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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

Webber and Yunkers art now on display at Richmond Memorial Library

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, Richmond Memorial Library

Local, award-winning artists Terry Webber and Bernice Yunkers have a joint exhibit at the Richmond Memorial Library now through the end of August.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

New library director returns to WNY after 22 years in Chicago area

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library

Richmond Memorial Library patrons and supporters got a chance to meet new director Bob Conrad during a reception Tuesday.

Conrad is originally from Rochester, a 1992 graduate of Eastridge High School. He lived for 22 years in the Chicago area where he earned an undergraduate degree in Radio, TV and Film and a graduate degree in Library and Information Science.

He worked for 10 years in the Chicago library system before he decided he wanted to take his career to the next level. He started looking for jobs in New York and California and when he found the opening in Batavia he said it was "a perfect fit."

As a new director, he's not coming in looking to make a lot of changes. We have something good here in a library, he said, and he wants to keep it that way.

"I want the best library that this community can support and the best library that can support the community," Conrad said, adding, "Right now, I'm just learning the job. I'm delighted that the staff all seem to know what they're doing and that the community really treasures the institution, so my first job is not (to) break it."

Conrad is buying a home in Batavia, but in the meantime, he's staying with family in the Rochester area.

He's very familiar with WNY. His family took annual trips to Letchworth and Watkins Glen and he worked at Seabreeze in high school. But when Conrad started spreading the news that he was taking a job in Batavia, it prompted a little geography lesson for those around him in Illinois. They are far more familiar with another Batavia (their very own).

"I did have to disambiguate to all of my colleagues when telling them where I was going to be library director," Conrad said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Moss, but not Astorino will make campaign stops in Batavia today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Chris Moss, politics, Rob Astorino

Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was scheduled to be in Batavia today, but he had a family emergency and is unable to make his scheduled campaign appearances.

His running mate Chris Moss will however be at the the GOP Women's meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Batavia Downs, and then he will also speak at the SCOPE meeting at 7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 3515 Galloway Road.

The sign placed in front of Batavia Marine on West Main anticipated Astorino being in town today, but then his plans changed.

Astorino, who hopes to unseat Andrew Cuomo, has been crisscrossing the state for several months, but has yet to make an appearance in Genesee County.

CORRECTION: Astornio visited Genesee County two days after announcing his candidacy. He made an appearance at Larry's Steakhouse.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Penny Carnival planned for Austin Park NEXT Friday

Mary Repast, Kim Floskowski and Lisa Wittmeyer were in Austin Park yesterday handing out fliers to promote a Penny Carnival hosted by Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Counties.

The Carnival will be in the park next Friday, Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Children are encouraged to bring pennies.

The event is co-sponsored by the Salvation Army, Care-A-Van and Jr. Angels in Action.

There will be games and prizes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

Batavia PD plans round of alcohol sales compliance checks

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department will be conducting alcohol sale compliance checks at points of service and sales on future dates. The Police provide this service to the community to ensure all vendors are vigilant in properly identifying the age of persons who are buying alcohol. The Police Department partners with Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) and has learned through their surveys from the community that underage alcohol consumption is still a concern. Abuse of alcohol by underage individuals is a cause of accidents and other poor choices for this age group. Compliance checks are a way to demonstrate, not only to the vendors but to underage individuals, that this community cares about the wellness of its citizens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Law and Order: Alleged erratic bike riding leads to drug arrest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion

Shannon H. Dick, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to keep right on a bicycle while in the roadway and failure to stop before entering a roadway on a bicycle. Dick was observed by Officer Jason Davis allegedly operating her bicycle in an unsafe manner and acting suspicious while leaving a residence on State Street.

Andrew J. Paladino, 35, of Shelter Street, Rochester, was taken into a custody on a warrant out of Family Court. Paladino was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Allen W. Gray, 34, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, 4th, and criminal contempt, 1st. Gray is accused of grabbing a person by the shirt, shoving him and knocking him off his bike. The victim's shirt was stretched, a necklace was broken and his right knee scratched. Gray is under court order to stay away from the alleged victim.

