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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, November 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Photo: Rainbow over City Hall

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

UPDATE: below, a rainbow in Bergen sent in by a reader.

Monday, November 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Sen. Gillibrand spends some volunteer time at Le Roy Food Pantry

post by Howard B. Owens in kristen gillibrand, Le Roy

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent a couple of hours in Le Roy this morning helping volunteers with the Le Roy Food Pantry sort and wrap gifts. Each gift was selected for specific children in the community and Gillibrand was right on top of keeping gifts in order.

The gifts included donations and handmade scarves and hats knitted by a Le Roy resident.  Gillibrand praised the local volunteer effort.

 "This organization really does do a tremendous amount of work so local families have what they need during the holidays," Gillibrand said.

Below, Lorie Longhany gets a copy of Gillibrand's book autographed.

Monday, November 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

No flooding in Genesee County so far, but rain and wind coming

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A flood warning remains in effect, particularly for southern Genesee County, but so far, there are no flood reports. Above, the Tonawanda Creek at the spillway behind the courthouse at 11 a.m.

There's a high-wind warning for 1 p.m. through 4 a.m.

Thundershowers are possible this afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.

It's currently a pleasant 64 degrees in Batavia. The record high for this date is 70 degrees (1979). Tomorrow's high will be 37 degrees with a low of 28 and some snow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Weather notes for Sunday evening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, weather

At Tops, they might be singing "Yes! We Have No Bananas," and no asparagus and no pink grapefruit and no celery -- the produce section is running low on just about everything.

But help is on the way, according to managers. The fresh produce truck is in route, making other deliveries along the way. There's just no ETA.

Blame heavy snow, of course.

Speaking of running low on supplies, Janelle Larsen and Laura Kauppi, both of Batavia, and, Timothy Zorn, of Rochester, spent the day volunteering in the Buffalo area delivering food and other supplies to people who have been trapped in their homes by heavy snow.

Laura writes:

The efforts of the National Guard and police are concentrated on snow removal. Many people are stuck in their house with little or no food or supplies. We purchased water, milk, soup, bread, cereal, granola bars, crackers and peanut butter, Pop Tarts, (infant) formula, soy formula, diapers, cat food, dog food and baby wipes. We also had medicine, but we were thankful no one needed it.

Most people we helped were disabled or had very small children at home. Many roads are still closed, and lots of people are stuck with no food in travel bans. We drove to the edge of the bans, and then we had to walk, even as much as a mile to get to homes. These were people not receiving help anywhere else, and were very grateful.

We were surprised at how honest people were. One women told us she only wanted cat food and one milk (carton), and she wanted us to "keep the rest for people who needed it more." A young dad took Pop Tarts, saying "I just want something for my kids."

Another women took only milk, but told us about a single dad snowed in next door. He was grateful for some cereal, milk and bread. At a trailer park, we made up bags with two soups, one milk, a cereal, bread and several granola bars. We dropped them on the porch of every snowed-in house. Another mom was incredibly grateful for soy formula, diapers, milk and cereal. She was in the driving ban and with two babies was unable to walk the .5 mile to reach the nearest open store. Another women took wipes, diapers and cereal for the seven children she was caring for.

There is a Facebook group, WNY Storm Help 2014, where people have been posting needs for themselves or neighbors. It didn't take much time or money for us to make a difference, and I hope we have inspired others to do so, either to help with this storm, the inevitable flooding or the next storm.

We also received this storm-related e-mail fromReginaKoehler:

My husband is a truck driver and was stranded on the highway during the snowstorm. There were people from Alexander who got him and his truck to a safe warm place, a fire station, where he remained for three days. There were several people there who had also been rescued. The Red Cross brought in food and cots. I just want to say on behalf of my family and myself a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the Town of Alexander for saving my husband and my son's dad, and my grandchildren's grandpa. It will be a happy Thanksgiving for us. It could have gone very bad had he been stuck out there and run out of fuel. Bless you all and have a GREAT holiday season....

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: I almost forgot about this picture below. I stopped by the Tonawanda about 4:30 to see if the creek was rising.

Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Photo: Vehicle loses wheel on West Main Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A vehicle traveling west on West Main Street lost a wheel at about 1 p.m. causing a bit of traffic congestion, which just cleared a few minutes ago.

Photo submitted by Greg Rada.

Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 9:05 am

A Sunday morning water main break at Trumbull and North

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

This isn't what anybody wants to wake up to on a Sunday morning -- water filling basements, bubbling over onto streets only recently covered with smooth, black asphalt, and the exact location of the water main break a bit of a mystery.

That's the situation at North Street and Trumbull Parkway in the city this morning.

It started with three calls for city fire to pump flooded basements on Trumbull Parkway.

That's when the water main break was discovered, most likely somewhere in the middle of the intersection of Trumbull and North, which was resurfaced this summer.

The leak is likely within the area of the intersection, but exactly where along the line won't be determined until a backhoe cuts into the new pavement, pulls up dirt and uncovers the line.

Water has been shut off, arresting the leak, but that also means four houses on North Street are without water. Other residents in the area may experience water discoloration, said Matt Worth, superintendent of the Bureau of Water & Wastewater.  

The repairs will likely take most of the day, Worth said.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Weather notes for Saturday afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

There is a high wind watch in place for Monday morning through Monday night. Winds from the southwest of 25 to 35 mph expected with gusts up to 60 mph. Possible impacts include trees down and power lines down. Travel could be difficult for high profile vehicles. Holiday decorations and loose outdoor items, such as trash cans, could be blown away. Scattered power outages are possible.

A flood watch, the result of melting snow, remains in effect from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: The flood watch has been upgraded to a flood warning through 4:15 p.m., Monday.

A high of 60 degrees is predicted for Monday. A high of 37 degrees with snow is predicted for Tuesday.

From UMMC: "The blood drive scheduled for Monday, November 24th has been cancelled by the Red Cross. Their mobile unit requires repairs and the necessary parts are undeliverable from Buffalo due to the recent storm."  The blood drive will be rescheduled to a date in January.

Tim Adams sent in these three photos of pumps and hoses loaded and ready for transport to Lackawanna to assist with anticipated flooding clean-up. The equipment is from Godwin Pumps (Xylem). Making the trip from Batavia are Steve Wenzka, Steve Carmichael, Todd Palmer, Dan Judd, Herb Schroeder and Adams.

The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM has a story about anticipated flooding in Genesee County.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Frost Ridge owners will open new restaurant and bar at former Delavan's location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Frost Ridge

It's the little neighborhood restaurant that could and it will keep chugging thanks to David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, who purchased the longtime bar-and-grill at 107 Evans St., Batavia, this week.

Luetticke-Archbell have owned and operated the Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy since 2008 and they see their new establishment as an extension and complementary to what they're already doing.

Most recently, 107 Evans has been Delavan's, which owners Bill and Pati Cultrara closed almost exactly two years ago to the day that David and Greg completed their purchase of the property.

They're calling their new restaurant Delavan's The Little Ridge and promising "great food."

The restaurant is situated in a residential neighborhood and David and Greg think it's a perfect location for the warm, friendly atmosphere they hope to create.

It's going to feature American cuisine, much like they already serve at The Barn Grill at The Ridge, which they say has gotten rave reviews from customers, such as "some of the best American food around."

"We hope to knock your socks off," David said.

There will be prime rib, baked chicken, designer hamburgers, fish fries and salmon, with Greg overseeing the kitchen in the winter.

"The fish fries Greg has been doing, everybody has been loving," David said.

As for the salmon, again, David promises we'll love it.

"Everybody who has ever said, 'I don't like salmon' eats his and loves it."

Since some of the menu will be a hold over from Delavan's, David said Bill Cultrara has graciously offered to share some of his secrets.

They also plan to bring in acoustic music and assuming they continue to host live music concerts at Frost Ridge (there are still a pair of lawsuits pending that challenge their ability to do that), the national acts they bring in will be invited to The Little Ridge for pre-concert meals.

