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Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Sheriff announces hiring of four corrections officers

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail, Sheriff's Office

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office recently filled four vacant Correction Officer positions with the hiring of Eric T. Hayes, James M. Smart, Brett J. Peters, and Kevin P. Thomas. 

These four Correction Officers graduated in a class of 19 on Thursday, April 2, 2015, from the Erie County Basic Corrections six-week Academy that was held at the Erie County Training Facility. Speakers at the graduation were Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha and Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory J. Rudolph.  Training at the academy included instruction in the care and custody of inmates, inmate supervision, defensive tactics, firearms training, and other topics pertaining to corrections.

Sheriff Maha stated, “Correction officers Hayes, Smart, Peters and Thomas will be great assets to the Jail Bureau and excelled at the Corrections Academy."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Vehicle found burning on reservation stolen from Akron resident

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, crime, fire

A vehicle found burning in a field off Bloomingdale Road, Basom, early yesterday morning, was stolen, according to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster.

The 2002 Ford F150 pickup was stolen from a residence on Draper Road, Akron.

The fire was reported at 4:43 a.m. and the truck was completely engulfed by the time first responders arrived on scene.

The criminal investigation is being handled by the Erie County Sheriff's Office.

Alabama fire handled the call.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Water main repair scheduled for tomorrow on Clifton Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be making repairs to a water main on Clifton Avenue near Ellicott Street on Wednesday, April 15th. This work may result in water service being interrupted in the areas of Clifton Avenue, James Street, William Street, and Ellicott Street near Clifton Avenue and Otis Street. Residents should be aware that temporary discoloration of water or low water pressure may result for a period of time while repairs are made.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 10:25 am

Sheriff delivers first quarter review to county legislators

post by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office

The number of incidents handled by Sheriff's deputies during the first quarter of 2015 reflect a 19-percent increase over the same time period of 2014, according to a department review delivered by Sheriff Gary Maha to county legislators.

There were more felony investigations; the jail population was down during the first quarter of 2015, according to Maha.

There were complicating factors during the first three months of the year.

Dispatchers handled more calls, medical expenses rose for the jail, and the department has operated with fewer deputies following some key departures.

Jail Superintendent William Zipfel said the jail population is older and substance abuse problems are more complicated, leading to increased medical expenses.

While there were only 11 female inmates during the first quarter, some of them were harder to place in area facilities that can handle female prisoners. Some jails don't want to take on some of the kind of substance abuse issues some inmates have, and while the local jail is careful to keep pharmacy expenses down, other jails don't necessarily seek out generic prescriptions for inmates with health problems.

Some female inmates have monthly pharmacy bills of $3,000 to $5,000 per month.

Deputies made 470 prisoner transports compared to 465 a year ago.

The department currently has six fewer deputies following retirements, a medical injury to one deputy and the death of Frank Bordonaro. The Crash Management Team is down an investigator.

Two more deputies may retire this year.

Three new deputies are in training and there are two background investigations under way for potential candidates.

As the number of calls for service keeps increasing in the county, Maha is considering a request for more personnel in the 2016 budget.

Since 2009, the number of calls in to the dispatch center has increased 38.8 percent. There were more than 75,000 calls in 2014.

The calls are increasingly complex and require more staff time to handle.

The department will likely need to add a senior dispatch position in 2016.

Deputies responded to 7,197 incidents during the first quarter, a 19-percent increase from a year ago.

There were 58 felony cases handled by investigators during the quarter, compared to 70 a year ago.

Investigations have grown more complicated with the rise of identity theft and computer fraud.

There is an increase in felonies committed by people outside of Genesee County.

Genesee Justice handled 145 release under supervision cases in the first quarter, significantly more than the typical 100 per quarter in previous years.

The department is dealing with more opiate addictions, which complicates supervision.

The DWI caseload has remained steady, the reports says.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Photo: Windmills working hard as wind picks up

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Partridge Farm, weather

By early this evening, the wind was whipping enough to really turn the blades on the windmills on Partridge Farms on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

There is a weather advisory in place until 9 p.m. There's a 90-percent chance of rain storms after 9 p.m.

