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Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Batavia PD looking for missing teen last seen at BHS yesterday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, missing persons

Olivia A. Rivera-Ellis is missing and is considered a runaway.

The 16-year-old was last seen at Batavia High School at 11:30 a.m., Monday. 

She was wearing a black and silver scarf, a black and pink cosmetology sweater, black yoga pants and white Jordan high-top sneakers. 

She was carrying a cheetah-print backpack.

She may still be in the local area.

Tips on her whereabouts should go to Batavia PD, (585) 345-6350.

"As in all cases of runaway youth, people who knowingly harbor these individuals are committing a crime," said Det. Rich Schauf.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: Olivia A. Rivera-Ellis has been located.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 9:41 am

Spending cut proposed in city budget, but so is property tax increase

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget

A conservative look at sales tax revenue for the city is driving a proposal to raise property taxes by 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, City Manager Jason Molino told City Council members Monday night during his 2015-16 budget presentation.

The drop in fuel prices benefits consumers, but plays havoc on local government, which derives 18 percent of sales tax revenue from fuel sales.

Sales tax accounts for 40 percent of the city's overall general fund revenue.

Molino projects $15,848,884 in general fund spending for 2015-16, a 1.08-percent reduction (or $253,001) in spending from the current fiscal year.

Even with the reduced spending, the projected shortfall in sales tax means local property owners will be asked to help pick up the slack.

The new city tax rate would be $9.30 cents.

On a home assessed at $90,000, the property owner would pay $69.75 per month, up $1.20 over this year. 

For property taxes that are roughly half what many households pay these days for mobile phone service, residents receive a bevy of city services, including police and fire protection, road and sidewalk maintenance and parks. The value, he suggested, was just as great or greater than mobile phone service.

"I thought it (the analogy) would help put things in perspective," Molino said after the meeting.

While the local economy is improving, and by some measures is stronger than the state or national economy, there is a lot of room for improvement, Molino noted.

There is the potential for even better job growth, especially if plans for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP continue to come together, but in the here and now, the city needs to be conservative in its budgeting process, Molino said.

The city also needs to take a close look at its aging sewer and water infrastructure.

He is proposing a revised rate structure -- one that does away with the current two-tier system -- and includes a projected $1 per month increase for the average consumer to help pay for maintenance and upgrades to the system.

The proposal calls for $22 million in capital investment in sewer and water over a 10-year period.

Without the changes, not only will needed replacements and upgrades not take place, the city's sewer and water system will soon start losing money.

As modern, water-saving appliances become more common in local homes, local water consumption has decreased. That's a trend, Molino said, he expects to see continue.

However, it costs just as much to deliver two million gallons of water as it does three million gallons. The reduction in consumption doesn't reduce the cost of the system that delivers the water, but reduced consumption does decrease revenue.

The city will need to increase water rates, he said, to keep pace with water delivery costs.

What Molino presented Monday is a budget proposal. It will now be up to the council to go through the budget, ask questions and potentially suggest changes. There will be a public hearing on the budget before it is adopted.

The proposed budget will be posted on the city's Web site later today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 5:03 am

Five Genesee County fire departments called to house fire in Town of Covington

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Bethany, fire, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford

Five Genesee County fire departments are responding, mutual aid, to the Town of Covington in Wyoming County for a working structure fire with a person still inside the residence. The location is 864 Perry Road. In addition to Covington fire, responders requested include Le Roy, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford and the City of Batavia Fast Team.

UPDATE 5:28 a.m.: The person inside got out safely. The fire is out. The assignment is back in service. The resident told firefighters he normally throws debris from his heat stove outside his back door, and did so this time but forgot about a wooden pallet he put there. It caught fire and smoke came up through the back porch into the house, waking the resident. The fire burnt a portion of the back porch.

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Driver involved in Sunday night accident charged with DWI

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

A driver involved in an accident Sunday night on Ellicott Street near Jackson Avenue that sent two people to the hospital has been charged with DWI.

Reid E. Scott, 23, of Bear Road, Cowlesville, is also charged with driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of an injury accident, reckless driving, speeding and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. 

Scott's vehicle was northbound on Ellicott Street, allegedly at a high rate of speed, according to investigators. A second vehicle was in the left-turn lane, intending to turn into Kwik Fill, and Scott allegedly attempted to pass the vehicle on the left by driving in the wrong lane toward oncoming traffic.

Scott's vehicle struck the turning vehicle. His vehicle then continued north striking a railroad crossing sign and utility pole.

Scott allegedly fled the scene of the accident on foot and was later located in Jackson Square. He suffered a hand injury.

Batavia PD did not release the names of the occupants of the other vehicle or provide information on their injuries.

UPDATE Tuesday, 4:50 p.m.: The driver of the second vehicle was Frances Riggs, of Brockport, and the passenger was Mattie Cole, of Albion. Both were transported to UMMC, but neither suffered a significant  injury, according to Sgt. Chris Camp. 

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Photo: A bit of local history and gun safety

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history

Tony Mancuso sent in this photo of his father, Joseph Laurence Mancuso, handing out NRA junior diplomas many years ago.