David and Greg had given no thought of opening a restaurant in Batavia, and had no idea the location was available until they went to an auction of the contents of the building Oct. 27.

Once they stewed in the idea awhile, they couldn't pass up the opportunity, David said.

"Sometimes opportunities knock and this one just clicked," David said.

The two men, along with help from their children, staff and friends, are cleaning up the restaurant, bringing in new equipment, getting everything ready to serve customers again. They plan to open Jan. 1.

"This was like a diamond that needed to dusted," Greg said. "We see the potential it has. The charm and the smallness of being manageable for one and a Cheers-like atmosphere."

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Weather notes for Friday evening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, Darien, Oakfield, weather

Top photo, members of the Oakfield Fire Department assist the Alexander Fire Department in clearing snow from the rec hall in Alexander (photo submitted by Jeff Christensen).

Six special rescue trucks from the New York City Fire Department, part of a special task force, were at the Home Depot in Batavia today on their way to Buffalo. The trucks were specifically designed and built for high-water rescues following Hurricane Sandy. The trucks were sent to WNY in anticipation of flooding Monday with warmer weather, rain and snow melt. The vehicles can carry up to 16 people each through high water. (Photos submitted by Steve Hynes Fisher)

Some coverage from The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM:

The Thruway Authority announced the I-90 has reopened.

Press release:

Motorists should be aware of the following restrictions:

  • Thruway (I-90) between Exit 50A (Cleveland Drive) and Exit 61 (Ripley – Pennsylvania state line) will be limited to essential travel only, including travel needed to exit the region, deliver necessary supplies, and remove snow. In this section, all exits are open wherever localities have lifted travel bans.

The following exits remain closed to traffic exiting from the Thruway, although traffic is permitted to enter at these locations:

  • Exit 56 (Blasdell -- Orchard Park -- Mile Strip Road -- NY Route 179)
  • Exit 57 (Hamburg -- East Aurora -- NY Route 75)
  • Exit 57A (Eden --  Angola)
  • Exit 58 (Silver Creek -- Irving -- NY Routes 5, 20 & 438)
  • I-190 (Niagara Thruway) is open, but there is no access to Exit 1 (South Ogden) through Exit 5 (Hamburg – Louisiana).

The Town of Darien office is closed until 9 a.m., Monday.

Photo -- Steve Ferry digging out the Bartlett residence in Darien:

John Brown's car in Alexander this morning:

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Jury finds Dashawn Butler guilty on all three counts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

It took a jury only a couple of hours of deliberation to decide that Dashawn Butler is guilty of criminal use of a firearm, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and attempted assault, 1st.

Following the verdict, which came at the end of the second day of Butler's trial, Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered Butler held without bail until he's sentenced at 10 a.m., Dec. 22.

He faces up to 15 years in state prison.

Before he was taken to jail, he collected his personal belongings he had with him -- an iPhone, a necklace of beads and a cross and his black-and-white plaid shirt -- and had a deputy hand them over to his girlfriend, who wept while she waited.

The conviction stems from shots fired incident Sept. 27, 2013, at 117 State St., Batavia.

The case was wrapped up with closing arguments just before 2:30 p.m. Noonan spent about an hour reading jury instructions and then sent the jury into a private room for deliberations.

The jury sent out notes twice with questions and then announced it had arrived at a verdict shortly before 5 p.m.

Today's proceedings included testimony from a witness who is a firearms expert and one defense witness, whose testimony was meant to suggest that Butler's intended victim, Kelly Rhim, came to State Street that night expecting trouble.

Defense Attorney Thomas Burns tried to establish during the trial that without physical evidence that there was a gun, shots were fired, and Butler fired the gun, there was more than reasonable doubt that his client was guilty.

Before closing arguments, Burns made a motion to have the charges dismissed based on the insufficiency, as he sees it, of the prosecution's evidence.

Noonan has yet to rule on that motion. He said he will issue a ruling before Butler is sentenced. It's technically possible that Noonan could still throw out the charges, thereby overturning the jury's verdict.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman takes a different view, of course, of the evidence.

