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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of city's hidden treasures

It's a place teeming with wildlife, a bit of a birder's paradise. It's 400 acres of accessible open space where local residents can walk their dogs, go for a jog or just enjoy a stroll along well-maintained paths.

Some might call it a park.

We call it the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A lot of area residents, even if they know of the plant, may not know it's open to the public, or appreciate its natural aesthetics.

"It's great that the city is able to provide access to this great resource," said Tom O'Donnell, president of the Buffalo Ornithological Society. "It's a unique place to view waterfowl and shore birds."

Some 180 different species of birds have been spotted on the property during its 21-year history, including herons, loons, egrets, hawks, terns, swans and, of course, a variety of ducks and geese.

Birders from throughout the region know of the facility and have even traveled from as far away as Finland specifically to go birding in Batavia.

What makes the plant unique is the lack of reeds and trees between the birder and the birds, said O'Donnell. The vantage point, with the raised berms around the lagoons, give birders an exceptional angle to view waterfowl and shore birds.

It's tempting to call the fenced-in treatment plant a bird sanctuary, but it's prime function is to treat the city's effluent and turn it into something environmentally safe to pump back into the Tonawanda Creek.

The process is all natural -- no chemicals -- and it takes six to nine months for a molecule of water to pass from the facility's mechanical screen to the gravity outflow pipe near the pedestrian bridge at Walnut Street on the Tonawanda.

According to City Manager Jason Molino, the treatment plant is the largest lagoon system east of the Mississippi.

"That plant is a resource that I don’t think people understand," Molino said following a city council meeting last week. "It’s a special plant. It’s 400 acres. It doesn’t use chemical treatment. It’s natural treatment, so there’s no chemical cost. Only four people run it, seven days a week. You find me a sewer plant that has low labor costs like that, low treatment costs -- that's why our sewer rates are some of the lowest in Western New York."

And the plant is paid for. A combination of federal grants and municipal bonds helped get the plant constructed and the bonds are all paid off.

It even generates a little revenue (besides sewer-rate fees). A contractor pays up to $6,000 a year to harvest fat head minnows from some of the ponds. The minnows were brought in to help balance the treatment of the water, and while birds feast on the little fish, they breed faster than even the hungriest herons can consume them.

The plant's natural treatment process is not without precedent, according to Rick Volk, chief operator of the wastewater plant.

"The idea of lagoon treatment is as old as Egypt," Volk said. "What we did in Batavia is take a system that is as old as Egypt and apply new technology."

From 2.5 to 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage arrives at the plant daily (capacity is 5 million gallons per day). It is pumped into a screening process that removes everything larger than a cigarette butt, then goes through an aerated grit chamber to remove sand and dirt (this is the one part of the plant that produces any real stench).

After screening, the effluent is pumped into aerated ponds. The ponds provide oxygen treatment that consumes matter in the wastewater. Air is pumped into the water by 200 horsepower compressors. This process takes about a month.

The aerated ponds are popular with ducks who can be found by the dozens either in the water or resting on the long, black aeration pipes that float on the surface of the water.

The wastewater is then fed alum to assist in phosphorus removal as it flows into two secondary ponds. The 45-acre ponds are up to 8-feet deep where biological activity and settling removes more waste. The process takes up to 42 days.

Next, a lift station hoists the water up above the four tertiary ponds, which are from 25 to 35 acres each and have an adjustable depth of 3 to 12 feet. At this point, most of the suspended solids are removed.

This is where you'll find minnows and the waterfowl who feed on them, as well as a variety of other birds flitting through the air, from northern flickers to least flycatchers.

The final step on a molecule of water's journey is to pass through one of three wetlands -- ponds with reeds and other aquatic plants that help "put the final polish," as Volk said, on the wastewater.

The largest of the ponds is popular with ducks, geese, herons and snowy egrets.

The whole process is designed to ensure that only water that is safe for people, crops, fowl and fish is piped back into the Tonawanda.

Plant staff conduct frequent tests -- regulated by the state -- in a lab at the facility to ensure each step of the process is cleaning the waste as it should and that the final product shipped out to the Tonawanda is up to environmental standards.

Staff is on duty from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., which is the only time the ponds are accessible to the public.

