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Friday, August 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

Gural Hanover featured on NYSS card at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

When the 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters go postward Friday (8-1) to chase their cut of the $116,000 up for grabs in the two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, the track record for this category is in danger of falling and its demise could come at the hooves of Gural Hanover.

Since arriving at the Ron Burke Stable, Gural Hanover has been almost perfect; stringing four consecutive victories most recently. Included in those wins were an all-age track record of 1:56.1 at Buffalo Raceway and an all-age track record of 1:55.2 at Monticello Raceway. This week he is singularly focused on Batavia Downs.

The track handicapper has installed the gelded son of Crazed as the 1-5 choice and due to the short field of five there will be win and exacta betting only. And 1-5 might be a windfall for bettors considering Gural Hanover is the NYSS point leader of his class and he has leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. navigating once again.

With his front-running style, current form and penchant for half-mile tracks, Gural Hanover definitely has the ability to erase the 1:54.3 mark set by Archangel in 2012.

Whereas this division looks to have an overwhelming favorite, the first division has the makings of a real solid horse race.

Flyhawk El Durado, Cash Me Out and Zoey De Vie are as even a group of trotters that could be put together in a race. All three have beaten each other at some point this year and the group looks resigned to banging heads for the remainder of the season.

Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Girl) was the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion in 2013. He was six out of nine last year and finished his campaign in strong fashion. Since starting back this year for trainer Mark Ford, he faced some stiff Grand Circuit competition early finishing third behind 2014 Hambletonian starter Trixton in the Simpson Stake at the Meadowlands in May. In this series so far he has two wins, a second and two thirds and is coming off the best last outing (a 1:55.3 win at Yonkers Raceway) of anyone in this race.

With the exception of an early season break at Saratoga, the Cheryl Mc Givern trained Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) has been no worse than second all year posting four wins and five seconds in 10 starts. He is the second richest starter in this field with $130,575 on the card for this year and just finished second to Gural Hanover last week. Michael Mc Givern is at the helm once again.

Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Paul’s Wink) made his stake debut this year in the Excelsior series victory before stepping up to the top level in June. Since then he has a win and three seconds in four NYSS starts. Last week he sat on the back of Flyhawk El Durado the entire mile at Yonkers but couldn’t get by him in the lane. However the trainer/driver duo of Heidi Rohr and Jim Morrill Jr. will look to avenge that defeat in this leg tonight.

The talented trotting trio of Cash Me Out (4-5), Flyhawk El Durado (3-1) and Zoey De Vie (8-5) is currently ranked second, third and fourth respectively on the NYSS leader board.

The undercard features two divisions of the $25,500 Excelsior Series A and two divisions of the $13,400 Excelsior Series B series races.

Post time for the 12-race card is 6:35 p.m.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

Two-car accident with injuries at Ledge Road and Route 77, Alabama

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Alabama

A two-car accident with injuries, partially blocking traffic, is reported at Route 77 and Ledge Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 9:11 pm

UPDATED: Rollover with entrapment reported at Sweetland and Transit, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Stafford

A one-vehicle rollover accident with entrapment is reported at Sweetland and Transit roads. Stafford fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 9:19 p.m.: Mercy Flight is called to the scene. It will be landing in the roadway.

UPDATE 9:23 p.m.: Traffic Police are requested to shut down eastbound traffic and Clipnock at Sweetland roads.

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 out of Batavia has landed on the north side of Sweetland Road.

UPDATE 9:34 p.m.: Two more helicopters were requested. The second one is responding. The third is cancelled because it is in Syracuse with a 45-minute ETA. A ground ambulance will be employed instead.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: Mercy medic #2 is inbound to Strong with two patients onboard. Mercy Flight #5 is airborne with a patient; we do not as yet know the destination. Mercy Flight #9 has landed in the roadway west of the accident scene.

UPDATE 10 p.m.: Two patients are being taken to Strong via two Mercy Flight helicopters. Another four are being tranported there by two ambulances.

UPDATE 10:06 p.m.: A firefighter at the scene told Howard "If they hadn't been seated and belted, it would've been a different story."

