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Howard B. Owens's blog

Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 10:00 pm

FAQ and Help for The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in help, thebatavian

The following links are designed to help you better understand how things work on The Batavian.

 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Cross Fit trainer opens new gym in Harvester Center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, health

The first thing Jason Harasimowszi thought when he saw Cross Fit on TV a few years ago was, "that's too hard."

He thought, "there's no way I could do that."

But he gave it a try and found, yes, it is hard, but, he said, "I wanted to keep doing it and get good at it."

Three years ago, he took a Cross Fit course in Chicago and became a certified trainer.

"It's nice seeing people succeed," Harasimowszi said to explain why he likes training others in Cross Fit.

Recently, Harasimowszi opened his own Cross Fit gym, Cross Fit Silver Fox, inside the Harvester Center.

Cross Fit is designed to be a complete, functional work out, often using heavy weights and complex, compound exercises that work more than one muscle at a time.

"(Cross Fit) is going to help you outside in life," Harasimowszi. "If you pick up boxes off the ground, it's like you're doing a deadlift. If you put a box on a top shelf, obviously, you're pressing something overhead. Everything is transferable to your outside life."

Silver Fox is equipped with about $20,000 worth of racks, weights, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, rowing machines, parallel bars, tires, boxes and other training equipment.

Classes are: Monday through Friday at 5, 6 and 7 a.m., and 4, 5 and 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.; and Sundays at 11 a.m.

To locate Silver Fox, go into the Harvester Center through the main entrance and then down the hallway straight back from the door. The gym is on the left.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Oakfield officials looking for person who broke into Little League food stand

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

During the early morning hours of Aug. 21 somebody broke into the food stand at the Little League fields at the Oakfield Town Park and stole drinks and candy.

Town Clerk Melissa Haacke said the thief was obviously looking for money.

Sometime after 3 a.m., the person in this photo was seen on surveillance cameras in the park, so officials are hoping to identify the person and determine if there's a connection.

Haacke can be reached at (585) 948-5835.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 9:15 am

Developers make case for 136-unit apartment complex in Town of Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Big Tree Glen, land use

There's a very simple reason Rochester-based Conifer wants to build a middle-income apartment complex in Batavia now, John F. Caruso told the town's planning board Tuesday night.

"Batavia's hot," said the president of Passero Associates Engineering Architecture.

"It's hot," he said, "because of your smart growth plans, your STAMP Project, yogurt plants, lots of job growth. I'm happy we're the first to get in, but there will be more. Mark my words, this is a very good area."

Caruso made his remarks during a public hearing for Big Tree Glen, a 136-unit complex proposed for West Main Street Road that Conifer wants to build in three phases.

The Genesee County Planning Board disapproved the plan Thursday night, which means in order for the town's planning board to give it the nod, the vote will need to be a majority-plus-one.

Tuesday night, developers gave their presentation to the town's planning board and local residents -- including several in opposition -- shared their thoughts on the project.

The board won't take action on the proposal until its next meeting Sept. 30.

Caruso and Andrew Crossed, a VP with Conifer Realty, gave a very detailed presentation about the proposed complex, which Crossed called a "flagship design" for Conifer. The same basic concept has been built in several other New York communities, as well as in other states.

The project would be built in three phases with the first phase containing 56 units.

There would be one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom apartments, with monthly rents of $592, $717 and $900.

The market for the apartments are households with annual incomes of $25,000 to $45,000.

There would be no HUD, Section 8 or other rent subsidized apartments. Tenants would go through a thorough screening process, including a background check, income verification and reference check and would be required to sign leases that would clearly spell out residential expectations.

There would be two employees of Conifer on site full-time -- a residential manager and a residential maintenance supervisor.

"What we build, we own," Crossed said. "What we own, we manage."

All infrastructure -- roads, water and sewer -- would be owned and maintained by Conifer, meaning no expense for the town.

The property would generate about $75,000 local property tax.

While Conifer will apply for a state grant to help finance construction of each phase, it's a competitive process and Conifer goes into the project knowing they may not win. Either way, Conifer is not seeking any local tax abatements though the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The complex would include a clubhouse, which would contain the manager's office, community kitchen, fitness center and laundry.

Each unit would have its own storage unit.

"You won't see storage on patios like you do in some places," Caruso said.

Caruso said Conifer uses quality construction material and the design offers a variety of features and colors to add variety and avoid a cookie-cutter appearance.

