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Howard B. Owens's blog

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 9:18 am

Today's Poll: Are you interested in wearing a small computer on your wrist?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls

New York Times: Apple Watch Displays Your Digital World, at a Glance

Answer this question later today on the smartphone app Reacht for a chance to win a $5 gift certificate from Southside Deli. To download Reacht on your smartphone, click here.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Alpina introduces new yogurt with NBA tie-in

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alpina Foods, business

Press release:

Alpina NBA All-Stars Yogurt is just 120 calories, four grams of protein and 10 percent of an adult's recommended daily allowance of calcium per serving. The perfectly proportioned toppings add a little "dunking" fun while appealing to basketball fans of all ages — men and women, alike. It's a yogurt that can help anyone power through the day. 

"Alpina Foods is committed to bringing innovation to the dairy aisle," said Gustavo Badino, Alpina Foods' general manager. "We saw a need for a product that catered to the American male — youth or adult — in the yogurt section, and we decided to take the challenge and introduce this NBA All-Stars product."

Alpina NBA All-Stars Yogurt is sold in select regional and independent retailers including A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum's, Super Fresh, The Food Emporium, ShopRite, Shaw's, and Lowe's Markets.

Alpina Foods manufactures a variety of dairy products available in retailers throughout the United States, including Shaw's, Wegmans Food Markets, ShopRite, Duane Reade, Western Beef, and other national, regional, and independent food retailers. For a full list of retailers, visit www.alpinaus.com.

UPDATE: In response to our question, a spokeswoman for Alpina says the new product will be manufactured at the Batavia plant, and, there's another new product announcement coming later this month.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Hawley calls for increased funding for local infrastructure

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) attended a press conference Wednesday held by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) to call for an increase in funding for local roads, culverts and bridges. The press conference called on the governor and Legislature to increase funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) during this year’s budget negotiations.

“Preserving the safety of our roads, bridges and culverts is especially important to my district, where many small businesses and agriculture producers transport products,” Hawley said. “The past few winters have been considerably difficult and have taken their toll on our local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to ensure the safety of our local business people and the families and school buses that travel these roads almost every day.”

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Law and Order: Driver found off the road in Darien charged with DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, pembroke, Stafford

Eric Raymond Westermeier, 27, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with felony driving while ability impaired by combined drugs and alcohol, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation and unlawful possession of marijuana. Westermeier was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Chad Cummings into a vehicle off the road at 10:11 p.m. Sunday on Erie Street, Darien Center.

Timothy O. Lee, 34, of Erie Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and speeding. Lee was arrested following a traffic stop in the Village of Le Roy. He was allegedly found in possession of cocaine.

Terry L. Travis Jr., 32, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest, criminal obstruction of breathing, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment. Travis was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. He was jailed on $3,000 bail.

Jessica L. Ford, 24, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Ford allegedly violated an order of protection by contacting the protected party. Ford was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Dale E. Banfield, 53, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal tampering and resisting arrest. During a supervised property exchange, Banfield allegedly became verbally abusive toward the other party and grabbed the drawer from a nightstand and threw the contents across the room. As officers attempted to arrest Banfield, he allegedly pushed the officers and attempted to tackle one of them. After a brief struggle, Banfield was subdued and taken into custody. He was jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $1,000 bond.

Donna Marie Kroft, 61, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kroft allegedly stole groceries and other items from Tops Market by concealing the items in her purse and inside her coat.

Michael L. Williams, 35, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, assault, 3rd, and aggravated criminal contempt. Williams was arrested on a warrant for the listed charges. He was reportedly found by Batavia PD officers hiding in a stairwell at a residence on Jackson Street, Batavia. He was jailed without bail.

Linda B. Gratton, 66, of Downer Street, Baldwinsville, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Gratton turned herself in. She posted $500 police bail.

Kristen S. Buchholz, 32, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. Buchholz was allegedly involved in a verbal dispute with administrators at Batavia Middle School. She was jailed on $100 bail.

Marcos A. Torres, 32, of Cherry Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Torres was allegedly involved in a domestic incident. He was jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

Cheryl A. Kowalik, 54, of Alexander Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an issuing a bad check charge. Kowalik turned herself in to Batavia PD and posted $500 bail.

