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Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:36 am

Law and Order: Alleged drunken driver accused of hitting two parked cars at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bethany, crime, elba, Le Roy

Pamela Morrow, 53, of Linwood Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. At 8:35 p.m., Sunday, Sheriff's Dispatch received reports of an erratic driver heading west on Route 5 through the City of Batavia. The car reportedly moved right several times and struck curbing. A witness reported the car turning left on Park Road about the time Sgt. Ron Meides was leaving the Sheriff's Office complex, though Meides did not see the vehicle. The car proceeded to the Batavia Downs parking lot where Meides located the car a short time later. Two witnesses told Meides that they had seen the car strike two parked vehicles before parking. Meides located Morrow inside Batavia Downs and brought her back to the car.

Frank Lynn Morrison, 32, of Bridge Road, Elba, is charged with sexual abuse, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Morrison is accused of subjecting a female child under age 14 to sexual contact. Morrison was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Lorraine Ellen Pillo, 48, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Pillo is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Marion Jermaine Spivey, 31, of Elmhurst Place, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Spivey is accused of punching another person in the face while at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia at 6 p.m., Nov. 30.

Kevin J. Compton, 52, of Clipnock Road, East Bethany, is charged with resisting arrest and harassment, 2nd. Compton was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 4:56 p.m., Nov. 24. No further details released.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:41 am

Elba Lancers take Albion to closing seconds of season opener

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, high school sports, sports

A pair of 23-point performances by Jesse Pflaumer and Brandon Naylor wasn't enough to secure victory Tuesday night for the Elba Lancers in the team's season opener against Albion.

After Elba jumped to an early double-digit lead by pulling down defensive rebounds and getting easy baskets in transition, foul trouble in the first quarter and a rash of turnovers let the Purple Eagles grab a lead it never relinquished the rest of the night.

"When switched to zone, we gave up some defensive rebounds and they (Albion) ended up cashing in on them," said Head Coach Mark Beeler.

The Lancers battled back, erasing a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter and when Pflaumer hit all net on a three-point jumper from the top of the key with just 26 seconds left in the game, Elba trailed by only two points, 71-69.

"That's when I really had a feeling it was going to go our way, but give Albion credit, they executed down the stretch to close it out," Beeler said.

On the in-bound pass, the Lancers fouled Albion to kill the clock and then grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw. Chad Kowalik got behind the defense and had an open path to the basket, but the pass was just a little beyond his reach and traveled out of bounds.

Albion would inbound two more times in the game, drawing fouls each time, leading to more free throws, which lead to two more points and seal the victory for the Eagles.

"I was just really happy to be in it at the end after being down 10 in the fourth," Beeler said. "The guys showed a lot of character tonight, sticking with it."

As exciting as the game was, it was also sloppy. Both teams got into foul trouble early and Albion rang up a number of fouls early in the second half (Elba slowed the pace a bit for their fouls in the third period).

The Lancers had 30 turnovers, with more than a dozen of them coming on in-bound passes, while the Eagles coughed the ball up 27 times.

"I'd like to blame it on first game jitters, but we had four scrimages so we shouldn't be that nervous," Beeler said. "Thirty is a lot. They had 27, so I'm sure (Albion's head coach) is not happy either. The third and fourth quarters were helter skelter and the intensity was amped up, and when it gets to that pace and the kids aren't used to it, turnovers are going to happen. But, yeah, you're not going to win many games with 30 turnovers."

Despite the loss, Beeler likes what he sees of his team so far and thinks with five seniors in the starting line up, a run at a sectional title is not out of the question.

"I think as these guys play and the season goes on and we eliminate some of the errors, I think we'll be right there," Beeler said "We've got good size. We've got a lot of seniors. That's going to help us down the stretch."

Beeler also has a secret weapon on the bench -- Tom Nowak, the recently retired former coach of the girls team, the coach with eight sectional titles and a state championship to his credit.

Nowak has been filling in as a part-time assistant for Beeler, whose first coaching job was working for Nowak as a girls JV coach.

"He taught me lot and continues to teach me a lot," Beeler said. "It's been great to have him in practices and definately on the bench. It's like hitting the coaching jackpot as far as getting an assistant on the bench with you."

The team responds well to Nowak's presence, Beeler said.

"When I tell the kids he's coming to practice ahead of time and as soon as I tell them he's coming in, they get excited because they know they're going to get better that day," Beeler said.

Besides the 23 points apiece for Pflaumer and Naylor, Dan Scott had 14 points. For Albion, Dez Blackmon had 20 points and Manny Thompson had 15.

Top photo: Jesse Pflaumer driving for the basket.

Albion's Alex Bison.

Brandon Naylor at the free throw line.

Head Coach Mark Beeler

Naylor

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Hoops Preview: New Elba coach feels lucky to follow a legend

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, high school sports, sports

Tom Redband is feeling like perhaps the luckiest first-year varsity basketball coach in the State of New York.