The current four staff members are about half of what the city needed to run its pre-1990s wastewater plant, according to Volk.

While not officially a park, as long as the plant is open, area residents are welcome to visit anytime during plant hours, Volk said.  

Guests are asked to sign a registry in the main building, but are then free to wander the property. With permission, guests can drive their cars -- it can be a long, long walk to the tertiary ponds -- on the well-maintained gravel roads that surround the ponds.

Volk said there are times when work being performed by staff will prevent guests from driving on the roads, which is why it is necessary to ask first.

And if you go, you really want to get back to either the tertiary ponds or the larger of the three wetlands. This is where you will see the greatest variety of birds.

There's also a park of sorts on the west end of the facility, along Donahue Road. There's a small parking lot and footpaths that allow, at points, for visitors to view the tertiary ponds as well as a reconstructed wetland -- abatement for a wetland destroyed when the plant was built. The area is open to the public at all times, but no hunting or trapping is allowed.

More reading: The Wiki Guide to Birds.

If you have trouble viewing the slide show below, click here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Legislators discuss a 'tweak' to the property-tax rate

post by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, taxes

It might be a bit of glasnost in the Genesee County Legislature, a weakening of the hard line legislators have taken against a tax increase for the past few years.

The oft-repeated word by the nine legislators during an impromptu budget discussion Wednesday was "tweak," as in, "tweak the current rate just a little bit."

"I think all of us have an interest in keeping the rate the same," Legislator Hollis Upson said. "One thought I have been pondering though is that with the 2-percent tax cap, I could be persuaded to let some expansion take place just a little bit. I'm not so worried about this budget, but the lack of control we have on mandates and what that means in future years. I'm a little concerned about holding the line so close that it puts us in a straitjacket or requires large cost cuts that must come from somewhere.

"I've got to the point," Upson added, "where I can tolerate a little bit of a tweak, as little as possible, and only after exhausting every other opportunity to cut costs."

Several other legislators also said a "tweak" might be exceptable, some even after taking a hardline stance in favor of cuts and against any tax increase.

"I still say there's room among our labor force to where there is still fat that can be cut," Legislator Jay Grasso said.

Grasso expressed concern that some department heads haven't been willing to step up and say what cuts they would be willing to make to help the county trim as much as 5 percent in spending.

"As much as I support public safety, that has to be looked at as well," Grasso said. "If we look at aggressive, across-the-board cuts, everybody feels the pain. If there are cuts, no department should be spared."

While offering tepid support for "tweaks," he also said he was concerned that any rate increase would send the wrong message to Albany -- that Albany can keep pushing unfunded mandates on counties knowing that if they must, counties will just raise taxes.

If a "tweak" means staying under the 2-percent tax cap, then the county could only generate only $500,000 in new revenue. Several legislators and County Manager Jay Gsell acknowledged that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the potential shortfall the county is facing.

"We need to get to $136 million (in spending) and even I think that is highly unrealistic," Gsell said.

The county has cut spending by 30 percent over the past few years. But with about 90 percent of the county's budget going to unfunded mandates, and costs rising year after year on those mandates -- primarily Medicaid and pensions, it's getting to the point where the only cuts left to make are to essential services. 

"As a former mayor of Oakfield, I'm very conscious of our aging infrastructure," Legislator Ray Cianfrini said. "We're still wrestling with our water tower issue. If we keep putting off spending on infrastructure, we're only kicking the can down the road and putting of the inevitable. 

"When I look at the damage caused by Hurricane Irene and the roads washed away and the bridges collapsed, I think 'that can happen to us.' Our bridges aren't safe and our roads barely meet standards. If we don't have the money to (take care of infrastructure), then I would not be opposed to tweaking the rate to see if we can generate some money for that."

Cianfrini also expressed concern about some funding inequalities creeping into the budget. For example, he said, the DA's office now has the same staffing levels as the public defender's office. However, the DA's office handles 100 percent of the criminal cases in Genesee County, while the public defender's office only handles cases for clients who can't afford a private attorney.

The County Clerk's office also came under scrutiny.

Last year, County Clerk Don Read argued that since his department creates revenue for the county, it should be exempt from cuts. Cuts, he argued, would diminish his department's ability to generate as much revenue.