Bradley W. Howard, 24, of Honeysette Road, Mayville, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a DWI charge. Howard turned himself in to Batavia PD and was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Stephen Gary Hall, 69, of Murray Street, Mt. Morris, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes. Hall was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 11:16 a.m. Friday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Also charged were Bernard Leonard Brock, 65, of Hopkins Street, Mt. Morris, and Edith May Donohue, 74, of Columbus Avenue, Mt. Morris.

Victoria Joanne Supple, 42, of Stroh Road, Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, refusal to take breath test and failure to keep right. Supple was stopped at 2:03 a.m. Saturday on Buffalo Street, Alexander, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Darien Lamont Anderson, 20, of Egret Drive, Henrietta, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Anderson was charged following an investigation by Deputy Chad Commings at 7:11 p.m. Saturday into a vehicle pulled off the road on Route 33, Bergen.

Lauren E. Scalzo, 19, of Bergen, and two 17-year-olds, were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The arrests were made by State Police at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on Sumner Road, Darien.

Marco A. Hernandez, 21, of Stafford, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unlawful possession of marijuana. Hernandez was stopped at 6:28 p.m. Sunday on Route 98, Batavia, by State Police.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

Pair of BHS athletes have strong showing in state track championships

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, track and field

Photo and information submitted by a reader:

Two Batavia High School athletes competed in the state indoor track championships this weekend. Devon Koepp (pictured) finished sixth in the weight throw with a distance of 58' 8" (He is the Section V record holder at 60' 5.") and Kaylee Cassidy finished sixth in the 1,600 medley.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 1:12 am

Blue Devils unable to close out in sectional title game at Blue Cross Arena

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Batavia HS, high school sports, sports

In a world of infinite possibilities, there are an infinite number of ways the Batavia Blue Devils basketball team could have won its Class A2 Section V championship game Sunday evening at Blue Cross Arena.

A three-pointer from Jeff Redband could have dropped rather than rim out. A pass following a steal from Greg Mruzcek to Redband could have hit its target rather than skipping out of bounds. A 35-footer from a School of the Arts guard doesn't swoosh in as the shot clock winds down. One more layup, one more put back, one more backdoor cut, just one more of something positive could have turned the game around.

The one reality, though, is School of Arts won 45-36.

The Silver Eagles won not just because of a few bad breaks for the Blue Devils, nor because Batavia failed to execute on some of its basketball fundamentals. They won because they're a good team.

For the Eagles, Sergio Alicea sliced up the defense with his speed, deft ball handling and smooth shooting stroke. His 14 points were the product of three threes and a dunk that didn't seem possible from the 5'8" guard until he did it.

Christian Simmons, the tournament MVP, added 12 points, hitting five of eight from the field.

The Silver Eagles kept Batavia's offense off balance by switching up its defense, moving quickly to the ball and closing passing lanes.

"Give them credit," Head Coach Buddy Brasky said. "They went box and one to triangle and two to one three one and it kept us out of our rhythm. We didn't make very many good basketball plays. They key on Redband; they make everything tough on him and somebody else has to step up and we didn't get anybody else who stepped up."

The Blue Devils went into the half down 26 to 18, but Brasky told his team they could win it.

"We needed to have a quarter, the third quarter, which is normally our best quarter during the year where we kept them to single digits and we could get right back in the game," Brasky said. "We did that. We actually took the lead. I think it was 27-26, then they hit a three and then a three toward the buzzer. That to me was the key to the game. We had taken control of that game and then they scored six points. We went from up one to down five."

SOTA went the first seven minutes of the third quarter without a basket before hitting that pair of threes.

The Eagles then went on a run and opened up another big lead.

Batavia mistakes made things a little easier on SOTA.

The rebounding could have been better, Brasky said. The team worked on it in practice leading up to sectionals, knowing they would be playing more athletic teams. 

The passing could have been better. It's something the team works on all season --  fake the pass to make a pass, improve passing angles on the dribble, hit the open man more quickly while he still has an open look.

That meant, Brasky said, that the Blue Devils were forced to take more forced shots as time expired on the shot clock.

"When you're playing a team like that, who's athletic and in the passing lanes, and they go for steals, they anticipate, you've got to do those types of things," Brasky said.

The mistakes add up.

"Jeff tried to do what he could, but it wasn't enough," Brasky said.

With his team falling behind and struggling, Redband stepped up his game in the 4th quarter, going coast-to-coast on several transitions and driving the line when teammates dished it to him or taking the open jumper when offered.

