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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

Raffaele Ponti announces this is his final season as conductor of GSO

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music

Conductor Raffaele Ponti, who has been the musical director of the Genessee Symphony Orchestra for 15 years, announced yesterday prior to the start of the season-opening concert, that this will be his final season with the GSO.

Ponti recently relocated from Rochester to Florida as his career continues to advance.

The GSO board will announce soon plans for hiring a new conductor, its 14th in its 67-year history.

Above, Ponti with GSO Board Chairman Paul Saskowski.

Below, some photos from yesterday's performance at St. James Episcopal Church, Batavia.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 11:49 pm

In clash of 4-2 teams, Alexander comes out on top, 21-0

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports

Before facing off against Elba/Byron-Bergen, Alexander's Head Coach Tim Sawyer offered an assessment of what it would take the Trojans to beat the Lancers.

"We need 48 minutes of perfect football," he said.

After the game, Sawyer said his team got pretty close.

"I feel like we get maximum effort out of our boys, a good effort, but we still continue to make some mistakes," Sawyer said. "Today we played a pretty complete game. I'd say 42, 44 minutes of pretty good football."

The result was a 21-0 win, giving Alexander a 5-2 record on the season and carrying them into sectional play on a four-game win streak.

Pre-game, the meeting of the two 4 and 2 Genesee Region rivals promised to be a close battle, and for the first 11 minutes of play, that's exactly what it was. But as the scoreless first quarter drew to a close, LB Derrick Busch cut in front of a Lancers receiver to snag a Garrett Chapell pass and dash 28 yards unimpeded for the score.

"That gave us the momentum that carried us through the game," said senior Tyler Laird.

In the second quarter, RB Tristan Aldinger scored on a 44-yard run and RB Jacob Wozniak scored on a 50-yard run.

"Running up the middle, my fullback, Al Hadsall, had a really good block on the inside, so I broke it off on the outside of him and the whole team really put it together on that play and helped me score," Wozniak said.

Sawyer said he knew coming into the game that the Lancers feature a strong, aggressive defense, and he came prepared.

Six different players took snaps and four backs took turns taking handoffs.

"We wanted to use our speed early to get out wide and get them to spread and they did," Sawyer said. "Then we started running zone run up the middle, and you guys saw the game kind of open up for us."

Wozniak and Aldinger shouldered most of the load out of the backfield. Wozniak had 23 carries for 108 yards and the TD, and Aldinger had 128 yards and a TD on 14 carries.

Elba/BB isn't an easy team to shut down offensively. It's a good team with Chapell, John Hochmuth and Steele Truax to power the scoring.

Yet, they were shutout.

"I give all the credit to (Defensive Coach Matt) McCracken," Sawyer said. "I think he's under 30, but he's (the) mastermind."

Laird said the defensive line really sparked the performance.

"Our guys were working hard," Laird said. "Our D-line has got a push and they were opening up the lanes for me to make tackles. That goes for me and the other linebackers Cody Trzecieski and Jake Wozniak. The linemen really opened it up for us."

This is the second year the Trojans have run a three-man front on defense, and it's kind of a secret weapon, Sawyer said.

"I think that confuses our opponents a bit and we're getting pretty good at it," Sawyer said.

On Saturday, Alexander travels to Honeoye Falls for a first-round sectional game against Avon.

Last year the Trojans made it all the way to Section V finals. This year's team is a very different kind of team, with more speed and not as much power, but Laird said that's the only difference between each year's teams.

This year's team is just as ready to challenge for a title.

"It was rough at the beginning of the year trying to adjust to a new scheme, but these kids are working just as hard as that team did last year and they just keep getting better every single week," Laird said. "It's basically the same atmosphere as last year. Five and one in the GR and I'm excited. It feels great."

Top photo: Jacob Wozniak breaks free for Alexander's third, and final touchdown -- a 50-yard run.

Elba/BB's Mike Shanley comes close to blocking Zach Shilvock second of three extra points.

Steele Truax dives for a few extra yards in the third quarter.

Tristan Aldinger comes close to a third-quarter pass interception.

Samuel Browne picking up yardage in the third quarter.

Mike Shanley on a run in the third quarter.

UPDATE: Rick Franclemont also took pictures of the game. You can view them here.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Football Round Up, Saturday: Week #7

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

C.G. Finney 37, Pembroke 18. Pembroke finishes the season 0-7. No stats available. Photos from the Pembroke game by Rick Franclemont.

