning and planning boards that will be called on for plan, design and environmental reviews.

"Being able to get this project reviewed and in front of all the proper boards is something we're committed to," Molino said. "We will make every effort, including holding special meetings, to move this along as swiftly and as smoothly as we can to meet the goals of the developers. I don't think this is a concern for us. We've worked with these size projects before and we can get it through smoothly."

Nolan said the developers, a Buffalo-based group that will purchase the property for the hotel from Western OTB, would like to break ground in 60 days and have the hotel open within nine months.

"The best part of this story is that back in 1998, when Western OTB bought Batavia Downs, it took $3 million (in assessed value) off the tax rolls," Nolan said. "Now, in 2015, $7 million plus is going back on the tax rolls for a facility that was closed and drawing nothing but cobwebs."

The increase in tax revenue won't hit local governments all at once, since the developers are likely to seek tax abatements from Genesee County Economic Development Center, but the exact structure of tax relief won't be clear until applications are made and abatements are approved.

Typically, tax abatements from GCEDC include relief on sales tax for construction material and furnishing, mortgage tax and a PILOT, which graduates the amount of property tax paid over a 10-year time frame, until the property owner is paying 100 percent of the taxes on the fully assessed value.

State law prohibits industrial development agencies from providing tax assistance to retail projects, unless they qualify as tourist destinations or are intended to attract visitors from outside the area.

Projects that are with economically distressed areas, or adjacent to such areas, are also exempt from the law.

Julie Pacatte, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., said one advantage Batavia Downs can realize by building the hotel on property within city limits (Batavia Downs straddles the City/Town line) is the census track is adjacent to a census track that includes Downtown Batavia, which qualifies as an economically distressed area.

"We're thrilled at the idea of having a distinctive hotel within the city," Pacatte said. "What they're planning, where you arrive in a very Vegas-style, shared lobby area, where you can check into the hotel and stay within the facility throughout your weekend, and being on the track, overlooking the last turn from a balcony, is pretty exciting."

Because the hotel won't offer other amenities, but is geared entirely toward the visitor looking for casino and harness racing entertainment, the folks at Western OTB don't believe it will compete with existing hotels, Nolan said.

"With this becoming a more competitive casino market in Upstate New York, we felt we needed to step up," Nolan said. "There's a casino coming to Seneca County, and the Seneca's already have casinos at their Niagara and Salamanca properties. In this new and up and coming casino market the way it is, we needed to offer some hospitality for our casino customers."

The other advantage the city offers a water-hungry facility like a hotel is lower water rates. Rates in the city are $3.14 per thousand gallons of water compared to $5.46 in the town.

The developers are negotiating with a couple of different hotel chains, so it's possible the new hotel will be operated under the banner of a Hilton Garden Inn or a Courtyard Marriott, or some other banner.

Batavia Downs is just wrapping up a $28 million remodeling and expansion effort and th hotel will complement that growth, Nolan said.

"We have a tremendous opportunity for convention-type of events and banquet-type of events that require lodging," Nolan said.

The hotel, Molino said, will certainly be a boost to the local economy, bringing in more visitors, creating jobs and spurring other types of economic growth. 

"This is a great opportunity and a great project," Molino said. "Everybody in my office, with the BDC and in planning are excited to work with the developers. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure it moves as quickly as it can and move as promptly as possible. That would be a win-win for everybody involved."

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 10:10 am

Water main break on east side of City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, infrastructure

There is a water main break outside City Center on the east side of the mall.

Businesses on the east side are impacted.

Water department crews are on scene.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: Repairs are completed and service is restored.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 9:24 am

Water main repair underway on Treadeasy Drive

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

The City of Batavia's Water Department is making repairs to a broken water main in the area of Treadeasy Drive this morning. Water service is interrupted on Industrial Boulevard and Treadeasy Drive, primarily south of the railroad tracks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Photos: NCO Club dedication at the VA Hospital in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, va center, VA Hospital, veterans

The VA Hospital in Batavia has a new NCO Club on the third floor thanks to the efforts of residents, staff and several area veterans groups who donated money and material to make it possible. The club will be a place for veterans to gather and socialize while at the VA.

The new club, a converted storage room, was dedicated today with speeches and a ribbon cutting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Law and Order: Driver of car found on snow bank charged with DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke

Anthony W. Janda, 37, of Gasport, is charged with DWI, speed unreasonable, failure to use designated lane and driving across hazardous markings. Janda's vehicle left the south shoulder of Route 5 in Pembroke and struck a snow embankment. Upon a trooper's arrival, Janda was in a Mercy EMS ambulance. The trooper said he detected "an overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage." The trooper administered two field sobriety tests and a breath test, which indicated alcohol consumption. Janda was transported to ECMC as a precaution and reportedly refused a blood test for the trooper, though the hospital had already drawn blood.

Vanessa Lynn Silvernail, 29, of Meadow Farm North, North Chili, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, moving from lane unsafely and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Silvernail was arrested following an investigation into a one-vehicle accident in which the vehicle left the roadway on North Road, Town of Le Roy, and went into a ditch at 12:30 a.m. The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Loftus.

Annie E. Johnson, 86, of Milbank Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an overnight parking ticket in the city. Johnson turned herself in and was released on $100 bail.

Christina M. Sanchez-Anderson, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a possession of stolen property, 5th, charge. Sanchez-Anderson turned herself in, was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance.

Lee Edward Richeson, 53, of 8th Street, Canisteo, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes. Richeson was stopped at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday on Route 77, Pembroke, for an alleged traffic violation by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Pictures: Community art displays from Jackson School students

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Jackson School, schools

Ella, Mrs. Shuknecht’s First Grade
My Snowman
My snowman’s name is Krystal. She is fancy and happy.  She likes to wear bows and a hat. Her favorite food is ice cream cake. When it is cold outside she likes to have snowball fights and go snowboarding. 

Parris, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Grandma’s House
I went to my grandma’s house. It was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my grandpa and grandma. It was good. I had turkey and mashed potatoes with them. Next, I played at the park with my friend, Emma. We played on the monkey bars. Last, I went to feed the ducks. I fed them bread.  I had a great time at my grandma’s. I hope I can visit them again soon. 

Martha, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Papa’s House
I went to my papa’s house and it was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my papa and my grandma. It was delicious. Next, we watched the Croods. It was a funny movie. Last, they took me to the park. I went on the swings. I had fun at the park. I had a great time at my papa’s house. I hope I can visit him again soon. 

Jay’lee, Mrs. Mattice’s Kindergarten
Penguins
Penguins can swim. 
Penguins have blubber. 
They have claws. 
They have beaks. 

Trey, Mrs. Wolff’s Kindergarten
Seasons
My favorite season is summer because I play baseball with my brother, mom and my dad.

Brandon, Mrs. Colvin’s First Grade
How to Build a Snowman
To make a snowman I would first roll three snowballs. One big, one medium and one small. Then, I would stack them. The biggest on the bottom, then the medium and finally the smallest on the top.  I would decorate. My arms would be sticks. My nose would be a carrot. My eyes would be coal.  My mouth would be rocks. I would do a scarf with a zigzag design. I would name my snowman Snowy and give him a hug. 

More after the jump:

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