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Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Generator fire reported on South Main Street, Batavia

post by Billie Owens in fire batavia

A generator is reportedly on fire at 193 S. Main St., in the area of Apt. 21, on the southwest corner, in the City of Batavia.

City fire crews responding.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Power outage hitting Batavia, Stafford, Bethany

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bethany, Stafford, weather

More than 2,160 National Grid customers have been without power for an hour and repair crews are unlikely to restore power before 10 p.m.

The effected area covers from just east of the city limits to Morganville and the eastern edge of Stafford down to Little Canada and East Bethany at Roanoke Road.

The outage may be related to a power line reported down and burning on Main Road, Stafford, at 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

County legislature protests tax cap without mandate relief

post by Howard B. Owens in Albany, county legislature, taxes

Without mandate relief, local officials say, a proposed property tax cap will strangle county government.

The cap proposal is moving through Albany and today the Genesee County Legislature sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local representatives.

Without addressing the root cause of the problem -- unfunded mandates -- counties will have to begin eliminating all non-mandated, community-based programs and services to stay under the cap. These programs include veterans services and aging programs, local road and bridge maintenance and repair, road patrol, long-term care and substance abuse services, to name a few.

Legislative Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock told WBTA today that rising pension costs and Medicaid expenses that are "forced" on the county are eating up too much local revenue.

"Pension costs have gone up 31 percent," she said. "And in the past several years, Medicaid has continued to escalate in cost."

WBTA also spoke with  Batavia City Schools' Business Manager Scott Rozanski, who predicted dark days ahead under the cap.

"In essence, it means we could only increase our expenditures by about $350,000," he said. "Cutting more is doable, but it would probably create a lot more uproar." 

Superintendent Margaret Puzio blamed the current proposed increase in the tax levy on Albany.

"The only reason we're looking at an increase in the tax levy is because our state aid was cut," she said.

While in Batavia today, Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer addressed the issue. Ranzenhofer expressed support for Hancock's call to have the state assume the costs of Medicaid.

"I was a county legislator for 20 years -- I understand that issue," he said. "I'm also very concerned about overuse of the Medicaid system by some, to the detriment of others. I'm talking about not having every possible optional service that you can have.

If the state took over funding Medicaid, Razenhofer, it might take more seriously such as issues of fraud and waste and find ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Possible house fire on Clipnock Road, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in fire, Stafford

A possible house fire is reported at 9378 Clipnock Road in Stafford. There is smoke in the residence.

Stafford Fire Department, along with Town of Batavia and Le Roy units are called to respond.

The location is between Sweetland and Torrey roads.

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: The Stafford crew is on scene and asks responders to come in non-emergency mode. Le Roy is standing by in Stafford's hall.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Stafford command says there are no signs of fire. The responders are all put back in service.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Young offenders could face loss of driver's license if they don't appear in court

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, Gary Draper, Mike Ranzenhofer

Youngsters who get arrested for underage drinking or unlawful possession of marijuana may want to be careful about skipping court dates in the future.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Darien Town Justice Gary Graber were in Batavia today to announce the state Senate approval of a new law that would suspend the driving privileges of any person who fails to appear in court for those charges.

Graber called the current laws unenforceable because there has been no penalty for skipping court appearances. 

Because convictions for the infractions of underage drinking or unlawful possession of marijuana never include jail time, judges and justices are unable to issue warrants when a suspect doesn't appear in court.

"(The current law) encourages a lack of respect for the courts and the law and weakens the educational purposes of these laws to strongly discourage underage drinking and marijuana possession,” Ranzenhofer said. “This legislation will now give judges a remedy to the loopholes in the current law to enforce the sanctions of the court."

Graber, of course, sits in a court just down the road from Darien Lake Theme Park where, during the concert season, local law enforcement issues many citations for underage drinking and UPM.

Justices from throughout New York have been seeking a change in the law for years, Graber said.

Full press release after the jump:

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Popular trail in Iroquois refuge vandalized

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime

The Swallow Hollow Nature Trail has suffered $15,000 in damage after vandals struck recently, according to WIVB.

Ten interpretive panels were removed. The vandals also overtuned a bench, toppled a port-a-john and removed other signs.

There's a $500 reward being offered by the Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Inc., for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the people involved.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Wire lands on truck, is burning, in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford

A wire is reportedly down, landing on a truck, and is burning in the area 5815 Main Road, Stafford.

Stafford Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 8:08 p.m.: National Grid has a 20 to 25 minute ETA. A firefighter on scene reports the wire is not on the truck, but on the ground.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Grand opening planned for new family venture on West Main

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

The Rathod family of Batavia has a new business venture -- they've taken over the Sunco gas station and West Main Mini Mart at 3845 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

Raveen Rathod is running the store with help from his brothers, Nick (above, left) and Sunny.

On Friday and Saturday, the family will celebrate the grand opening of their new business. The draw for customers includes 5 cents off a gallon of gas (but not diesel), free slice of pizza with a $5 gas purchase along with drawings and giveaways.

The store will be open both days from 6 a.m to 10 p.m.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Downtown T-shirt company rebrands itself as Pink Gorilla

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Tim Walton

Remember the pink gorilla we saw wandering on Main Street on May 25? It was a marketing ploy of local entrepreneur Tim Walton.

Walton has relaunched his T-shirt and clothing business, former Topline Shirt Company, as Pink Gorilla Tees and Graphics.

The location remains 214 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

Joe Canzoneri has been named store manager.

Just because the new store has opened doesn't mean the mascot will be retired, Canzoneri said.