UPDATE 10:52 p.m.: The Stafford assignment is back in service.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m. (by Howard): The initial investigation, according to Sgt. Ron Meides, is that a Chevy Suburban was northbound on Transit Road and a Chrysler minivan pulled into the intersection. "The driver of the Suburban did try to stop, but was unable to," Meides said. There is a hill on Transit south of the intersection, but a crossing car at night should be able to see the headlights of an approaching vehicle, Meides said. It's unknown if the driver of the minivan simply didn't see the SUV, was distracted, or thought the SUV driver had a stop sign, too (there is no stop sign for Transit Road traffic at that intersection). It's believed the minivan stopped and then proceeded into the intersection. The driver will likely be cited for failure to yield right of way, Meides said. Three adult women and three children were in the minivan. All were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, one via Mercy Flight with a possible head injury. The passenger of the SUV -- the only person involved in the accident not wearing a seat belt -- suffered a possible head injury and was transported to Strong by another Mercy Flight unit. The driver of the SUV was not injured. None of the injuries are considered life threatening, Meides said.

FINAL UPDATE (by Billie): The names of those involved in the accident have been released. The driver of the Chevy Suburban was 27-year-old Jared Fleming of Genesee Street, Corfu. He is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or more. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and released. Additional charges are pending. His front seat passenger, Ashley Cornett, same age and location as Fleming, was not wearing a seat belt and sustained a head injury. Mercy Flight took her to Strong. A rear seat passenger, Katlyn Hahn, 26, of Alden, was not injured, nor was the driver. All occupants of the other car involved, a Chrysler minivan, were transported to Strong for injuries or evaluation. They were driver, 26-year-old Latoya Stanley, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, front seat passenger Markeda Starks, 23, of Rochester, who went via Mercy Flight; rear seat passengers Kristina Drake, 24, of Rochester, Nakai Williams, 6, Jah-Mel Roman, 3, and Antonio Roman, 5, all of Batavia. All were reported in stable condition. Charges are pending against the Chrysler also.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Today's Deals: Jagged Edges, Santino's Pizza, Center Street Smoke House, and more!

post by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day

Jagged Edges Salon, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, NY: Jagged Edges Salon is a walk-in and appointment salon for men, women and children. It is a fun, welcoming salon that offers all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, treatments, and facial waxing. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

$$$  Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. Come try one of our many delicious burgers that we have to offer, as well as our HUGE Bomber Sandwich, homemade chicken fingers made to order, and the all-time favorite Dumpster Plate with many choices. We deliver. We have a $20 gift certificate for $8.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Dave's Ice Cream, 3872 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, NY: Dave's offers only locally purchased products, including Perry's hard ice cream in a wide variety of yummy flavors, with a wonderful assortment of toppings and homemade waffle cones. Different soft-serve flavors are offered weekly. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

$$$  Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Stretch your body and soul with yoga. This offer is for a $20 gift certificate off instruction for the price of $5. For new students only. Not good with any other discounts or offers. Use before October 2014.

Sweetland Pines Golf Course, 5795 Sweetland Road, Stafford, NY: Sweetland Pines is a par 3 golf course, great for beginners and experienced golfers working on the short game. Relaxed golf game, average play is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, leaving the golfer time to enjoy rest of the day. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

$$$  Scooter's Restaurant in Le Roy, 140 W. Main Street Road (Route 5), Le Roy, NY: Come see us at Scooter's family restaurant with our friendly atmosphere and homestyle cooking! We offer classic American food with breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day. We also offer a full take-out menu anytime. We have a $10 gift certificate for $4.

SOLD OUT

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Car wreck with injuries at Route 98 and Batavia Elba TL Road

post by Billie Owens in accidents, elba

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at Route 98 and Batavia Elba Town Line Road. Elba Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE: One person was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. The accident involved two vehicles, one of which was a pickup truck.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Melee reported at Lewis and State, combatants wielding baseball bats

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

About 15 to 20 people are reportedly fighting, armed with baseball bats, at Lewis Place and State Street. City police are responding.

UPDATE 8:54 p.m.: Howard at the scene reports that there are six cop cars at the scene, including units from the Sheriff's Department. In addition, he said dozens of people "are milling about," some of whom are being interviewed by law enforcement. One witness told Howard that no baseball bats were involved.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Several vehicles with smashed windows and stolen valuables reported on Bank Street Road

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

At least 10 vehicles were broken into this evening on Bank Street Road at the Batavia Sports Park. The victims of these "smash-and-grab" crimes are missing purses, wallets, jewelry, credit cards and more.

