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Friday, May 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Buffalo 716ers stop by T.F. Brown's to meet local hoops fans

Members of the Buffalo 716ers, a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association, made a personal appearance at T.F. Brown's tonight. Jerry Smith, proprietor of the Showtime Sports Academy in Batavia, organized the event. Smith is taking on several projects to promote basketball locally and throughout the region.

From left are, Darnell Boswell, Devon Dawson, Anthony Hodge, Tawan Slaughter (the team's owner and coach), Jerry Smith Donald Felice (media agent) and Mario Williams.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

GCC trail plan for Batavia wins Spirit Award in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Loop Trail, business, GCC, recreation

Press release:

The "Spirit Award" in the Social Entrepreneurship / Nonprofit category was awarded to five Genesee Community College students after they presented their "Batavia Loop Trail and Bordering Business Development" plan to a team of judges at the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition in Albany last Friday, April 25, 2014. The annual competition invites students from colleges around the state to submit innovative ideas designed to address a currently unmet need in one of six categories.

The GCC students presenting the Batavia Loop Trail (BLT) included Tara Beckens of Clifton Springs, Danielle Cannella, Richard DelPlato, and Maryssa Peirick, all from Batavia, and Adrienne Payne, of Byron. As members of GCC's CEO or Earth Clubs, they envision developing an 11-mile loop trail that skirts around the edge of the City and Town of Batavia connecting a wide array of businesses and regional resources -- from ice cream shops and restaurants to Batavia's treasure trove of city and county parks.The BLT maximizes the idyllic views of Tonawanda Creek and would provide safer walking and bicycling pathways to GCC, College Village, as well as Batavia High School and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership/BOCES on State Street.

The project builds upon the growing international interest and economy of bicycling tourism, and also on Batavia's proximity to NYS Thruway providing a huge tourist market. BLT also links into the new Ellicott Trail, which was recently awarded $1.5 million through NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Fund. Students researched state and federal funding resources and were delighted to learn that BLT potentially meets many of the criteria for funds from the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), NYSERDA's Cleaner Greener Communities, and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Lastly, and most importantly to the students – the long-term vision poses excellent hands-on learning opportunities not only for GCC students but for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP/BOCES). Next year, students hope to present a plan to GCC's Board of Trustees sharing their idea of creating a small on-campus business, the Recreational Rental Center, giving both students and the general public the opportunity to rent bicycles for the trail and potentially other equipment such as tennis rackets or soccer balls. The new micro-business will provide future GCC students enrolled in Business Administration, Accounting, Sport Management, Travel & Tourism, Web Design, Digital Arts and Physical Education with excellent co-op, internship and work study opportunities. Equally dynamic is providing GVEP/BOCES students enrolled in Conservation, Welding and Automotive Technology programs the chance to help develop and maintain the trail.

The students say the BLT is a "transformative idea that extends out 11 years," but they divided the overall plan into five phases with the most easily implemented segments of the trail opening in 2018. Before heading off to Albany, they shared the BLT idea with local key officials, including New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino, and were delighted the concept was unanimously well received.

"When Jason Molino called the project a 'home run' and pointed out how it would enhance Batavia's quality of life, the students were smiling from ear to ear," said Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC's staff advisor for the project. "While they will probably no longer be GCC students when the project becomes a reality, they are excited to pass the torch along to their peers. And, they hope they will be able to use the trail in the future with their own children years down the road -- or perhaps I should say path!"

The New York Business Program Competition is hosted by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany's School of Business and Syracuse University. It has become the premier collegiate contest encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New York's colleges and universities in the following 10 regional economic zones: Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Investigation into police officer weapon discharge closed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

While making further inquiries into the reported unintended discharge of a police officer firearm April 22, Chief Shawn Heubusch informed us that the investigation into the matter has been closed.


I will not be releasing any further details other than to say that the investigation has been completed and that there was no criminal negligence in this matter. The matter has been dealt with as a personnel issue.

The Batavian has issued a FOIL request to the city for the incident documents. The City has five days to acknowledge the request.

Previously: Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

Law and Order: South Lyon Street resident accused of resisting arrest

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

Richard Scott Ishmael, 49, of South Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest. Ishmale allegedly ignored Police Officer Peter Flanagan's commands and made lewd comments to the officer in front of his daughter, who is under age 17. While Ishmael was being placed in custody, he allegedly resisted arrest and continued to ignore officer commands.