The final plan will include a bus loop for school buses and possibly local mass transit.

There will be a total of 53 percent green space surrounding the apartments.

"We usually don't skimp on landscaping," Caruso said. "Landscaping really shows the project well when the project is constructed."

One local landlord who attended the meeting said afterward he supports the project.

"Batavia needs this," he said. "I get people in my office every day looking for something like this and it just doesn't exist."

The residents who live near the proposed development area were less pleased with the project.

The main objection from the six or so opponents was the increased potential for flooding and a belief that Route 5 already has too much traffic on it.

Larry Regal, who lives on the south side of West Main, next to the Tonawanda Creek, said there is a small drainage area that connects to the creek and when the water rises on the Tonawanda, the north side where the project is located floods.

He wonders where that water will go if the development is built and whether that will make his property more susceptible to flooding.

Other speakers shared that concern.

They also complained that it can be hard now to pull out onto Route 5 safely with the current traffic volume.

Caruso had said during his presentation that traffic studies show the two-lane road has a lot of available capacity for traffic.

The town has recently installed new sewer lines along Route 5 with the idea of attracting development to the area.

The area is zoned commercial and a variance would be required for apartments, but Caruso said apartments with no more than 80 cars per hour at peak times would generate less Route 5 traffic than just about any possible commercial development in the same location.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

Law and Order: Man accused of providing false name to police during traffic stop in May

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

James Timon Saddler III, 33, no permanent address, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, forgery, 2nd, offering false instrument, 1st, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Saddler was reportedly stopped at 10:30 p.m. May 31 on Ellicott Street, Batavia, by Officer Jason Ivison. Saddler allegedly provided a name and date of birth other than his own and signed a consent to search form under the false name. Upon further investigation of the stop and a review of camera footage of the stop, Ivison determined that Saddler was the person stopped who allegedly provided a false identity. Saddler is currently an inmate in the Genesee County Jail being held on unrelated charges.

Jerry Tyrone Saddler, 38, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment ,2nd. Saddler is accused of hitting a woman several times during an argument, causing minor injuries.

Samuel Forrest Brown, 26, of River Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to dim headlamps. Brown was stopped at 11:51 p.m. Friday on Route 5, Stafford, by Deputy Chris Parker.

Douglas Scott Sprague, 47, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt,1st. Sprague was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating an order of protection on June 2.

Michael Lee Milroy, 48, of McLernon Road, Bethany, is charged with assault, 3rd. Milroy was allegedly the driver of a vehicle at 7:45 p.m. Thursday that drove away from a residence while another person was leaning in the open passenger side door of the vehicle. Milroy is accused of striking that person with the door frame and rear tire, causing an injury to that person.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm

City planners vote down proposed Dunkin Donuts for West Main location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Dunkin' Donuts

There won't be Dunkin' Donut coffee addicts zipping into a new shop on West Main Street, Batavia, any time soon, it seems.

The City's planning board rejected a site plan for the propose fast food restaurant outright following a public hearing Tuesday.

Paul Viele, the board member who made the motion to reject the proposal, cited concerns over traffic and complaints from residents on Redfield Parkway and River Street.

The proposed location was a lot squeezed in between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

Jett Mehta, president of the Pittsford-based development company looking to build a second Dunkin' Donuts in Batavia, said his company had looked at several properties on both the west side and the east side of the city before settling on a location they felt had sufficient traffic to support the franchise.

Donut stores and drive-thru coffee shops  need high-traffic locations, Mehta explained.

"We don't generate traffic just because somebody decides they want to drive across town to get a cup of coffee," Mehta said. "They might, but we generally don't generate traffic. We capture traffic."

Kip Finley, an engineer on the project, said getting coffee and donuts is more a matter of "impulse purchases from people who are already right there."

Board members and public speakers expressed some skepticism about the "captured traffic" motif. 

"Tim Hortons is not captured traffic," John Roach said. "People go there to get a cup of coffee, so I can see a lot more than five or six cars getting in line."

Mehta and his team brought their proposal to the city a couple of weeks ago and planners asked that the alignment of the store be changed so as many 20 cars in queue.

The developers did, even though they are vehement that there will never be 20 cars in queue.  

"Our company operates 19 Dunkin Donuts with drive thrus," Mehta said. "We've never seen 20 cars in queue. Twenty cars in a drive-thru queue just never happens. It's not how the business is run."