The good news is, clear skies tomorrow, or so they say.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Hawley calls on State Ed Dept. to clarify Common Core opt-out rules

post by Howard B. Owens in common core, education, schools, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the New York State Education Department (SED) to provide guidance to parents and school districts about the consequences of opting out of Common Core tests and what it could mean for future funding. Hawley said school districts are operating in the dark about what will happen as a result of a large number of students opting out of the upcoming Common Core tests, and that State Ed should provide more information so parents can make informed decisions.  

“I realize that Common Core is an increasingly controversial issue and thousands of students have already opted out of the tests,” Hawley said. “While I respect parents’ rights to opt their children out of the Common Core tests, I do not want them to make a decision that will negatively impact the funding received by their school districts. This is why I am calling on SED to clarify how opting out will impact schools’ funding. At this point, SED has created a complex situation where many factors are still undetermined. It is their obligation to provide direction to schools. SED has an equal responsibility to provide us with accurate information as to how funding will be impacted if a large number of students chose to forgo the state assessments this year.”

Common Core tests for English Language Arts begin tomorrow and Math Assessments begin later this month. In 2014, more than 100,000 students opted out of both the English and Math tests. Schools are required to maintain adequate yearly progress and show 95 percent participation in state assessments for grades three through eight to remain eligible for full Federal funding.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Photos: Jaycees clean up Veterans Memorial Drive

Members of the Batavia Area Jaycees and the Junior Jaycees joined forces Saturday to do a little community clean-up work along Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

Photos submitted by Cathy Colby.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

City Schools superintendent addresses opt-out issue on Common Core tests

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

Open letter from Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City Schools:

We are writing today to share your district’s perspective on the New York State Assessments in grades 3-8 that will be taking place April 14-16 and April 22-24, 2015.

Pursuant to New York State Education Department (NYSED) Regulations and subsequent guidance, all students in public and charter schools in Grades 3-8 are required to take all State assessments administered for their grade level, in accordance with both Federal and State laws. NYSED has made clear that, with very limited exceptions (such as with regard to certain students with disabilities), “there is no provision in the statute or regulation that allow parents to opt their children out of State Assessments.” Further, all public schools in New York State are mandated by NYSED to require all students in attendance in school or in attendance on the assessment days or make-up days, to take the assessment scheduled for that day.

Batavia joins many other districts in calling for an end to using these assessments in the administrator and teacher evaluation process. We believe that great teaching is not always reflected in the results of any single assessment. We also believe that state assessments are just one indicator that can help us analyze student growth and school performance. As far as the opt out/refusal movement that has taken place this spring, we would like to share how having your child refuse the test could impact BCSD through these four points:

1. We do not use the assessment results to punish or terminate teachers. Rather, we work collaboratively with the BOE, administrators and teacher union to ensure that we keep perspective over this one piece of data for student achievement. It is not used in BCSD to hurt our administrators, teachers or students.

2. The assessment data allows us to analyze and reflect on Batavia’s curriculum and instruction practices while also comparing our students to other students across the state with similar population demographics. In general, we do very well compared to other small city school districts with populations like BCSD.

3. We are a Focus District. We were identified in the summer of 2012 for a subgroup of students at Robert Morris in 2009-10 that struggled with the NYS assessments. We were told it would be a three year process of working with NYSED to improve incrementally each year. Since Robert Morris was closing due to the consolidation, we were required to have the school with the largest population of that subgroup take its place. Thus, the Middle School became our Focus School. We have had to submit education improvement plans for both the District and Middle School each year that must then be approved by NYSED. Thus far, we have shown incremental growth each year. If we do not make our participation rate of 95% on the exams, we potentially could lose more local control for our district. We have regularly made this participation target. This year we are in jeopardy of not reaching our participation rate due to the number of refusals being submitted by parents. Two or more years of not making the participation goal could lead to us being deemed a Priority District which would have even more ramifications than being a Focus District.

