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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 10:07 am

Winter storm watch issued for Tuesday evening through Thursday morning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

From 6 to 12 inches of snow may fall on the area some time between Tuesday evening and Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds of 10 to 20 mph from the northwest are expected and visibility during the heavy parts of the storm are expected to drop to a half mile.

A winter storm watch is in effect.

The weather service warns of slick roads and difficult travel.

The forecast confidence is "medium."

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

Truck and car accident reported in Village of Le Roy, minor injuries

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy

A car has reportedly become stuck under a truck at West Main Street and Clay Street, Village of Le Roy.

Minor injuries are reported.

Le Roy fire and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 9:41 a.m.: The patient was a sign-off.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: The Le Roy assignment is back in service.

Photos submitted by Jeff Scott.

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

Your membership helps sustain The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

It's still important to us that you join The Batavian Club. As I've said before, every membership is important to us. We appreciate the support. It goes a long way toward helping us meet all the expenses associated with The Batavian (expenses that are growing all the time).

This isn't just about us, however. It's also about you. You receive valuable savings at local businesses at an amount far exceeding the membership cost, and if you enjoy getting your local news from The Batavian, you are helping to sustain that effort.

So many people every day tell me how much they love The Batavian. All we're asking is for those loyal fans to make a small financial contribution to help support and sustain our news coverage and in exchange we'll send you valuable gift certificates that greatly surpass the price of the membership.

NOTE: If you've joined in the past two months (a handful of people have, even without prompting by a post like this), we will send out your membership get with the batch generated by our effort over the next three weeks to invite more people to join. Sorry for the delay, be putting together the kits is a time-intensive process, so we do them in batches).

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year (a recurring annual payment)

Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one-time payment of $60

Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 6:00 am

Flip Ads contest starts today

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, business, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

Reposting the announcement below as a reminder that our contest starts today.

Some of you may have already noticed -- there are a couple of sponsor's ads on the right side of the page that if you mouse over the box, it flips over to reveal a secondary message.

This is a new concept in online display advertising and locally, it's only available onThe Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press.

To help kick off the introduction of Flip Ads we're running a contest over four days this week (four days between Monday and Friday). We will randomly pick an ad on the site and make it a Flip Ad, and the secondary message will be a secret code. The code will go up at some unannounced time during the day and stay up until we have a winner. The first person to e-mail me, [email protected], with the correct code, will win $25 cash. (In your e-mail, include your full name and address. By participating and claiming you're prize, you're agreeing that we can use your name to announce the day's winner).

Easy to win: mouse over ads and find the Flip Ad with the secret code, like an Easter Egg hunt.

Sponsors: Interested in Flip Ads? Contact Lisa Ace, [email protected], or (585) 250-4118, to sign up.

CLARIFICATION: The contest isn't just to identify which ads are Flip Ads. It's to find the one that has a secret code under it. When you flip the ad, there will be a word or numbers or phrase that you need to e-mail to me. I'm getting a lot of people sending me the names of the advertisers with Flip Ads (Reed Eye and Kreative Kitchen), but that's not how the contest works. But thanks for playing!

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 12:11 am

Fully involved car fire on the Thruway

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, thruway

Town of Batavia is responding to a fully involved car fire on the Thruway, reported at mile marker 388.2 in the westbound lane.

A chief on scene reports, "it's going good."

UPDATE 1:04 a.m.: The fire was a result of the car hitting a deer.  There were no injuries as a result of the accident.

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Garage fire reported on Adams Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

A garage fire is reported at 12 Adams St., Batavia.

City fire is dispatched.

UPDATE 9:14 p.m.: A second call, flames showing.

UPDATE(S)(By Billie) 9:20 p.m.: The garage fire is fully involved. Town of Batavia is requested to provide mutual aid at the scene. Stafford is asked to fill in at city fire headquarters.

UPDATE 9:22 p.m.: Alexander fast team and Elba fire are called in. The location is between Madison and Roosevelt avenues.

