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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 11:05 am

Lieutenant governor candidate tells local residents he supports ag, is against the SAFE Act and Common Core

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, Chris Moss, Rob Astorino

Chris Moss, running for lieutenant governor, made three campaign stops in Genesee County on Tuesday, starting with Batavia Turf Farms, where he got a look at a natural roof covering that Batavia Turf/CY Farms grows for a company in France, Vegitel.

In the photo above, Moss, in the dark suit on the left, talks with local farmers while standing on flats filled with sedum plants.

Craig Yunker, CEO of CY Farms, explained that rooftops covered in Sedum absorb more water, preventing runoff, and help cool the building more efficiently.  

"They (Vegitel) supply green roofs to buildings looking to help control stormwater, help reduce energy costs and reduce the hotspots in cities," Yunkers said.

After the briefing on sedium-covered roofs, area farmers shared some of their issues with the state, particularly in the area of farm labor and a renewed effort by New York City activists to raise wages beyond what would be sustainable for Upstate farmers.

Moss said he and his running mate, gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, fully support New York's agriculture industry.

"We understand the importance of farming and what it does for New York State, the importance to the economy," Moss said.

The discussion then turned, led primarily by Rep. Chris Collins, to how folks such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are holding back the New York economy with taxes and regulations.

Collins hit on themes he would return to when he and Moss appeared later at the Genesee County Women's Republican Club event at Batavia Downs and the Genesee County SCOPE meeting at the Calvary Baptist Church on Galloway Road, Batavia.

Collins said "New York is losing." People are moving away. Businesses are moving away. There was a time when New York had 45 members of Congress and Florida had seven. Now, New York has 27 and Florida has 29.

"The governor says there are now two blocks around University at Buffalo that are now tax free and I say, 'governor, in Texas, the entire state is tax free; in Florida, the entire state is tax free,' " Collins said. "This is all smoke and mirrors. If it wasn't so sad, it would be a joke. He's creating this illusion that New York is prospering."

Moss also spoke out against the SAFE Act and Common Core.

He said first thing on the agenda for an Astorino/Moss administration would be defunding and repealing the SAFE Act.

He also announced that yesterday, the campaign had turned in 65,000 signatures had been gathered to create a party line on the election ballot for an Anti-Common Core Party. Such a line, he said, could tip the election to Astorino.

Yunker, Collins and Moss.

Chris Moss

Moss, who is sheriff of Chemung County and president of the New York Sheriff's Association, with Susan Maha and Sheriff Gary Maha.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

Webber and Yunkers art now on display at Richmond Memorial Library

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, Richmond Memorial Library

Local, award-winning artists Terry Webber and Bernice Yunkers have a joint exhibit at the Richmond Memorial Library now through the end of August.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

New library director returns to WNY after 22 years in Chicago area

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library

Richmond Memorial Library patrons and supporters got a chance to meet new director Bob Conrad during a reception Tuesday.

Conrad is originally from Rochester, a 1992 graduate of Eastridge High School. He lived for 22 years in the Chicago area where he earned an undergraduate degree in Radio, TV and Film and a graduate degree in Library and Information Science.

He worked for 10 years in the Chicago library system before he decided he wanted to take his career to the next level. He started looking for jobs in New York and California and when he found the opening in Batavia he said it was "a perfect fit."

As a new director, he's not coming in looking to make a lot of changes. We have something good here in a library, he said, and he wants to keep it that way.

"I want the best library that this community can support and the best library that can support the community," Conrad said, adding, "Right now, I'm just learning the job. I'm delighted that the staff all seem to know what they're doing and that the community really treasures the institution, so my first job is not (to) break it."

Conrad is buying a home in Batavia, but in the meantime, he's staying with family in the Rochester area.

He's very familiar with WNY. His family took annual trips to Letchworth and Watkins Glen and he worked at Seabreeze in high school. But when Conrad started spreading the news that he was taking a job in Batavia, it prompted a little geography lesson for those around him in Illinois. They are far more familiar with another Batavia (their very own).

"I did have to disambiguate to all of my colleagues when telling them where I was going to be library director," Conrad said.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

'The Vac Shop' owner passionate about vacuum cleaners

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, The Vac Shop

Bob Youll's business sucks -- in a good way.

A lifelong Batavia resident, Youll has been running "The Vac Shop," at 329 Ellicott St. in the city, since 1991. He attributes the longevity of his business to perseverance, word of mouth and steady business.

"Off the top of my head, I'd say I get between 30 and 50 regular customers," Youll said. "Though it does fluctuate from year to year due to people moving, changing jobs, etc."

Youll will take care of anything from major motor repairs to changing belts and cleaning out clogging.

From time to time, he will repair other household items -- such as blenders, lamps and heaters -- as well. He also sells used and rebuilt vacuums, as well as the occasional new vacuum.