"We will continue to send the mascot to events," Canzoneri said. "It's something that we hope the community will enjoy as well. We want to have fun with what we do and Pink Gorilla is just that -- fun and creative just like our shirts"

Pink Gorilla will be open from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm

From dream to reality, Batavia woman opens her own salon

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Jagged Edge Salon

When hair stylist Amanda Lowe, above left, managed a Super Cuts, she said, she was able to double the business of the store and that success got her to thinking -- what could I do if I struck out on my own?

After some time thinking about it, and getting experience in other salons, she recently stopped wondering and started trying.

Last month, she opened Jagged Edge Salon at 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive with her friends Dawn Williams (next to Amanda) and Alisha Foster (right) along with her sister Sarah Lowe (in between Dawn and Alisha).

Combined, the young women have 38 years experience cutting and styling hair. 

Customers are welcome to walk-in or make an appointment for highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, treatments, and facial waxing.

"I like having a salon where the girls and the customers can come in and have fun," Lowe said. "I also just like the responsibility of running my own business."

The grand opening is June 18. Guests who stop in between now and then can enter to win prizes, including free haircuts for a year.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Injuries reported in car vs. deer accident on Route 5 at Kelsey Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A car reportedly struck a deer on Route 5 near Kelsey Road.

There are injuries reported.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: One person was transported to UMMC by ground ambulance. Officials on scene said that a driver of another vehicle saw the deer, slowed down and the deer jumped over that car and landed on this minivan. No further information available at this time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

Police Beat: Felony DWI charge made in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime, Darien

Wallace Eugene Urf, 33, Pavilion Center Road, Pavilion, is charged with a felony count of DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Urf was taken into custody at 6:05 p.m. Monday on Broadway, Darien, following a complaint of a domestic incident. Urf was allegedly found driving a car on a suspended license while intoxicated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy. Corfu Police assisted in the apprehension.

David Lawrence Popielinski, 22, of Schad Road, Alden, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from lane unsafely. At 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office received a complaint of a car off the road on Harlow Road, Darien. Deputy Kevin McCarthy investigated and arrested Popielinski.

Grant Arnold Sundown, 46, of Skye Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Sundown is accused of having contact with a protected person.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

Photo: City traffic enforcement effort

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Batavia Police are running a special detail today targeting drivers without seat belts or talking on mobile phones.

Officers also ran the detail yesterday afternoon.

Officer Darryle Streeter said he's seeing about 95- to 98-percent compliance with the seat belt law.

Mobile phones are another matter. Of the 18 tickets written yesterday, only one was for a seat belt violation and 10 were for mobile phone use (the rest were for miscellaneous issues such as inspection or tinted glass).

At the time this picture was taken, the detail was being run on Ellicott Street.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

Today's Deals: Alex's, Center Street, Ficarella's, and more

post by Ethan Thompson in Deal of the Day

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. 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 $10.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY. Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985. Pizza, wings, pasta and more. We have $20 gift certificates for $10. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun
and good food are always on tap. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for spring or summer. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga, three classes, a $30 value, for $15.

Blue Pearl Yoga

Note: if you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Police Beat: Couple accused of violating mutual orders of protection

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Summer Ogden, 35, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, and Eric Michael Duda, 49, of Route 5, Stafford, are both charged criminal contempt (Summer in the 2nd degree, Duda in the 1st). Both Ogden and Duda have orders of protection in place barring them from contacting each other. The pair was arrested at 9:41 p.m., Tuesday, when they were allegedly found together.

Joseph Charles Wind, 41, of Horseshoe Lake Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Wind was stopped at 8:50 p.m. on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Brian Thompson for allegedly driving without headlights after dusk.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Photo: Tree on Bank Street Road

post by Howard B. Owens in Bank Street Road, batavia, photos

I've driven on Bank Street Road dozens of times. Today, for the first time, I noticed this interestingly shaped tree.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Photos: Old one-room schoolhouse

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, photos

On my way back from Bergen, I found myself at the intersection of Walkers Corner and Batavia-Byron Townline roads.

About a month ago, I was in this same area and noticed this old one-room schoolhouse. This time, I took the time to stop. It looks like some artist has converted it into a studio. 

I'm a little envious.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Bergen teen will be mourned and missed 'in all kinds of ways'

post by Howard B. Owens in accident

Though the sun shone on Bergen this morning, there was little joy in the tiny village of 1,200 people.

The community laid to rest one of its youngest members today, Eric. C. Wall, 16, who died Friday afternoon in a tragic and ultimately unexplainable accident

An overflow crowd filled the Methodist Church for an hour-long service.

After the service, Pastor Michael Merry spoke with reporters and said though it is a sad day, it's also a day of hope.

"I see hope in a community that has come together," Merry said. "I see hope that we can maybe find a way to prevent this kind of tragic death from happening again."

On Friday afternoon, at about 2:45, Eric was on his way home from school with two friends. When they got into the village, the three boys went their separate ways and Eric apparently decided to try and run across the train tracks. It's impossible to know what he saw or what he thought. There was a CSX train coming from the west and an Amtrak train coming from the east. Eric was first struck by the passenger train and then by the cargo train. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"This has been very difficult for the community to cope with," Merry said. "Perhaps the most difficult part -- as you can just hear -- is the train whistle in the background. We have about 70 trains per day come through here. It's going to be hard to get that sound out of our heads. I think this is a day of healing, but as we hear that train go by, we will also remember."

Merry said Eric was memorialized during the service as a kid who made people laugh and stuck up for weaker, picked-on classmates, and would stand up for what he believed in.

"We will mourn his loss," Merry said. "He will be missed in all kinds of ways."

On Saturday, Eric's brother planted an apply tree in the little park near the train tracks. The tree was a gift from the community. At 9 a.m., Monday, the tree will be dedicated in a community service. Merry asked that the media let the community have a quiet, undisturbed ceremony.

For more coverage from The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, click here.

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