UPDATE 9:31 p.m.: There was an explosion. Gasoline is running down the driveway, mixed with water. The fire appears to be nearly knocked down, but there are hot spots remaining.

UPDATE 9:35 p.m.: Mercy medics are called to stage at the scene.

UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: The son of the property owners said his parents were watching TV and saw flames coming from the corner of the garage. After his father came outside, there was an explosion. The cause of the blaze is unknown. The son said there was no electricity in the part of the garage where the fire appears to have started.

UPDATE 9:52 p.m.: The garage contained a 20-gallon container of gasoline, acetylene tanks, and a propane tank. Many tools were also inside, but not the car -- it's in the repair shop.

UPDATE 10:55 p.m.: Streets that were shut down in the area are being reopened. Alexander has been released. Some equipment being picked up.

UPDATE 11:55 p.m.: City crews remain on scene. There's still a strong odor of gasoline on the downhill side of Adams Street. We spoke with Chief Jim Maxwell. He said the cause of the fire is under investigation. There is no indication right now as to how it started. "I don't want to speculate," Maxwell said. "It's under investigation. We'll see where that takes us."

Below is 58 seconds of video from the scene. At this point, firefighters are letting the fuel burn itself out while containing the fire to that one location.

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Friends and neighbors rally around Corfu business owner who lost everything, but gave so much to her community

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire, pembroke

The tears were gone. She had no more, said Renee Franclemont in the midst of a conversation yesterday about the fire that destroyed her business in a barn on Alleghany Road, Corfu, an hour before sunrise Thursday morning.

The fire consumed more than $20,000 in inventory, killed 17 chickens, devoured a season's worth of hay and straw, and turned a grand and well-aged barn into ash and rubble.

Franclemont grew up in Corfu. She is the daughter of a former Corfu fire chief and a mother who was a volunteer EMT.

She knew all the firefighters Thursday morning, and they knew her.

"It was sad," she said. "They felt helpless."

The old farmhouse 100 paces to the north of the barn, was built in 1890 and added onto over the years, has, of course, been the home to families, as it is now to Franclemont, her two boys, two girls and partner Clinton Konfederath. It has housed the Rarick law firm and accommodated countless guests as a bed and breakfast.

Four years ago Franclemont bought her house and the 14 acres of land that go with it because she loved the barn.

"I moved to this house because I wanted my barn," Franclemont said. "I wanted that barn. My kids all know. We moved in and I didn't even unpack boxes. I went into that barn and I set to cleaning the barn. I wasn't even thinking about a business. I wanted the barn."

The structure was even older than the house and functioned as a co-op antique store formerly owned by Gemma Rarick in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, in red letters made of wood slats affixed below its peaked roof was the official business name: "The Barn." The words, bold and artful, were eight feet tall and could be seen hundreds of yards away by travelers heading north on Route 77.

To avoid any sign ordinance issues, Franclemont called her business "The Farm" and kept the same lettering nailed to the gray, asphalt shingles that at some point were installed as siding on the oldest end of the building.

Nobody insures businesses housed in 150-year-old barns. Franclement tried to have it insured, and for a time it was, for just $29,000, which Franclement felt was well below its real value.

"That's all they would insure it for because it was that old," Franclemont said. "They didn't look at it like you and I look at a barn. They looked at it as rough and horrible. We look at it and think, 'that's perfect.' "

When the insurance company realized there was a licensed business in the barn, the policy was yanked and all of her pleas for coverage went unheeded.

The Farm is truly a family business. Franclemont and Konfederath run it, of course, but all four children help out.

Austin, 19, and 15-year-old Dakota, both work there. Austin was last year's leading scorer and an all-league player on Pembroke's soccer team, and is now a student at GCC. His brother was a slender-framed punter on the football team, who walked into the kitchen Saturday dressed in camoflauge with a rifle slung over his shoulder (he bagged two rabbits that afternoon).

