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Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Photo: Crane used to place air-conditioning unit on roof

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Turnbull Heating

Early this afternoon workers with Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration hoisted a new air-conditioning unit onto the rooftop of a building on Liberty Street, Batavia.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

National Grid approves grant for agri-business park expansion

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) has been approved for a grant up to $130,000 from National Grid that will be used to continue the development of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (GVAB). The Agri-Business Park is home to Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy, LLC.

The GGLDC, the real estate affiliate of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), recently acquired 37 acres of land adjacent to the Agri-Business Park. The grant from National Grid will be used to extend the current electrical distribution line along the newly constructed access road, as well as the engineering and design of the extension of the road, water and sewer lines.

The approximate $600,000 project is being funded by the GGLDC and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Agency and is expected to create approximately 100 construction jobs.

“National Grid continues to be a phenomenal partner in our economic development efforts in Genesee County and you have to look no further than to the continued growth of Agri-Park to see the return on investment of the various grants the company has provided through the years,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC.

“Genesee County continues to be a model for how to do economic development in New York State,” said National Grid Regional Executive Dennis Elsenbeck. “We are confident that the job creation and capital investment made to date in the Agri-Business Park will continue to occur as Steve and his team expand its footprint.”

The approved grant will be paid out upon project completion and comes from National Grid’s Shovel-Ready Incentive Program, which was created to help make high-potential sites more marketable for the expansion of job-creating companies. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

Law and Order: Dog seized by police after attack on a woman and her dog

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke

Rhonda L. Reisman, 41, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with restrictions on running at large, prohibited nuisances (harboring a vicious dog) and harboring an unlicensed dog. Reisman is accused of owning a dog that was loose at 2 a.m. Monday and attacked a woman and her dog while on a walk. The woman and the dog both suffered injuries. Police believe this is not the first time this same dog has attacked the same woman. The dog was seized and is currently under the supervision and care of the Animal Shelter.

Robert M. Freeman, 22, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment. Freeman is accused of driving the wheel of a vehicle being driven by another person at 10:38 p.m. Monday while on East Avenue, Batavia, causing the vehicle to strike the curb. There was allegedly a small child passenger in the car at the time. Freeman was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Ramel Joshua Askew, 20, of Rosedale Avenue, Bronx, is charged with disorderly conduct. Askew was allegedly using obscene and abusive language at 3:56 p.m. Tuesday while in front of the entrance of 14 W. Main St., Batavia.

Paul Dennis Barth Jr., 23, of Cohocton Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barth is accused of violating a Family Court order by contacting the protected person through a text message.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Collins standing up for farmers in fight with EPA over 'navigable waters' rule change

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, chris collins, NY-27

A proposed rule change by the EPA regarding "navigable waters" could have a serious impact on agriculture and local taxpayers, Chris Collins said today during a press conference at Stein Farms in Le Roy.

He was joined by Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, Dale Stein, owner of Stein Farms, and County Legislator Shelly Stein.

Norton said farmers have been fighting the proposed rule changes for years; and years ago even won a court case on what Congress intended when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress was very specific at that time on what navigable water was," Norton said. "If you can run a canoe down it, if you can have commerce effected on that water, then it's navigable. A pothole is not navigable. A pond is not navigable. The puddle out there in the drive way is not navigable."

The proposed rule change -- being pushed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers -- would redefine "navigable water" as any body of water that stands for at least four days and could eventually drain into a navigable waterway.

"If Dale Stein wanted to regrade his driveway to make it level and get rid of the puddles, he would have to call the Army Corps of Engineers and get a permit," Collins said. "That would probably cost him $250."

Norton said the EPA is using a scientific study to back its position that hasn't even been peer reviewed.

If the proposed rule changes go through, then any agriculture work affecting what the EPA has classified as navigable waters would have to be approved and reviewed, at great cost and delay to farmers.

The same rules would apply to cities, villages, towns and counties.

"(The rule change) is also going to effect everyone who is a taxpayer and I think they're (the Administration) going to find they're on the wrong side of the issue," Norton said.

Dale Stein said he's already going through a similar issue with land the farm leases from another property owner. Because some government official signed the wrong piece of paperwork 29 years ago, Stein is unable to open some irrigation ditches needed to properly, in an environmentally sound manner, farm the land.

"Now we're in the process of trying to get through all that so we can farm it correctly," Stein said. "It's just another giant bureaucracy to try and get the proper permit, and if somebody makes a mistake along the line, our children 30 years from now could be paying for it."

The proposed rule change could put farmers out of business, Shelly Stein said.

"Should the EPA be successful in gaining this rule change to classify each temporary puddle as navigable water, our daily farm operation activity would stop," she said.

The good news is public pressure works, Collins said.