Formerly employed by a Batavia catalog store (now closed), Youll got his vacuum repair training from The Vac Shop's former owner, Joe DeFazio.

"Joe taught me about basic vacuums," he said. "At that time, most of it was self-taught. You would get a machine, take it apart, and see where everything was. Now the Internet also helps in locating parts and the like."

Basically, Youll approaches his work not only with a view to the customer's immediate need, but also with the average consumer's perspective on vacuuming in mind.

"Vacuuming is usually an afterthought," he said. "People want to get it done, and quickly. (When working on repairs) I try to set the machine up for that use."

He also knows the extra details that are better to take care of right away -- such as putting a new belt on the machine -- so that the equipment will not need to be sent back at a later date.

Store hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 343-7754.

Photos by Howard Owens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Moss, but not Astorino will make campaign stops in Batavia today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Chris Moss, politics, Rob Astorino

Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was scheduled to be in Batavia today, but he had a family emergency and is unable to make his scheduled campaign appearances.

His running mate Chris Moss will however be at the the GOP Women's meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Batavia Downs, and then he will also speak at the SCOPE meeting at 7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 3515 Galloway Road.

The sign placed in front of Batavia Marine on West Main anticipated Astorino being in town today, but then his plans changed.

Astorino, who hopes to unseat Andrew Cuomo, has been crisscrossing the state for several months, but has yet to make an appearance in Genesee County.

CORRECTION: Astornio visited Genesee County two days after announcing his candidacy. He made an appearance at Larry's Steakhouse.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Penny Carnival planned for Austin Park NEXT Friday

Mary Repast, Kim Floskowski and Lisa Wittmeyer were in Austin Park yesterday handing out fliers to promote a Penny Carnival hosted by Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Counties.

The Carnival will be in the park next Friday, Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Children are encouraged to bring pennies.

The event is co-sponsored by the Salvation Army, Care-A-Van and Jr. Angels in Action.

There will be games and prizes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Sponsored post: Don R. Carroll - toys for kids 5K Run & fun Walk is Saturday August 16th!

33rd Annual Donald R. Carroll Toys for Kids 5K Run/Fun Walk will be held this Saturday, August 16! All proceeds go to help make Christmas wishes a reality for disadvantaged children.
When: Saturday, August 16, 2014  |  Race begins promptly at 9 a.m.
Registration at 8 a.m.
Where: Downtown Batavia NY
Start & Finish Line: Bank & Main near the Senior Center
Registration Fees for 5K Run or Fun Walk: Pre-registration by mail or online $25; day of race also $25.
Registration Fees for Kids 12 and under: $15. Kiddie Candy Dash for all children under 12.
5K Run Age Categories:
17 and under, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

The D.A. tries to link Akeem Simmons to a burglary on Park Avenue

post by Julia Ferrini in batavia, burglary, park avenue, police

The trial for a Batavia man accused of breaking into a house on Park Avenue in January got under way today. Akeem M. Simmons, 23, is one of two men accused of first-degree burglary in the crime.

He is also accused of first-degree criminal use of a firearm for allegedly possessing a loaded weapon during the commission of a crime, even though the weapon was allegedly found on the other defendant, 18-year-old Nathaniel R. Davis. Both are Class B violent felonies. The Davis case is still pending. They are also accused of fourth-degree conspiracy.

During opening statements this morning, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told jurors that two people were seen running out of the house.

"On January 14 of this year, a resident at (X) Park Ave., Batavia, was looking out her window and noticed two people go up the driveway of (X) Park Ave., go around the back part of the house and break in," Friedman said. "She then called 9-1-1 to report the incident."

According to a witness, two people ran out the back in a southwesterly direction along a path behind St. Paul's Lutheran Church. WIth law enforcement converging on the scene, the duo split up -- one ran east toward State Street and the other ran west toward Lewis Avenue.

Davis, who ran east, was apprehended immediately. Simmons, on the other hand, was chased by police and lost during the chase. When officers failed to catch him a manhunt ensued with Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, State Police, a K-9 and a helicopter. He was apprehended in about 45 minutes.

Deputy Brian Thompson and his K-9 Pharoah found Simmons hiding under a tarp at a nearby residence, Friedman told the jurors. Furthermore, a black hoodie, gloves, a black and white bandana, and a baseball hat with red trim on the brim, was also found in Simmons' possession.

According to the DA, when Simmons was interviewed, he gave alternate excuses of why he was running from police and denied knowing Davis.

"Search warrants for both men's phones found that Davis had a contact nicknamed Kemo," Friedman said. "Upon investigation, it was found that the number in Davis' phone belonged to Simmons. This suggests that the phone evidence links Simmons to Davis, as well as the crime committed."

He wound up his opening statement telling jurors that testimony from Davis is a possibility.

"Davis's credibility will be attacked," Friedman said. "Don't get hung up on Davis, listen to the proof to find the defendant guilty of the crime."