4. If our participation rate dips below 95% we can also potentially lose a portion or the entire Title I federal grant, which impacts 26 teaching positions and professional development opportunities for our staff. It would be the equivalent of losing funding for 12 full-time teaching positions.

We hope this information is helpful and thank you for providing us with outstanding children to work, learn and grow with every day. Take Care of BCSD!

Christopher J. Dailey, Superintendent of Schools

Molly Corey, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

Law and Order: Drug charges follow traffic stop in Stafford

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

Jacqueline Raj Garrett, 36, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Garrett was stopped at 5:37 p.m. Sunday on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy Michael Lute. Garrett was jailed on $100 cash bail. A passenger, Aaron D. Swimline, 29, of Tinkham Road, Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jeanette Higgins, 39, of 23 Holland Ave., Batavia, is charged with two felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of petit larceny. Higgins is accused of submitting forms to DSS that didn't disclose cash child support payments. Higgins allegedly received $208 in food stamp payments in February and March for which she wasn't entitled. Higgins was arrested by a Sheriff's deputy following an investigation by DSS.

Adrionna S. Ellison, 18, of Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Ellison was reportedly ordered to leave College Village property and not return. A security officer later allegedly found her hiding under a bed in one of the apartments. She was arrested by State Police and issued an appearance ticket.

Lydia Grossi-Young, 45, of Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Grossi-Young was alleged involved in a domestic incident at 2 p.m. Sunday in Batavia.

Daniel Paul Molina, 35, of West Broad Street, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, unlicensed operator and driving a vehicle without proper stop lights. Molina was stopped at 6:47 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Molina allegedly has more than 10 prior driver license suspensions. Molina was jailed on $5,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of County Route 53, Arkport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 6:06 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona, and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Jaime Lynn Killinger, 38, of West Taft Road, Le Roy, was arrested on warrants stemming from a DWI charge and a charge of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Killinger was arrested by the Irondequoit Police Department and turned over to the Sheriff's Office and jailed on $500 bail.

Eric Robert Root, 18, of West Avenue, Spencerport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Root was stopped at 6:54 p.m. Friday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Kyle Timothy Johnson, 25, of Park Avenue, Waterport, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Johnson was arrested at 1:52 a.m. Friday on West Main Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Joseph Corona, after allegedly being found in possession of a hypodermic instrument he was not legally allowed to possess.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., 30, of Water Street, Attica, is charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. The arrest stems from an alleged incident reported Nov. 6 at a residence on Liberty Street, Batavia. Cramer was jailed without bail.

Andrew L. Kosiorek, 43, of Wood Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Kosiorek allegedly failed to comply with terms of Drug Treatment Court and was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Mark W. Grabowski, 57, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an unreasonable noise charge.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 9:40 am

Photos: Stan's opens new showroom

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Stan's Harley-Davidson

Stan's Harley-Davidson held an open house Saturday to celebrate the opening of its new, expanded showroom. As part of the ceremonies, Lt. Colonel Ulises Miranda III from Early College International High School, Army JROTC Battalion, presented Daryl Horzempa and Debbie Parks of Stan's an award for their commitment to veterans.

Presentation of Colors

Jon DelVecchio, of Street Skills, was on hand to discuss motorcycle rider safety.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 5:03 am

Wind advisory issued for this afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A wind advisory has been issued for this afternoon with winds of 15 to 25 mph expected from 2 p.m. into late evening.

Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible.

The winds will be from the southwest.

The weather service warns of tree branches down and isolated power outages. Travel may be difficult for high profile vehicles. Unsecured items should be brought indoors.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 4:56 am

Car on fire in field off Bloomingdale Road

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, fire

A car is reportedly on fire in a field in the area of 986 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

A chief on scene reports the car is well off the road.

Alabama fire is responding.

UPDATE 5 a.m.: A deputy is in route.