He's already received bipartisan support for a letter he's drafted to the EPA and the Corps of Engineers opposing the rule change. More than 160 members of Congress have signed on and he believes, with public support, more will follow.

"There's no doubt that when you can raise the awareness on any issue, the chances of stopping the absurdity of it dead in its tracks is improved," Collins said. "I've got at least a level of optimism that we an get them to re-look at this rule."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Photos: Snowscape on Oatka Trail Road, Le Roy

post by Howard Owens in Le Roy, weather

A dusting of April snow made for a beautiful drive this afternoon on Oatka Trail Road in Le Roy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Celebrating 125 years, Richmond Library hosts party for children

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library

It was all fun and games in the children's section of the Richmond Memorial Library this afternoon as staff threw a birthday party for the library.

Batavia's library, founded with a gift from the widow of Dean Richmond, is 125 years old this month.

Today, the children participating in the party made birthday hats and played games.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Man who admitted to stealing debit card sentenced in County Court

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia man who admitted in February that he stole a debit card to make purchases over the Internet told Judge Robert C. Noonan today that he's turned his life over to Jesus.

Bruce J. Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, read from a long, typed-written statement that ended with his request for leniency. 

Within terms of his plea deal, Noonan sentenced him to six months intermittant jail time and five years probation.

That settles a case from January in which Brade was arrested on charges of identify theft, 2nd, and grand larceny, 4th.

He still faces future prosecution for allegedly stealing checks from his grandmother over the course of several months in 2013 while he was living with her. The value of the checks allegedly totaled $3,680.

Brade told Noonan that he knows he's done wrong and that he's hurt people. He said he's sold many personal items in order to make restitution to his victims and intends to pay back every dime he stole. He said he relies on his relationship with God to move forward and three men in his church who mentor him and hold him accountable. He said he's enrolled full time in a four-year college and has applied to a nursing school.

He's also receiving guidance and a counseling through the Veterans Court and is involved with the VA. He's receiving tuition assistance through his G.I. Bill of Rights.

"I take full responsibility for my stupid choices," Brade said.

He said he hates jail and never wants to go back. He said he doesn't understand why some people who have been in jail get themselves in trouble again.

Noonan said he found the Probation Department's pre-sentence report on Brade "rather interesting." The report says Brade is disingenuous about some of his statements, according to Noonan.

Probation, the judge said, "is probably a good way to ensure you're supervised."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

Photos: April 15 snow in Batavia

post by Howard Owens in batavia, weather

It's supposed to be spring, right? Well, it snowed today and it should be in the low 20s overnight.

That might seem unseasonably cold, but according to the Farmer's Almanac, the average last day of frost in Batavia -- with a 50 percent probability -- is May 4.

Plan your spring planting accordingly.

Above, snow dusting cars at Falleti Motors.

A woman with a snow-speckled blue umbrella on East Main Street.

The Tonawanda Creek along West Main Street.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

Hawley declares April 15 Big Government Day

post by Howard Owens in Big Government Day, steve hawley

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) declared today, April 15, as "Big Government Day" in New York State. While April 15 is well known as the deadline to file your taxes, it carries even more significance this year as it is also the deadline for gun owners to register their so-called "assault weapons" with the state or become felons. Hawley is using the day as a reminder to his constituents of the need to stand strong in the face of ever-growing state and federal governments.

“The government was not content simply taking your money, so they’ve decided to take your guns, too,” said Hawley. “It is appropriate that we commemorate this day as Big Government Day and take a moment to understand the massive scope of the government’s size. New York State is both the highest taxed and least free state in the entire country thanks to the forces of New York City liberals. On this day where the government is coming after both our money and our 2nd Amendment rights, let’s make sure that those of us who love our families and communities make a stand for smaller government.”

While New Yorkers are unfortunately accustomed to paying oppressive taxes on Big Government Day, this is the first year that the registration requirement of the SAFE Act is also in effect. Numerous reports in the media have indicated that the rate of compliance with the SAFE Act is expected to be less than 10 percent, with local officials refusing to enforce the law. Hawley sees the flawed gun control legislation as not only unconstitutional, but also as a case study of the ineffectiveness of big government.

Big Government Day is a sober reminder that New Yorkers live in the least free state in the country. According to a 2013 report by the Mercatus Center, New York “is by far the least free state in the Union.” The reality that Upstate New Yorkers know too well is that their neighbors are leaving the state. Big government forces families to flee New York for areas where they are not overburdened by highest-in-the-nation taxes and unconstitutional infringements on personal freedoms.

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Town of Bethany set to sell old Town Hall to Landmark Society of WNY

post by Howard Owens in Bethany

After many years of trying to find a proper use or proper buyer for its old Town Hall -- built in 1836 -- the Town of Bethany is prepared to transfer the property to the Landmark Society of Western New York on a $10 purchase price.