Mostly, side windows were smashed, but one vehicle had a rear window smashed.

The crimes were reported by an off-duty deputy. State Troopers are on scene now.

Although soccer and kickball games were under way at the park, no witnesses have been found.

In addition to these crimes, it is reported that overnight on the city's Southside, at least four criminal mischief complaints resulted from vehicle break-ins.

For tips that may aid in the investigation, State Police can be reached at (585) 344-6200.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: Using mobile phone tracking technology, State Police were able to locate three bags of purses in a dumpster at a hotel in Clarence off the Thruway. No suspects found.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Child on bike struck by Jeep at East Avenue and Walker Place

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A caller reports a child on a bicycle was struck by a Jeep in the area of East Avenue and Walker Place. City police, fire and medics responded.

This was initially reported as being at 34 Columbia Ave. Regardless, the victim is inside the residence at that address.

The vehicle was also described as being a gray van.

City fire is back in service. Police are speaking roadside with the driver.

UPDATE 5:13 p.m.: Medics are taking the patient to UMMC. He is described as 9 years old and complaining of right side pain and a bump on his head.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Two experts testify about characteristics of child sexual abuse and its effects in Vickers trial

post by Billie Owens in crime, sean vickers

The people called two expert witnesses this afternoon in the Sean Vickers' trial to testify about child sexual abuse -- a pediatrician and a forensic interviewer.

Both established that the perpetrator who sexually abuses children is usually a relative or someone the victim knows well. A victim often doesn't report the abuse right away, sometimes never. Reasons for this include fear, guilt, threat of retribution, not wanting to be viewed as abnormal, et al. And obvious signs of sex abuse are overwhelmingly absent.

Dr. Jack Coyne, a pediatrician with an office in Batavia, helped establish the Child Advocacy Center here and in Erie County. He explained that these facilities provide a place for children to be examined and interviewed in a more comfortable environment than a hospital or police station.

"We help them know they are OK, their bodies are OK, Coyne said.

He testified that only 3 to 5 percent of all reported cases of child sexual abuse in the nation reveal definitive, physical proof that sex acts occurred. Examinations rarely detect lesions, for example. Unless there is pregnancy, the presence of a sexually transmitted disease, or obvious signs of rape, the objective aspects (physical facts) of these exams turn up nothing. It is in the subjective interviewing process that a sexual abuse diagnosis is most often determined, Coyne said, noting that half of all the sex abuse cases he's handled involve children under age 7.

He explained the seemingly illogical statistics by saying that, because the perpetrator is usually known, this person takes care not to be found out, to leave no evidence. Fondling was an example. Then he graphically detailed how sex acts can be performed without leaving physical clues and noted studies that show that orifices of the body are "very vascular" and can bleed lightly but then heal very quickly without scarring.

In the 2 to 3 percent of child sex abuse cases involving complete strangers, they don't care about injuries. Yet even then, Coyne said, the body heals swiftly and a couple weeks or months later, it's not unusual for physical evidence of a crime to be absent.

In April 2013, Coyne said he examined three children in this case (a 9-year-old boy and twin boys who are his cousins).

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked, if the objective part of the exam was normal, does that rule out sex abuse?

"Not at all," the doctor replied, adding that the key is whether the assessment is consistent with the history as described by the child.

Defense attorney Jerry Ader asked if it is correct that for each of the children's exams in this case, the objective findings provided no evidence of abuse.

Coyne said a doctor cannot divorce objective findings from the subjective ones.

In this case, Ader said, your findings don't prove sexual abuse occurred, to which the doctor concurred.

Under questioning by Friedman, the doctor reinterated the statistic that in only 3 to 5 percent of all cases of child sexual abuse is there objective -- factual -- physical proof.

Next on the witness stand was Katherine Colgan, who works at the Batavia CAC as a forensic interviewer of abused children. She has degrees in Education and Criminal Justice and said she has conducted thousands of victim interviews. She said she is a trained expert in the characteristics displayed by sexually abused children.

And they share several characteristics:

Secrecy -- They tend to keep their secret a long time because they are fearful of hurting their family and a person beloved by the family;

Fear -- There may have been a threat by the perpetrator to leave the family or perhaps the promise of safety for a sibling ("If you don't tell, I won't molest your little sister.");

Guilt -- For the acts that occurred; for the impact telling might have on the family;

Helplessness -- They are taught they must listen to whatever an adult tells them to do, obey;

Entrapment -- Because they feel helpless and that there is no way out;

Disassociation -- These are coping mechanisms they develop to exist in an abusive situation.

