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Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Engine smoking on Thruway

post by Howard Owens in batavia, fire, thruway

A car engine is reportedly smoking on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 389.2 in the eastbound lane.

Town of Batavia Fire has been dispatched.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Heartbreak for Notre Dame in overtime of Section V title game

post by Howard Owens in basketball, Notre Dame, sports

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Late in the third quarter, the Fighting Irish seemed to have their Section V title game well in hand.

And then something strange happened.

The baskets stopped dropping, and turnovers and penalties all seemed to take a Fillmore tilt.

With seconds left in the third, Notre Dame turned over the ball and Fillmore struck for a quick three points, cutting the Irish lead from nine to six.

"The little things ad up," said head coach Mike Rapone. "They did the little things better in about the last 12 minutes of the game."

The game changer, Rapone said, was a six-minute stretch in which the Irish didn't drop a single shot.

"I don’t think we scored from 33-24 until they actually took the lead," Rapone said. "We had a long scoring drought. I thought we were getting decent shots, they just weren’t falling. That happens."

To start the fourth quarter, Fillmore hit two three-point goals, tying the game, and another three-pointer gave Fillmore a lead that Notre Dame would never get back.

The fourth quarter ended in a tie, putting the game into overtime, but Fillmore struck quickly and held the lead through the final four minutes.

"I feel bad for the kids because they’ve been so close in football and now basketball," Rapone said.

Fillmore was sparked in the 4th quarter by Chase Rangel, who came off the bench and scored 14 points, including 4 three-point goals.  He added another key three-point goal in the 4th quarter.

Vinny Zambito led Notre Dame with 13 points, Gianni Zambito, 11, Matt Thompson, 9, and Tom Rapone, 6.

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

Cedar Street offers chain saw safety clinic

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Cedar Street Sales and Rentals

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Don Desjarlais, a representative of Oregon Cutting Systems out of Raleigh, N.C., talks about the differences in chain saw teeth during a chain saw safety clinic at Cedar Street Sales and Rentals.

The annual clinic provides area highway department workers and others who use chainsaws frequently detailed information on the operation of chain saws and their safe use.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 3:06 am

Brasky's Blue Devils gain consecutive sectional title for first time in Batavia High history

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, sports

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Thirteen and under. Thirteen and under. It's the phrase that Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky has pounded into the head of his players all season. Just hold the opponent to 13 or fewer points per quarter, and you're going to win basketball games.

Friday night at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, it was more like 10 and under as the Blue Devils secured a Section V title with a 65-38 victory over #3 seed Livonia.

It was the first time in four Section V titles for Batavia under the leadership of Brasky that an opponent was held to fewer than 40 points.

More significantly, it is the first time in Batavia history that a varsity basketball team won back-to-back Section V titles.

"All the alumni, all of them that talk, but we’ve got that on them," said Junior Andrew Hoy. "They all had sectional titles, but we got two."

Hoy, who got to 1,000 career points, scored faster than any player in Batavia history, with 11 against Livonia and was named the tournament's MVP.

But for all of his offensive prowess, after the game, Hoy talked about defense.

"Defense got us the win," Hoy said. "Coach told us if we hold them to 13 and under per quarter we’d get the win, we would be sectional champs. We came out in the third quarter and won that quarter 25-2."

Their lopsided quarter allowed Batavia to run away with the game. After falling behind 13-0 against Batavia to start in the first quarter, Livonia was never really able to get into the game. The squad never pulled closer than 8 points.

"I showed them the past sectional championship pictures and I showed them score boards, because I always take a picture of the score board if we win and I hang it up in the trophy case, and all the scores were in the 40s for the other teams," Brasky said. "This the first year we got them under 40. We got them at 38, so they were pretty excited about that."

Coach Brasky gave credit to Josh Budlong for the quick start. Budlong finished the game with 21 points. Co Co Irvin scored 15 and Justin Washington added 8.

Bobby Schuster was the leading scorer for Livonia with 18 points. He was the only Livonia player to reach double digits.

The Sportsmanship Award went to Lou Stoller.

Batavia players who made the All-Tournament Team were Washington, Irvin, Budlong and Hoy.

Next, on Wednesday Batavia plays the qualifying game for the state championship series.

UPDATE: More pictures after the jump (nearly 70 more)

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More Pictures:

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 2:09 am

Le Roy Police looking for man who stole drugs, claiming to have a gun

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy

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A man wearing a hoodie and a mask entered the Le Roy Rite Aid on Friday night and demanded a clerk give him drugs.