They can be left alone at times, Franclemont said, to run things if she needs to tend to errands.

Never left alone, but adept at sales and operating the cash register are Montana, 11, and Sawyer Mae, 6.

Montana is the real chicken farmer in the family. A chicken whisperer, her mother called her. Blonde, popular at school, into gymnastics and cheerleading, Montana keeps herself and her mom busy.

Only a week ago, Montana seemingly saved a chicken that appeared ill and unlikely to survive. The girl took the bird in her arms, wrapped it in warm cloth and held it while sitting in the store.

"We didn't think the chicken was going to make it and the next day it was running around, so she must have saved it," Franclemont said.

Sawyer Mae has no less energy than her older sister, but it's not always directed at school. She's a bit of a tomboy who favors plaid shirts, purple pants and cowboy boots.

"She could probably run the business by herself," Franclemont said. "She's the one who wants to miss school so she can pick pumpkins or just work around the farm or in the store."

As we spoke, visitors dropped by and popped in here and there. Some brought hugs, others clutched cards stuffed in bulging white envelopes. They entered the family room and adjoining kitchen and dining area through the back door off the gravelled driveway.

The visitors were tenderly welcomed into her home, which is decorated much like you might expect from a woman whose business is also her life. 

The flat-screen TV sits atop a black wood and cast iron 19th Century sewing machine table, so big it must have come from a Gilded Age factory. On the opposite wall is a wooden, weathered round-rung ladder that was carried from the old barn to adorn the family room wall. At one point, Franclemont took a plank from the barn and painted in white the words  "Bed and Breakfast" on it, to honor one of the prior businesses in her old house. That hangs above the couch.

The white-curtained dining room window faces south. The driveway and a small, bridge-covered creek separate the house from the cement foundation of the barn. Tom Konfederath and Rick Claire spent most of the previous 48 hours using backhoes and loaders to knock down and haul away the burnt, charred and twisted ruins of the barn. Clinton was out there breaking up cement so it, too, could be taken to a dump or recycling center.

Everybody thought it a good idea to get rid of the debris as quickly as possible so the Corfu Fire Department wouldn't be burdened with an endless string of rekindle calls.

All that remained of the store's inventory after the fire -- save produce kept in a cooler that just by coincidence and for no reason at all had a fireproof door -- was black ash or melted and mangled beyond recognition.

The inventory came from seven consignees, all but one a Genesee County resident. Almost everything they sold was repurposed from something old: Milk canisters with handpainted farm scenes; spiffed up 19th Century hand tools to hang on walls; lanterns that once lit the way but are best used these days as a "needful thing"; antique bed headboards converted into benches; and wood from other long lost barns cut sign-size and handpainted with clever and wise aphorisms.

In the home-decorating industry, the stock is called "primitive." It's the kind of baubles and curiosities that appeal to Western New Yorkers whose magazine subscriptions include "Yankee" and "Traditional Home" more so than "Dwell" and "Atomic Ranch."

The fire started in the chicken coop. We know that because that was the only thing with flames showing after Franclemont and Konfederath were awoken around 5 a.m. Thursday by a man pounding on their back door.

The chicken coop was newly constructed and purposefully placed next to the barn.

The kind of customers drawn to The Farm love farm animals. After acquiring some more chickens from another farmer who wanted to get rid of them, it seemed like a good idea to build the chicken coop closer to the customers.

"We made this big beautiful coop," Franclemont said. "I wanted it closer to the barn because my customers love to see the chickens walk around. That's part of it. They love my pig and they love the chickens and I wanted the chicken coop close to the barn so the customers see all that. A lot of kids would go over and open the thing and check for eggs."

Somehow, while 17 adult chickens perished in the fire, 11 young ones (bigger than chicks), survived.

When they were hauled from the fire, the 11 babies were unconscious and laying on their sides. Franclemont thought they were dead, but when she shook them, the soot-covered fowl sprang to life.