Tony's father did gun safety training and started Batavia Archers.

Tony said he doesn't know the other folks in the photo, but said it would be great to find out who they are. Recognize anybody? Leave a comment, if so.

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:37 am

Law and Order: A pair of weekend DWIs

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

Jason Gerard Heineman, 42, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to keep right, driving left of pavement markings and refusal to take breath test. Heineman was stopped at 12:59 a.m. Saturday on Phelps Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Edward William Zastrow, 33, of Town Line Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, moving from lane unsafely. Zastrow was arrested by Sgt. Eric Seppala after his vehicle reportedly went off the roadway on Buffalo Street, Bergen, at 1:14 a.m. Sunday.

Devon James Schulman, 19, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Schulman is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart.

Curtis L. Williams, 34, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Williams turned himself in on the warrant.

Gregory Marcus Munroe II, 26, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a disorderly conduct charge. Munroe turned himself in on the warrant.

Kim M. Sobczak, 52, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, controlled substance not in original container and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Sobczak was arrested at Kmart at 12:30 p.m. Friday by State Police. No further details released. UPDATE: NYSP has released additional information on this case. According to police, Sobczak was caught leaving Kmart with a shopping cart full of assorted items with a value of more than $300. She was allegedly found during her arrest with a pill bottle containing acetaminophen/oxycodone and acetaminophen/hydrocodone pill tablets.

Ethan T. Ellis, 30, of Brockport, Mark J. Friga, 29, David A. Morre, 26, Victor F. Martinez, 26, all of  Rochester, were charged with trespass. The four men were allegedly found by State Police riding ATVs on private property off Circular Hill Road, Le Roy, last week. The property is owned by Hanson Aggregates.

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 8:00 am

Get inked for charity this weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, High Voltage Tattoo

High Voltage Tattoo and Piercing is hosting its annual tattoo and piercing event to benefit local charities Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. on both days.

Tattoos, based on available selections, are $35 each and piercings are $15 each.

Proceeds benefit Volunteers for Animals, HomeCare & Hospice, and Justice for Children.

The event always draws a big crowd, so you want to arrive early.

High Voltage is at the corner of West Main Street and Thomas Avenue in Batavia.

Pictured are James Gommenginger, Jeremy Fridman and Mark Fanara.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Multiple vehicles collide at gas station on the corner of Jackson Street, Batavia

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

An accident involving multiple vehicles, unknown injuries, is reported at 99 Jackson St. at the Red Apple Food Mart / Kwik Fill Gas Station. Mercy medics are on scene along with city firefighters.

UPDATE 10:23 p.m.: The driver of one of two vehicles involved fled the scene on foot and was subsequently located in Jackson Square in need of medical attention. A second ambulance went to that location. The driver of the other car had to be extricated. Howard at the scene says "It looks like they hit pretty hard."

UPDATE 11:16 p.m.: (Howard) At the time I left the scene, police officers had not yet pieced together the narrative of the accident. A witness said he was pumping gas when he heard a bang and looked up as saw a sedan hurtling toward the Kwik Fill station. The driver plowed through the snow and came to rest near the turn lane at Jackson and Ellicott. The witness said the airbags deployed and the driver seemed pretty incoherant. He said he helped the driver from the car and walked him over to the north side of Ellicott Street and sat him down on the curb. It was some time after that that the driver apparently decided to flee the scene. He was located later in Jackson Square and had a cut on his hand. The driver of the other car had a passenger.  The driver required extrication and appeared to be in a good deal of pain. The passenger was helped from the vehicle and stood for a moment before being placed on a stretcher.  The police will release more information once they have a better idea of what happened. The accident was reported as "multiple vehicles" at first because two or three cars stopped on Jackson because the drivers had witnessed the collision.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

East Pembroke installs fire officers for 2015

Chief Don Newton, East Pembroke Fire Department, received the Service Award for 2014, and Fire Training Officer James Gayton was named Firefighter of the Year Saturday night during the department's annual installation dinner.

Counting fire calls, accidents and EMS calls, East Pembroke went on 350 calls in 2014, up from the recent average year of about 300 calls.

The 2015 firematic officers as elected by members are: Newton, chief; Stephen Smelski, 1st assistant chief; Williams Torres Jr., 2nd assistant chief; Donald Newton Sr., firematic captain; Jose Santini, firematic lieutenant; Lori Ann Santini, EMS captain; Robert Yungfleisch, EMS lieutenant; Ray Schramm, fire police captain; Chris Bennett, fire police lieutenant; Gayton, training officer; Smelski, safety officer.

Candles were lit after the dinner in a memorial service to honor fallen first responders and members of the military.

Genesee County Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger administered the oath of office for department and district officers.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 2:30 am

Vehicle tears down telephone pole on Clinton Street

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accident

A vehicle crashed into a telephone pole and injuries are reported at 60 Clinton St. in the city. The pole snapped and wire are down. City fire, police and Mercy medics are responding. National Grid has been notified.

UPDATE 3:05 a.m.: The driver's injuries appear to be minor. The cause of the accident is under investigation. National Grid is on scene. 

UPDATE 3:08 a.m.: City fire is back in service.

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