UPDATE 6:11 a.m.: Alabama fire had cleared the scene. Now there's a report of a field fire in the same location. Alabama fire responding.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Raffaele Ponti honored by GSO Board prior to final show with orchestra

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

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors hosted a farewell luncheon at GO ART! this afternoon for Raffaele Ponti, the musical director and conductor of the orchestra for 18 years who will conduct his final concert with the GSO tomorrow.

The luncheon was attended by board members and several longtime orchestra members, including Helen Grapka, pictured above with Ponti and his daughter, Sofia.

Sofia is holding the violin Grapka played for 46 years with GSO. She sold it to the Ponti family, along with the violin of her late husband, John, when she retired from music a few years ago. Sofia will play it during her featured performance at tomorrow's concert.

Grapka is the last surviving founding member of GSO.

In the 1940s, she and her husband played with a small orchestra organized by a local man who wanted to be a conductor each Jan. 1 at the old folks home in Bethany. At the 1947 show, Helen and John had a conversation with two members of their string quartet and decided they should start a local orchestra.

The GSO's first concert was later that year, in November, at the old Dipson Theater. Some 1,400 people attended and hundreds more were turned away at the door. Grapka remembers men showing up in tuxedos and the women dressed in long gowns and minks.

From the beginning, the orchestra attracted the finest musicians in the area and had a dozen first violinists that first season.

John Grapka was musical director at the New York State School for the Blind and after teaching at a public school for six years, Helen taught music at the School for the Blind for 20 years.

She's proud that what she and her husband started has lasted into the 21st Century.

"If anything ever happens and it all falls apart, it will never happen again," Grapka said. "It's important to keep it going because it's such an important cultural thing for the community."

Tomorrow's concert is at 4 p.m. at Batavia High School.

Ponti with an award presented to him by Board President Paul Saskowski and Board Member Roxanne Choate. 

Below are pictures from yesterday's rehearsal at Batavia High School. Dave Mancini is also performing with the orchestra tomorrow. The Rochester resident will perform on some of his own compositions, including "A Piece for Him," which he wrote and dedicated to his father. Members of the Student String Workshop (featured in some of the photos below) will also perform with the orchestra.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Attorneys in Frost Ridge case back in court to argue for and against ruling on live music concerts

post by Howard B. Owens in Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy

There's no dispute that there was live music at the Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy prior to 2008, and there's no dispute there was amplified music there, either, said an attorney representing the family that brought suit against Frost Ridge seeking to shut down its summer concert series.

Those prior acts, however, do not constitute a prior use of Frost Ridge as a concert venue with amplified life music, Mindy Zoghlin told Judge Robert C. Noonan during a hearing in Superior Court today where Zoghlin and Town of Le Roy Attorney Reid Whiting argued that Noonan should favor them with a ruling barring amplified live music and demanding relief from other alleged zoning violations.

(The record) at best establishes there were people playing music around the campfire and when there were skiers there was amplified music," Zoghlin said.

David Roach, representing the owners of Frost Ridge, David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, told Noonan that and other points raised verbally by Zoghlin and Reed were addressed in his written memo to Noonan answering their motions for summary judgement, so he wasn't going to belabor the points today.

In the memo, Roach argues that there were live music shows at Frost Ridge under prior ownership that were open to the public.

In fact, Roach argues, that everything from the live music issue, to the camping use of the campground and current structures on the property, all fit within the prior, non-conforming use of the property.

Even if those uses have expanded, he argued, case law favors Frost Ridge. 

"Nothing in the record indicates Frost Ridge has ever changed its recreational use or expanded it to something non-recreational," Roach wrote, citing a case known as Hollow v. Owen. "'...a mere increase in the volume or intensity of the use is not necessarily an extension or enlargement of such use.'"

Among the reasons Zoghlin said Noonan should find in the favor of her clients, David and Marny Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins (Marny and Betsy are sisters and granddaughters of the original property owner), is that a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) determination that the concerts fell within prior, non-conforming use was, essentially, illegal.