When board members expressed concerns about the reconfigured site dumping traffic on River Street, Finley said that was a result of trying to accommodate the request to have space for 20 cars backed up in line.

"We're pretty flexible on those things," Finley said. "We now have two plans and both work pretty well."

Neighboring business owner Mike Barrett called the project "ill conceived."

He said there was a 400 gallon propane tank at the back of the property, an auto parts store in the neighboring shopping mall that certainly stores a lot of chemicals. He wondered if the Fire Department had signed off on the project with access to those buildings being restricted.

He also said the DEC required access to the Tonawanda Creek from that location for grass cutting operations.

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said City Fire had been consulted and Chief Jim Maxwell had signed off on the plans.

Redfield Parkway resident Jim Owen said he loves Dunkin' Donuts and doesn't made a section location in Batavia, just not that location.

"We're really getting overwhelmed with the traffic," Owen said. "If you try to get out on certain dates and certain hours, it's just brutal."

After the meeting, Mehta said he and his team will need to convene and decide with to continue pursuing a second Dunkin Donuts location in Batavia. 

Mike Mikolajczyk, owner of the current franchise and prospective owner of the second franchise, said during the meeting that the number one request he gets from current customers is a drive-thru location.

Asked about possible locations on the east side of the city, Mikolajczyk said it doesn't appear yet that East Main has the traffic volume to support a Dunkin' Donuts.

Photo: Steve Pum and Kip Finley.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Landmark Society to hand out 2014 awards at dinner Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

The Landmark Society of Genesee County hosts its annual awards dinner Saturday at the GO-ART! building (Seymour Place), 201 East Main St., Batavia.

Dinner is at 6 p.m. with the awards presentation to follow.

The cost is $15 per person (make checks payable to "Sweet Ecstasy").

RSVP by calling (585) 343-9313 by 5 p.m., Thursday.

Here are photos of the winners with links to articles on each winner supplied by the Landmark Society.

Dr. Ronald R. Reed, Reed Eye Associates, Batavia Adaptive Re-use (top photo)

Ben and Joyce Davis, Outstanding Exterior Paint Treatment

Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB, Outstanding Signage

Patricia Smith, Renovation

Amy Burns, Tender Loving Care

Sharon Johnson Home, Tender Loving Care

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Sharon Johnson Home, Tender Loving Care

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark article by Larry Barnes

The Sharon Johnson home is located on Roosevelt Avenue in the City of Batavia.  According to deeds in the County Clerk’s office, it is a part of the Anna T. Mileham subdivision laid out by R. A. Wentworth in 1910.

The design of the house defies placement in any single category of architectural style.  The City Assessor refers to it as a cape cod design.  Laurie Oltramari, past president of Landmark, refers to it as a “mashup” of styles.  She points out that the front gables with the finial or pinnacle at the peak make it look like a Gothic Revival cottage, especially with the entrance having a traditional Gothic pitch. On the other hand, the brickwork that surrounds the windows is more of an Italianate characteristic.  Laurie concludes that it may simply be a vernacular post-World War I home with European influences.  Whatever description one chooses, everyone agrees that it is a strikingly attractive house.

When the Historic Preservation Commission in Batavia designated the house as a landmark, it was thought that the date of construction was 1924.  However, a review of the deed records in the County Clerk’s office leaves some doubt.  When the property was sold by James and Monica Anderson in 1941, there is a reference to structures on the land.  However, there is no such reference when the Anderson’s bought the property in 1937.  Furthermore, the property changed hands several times in the 15 years before 1937 and in 1924 was in the hands of the Bank of Batavia in what appear to be foreclosure proceedings that date to 1922.  In short, the house existed in 1941, but exactly when it was built and by whom is something of a mystery.

Sharon Johnson’s connections to the house begin with Walter and Charlotte Stevens.  The Stevenses purchased 44 Roosevelt in 1941.   They also operated the Rest Haven Nursing Home on Ross Street where Sharon’s mother, Shirley Johnson, worked as a nurse.  When Charlotte became ill with cancer, Shirley Johnson became her personal nurse.  When Mrs. Stevens died, her husband, Walter, invited Shirley and Sharon Johnson to live with him at 44 Roosevelt.   Sharon recalls sleeping in a corner room behind this window.