Adults, who might expect a child to come forward immediately and to be outraged, may be puzzled by the delay in reporting the abuse or that the disclosure was made in a mild, unconvincing manner.

She used the term "flat affect," a clinical term for a demeanor void of expression or emotion. Or, conversely, the child may giggle inappropriately, or "test the waters" of people's reactions by means of "incremental disclosure."

"Most abused children simply say 'I want the abuse to stop,' " Colgan said. "They aren't seeking revenge or punishment for the perpetrator. They just want it to stop."

Another response of these children is an attempt to rectract their accusations ("None of that happened. I made it up.") possibly because of external pressures or their concern about breaking the family apart.

"If they are not getting the support of the non-offending parent, they are more likely to recant or to not even reveal their secret in the first place," Colgan said.

Ader offered a simpler explanation. Could the reason for trying to recant the allegation or the delay in coming forward be that it simply was not true? That they were lying?

Yes, Colgan said, that could be the case.

As for incremental disclosure, Ader asked, could a reason for that be that the child is getting lots of attention, treats?

"It's possible," Colgan said.

How about peer pressure, Ader asked, could that be a factor?

Colgan said peer pressure works both ways, either to support telling the secret or to stifle it.

Friedman said earlier discussion had brought out that it's possible for the abused to still love the abuser and continue to spend time with that person. How is that?

Colgan said a published study in 1983 of this phenomena has now become commonly accepted as characteristic of sexually abused children.

The prosecution rested its case; the jury filed out, whereupon Ader made a motion to dismiss all the charges due to a dearth of evidence to sustain charges of a course of conduct of sexual abuse.

At that point, what at first portended to be a brief meeting on points of law and considerations for the jury, morphed into a confusing, arcane, back-and-forth exploration of the minutae of law, which at times resulted in oddly humorous moments and the scratching of heads.

Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered the lawyers to return to the courtroom at 9 in the morning to resume the discussion and the jurors are expected to return to their seats at 10 a.m.

The defense also rested its case.

Beforehand, the judge asked Vickers if he had agreed not to take the stand and testify on his own behalf. Vickers, standing, said softly, that yes he had agreed not to testify.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Molester had abundant opportunities to sexually abuse kids in this case, but so did many others

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Four new witnesses were called to the stand when testimony resumed this afternoon in the child sex abuse case of convicted child molester Sean Vickers.

Though their testimonies were mostly compelling, defense attorney Jerry Ader managed to point out gaps in recollections, dates and other specifics in an effort to cast a shadow of doubt in the jurors' minds.

Among those who took the stand was a 25-year-old prisoner brought in by officers from another county. He wore a white shirt, tan pants, ankle shackles, and looked dead ahead from the witness stand.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman straightaway dispatched with the witness's criminal record. The man is serving time for criminal trespass and two counts of first-degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor. He pled guilty when he was 17 of unlawfully entering the home of an acquaintance and forcibly touching the genitals of two females, ages 7 and 11. He has served more than five years, out of a maximum of eight, and his third parole hearing is this fall.

Then Friedman asked about Vickers.

The alleged victim said he is one of five boys in his family, Vickers was an adult relative, and that from the time period of November 2001 to April 2002, Vickers had performed oral sex on him and vice-versa at least five or more times.

At that point, several of the jurors stared hard at Vickers. They were all paying attention.

On cross-examination, Ader honed in on the witness's credibility.

Ader contended that the witness has an ulterior motivation for coming forward now and telling about alleged oral sexual conduct with Vickers. The witness's time off for good behavior was voided due to problems during his incarceration. To convince authorities to give the credits back, and have that recommendation made at his third parole hearing in September, he's testifying today, Ader maintained.

In 2004, Ader noted, nothing was mentioned about oral sexual contact, nine years later it surfaces.

But upon questioning by Friedman, it was pointed out that the witness didn't reach out to police about Vickers, rather the police contacted the witness in order to re-interview him for this case about his contact with Vickers.

Next, Ader asked the witness if one someone had been removed from his mother's home. The witness said Child Protective Services had ordered Vickers to be removed from the home.