The man claimed to have a gun, according to Le Roy Police.

The armed robbery at 151 West Main Street occurred at 8:55 p.m.

The suspect is described as a white male, about 5' 7".

When he entered the store, he reportedly approached the pharmacists and demanded drugs. He claimed to have a weapon, but no weapon was displayed.

The suspect was wearing blue jeans and a yellow hooded sweatshirt.

After exiting the store, he fled on foot, but police believe he had a car nearby.

Anybody with information that might help solve the case are asked to contact the Le Roy Police Department.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 1:50 am

Man working three jobs accused of complicated scheme to bilk customers

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

mug_hurlburt.jpgBatavia Police have arrested a man apparently working three jobs for allegedly using his access to credit cards as a gas station attendent to buy material at a building supply company and then selling what he bought as a contractor, but pocketing the proceeds.

Dustin Hurlburt, 32, of 21 Elm St., Warsaw, is charged with four counts of grand larceny, 3rd, and two counts of grand larceny, 4th.

He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Hurlburt allegedly made more than $22,000 in purchases at Armor Building Supply, where he worked, using credit card numbers he obtained while working as a full-service gas station attendant. 

The purchases were allegedly made for a local building site, where Hurlburt acted as a contractor. He then allegedly billed the customers for the items he purchased using the stolen credit card numbers.

The alleged purchases were made between October 2009 and December 2009. There were reportedly six different transactions ranging from $1,800 to more than $5,000 each.

Det. Kevin Czora spent three months investigating the case and arrested Hurlburt on Friday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 1:25 am

Oakfield woman allegedly kept spending her ex-husband's money

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield

An Oakfield woman is accused of thinking her ex-husband's bank account was still hers for the taking.

Michelle Parker, 39, of 14 Cary Ave., is charged with grand larceny, 4th, grand larceny, 3rd, and perjury, 1st, after allegedly stealing $8,000 from her ex-husband's account.

Parker allegedly gave false testimony about the accounts while under oath in Genesee County Superior Court.

She was released on her own recognizance following her arraignment.

The case was investigated by by Det. Todd Crossett of the Batavia Police Department.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Annual Chamber award winners to be honored Saturday night

post by Howard Owens in business, Chamber Awards, thebatavian

owenses.jpgDan Fisher at WBTA was kind enough to air a story today about The Batavian, interviewing me and Billie, with Pachuco in the studio.

Ameka Cooper at Carlson's Studio shot the portrait picture.

You can listen to Dan's story here (mp3).

The awards will be handed out Saturday night at the Holiday Inn.

Previously, The Batavian ran the following stories on our fellow award winners:

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Hawley goes after tax on industrial development agencies

post by Howard Owens in IDA, new york, steve hawley

It's called a "cost recovery fee," and critics say it is damaging the ability of Industrial Development Agencies to create jobs.

The fee is a tax on operating revenue and is calculated before IDA expenses are deducted, according to this story Star-Gazette in Elmira.

Albany stuck the cost recovery fee in the 2009-10 budget as a line item and many IDAs were surprised to get bills for 5 percent of their revenue.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley introduced legislation this week to repeal the fee.

"To add these assessments during this difficult economy will only lead to further job losses across New York, especially in the Upstate region.," Hawley said in a press release. "Albany needs to wake up and understand that job creation for New Yorkers should be their number one priority, not more unfair taxes and fees.”

Albany expects the IDA fee to generate $5 million in revenue for the State.

Hawley's legislation, if passed, would repeal the fee and reimburse IDAs for any fees already paid.

IDAs are set up in regions throughout the state to spur business development through tax breaks and other incentives, as well as organizing and promoting development opportunities.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

The Batavian now has obituaries

post by Howard Owens in thebatavian

One of the most requested additional features we get for The Batavian is obituaries. But we can only publish obituaries if funeral directors submit the notices.

The H.E. Turner & Company, Inc. family of funeral homes became one of The Batavian's newest sponsors this week and will now post obituaries for people who have passed when one of their homes -- H.E. Turner in Batavia and Bergen, Bohm-Calarco-Smith in Batavia, and Burdett & Sanford in Oakfield -- handle the arrangements.