"Why shouldn't they be asked to do more with less and then generate more money that might be applied someplace else," Legislator Bob Radley said. "Just because you pay your way shouldn't mean that you shouldn't be asked to help us along the way."

Radley is also worried about the county continuing to subsidize the nursing home at $2 million per year.

"Something needs to be done about that," Radley said.

Legislator Ed DeJaneiro said that while he supports holding the line on the tax rate, he is concerned about the damage being done to the county.

"It will get to the point where we're lessening the quality of life in our community via our nursing home, our health and safety and our infrastructure," DeJaneiro said. "Our infrastructure will be compromised if we don't stay on top of what we can do and our law enforcement will be compromised."

Only Legislator Bob Bausch spoke at length about ways to raise revenue other than a tax increase. His idea -- a marketing campaign to encourage people to spend more of their dollars locally instead of in neighboring counties.

"I have suddenly become very aware of where the heck I buy my gas," Bausch said. "I buy a lot of gas every week for my personal car and my company cars. If I'm going from Bergen to Perry or from Batavia to Perry on my typical runs, I'm buying a lot of gas."

Bausch suggested if more people who travel out of county were conscientious about buying their gas closer to home, it could help generate a good bit of extra money for the county government, taking pressure off the legislature to raise taxes.

"These things start to add up," he said.

"I'm the last person who is going to tell my wife not to go to the mall in Rochester or Buffalo and not to buy clothes," Bausch said. "I fear for my own life. But when you look at the day-to-day things we buy, it starts to make a difference. We need to get that word out there."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Le Roy Police responding to report of fight on Church Street near footbridge

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

There is a reported fight, both verbal and physical, on Church Street in Le Roy near the footbridge.

One subject may need medical attention.

It is unclear how many subjects were involved, though it appears the fight is over.

Police officer on scene reports, "There's a bunch of people here on the footbridge."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

County moves quickly to accept grants that could lead to new terminal at airport

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport

The Federal Aerospace Administration has dangled some grant money in front of local officials for some improvements at the Genesee County Airport. So with time short to accept at least one of the grants, the legislature met in emergency session Wednesday evening to vote on acceptance of the funds.

The grants -- one hasn't officially been offered yet -- move the county a few steps closer to building a new terminal at the airport.

The current terminal is probably more than 50 years old, dating back to a time of grass runways and private ownership.

Even with these grants, however, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens doesn't see a new terminal on the horizon just yet.

He suspects voters -- and hence elected legislators -- will balk at the $4 million price tag, even though construction of the terminal shouldn't cost local taxpayers a dime.

"Even if the airport can be 100-percent self-sustaining and repay the bond (from airport proceeds), the public still has a perception that times are tough, we're trying to cut taxes and you guys are going to spend $4 million on this," Hens said. "That is a very hard perception to overcome.

"I would love to see it go as soon as next year," Hens added, "but the practical side of me says it won't happen for three to four years."

There are two grants the legislature considered Wednesday.

One, for a new terminal apron, has already been offered by the feds and the county has until Sept. 9 to complete the paperwork to get it.

The second grant is for the design of a new terminal, but Hens said it hasn't officially been offered yet.

"We're in the final month of the fiscal year for the federal government and they have hinted, or wink, wink, we've got more money coming for you for the design of the terminal," Hens said.

"We don't physically have the grant offer in hand yet. But I know that within the next two weeks, based on previous experience, they're going to issue all their grants, figure out their books and say, 'OK, we've got $300,000 left, we can give $200,000 of it to Genesee County."

The grant for the terminal apron is a little more than $1 million and the state will kick in $27,000 for the project and $27,000 in county funds (from sales tax) will be used.

Hens said the current apron -- just west of the current terminal -- is 40 years old, full of potholes and cracks. A new apron will be safer and allow more space for planes to park.

The apron can also be built with a new terminal in mind, including grading and conduits for utilities.

A new terminal, if built, would be closer to West Saile Drive, which would address the chief concern of the FAA: The current terminal is positioned too close to the runway, making it unsafe.

Even so, Hens said, the FAA doesn't typically pay for construction of terminals. It's just not something they do.

So if it's going to be built, it will take a county-sponsored bond to make it happen.