"We were down by nine or 10 and I wasn't going to go out not shooting and just being passive, so I just trying to do everything I could," Redband said. "I didn't play very good tonight, but I tried. I tried. At least I tried."

Actually, Redband scored a game-high 20 points and if a few things would have gone differently in the last couple of minutes, he would have scored more.

He, along with Jerrett Laskett, was named to the all-tournament team.

Redband was part of one of the special seasons in Blue Devils basketball history and he helped create some of the magic in 2013 when Batavia had a shot -- but came up short -- at a state title. A buzzer beater by Redband, among his first of the more than 1,000 varsity points he would score, is what sent Batavia to states.

Since then, Batavia has made it to the sectional title game twice, but hasn't been able to secure a win.

"I realize now I didn't truly appreciate winning a sectional my sophomore year," Redband said. "I realize now after losing finals two years in a row, that was something really special. I didn't really need to work for it at all my sophomore year, and I worked my butt off my junior and senior year and I realized how special it is to play here (Blue Cross Arena) and win sectionals."

Now, the university-bound Redband's high school career is over. It's a somber moment to contemplate.

"I love this team," Redband said. "High school basketball is just, it's like the greatest thing. I grew up with these guys, playing Junior Blue Devils, playing modified, all throughout, and it's crazy to think I'm never going to play with them again."

He also appreciated playing for Buddy Brasky.

"He's great," Redband said. "He motivates us. He's always willing to open up the gym any time of year. People see him yelling, but he's really like, he loves us. He really likes us as players, so I loved playing for him."

Brasky said at the beginning of the season, he thought this was a team that could win a sectional title. It should have won a sectional title. It was, he said, the best team in the bracket. It just didn't get the job done.

"I told them in the locker room, this is one of the most enjoyable teams I've ever coached because they were a true team," Brasky said. "Nobody cared who got the credit, nobody cared if they didn't play, everybody really cared about the team. A team like that should be rewarded, but you know, it's not always fair. In sports, one team wins, one team loses. They were a true team and they were really enjoyable to coach this year."

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

Photos: Bulls beat Bowling Green to win MAC title

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, UB Bulls

If you can't tell, I love shooting sports, especially basketball.  The folks at the Univerity at Buffalo Athletic Department are kind enough to allow me access to courtside for UB Bulls games and I was able to go Friday night for the final home game of the season.

In a market where there is no NBA team and none of the Division 1 teams have really gone big time yet, UB is well positioned to become that local dominant program.

Look at what the Aztecs have done in San Diego, going from a nearly empty house every game to consistent sell-outs and one of the loudest crowds in college basketball. 

Friday's game was hopefully a preview of what's to come for the Bulls.  More than 6,000 rowdy fans in the stands.

"My teammates put on a show and that generates a buzz locally," said Will Regan, a Buffalo native, (top photo) after the game. "It's exciting for me because when I transferred back from Virginia I had a goal to sort of try and take this program to the next level. We're not there yet, but it's an exciting time."

The crowd was definitely a factor, said head coach Bobby Hurley following the hard-fought, always tight game that the Bulls won 77-75.

"This is what real big time college environment should look like in terms of a crowd," Hurley said.

Hurley would know. A standout at Duke University from 1989 to 1983, when Duke won two National Championships, Hurley played on the biggest stage and is now in charge of recharging the UB basketball program. In his second year, the team seems on the right track.  Friday's win gave the Bulls the  Mid-American Conference title.

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

Notre Dame suffers heartbreaking loss in OT in Section V championship game

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

For much of the first half of Saturday's Section V Class D1 championship game at Blue Cross Arena, Josh Johnson was the wheel that kept Notre Dame's offense rolling.

But wheels have cogs and cogs sometimes break.

The broken cog Saturday was Johnson's hip, which the senior guard hurt late in the half.

Who knows how the game might have turned out if Johnson had been healthy and rolling at full speed through an entire 32 minutes.

A slowed Johnson didn't exactly curb the Fighting Irish offense. The game did move at a different pace, but Notre Dame still held a lead with a minute to play.

The 51-48 on the tote board above the court glowed, but that's only three points. There's little margin for error with a one-basket lead in a championship game.

The errors came in pairs Saturday. Six times, when a single charity point would have made it a two-possession game, Notre Dame shooters missed free throws.