When you're under stress and you see your life going up in flames, time passes slowly. Seconds seem like minutes, minutes like hours.

It seemed, Franclemont said, like it took forever for the first fire trucks to arrive at her barn on the Route 33 side of Cohocton Road.

Corfu Chief Dean Eck arrived on scene, as chiefs do, before the fire trucks.

"He felt helpless," Franclemont said. "We're both standing there just waiting for the trucks to come."

Konfederath does all the farming for the family business. He grows produce sold in the store, the corn with stalks that make for handsome decorations in the fall, the thousands of pumpkins sold in October, the hay and straw that was stored in the barn's loft, awaiting shipment to horse farm customers.

"Some firemen were showing up and I was saying, 'it can't get to that hay,' " Franclemont said. "If it goes up the wall and gets to where we store hay and straw, we're done. It hit the hay and it was like lightning -- woosh -- and it lit up the whole barn. It was gone."

As flames licked the side of the barn, Franclemont was frantic to save what she could from the business. She grabbed the cash box and then went back for some of her books. When she wanted to go in again, this time for the records of her consignees sales, a deputy stopped her. After some arguing with the deputy and the chief, they agreed to let Konfederath go in and see if he could grab the records quickly.

When he opened the door, the heat rushed out. There were already flames in the store and a black velvet curtain of smoke billowed in his face. It was too late to save anything more.

The tragedy of fire trails a painful, draining and difficult summer for Franclemont.

In June, she was in an ATV accident and tore up her knee pretty bad. Following surgery, she was driving something a little less adventurous than a four-wheeler. She needed a Hoveround to move through the house and in the shop. Even so, her work time was limited.

Then she developed spinal meningitis. That meant more hospitalization.  

In September, she needed knee surgery again, so more time on crutches and less time working in her shop.

"I finally got back to work and I was enjoying stuff and painting again and opening the store up because that's me," Franclemont said. "That's what I want to do. I didn't want somebody else to do it."

During her convalescence, Franclemont received plenty of help. Most of her consignees pitched in and kept the store open, including Franclemont's friend, consignee and employee Lauryn Brick, who put in a lot of hours helping Franclemont with her business and her life, including raising funds from the community to help with Franclemont's uninsured medical expenses.

Of course she helped, Brick said. Her friend does so much for the community without ever asking anything in return.  

She helped organize fundraisers for Austin Heinemen, the Pembroke teen and cancer patient who inspired Austin's Army, even going "Bald for Bucks." When another friend was in her own ATV accident a year ago, Franclemont helped raise funds to assist. 

"This girl will help anyone," Brick said. "You can ask anyone in our community."

Getting back to work was so very important to Franclemont. She immediately started building furniture again, and her father, Richard Franclemont, who also builds primitive-style furniture, added more inventory to her store.

Last week, Franclemont drove down to Pennsylvania and brought back a trailer full of unfinished Amish furniture.

Three days before the fire, she and Konfederath completed adding two more rooms to the shop for all the new inventory.

It's only a matter of happenstance that saved the recently purchased Amish furniture. A relative needed to use her large trailer, so all of the furniture was unpacked and hauled down to the house basement for storage.

The saved furniture gives Franclemont a step forward toward opening a new store in the same location in the spring.

She and her partner have already started planning the new building. It will be a pole barn with hemlock siding and a metal roof.

"I'm never going to get that look again of the inside of my barn," Franclemont said. "I've been to a lot of stores. I'm going to try and make it look as antique and old inside as possible, though I don't know how we're going to do it. I don't like this new building look in a new store. I don't want that. I think once we put our furniture in there and our consigner stuff, it will create that feel."

The new barn will sit further back from the road because Franclemont, for the sake of children's safety, was always uncomfortable with how close the rows and rows of pumpkins would sit to Route 77. There will also be a lean-to for better display of produce. The big amenity the old barn lacked was a bathroom for customers. The new barn will have a bathroom.