A new terminal would be about the same size as the current terminal, but with a better floor plan. It could allow for food service, a lounge for pilots, a conference room, a counter for car rentals and other services.

Currently, the airport generates more than $100,000 in revenue and an improved terminal could help increase that revenue, Hens said, not to mention that a better insulated, more environmentally friendly building would save expenditures from the airport fund.

"Anything we can do to increase revenue would make it much easier to repay the bond," Hens said.

Even though there are no immediate plans to build a new terminal, legislators thought it wise to accept the $200,000 FAA grant, if offered, with the another $100,000 coming from available airport funds (which can't be transfered to the general fund anyway).

"We want to take advantage of the money if it's there," Legislator Bob Radley said. "We don't want to give back $200,000 of their money."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Unknown chemical smell reported near Bank Street Road and Route 262

post by Howard B. Owens in byron

A caller in the area of Bank Street Road and Route 262 reports an unknown, unusual odor in the area.

There is also a truck parked along the road -- unknown if it's occupied.

Law enforcement first on the scene to secure the area.

Byron Fire Department is being dispatched.

Hazmat caution is advised.

The deputy on scene says there isn't much of a chemical smell in the area. The truck has Texas plates.

UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: The truck appears disabled. There's nothing suspicious in it, no containers. A source has told a deputy that there was a crop-duster in the area earlier today. South Byron fire is standing down. Byron units continuing nonemergency.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hochul: I will work with anybody and everybody willing to create jobs for WNY

post by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, kathy hochul, NY-26

Press release: 

STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN KATHY HOCHUL ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S COMMENTS ON JOB CREATION 

“The message I have heard, loud and clear, during my seven ‘Congress On Your Corner’ meetings this month, is that our constituents expect us to work towards real job proposals that will help get our people back to work. I was sent to Washington to work with anybody and everybody willing to help create opportunities in Western New York. 

“Now is the time for us to come up with a critical infrastructure plan that will not only help our local governments build roads, bridges and airports, but also get our economy moving once again.

“When we return to Washington next week, our top priority must be cutting the exorbitantly high unemployment rate and revitalizing our economy. I intend to work quickly to renew the FAA Reauthorization and Surface Transportation Bill and ensure we don’t leave nearly one million workers on the sidelines, as was done to 4,000 FAA employees earlier this summer. As these pieces of legislation progress, I plan to work with my local municipalities to ensure they can apply for their proper funds.

“Congress cannot continue to act in the same hyper-partisan manner it did throughout the summer with the FAA Reauthorization and debt-ceiling negotiations, which is why I plan to continue to work with President Obama, as well as all Republicans, Democrats and anyone else willing to ensure we are creating opportunities for hard-working, middle-class families.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Muckdog game 8 30 11

post by Maureen Davis in Batavia Muckdogs, homer

 

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Muckdog game 8 30 11

post by Maureen Davis in Baseball Muckdogs, homer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Genesee Justice will still need funding from the county in 2012, foundation president says

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice

Supporters of Genesee Justice are feeling a little nervous about funding for the pioneering restorative justice program for 2012.

A heroic effort was made to save the program for 2011, including beginning the process of setting up a nonprofit organization to help sustain the agency's programs.

In part because it's a long process to establish a nonprofit, the Genesee Justice Foundation is still looking to the county legislature to fund the agency at sufficient levels to keep it going.

The $40,000 provided by the county in 2010 won't be enough, said Jane Schmider, president of the foundation.

"Even to continue at that level would be very difficult," said Schmider today following the first meeting of the foundation at Terry Hills. "To keep it going this year Peter often had to rob Paul, but Paul has run out of money now."

So far, the foundation hasn't gotten any clear indication from the county on what to expect from the legislature, Schmider said.

It's expected to be another lean budget year and several county departments are preparing for cuts, but Schmider said Genesee Justice should be considered an essential county service.

"It should be funded by the county," Schmider said. "It's a part of the Sheriff's department. That's where it started, that's where it grew up. It's part of our criminal justice system. It's part of county government."

Asked about fund-raising goals for the foundation, Schmider said, "It would be great if we could raise $50,000 this year. It would be amazing."

She also mentioned the foundation has openings on its board of directors.