That's not the answer he was looking for, so he ignored the statement. He asked about one of his brothers. Was one of them was removed from the home?

"Yes."

"Were you ever told why?"

"No."

"Did you ever wonder why?"

"Yes."

Did (this brother) ever touch you inappropriately?"

"Yes."

The next witness was a 23-year-old brother of the first witness. Friedman questioned him about getting in trouble with the police. The young man told the jurors that in August of 2002 he got caught throwing rocks at the sand wash on Cedar Street and the cops took him to his house in Batavia. Only Vickers was there and they began arguing. Then the boy went in the basement to fold laundry. Vickers came down there and told him he was in big trouble. When the boy was standing against the washing machine, he said Vickers "touched my groin area...probably less than a minute. ... I ran upstairs. I was afraid."

From November 2001 to February 2004, Vickers sexually molested him on several occasions, the second witness said. Specifically, Vickers performed oral sex on him. The witness at this point appeared a bit uncomfortable, yawning nervously and wriggling about.

It was the dates of those instances that Ader parsed. How could he remember the dates? Are you saying you can remember this from 10 years ago?

The witness said he remembers the date of the time in the laundry room because it was the first real trouble he'd gotten into. The second time in which he recalled a specific date was because "it was Buffalo Bills day."

An exhibit was then entered into the court record -- an affidavit which he signed in May of 2013. It describes his run-in with police, arguing with Vickers about it, but nothing about sexual contact. It says he was 11, but he was actually 8 at the time. And the statement about an instance of abuse on Buffalo Bills day says he was 8, but he was actually 11.

"You really don't have a good memory about this do you?"

"No," the witness replied. "It's hard enough as it is."

Next the prisoner was recalled to the stand and simply asked if the alleged abuse occurred at the same address (the one his brother cited). "Yes."

The third witness for the prosecution testified that he knows one of the alleged victims, from another family, because his brother is married to the child's mother.

Last August, with Vickers behind the wheel, the third witness and his brother all went to the IMAX theater in Rochester to see a movie. The brother, having some knowlege of the alleged molestation, asked Vickers if he had been touching the child. The answer was yes. The brother said "stay away from our house." "Okay," the previously convicted molester replied.

This witness, too, has had legal problems. In 2009, at age 17, he entered guilty pleas to several misdemeanors, including stealing bicycles out of people's yards, shoplifting at Walmart, and more serious, providing alcohol to minors. He spent a year in jail and then was put on probation.

When Ader asked about the movie trip, he wanted to know if the radio was on, was it loud, since he had a cell phone with him -- why didn't he text and tell someone about Vickers' alleged admission of guilt?

The third witness said when he returned home that night, he did tell the child's mother.

The final witness was this child's mother -- a married woman who has two sons, ages 11 and 9.

She testified that from Spring 2012 to Spring 2013, Vickers often had contact with her family, as he was a relation by marriage. They went skiing, to movies, on picnics.

"He paid for things, like a Kindle Fire, rollerblades, bought Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, expensive things," she said. "At times he spent the night in our attic, it's finished, it's a bedroom. He slept on a pad on the floor."

The district attorney elicited that her sister has twin boys and they often spent nights at the witness's house as well, including about four or five overnight stays when Vickers was staying over.

The mother bit her lip repeatedly. Swallowed hard. Teared up.

She told the panel that today her youngest son has attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder; he is emotionally disturbed; suffers from anxiety; and has also been diagnosed with "behavorial defiance disorder."

Then she talked more about Vickers.

"Sean would pay for us (she and her husband) to go do things and he said he'd pay for it and he'd babysit."

And how many times did this type of arrangement occur? Friedman asked.

"Fifty times or more," she replied.

Ader asked if her brother-in-law had told her about the conversation he had with Vickers in the car on the way to the movies. Yes, she said. Ader asked if her youngest son had told her he had been "touched." No, she said.

By this time, the impassive, pale-faced Vickers started taking notes on a legal pad. He is diminutive, balding and gray in back; he wore a black suit. He is slight of chin and completely unremarkable in mien.

The last witness further testified that she had not alerted the police after her brother-in-law relayed the car conversation because she had already done so "long before."

The defense attorney's next line of questioning brought forth testimony that many guests came and went at her household, including one who had been convicted of providing alcohol to minors.