Sharon recalls Walter telling her that someday the house would be hers.  In fact, Walter willed the house to Sharon’s mother, Shirley Johnson, and then, years later, in the early 1980s, Shirley sold it to Sharon.

For the most part, the house has been kept faithful to its apparent original construction.  (Picture 9) It is a single floor home of 1,232 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, two baths, and a full basement.  A fireplace graces the northern wall.  The exterior is surfaced with stucco and brick.  The trim on the front entryway door and the lights at the two entrances  compliment the overall appearance.

Foundation plantings  further enhance the appearance of the house as do these Rose of Sharon bushes on either side of the front entrance.  (Picture 17) Two lions stand guard at the head of the walkway.

The Landmark Society is pleased to recognize Sharon Johnson’s efforts to preserve this lovely home by granting her our 2014 Tender Loving Care Award.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Amy Burns, Tender Loving Care

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark article by Tony Kutter

As far as we can determine, this stately home with Italianate features was built in 1832. It houses five bedrooms and 4 ½ bathrooms within its almost 4400 square feet.

Former owner Lucius Bigelow used house only as summer home. Later it was acquired by John and Eva McNicholl. It was passed on to their son Micheal McNicholl who became a Roman Catholic priest. Upon his retirement, it was offered to the Catholic Church in Corfu, a few houses away. They respectfully declined the offer.  Father McNicholl began restoration on the house. He passed away and members of the family continued his efforts but never completed the vast project.  Sadly, the house remained empty for several years.

Frank Pfalzer, bought the property at auction for $50,000 and completed the restoration. Frank told me he purchased the property on an impulse without his wife seeing it. When his wife looked at the property her comment was this is such a beautiful building we cannot break this up for apartments, which was Frank’s original intention.        

The original siding was most likely wooden clapboards.  The current cedar shakes are well maintained.  Other updates include a new electrical system and a new roof. There was moisture damage in the basement from lack of heat as it sat empty and unheated

The major renovation Frank Pfalzer completed was the kitchen, bathrooms, floors and new carpeting. He purchased a chandelier and lamp fixtures at an antique auction. The stairway and banister are all original to the house.  There are many original windows inside and out. The original roof brackets with dentals grace the exterior.

An additional structure houses a caretaker’s home with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom which is now used for a garage and storage. In the rear of the property there remains a reflecting pool.

It is assumed that this may have been not just a private residence but a rest home for elderly people who came from the city in the early 1900's for rest and recuperation. During the war years school teachers rented rooms.

When Amy Burns purchased the home, she set out to preserve its architectural charms.   Ms. Burns has enthusiastically taken it upon herself to be the steward of this grand home.   The Landmark Society is so glad that this historic building is under her care.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Patricia Smith, Renovation

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark article by Loren Pflaumer:

When local Oakfield general store owner Charles H Griffin needed a wedding gift for his son and daughter-in-law, he decided to build them a house.  In 1925, he hired an architect from LeRoy named Charles Ivan Cromwell to design the home. Unfortunately, no records could be found as to why he chose this Spanish Eclectic style, so unique for our part of the country.

Charles Griffin passed away before the house was completed in 1928 and his son never moved in. The property became a rental and remained so for 20 years until the next owners, the Messinger’s bought it and lived there until they retired to Florida in the 1990’s. Patricia knew this house well.  She grew up in Oakfield and rode the school bus down North Pearl Street every day.  She was considering buying a house when she saw this one come up for auction in 2003. She didn’t make it to the sale, but fortunately for Patricia, the deal fell through, and the home was up for auction again. This time she went and won the house.  She is only the second homeowner to live in the house.

In the ten years she’s lived here, she has done an amazing amount of work.  The exterior boosts beautiful new windows and a fresh paint job. Stafford Painters were called in to update the home’s color scheme. After a few color combination suggestions, Patricia selected what she calls the most “subtle” colors highlighting the unique geometric decorative tiles as well as complimenting the brick sills, stoop and walkway. The original front door with its offset window panes is classic Spanish style and sports its own shade of blue.

Patricia has not neglected the interior either. In order to make the inside of the home reflect its Spanish style, two doorways were rebuilt as archways to match an existing arched doorway. Dark wood paneling was removed and matching stucco was applied. The existing oak flooring was repaired where damaged and the center stairs were stripped and refinished. Original features were saved and prominently displayed such as the fireplace, lighting and hardware.  The kitchen is new and flows into the dining room seamlessly with continued oak flooring.

