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Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

The Rocking Weekend Lineup

post by Paul Draper III in LIVE, local, music

Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:24 am

Today's Poll: Is Monsanto evil?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
Friday, March 7, 2014 at 7:46 am

One-vehicle rollover accident reported on Crosby Road, Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported on Crosby Road, possibily near Lewiston Road.

Unknown injuries. The caller left the scene. The caller guessed it was closer to Lewiston.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 6:45 a.m.: A chief on scene wants to ensure law enforcement is in route. One of the Alabama engines responding can stand down and the Mercy ambulance responding can stand down.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Upstairs room ablaze in house on Oak Orchard Road, Elba

post by Billie Owens in elba, fire

An upstairs room is reportedly on fire at 6456 Oak Orchard Road, just north of Lockport Road. Elba Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 8:56 p.m.: An engine from Barre is requested to provide mutual aid.

UPDATE 9:02 p.m.: The Town of Batavia is requested to provide equipment at the scene and a crew to stand by in Elba's hall. Also called for mutual aid are South Byron, Byron, Oakfield and Bergen.

UPDATE 9:13 p.m.: Elba command requests all equipment to continue in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 9:35 p.m.: National Grid is called in; no ETA given.

UPDATE 10:06 p.m. (by Howard): Fire reported under control.

UPDATE 10:12 p.m. (by Howard): Information provided by Alecia Kaus, who is on scene: Chimney fire that got into the walls. Code enforcment on scene, trying to determine if the family can stay. No injuries. Seven fire companies responded, including two from Orleans County. Fire is out, doing overhaul and checking for extensions with thermal camera.

Phtoo by Alecia Kaus.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Pair accused of Park Avenue house burglary indicted on three felonies

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime
Akeem Simmons Nathaniel Davis

The duo accused of breaking into a house on Park Avenue in the city on Jan. 14 were indicted yesterday afternoon by the Grand Jury on three counts in connection with the alleged crime.

Nathaniel R. Davis, 18, and Akeem M. Simmons, 23, are accused of first-degree burglary for allegedly entering a house at 28 Park Ave. illegally with the intent to commit a crime, and one of the participants, Davis, was armed with a handgun. Both defendants are also accused of criminal use of a firearm, 1st, for allegedly possessing a loaded weapon during the commission of the crime.

No weapon was found on Simmons.

These are Class B violent felonies.

In count three, the men are accused of fourth-degree conspiracy, a Class E felony, for allegedly agreeing with one another to commit the crime.

The defendants were taken into custody in less than an hour after the burglary was first reported at 11:28 a.m.. Davis, who was allegedly armed, was caputured about 100 yards from the residence. Simmons was captured after a manhunt which lasted about 45 minutes.

According to Batavia PD Det. Rich Schauf, it didn't appear that anything was stolen.


Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Law and Order: Two arrested on bench warrants, plus pair of Walmart theft arrests

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, elba

Nikkia M. Phillips, 27, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a bench warrant issued by Batavia City Court for alleged failure to appear at a previous court date on a charge of second-degree aggrevated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. She was jailed on $500 bail or $1,000 bond and is to appear in city court on March 12.

Christopher Lee Taylor, 25, of Frost Avenue, Rochester, was arrested today on a warrant out of Town of Elba Court for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, 3rd, and no/inadequate headlights. The violations allegedly occurred on Maple Avenue in Elba on Feb. 11. He was jailed with bail set at $250.

Justine Denae McWethy, 27, of Richmond Avenue, Batavia, was arrested Tuesday night for petit larceny for allegedly stealing $73.85 in merchandise from Walmart. She was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Batavia Town Court on March 27.

Ronald Louis MacGregor Jr., 45, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, was arrested Monday afternoon for petit larceny for allegedly stealing $29.88 in merchandise from Walmart. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Town of Batavia Court on March 27.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Garage fire quickly knocked down on Batavia Oakfield Town Line Road

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Alabama, east pembroke, Oakfield

A garage fire was quickly knocked down within the last half hour at 2999 Batavia Oakfield Town Line Road. Oakfield fire responded, along with mutual aid from Town of Batavia and East Pembroke, and Alabama had a crew stand by in Oakfield's quarters. A portion of the roadway for eastbound traffic was also closed.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: All responders are back in service.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Baseball sign-ups for Batavia Minor Leagues are Friday evening at the mall

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia minor leagues, sports

Registration for Batavia Minor Leagues baseball will be inside the Batavia Country Mall, outside of Sunny's Restaurant, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 7th.