There were plenty of guests.

"More than I'd like," she said.

The case resumes tomorrow morning.

(Batavia PD Det. Kevin Czora also testified, simply that he investigated the case; no details.)

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Tonight's Muckdogs game postponed due to weather

post by Billie Owens in batavia, muckdogs, sports

Tonight’s game between the Batavia Muckdogs and Williamsport Crosscutters has been postponed due wet and unsafe field conditions. This game will be made up as part of a double-header on Tuesday, July 29th. We will play two seven-inning games, with the first game starting at 5:05 p.m. Gates will open at 4 p.m. Any person with tickets to tonight’s game can exchange their tickets for any other regular season game, subject to availability.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Mark your calendar for Elba's Onion Festival Aug. 8 and 9

post by Billie Owens in elba, Onion Festival

The annual Onion Festival will be on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8th and 9th at the Elba Firemen's Rec Hall, located at 7143 Oak Orchard Road. Lots of food, fun, friends and music. Bring the whole family to Elba's biggest event of the year!

Friday's hours are 5 p.m. 'til 2 a.m. and the main parade starts at 7 p.m. The parade route will be starting on West Avenue going south down Route 98 and ending at the Elba Rec Hall.

Saturday's festivities start at noon with the Kiddie Parade, and also end at 2 a.m. The Kiddie Parade begins at the corner of Ford Road and Route 98 and goes to the rec hall. All kids are welcome to attend. They can walk, ride a bike, drive a battery-operated four-wheeler or Jeep or whatever it may be, or be pulled in a wagon by mom or dad.

The crowning of the Onion Queen will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The drawing of the 2014 Ford Mustang (Courtesy of Orleans Ford), or $20,000 cash, will be at 11 p.m. on Saturday.

There will be ride specials both Friday night (7-11) and Saturday (1-5).

Savage Cabbage will be playing in the beer tent from 9 p.m. 'til 1 a.m. on Friday night.

Then Mac and Company will be playing in the beer tent from on Saturday starting at 6 p.m. and later, from 9 p.m. 'til 1 a.m., the Mercury Blues Band performs.

 

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

St. Joseph Catholic School seeking nominations for 'Outstanding Alumni Award'

post by Billie Owens in st. joseph school

Press release:

St. Joseph Catholic School is now accepting nominations for the “Outstanding Alumni Award,” which will be presented at the 55th annual Popcorn Ball to be held on Oct. 25th at the school.

According to school officials, nominees should have achieved excellence in his or her field utilizing the foundations of Catholic Education, including service to the Church and the community. Past winners include Judge Robert Balbick, Dan Burns, a regional vice president at M&T Bank, and John Dwyer, former director of the Genesee County IDA.

The 55th annual Popcorn Ball will feature a wine dinner that will pair food from Alex’s Place of  Batavia with wine from Heron Hill. It is a semi-formal event that is open to the public. The event will include a DJ, Chinese Auction, 50/50 drawings, and a cash giveaway.

Nominations for the “Outstanding Alumni Award” will be accepted until Sept. 1st and can be submitted via the school’s Web site (www.sjsbatavia.org <http://www.sjsbatavia.org/> ) or submitted directly to the school, which is located at 2 Summit St. in the City of Batavia.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Track record smashed at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

All Bets Off with driver Matt Kakaley

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Three divisions of the New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings highlighted the Sunday afternoon card and it didn't take long for the youngsters to impress the crowd.
Prohibitive post-time favorite All Bets Off put on a clinic in winning the first division of the $116,900 sophomore stake and rewrote the record book in the process.

Leaving from post five, All Bets Off went right to the front and was never headed. In fact, for most of the mile no one could keep up with him. Driver Matt Kakaley set fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1 as he sped for the last turn. At that point All Bets Off found a new gear and pulled away to an unprompted eight-length victory in 1:51.2, which set a new track record for a 3-year-old colt and was only one-fifth shy of tying the all-age track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011.

All Bets Off, who returned $2.60 for the win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and is trained by Ron Burke. The win was his sixth of the year and raised his lifetime earnings to $497,842.

The second division looked like it might break the record just set. After settling in second off the gate,  3-5 favorite Winds Of Change (Jim Morrill Jr.) bolted from the hole and shot to the top with a 6 length advantage at the quarter in :26.4. He was in command at the half in 54.1 with a gapped 10 length lead but the pack started reeling him in at the three-quarters.