He's taking over an established program with a long history of success and is able to call on two coaching mentors who are among the best in the business -- Tom Nowak, his predecessor, and Buddy Brasky, whom he worked for in Batavia prior to moving to Elba to teach business and coach the Lady Lancers.

"It's rare to take over a program like this," Redband said. "You have to get a little lucky. You have to be in the right place at the right time. It has to be good timing and a good fit. And to have them both (Nowak and Brasky) here, where I can call them up, I can go to either of their houses right now and watch film, it's just a tremendous resource to have."

Redband was a special education aide in Batavia and coached seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and assisted with the basketball program before he was offered the job in Elba. Redband is also the older brother of Jeff Redband, the junior forward for Batavia High School who sunk that all-important buzzer beater in last year's regional championship game.

Under Nowak, the Lady Lancers won eight section titles and a state title and was ranked among the top 10 Class D programs in the state each of the past eight years (the furthest the records go back). 

Rather than feeling intimidated to step into such big shoes, Redband is feeling excited and fortunate.

"There's so much passion for basketball here," Redband said. "The girls love it. There's a system all set up. There's a ton of postives. There's a youth program. Having him (Nowak) as a resource is amazing. He wants to spread his knowledge to anybody who wants to listen."

In many ways, Redband doesn't see much changing. He shares the philopsphy of Nowak and Braksy, that building winning varsity teams begins with players in the third grade.

"You don't just hope the girls come to high school ready to play," Redband said.

Redband said he will certainly have his own way of doing things, but the core values will remain the same.

"We're blending a lot of what they know," Redband said. "I 'm learning a lot about what they know and then blending in what I know. Hopefully we can get a great fit."

One aspect of the Batavia program Redband is used to is there's almost always some hoops going on somewhere, even in the off season and he will look for an opportunity to get the girls more involved in basketball -- so long as it doesn't interfere with other athletic pursuits -- in the spring, summer and fall.

"That's one thing I learned from Coach Brasky in Batavia," Redband said. "If you want to be good and you want to be good compared to the best, then you've got to put the time in."

How good will Elba be in 2013-14? It's hard to say.

The team graduated five seniors, losing four starters, so it will be a young team. 

"We lost a lot but we still have a lot of talent," Redband said.

The Lady Lancers will be the only Class D team in the Genesee Region, so they will spend most of the regular season playing mostly against larger schools, which makes for a challenging schedule but also preps them for sectionals.

Kelsey Bezon, a starter on the 2012 state champion team, returns as a senior and the point guard.

"We're going to rely heavily on her," Reband said. "That's no secret."

Alex Reigle, Haley Brown, Alyssa Bogue, Bri Pangrazio are also all returning players and Redband said there is a lot of talent in that core group of players.

He praised Reigle, a guard, as smart and strong, a player who loves the game and has a good attitude.

"We're going to be competitive," said Redband, who will be assisted this year by Nathan Shirk. "There's no reason (reaching sectionals) shouldn't be our goal."

Redband also expects the team will benefit from the strong support the Elba community always gives its basketball teams.

"I'd rather coach some place like this where there's an expectation and where people come and they're into it and they watch and it's a community thing rather than some place where it's not that big of deal," Redband said.

Kelsey Bezon

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Car hits deer and then tree on Ford Road, Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

A car reportedly hit a deer and then a tree in the area of 5641 Ford Road, Elba.

Elba fire and Mercy EMS is responding.

UPDATE 9:27 p.m.: Elba has enough manpower on scene. No need for further response.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: Patient being transported to UMMC.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Wires down on North Byron and Oak Orchard roads, Elba, traffic shut at Lockport and Route 98

post by Billie Owens in elba

Elba Fire Department and fire police will be shutting down Lockport Road at Route 98 because of wires, possibly high tension wires, down on the roadway at North Byron and Oak Orchard roads. National Grid has been contacted, unknown ETA.

UPDATE 4:08 p.m.: The roadway is clear. The roads are reopened. The Elba assignment is back in service.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

After 26 years, 587 wins, 10 sectional titles and one state championship, Tom Nowak honored at retirement party

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, football, high school sports, sports

In a room filled with friends, fans and supporters last night, former Elba Lady Lancers Head Coach Tom Nowak was all smiles.

"It's really special," Nowak said. "It's a little bit, I don't know, I want to say the word, 'imposing,' because you want to be in the background as a coach. It's difficult when you come out here and you're the person, but it's really nice to see."

Nowak was honored with a retirement party at the Elba Fire Hall that featured a collection of memorabilia and lots of memories from 26 years of serving the community by teaching young people how to compete and win.

In 1977, after two years at Dundee, Nowak joined Elba Central as a history teacher. He also became the varsity football coach and the varsity girls basketball coach.

His football record over 22 years was 130-60-6 with two sectional titles.

Leading the Lady Lancers, Nowak compiled a 457-132 record, eight sectional titles and, most significantly, a state title in 2012.