The board passed a resolution 4-0 Monday night that will help make transfer of the property to the society.

Officials hope the Landmark Society of WNY is better suited and will have better luck finding a buyer who will preserve the historical character of the building.

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm

A sad day in Bethany after passing of Supervisor Louis Gayton

post by Howard Owens in Bethany

People in Bethany are mourning tonight following the unexpected death of Town Supervisor Louis J. Gayton.

News of Gayton's death spread shortly after volunteer firefighters and medics were dispatched this morning to his home on a report of a 79-year-old unresponsive male.

Town Clerk Debbie Douglas heard the call on the radio and couldn't believe it.

"He worked hard and he did a lot for this town that people will never know," Douglas said. "He was an awesome guy."

The town board had a regularly scheduled meeting tonight and met as planned. Deputy Supervisor Walter Wenhold opened the meeting with a moment of silence and a short prayer.

Afterward, board members remembered Gayton fondly and said he was a great supervisor for Bethany.

"I think Louis was a very compassionate type of guy," Sue Neer said. "He always listened to everybody. He never came out with an opinion and said, 'This is it. We're not going to talk about it.' He listened and listened and listened and wanted everybody's opinion, then he formed his decision."

Ed Pietrzykowski said Gayton pulled the town through some tough times, particularly when he took over as supervisor around 2005 when the fight was on over windmills in the town.

"It was a hard time and it was hard on him," Pietrzykowski.

But he always kept his cool, Wenhold said.

"He was always cheerful," Wenhold said. "I never seen him get crossed, no matter what happened."

Paul Fleming said, "He liked helping the people of the community. He cared about the community."

Most recently, Gayton was a big proponent of public water for Bethany and Gayton was pushing hard to make it happen for the town's 1,800 residents.

"The town has no industry and he always said, 'if you want industry you've got to have public water," recalled Pietrzykowski.

His obituary hasn't been released yet, so biographical details are scarce, but people who knew him said he came to Bethany nearly 50 years ago from Perry, where he still has family.

He was a member of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department from the 1960s and served as chief around 1988. He was highway superintendent for a number of years before becoming supervisor.

Wayne Walker, also a former Bethany chief in the 1980s and volunteer going back to the 1960s, was at the fire hall tonight and recalled Gayton as a man dedicated to his community who would do anything to help people.

"He wanted to be there for people," Walker said. "He was the same way as highway superintendent. If people needed something he was there to help."

We happened to talk on the phone with former Elba Town Supervisor Lucine Kauffman tonight and she recalled Gayton as one of her favorite people to run into at GAM meetings.

"He was one of those guys who always had a smile on his face," Kauffman said.

Gayton did a lot for the Town of Bethany, Douglas said, but his biggest contribution was putting the town on a strong financial footing.

"He put this town in a fantastic financial situation," Douglas said. "We've had no debt to speak of. We pay off everything in cash. He did a great job with our finances and I think that's very important in this day and age."

Douglas teared up more than once while talking about Gayton, saying she would miss him terribly.

"This town is like family, which is why we all get along so well and we work together so well and he's a family member who's gone," Douglas said.

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Emergency dispatchers have had a busy first quarter with calls and new systems

post by Howard Owens in Sheriff's Office

It's been a busy first quarter in the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center.

There've been 6,476 calls to 9-1-1 and another 24,242 nonemergency phone calls, all while the Sheriff's Office grapples with the installation of a new communications system and new phone system. Dispatchers also now handle calls for the State Police in the county.

These points were covered during a departmental review by Sheriff Gary Maha and staff members during today's Public Service Committee meeting.

There have certainly been bugs in the new radio communication system being installed by Harris RF out of Rochester. Dropped signals, calls not being received, distorted transmissions, but all of these issues are being worked out, the Sheriff and staff members said.

A consultant from Colorado was in town last week and said when the system is working, it will be state-of-the-art, one of the best in the nation with nearly complete coverage of the county. But in the meantime -- largely because the county is under a tight deadline to get it up and running -- watching the process is "like watching sausage get made," Maha said.

"Normally these bugs are worked out ahead of time," said Steve Sharpe, director of emergency communication.

"He made me feel better," Maha added. "He said we'll get through this and it will work the way it should."

Dropped transmissions are down from 8 percent a month ago to less than 1 percent today, Sharpe said.

The system won't be fully functional until three new towers in the county are completed. Meanwhile, there will be constant tweaking.

Each new upgrade means transmitters must be re-tuned because with simulcasts, transmissions must be handled within a millisecond. If the timing is just that much off, it causes interference.