After the leader hit that post in 1:22.4, Forty Five Red (Matt Kakaley) who had come first-over caught the leader by the top of the turn, but Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was right on his back and it became a two horse race all the way down the stretch. After a hard fought duel, Moliere Hanover won a neck decision over Forty Five Red in 1:53.3.

The time was a new lifetime mark for Moliere Hanover who was overlooked by the betting public and returned $24.20.

Moliere Hanover is owned by Baymond Racing LLC and is trained by P.J. Fraley.

The final split was won by Big Boy Dreams (Jason Bartlett) who presented his best outing of the year. Leaving from post five, Big Boy Dreams immediately took the lead and was never headed. After getting to the three-quarters in 1:25, Bartlett stretched out in the bike and simply urged the colt along with a few taps down the lane where the others attempt to catch him became futile. The mile time of 1:52.4 was a seasonal mark for Big Boy Dreams who returned $3.60 as the favorite.

Big Boy Dreams is owned by Dominick Rosato and is trained by Tracy Brainard.

There were also two divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior A series on the undercard.

The first was won by Murder He Wrote, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in a time of 1:55.2 for owner Camelot Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. Murder He Wrote returned $3.80.

The second division went to Archetto Hanover who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:54.2 for owner Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Erv Miller trains Archetto Hanover who paid $7.60.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his driving domination as he registered five wins and two seconds on the 12-race card. Morrill is by far the top driver in the New York Sire Stake series and on the year as a whole, sports a gaudy .406 UDR.

Racing resumes Wednesday evening (7-30) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

East Pembroke Fire District voters decide Tuesday whether to spend money on new fire hall

post by Billie Owens in East Pembroke Fire District

Tomorrow East Pembroke Fire District voters will decide whether to approve a proposal to build a new fire hall. That means spending taxpayers' money and an increase in taxes, but Fire District Commissioner Bill Lawrence says it is absolutely necessary to continue providing essential service the 5,500 residents in the 100 square miles of its coverage area.

The existing fire hall has served citizens well for more than 80 years. But it is rife with structural problems, according to code inspectors and engineers, who deem it insufficient for its current use.

The proposed fire hall would sit on land purchased by the district more than a decade ago that is a little bit east of the current location. The building would be 11,128 square feet and cost $3 million.

It would contain not only more room for existing fire trucks, but rooms for hose drying, decontamination and air packs. Lawrence describes the proposed building as basic, "by no means a castle."

For a district that has traditionally held the line on tax increases, the proposal might make some property owners wince. The tax assessment would go up from the current $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value to a maximum of $1.98.

But that price factors in future inflation, new trucks, ongoing maintenance and other expenses.

"There won't be another tax rate increase for 20 years," Lawrence said.

The district, Lawrence said, has always tried to keep taxes down, even while always paying cash for new trucks and keeping its annual budget at $150,000 or less.

Now the district faces a situation where the fire hall must be replaced, but there's not enough money in the bank to cover all of the costs.

"Our feeling was to let the people keep their money," Lawrence said. "We've been asked, 'why didn't you increase the tax rate right along?' But we felt it was better to let people keep their money."

The former rec hall for the department sits under three bays that were built in the 1970s. The floor was designed to support only 14,000 pounds. The current trucks occupying those three bays weigh more than 45,000 pounds.

The 1930s era portion of the structure was designed to support only 8,000 pounds and it currently contains a 12,000-pound rescue truck.

Firefighting has changed a lot since the 1930s. Trucks have gotten bigger and the state has implemented ever more stringent and costly regulations. 

For example, new turnout gear for interior firefighters must be purchased every 10 years, at a cost of $3,500. New air packs must be purchased every 15 years and cost $6,500 each. The state requires all tires on fire trucks be replaced every 10 years, whether the tires are worn or not.

Recently, more and more residents have been putting steel roofs on their homes and barns. That presents a new firefighting challenge because the roofs are harder to access -- especially in frosty or wet whether -- to ventilate a fire (a key firefighting strategy).  

The increase in steel roofs means the district needs to buy a new ladder truck at a cost of $675,000.

The current fire hall is owned by the East Pembroke Fire Department and Lawrence said fire district officials feel it would be better for the district to own the fire hall. Building a new one will give the district the chance to correct that historic anomaly.  