Johnson missed four of them.

The first two after a backcourt foul, which sent Johnson trotting down the court, nodding at his teammates with knowing smile that seemed to say, "I've got this."

Only Johnson didn't have it. Neither shot fell. The Notre Dame bench, so animated for most of the half, was quiet, unmoved, sitting like parishioners in a church pew waiting for the collection plate.

Notre Dame's six foul shots were the gifts every team gets as the clock winds down in close games. They're donations you have to accept to win. Every coach, player and fan knows it.

Johnson would later let his frustration show with the slam of a fist into the seat of a folding chair. 

Only Johnson knows if his hip injury affected his foul shooting. It's hardly inconceivable that it did. The change in the release of a shooter by only a fraction inch is the difference between a brick and a swish. A twinge of pain in a leg pushing up could unbalance the stroke.

That isn't an excuse. Just a thought.

The reality is, Genesee Valley's Dan George, who hadn't scored through the prior 31 minutes of play, suddenly became a factor in the final 60 seconds.

He hit two three-pointers, the second 20-footer coming with about five seconds left on the clock to tie the score.

Head Coach Mike Rapone threw his arms out wide as if to say, "how did that happen?"

After the game, Rapone explained what happened. Notre Dame's coverage broke down.

"We were supposed to be man-to-man coming out of the last time out and four of us were and one of us wasn't and that's the guy who got left open," Rapone said.

With three seconds left, the Irish huddled for one last time.

The ensuing inbound pass went to Caleb Nellis at half court. He turned, leaped and released. The form was good. The heave was long. The ball left his hands before the buzzer. It hit the backboard in the square above the rim and for smallest split of a second there was hope, but this was no Christian Laettner moment.

"I've got to be honest, I knew we were in trouble when the game went into overtime," Rapone said. "The emotional swings, with kids it's tough. Our kids felt like they had the game won and now you've got to go overtime and by that time, Josh was no factor on offense, so I knew we weren't going to score a lot of points in overtime."

After those final four minutes in which the Irish scored just once, Notre Dame was left with slumped shoulders and blue jerseys pulled up to cover faces as Genesee Valley players leaped into group embrace to celebrate their 57-53 victory.

Johnson, who seemed unstoppable in the first half, finished with 22 points and Rapone admitted, the "what if" question was inescapable.

"You'd like to dream what could have happened if he didn't get hurt because it really didn't look like they had an answer for him in the first half," Rapone said.

To be sure, Genesee Valley is a good team, led by a quick and potent guard, Tyler Zlomek, MVP of the tournament, who scored 24 points and forced man-to-man coverage while the Irish used a zone to impede the rest of Genesee Valley's offense

They also had to deal with 6' 6" junior Carter Schneider.

An athletic center, Schneider battled under the boards and kept his team fired up, though he hardly embarrassed Nellis, who had 11 rebounds and a couple of key put-back baskets in the second half.

"I'm not taking anything away from them, but I still say the game was there for us to take," Rapone said.

The Irish were helped a lot by the play of Casey Midwich, who showed a good deal of leadership when Johnson was out of the game for a few minutes in the third quarter and finished with nine points.

Nellis had seven points, Tyler Prospero five and John Sutherland and Luca Zambito each scored four.

Johnson also had 10 rebounds for a double-double and Sutherland had eight.

"The game was there for us to take and we didn't grab it and we have to accept that fact," Rapone said.

Dan George with the three-point shot that tied the score in the final seconds of regulation time.

Johnson made All-Tournament team, with gifts from Section V including a plaque and medal on a ribbon.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Mynderse defeats Byron-Bergen to take Class C1 championship

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, byron-bergen, high school sports, sports

Team quickness and heavy use of a press defense helped Mynderse secure a 43-26 victory over Byron-Bergen in the girls basketball Section V Class C1 championship game played today at Rush-Henrietta High School.

A 15-1 first quarter set the stage for the Bees defeat. It was a hole Byron-Bergen never climbed out of despite scoring 12 points in the second quarter, which turned out to be a higher total than the one scored in the second half by the Bees.

Lindsey Lovett had 11 points for Byron Bergen, and Abbie Kelley scored 10. Sam Donnelly had five.

Lovett and Kelley were named to the All Tournament team.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Lady Lancers fall in title game 55-47

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

Photos by Jim Burns. Game information from Emily Tomczak.

