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Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

Casino night in Byron raises funds for Reis Memorial Scholarship

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, Reis Memorial Scholarship

To help restore depleted funds in the Reis Memorial Scholarship, community volunteers hosted a casino night fundraiser at the South Byron Fire Hall this past weekend.

Members of the Reis family lost their lives in a fire in Byron on May 19, 2008.

The night's live auction included selling an apple pie made by Jean Allyn, grandmother of the three Reis children, Ginny, Emily and Tim, and mother to Cheryl Reis, who died in the fire.

The fundraiser included a basket auction with 32 baskets available.

The scholarship was formed in 2013 to reestablish a fund that was depleted in 2012. The annual scholarship awards $1,000 to a graduating senior from Byron-Bergen who demonstrates both academic merit and the admired characteristics of the Reis children. The 2013 recipient of the award was Kim Lovett, who is attending Nazareth College to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy. 

The success of successive fundraisers by the foundation enabled the group to provide financial assistance to former community members whose home was destroyed in a fire this year.

Sponsors this year included: Dewey Produce, Stafford Painters. Ray and Jean Allen, Kircher Construction, Inc., Roberts Accounting, Ernie and Wendy Haywood, Crazy Cheap Cars, NAPA Auto Parts - Bergen , WNY Concerete, Pudgie’s Lawn and Landscape.

Info and photo submitted by Jon Flannery.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Gift from Liberty Pumps puts new technology in the hands of every Byron-Bergen student

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen, liberty pumps

There's a selfish reason Charle Cook got behind the idea of his company donating money to help the Byron-Bergen School District buy 1,100 tablet computers for all of the district's children: He wants potential future employees to have the technical skills to work for the Liberty Pumps of tomorrow.

But the donation is also a good deed that will benefit his and his son's alma mater and perhaps encourage other rural companies to be as generous with their local school districts.

"We felt it's important as kids progress through school that they become knowledgable and comfortable with technology," said Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty. "It's going to be part of their future employment. To have that as a kind of leg up to students who might not have access is an advantage.

"Somewhat from a selfish standpoint," he added, "we're going to need a certain segment of those graduates, and we're interested in keeping as many kids as we can in the community."

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said the gift was timely. The district had recently cut a staff position from its library and New York's formula for aid to district continues to disportionately favor affluent suburban districts over rural districts.

"This allows us to do something that most of the school districts in the more affluent areas of the state are able to do," Kosiorek said. "We're very thankful for that."

That was part of what motivated Liberty to seek out a way to assist the district, said Jeff Cook, who initiated the talks with the district that led to the donation.

"The reason Liberty Pumps thought the Learn Pads were a good idea was that we hear a lot about how wealthier, suburban districts seem to have advantages over poorer, more rural districts in terms of course offerings and opportunities for their students," Jeff Cook said. "We were looking for a way to help give our students an edge while minimizing the overhead burden of the district and therefore the taxpayer."

Charlie Cook didn't want to reveal the total monetary amount of the donation, but it's roughly 30 percent of the cost of the 1,100 tablets, which cost a few hundred dollars each. That donation made Byron-Bergen eligible for a technology grant from the state education department that covered the remaining 70 percent of the cost.

There will be no new local spending as a result of the program.

The tablets are known as LearnPads. They are Droid-based tablets with modifications to suit the needs of an educational institution.  

First, there are limits on how students can use them. There's access to YouTube, for example, but they can only watch teacher-approved videos. They can only visit approved Web pages. They can only download and install teacher-approved apps.

Teachers control the entire LearnPad environment according to the education needs of the class.

From a desktop computer program, teachers can customize how the LearnPads can be used, develop each day's lesson plan, then provide a QR code that can be posted to a wall. As students enter the class that day or that hour, the student scans the QR code to receive the lesson plan. As class progresses, teachers can monitor student activity to ensure they're staying on task.

However, Kosiorek stressed, LearnPads don't replace lectures and class discussions.

"This is a great tool for students and for teachers, but it doesn't replace quality education," Kosiorek said. "It's a tool, it's a supplement, an addition to a teacher's toolbox."

There are educational books available on the LearnPad and Kosiorek said the district hopes to someday replace all of its text books with tablets. That would save the district money as well as end the days of one-ton backpacks and multiple trips to lockers for students.

And yes, there are games available to students. Math games and vocabulary games, for example.

"Many students have access to video games and those games are very engaging," Kosiorek said. "There are goals that are set and you work toward those goals, so whatever we can do to provide relevance and engagement for students (we will do)."