Inside and out, the property represents Patty’s style. When I met Patricia and told her of her award nomination, her response to me was “thank you, I really tried to keep the character of the house”.   The grounds are nicely landscaped and she should get an additional nod for best adaptive re-use. If you look closely at this beautiful gazebo, you can see that the roof is nothing more than an overturned satellite dish rescued from the Alabama Hotel.

Patricia is quick to acknowledge the endless help and support she received from her parents.  Her father was always around with his handyman skills and time. Her Mom provided food, lodging and pep talks. She is also credited with painting the garage doors.  Patricia couldn’t be here tonight as she is out of town visiting her grandchildren. It’s a shame we couldn’t honor her in person, as she may be the happiest winner I can remember.  Accepting the Genesee County Landmark Renovation award for Patricia are her parents Alan and Ruth Myers

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB, Outstanding Signage

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark article by Jill Babinski:

Those of us that are familiar with Genesee County are aware that just two years ago, the Batavia Downs sign was replaced with a more modern, energy efficient version. Those who drive by it on occasion on their way to or from a destination would never know that there had been a change. Noting this, the Genesee County Landmark Society has chosen to recognize the Batavia Downs for ensuring that a historic sign, not only keeps up with modernity, but stays the same.

The Batavia Downs has a long history in Genesee County. The Batavia Downs racetrack opened in September 20th, 1940 until 1997. In 1998, it was purchased by Western Regional Off-Track Betting.  After special legislation was passed to allow WROTB to operate a live racing meet, racing returned on July 29th, 2002.

The Batavia Downs’ landmark sign was installed in 1954. This sign was 11 feet by 79 feet. The original steel and neon sign cast its glow on the area until July 9th, 2012. Being made of neon, the original sign was prone to outages and the costs associated with fixing broken lights and powering it were rising. The Batavia Downs needed an option that was more energy efficient.

To meet this need, as well as retain the unique character of the original sign, the Batavia Downs installed an aluminum and LED sign, keeping the original design and size, on July 9th, 2012. This new sign will not rust and 90% less energy is used, ensuring that the sign will be seen by thousands of people for decades.

The old sign was not disposed of, but rather distributed to others. Some of you may recall that community members were able to pick up a letter if they had the means to. Check with your neighbor, they may have a piece of the Batavia Downs in their living room. One letter was donated to the Batavia Historical Society, and another still remains in the Batavia Downs’ warehouse. The Batavia Downs intends on using it at some point when construction is completed.

Next time you drive by the Batavia Downs and glance at the letters, please remember that it is possible to retain history, while at the same time utilize modern technology and materials.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Ben and Joyce Davis, Outstanding Exterior Paint Treatment

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark article by Dorian Ely:

This Folk Victorian house at 9 Vine Street, Batavia is owned by Joyce and Ben Davis.  The house was built circa 1880.  The current owners acquired the property in 1984.

This is a typical Folk Victorian characterized by the front gable and side wing; a low-pitched, pyramid shaped roof; and a front porch with spindle work and flat, jigsaw-cut trim.  However, in recent history the beauty of the house was hidden.  The Davis’s describe the house as having been “battleship” grey for many years before they were able to get to work on it and bring out the architectural details.

Joyce and Ben looked at many Victorian home paint schemes before settling on the four colors to articulate the individual elements.  Ben, a carpenter by trade, has been doing the work with a couple of helpers.  While the house was essential intact, as Ben has been working around the exterior stripping off the grey paint, he has replaced the old clapboards with new cedar boards and milled and replaced missing decorative elements.

Additionally, Ben has used existing elements in new ways, for instance Ben copied the porch skirting for the sides of the porch steps.  With the new paint, the extensive decorative elements including: spindle work; flat, jigsaw trim; gable gingerbread; lattice work arches; and prominent window caps are more visible.  The house also boasts beautiful leaded glass windows and like many of the older Folk Victorians, it has a bay window.

The house is not the Davis’s home, but rather a property that they rent out.  They are fortunate in that they have had two long-term renters who also care about the house.  Not only do they care for the interior as though it is their own, but Nicole, who lives on the first floor, has beautified the property with period sensitive additions: plantings such as hostas, hanging porch baskets and wicker furniture.