Notre Dame 40, Holley 13. Notre Dame scored 20 points in the second quarter to pretty much put the game away before the half. Joe Zickl was six of nine passing for 103 yards and two TDs. Peter Daversa rushed for 53 yards on 11 attempts. C.J. Suozzi gained 42 yards and scored on seven carries. Jack Sutherland had two TDs in eight carries for 42 yards. Josh Johnson had two receptions for 27 yards, including a TD. Luca Zambito had a six-yard TD reception. For Pembroke, Nick Passarell was eight for 21 passing for 87 yards. He was intercepted twice. Colin Papaj rushed for 87 yards on six carries. Touchdowns were scored by Nick Passarell, who had 43 yards on the ground, and Glenn Robb.

Alexander 21, Elba/Byron-Bergen 0. Game store coming.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Mendelssohn featured in tomorrow's season-opening concert for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra

post by Howard B. Owens in entertainment, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra opens its 2014 season at 4 p.m. tomorrow at St. James Episcopal Church, Batavia.

Raffaele Ponti will conduct the orchestra for a program titled "Reformation Symphony." The guest artist is organist Ann Emmans. Pieces include Felix Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5, and Camille Saint-Saens, Symphony No. 3.

Tickets are $15 each and available at the door.

The GSO will also debut its 2014 fundraiser, a raffle for a pair of 1/4-carat each diamond stud earrings created by Lambert's Design Jewelers in Batavia.Tickets are 1 for $5 and 3 for $10.

Drawing will be at the April concert.

These photos are from today's rehearsal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

HLOM hosting Fall Family Festival at the Willow Bend Inn

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Holland Land Office Museum

The Holland Land Office Museum is hosting a Fall Family Festival tomorrow from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Willow Bend Inn on West Main Street Road, Batavia.

There will be live music from Red Creek (pictured) along with children's games, period dress, musket firing, basket raffle and food. Admission is $5 for adults. Children are free. 

Proceeds benefit HLOM.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Friday Football Roundup, Week #7: Batavia hands Bath first defeat of season

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

Batavia 49, Bath-Haverling 30. It was a seesaw battle through three quarters, and then Batavia put the game away with 14 unanswered points to close out the game. It was a big night for Anthony Gallo, who posted 265 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns. Malachi Chenault had four receptions for 128 yards and a TD. Jarrett Lasket had seven receptions for 94 yards, including a two-point conversion catch. Dominick Mogavero had 12 carries for 65 yards and a TD. Greg Mruczek was 18-27, 306 yards and two touchdowns. Trevor Rittersback had 10 tackles; James Cryer -- seven; Adonis Davis -- seven; and Noah Dobbertin had a sack and an interception. Bath came into the game undefeated.

Attica 49, Oakfield-Alabama 32. Alan Chatt was 21 for 52 passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. He had one interception. Reice Woodward had seven receptions for 134 yards; Sal Schwable, seven for 68 yards and a TD; Ryan Emery four for 15 yards and a TD; and Trent Stack, three for 34 yards and a TD. Jon Harris had eight tackles and Jake Valletta and Devin Schroeder had six each.

Pembroke, Notre Dame, Elba/Byron-Bergen and Alexander all play this afternoon.

For coverage of the Le Roy game and Coach Brian Moran's 200th win, click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

Moran credits the entire Le Roy community for his 200th win as Oatkan Knights head coach

post by Howard B. Owens in football, High School Football, Le Roy, sports

Coach Brian Moran will tell you, he feels fortunate to run a football program in a place like Le Roy, where the kids are tough, the community cares and parents understand he always has the best interest of their children at heart, even when he's trying to instill in them the discipline necessary to win at football and win at life.

He doesn't take credit for his career milestone of 200 wins. He shares it.

"It really is just a credit to our coaching staff," Moran said, after an emotional meeting with his team near the western end zone of the Perry football field following Le Roy's 45-6 win over the Yellowjackets. "I'm proud of everybody who's worked with us, our community, our school. You know, you don't get to 200 by yourself. We had great people along they way and I really appreciate what they've done for our program."

Moran is the fourth coach in Section V history to reach 200 wins, and only the second to get all 200 wins with the same school.

Gene MastIn, who retired after the 2012 season, is the Section V record holder at 236, and all his wins came at Hornell. Earlier this year, Fairport's Dave Whitcomb, who has coached five different teams, got his 200th win. Rounding out the 200 win club is Don SantIni, with 206 victories, including 50 notched in the years he coached Le Roy.