Every student, starting this week, gets a LearnPad, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The younger students don't get a keyboard and will just use the touch screen, but starting in about third grade, keyboards will be introduced.

At younger grades, the LearnPads stay in school -- at least until the summer, when they can go with the summer reading program already installed -- while older children can bring the LearnPads home for homework once permissions slips and guideline acknowledgments are signed.

"We're very excited to be doing it," Charlie Cook said. "I've got four grandkids in the system right now and when I come to an event, which I do as often as I can, it's amazing to me to watch these kids work with the technology, even what they have currently. I think even in preschool years, they were up operating the touch screen, so this is a natural progression for them."

Jeff Cook said he hopes other business owners will look at this initiative and contact their own school administrators and ask "How can we help?".

Education, after all, is everybody's business.

"My hope is that what Liberty Pumps is doing will gain traction in the business community and others will join in on supporting our schools," Jeff Cook said. "If you are a business that is passionate about something you would be willing to help fund or support, I would suggest talking to the school administration about your idea and see if it is feasible. 

"In the case of Byron-Bergen, they did all the leg work and presented us with their vision based on our ideas. This could be anything from supporting sport programs and class offerings, to equipment for the district. Anything that could enhance a student's learning opportunity."

Photo: Casey Kosiorek, left, and Charlie Cook.

Monday, September 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Grand Jury: Man accused of damaging jailhouse door, biker accused of DWI

post by Billie Owens in batavia, byron, crime, grand jury indictments

Here are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury>

Jeffrey M. Black is accused of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 25, 2013, hedrove a 2000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the Town of Byron while intoxicated. In count two of the indictment, he is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more.

John J. Saddler is accused of criminal mischief in the second degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 16 in the City of Batavia he acted with intent to damage the property of another person and, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he had such right, damaged the property of another person in an amount greater that $1,500. The damaged property was a glass door at the Genesee County Jail.

Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Local school districts benefit from 'Pencils 4 Schools' program

Over the past two weeks, 80,000 pencils have been delivered to school districts, including Batavia City Schools, Oakfield-Alabama Central, Byron-Bergen Central, Pavilion Central, Alexander Central, and Attica Central as part of the attorney William Mattar Pencils 4 Schools campaign.

It was established in response to ever-tightening school district budgets. Understanding the difficulty school districts and families face in trying to provide supplies for students, Mattar is pleased to donate these pencils to help get the school year off to a great start for the young leaders of tomorrow. This year, the firm received a record number of requests from schools.

School districts can still register for Pencils 4 Schools by calling 444-4444 or by e-mailing [email protected].

Representing clients across New York State with offices in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Albany regions, William Mattar, P.C., focuses on auto injury cases for those seriously injured in motor vehicle and truck accidents. For more information about the firm’s community involvement, visit www.WilliamMattar.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Grand Jury indictments: Man accused of second-degree assault for allegedly injuring victim with scalding water

post by Billie Owens in batavia, bergen, byron, crime

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

James T. Saddler III is indicted on a charge of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 21 in the City of Batavia, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, he caused such injury by means of a dangerous instrument -- scalding water.

Ronnie R. Simpson is indicted on a charge of aggravated driving while ability impaired by drugs, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on March 29 in the Town of Byron Simpson drove a 2001 Chevrolet on Route 262 while his ability to do so was impaired by drugs and while a child age 15 or less was a passenger.

Kassandra R. Funk is indicted on a change of drving while intoxicated, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 6 in the Town of Bergen Funk drove a 2006 Pontiac on North Bergen Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, she is accused of aggravated drving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 7:54 am

One-vehicle rollover accident with entrapment in Byron

post by Billie Owens in accidents, byron

A one-vehicle rollover accident with entrapment is reported at Route 262 and Bank Street Road.

Byron and South Byron fire departments and Mercy medics are responding. Mercy Flight is on ground standby.

UPDATE 7:58 a.m.: The driver managed to get out of the vehicle. There is no need for Mercy Flight; the standby is canceled.

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.: Command says responders heading to the scene can come in non-emergency mode. A flatbed tow is called. The vehicle is on its roof about 40 feet off the roadway. It is reported that the accident occurred at about 4:30 a.m..

UPDATE 8:06 a.m.: Command put Mercy medics back in service.