A firmware update by Harris meant all 1,700 of the county's radios (covering police and fire and highway departments) had to be re-programed. It takes from eight to 10 minutes to program each radio.

The Sheriff's Office has also had a busy quarter with prisoner transports. Because our county jail can't house female prisoners and the neighboring counties have run out of available female cells, deputies must transport prisoners to and from Wayne and Allegheny counties.

So far this year, there have been 465 transports consuming 750 man hours.

A transport now typically ties up a deputy for his entire eight-hour shift.

With the jail nearly fully staffed and an average of five fewer male inmates per day, the jail has spent $26,000 less on overtime so far this year compared to last year.

At Genesee Justice, grant funding is down, but the case load remains steady. There are 188 conditional discharge DWI cases, 119 victims receiving assistance, 183 violators on community service and 103 DWI convicts on interlock systems.

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Workshop teaches young students the craft and art of animation at GO ART!

post by Howard Owens in arts, batavia, GO ART!

Skyler Hampton works intently on his animated character "The Boxer" during an animation workshop this morning at GO ART!

Youngsters 9 to 12 years old are being shown the foundations of animation by Dave Puls, creative director for Animatus Studios in Rochester over the course of a three-day workshop.

Dave Puls.

Cole Ashley and Skyler Hampton.

The Boxer.

Lily Whiting at work on her project.

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

Law and Order: Woman arrested following alleged altercation on State Street

post by Howard Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, pembroke

Melissa R. Piazza, 25, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass, harassment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Piazza allegedly told another woman that she was going to kill her, broke a screen window and was trespassing on residential property. The alleged incident was reported at 7:47 a.m. Sunday. Piazza was jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 17-year-old resident of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving with no headlights and failure to keep right. The teen was stopped at 10:20 p.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Jeremy A. Preston, 23, of Prospect Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Preston was stopped at 10:35 a.m. Thursday on Prospect Avenue by Officer Devon Pahuta.

Michael L. Williams, 34, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Williams allegedly slapped a child during a domestic incident. He also allegedly grabbed and punched a woman while a child was watching. Williams was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Bobby L. Mobley Sr., 55, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, refusal to take breath test and driving with inadequate stop lamps. Mobley was stopped at 11:37 p.m. Saturday on Central Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Jason Ivison.

Krisopher A. Anderson, 22, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Anderson was charged following a call for an alleged domestic incident at 2:40 a.m., Saturday.

Sara T. Cupler, 21, of Church Street, Alabama, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cupler was arrested by Officer Devon Pahuta following a call to assist another agency at a residence on West Main Street, Batavia.

Bernard Lee Evans, 43, of Cato Street, Pavilion, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and aggravated harassment, 2nd. Evans was arrested while incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail on new charges stemming from an alleged incident on March 26 on Starr Road, Pavilion. No further details released.

Christopher Edmond Nanni, 18, of Fox Road, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession marijuana and speeding. Nanni was stopped on Drake Street Road, Oakfield, at 12:07 a.m. Sunday, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Michael A. Michalow, 56, of Baitz Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with felony DWI, felony aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, driving without an ignitiation interlock, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, no stopping/standing on public highway, refusal to take breath test and unlicensed operation. Deputy James Diehl was dispatched at 9:11 p.m. April 4 to a report of a disabled vehicle blocking the roadway on Ledge Road, Alabama. Following an investigation, Michalow was arrested and jailed on $15,000 bail.

Megan Theresa Gill, 20, of Church Street, Le Roy, is  charged with harassment, 2nd. Gill allegedly grabbed a victim's arms and held them behind his back during a fight, which was reported at 3:32 p.m. April 5 at a location on Perry Road, Pavilion.

Gregory A. Dejesus, 23, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Dejesus is accused of striking a victim in her the face with a closed fist during an argument, which was reported at 3:32 p.m. April 5 at a location on Perry Road, Pavilion.

Aaron M. Hatt, 18, of Alexander, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and harassment, 2nd. Hatt was arrested by State Police following a report of an alleged incident at 11:03 a.m. Friday in the Town of Pembroke. No further details released.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Police respond to ham-throwing incident at Save-A-Lot

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

A man who reportedly threw a ham at another customer inside of Save-A-Lot is on the lam on Ellicott Street, according to dispatchers.

Police are responding after a manager complained that the man on the lam threw a ham at another customer.

The victim of the ham-throwing incident is in the parking lot.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Police looking for Radio Shack larceny suspect

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

Law enforcment is on scene at Radio Shack on Veterans Memorial Drive investigating a theft of items from the store.

The suspect is described as a light-skinned black male wearing "sparkly jeans." He's also missing a front tooth, is skinny and was wearing a baseball cap.

It's unknown if he fled on foot or got into a vehicle.

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