Moran's milestone victory was helped along Friday night by some of the same names who have carried the team all year. Mike McMullen, Ryan McQuillen, Tom Kelso, Nick Egeling and Jon Pierce, who all had big nights to help propel Le Roy to a rout of a young, but talented Perry team.

McMullen, who went over 3,000 yards passing for his career and set a new school record, said he was proud to be part of Moran's milestone victory.

"It feels great," McMullen said. "I've been with him four years. I can't put it in words right now. It's just awesome. I know it means a lot to him. It means a lot to everyone around here. Le Roy football. Coach Moran. You know, everyone knows who we are because of coach."

The Yellowjackets are a team with a couple of quick strike weapons in QB Andrew Hollister and RB Wisezear Pries, both juniors, so Moran came into the game knowing the Oatkan Knights couldn't afford to let Perry score early. (Hollister ended the season with more than 1,000 yards rushing.)

On Perry's first drive, a fumble on the Perry side of the field helped bat away that concern early. Two plays after Egeling recovered the fumble on defense, he was back to carry the ball 14 yards for a touchdown, giving Le Roy a quick 7-0 lead.

It was all Le Roy the rest of the half and the Knights built up a 42-0 lead by intermission. The scoring bonanza included a pair of TD passes from McMullen to the speedy McQuillen of 40 yards and 62 yards.

McMullen finished 5 for 5 passing for 138 yards and three TD.  

Through seven regular season games, McMullen did not throw a single interception and Le Roy has lost only one fumble all season, for a +16 turnover ratio.

Moran said he's proud of how McMullen has developed as a team leader.

"Obviously, from where he was three years ago to where he is today, I believe at the start of the season, he was 16-4, so add it up, put another 7 on that, so I think that's pretty good," Moran said. "That says a lot about him as a leader of our program."

Kelso had 11 carries for 74 yards. Kelso also had two catches for 23 yards. Pierce carried the ball twice for 72 yards and a TD. Egling, three carries for 32 yards and a TD, plus a 13-yard reception for a touchdown. 

Le Roy is the top-ranked Class C team in the state, but needed some help to go into sectional play as the #1 seed, which they got from the Batavia Blue Devils, who beat Bath in Bath 49-30.

While a lot of folks on the sideline were keeping up with the score in Batavia's seesaw battle with Bath, Moran downplayed the importance of seeding after the game. He said a team has to focus on the opponent ahead of it, whoever that might be.

"You get yourself focused and you really have to be ready to play next Friday night, because if you don't play well, you go home," Moran said. "I think that's something we'll really work on all week and get ourselves ready that way."

Pierce scores in the third quarter.

Hollister on his run that put him over 1,000 yards for the season.

To purchase prints, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Le Roy to celebrate Moran's 200th win back at home field

post by Howard B. Owens in football, Le Roy, sports

With Le Roy's 45 to 6 win over Perry minutes ago, Brian Moran became the fourth head coach in Section V history to notch 200 victories in his career.

Rather than celebrate the milestone in Perry, the players and coach are heading back to Hartwood Park to commemorate the accomplishment.

The entire community is invited to the celebration.

UPDATE: Photo added of Coach Moran back at Hartwood Park being honored for his 200th win.  

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Mudding featured in new song and video from The Farm

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Bethany, entertainment, music, The Farm

The Farm, the Nashville-based band featuring Krista Marie, from Alexander, released a new single and video today, "Mud." I think we can be pretty sure it wasn't shot in Bethany.

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Report of 'shots fired' last night near Austin Park determined by police to be unfounded

post by Howard B. Owens in austin park, batavia

A single complaint of popping sounds, possible gun fire, prompted police patrols to check the Austin Park area last night around 10 p.m., but after a "vigorous check" nothing was found to substantiate the complaint, said Chief of Police Shawn Heubusch.

The caller reported a rapid succession of pops, at least 10 of them, coming from the area of the park.

Police patrols responded and after an extensive search of the area, found no evidence of gun fire.

Heubusch said several people in the area of Austin Park were interviewed and no information was uncovered to substantiate the report.

There were no other callers reporting any sounds coming from Austin Park.

At the same time, there was a report of a loud noise on Walnut Street and a check of the area uncovered nothing significant.

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 7:02 am

Law and Order: Complaint of drunken driver leads to arrest in Tops parking lot

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Shelly Ann Fox, 33, of Fisher Park, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving with driver's view obstructed. Fox was arrested following the investigation by Deputy Andrew Hale at 11:35 p.m., Wednesday, into a report of an intoxicated driver in the parking lot of Tops.