A third-quarter rally wasn't enough for the Elba Lady Lancers to overcome Jasper-Troupsburg in the Section V Class D1 final in Letchworth on Friday night.

Jasper came out on top 55-47.

Haley Brown had 16 points, Alex Reigle had 14 points, and Alyssa Bogue had 13 points.

Alex Reigle and Haley Brown were named to the All-Tournament team, and Jenna Pedro received the sportsmanship award.

To view more photos and to purchase prints from Jim Burns, click here.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 9:36 am

State's top economic development leader says Batavia can lead the way in high tech

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

Howard Zemsky was the keynote speaker Friday at the Genesee County Economic Development Center's annual meeting, which was held at Batavia Downs this year. He is acting president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency.

Some 300 people attended, including business and economic development leaders from Erie and Monroe counties.

Zemsky's primary message was that Gov. Andrew Cuomo fully supports economic development in Upstate, in Genesee County and is particularly bullish on the STAMP project.

"We're all in," Zemsky said. "We love what you're doing. It's extremely impressive. I couldn't be more proud of what you have accomplished, and your vision and your commitment and your collaboration on your strategic approach. The governor is all in on what you're doing and is very excited about it."

He noted that Brooklyn is undergoing a renaissance, driven by people like his 22-year-old son who now think urban areas such as Brooklyn are the place to be. If Brooklyn can experience a turnaround, so can Batavia, he said.

"I'll tell you this, if Brooklyn can become cool, Batavia can become the center of the next generation of chip fabrication. Period. End of discussion," Zemsky said. "Because compared to Brooklyn being cool, Batavia being center of a high-tech world is a relative layup."

GCEDC Steve Hyde also provided his annual update on the progress of the GCEDC over the past year and the projects it continues to work on, such as STAMP and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Molino makes case for funding tax base growth in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bdc, City Budget, Vibrant Batavia

It takes money to run a city, and economic growth is what allows a city to provide services for its resident, City Manager Jason Molino believes.

As the City Council wraps up its 2015-16 spending review, Molino is hoping council members will take some time for a serious and in-depth discussion of the revenue side of the budget picture.

"The revenue side of the budget needs focus and we need to understand how to grow that so we enhance and sustain the local economy so that we can provide quality services to residents," Molino said in an interview today. "To sustain a budget we need to ensure a consistent and steady revenue stream. This means the tax base is growing and people have more disposable income."

Molino has written a memo for council members titled "Budget Sustainability (pdf)." It lays out the case for ensuring the city takes steps to improve the economic health of Batavia.

The budget discussion so far has focused mainly on cost containment. The council has taken little time to focus on revenue, Molino says in the memo, but the reason the budget reflects a $250,000 reduction in spending isn't because of cost containment goals. It's because of anticipated declines in revenue.  The city is being forced by local economics to cut spending.

That should give council pause as it considers how to handle programs meant to improve the economic vitality of Batavia, such as the Batavia Development Corp. and Vibrant Batavia.

"Public revenue needs an employed community, so the right question is not necessarily where should we be trimming the City workforce budget, but rather, the right question is: Are City resources optimally structured to reposition Batavia as a great place to raise a family, start and operate a profitable business, and in general, appeal to families," Molino writes in the memo.

There are troubling signs in Batavia's economic outlook, Molino notes.

  • The city's taxable assessed value of property is not growing;
  • Median family income is below average and poverty is high, according to Moody's Investor Services;
  • Three of the city's six census blocks are classified "highly distressed areas";
  • Five of the city's six census blocks are deemed "low-income."

"A balanced approach to the city budget needs to include strong initiatives that will provide cost containment, but also strategic direction that will improve the quality of life," Molino writes. "Growth in the tax base and resident income are the lifeblood to supporting municipal services, as well as improved quality of life for City residents. All of our focus must be on retaining our households and repositioning Batavia in the coming years to attract more households and businesses."

There are those who believe it's not the role of government to "create jobs" or focus on economic growth. Molino disagrees.

"If you look at the past 10 years, the amount of economic growth, the big job growth, has been the result of public-private partnerships," Molino said. "The ag park, seven years in the making, is the first industrial development in Genesee County in the last 50 years. That came about because of cooperation between the city, county and town, all of us working together."

A local government that is focused on streamlining the process and marketing a community's assets is going to have more success than one that doesn't, Molino said.