Children in the Batavia area between ages 5 and 17 are invited to play.

Registration fee is $50 due at time of sign-up. The fee will increase to $75 for any player registered after March 7th.

For more information, call 409-6779.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Chickens found in ditch on Transit Road in Stafford

post by Alecia Kaus in abandoned chickens, Stafford

The temperature in Stafford early Tuesday morning was about 4 degrees.

Crista Boldt was on her way to work when she spotted four red birds in a ditch off Transit Road near East Bethany Le Roy Road.

"I thought they were pheasants," Boldt says.

When Boldt returned an hour later to see if they were still there, she found four domestic Red Star chickens huddled together and not moving. Boldt could tell they were suffering from hypothermia. She immediately placed the chickens in her van and transported them to her barn.

Boldt owns a horse farm in Stafford and she has eight horses. One of her horses is currently being boarded elsewhere for training. The one empty stall in her barn is now home to four lucky Red Star chickens.

"I was very upset when I spotted them," Boldt said. "I had to go back and get them, it just wasn't fair. They were left out in extreme temperatures and with no survival skills since they are domestic."

This morning Boldt noticed one the chickens has developed labored breathing and it might have pneumonia.

Dr. Catherine Homrig, a veterinarian at Pumpkin Hill Veterinarian Clinic in Byron says, "These domestic chickens are used for laying eggs and are usually found living in a coop. To ask them to fend for themselves in subzero weather in deep snow on the side of the road is beyond their ability."

Homrig says sometimes pet owners find themselves in financial trouble, having to move, or unable to care for their animal any longer.

"There are lots of situations," she says. "There are better ways and people need to be more compassionate about their animals."

The Genesee County Animal Shelter on West Main Street in Batavia does not accept chickens since they are considered a farm animal. 

According to Ann Marie Bradley, an Animal Control Officer with Genesee County, there are other options.

Abandoning your farm animal or pet along side a road is a misdemeanor charge under the the Ag and Markets law. Animal owners who are found guilty of dumping their pets or farm animals can face up to a year in jail and or a $1,000 fine or both.

Bradley says, people with farm animals can re-home the animal, process them for meat, euthanize the animal or take them to Lollypop Farm, a Humane Society in the Rochester area which is equipped to take in farm animal such as geese, ducks, chickens and horses.

Crista Boldt says her almost 7-year-old son Alex has become quite attached to the four chickens in her horse barn over the last few days.

"He already has names for each of them, Carla, from the 'Tractor Mac' book series, Chloe, Cluck and Claira."

Boldt will keep the rescued chickens at her horse farm until April 1.

After that a friend in the Pavilion area who is set up to take care of chickens, will be welcoming the four Red Stars to "Cluckingham Palace" where they will be cared for very well each day.

"We are always willing to give people advice by giving them information on other agencies that might be able to help," Bradley said.

Anyone who might need help or advice on what to do with an unwanted pet or farm animal can call the Genesee County Animal Shelter at 585-343-6410.

(Above picture provided by Crista Boldt.)


Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 10:00 am

STAMP project generating some interest among high-tech manufacturers, Hyde tells legislators

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, STAMP

There's plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the WNY STAMP project in Alabama, Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during the Ways and Means Committee meeting Tuesday.

While Genesee County Economic Development Center must still secure a total of $33 million in financing to make the proposed high-tech manufacturing park "shovel-ready lite," there is plenty of buzz about the project among site selectors.

STAMP will be one of only a couple of locations in the nation, if not in the world, that could provide a major manufacturer with both 500 acres of property and up to 500 megawatts of electricity, Hyde said.

One of the nation's leading site selectors was at a conference in Denver recently and told Hyde there may be a very big project in the pipeline and STAMP is in the running.

"He said they have a really monster project developing, that New York will certainly be on the radar, but they said that STAMP is the one site, and maybe the only site in New York, that could probably accomodate it," Hyde said. "We're excited. We hope that comes through, but it's still very, very early at this juncture."