If you do not find the obituary for your loved one, please notify the funeral director handling arrangements for your friend or family member and ask him to contact The Batavian about posting the obituary on the Web site.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Award-winning series on farm labor now available in a book

post by Howard Owens in Batavia Daily News, agriculture, business, Tom Rivers

rivers_farmhands_cover.jpgTom Rivers is a reporter of boundless energy. He's run in marathons and worked day-long shifts in local farm fields.

Now he's published a book.

The Batavia Daily News staff writer wrote an award-winning series 2008 about his laborious research into just want it takes to work at local farms in Western New York. Those articles are the basis of Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from Western New York fields.

"Books have a little more permanence," Rivers said. "You can read about the titans of industry, such as Dean Richmond, in books, but there aren't a lot of books about the people doing the work. I just think the farmworkers make a great contribution to our community. They deserve the recognition (of being in a book)."

The stories of Tom's days and nights in the fields of Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties picking apples and chopping and throwing cabbage give the reader a great sense of just how hard farm work is.

Although he knew it would be challenging, Rivers said he was surprised by how taxing it really is. And it takes training, experience and dedication to ensure that the produce isn't damaged before it's delivered to market.

"There's this feeling that we can just throw anybody into farm work, but not just anybody can do this," Rivers said. "Buyers could reject 40 tons of cabbage if it's not just perfect, if the heads are bruised. There's more pressure on the workers than there is in my job or in most people's jobs. They have to aim for perfection."

The book contains additional material not included in the original newspaper series, Rivers said.

Rivers self-published the book and had it printed at Hodgkins Printing in the Harvester Center.

The full-color book came out looking great, Rivers said. Daily News Publisher Tom Turnbull didn't hesitate to give Rivers permission, without fee, to reprint his own articles as well as the color photos that ran with the series.

"I like that it says, 'Printed in Batavia,' but I don't feel like I was working with a second-rate company," Rivers said. "They were great over there."

The book is for sale locally at the Holland Land Office Museum and Present Tense Books on Washington Avenue.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Sam Pontillo reportedly working on deal to reopen family pizzeria

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

A bit of confirmation of rumors that Sam Pontillo is working on a deal to reopen the legendary pizzeria on East Main Street came out of the Genesee County Economic Development Center today.

Pontillo's potential landlord, BP Properties out of Rochester, was granted a $6,875 property-tax exemption by the GCEDC.

GCEDC officials said BP Properties and Sam Pontillo are trying to secure refinancing on $500,000 in debt left over from the previous operation.

(via WBTA)

Previously:

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Batavia woman wanted following drug raids in Erie County in custody

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Erie County

A Batavia woman wanted connection with alleged drug dealing at two strip clubs in Erie County has been arrested.

Cynthia Sims, 25, was initially considered a fugitive following the FBI investigation, but Sims was reportedly taken into custody yesterday.

Twenty-five other suspects have also been charged in connection with the investigation.

The exact charges against Sims have not been released yet.

(via WBTA)

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Pittsford Fire advised to return for hose it left behind

post by Howard Owens in batavia

A Pittsford firetruck that was apparently in Genesee County for repairs seems to have lost a long stretch of four-inch fire hose on West Saile Drive.

Monroe County dispatch was contacted in order to notify the firetruck driver so the crew can return and retrieve the hose.

Meanwhile, a county official is watching over the hose to ensure it's safe retrieval.

UPDATE  1:10 p.m: OK, it wasn't a Pittsford Fire crew that was with the truck -- the truck is still out for repairs. The hose apparently fell off while a mechanic took it out for a test drive.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Police Beat: Batavia woman busted for alleged crack cocaine possession

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

Tammy L. Cicatello, 39, of 18 Pickthorn Drive, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Cicatello was allegedly observed by a member of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force buying drugs while in a car in a parking lot of a Batavia business. Cicatello's car was stopped on Clinton Street Road and Drug Task Force members reportedly found two bags of crack cocaine and two crack pipes, along with some other drug paraphernalia. Cicatello was issued appearance tickets.

R.A. Aaron, 39, of 111 Liberty St., Apt. C, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Batavia Police officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the Green Wolf Tavern at 10:59 p.m., Thursday. While officers were on scene, Aaron allegedly continued to be belligerent and was shouting obscenities while in the parking lot. Aaron also allegedly pushed a police officer.