Joyce and Ben describe the house as a work in progress.  Ben’s next project is to copy the decorative details of the front porch railing for the second floor porch surround. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Dr. Ronald R. Reed, Reed Eye Associates, Batavia Adaptive Re-use

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark Articlem, by Howard Owens:

In the past, when Dr. Ronald Reed has expanded his practice, he's erected gleaming new buildings from the ground up.

But not in Batavia.

Reed Eye Associates has opened its sixth location and Reed selected a location with character and ambiance and a bit of history.

The brick building at 39 Washington Ave., across from Austin Park, was most recently the City Schools administration building, but when originally built in 1903 by Edward Dellinger, it was an elementary school.

Batavia's most prominent architectural firm of the time, Henry Homelius and Son, designed the building.

In remodeling the interior, Reed has kept to an art deco theme with a touch of modernism in keeping with the character of the building.

"I saw the building listed online and went to the site and looked at the building and liked it," Reed said. "I called Tony Mancuso, who had the listing, and he gave me a tour. I thought, 'this building needs a lot of work, but it has some great bones.' "

Refurbishing the building also uncovered a little history. One brickmason left behind a note found in the stairwell that said the best men laid the bricks. Another worker in 1939 put a note in a bottle, which was found in a wall, that said "if you're reading this note, it means by now we're all in hell." 

Then there was letter on YMCA letterhead and postmarked 1913, address to a young Myron Fincher. The apparently mimeographed letter speaks of a young man worthy of attention who exchanged a correspondence with Frank Crane, a Presbyterian minister and newspaper columnist. The letter references the enclosed newspaper column, but the column was not in the envelope.

Fincher was born in 1898 in Corfu and worked on the family farm. His fondness for animals brought him to Cornell University. He became an internationally prominent veterinarian. Early in his career he received the Borden Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. By the 1960s, he was working overseas in places such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Italy.

Reed said it was thrilling for these little bits of history to be found in his old building.
Reed's company purchased the property from the school district in 2012 for $500,000 and its 13,452-square-foot building. The renovations cost more than $1.5 million and helped put the property back on the tax roles. Reed Eye received $140,861 in tax incentives through Genesee County Economic Development Center for the project.

The expansion of the practice, which was founded in Bushnell's Basin (Pittsford) in 1978 has come, Reed said, as the practice attracted more and more patients. Each time an office would grow beyond its capacity, rather than expand that location, Reed looked at his patient list and figured out where he had a concentration of patients who were driving some distance to get to his office.

With more and more patients from Genesee County, particularly because of a partnership with Dr. Bill Lapple in Le Roy, Batavia seemed to be the natural choice for a sixth office complex.
Reed said there were simply no suitable sites for the office, which was one reason he considered the old school administration building.

The fact that it's large, with plenty of parking (and room for more), centrally located in the city and across the street from a park, where all advantages.

"The park helps give it a nice bucolic feel," Reed said.

In the redesign, as much of the old building was preserved as possible -- the arches, the worn stairway trampled by thousands of students over the years, and the old woodwork. There's even an old desk from the library that is being restored and will be a centerpiece of the entry hallway.

"I've had an interest for some time in historic preservation," Reed said. "We have a 100 year old house in East Rochester that we've been restoring. This seemed like the right thing to do."
The focus on historic preservation shouldn't imply that the practice isn't state of the art. Reed's optometrists, opthamologists and opticians (and even a facial plastic surgeon) have all new equipment to work with.

Read also believes in supporting the communities he does business in. He hires locally as much as possible, he said. Four key employees already with the Batavia office are longtime Batavia or Le Roy residents.

"When a patient walks in the door, they should recognize the people who work there as members of their community," Reed said. "I want to support the town because if the town supports me, it has to be mutual. We want to keep the dollars local."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

Oakfield-Alabama students place wreath on Tomb of Unknown Soldier

post by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama

This past weekend, Dani Baxter, left, and Kylie Schlagenhauf, helped place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Washington, D.C., as part of a freshman class trip to D.C. for students at Oakfield-Alabama High School. 

Dani and Kylie were selected for the honor based on their winning essays on the topic of why we should honor veterans.

As part of the three-day trip, the students also had a moonlight tour of Washington monuments and the White House. They also visited the Holocaust Museum, Air and Space Museum, National Art Gallery and the Museum of American History.

Photo and info submitted by Nancy Baxter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

Hunters looking to use rifles for deer hunting locally

post by Howard B. Owens in outdoors

A group of local hunters packed into the committee room of the Old Courthouse on Monday to back a proposal to allow hunting of big game in Genesee County with rifles.