Hyde also said the governor's office is working on landing a project that would be "about the size of Muller" -- the yogurt plant in the Genesee Valley Ag Park -- for STAMP, but that New York is among four states competing for the project.

"It's competitive, but we're in the hunt," Hyde said.

STAMP is Hyde's big dream -- with the potential for hundreds of millions in local investment and 10,000 jobs. He called it "a game changer for our community."

He made his remarks during GCEDC's annual review for the Ways and Means Committee.  GCEDC will hold it's annual meeting at noon Friday at the college.

GCEDC operates on a $1.3 million annual budget, with $597,975 coming from fees paid by businesses that receive GCEDC benefits, $480,000 from the Local Development Corporation (a nonprofit operated by GCEDC that also receives fees for projects) and $215,014 from county taxpayers.

That $215,000 in county funding is perpetually controversial, but Hyde said it's essential to keeping GCEDC operating.

"That county contribution is only about 17 percent of our budget, but it gives about 8.5 professionals work that we hope you think is of value," Hyde said. "It's very important."

In 2013, GCEDC closed 28 projects that resulted in 270 pledged jobs, $29.9 million in capital investments and $1.7 million in grants for business and infrastructure improvements.

The biggest win for GCEDC over the past two years has been the ag park, which has seen the creation of two Greek yogurt plants -- Alpina and Muller.

Alpina pledged 50 new jobs and has already created 47, plus 33 full-time temp jobs that fluctuate based on production needs (and sometimes turn into new full-time, permanent jobs).

PepsiCo. / Muller pledged 186 new jobs in the first three years and 145 have been created so far.

Nearly 50 percent of the new hires at the two plants were Genesee County residents, Hyde said.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

Unique financing scheme proposed to bring more electricity to Appletree Acres

post by Howard B. Owens in Appletree Acres, bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

It's going to take a good deal more electricity to power an expanded Liberty Pumps in Bergen and adding more transmission lines to Appletree Acres will cost a bit of money.

To help pay for it, Genesee County Economic Development Center is proposing a financing scheme known as a PIF -- PILOT Increment Financing.

Liberty Pumps already has an approved PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for its expansion, and a PIF reallocates some of their PILOT payments toward infrastructure payments.

In this case, GCEDC is proposing a 50-percent PIF, meaning the taxing jurisdiction will get half of the PILOT payments and half will go toward a fund to pay for the additional power lines and poles.

The cost of the electricity project is estimated at $150,000.

The power expansion will benefit all of Appletree Acres, making it more attractive to potential businesses considering the park and Village of Bergen residents, said Mark Masse, VP of business development for GCEDC.

It will also mean ratepayers in the Village of Bergen -- which has its own power utility -- won't see a rate increase as a result of infrastructure upgrade.

Of the 10-year period of the PILOT/PIF, the county will receive nearly $80,000 in PILOT payments and $80,000 will go to the electricity project. For the county, the gain/loss of $80,000 is not currently either a budgeted expense or budgeted revenue.

For the Village of Bergen the split is $17,600, and for the Byron-Bergen School District, it's $287,850.

All three jurisdictions will need approve the PIF.

Masse will explain the project to the Byron-Bergen School Board tonight.

A PILOT is a mechanism to relieve a new or expanding business of some property tax burden on projects expected to create new jobs. The property is either owned or leased by the nonprofit GCEDC so there are no property taxes owed; the business then makes payments in lieu of those taxes during the PILOT period. The payments increase on a graduated scale over a 10-year period, usually started at 20 percent of the increase in assessed value.

A PIF, then, takes those payments and allocates at least a portion to a specific community project.

The County's Ways and Means Committee learned about the PIF plan for Appletree Acres on Wednesday, but was not yet asked to vote on the project.

Liberty Pumps is planning to add 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 7:45 am

Cataract surgery today

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Longtime readers may remember I didn't work for a day or two in the summer of 2009 because of cataract surgery.

That was for the right eye.

That worked out pretty well because it made my right eye -- my camera shooting eye -- a perfect 20/20.

Now it's time for the left eye.