The fire department would then sell the current hall.

The department goes out on nearly 300 calls a year and currently has 31 volunteer firefighters. The district projects growth in the area that will mean 400 calls annually by 2034 and the department will need 55 volunteers to operate.

There simply isn't room in the current building to upgrade it enough to accomodate that growth. But even just upgrading the electrical, the structural, the mechanical and making it handicapped accessible (which would be required under federal law) would cost nearly $1 million.

The public can vote at the fire station located at 2623 W. Main Road, East Pembroke. Polls will be open July 29 from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information, download this flyer (pdf).

Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Car vs. pole accident at Route 20 and Linwood Road

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Pavilion

A car vs. pole accident is reported at Route 20 and Linwood Road. Pavilion Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Shelby O'Neill, of Corfu, makes dean's list at Colby College in Maine

post by Billie Owens in corfu, Milestones

Shelby F. O'Neill was named to the dean's list at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, for his outstanding academic achievement during the Spring semester of the 2013-14 year. O'Neill, a member of the Class of 2015, is the son of Philip O'Neill and MaryAnn Wiater, of Corfu, and attended Pembroke Central School.

Students whose grade-point averages were 3.7 or higher were named to the dean's list.

Founded in 1813, Colby College is the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation. Colby provides a rigorous academic program that fosters transformational relationships between students and faculty. Graduates emerge as leaders ready to make an impact on their world. Colby is committed to making the full experience accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their ability to pay. The college enrolls 1,825 students.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

GC assistant athletic director named Distinguished Person of the Year by WNY peers

post by Billie Owens in GCC, Milestones, sports

For the second year in a row, Genesee Community College Assistant to the Athletic Director Ron Spiotta has been named the Western New York Athletic Conference Distinguished Person of the Year Award recipient. The award is given to an individual who has outstanding accomplishments or has made significant contributions to a sport or athletics in general.

"Ron has been a great asset to the Genesee Athletic department for the last 28 years," said GCC Athletic Director Kristen Schuth. "He does a great job communicating with the community as well as his peers. This award is very well deserved for the second year in a row."

Spiotta has been with the College since 1981. He currently coordinates athletic eligibility, scheduling, charter traveling and assists the athletics director on day-to-day operations. In addition to his duties as a staff member, Spiotta was the head coach of the baseball program at Genesee from 1986-1999 and currently sits on the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee at the College.

Spiotta is a 1978 graduate of SUNY Brockport with a degree in Recreation and Leisure. He resides in Batavia with his wife, Deborah, and has two children, Lauren and Michael.

Genesee Community College athletics program endeavors to provide a quality and competitive intercollegiate athletics program consistent with the National Junior Collegiate Athletics Association (NJCAA) philosophy and the overall educational mission of Genesee Community College. Participation in collegiate athletics should be an extension of the total educational experience for the student athlete. The inherent philosophy emphasizes the athletic setting as a classroom used to teach character, commitment, work ethic, respect for differences, and the importance of sacrifice, teamwork, and cooperation.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Timothy Redband makes the dean's list at Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones

Timothy M. Redband, of Batavia, received academic honors from the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University by making the dean's list for the Spring 2014 semester.

Binghamton University is one of the four university centers of the State University of New York. Known for the excellence of its students, faculty, staff and programs, Binghamton enrolls close to 15,000 students in programs leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Its curriculum, founded in the liberal arts, has expanded to include selected professional and graduate programs.
 

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Engagement: Stacey Marie Yasses to wed Christopher Arthur Cohen next summer

post by Billie Owens in engagements, Milestones

Mrs. Sharon Yasses-Dobbs is pleased to announce the engagement of her daughter, Stacey Marie Yasses to Christopher Arthur Cohen, son of Mr. and Mr. John Cohen Sr. of Cary, N.C.

The future bride is a 1999 graduate of Ogdensburg Free Academy and a 2001 graduate of Cazenovia College with a AS in Human Services. She is employed as an operations manager for an electrical contractor in Raleigh, N.C.

The future groom is 1993 graduate of Apex High School and a 1997 graduate of East Carolina
University with a BA in Business Administration. He is now co-owner of an Insurance Restoration Company based in Apex, N.C.

The couple reside in Cary, N.C., and plan to wed the summer of 2015 in Gasport, NY.

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