Noonan has already ruled that the ZBA failed to provide proper public notice of the meeting in 2013 where the board came to a unanimous conclusion that everything at Frost Ridge, including live amplified music, was permissible because of the historical use of the property.

The property became a ski area and campground in the 1960s and later new zoning laws were adopted by the Town of Le Roy that made the area a residential/agriculture zone.

There's no way, Zoghlin argued, that a concert venue falls within the town's definition of an R/A zone.

Roach argued that Noonan's ruling on the public notice issue went merely to the procedural sufficiency of the notice, but did not overturn the finding. Citing case law, Roach argues that even granting the notice issue, the ZBA had the authority to make the determination.

Zoghlin wants the ZBA determination overturned, arguing that the decision was reached in such a defective fashion that even referring the case back to the ZBA would be inappropriate.

Roach told Noonan that such a ruling would still result in the ZBA taking up the issue again, and the ZBA would likely reach the same conclusion, and then that determination would result in new lawsuits by the current plaintiffs (Cleere and Collins and the Town of Le Roy), so Noonan would then be dealing with four lawsuits total over one single issue.

If Noonan finds the ZBA determination defective, the only reasonable action, Roach said, would be to refer the case back to the ZBA to cure the procedural defect of its original determination (meaning, hold a properly noticed public hearing).

At the end of the hearing, Noonan reserved his decision and promised a written decision soon.

If Noonan doesn't issue a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff's, the suit will proceed, perhaps, eventually, to a jury trial. If that's the case, Zoghlin said, Noonan should reinstate the temporary restraining order barring live amplified music at Frost Ridge.

Roach said that such an order would put Frost Ridge out of business and therefore impermissibly grant the plaintiff's the ultimate outcome they seek through the lawsuit. He also argued that during the period last summer when concerts were once again allowed at the campground, there were no complaints, no arrests, no disturbances and a deputy was positioned in the neighborhood to monitor noise and found the venue in compliance with Noonan's orders. The town has also established a noise ordinance, rendering moot the need for a restraining order.

So far, six concerts at The Ridge have been booked for the summer.

For our prior coverage, click here.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Wind damage hitting Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A vent on the roof of Ken's Charcoal Pits/City Slickers blew off the roof a short time ago. Owner Ken Mistler said the trees seemed to have saved three cars that were parked on the street from damage.

The restaurants remain open.

Meanwhile, a reader sent in the bottom picture of a downed tree at the Blind School and Bethany fire has been dispatched to 9524 Clipnock Road for a report of a utility pole that has broken and only being held up by wires.

There's also report of a tree down with wires involved at 240 State St., near Hart Street, Batavia, and wires "ripped from the residence" on Pearl Street Road. City fire is responding to the first call, East Pembroke to the second.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: A tree fell onto a car at 161 Washington Ave. in the city and wires are also down. City fire responding.

UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: A tree and wires are down across the roadway, blocking traffic, at 259 Ross St. and city fire is responding.

UPDATE: more photos ... 

State Street

Centennial Park

Washington Avenue

UPDATE: Ross Street

UPDATE, photo from Greg Rada of Clipnock Road.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Le Roy resident charged with assault in the second degree

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A 20-year-old Le Roy resident allegedly used a knife in a confrontation with another person and has been charged with second-degree assault as a result.

Le Roy PD did not release information on the nature of injuries, if any, sustained by the victim.

Jarrod K. Fotiathis was jailed on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

He is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of alcohol.

Brittany B. Cina, 25, was also charged with harassment, 2nd. Cina allegedly punched a person. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Truck traffic shut down on Route 77 for low wire

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama

Eastbound semi-truck traffic is being shut down on Lewiston Road at Route 77 to Knowlesville Road, Alabama, because of a low-hanging wires.

There's also a utility pole leaning over the roadway on Lewiston Road. All eastbound traffic on Ledge Road will be closed at Route 77.

Alabama fire with mutual aid from Indian Falls responding.