It's beyond a doubt, but not just a reasonable doubt, Friedman told jurors during his summation that the defendant is guilty as charged.

"This defendant possessed a loaded firearm," Friedman said. "That's what the evidence points to and that's what all of the evidence establishes. He pointed it at Kelly Rhim and he intended to shoot Kelly Rhim."

Where Burns called into question Rhim's character, Friedman said Rhim's testimony wasn't even necessary for the jury to return a guilty verdict.

Burns listed off Rhim's long criminal history, his alleged failure to pay child support, his keen taste for marijuana and the inconsistencies in his story and said his version of events weren't trustworthy.

"Would you trust the word of Kelly Rhim knowing what you know now?" Burns asked. "Would you rely on his honesty if it effected the safety and security of your family?"

Friedman didn't try to boost Rhim's credibility. Rather, he told jurors that Rhim's testimony wasn't necessary to establish that Butler possessed a loaded firearm.

"The defense wants to make all of this about Kelly Rhim," Friedman said. "This case is not about Kelly Rhim. It's about Dashawn Butler. To focus entirely on Kelly Rhim and his credibility is ignoring the fact that the most important witness in this case is Traci Leubner."

It was Leubner's testimony that put a revolver in Butler's hand, Friedman said. It was Leubner's account that demonstrated that Butler expected to shoot Rhim and was surprised when all of his shots missed.

Her statements, Friedman said, were corroborated by the other witnesses, even without Rhim's testimony.

Leubner, a former girlfriend of Butler's, is the witness who refused to testify yesterday for fear of her own safety, and, instead, her grand jury testimony was read for the jury.

Burns was unsuccessful in an attempt yesterday to get a sworn statement from Leubner introduced into the record as well, because there are some possible inconsistencies in the two stories presented by Leubner.

The issue of physical evidence, or the lack of it, loomed large in today's proceedings.

Steve Padin, a firearms instructor at the Erie County Police Academy, and 25-year veteran of Buffalo PD, testified for the prosecution about how and why a person firing a handgun could not only miss his intended target, but also completely miss anything else.

Without the gun, there's no way of knowing with 100-percent certainty whether the weapon fired was a revolver, a semi-automatic or an automatic. 

If it were a revolver, Padin testified, it wouldn't automatically eject shell casings, so no casings would be found at the scene.

The smallest caliber handgun most commonly available is a .22.  

A slug fired from a .22 handgun, if it hits no object, will travel more than a mile before losing speed and dropping to the ground.

Burns told jurors that if Butler approached Rhim from the angle suggested by witnesses, then there should have been bullet holes in the wall of 117 State St., if not, then another object nearby.

Friedman argued that Butler would have been firing in a direction that would have sent bullets north on State Street, with the possibility of there being no objects to hit. The slugs would never be found in that case.

Or if the slugs hit a sidewalk, they could have disintegrated or flown off in who knows what direction; and if they hit dirt, they would be nearly impossible to find.

Padin also testified that it would be quite easy for an inexperienced shooter to miss a person standing even just 10 feet away while firing a handgun.

While Rhim testified he was surprised he wasn't hit by a bullet, Padin wasn't surprised at all.

The quality and design of the gun can effect its accuracy, while environmental factors from wind to light can effect a shooter's accuracy. But more importantly, a shooter's ability or inability to keep the weapon pointed at its target while under stress or excitement can easily cause the shooter to miss.

Padin brought a demonstration device. It looks like a pistol but only fires a laser beam. It's used with students to show them how these factors impact accuracy.

Inexperienced shooters, he said, tend to anticipate the gun's recoil, so they might jerk it down, up or to one side or the other just before pulling the trigger.

Friedman: "Is it possible to miss a human-size target, even one as close as 10 feet away?"

Padin: "Yes."

Friedman: "Have you seen that happen?"

Padin: "I have, many times."

Which brings us to the question, "Who fired the gun?"

Obviously, the jury concluded that Butler did it.

Burns didn't offer another alternative, but he did open the door for the jury to speculate. Friedman, of course, reminded the jury to stick to the evidence and not speculate.