If that sounds promising, like an upgrade, Franclemont isn't fooling herself into thinking it will be better than her old barn, with its notched, hand-hewn beams and aged wooden walls and sense of time and place that can only be created over the space of decades.

"This is an opportunity to do something new, but I was happy with just the way it was," Franclemont said. "I would rather have that barn than a new building any day. I'm sure we'll be better and everything will be fine, and we'll have some things we didn't have before, but I can't replace the barn."

News of the fire spread fast in the era of digital media. There were so many people offering help, or just a kind word.

The morning of the fire, Linda Richley, from Linda's Family Diner, already had 40 breakfast sandwiches made for firefighters when Al Graham showed up to see what he could get for the crews. She also delivered boxes of coffee.

In the fire's aftermath, the Reynolds family from Reyncrest Farms pitched in to clean.

The folks at Alleghany Farm Services provided transportation for the heavy equipment used in the cleanup.

The Farm's Facebook page was flooded with messages from well-wishers. Her phone was buzzing with phone calls and text messages. At one point, her friend Tricia Heinemen took the phone away from her and told her to go sleep.

There's so many people Franclement wants to thank. All of the letters for her marquee sign she kept along the edge of the roadway were destroyed by the fire, so with black spray paint she wrote, "Thank you / Everyone / XO."

"How do you thank everybody?" Franclemont said. "I tried to keep up and I can't. I know I've missed somebody. I don't even know what to say."

Lauryn Brick said she's overwhelmed by the thought of all that her friend lost, and how she poured her heart and soul into her business, only to see it destroyed in a matter of minutes by a chicken coup fire.

"She needs to rebuild everything that was so tragically taken from her," Brick said. "She has four children that she also provides for and to think, this happened during the holidays."

Brick, along with Renee Everett, have set up a GoFundMe account seeking community donations to help Franclemont rebuild and take care of her family.

Franclemont is unaccustomed to being the person on the receiving end of other people's charity. 

With her eyes still puffy from days of crying, and despite her thought that she had no more tears to shed, when she sat at her kitchen counter and recalled the outpouring of support from her friends and neighbors, the skin around Franclemont's eyes reddened and glistened again with tears.

She didn't want her picture taken once she started crying again.

"I'm not good at taking stuff from people," Franclemont said in her normally clear, alto tone, but then her voice went up an octave. "I'm the person," she said, voice breaking. "I like to give. I don't want people giving me stuff. I want to give to people.

"In my family, we do stuff for people," she added with the tears continuing to stream down her face. "I don't want people doing stuff for me. There's much worse off people than me. My friends have cancer. My friend was just in an accident. They're bad. I'm not bad. I have a house to live in. I'm not sick. I'm not fighting for my life. Those people need my help, not me. I know my community knows that, that I don't want any help. I know they're going to do it anyways because that's the way they are. Anybody that knows me knows that it's hard for me to take anything from anyone."

The way Brick sees it, her friend may not be asking for help, but she needs it.

File photo of Renee Franclemont in her store from 2012.

File photo of "The Barn" from September, 2010.

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Photos: Le Roy tops off Winterfest with Christmas tree lighting

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, winterfest

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Photo: Ghost Asylum crew and cast spotted on Jackson Street, Batavia

 

Two cast members of the SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters "Ghost Asylum," a new show from Destination America, ham it up after filming a take for a segment of the show that will include Batavia.

Crew members couldn't discuss the details of the episode. At least one scene will be from Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe on Jackson Street. I'm under the impression there are other scenes being taped at other locations in the county.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Noonan denies motion to dismiss in Frost Ridge case

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

The failure to publish a public notice prior to a September 2013 Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on whether Frost Ridge Campground was in violation of zoning laws deprived neighbors of an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the board's decision, Judge Robert C. Noonan wrote in a ruling issued Friday.