A 17-year-old resident of Niver Road, Conesus, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. The youth was allegedly found at 9:10 p.m. on April 26 at 127 North St. in possession of heroin.

A 17-year-old resident of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. The youth is accused of knowingly hiding a juvenile runaway who had been reported missing for more than a week.

Eric M. Malecki, 33, of Prune Street, Batavia, was arrested on warrants for alleged parking on city streets between 2 and 6 a.m. Malecki was arrested following a traffic stop. He posted $200 bail and was released.

Harvey A. McMurray, 46, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. McMurray was arrested following a law enforcment and ambulance response to a medical call T.F. Brown's at 1:50 a.m., Sunday.

Gregory Seppe, 55, no permenant address, Batavia, is charged with appearance in public under the influence of drugs. Seppe was arrested following a request to check the welfare of a person on Ganson Avenue at 11:02 p.m., Sunday.

Lawrence E. Hanley, 63, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, failure to keep right, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and improper right turn.  Hanley was allegedly involved in a property damage accident at 7:57 p.m., April 20, on Walnut Street. The accident was investigated by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Landrea D. Ames, 41, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Ames allegedly stole $142.65 worth of meat from Tops.

Fabian Vazquez, 34, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with failing to signal a turn and aggravated unlicensed operation, three or more suspensions on three or more dates. Vazquez was stopped at 8:54 p.m., April 26, on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Chad Richards.

Adam D. Jett, 21, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Jett was stopped by Officer Darryle Streeter at 3:14 a.m., April 24, on East Main Street, following a report of an intoxicated male getting into a car and leaving the parking lot of a convenience store.

Lisa Marie Vega, 45, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Vega allegedly stole a jacket from the lobby of the Genesee County Mental Health Office.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Conversion of former Carr's Warehouse into apartments nearly completed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 14 Jackson Square, business, downtown, Jackson Square

By the end of the month, 14 Jackson Square -- an address that never existed until recently -- will come to life in a new, and reinvented way.

The former Carr's Department Store Warehouse will contain three two-bedroom apartments (a fourth should be ready by the end of June) and a downstairs office space.

Paul Thompson and his partners will have invested more than $500,000 in the project, with the help of a state grant of $115,000, to convert the three-story structure into a mixed-use space.

The project fits a few of the city's goals to reinvigorate Downtown, said City Manager Jason Molino. It creates more residential space Downtown, more new office space and it converts a building that was doing nothing for the city into something vibrant.

"It takes a building that was always a warehouse and turns it into a useful and meaningful space Downtown," Molino said.

Thompson said his Byron-based company was interested in the project because they have some experience in redeveloping mixed-use spaces. It was a way to provide employment for his workers during the winter, and based on his experience with rental properties in the city, there's a strong demand for apartments designed to appeal to young professionals.

Study after study shows, young professionals want to live in environments where nightlife and shopping are in walking distance and there's a sense of urban life to the neighborhood (related story from USAToday).

This project brings the total of new apartments Downtown to nine, said Julie Pacette, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp. All of the previous apartments rented to young professionals within days of becoming available.

By assisting Thompson and his partners, Pacette said, a property that was off the tax roles for a few years is now in private, property-tax-paying hands.

Thompson said the project has helped him expand his company. His staff of 14 is now a staff of 20, though not all of the new hires are directly related to this project.

Related: For those interested in new urbanism, the Congress for New Urbanism meets in Buffalo, June 4 though 7.

Paul Thompson

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

While on a check-the-welfare call April 22, the handgun of a Batavia police officer discharged unexpectedly, Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed today.

The accidental discharged is being investigated, but the good news, the chief said, is nobody was hurt.

Officers responded to a check-the-welfare call in the Grandview Terrace complex and the chief said the officers were either concerned the person they were checking on was in danger or could be a danger to others.

An officer for this reason drew his or her weapon and when the officer went to return his weapon to its holster, the Glock .40 caliber fired.

The investigation so far has not ruled out a mistaken discharge or a gun malfunction. What has been ruled out is defect with the holster.

Heubusch confirmed that buttons on the sides of officers' jackets have been known to catch on the triggers of guns, but the officer in this case was not wearing a jacket and the officer had on no other clothing that might have caught on the trigger.

The officer's name is not being released. Outside of acknowledging that the incident took place, the case is being handled as a personnel matter, which requires confidentiality for the officer involved.

This is the first accidental discharge of a weapon in the department since Heubusch became chief and he said in "just asking the guys" nobody can remember a similar prior incident.