National Grid is reporting a 30-minute ETA for the Ledge Road incident.UP

UPDATE 12:34 p.m.: There's a report of wires down at 12 Walnut Street, Batavia.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

A 366-acre area in Batavia designated as 'brownfield opportunity area'

The governor's office announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas today, including one in Batavia. Here's a portion of the press release. We've included the top overview portion of the press release and the section about Batavia.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas in economically challenged communities across New York State. The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program helps local communities establish revitalization strategies that return dormant and blighted areas into productive areas to spur economic development. This designation is based upon plans of varying focus that reflect local conditions, and projects receiving this designation are given priority status for grants and additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives.

“By designating these sites as brownfield opportunity areas, we are helping to reimagine their potential as vibrant parts of the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This distinction allows us to put their rehabilitation on the fast-track with additional state resources, and that means new development, jobs and opportunities in the future. This is another way that our administration is joining with local partners to revitalize blighted areas across the state, and I look forward to seeing their transformation continue in the days to come.”

Prior to their designation, these communities received planning grants financed through New York’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program to complete a nomination that set forth revitalization strategies and promoted sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within the affected areas. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these BOAs and has determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within a designated BOA will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives and receive priority and preference for State grants to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use.

Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
Separate from the sites receiving BOA designation today, the 2015-16 State Budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for 10 years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate. The Budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for ten years. The Superfund has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the State.

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said: “These designations will serve as tremendous environmental and economic development engines for communities in need of public and private investment. The added incentives will afford these communities great opportunities for new housing development, businesses and job creation, and overall beautification.” The Secretary of State is charged with the designation of BOAs after a community planning process.

Val Washington, president, New Partners for Community Revitalization, said: "From Buffalo to the Bronx, from Wyandanch on Long Island to Lewis County in the North Country, New York's BOA Program is showing its worth. Uniquely, it brings community and municipal leaders together to develop plans to revitalize neighborhoods impacted by multiple brownfields. We applaud and support Governor Cuomo's important announcement today, and appreciate his leadership in increasing state government support for developers who will work in these designated areas."


Batavia Opportunity Area, Genesee County -- This consists of a 366-acre area characterized by an estimated 75 potential brownfield sites located within the Batavia Central Corridor. The primary community revitalization objectives include: cleaning up and redeveloping underutilized, vacant and brownfield properties with appropriate uses; stabilizing existing neighborhoods; and continuing the revitalization of the Downtown Business District. A $266,508 BOA Program grant financed planning activities.

City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino said: “We would like to thank the Department of State for providing the funding and guidance to complete Batavia’s Batavia Opportunity Area plan. The Batavia BOA has been an overwhelming success and we have already seen significant developer interest in our brownfield sites. To date we have already received more than $2 million in grant funding for TEP, NY Main Street and CDBG applications that advance recommendations in the Plan.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Steve Pike explains why he dug up urn with father's ashes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

WATCH: Stephen Pike, the 18-year-old accused of digging up his father's grave, explains why he did it.Read more HERE: http://spr.ly/61894Zt5

Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Thursday, April 9, 2015

From The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM.

Steve Pike, the 18-year-old Perry resident charged with aggravated cemetery desecration, explained today why he dug up his father's urn at St. Joseph Cemetery.

I get it," Pike said. "They might have saw disrespect, but he's my father. I think the urn is right under only about that deep under. I never even thought I would be as close to my dad as I was. I got his jacket. I got his Coca-Cola stuff. I got all this stuff, but you know you want closure." 

Pike's father died in 2006. 

"I can't find anybody. Nobody really gets it. So I went over to the cemetery and I just grabbed a shovel. Little, not a big shovel. Just lifted up the dirt, put up the grass, and I found it and I kind of just broke down emotionally right there, and I'm like, 'Wow, Dad,'" he said. "I never thought I would be that close to my dad. I can't hug him. If his body was under there and not his ashes, I'm not going to dig up his body."

Pike turned himself in today. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

UPDATE: Here's a link to 13WHAM's full story where Pike explains further that he didn't learn who his biological father was until after his father died.

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