Ryan Phillip Clarke, 25, of Meigs Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Clarke is accused of sending text messages to a protected party, in violation of a court order.

Misty Rose Bogan, 18, of Mill Street, Binghamton, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Bogan was arrested on a warrant and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Aaron C. Lyons, 18, of East Main Road, Le Roy, and Anthony M. Paladino, 19, of Clay Street, Le Roy, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Lyons and Paladino were arrested after police were called to investigate a suspecious vehicle parked in the Machpelah Cemetery.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Driver reportedly flees scene after striking pole on Bloomingdale Road

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama

A car has hit a pole on Bloomingdale Road near Tesnow Road, Alabama.

The driver has reportedly fled.

Wires are down, either on the ground or very low hanging. The pole is snapped.

No injuries are reported.

Law enforcement is in route.

Alabama fire is dispatched.

UPDATE 8:51 p.m.: Indian Falls Fire Police are asked to shut down traffic Bloomingdale Road Tesnow Road.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Car reportedly on fire in front of Wendy's

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

A car is reported in front of Wendy's on Main Street, Batavia.

City fire responding.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Le Roy mayor takes responsibility for paving of apparently privately owned road

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Presidential Acres, robbins next

Mayor Greg Rogers is taking responsibility for an alleged illegal paving of a privately owned road that connects Robbins Road with the Presidential Acres subdivision in the Village of Le Roy.

At the beginning of the month the village received a letter from Amy Kendall, an attorney representing some of the residents of Presidential Acres, notifying trustees that in the attorney's view, the village has illegally spent at least $48,000 on paving and maintaining a road owned by local developer and businessman Pete McQuillen.

At Wednesday's village board meeting, Rogers said he supported the project to go forward because he thought the village already owned the land that extended Fillmore Road to Robbins Road.

That is apparently not the case, though a village attorney is researching it further.

"This has been a very confusing, very cloudy track for the whole time, for the whole thing," Rogers said. "I did a lot of research and talked with a lot of people. We're not going to throw anybody under the bus here, except myself, because this is my bus and if it happens on my shift, it's my responsibility."

He then called on former mayor Sid Horgan to share what he recalled about the ownership of that part of Fillmore Road, and Horgan said he remembered the village board passing a resolution accepting ownership of the roadway.

"I never went out and measured it," Horgan said. "I relied on other people."

Roger Lander, who was public works director in 1991 for the village, said it was his understanding then that the roadway was planned as an eventual village road. The sewer and water connections were put in. Two houses on the corner were originally built to have their front entrance on Fillmore Road rather than Robbins Road.

The village paid to have Fillmore paved, and curbs put in, a year ago.  The village has been maintaining the road, including plowing in the winter.

Kendall calls these expenditures an unconstitutional gift of taxpayer funds to a private party. She said if the village doesn't recover the expenditures from McQuillen, then the trustees would be individually liable, under state law, for the funds.

McQuillen has built duplexes off Fillmore Road, and those duplexes are now occupied.

The attorney's letter suggests those duplexes were built illegally because Fillmore wasn't a village-owned, dedicated road.

Presidential Acres residents are already embroiled in a lawsuit against McQuillen and the village over construction of the duplexes.

While Rogers said he didn't know the land was privately owned, the attorney's letter says that Presidential Acres resident David Boyce spoke with village officials about it Oct. 23, 2013. 

The letter also states that at a May 15, 2012 planning board meeting, McQuillen said that it was "the developer's responsibility to finish the street and that's my intent," and that it was his intent "to put curbs and pavement in there this year." The letter states, "Therefore, both the developer and the village were on notice that McQuillen owned the roads and was responsible for paving them prior to dedication."

Rogers said it's his intention to make the situation right.

"By all means, I'm taking full responsibility for the whole thing," Rogers said. "My plan is to go forward and seek reimbursement from the developer. We have two houses on the street. There are people there who are citizens of Le Roy and they deserve all the services of the village. We'll try to work out some kind of negotiations with the developer to recoup what we may have put in for the road and in turn finish the road so the street can be dedicated and we can provide the residents with snow plowing and emergency services and all the things they deserve."

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

BHS officials share concerns, raise awareness about vaping at school

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, education, schools

There have been four incidents at Batavia High School so far this school year involving students, vaporizers and synthetic drugs, Principal Scott Wilson said.

That isn't an epidemic by any means, but it is a cause for concern and he thinks the local community, and particularly parents and students, should be more aware of some of the possible negative consequences of vaporizers, also known as e-cigarettes.