"When it comes to the question of any weapon in that Cadillac, it's a case of protesting a little too much," Burns said. "He isn't outraged at getting stopped for DWI. He's upset when nine officers stop him because they believe he has a gun in that car. And after he witnessed this terrible experience where he got shot at in a neighborhood he said he went back to protect his family, and he knew he left family on the front porch, he drives to a parking lot near Ri-Dans and smokes marijuana and then goes into the bar to drink with no concern for (his family member), no concern for the children in the neighborhood."

Going to Ri-Dan's "probably isn't what most people would do," Friedman told the jury, "but that isn't an argument that the shooting didn't happen." 

The one witness called by Burns was Angel Ramos, who said Rhim has been a family friend for many years.

Ramos, who made it clear almost as soon as she sat in the witness stand that she didn't want to be there, testified that she was at her mother's house on Hutchins Place when Rhim pulled up in the white Cadillac that night.

Rhim said, according to Ramos, "Are you strapped in? Are you ready for war?"

That, Burns suggested, was an indication that Rhim was looking for trouble on State Street that night.

"There's no evidence that Kelly Rhim ever possessed a gun at any point in his life," Friedman said. "There's no indication that Kelly Rhim committed any crime that night on State Street."

As for the statements attributed to Rhim by Ramos, they really don't mean anything, Friedman told the jurors.

"Even if you assume, just for argument's sake, that this was a warning to expect trouble, that doesn't mean he was going to do anything or that he had a gun. That would be entirely speculative because we have no evidence (to support the suggestion)."

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

City leaf pickup may be rescheduled

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

If all had gone according to plan, today would be the last day of leaf pickup in the city, but the recent snow storms have made leaf clean up impossible.

Many residents probably still had leaves on some trees when the first storm hit.

City Manager Jason Molino said if warmer weather and snow melt permits, the city may reschedule a period of leaf pickup around the city, but officials won't be able to make that determination, at the earliest, until after this weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Flood watch statement for the City

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Press release:

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the City of Batavia and Genesee County from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning, Nov. 23-26.

Two significant lake effect snow events this week have brought deep snowpack across the area. This snowpack stores a large quantity of water, and a warming trend begins early this weekend. By Saturday afternoon, air temperatures will remain above freezing through Tuesday night. Daytime highs will rise to near 50 F degrees on Sunday and near 60 F degrees on Monday.

At first the snowpack is expected to absorb much of the water from the snow melt. However as the snowpack ripens, and with the addition of a half inch of rainfall expected Sunday night and Monday, the potential for flooding will rapidly increase.

Recommended precautions/preparedness actions for Batavia residents:

• Monitor forecasts for the latest alerts;
• Make sure sump pumps are turned on and are functioning;
• For those living in low-lying areas or near areas prone to flooding, move the items in your basement up off the floor;
• Don't drive in standing water or flooded streets;
• Do not drive beyond barricades that indicate a street is closed;
• Please help the City keep the storm drains free from debris. Many leaves were in the streets awaiting pick up prior to the snow storm. As the snow melts, these leaves will move toward storm drains and block drainage capability. THIS WILL CAUSE STREET FLOODING. City workers will be out clearing drains throughout the melting period, and the CITY IS ASKING ALL RESIDENTS TO rake leaves and debris away from the storm drains throughout the melting period. Please help neighbors who are out of town or unable to perform this task;
• In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Storm safety message from National Grid

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Press release:

As frigid temperatures, ice and snow begin to thaw, the potential for localized flooding increases. National Grid crews, as always, are ready to respond to any damage that may result from flooding, and the company urges customers to be extremely cautious when dealing with any electricity service that may be at risk.

“Safety of the public and our employees is always our first priority,” said Ken Daly, National Grid’ New York president.  “National Grid is experienced in managing flood events and has a plan in place to assess damage and restore service as quickly as possible should flooding pose a threat. We are ready, and we urge our customers to be ready as well.”

The company offers the following safety tips for customers in any sort of flooding situation that might impact electricity or gas service.