UPDATE 8:46 a.m.: South Byron back in service.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of using another person's ID when arrested at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, Darien, Le Roy

Laura Anne Costa, 20, of Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Costa allegedly used another person's lost NYS driver's license as identification while being arrested on a trespass charged during a concert at Darien Lake on Aug. 16. The other person was subsequently identified in a news release as a person arrested at the concert, leading to the discovery of the alleged criminal impersonation.

Kodey R. Mills, 21, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Mills was stopped by Le Roy PD on Monday and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Robert Holland Cokely, 26, of Merrill Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, speeding, driving left of pavement markings and no/inadequate plate lamp. Cokely was stopped at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday on East Main Street, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Scott R. Booth Jr., 23, of Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Booth is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Andrea Baccas, 19, and Nellisia Pryce, 20, both of Jamaica, are charged with petit larceny. Baccas and Pryce are accused of shoplifting from Walmart. Both were jailed on $250 cash bail or $500 bond each.

Rebecca J. Cornell, 39, of Sand Hill Road, Caledonia, is charged with petit larceny. Cornell is accused of stealing clothing items from a store in the Village of Le Roy. Surveillance video was used to identify the suspect vehicle and the suspect and make an arrest.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Ford Road between Transit and Norton, Elba, to be closed briefly for Mercy Flight landing

post by Billie Owens in byron, elba

A medical call requiring Mercy Flight to the scene means that Byron Fire Police will shut down Ford Road between Transit and Norton so a landing zone can be established. Elba fire is setting up the landing zone.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

UPDATED: Byron couple looking for missing cat, Zoe

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, byron, pets

Stefanie and Kevin are hoping you can help them find Zoe. She's been missing for a week now. This is an older picture. She's put on a little weight since it was taken. Her home is in the Byron area. If you've seen Zoe or have Zoe, call (585) 548-9961.

UPDATE Aug. 15: Zoe is home safe and sound, according to her very happy owners, Stefanie and Kevin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Law and Order: Alleged erratic bike riding leads to drug arrest

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

Shannon H. Dick, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to keep right on a bicycle while in the roadway and failure to stop before entering a roadway on a bicycle. Dick was observed by Officer Jason Davis allegedly operating her bicycle in an unsafe manner and acting suspicious while leaving a residence on State Street.

Andrew J. Paladino, 35, of Shelter Street, Rochester, was taken into a custody on a warrant out of Family Court. Paladino was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Allen W. Gray, 34, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, 4th, and criminal contempt, 1st. Gray is accused of grabbing a person by the shirt, shoving him and knocking him off his bike. The victim's shirt was stretched, a necklace was broken and his right knee scratched. Gray is under court order to stay away from the alleged victim.

Tyrone L. Doward Jr., 24, of East Avenue, Lockport, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Doward was arrested after an investigation of a person climbing through the window of an occupied apartment. Doward was reportedly unknown to the occupant. 

Eric C. Smith, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a pair of warrants for alleged improper parking. Smith was located while police were on an unrelated complaint. He's accused of parking on city streets between 2 and 6 a.m.

Brandon N. Benz, 19, of Clinton Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Benz was located at a residence on Jackson Street allegedly in possession of marijuana.

Diana Lynn Bloom, 56, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Bloom is accused of hitting another woman while in a vehicle on Bank Street.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Douglas turned herself in at Batavia PD.

Ernest Robert Saari, 32, of Alleghany Road, Attica, is charged with speeding, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and unregistered trailer. Saari was stopped by Officer Nedim Catovic on East Main Street, Batavia, for allegedly driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Robert W. Plantiko, 39, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Plantiko is accused of stealing a box of garbage bags from Kwik Fill at 99 Jackson St., Batavia.

Joseph T. Burr, 21, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court. The warrant was for driving an uninspected motor vehicle. Burr posted $100 police bail and was released.

Juliann Thomas, 51, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, moved from lane unsafely and failure to stop for stop sign. Thomas was stopped at 1:48 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street, Batavia, by Officer Darryle Streeter.

Harry T. Gibson, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. State Police out of Warsaw responded to a report of a disabled vehicle on Route 98 in the Town of Java. Gibson was allegedly found behind the wheel and failed field sobriety tests. He was later found to have a BAC of .10 based on a breath test. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Dawn K. Cochran, 44, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI. Cochran was stopped at 5:55 p.m. Sunday in the Town of Pavilion, by State Police.

Denelle R. Currier, 39, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Currier was stopped at 9:17 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Stafford, by State Police.

Matthew C. Moy, 21, of Holley, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Moy was stopped at 9:35 p.m. Friday on Route 262 in Byron by State Police.

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