Brandon C. Dodd, 23, of 128 1/2 State St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Dodd was arrested at 12:43 a.m., today, in Batavia. Dodd allegedly struck another man on the side of his head and also spat on him. Dodd was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Accidents from the state police blotter:

2:43 p.m., March 3, Cato Street, Pavilion, two vehicles; Driver 1: Corey R. Ryan, 20, Le Roy; Driver 2: Kathleen D. Kingsley, 51, of Pavilion. No injuries reported.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Today's Deals: Matty's, Center Street, Olivers, O'Lacy's and more

post by Howard Owens in Deal of the Day

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.c

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St. Batavia, NY: In Irish pubs, it doesn't get more authentic than O'Lacy's. Be sure to try the homemade chips. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.  We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: The Batavian is able to offer a limited number of reduced-price haircuts for children under 12. Click Here for details of the offer and to purchase vouchers.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

SOLD OUT

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Weather: Spring is almost sprung. Almost.

post by Howard Owens in BARNS, photos, weather

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Did you like the sun today? There's supposed to be more of that where that came from. In fact, the weekend should be quite nice, with highs in 40s and more sun.

Not to put a damper on things, but Weather.com is predicting snow overnight in a week.

But in the meantime, pre-spring weather with highs in the 40s and sun, or partly cloudy, seems to be in our immediate future.

Pictures: From this evening, a barn on Lear Road. Below a tractor and old garage on Wilkenson Road.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

Rapone makes Section V history as Notre Dame rolls to playoff victory

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, Mike Rapone, Notre Dame, sports

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The first thing Mike Rapone wanted to do after Notre Dame notched a Section V playoff victory Wednesday night in Gainsville was find his daughter.

They embraced at center court and fans, friends and family gathered round.

When the Rapones moved over closer to a sign bearing the numbers 546, Mike Rapone looked up at the crowd, still holding his daughter close, and for a second, the emotion of the moment was clear in his eyes and a quivering lip.

With a 60-41 victory over Arkport, the Fighting Irish clinched the final spot in the Section V Class D1 championship, and Mike Rapone became the all-time wins leader in Section V boys basketball.

"(The record) means a lot to me because it means so much to the people I coached over the years," Rapone said. "So many of them are here tonight. They’re the ones who won the games. I’m the coach. You steer the ship, but they’re the sailors. They do all of the hard work."

The 56-year-old Rapone has a shot at victory number 547 in the Blue Cross Arena at 11:45 a.m., Saturday, when the Irish face Fillmore.

A win Saturday would give Notre Dame its eighth Section V title under Rapone. The Irish have also notched two New York State championships, in 1992 and 2001.

Starting forward, senior Tom Rapone, said victory meant a lot to the team and to him personally.

"I’m so happy to be able to get it for my uncle," Rapone said. "He’s done so much for me in basketball. I always dreamed of playing for him in high school. The fact that I was able to help break the record for him as the last Rapone to come through Notre Dame High School, it’s just an amazing feeling."

Despite the lopsided total at the end, Arkport didn't make it easy for the Irish to get the win for Rapone. While the Irish led from start to finish, Arkport pulled close near the end of the half, and again near the end of the 3rd Quarter. Too many missed shots in the 4th quarter, though, allowed Notre Dame to pull well ahead.

"It’s sectionals and no team is going to quit," said Tom Rapone. "We just came together as a team. We’ve got great chemistry. We know how to play as a team. We can turn it up fast. That’s all thanks to our coach. He’s taught us great things in practice. It’s all thanks to him. He’s an amazing coach."

Even when Arkport pulled within three points late in the 3rd quarter, coach Rapone said he felt his team knew it was going to win the game.

"I don’t think they ever lost their confidence that they were going to win," the coach said. "That’s the mark of a winner and that’s why they’re 19-1."

More pictures pictures after the jump.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 12:18 am

Batavia woman sought by FBI in connection with alleged drug dealing in Erie County

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia woman is reportedly wanted by the FBI in connection with an alleged heroin and cocaine ring being run inside two strip clubs in Erie County.

The FBI is encouraging anybody who knows the whereabouts of Cynthia Sims to call the police.

According to WGRZ, several law enforcement agencies were involved over the past year in investigating the alleged drug dealing at the clubs.

The clubs were identified as Rick's Tally Ho in Cheektowaga and 24k Gold in Hamburg.

WGRZ reports that the owners of the clubs say they had no idea that drug dealing was going on at their establishments.

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