I go into UMMC this morning to have Dr. Li from University Eye replace my left lens with an implant that will bring to an end the foggy, triple vision of that eye.

Today, I'll be pretty much out of commission. Tomorrow, I'll take it easy. I expect to be shooting Notre Dame's basketball game in Buffalo on Saturday.

We have some coverage lined up for today -- including a couple of stories I actually wrote last night that will self-publish later this morning.

Billie will be around, of course, listening to the scanner (not that we have totally locked in the county's new system yet).

Lisa Ace will be holding down the fort in the office today, handling any site sponsor needs.

BTW: I've got to tell you what I think is a pretty amazing story, a modern miracle, from my visit to University Eye a few weeks ago. All summer and winter, my vision had been declining, even in my right eye. It turns out, the lens was fogged over. Dr. Li used a laser for less than 60 seconds, just a few zaps, to clear the cloudiness away. Within an hour of leaving the office, I was back to 20/20 again. The sudden change in vision felt quite literately like scales falling away from my eyes. Modern technology can just be so amazing some times.

I'm looking forward to being 20/20 in both eyes for the first time since I was about 14.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Hawley joins call for $50 million in local bridge and road repair funds

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined county and town highway superintendents to call for an additional $50 million in state funding to improve local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to improve New York’s deteriorating local infrastructure, and will also create jobs related to infrastructure improvements. These roads cost each New Yorker an average of $1,600 in damage to vehicles because of roads in disrepair.

“After a particularly harsh winter, the importance of having well-maintained roads has become clear. We need to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe for the people who rely on them to go about their day-to-day lives. I stand with highway superintendents across the state in saying that our local roads do matter, and proper funding is critical to keeping them safe,” Hawley said.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Anti-Cuomo sign placed in front of Upton Monument without permission is removed by county

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument

This protest sign appeared for a time today in front of the Upton Monument at Main and Ellicott streets.

It's gone now.

The City Manager's office has the sign. If the person who placed it at the intersection wants it back and can prove ownership, it will be returned, County Manager Jay Gsell said.

"There's so many things that are not appropriate about that sign," Gsell said.

Such as: It was placed without permission; permission would need to be granted by the city, state and county; the veterans consider the location hallowed ground; nobody knows who placed the sign.

(The person in the picture is just a pedestrian who happened to be in the area at the time the picture was taken.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Salvation Army's Mobile Pantry Program starts next month

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Salvation Army

The Salvation Army's Mobile Pantry Program begins in April. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on the first Wednesday of every month through December at the Salvation Army headquarters, 529 E. Main St., Batavia. You are welcome to come early at 9:15 a.m. for coffee and conversation.

The dates of the Mobile Pantry Program are:

  • April 2
  • May 7
  • June 4
  • July 2
  • Aug. 6
  • Sept. 3
  • Oct. 1
  • Nov. 5
  • Dec. 3
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Women's History Month homage to former Batavia resident is Sunday in Rochester

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia, women's history month

Press release:

First Community Interfaith Institute. Inc., (a spiritual and cultural organization plus a teaching church based in Southeast Rochester) is paying homage to a former Batavia resident for its Women’s History Month observation at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, 219 Hamilton St. in Rochester.

Mary Bailey (1932-2005) was a trustee of First Community Interfaith Institute, Inc. She was one of the Institute’s strongest supporters and she worked for the success of First Community Interfaith Institute, Inc.

She was the mother of Sylvester Johnson and the grandmother of Stacey Johnson. In 1986, Sylvester, Stacey and a friend of Stacey were killed in a sudden and tragic car accident involving an emergency vehicle outside the current Six Flags at Darien Lake.

Until she passed, Mrs. Bailey was instrumental in organizing the annual Sylvester and Stacey Johnson Memorial in both Batavia and Rochester. First Community Interfaith Institute, Inc., was founded in 1970 by National Minister Lawrance Lee Evans under the philosophy of “Doology.” It offers spiritual and cultural programs all year round, and as a teaching church, it operates a tutoring program geared to the needs of both youth and adults.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Rural Police Training Academy celebrates 25th graduation class

post by Billie Owens in GCC, rural police training academy

Press release:

This Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m., the Rural Police Training Academy will enjoy a double celebration. As the most recent class of 22 graduates receives their completion certificates, the Academy itself recognizes its 25th Silver Anniversary.