Stay out of flooded basements or standing water. Energized wiring, outlets and appliances below the water line may pose a hazard.

To have electricity service restored once flood waters have receded, contact an electrician to check your home or business to make sure that it is safe to have service energized.

If your main fuse box or circuit breaker box has been under water, or if National Grid was directed to shut off your service due to safety-related concerns, you must have the box inspected by a certified electrical inspector before service can be restored.

If your appliances have been in contact with water, please contact a qualified contractor to make sure those appliances are safe to operate.

If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of crews working to restore power.

If you have lost power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.

Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.

National Grid contact information for emergencies is:
To report electric outages or downed wires: 1-800-867-5222
General questions about safety and service: 1-800-642-4272
Call before you dig: dial 811 or 1-800-962-7962

National Grid also offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that power interruptions occur.'

Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.

If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National
Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel.

Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety.

If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.

Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.

People who depend on electricity powered life-support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.

National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid’s outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.

Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Flooding safety message from the Office of Emergency Management

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Press release:

Following two significant snow events this week, the National Weather Service is predicting a warming trend over the weekend and into early next week that will result in major water runoff as the snowpack melts.

FLOODING

Flooding can be expected in flood-prone areas. Based on rising temperatures the resulting water run off can be expected to be between four to six inches. Basement flooding will likely occur including some areas that have not previously experienced such flooding. It is recommended that you consider moving items stored in basements to higher levels to prevent water damage.

Be alert for water in underpasses that can collect as storm sewers reach capacity. Do not drive through any standing water on roadways as vehicles may become stalled in high water, leaving the operator and passengers stranded. Also be careful if you must walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can result in a fall.

COLLAPSE DANGER

Heavy snow pack on building roofs presents the danger of roof collapse. If you hear strange noises such as creaks and groans in your home, it is recommended that you leave the building for a safe location and notify 9-1-1. Do not enter property you suspect may be in danger of collapse. Property owners should be vigilant of the snow load and if practical, efforts should be made to remove excessive snow from building roofs to reduce the weight.

STORM-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

Throughout this snow and flooding event, it is important to not overexert. The snowpack is heavy with accumulated water and difficult to remove even with power equipment such as a snow blower. Older people particularly should consider a snow removal contractor to clean driveways and assist with removing snow from heavily loaded roofs.

Check exhausts from furnaces, hot water tanks and other fuel burning appliances to be sure they are clear of snow or other blockage. When blocked, carbon monoxide fumes can back up into dwellings resulting in the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. 

If you exhibit symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning such as headache, dizziness, nausea, flu-like symptoms or fatigue, impaired judgment, chest pains or confusion, dial 9-1-1 immediately for assistance.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

City schools asking district parents to complete online survey

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, education, schools

Press release:

The Batavia City School District is dedicated to providing all students with the educational foundation necessary to succeed in school and in life. To ensure your child's success, we have set high standards that are reflected in what is taught in our classrooms.

We would like to get your feedback about our district. We will use the information provided by all stakeholders in future plans and are asking you to complete the Family Engagement Survey by November 30, 2014. We want to hear your voice regarding Batavia's educational program. Please complete the survey at the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8XV7LLC

Your input is valued and we thank you for taking time to share your thoughts, ideas and aspirations for the Batavia City School District.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 8:37 am

Travel advisory lifted

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Press release:

Effective immediately, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is lifting the Travel Advisory for the towns of Darien, Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion.

At this time, there are no travel advisories or travel bans in Genesee County.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

During storm, dispatchers handle three times the usual call volume

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county emergency dispatch center

A segment from The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM focuses on the high call volume to the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center over the past couple of days.

On average the dispatch center receives 575 calls in a 24-hour period. Those numbers nearly tripled during Tuesday's snow storm to 1,550 calls.

On Thursday, they received nearly a day's worth of calls in half the time. Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason Holman said:

"We dealt with a lot of vehicles off the road, vehicles that were stuck, motorists who were stranded in their vehicles. So the snow has caused a hazard to the folks out there.