"Just that one precious one," Nowak said of the state championship. "It was special. We went in 2000 and lost in the finals. I always thought I'd never get a chance to go back and I got a chance to go back and the girls came through."

Teaching and coaching in Elba was a perfect fit, he said.

"I've always considered myself a shallow person," Nowak said. "I like history and I like sports. I first got to be a history teacher at Elba and then I got a chance to coach, so it really worked out well for me."

It takes time and dedication to be a successful varsity coach in any sport, and that means, Nowak acknowledged, that he maybe wasn't home as much as his wife might have liked over the years.

"We're going to do some things for my wife," said Nowak, who retired from teaching in 2009. "She spent so many years staying home on a Friday night watching Dallas and Falcon's Crest while I was out gallivanting around scouting football games. It will be nice to give her the opportunity to do some of the things that maybe we didn't get to do when I was a coach."

With all those wins and all those titles, surely young coaches could learn something from Nowak, and here's his advice:

"Find a mentor," Nowak said. "Find the people who are successes and spend some time and find out why they're successful.You will see something you can incorporate into your own plan. That's something I did. I looked at some role models because as a young coach you really don't know what to do and that was really beneficial to me."

Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 7:45 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of stealing cookware set from Walmart

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Pavilion

Danielle Marie Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and unregistered vehicle. Stevens is accused of stealing a cookware set valued at $139.96 from Walmart. She is also accused of driving to Walmart while her license is suspended. Stevens was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Leonard Charles Millard, 56, of Highland Park, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay fine. Millard was arraigned in City Court and released on his promise to pay an installment of $100 by Friday and another $100 before his scheduled Dec. 5 court appearance.

Mary A. Brairton, 24, unknown residence, is charged with felony DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. Brairton was arrested by State Police at 4:37 p.m. Monday on North Street, Batavia, in connection with an alleged incident reported at 2:44 p.m. Monday in the Town of Pavilion. No further details released.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Farm tour ends, tourists find themselves stranded -- where's the bus?

post by Billie Owens in elba

A group of at least 12 people who finished touring a local farm returned to the bus only to find it gone. The full-size passenger bus, all their belongings, and the driver -- gone.

One of them called dispatch about their predicament and Sheriff's deputies are going to their location. We're not sure, but believe it is in the Elba area. The dispatcher said there is a language barrier.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: The location is on Watson Road, Elba.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m.: The bus driver left apparently over a dispute about payment. The bus that allegedly left the group stranded is described as a white bus with black trim, not as large as a Trailways bus. It has rear doors that swing open and it bears a New Jersey license plate. The male driver is wearing a tan jacket. People are trying to get another bus to the location, but the passports and other personal items are, of course, still on the bus that disappeared.

UPDATE (by Howard): The driver returned of his own volition. He said he felt bad and came back. His name is Hector and he's an independent operator out of New Jersey. He was hired by a company based in Staten Island. He was given a $1,000 up front, but was supposed to have already been paid another $7,800, he said. He showed me a text message from the person he claimed was the owner of the transportation company promising him $5,000 on Saturday. Of course, the tour is over by then so Hector wasn't impressed with promise. Hector agreed to take the tour members back to their hotel in Geneseo. He isn't, at this point, promising to continue with the tour. The tourists are from the Czech Republic on an agriculture tour of WNY.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Elba students hear survivor of horrific crash talk about drivers distracted by cell phones

post by Billie Owens in elba

Press release:

Today, cell phone distracted driving survivor advocate Jacy Good spoke at Elba High School to help students understand the consequences of using cell phones behind the wheel.

In May 2008, on the day she graduated from college, a driver distracted by his cell phone conversation ran a red light and caused a crash that killed both of Good’s parents and left her clinging to life.

“Jacy’s story is powerful and moves both students and faculty,” said Chris Salinas, principal at Elba. “It is especially important for teens to hear Jacy’s message. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and using cell phones increases crash risk. Jacy’s story helps students understand that they will be safer if they disconnect while driving.”

“My college graduation day should have been a time to celebrate,” Good said. “Instead, my entire world was shattered because of an unnecessary cell phone call. People need to understand the dangers of using a cell phone ­– handheld or hands free – while driving. Lives are at risk and poor decisions can have lifelong consequences.”

After the loss of her parents, Good joined FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving. FocusDriven is a survivor advocate network that supports cell phone distracted driving victims and their families. Individuals and families educate the public by sharing their personal stories. The New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee works with FocusDriven to provide Good’s presentations in schools across the state.

Those interested in having Good speak at their school should e-mail [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>

Additional traffic safety information can be found at: www.safeny.ny.gov/SRO-Toolkit <http://www.safeny.ny.gov/SRO-Toolkit>

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Photos: Annual barn dance in Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in barn dance, elba

Again, there was a big turn out for the annual barn dance in Elba.

Above, the Rebisz family of Bergen ready for the hoedown.

Virginia Steinbrenner, of Batavia, dances with Donald Darling, of Sterling Springs.

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