The ruling was in response to a motion by the defendants, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges their ability to host live music concerts at the campground.

"The ZEO (Zoning Enforcement Officer)/ZBA's lack of compliance with the notice requirements was so grievous that no statute of limitations bars this action," Noonan wrote in the decision.

Noonan's ruling means that the lawsuits against Frost Ridge will proceed to trial.

The Luetticke-Archbells are fighting two lawsuits over live music at their natural amphitheater, and allegations that the campground was expanded in violation of zoning codes.

One lawsuit was filed by David and Marney Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins, the other by the Town of Le Roy.

To date, the case has been a series of motions and hearings, but it appears that Noonan's ruling on this motion clears the way for trial.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Le Roy zooms past Warsaw with pressure defense and fast breaks

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

After a pre-season disrupted by a championship run by the football team, three days of practice lost to snowy weather and Thanksgiving, Le Roy's basketball team is still working out some kinks.

A rebuilding team of Warsaw Tigers got a taste Friday night of what a kinkless Oatka Knights might look like.

The Knights pressured on defense, forced turnovers and converted fast breaks into buckets to put 64 points on the board compared to 37 for the Tigers.

The win comes after a season opening 62-47 loss to York.

"Today we played with more energy, more flow to what we want to do," said Le Roy's Head Coach Rick Rapone. "In another week or two, we'll be right where we should be. We'll be fine."

Kody Lamkin had his second double-double in two games with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Egeling had 10 points and 10 rebounds

"Those are the guys we would expect to pretty much do it for us every game," Rapone said.

Dylan Laney sparked the offense early, scoring 10 points for the game.

Mike McMullen was playing on a sore ankle, but Rapone praised his strong performance as the team's floor leader. 

Coming off an 0-18 season, the Tigers are now coached by Steve Baker. Baker has seven years experience coaching basketball. The first six with modifieds and JV. He was Warsaw's boys varsity head coach five years ago, then he became a father and took time off from coaching. He agreed to take the position again this season after he and his wife moved closer to the school.

In Le Roy, the Tigers got a taste of the kind of fast-paced, high-pressure defense and transition offense Baker would like to instill in the Warsaw scheme.

"Instead of sitting in a half-court offense, I'd really like to start pushing the floor," Baker said. "That's a big thing to me."

His team his learning, he said. Last night, when they went man-to-man for part of the second half, they held Le Roy to just eight points. That was a good sign, Baker said.

The goal is to improve every game, every practice and that's happening, he said.

"I notice improvement every day," Baker said. "I'm getting compliments from the other coaches and officials. The kids are playing a lot better."

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:15 am

Photos: Christmas in the City 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, Christmas in the City, downtown

Hundreds of people lined Main Street in Downtown Batavia on Friday night for the Christmas parade that was the highlight of a successful Christmas in the City for 2014.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:02 am

Bob Boyce receives 30th Annual Health and Humanitarian Award

Le Roy resident Bob Boyce was recognized at a luncheon Friday afternoon for his years of dedicated volunteer work in the community by the UMMC Foundation and St. Jerome's Foundation with the 30th Annual Health and Humanitarian Award.

For more than 26 years Mr. Boyce has devoted his time and talent to improving the quality of volunteer ambulance service for the people of Le Roy. He is currently president of the Le Roy Ambulance Service, a position he has held for the past 12 years. Under his leadership Le Roy Volunteer Ambulance grew to Le Roy Ambulance Service, assuring availability of both trained personnel and volunteers needed to provide ambulance service to residents.

He's served on UMMC Foundation Board of Directors, and the former Genesee Memorial Hospital Group Board of Directors.

In one of several letters nominating Mr. Boyce, Marie Scofield noted his volunteer efforts have not been limited to health-related organizations, but have included education. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Genesee Community College after serving on GCC Foundation Board of Directors for nine years, including two years as president. He has been active with the Le Roy Rotary Club, helping raise money for scholarships benefitting Le Roy students.  