Meanwhile, the Batavia Kiwanis Club has taken another victims' program under its wing -- trying to raise $150,000 to help the Child Advocacy Center move into a building the Justice for Children Foundation would own. The CAC would then lease the building at a nominal rate, saving the agency significant money on annual rent.

The Kiwanis are sponsoring a "Bidding on a Brighter Future" Gala and Auction on Sept. 17 at Batavia Downs. Tickets are $40 per person and $75 per couple.  

The Kiwanis are also still looking for donations from local businesses for the auction.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Joe Teresi named 2011 Italian-American of the Year by Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Joe Teresi

Batavia Downs announced today that Joseph Teresi Jr., one of Genesee County's most tireless volunteers, will receive the 2011 Italian-American of the Year award.

Not long ago, we were writing about Teresi as the 2010 Geneseean of the Year.

In the past he's also been named YMCA Volunteer of the Year as well as a two-time Lions Distinguished Service Award winner and a recipient of "Lion of the Year."

"I'm totally surprised," Teresi said. "With the number of people around here who are worthy of these awards, to be recognized twice in one year is very surprising."

Teresi is being recognized for all of his volunteer efforts, but most notably his effort to start the YMCA's Challenger Sports program and his work with the T.F. Brown's/Lion's Club annual Christmas dinner. He's also a member of the Notre Dame High School Education Foundation and past president of the Genesee YMCA and the Batavia Lion's Club.

"It's always nice to be recognized for your efforts," Teresi said. “I am proud to be an Italian-American and to enjoy the traditions of my heritage, so this award carries a special meaning.”

Teresi was nominated for the award by Joe Gerace, who won the first Italian-American award from Batavia Downs.  

"it's nice to be nominated by the first-award winner," Teresi said. "For him to recognize my efforts, some of the contributions I've tried to make to the community, it's nice, and I'm proud to follow people like Chuck Zambito last year and Ray Cianfrini the second year."

The award will be presented to Teresi on Sept. 9 at Batavia Downs. To make reservations to attend the event, call Sara Tenney at (585) 343-3750, ext. 309.

Photo: File photo by The Batavian.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Sen. Gillibrand visit's PTSD clinic at Batavia's VA

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, kristen gillibrand, PTSD

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand visted the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic at the Veteran's Hospital in Batavia today.

Listen to Geoff Redick on WBTA this afternoon for a report on Gillibrand's visit.

UPDATE: Geoff Redick's report is now available on WBTAi.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 11:52 am

Two-car accident with injuries at Galloway Road and Route 63

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accident

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at Galloway Road and Route 63. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m.: A second patrol car for traffic control is needed and two flatbed tow trucks. The accident is blocking the roadway. One person is complaining of arm pain.

UPDATE 12:58 p.m.: A second ambulance is called for and some absorbent to soak up a fluid spill.

UPDATE 1:08 p.m.: A woman with no visible injuries is being transporting to UMMC to be checked out.

UPDATE 1:31 p.m.: A man is being transported to UMMC now. He is alert and oriented and the medic says he may have briefly lost consciousness after the head-on collision in which there was airbag deployment.

UPDATE 1:34 p.m.: Town of Batavia fire crews are back in service.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 8:37 am

Grass fire on Tesnow Road, Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, indian falls, pembroke

We don't have the location or time of call, but there is a grass fire in Indian Falls Alabama, on Tesnow Road.

Indian Falls, Pembroke and Alabama fire departments are on scene.

There was concern about power lines in the area and National Grid is on scene. The fire is apparently mostly knocked down at this time.

UPDATE 10:04 a.m.: Water is being shut down as a safety precaution because electrical lines just dropped on the ground.

UPDATE 10:07 a.m.: Water is flowing again.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Fire is actually at 369 Wright Road. It's a former U.S. National Gypsum facility, and after that Stylecraft built manufactured homes at the location. It's currently owned by Bill Eberhardt. A large pile of old railroad ties caught on fire. The fire was reported by the pilot of a private airplane. Alabama Chief Gary Patnode said the ties are from a railroad line torn out 25 years ago. He said the property owner told him he's had trouble with trespassers recently, particularly young ATV riders. Deputy Ron Meides said his report will say that a controlled burn -- there's a large section of the property that is being cleared of brush -- ignited the railroad ties. Mutual aid provided Indian Falls, Pembroke and Akron, with East Pembroke filling in at Indian Falls and Shelby filling in at Alabama. (I have one picture to post, but a weak internet signal at my current location ... will add photo to this post later.)