Tyrone L. Doward Jr., 24, of East Avenue, Lockport, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Doward was arrested after an investigation of a person climbing through the window of an occupied apartment. Doward was reportedly unknown to the occupant. 

Eric C. Smith, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a pair of warrants for alleged improper parking. Smith was located while police were on an unrelated complaint. He's accused of parking on city streets between 2 and 6 a.m.

Brandon N. Benz, 19, of Clinton Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Benz was located at a residence on Jackson Street allegedly in possession of marijuana.

Diana Lynn Bloom, 56, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Bloom is accused of hitting another woman while in a vehicle on Bank Street.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Douglas turned herself in at Batavia PD.

Ernest Robert Saari, 32, of Alleghany Road, Attica, is charged with speeding, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and unregistered trailer. Saari was stopped by Officer Nedim Catovic on East Main Street, Batavia, for allegedly driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Robert W. Plantiko, 39, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Plantiko is accused of stealing a box of garbage bags from Kwik Fill at 99 Jackson St., Batavia.

Joseph T. Burr, 21, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court. The warrant was for driving an uninspected motor vehicle. Burr posted $100 police bail and was released.

Juliann Thomas, 51, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, moved from lane unsafely and failure to stop for stop sign. Thomas was stopped at 1:48 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street, Batavia, by Officer Darryle Streeter.

Harry T. Gibson, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. State Police out of Warsaw responded to a report of a disabled vehicle on Route 98 in the Town of Java. Gibson was allegedly found behind the wheel and failed field sobriety tests. He was later found to have a BAC of .10 based on a breath test. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Dawn K. Cochran, 44, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI. Cochran was stopped at 5:55 p.m. Sunday in the Town of Pavilion, by State Police.

Denelle R. Currier, 39, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Currier was stopped at 9:17 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Stafford, by State Police.

Matthew C. Moy, 21, of Holley, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Moy was stopped at 9:35 p.m. Friday on Route 262 in Byron by State Police.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 8:51 am

Missing 15-year-old located safe

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A missing 15-year-old was located yesterday by Batavia PD officers as he was riding his bike on a city street.

While media reports about D' Andre Cramer generated tips about his possible whereabouts, Det. Richard Schauf said, in the end, he was located by observant officers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

Fire chief looks to equip first responders with kit that can save lives after opiate OD

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

With the rise of opiate-related deaths not just nationally, but regionally, city Fire Chief Jim Maxwell is recommending that firefighters and EMTs start carrying medical emergency calls kits that can save lives.

The kits contain doses of naloxone, a drug that counteracts the the most fatal effect of an opiate overdose.

When a person ODs on heroin or an opiate-based prescription medication, the drug shuts down brain function that controls breathing. The person literally forgets to breath. Naloxone stimulates that portion of the brain and the person will start breathing again.

Firefighters have already been trained to recognize the signs of an opiate overdose, but even if they're wrong, naloxone is not harmful if misapplied.

"If it's not an opiate overdose, you can't hurt the patient," Maxwell said. "You can't overdose on it or anything along those lines, so if it's a false recognition and they administer it, it doesn't do anything to the patient."

Naloxone is not a controlled substance, so it needs no additional security to store it and any properly trained emergency personnel can administer it.

The initial investment for the city is from $300 to $400. The kits cost $30 to $50 each. Each kit contains a syringe with an atomizer attached.

A first responder who finds a patient showing signs of an opiate overdose -- no, or labored breathing, and perhaps supported by statements of others with the patients, or evidence found in the location of the patient -- would administer the naloxone through the patient's nose.

Half the dose goes up one nostril, the other half is sprayed up the second nostril.

The City Council is being asked to approve a contract with UMMC for purchase of naloxone and related supplies.

The council will vote on the proposal at its next business meeting.