Boyce was also active in youth sports in Le Roy for many years.

For more pictures from the event, click here.

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Photos: Donations pour in at annual toy drive

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Red Cross, toy drive, wbta

WBTA, Ken Barrett's and the Salvation Army teamed up once again this year for our community's annual toy drive today.

It's the 20th year the toy drive has been hosted at Ken Barrett's with WBTA providing the promotional push to help generate more than two truck loads worth of donations.

Firefighters from the City of Batavia were on hand to help accept donations.

The toys will be delivered by Santa to boys and girls throughout our community, making it a happier Christmas for many.

Firefighter Mike Dorgan and WBTA radio personality Nici Johnson.

WBTA's ad manager Lorne Way and Joan Stevens from the Salvation Army.

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Hustle helps Lady Lancers to opening game victory of Lyndonville

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

Lyndonville got a good taste Thursday night of the kind of team the Elba Lady Lancers hope to be in 2014-15: an aggressive defense that generates turnovers and a disciplined offense that uses spacing and passing to create open looks.

The result, Elba 64, Lyndonville 32.

"We try to share the ball," said Head Coach Tom Redband. "If we don't, we're not going to be very good. And we try to eliminate shot attempts."

Possession after possession Thursday, the Lancers swatted the balls from Tiger hands or snatched passes midflight.

The turnovers were often created by pure pressure on ball handlers.

The Lady Lancers are a team that will be looking to define itself early in the season following the graduation of last year's point guard Kelsey Bezon.

"She was our leader," Redband said. "She was our facilitator. We had to wait and see how everyone reacted to new roles and they're doing a great job of dealing with it. People have been filling roles. They step in and they step up."

Returning as starters are Alex Reigle, Alyssa Bogue, Jennifer Pedro and Haley Brown.

Redband is looking for big things from that core group to help Elba make another run at post-season play.

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

Batavia Society of Artists hosts annual winter show at Richmond

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, batavia society of artists

Madeleine Rusch, with her painting "Cat Fancy," won Best of Show in the Batavia Society of Artists 2014 Winter Art Show, on display now at the Richmond Memorial Library.

FIrst Place went to Dennis Wood for "Winter Scape," second to Kevin Feary for "Hustled Again," and Feary also got third for "Snow in November."

Honorable mentions went to Karen Crittenden, Rusch, Nicole Tamfer, Bryan Kemp, Lorraine Gluck and Ed Adams.

Beth Kemp snaps a picture of Bryan Kemp with his Honorable Mention award.

Michael Messerly, right, publisher of the Batavia Daily News, attended the event.

Joan D'Alba gets her picture taken under her painting, "Snowy Barn."

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Photo: City hangs new centennial celebration banners

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Along Main, along Ellicott Street and in the roundabout, city crews have completed installation of new centennial celebration banners.

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Batavia readies for Christmas in the City

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, business, Christmas in the City, downtown

City workers were busy with tasks Downtown today getting things ready for Christmas in the City tomorrow evening, including making sure the snowflakes on the light poles are ready to illuminate correctly.

Tomorrow's events:

4 to 8 p.m., Photos with Santa
97 Main St.

Lighting of Downtown Christmas Tree, 5 p.m.

Horse and Wagon Rides ($1), 5 to 9 p.m.
Tickets available at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St. Proceeds benefit the Business Improvement District.

Trolley Rides to the Wonderland of Trees at the Holland Land Office Museum, 5 to 9 p.m.
Jackson Street Parking Lot (across from Valle Jewelers)
Trolley will continue throughout the night to bring people back and forth to the museum and Jackson Street parking lot. Trolley runs approximately every 15 minutes. The Holland Land Office Museum (HLOM) will be offering free refreshments for the event as well as gift baskets and discount sales in the gift shop.