"...The increase in mental stress, mental fatigue is something that we're working with and through, and like I said, we're more than capable of doing that and happy to do our part."

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:18 pm

National Weather Service warns of flooding Monday

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

From the National Weather Service:

...FLOODING POSSIBLE EARLY NEXT WEEK... TWO SIGNIFICANT LAKE EFFECT SNOW EVENTS THIS WEEK HAVE BROUGHT A VERY DEEP SNOWPACK ACROSS PORTIONS OF WESTERN NEW YORK. THIS SNOWPACK NOW STORES A LARGE QUANTITY OF WATER. AFTER THE LAKE EFFECT SNOW ENDS...A WARMING TREND IS EXPECTED TO START EARLY THIS WEEKEND. BY SATURDAY AFTERNOON AIR TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. DAYTIME HIGHS WILL RISE TO NEAR 50 F DEGREES ON SUNDAY...AND NEAR 60 F DEGREES ON MONDAY. IN ADDITION TO THE WARMING AIR TEMPERATURES...A SOUTHERLY BREEZE AND RISING DEW POINTS WILL MAKE FOR A MORE EFFICIENT MELTING OF THE SNOWPACK.

AT FIRST THE SNOWPACK WILL ABSORB MUCH OF THE WATER FROM THE SNOW MELT. HOWEVER AS THE SNOWPACK RIPENS...AND WITH THE ADDITION OF A HALF INCH OR SO OF RAINFALL SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY...THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING WILL RAPIDLY INCREASE.

PEOPLE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING...AND WHERE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW FELL SHOULD TAKE TIME IN ADVANCE OF THE WARMING TO PREPARE FOR THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT FLOODING EARLY NEXT WEEK. IN ADDITION TO CREEKS AND SMALL STREAMS FLOODING THEIR BANKS...WIDESPREAD FLOODING IS POSSIBLE ACROSS TOWNS WHERE SEVERAL FEET OF SNOW FELL.

...FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BUFFALO HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR A PORTION OF WESTERN NEW YORK...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES...GENESEE...NORTHERN ERIE...SOUTHERN ERIE AND WYOMING. THIS ESPECIALLY INCLUDES THE BUFFALO METRO AREA.

* FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.

* SNOW MELT FROM THE RECENT SIGNIFICANT LAKE EFFECT SNOW EVENTS COMBINED WITH RAINFALL EARLY NEXT WEEK WILL BRING THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING.

* SMALLER STREAMS AND CREEKS WILL BE PRONE TO FLOODING FROM SNOW MELT. THIS WILL INCLUDE THE CREEKS THAT FLOW THROUGH THE BUFFALO METRO AREA. TOWNS THAT RECEIVED SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW WILL ALSO HAVE POTENTIAL FOR URBAN FLOODING FROM THE SNOW MELT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. STAY TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO OR OTHER RADIO AND TV STATIONS FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Readers share weather photos and even a new song lyric

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy, weather

Bernie Thompson and Steve Ognibene face off in a Southside snow blower battle. (Submitted by Steve Ognibene)

Below are some pictures from Le Roy from Rob Radley.

Finally, with perhaps too much time on his hands while snowed in, Bob Trombley rewrote the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel's "America."

Let us be Eskimos, we'll build our igloos together/ I've got some hand warmers here in my bag.

So we bought pack of rock salt and tops store made pies and walked off to look for Batavia. "Snovember" I said, as we snowboarded along the way in Oakfield, Corfu seems like a dream to me now.

It took me 4 days to clear off my windshield "I've come to look for Batavia."

Laughing in our igloos, playing games with the muckdogs, she said the man in the snow suit was a good guy.

I said "be careful, his snow plow is really buried."

"Toss me a shovel, I think there's one on my front step." We broke the last one an hour ago."

So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine; and the snow fell over an open field. "Kathy, they're lost" I said as the news trucks were live streaming. "Facebook and Twitter are hashtagging silly snow names and I don't know why."

Counting the cars on the New York State Thruway, they've all come to look for Batavia, all come to look for Batavia, all come to look for Batavia.

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