All but a handful of counties in New York have amended their laws to allow rifles for big game hunting.

In Genesee County, that means deer, and occasionally (when the DEC allows it), bear.

Legislators Robert Bausch and Ed DeJaneiro asked to have the proposal tabled because they felt they hadn't yet had enough time to study it nor get feedback from constituents.

DeJaneiro said he was always told as a kid that rifles weren't allowed in Genesee County because with all the flat land, there was no way to stop a bullet.

Jack Taylor, one of several members of SCOPE at the meeting, dispelled some of that myth.

First, he said, Genesee County isn't as flat as some might think. He suggested looking now Main Street in the city, people tend to believe the street is flat, but there's actually dips and rises.

Second, because hunters with a rifle know the power of the weapon in their hands, they're also a lot more careful than some might be with shotguns.

"If you have the mentality this is a rifle, this will go a long ways, it makes you a more responsible of a shooter," Taylor said.

Also, because rifle projectiles break up on impact, they are not as likely to ricochet as a lot of projectiles used in shotgun shells today.

Taylor told the story of a hunter in Wyoming County who fired a shotgun at a deer and the copper bullet hit a tree and bounced back and hit the hunter's uncle.

That wouldn't happen with a rifle bullet, he said.

He said the DEC has found that hunting safety has actually improved in counties that have changed their laws to allow for big game hunting with rifles.

"Just so everyone knows, this is an option, not a mandate," Tim Grooms said. "Some hunters are interested in this because we want a more accurate shot. For one thing, there's the issue of the cost of ammunition today. We pay $3 to $5 for a shotgun slug and might fire several, but it's $1 for a rifle bullet and we'll fire just one. It's a whole better scenario. We hunt with fewer shots and it's better for the deer."

In order for the law to be changed, the Legislature must pass a resolution asking the State Legislature to amend the county's local law.

A bill can't be introduced in Albany until January. That gives the local legislators some time to get more familiar with the issue and get feedback from constituents.

The Public Service Committee will take the issue up again at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:07 am

Issues remain with new radio system, but officials confident Harris will solve the problems

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

Yes, there are still problems with the new emergency radio system, county legislators were told Monday, but the Sheriff's Office is confident all of the issues can be resolved and Rochester-based Harris RF will deliver the quality communication system it promised the county.

In the field, members of law enforcement and fire services continue to report problems, and those problems are logged with an eye toward resolving all issues, said Steve Sharpe, director of emergency communication.

Three new communication towers have been built, to go along with the three that already existed, but they're not yet fully operational and tested.

The county is paying $10.8 million for the system (about half of the money comes from state and federal grants) and legislators want to ensure Harris is fulfilling its contract.

Legislator and Public Service Committee Chairwoman Maryanne Clattenburg said for what the system cost, everybody certainly expects it work as well or better than the old system.

The change over in communication systems was mandated by Homeland Security as part of its effort to create a nationwide interoperable emergency communication network.

There's still about $1.3 million due in payments to Harris and that money is being withheld until the county is convinced the system is working right.

"There's no date specific for Genesee County to sign off and close out the project," Undersheriff William Sheron said. "Until all the work is done, there's some power with Harris in how much money hasn't been released."

The contract calls for the Harris system to provide 95 percent coverage of the county. That doesn't mean 95 percent geographically, but that 95 percent of the calls provide functional two-way communication.

There are apparently dead spots in the county and Harris is working the the Sheriff's Office to address those issues.

"The bottomline is that 95 percent technically meets the standard, but that's not going to mean we're going to say, 'OK,' if there's still issues," Sheron said. "We're going to sit down with Harris and talk about it."

Sheron said he's confident the remaining issues can be solved with Harris.

Monday, September 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Use of gun helps land 20-year prison term for Park Avenue burglar

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, park avenue
Akeem Simmons Nathaniel Davis

Use a gun, go to prison.

Judge Robert C. Noonan applied that principle to 23-year-old Akeem Simmons today, handing down a 20-year prison term to the thrice convicted burglar.

"I can't think of any reason why you would bring a gun into a home invasion burglary other than kill somebody if you were caught," Noonan said. "I just can't think of any other reason."

Simmons was convicted Aug. 15 following a jury trial of first-degree burglary, criminal use of a firearm 1st, and conspiracy, 4th.