Wilson organized a community forum in the school's library Wednesday night to help raise awareness.

"It's a concern right now, but I don't want to be a Chicken Little and say the sky is falling," Wilson said. "I also don't want to say the problem is not there, and bury my head in the sand and cross my fingers and hope it all blows away. We have to find the right balance."

Wilson assembled a panel for the forum that included Nancy Haitz, school nurse, Nate Korzelius, teacher, Nick Burk, a teacher and coach, Jennifer Zambito, from GCASA, Rich Schauf, Batavia PD, and Tom Douglas, from the fire department.

Each shared some of their experiences or research into issues surrounding vaping and synthetic drugs.

E-cigarettes were developed as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They were designed to be nicotine delivery devices, but without the health consequences of cigarettes, and give smokers a device to smoke in public that is largely unregulated.

The devices were barely available a couple of years ago, and now are commonly sold in retail shops and convenience stores throughout the area.

Not much bigger than a nice ball-point pen, the devices are easy for students to conceal. They've supposedly been hidden by students in bras and spandex undergarments.  

If it were just a matter of students smoking flavored liquid with a little nicotine, that would still be a violation of school rules and not allowed, but the problem is a bit more serious than that, Wilson said.

"We have to assume at this point that the liquid contains a substance that could cause a medical emergency and I have to take a firm stand," Wilson said.

EMTs have been summoned to the school once this year after a medical emergency involving a student who reportedly inhaled synthetic marijuana through a vaporizer.

They way e-cigs entered society, there's a common misperception that they're harmless, Wilson said. 

Both he and Schauf shared stories of talking to parents who bought vaporizers for their children, as young as 13 years old, because they saw them as a safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

What parents don't realize is that these devices can be used to deliver other chemicals, from ground up prescription pills to a plethora of synthetic drugs that are easily obtained online.

These are often the same drugs or closely related cousins to bath salts -- the drugs that were much in the news two years ago when the country -- and our local community -- were concerned about their health effects.

Zambito described many of the same behaviors and consequences -- paranoia, hallucinations, rapid heart rates, rapid breathing, even seizures.

"Students can experience symptoms that even they themselves are scared of," Zambito said.

One of the biggest concerns, several panelists said, is the possibility of students who think taking a hit from another student's vape is no big deal, without really knowing what chemical is in the e-cigarette.

It could contain a synthetic drug and there's no way to tell from merely looking at it.

"Let that sink in for a moment," Wilson said. "They don't know what is in it because it's in a liquid. That's the real concern. We want to help kids make better choices and never just blindly take that risk."

The difficulty in finding out what chemical might have caused a medical emergency is also a problem for EMTs, said Douglas.

Too much nicotine can cause an elevated heart rate, but so can other chemicals, and that can be an important distinction, Douglas said, as just an example of what EMTs must deal with in these situations.

"We've got them grinding up prescription drugs, THC, to whatever it is they find on the Internet, Douglas said. "From the EMT end, that's what we're dealing with. We can be kind of stymied. What do we treat?"

Korzelius and Burk said they now regularly inspect bathrooms, lifting up ceiling tiles, looking for hidden vaporizers.

In the days of "smoking in the boys' room," there was always a residual odor that would help teachers track down the smokers, but that isn't the case with vaping, and teachers and administrators are struggling to keep a tab on the devices.

Wilson hopes through a public discussion of the issue parents become more aware and more vigilant, but he said teens at BHS are already starting to take the issue seriously.  

"I think most of the kids want to have a healthy, clean and positive school environment," Wilson said. "I totally believe that with all my heart, and students are stepping up and reporting, because they want, not necessarily to get kids in trouble, but keep the school free from these devices. I love that cooperation and even that peer pressure. "

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 12:25 am

Photo: Along Route 33, Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford

Driving back from Bergen on Wednesday afternoon, this scene caught my eye, along Route 33, Stafford.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Ranzenhofer, Hawley on hand at Byron-Bergen to help celebrate passage of yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, yogurt

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley just happened to be in Bergen this morning when they learned that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had signed legislation first conceived by students at Byron-Bergen School to make yogurt the official state snack.  

The two representatives who carried the bill through the legislature immediately headed over to the school to celebrate the bill's passage with the students who made it all possible.

Below, a recording of the announcement, with Principal Brian Meister.

Several of the students wanted to hug Sen. Ranzenhofer when they first saw him at the school this afternoon.

 

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