Asked if the officers were surprised when the weapon fired, he said the officers remained calm and in control. 

"They maintained their composure," Heubusch said. "If you think about their training, they're trained to maintain their composure in an actual live fire situation. They're trained to stick with the mission until the mission is accomplished and they did a great job of ensuring the scene was secured.

"Again," he added, "we're lucky nobody was injured and the floor suffered minimal damage."

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm

City of Batavia Community Garden Open House is May 10

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia, community garden

The City of Batavia Community Garden is hosting an Open House on from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at 10 MacArthur Drive (behind the Batavia Youth Center).

This a great opportunity for City of Batavia residents to view how a vacant wading pool has been made into the new “City of Batavia Community Garden.” Meet with the garden’s staff and learn more about the efficient “Square Foot Gardening Method.”

There will be refreshments and gardening demonstrations.

For questions or more information contact the Youth Bureau at 345-6420.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Film crew in Batavia for documentary on the 'Queen of Modern Libraries in China'

Unless you're a serious local history buff, the name Miss Mary Elizabeth Wood may be unfamiliar.

In China, however, especially among those who appreciate the country's public library system, Miss Wood is revered.

Her fame has brought a Chinese film crew to Batavia this week as part of their effort to create a documentary chronicling the life of the "Queen of Modern Libraries in China."

Born in Elba in 1861, Wood became the first librarian of the Richmond Memorial Library in 1889, a position she held for 10 years. The only daughter of Edward Farmer Wood and Mary Jane (Humphrey) Wood, who had seven boys, Miss Wood took a trip to China to visit her youngest brother Robert in 1899.

On that trip, she learned there was no public education system and residents had little access to all the wisdom contained in the world's books, even ones in their own language.

Wood decided to stay in Wuchang, where she eventually made 3,000 books available for borrowing at the building known as the Octagonal Pavilion.

Soon, she traveled back to the U.S. for a year of study, her first actual courses in library science, having gotten as far as she did before then on her strength as "a great reader."

While on the trip, she raised funds and secured book donations that enabled her to open in 1910 the Boone Library in Wuchang.

By the 1920s, Wood was lobbying Congress for funds to advance library science in China and through the grants received and with the help of two of her Chinese prodigies, Wood established the first school for library science in China.

Following her death of an illness in China in 1931, her body was returned to Batavia and she is buried in the Batavia Cemetery.

These pictures were taken while the film crew prepared to interview Kathy Facer, Richmond's reference and technology librarian.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on Mary Elizabeth Wood, which contains greater detail on her life and work.

Cheng Huanwen, professor and university librarian, School of Information Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Batavia PD searching for two missing teens believed to be in the area

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia
Teshawn Lang-Smith Jordon Thomas

UPDATE, Wednesday: Lang-Smith has been located.

Batavia PD is looking for the public's help in locating two teens who are reported runaways.

Teshawn A. Lang-Smith, 17, is a black male, 5' 5" tall and 120 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing shorts and a light colored, long-sleeved sweater. He has a tattoo of an anchor on his right forearm and a tattoo on his torso that reads "Family First." Teshawn is believed to be in the local area.

Jordon S. Thomas, 16, is a black male, 5' 7", 140 pounds, brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen at 5 p.m. yesterday. He is believed to be in the local area.

If you can assist in locating either of these individuals, contact Batavia PD by calling (585) 345-6350.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:41 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of possessing drugs in court building

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

Jennifer Lynn Mohr, 41, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Mohr was arrested at the Genesee County Courts facility for allegedly possessing a controlled substance for which she lacked a prescription.

Michael R. Mullen, 50, of Oakfield, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol; driving while ability impaired by a drug; consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle; unlawful possession of marijuana; inadequate exhaust; insufficient signal; and failure to keep right. Mullen was stopped at 2:39 a.m. Sunday on Route 20A, Village of Warsaw, by Deputy Aaron Chase.

Todd Lester Fairbanks, 32, of Raymond Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. The underlying charge of the warrant was not specified.

Christopher A. Bucci, 34, of Batavia, is charged with second-degree rape (actor with person less than 18 years old), sexual abuse, 3rd, and acting in a manner injurerous to a child. Bucci was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported Feb. 3 in the Town of Clarendon. No further details released.

Jacob R. Lavrincik, 25, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lavrincik was arrested by State Police for an alleged petit larceny at a location on Veterans Memorial Drive. No further details released.

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