GO ART!, Frosted Panes exhibit
The Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is pleased to announce its annual holiday show on exhibit through Dec. 19th in Batavia. This year's theme, "Frosted Panes," exhibits 43 pieces by 14 local artists on display in two GO ART Galleries -- the GO ART! Main Gallery in Seymour Place and at the Genesee County Senior Center on Bank Street.
A FREE Meet-the-Artists Reception will be held in conjunction with Batavia's Christmas in the City.

Batavia Concert Band, 6 p.m., City Centre

Holiday Parade, 6:30 p.m.
Parade will take place on Main Street starting at Liberty Street and ending at Jackson Street. More than 40 participants will entertain you with music, floats, singing, a juggler, fire trucks, and more! Santa will choose a child from his "Nice List" to ride with him in the Horse & Wagon!

The following Downtown businesses will be hosting special events as well:

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle -- 8 Center St.; Enjoy holiday specials, drawing/prizes, coupons, and their famous chili during the Christmas in the City festivities. Tickets for the Horse & Wagon rides may purchased inside of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. For questions, call (585) 343-0548.

Amy's Fluffy Friends -- 238 Ellicott St.; Have your pet's photo or group photos taken by Along Photography. Only $5 for a photo shoot! Amy's will also be offering a raffle with doggie treats. For questions, call (585) 343-0052.

Charles Men's Shop -- 200 E. Main St.; Stay warm and enjoy holiday discounts and warm refreshments! For questions, call (585) 343-2086.

City Slickers -- 59 Main St.; Celebrate the season with City Slickers' awesome deal with a Buy 1 Entree, Get the 2nd at Half Price. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a local band playing for the evening. Be sure to also purchase your "Dinner & a Movie" gift certificates as stocking stuffers! For questions, call (585) 345-6788.

Edward Jones -- 7 Jackson St.; Get out of the cold for a little while and enjoy a hot drink and cookies courtesy of Edward Jones. For questions, call (585) 345-1773.

Karen's Yarn, Paper, Scissors -- 39 Jackson St.; 10% holiday discounts on scrapbook paper and yarn! After the parade, stop by Karen's to get a free balloon animal courtesy of Jason the Juggler.

Marchese Computer -- 220 Ellicott St.; With coupons and refreshments, learn more about their holiday specials including computers starting at $349.99! For questions, call (585) 343-2713.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe -- 23 Jackson St.; Offering free samples of cookies. Perhaps you'll want to come back to purchase some for Santa for Christmas Eve? For questions, call (585) 344-5627.

T-Shirts, Etc. -- 111 Main St.; T-shirt coloring for kids! Holiday specials include a Buy One, Get One at 50% off. Also, be sure to visit their guest vendor, Butterfly Studio. For questions, call (585) 345-1993.

UMTOO -- 317 Ellicott St.; Will be open until 9 p.m. and will have Christmas refreshments, Christmas stories (traditional and historical), and Christmas songs by local singers who will engage people to join in singing. For questions, call (585) 993-2325.

Valle Jewelers -- 21 Jackson St.; Will be offering holiday specials for that evening only. For questions, call (585) 343-3372. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Photos: Le Roy's 30-foot Christmas tree raised today

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy

For the second year, the Christmas Crew was erecting the annual Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Lake streets in the Village of Le Roy (the former Wiss Hotel lot).

Doing the work today were Andrew Lathan, Ed McDonald and Michael Glazier.

Lathan Tree Service donated the 30-foot tree a year ago.

The tree will be lit this year in part with the help of donations from National Grid (new utility pole) and Humphrey Electric (new electric installation).

There will be a tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m., Saturday, at the close of Winterfest.

Michael Glazier

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Photos: Serendipity Swing at Terry Hills

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, entertainment, music, terry hills

It's become an annual holiday event for Terry Hills Golf Course -- a great buffet lunch with musical accompaniment from Serendipity Swing, and Terry Hills had another fine turnout today for this year's lunch and show.

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