UPDATE 8:15 p.m.: Alabama Fire is back on scene to deal with some sort of flare up.

UPDATE 11:58 p.m.: Alabama units back in quarters.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

Today's Deals: Alabama Hotel, Carlson's, Larry's Steakhouse, and more!

post by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day

Alabama Hotel, 1353 Lewiston Road, Basom, NY: A historic and legendary tavern and restaurant. The Alabama Hotel is famous for its fish fries, but also serves a variety of top-quality entrees, featuring Certified Angus Beef. Now with expanded hours. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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 a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Weddings, new babies, grads, family portraits, pet portraits and group events -- preserve those memories with professional photographs. We have a $100 gift card for $50 (+$2 PayPal Service fee).

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.

Delavan's, 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.

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

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Settler's, 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.

T.F. Brown's, 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 $20 gift certificate for $10.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

SOLD OUT

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm

City fire department has two new firefighters in training

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia FIre Department

Two young firefighters have joined the City of Batavia department and are undergoing rigorous training on day shifts.

New to the department are Collin Byrne, 23, of Rochester, and Michael Dorgan, 21, of Gates (originally from Brockport).

Byrne is a graduate of John Jay College with a criminal justice degree and Dorgan has a two-year degree from Monroe Community College in fire protection technology. He's enrolled at Empire College where he's pursuing a degree in fire service administration.

"We're both really excited to learn the area and serve the community as best we can," Dorgan said.

Dorgan said firefighting runs in his blood. Both his father and uncle are career firefighters and his grandfather is a lifelong volunteer firefighter.

"I'm excited to be here," Byrne said. "I became a firefighter to do some good, to help people out and because it's an honest living."

Below is a picture from one of their training sessions on Friday. The training was on low-angle basket rescue, which was conducted off South Jackson near the old bridge that crossed the railroad tracks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Mother of toddler who fell from a window charged by Batavia police

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The mother of a child who fell from a second-floor window on Aug. 22 has been charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The woman turned herself in to Batavia Police today following an investigation into the incident.

Charged was Jessica R. Lyke, 23, of 18 East Ave., Batavia.

The 17-month-old child who fell from the window was treated at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and has since been released. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Police say man falsely reported a robbery in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Le Roy Police have arrested a man who reported that he was robbed and that a suspect was chasing him with a gun.

The man later admitted that he fabricated the story.

Charged with falsely reporting an incident, 3rd, was Donald J. Pettit, 27, of Friendship.

Pettit allegedly called 9-1-1 in the early morning hours of Sunday and made the report.

He was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court and released on an appearance ticket.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Mercy Flight unveils new state-of-the-art helicopter based in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mercy Flight

It's $6.5 million worth of life-saving machinery and now it's based in Batavia.

Mercy Flight #5 was officially dedicated at the Genesee County Airport on Tuesday morning.

The Bell 429 helicopter equipped with state-of-the-art technology was paid for with a $3 million loan from the USDA and a USDA-guaranteed loan from M&T Bank.

Without the 20-year loan, instead of a traditional five- or six-year loan, said Margaret Ferrentino, CFO of Mercy Flight, there's no way the air and ground ambulance service could have afforded the new helicopter.

The dedication was attended by Mercy Flight and Mercy EMS staff, local elected officials and a variety of local emergency and law enforcement representatives.

Mercy Flight #5 will serve Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

The new helicopter was blessed by Rev. John Gaglione, left, pictured with Mercy Flight CEO Doug Baker and Sister Sheila Marie Walsh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Darien Lake has 10 rides out of commission due to power outage

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park

A power outage that began this morning before the park opened has 10 rides closed at Darien Lake Theme Park, according to spokeswoman Cassandra Okon.

Darien Lake staff is investigating the loss of power and officials aren't sure when the rides will reopen.

Okon did not say which rides are closed.

Staff is unsure at this point if the power outage is due to a technical glitch with National Grid or a problem within the park itself.

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