"I think the attitude needs to be what are the reasons we should be doing this and not what are the reasons we shouldn't be doing it," Molino said. "It's the responsibility of a municipal government to reposition the community. If you're completely absent from funding economic growth, the community is going to be absent from opportunities for economic growth."

The city's budget is roughly $16 million and that spending, which provides all of the municipal services residents have come to expect from their local government, is entirely dependent on how well the local economy does. Without investment, not only is growth difficult, but a precipitous decline is a real possibility.

While there's no portion of the property tax levy going into funding Vibrant Batavia or the Batavia Development Corp., the amount of money needed to keep those growth projects going is less than 2 percent of the city's planned spending.

"Sure, we can reduce spending by another 10 percent, but if you don't have a vibrant community and a vibrant business base, all you're going to have is a more depressed Batavia with less capacity to provide services to residents," Molino said.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Should the city fund economic growth initiatives? To download the app, click here. Those who download it will be eiligible for a chance to win a $5 gift card from Southside Deli.

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Law and Order: Family allegedly targets employer for thefts of merchandise

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, pembroke, Stafford

Janet Marie Knauss, 49, of Alpine Lane, Caledonia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, falsifying business records, 1st, and conspiracy, 5th. Knauss, along with Carol Ann Knauss, 26, of Main Road, Stafford, and Arthur Roy Knauss, 52, of Alpine Lane, Caledonia, are accused of working together to steal from Target. At different dates and times, Janet Knauss allegedly entered false discounts, voided transactions and bagged items that were not scanned so they could be stolen while working as a cashier at the store. The total value of items allegedly stolen exceeds $1,400. Carol Knauss, who was also a cashier at Target, is charged with falsifying business records, petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Arthur Knauss is charged with conspiracy, 6th, and petit larceny. The case was first reported in January and investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

Frank Ludwig, 65, of Oakfield, is charged with forcible touching. State Police arrested Ludwig for allegedly having unwanted physical contact with a family member.

Jordon N. Odom, 18, of Stafford, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Odom is accused of striking a family member during an argument and then taking the family member's mobile phone in order to prevent the person from calling law enforcement. He later reportedly gave the phone back. Odom was jailed on $250 bail.

Nicholas T. Stock, 25, of Batavia, Dylan J. Perry, 23, Batavia, and Grayson C. Stock, 23, of Oakfield, are each charged with petit larceny. All three are accused of shoplifting from Walmart. Nicholas Stock and Perry are accused of trying to steal four boxes of Crest White Strips worth $234.96. Grayson Stock is accused of stealing Allegra allergy medicine worth $71.98.

A 16-year-old resident of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The youth is accused of giving an electronic cigarette to a juvenile, which caused "substantial medical distress" for the juvenile.

Dennis Ray Lloyd, 33, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, assault, 3rd, and criminal obstruction of breathing. Lloyd was arrested following the report of a domestic dispute at a location on Porter Avenue at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 26.

Rachell O. Soggs, 27, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. Soggs turned herself in after allegedly failing to appear for a presentencing interview ith Probation. She posted $500 police bail and was released.

Robert D. Cook, 35, of Attica Road, Darien Center, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a suspended/revoked registration charge. Cook turned himself in and was released on $200 bail.

Charles H. Wroten, 54, of Buell Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear at the Genesee County Jail for his intermittent incarceration stemming from a third-degree assault conviction. Wroten was located by Probation, assisted by Batavia PD, and released on his own recognizance after being issued an appearance ticket.

Kerrilynn A. McDermott, 34, of Denio Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. McDermott is accused of throwing an iPad at another person and striking that person in the face.

Jennifer A. Way, 35, of Linwood Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving without lights on. Way was stopped at 2:12 a.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Heidi Ann Marie Pahl, 41, of Kibbe Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Pahl was arrested following a report of a vehicle in a ditch on Genesee Street, Pembroke, at 9:27 p.m. on Sunday, which was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Beth Ann Collins, 47, of Lakeport Road, Chittenango, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes and speeding in zone. Collins was stopped at 11:27 a.m. Monday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

Photos: Pinewood Derby in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in Cub Scout Pack 23, Le Roy

Here's some photos from a Pinewood Derby this past weekend submitted by Eric Friedhaber. I didn't get a chance to post them sooner, but they're too good not to share. It's Cub Scout Pack 23 in Le Roy at Our Lady of Mercy.