Since being established in 1985, a total of 593 graduates including the current 2013-2014 class have completed the Rural Police Training Academy (RPTA) offered by Genesee Community College through the Division of Criminal Justice Services and The BEST (Business and Employee Skills Training) Center.

RPTA has evolved through its long distinguished history, and now the 11-month program provides basic training both to sworn members of police and sheriff agencies as well as training for pre-employed law enforcement officers.

The program requires 639 hours of training and the major curriculum covered includes Justice Administration, New York State Laws, Community Interaction, Mass Casualties and Major Events, Investigations and practical skills such as field note taking, report writing, case preparation, arrest processing, professional traffic stops and firearms training. RPTA offers a GCC college credit option and also veterans opportunities.

The 2013-2014 RPTA graduates include:

  • SWORN OFFICER GRADUATES:Brittany N. Smyder, Caledonia Police Department
  • Aaron M. Ellis, Corfu Police Department
  • Chad R. Brady and James G. Frascati, East Rochester Police Department
  • Joseph D. Loftus, Class Captain, Genesee County Sheriff's Department
  • Andrew M. Carriero, Platoon Leader, and Shane G. Miller of Gowanda Police Department
  • Edwin S. Bower II and Timothy P. Moulton, Holley Police Department
  • Mark A. Bennetti, Platoon Leader, Le Roy Police Department
  • Dylan D. DiPasquale, Mt. Morris Police Department
  • Catherine M. Mucha and Conner T. Sanford, Nunda Police Department
  • Bryant W. Ferry and Kevin T. Green, Perry Police Department


  • Ryan L. Andrews
  • Jason S. Butterbrodt
  • Andrew R. Fisk
  • Joseph J. Renaldo
  • Tyler S. Smith
  • Zachery A Sobieraski, Assistant Class Captain, Platoon Leader
  • Nathaniel P. Staines

Friday's program features a keynote address by Federal Security Director for Greater Rochester International Airport John P. McCaffrey. Other speakers include graduates of the RPTA program -- Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, and Sheriff Thomas Dougherty and Undersheriff Matthew Bean, both of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department.

The training programs offered by RPTA has assisted law enforcement agencies in numerous counties, including but not limited to Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming, Orleans, Allegheny, Cattaraugus and Monroe counties. Through the years as policing and public protection has grown more complicated, the program expanded to include a broad cross section of criminal justice topics. The focus, however includes the challenges of law enforcement in rural areas where resources can be limited, sending in backup support takes longer and officers usually cover much greater distances.

"Police protection in a rural community compared to a big city is quite different," said Ray Chaya, director of The BEST Center. "The Rural Police Academy was started by chiefs and sheriffs in the GLOW region who wanted a program that was familiar with the challenges faced by rural police. The larger number of miles means backup forces are farther away, and resources can be limited."

Some of GCC's most seasoned faculty and staff have been involved with RPTA since the earliest days. The late Richard (Dick) Tiede, who served as GCC's Public Safety director for nearly three decades, was a graduate of the first class in 1986. Barry Garigen, GCC's professor of Criminal Justice helped found the program in 1985. And Douglas C. Brooks, former assistant director of operations at College Village has been the RPTA director since 1987.

The program has many distinguished graduates with unique backgrounds. Among the graduates have been a father-son and a father-daughter team, at least two sets of brothers, and one married couple. Gowanda Chief of Police Joseph Alessi and his spouse, Detective Jennifer Alessi, are also graduates. In addition, RPTA offers excellent opportunities to veterans and not long ago one application was completed by a soldier in active duty from Iraq.

RPTA tuition is $3,750 not including the special supplies such as uniform and all applicants must meet a physical agility test. The 2014-2015 class begins April 15th and classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through February 2015.

For further information go to: http://www.genesee.edu/best/development/rural-police-training-academy/

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Water main breaks reported on Union Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure, Union Street

Press release:

There are currently two water main breaks on Union Street near Robert Morris School and near the Notre Dame athletic field. Crews are on site to begin repairs.

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