While they didn't get a chance to steal anything, according to a previous statement by a detective in the case, it is still burglary by virtue of the two breaking into the house with the intent to commit larceny.

"When all is said and done and the proof is in," Friedman said. "I will ask the jury, based on the evidence, to find Simmons guilty as charged."

Subsequently, Defense Attorney Thomas A. Burns told jurors that it makes perfect sense that they were told that opening statements are not evidence.

"Consider the court process, listen to the facts of the testimony and evidence to prove that Simmons did not commit the crime he is charged with," Burns said.

The defense attorney told the jurors to keep an open mind and see the evidence showing Davis, alone, entered the house; it was Davis who was apprehended running away from the house, and it was Davis who was Tased and when that did not stop him, it was Davis who was tackled by police.

In addition, Davis was also found with a loaded weapon -- which, when examined by police, was found to be capable of causing injury or death -- plus a screwdriver, Burns continued. And upon examination of the gun, no DNA links Simmons to the weapon, nor do any of the fingerprints found on it.

"The neighbor will testify that she saw two people at the Park Avenue home, yet she cannot describe them," Burns said. "She told police that she heard a sound of two people going in and coming out."

Burns also informed the jury that at the time Simmons was found, he had an outstanding parole warrant.

"The people have the burden of proof in this case," the defense attorney said. "If you listen to Davis's testimony, not only listen to what he is saying, listen to what is behind what he is saying.

"You are asked to judge the credibility of people. Davis is not on trial at this point, Simmons is," he continued. "When you hear all the evidence, at the conclusion I ask that you return a verdict of not guilty."

Testimony continues today with Judge Robert Noonan presiding.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

Batavia PD plans round of alcohol sales compliance checks

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department will be conducting alcohol sale compliance checks at points of service and sales on future dates. The Police provide this service to the community to ensure all vendors are vigilant in properly identifying the age of persons who are buying alcohol. The Police Department partners with Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) and has learned through their surveys from the community that underage alcohol consumption is still a concern. Abuse of alcohol by underage individuals is a cause of accidents and other poor choices for this age group. Compliance checks are a way to demonstrate, not only to the vendors but to underage individuals, that this community cares about the wellness of its citizens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Law and Order: Alleged erratic bike riding leads to drug arrest

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

Shannon H. Dick, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to keep right on a bicycle while in the roadway and failure to stop before entering a roadway on a bicycle. Dick was observed by Officer Jason Davis allegedly operating her bicycle in an unsafe manner and acting suspicious while leaving a residence on State Street.

Andrew J. Paladino, 35, of Shelter Street, Rochester, was taken into a custody on a warrant out of Family Court. Paladino was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Allen W. Gray, 34, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, 4th, and criminal contempt, 1st. Gray is accused of grabbing a person by the shirt, shoving him and knocking him off his bike. The victim's shirt was stretched, a necklace was broken and his right knee scratched. Gray is under court order to stay away from the alleged victim.

Tyrone L. Doward Jr., 24, of East Avenue, Lockport, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Doward was arrested after an investigation of a person climbing through the window of an occupied apartment. Doward was reportedly unknown to the occupant. 

Eric C. Smith, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a pair of warrants for alleged improper parking. Smith was located while police were on an unrelated complaint. He's accused of parking on city streets between 2 and 6 a.m.

Brandon N. Benz, 19, of Clinton Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Benz was located at a residence on Jackson Street allegedly in possession of marijuana.

Diana Lynn Bloom, 56, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Bloom is accused of hitting another woman while in a vehicle on Bank Street.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Douglas turned herself in at Batavia PD.

Ernest Robert Saari, 32, of Alleghany Road, Attica, is charged with speeding, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and unregistered trailer. Saari was stopped by Officer Nedim Catovic on East Main Street, Batavia, for allegedly driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Robert W. Plantiko, 39, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Plantiko is accused of stealing a box of garbage bags from Kwik Fill at 99 Jackson St., Batavia.

Joseph T. Burr, 21, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court. The warrant was for driving an uninspected motor vehicle. Burr posted $100 police bail and was released.

Juliann Thomas, 51, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, moved from lane unsafely and failure to stop for stop sign. Thomas was stopped at 1:48 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street, Batavia, by Officer Darryle Streeter.

Harry T. Gibson, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. State Police out of Warsaw responded to a report of a disabled vehicle on Route 98 in the Town of Java. Gibson was allegedly found behind the wheel and failed field sobriety tests. He was later found to have a BAC of .10 based on a breath test. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Dawn K. Cochran, 44, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI. Cochran was stopped at 5:55 p.m. Sunday in the Town of Pavilion, by State Police.

Denelle R. Currier, 39, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Currier was stopped at 9:17 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Stafford, by State Police.

Matthew C. Moy, 21, of Holley, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Moy was stopped at 9:35 p.m. Friday on Route 262 in Byron by State Police.

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