Noonan dismissed the firearm charge today because the burglary, 1st, conviction covers the use of a weapon in the crime, but Noonan still made it clear it was an important element of the crime.

Simmons and 18-year-old Nathaniel Davis were arrested Jan. 14 shortly after Batavia PD received a report of a burglary in progress at 28 Park Ave.

Davis was found with the handgun, but testimony at trial, Noonan noted, established that it was Simmons who brought the gun to the burglary and influenced Davis into joining him in break-in.

"It's very clear to me you were the moving force of a home-invasion burglary," Noonan said.

Simmons made no statement in court today.

As an adult, he has a prior burglary conviction in Monroe County, which counted as a predicate violent felony for the purpose of today's sentencing. He also has a prior burglary conviction that was given youthful offender status.

Before Noonan pronounced sentence, defense attorney Thomas Burns made a motion for a delay in sentencing because he suspects an undisclosed deal between the District Attorney and Davis for the testimony Davis provided at trial.

"I think it would be completely unfair to my client that any kind of wink-wink agreement between the prosecution and his attorney would be done in such a fashion," Burns said.

Noonan asked if he had any evidence of an agreement and Burns said the point of holding a hearing on his motion prior to sentencing would be aimed at uncovering any evidence.

The fact that Davis entered a guilty plea after the trial to a lesser burglary charge, Burns said, and after Noonan's plea cut off date, certainly suggests a backroom deal.

"I don't know how this is meted out without having princple players describe under oath what took place," Burns said. "I don't think that's unreasonable."

Noonan said his plea cutoff dates are not anything in statute, but used exclusively to help the court manage its calendar, and given the fact that Davis "implicated himself 100 percent" during the Simmons trial, it warranted giving him another shot at a plea deal.

Without evidence of a rights violation, Noonan wouldn't delay sentencing today and said Burns is always free to make a motion later if he uncovers any evidence of an undisclosed, inappropriate deal for the testimony of Davis.

Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Law and Order: Batavia resident accused of falsifying weigh slips at Ed Arnold

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bethany, byron, corfu, crime, Le Roy, Stafford

Joseph Allen Hogan, 46, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with four counts of petit larceny and five counts of falsifying business records. Hogan is accused of altering weight slips at Ed Arnold Scrap in order to receive overpayment on scrap. Hogan was jailed without bail.

Christopher M. Colantonio, 35, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and forgery, 2nd. Colantonio was arrested on a warrant for allegedly stealing checks from a woman he knew, forging them and cashing them at a local bank. Colantonio was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of burglar tools. Hensel was allegedly found in possession of a full set of lock picks at a location on Pearl Street at 10:25 p.m. Saturday.

Anya R. Rambuski, 44, of Birchwood Drive, Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired. Rambuski was stopped at 11:58 p.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Linda L. Fagan, 65, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Fagan allegedly got rid of several instruments and other property owned by her brother.

Robert J. Propst, 34, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Propst was allegedly involved in a domestic incident in which he grabbed the shirt of the victim, threw her phone and was yelling at her in the presence of children. Propst was jailed on $2,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. The youth allegedly threatened another person, violating an order of protection.

Paul M. Gelardo, 29, of Fargo Road, Stafford, is charged with petit larceny. Gelardo allegedly stole a bicycle from T.F. Brown's.

A pair 17-year-olds from Buffalo are charged with petit larceny. The two youths are accused of stealing money from their employer at the time, Darien Lake Theme Park.

Jeffrey John Farrell, 27, of West Avenue, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Farrell allegedly stole $433.74 in merchandise from Walmart.

Kimberly Ann Pietrzykowski, 26, of Old Telephone Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny. Pietrzykowski is accused of stealing $204.90 in groceries from Walmart. The shopping cart of groceries was recovered in the parking lot of Home Depot.

Bradley J. Barnard, 19, of Byron, is charged with petit larceny. Barnard is accused of taking a carbonated beverage and placing it in his backpack while in the cafeteria at GCC. Surveillance video was used to confirm the alleged theft.

Kyle B. Sovocool, 21, of Le Roy, is charged with promoting sexual performance of a child less than 17 years old, possession of sexual performance by a child and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Sovocool was arrested as the result of a State Police investigation stemming from a Jan. 22 complaint. Sovocool was jailed on an unspecified bail. No further details released.

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