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

SCOPE members lobby in Albany to repeal SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SCOPE

Press release and photo from SCOPE:

On Tuesday, every SCOPE chapter and committee sent a delegation to Albany to meet with senators and assemblymen. A delegation left Le Roy at 4 a.m. with SCOPE members representing Genesee, Orleans and Niagara counties. Some of the issues that were discussed in those meetings included: Full repeal of the SAFE Act; defunding of the SAFE Act; and uniform pistol licensing requirements across New York State with no additional restrictions added by the local licensing.

Photo: Genesee, Orleans, and Niagara SCOPE delegation meeting with Assemblyman Stephen Hawley at his Albany office for SCOPE Lobby Day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm

'Roy Mason' Flip Ad contest winner

We ran a Flip Ad contest yesterday, but I haven't had time until now to count up the entries and find the 18th correct answer to our secret code.

The code this time was "Roy Mason" (a local artist of some reknown).

The winner was Jeffrey Gillard, of Batavia.

We'll send Jeff a check for $25.

Look for another random Flip Ad contest at some time next week.

Remember to patronize the businesses that sponsor The Batavian.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hawley supports bill to assist small business owners

post by Howard B. Owens in business, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today renewed his support for New York’s small businesses as the Legislature begins budget negotiations. Hawley cited his own small business ownership and urged the Legislature to make cutting regulations and taxes for small businesses a priority in this year’s budget negotiations.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business for many years, I know the amount of hard work and determination it takes to succeed in New York’s economic climate,” Hawley said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation and the driving force behind employment and economic growth, and are oftentimes family owned for generations. It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly leadership have, year after year, neglected to enact sweeping deregulation and tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire more employees and compete with larger corporations. My district is home to many small businesses and I will be sure to make their voices heard during this year’s budget negotiations.”

Hawley has received 100-percent ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate for his legislative votes during the 2013-14 year. Hawley also urged other legislators to sponsor and support the Small Business Full Employment Act.

“This legislation provides a comprehensive overhaul of how we regulate and tax small businesses,” Hawley said. “The bill focuses on cornerstones of economic growth such as tax cuts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, repeal of the 18-A utility tax and tax credits for creating new jobs. I urge my Assembly colleagues to support this bill and help our businesses thrive in a less than ideal economic climate.”

Hawley’s comments came on Small Business Day in Albany, hosted by the NFIB. Hawley has been a staunch supporter of the organization’s efforts during his years in the Assembly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Darien Lake once again planning full concert season

The summer line-up for the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center is starting to take shape, with Kelly Clarkson the latest star announced by Live Nation for a show at the amphitheater next to Darien Lake Theme Park.

The Clarkson show is at 7:30 p.m., July 21. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., March 14. Also on the bill, Pentatonix and Eric Hutchinson.

Also on the schedule so far are some Darien Lake regulars, such as Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Zac Brown and Nickelback.

The Van's Warp tour is also returning.

Those shows are listed on the Live Nation Web site.

Darien Lake's site also lists Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts.

The first upcoming show is Debby Ryan and the Neverending at 6 p.m., May 23.

Other acts scheduled are Shawn Mendes, Fallout Boy, Train, Slipknot, Florida Georgia Line, and Darius Rucker.

For dates and times, check the links above.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Do you plan to attend any concerts this season at Darien Lake? To download the app, click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm

American Pickers coming back to WNY, looking for possible locations locally

post by Howard B. Owens in American Pickers, television, tourism

The reality television series "American Pickers," about two guys traveling around the country looking for "rusty gold" -- stuff some might call junk, others call collectable -- is going to make another swing through Western New York and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce was asked to help get the word out.

Producers are interested in hearing from or about interesting people with interesting private collections.

From the press release:

Filming is scheduled to start next month. "American Pickers" is looking for leads and would love to explore what you may have. They are on the hunt for interesting characters with interesting and unique items. Some of what they look for: vintage bicycles, toys, unusual radios, movie memorabilia, advertising, military items, folk art, vintage musical equipment, vintage automotive items, early firefighting equipment, vintage clothing, pre-'50s Western gear.

If you have a large collection or want to refer someone to Mike and Frank, e-mail your name, number, address and description of the collection and photos to: [email protected], or call 1-855-old-rust.

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