Maxwell said there are no available statics on opiate-related deaths locally, but a regional report shows a rise of from two in 2011 and 105 in 2013.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 7:53 am

Committee lays out plans for city's 100th anniversary celebration

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Centennial, Vibrant Batavia

Batavia's Centennial Committee plans to start 2015 off with a bang, but the celebration won't stop there.

The 100th Anniversary of Batavia's incorporation will be marked by events all year long, members of the committee told the City Council on Monday night.

"This event, I believe, is going to spawn something already taking place in our community" said Marty McDonald, a committee member. "It's going to spawn excitement in our community."

A project of Vibrant Batavia, the committee is in the process of raising $100,000 to fund the celebration. So far, sponsors have pledged $63,000, including $20,000 from FreedMaxick and $10,000 from Tompkins Bank of Castile. Other sponsors include Lawley Genesee, Turnbull Heating and Air, Merrill Lynch, Valle Jewelers and Trifthauser & Salmon Orthodonitics.

The opening of the Centennial Celebration is just five months away, New Year's Eve.

The community is planning a "Centennial Plaza" centered on Court Street and stretching down Evans to Falleti Ice Arena. There will be live music (on a train bed car sitting on the tracks at Evans and Mill), vendors, and fun and games.

At midnight, there will be -- just as there was 100 years ago to mark the incorporation of the city -- a fireworks display. 

The committee promises a big one.

The display will be launched behind the fire hall on Evans.

The committee is also offering 200 "Century Club" memberships for $100 per couple, which will include tickets to a "Dress the Decades" party inside City Hall on New Year's Eve. Memberships are available to all residents and are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The committee is also planning the installation of 40 centennial banners throughout the city, a 100-tree planting project, installation of a time capsule in front of City Hall, a historic walking trail and a birthday celebration tied to the July 4 Picnic in the Park.

The committee is planning to apply for a National Grid Community Foundation grant to pay for the 100 trees, which would be planted in the spring, during United Way's Day of Caring, at locations throughout the city, including parks, city right-of-ways and Centennial Park.  

The committee is also planning what it's calling a "Legacy Gift" -- a sculpture or multipurpose remembrance to be installed somewhere in the city and paid for by sponsors. The installation would take place some time in the fall.

The committee is asking for City Council support in the form of attending all events, use of City Hall for the New Year's Eve party, approving street closures for events, and the use of city resources such as the youth bureau, police, fire and maintenance to support Centennial events.

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Residents of Presidential Acres in Le Roy pursuing new suit to stop duplex development

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

Residents of a development known as Presidential Acres in Le Roy and their neighbor Pete McQuillen are still scrapping over home building in the area.

In 2012, McQuillen had plans thwarted by a lawsuit to build a group of single-family homes for people 55 and older on 12 acres he owns off Robbins Road.

Now, McQuillen is one of nine defendants in a lawsuit brought by 12 homeowners in Presidential Acres.

The suit alleges that duplexes being built by McQuillen violate village zoning law and were improperly approved by the Village and the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

If the suit is successful, it could mean McQuillen would have to remove the buildings already completed and occupied.

The plaintiffs also alleged that the ZBA, as a hybrid body serving both the Village and Town of Le Roy, is an illegal entity that should be abolished. The village, the suit contends, should have its own ZBA.

After an initial hearing last week, Judge Robert C. Noonan issued a stay on any further development of duplexes, but primarily because the defendants didn't oppose the stay on one lot in particular and any lots not yet planned for development.

Preliminary injunctions in lawsuits are usually only granted in cases where a judge deems the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their case. 

"The Village's opposition and relatively complex zoning history of the subdivision, petitioners likelihood of success is by no means clear," Noonan wrote in his decision.

The plaintiffs in the case are Randolf Bartz, Jane Bickett, Candace Bower, David Boyce, Robert Boyce, Elizabeth Boyce, Joseph Condidorio, John Green, Joseph McKay, Stephen Moulton and Ronald Paganin.

The defendants are the Village of Le Roy, the Zoning Board of Appeals, Jeffrey Steinbrenner (code enforcement officer), Daniel Lang (code enforcement officer), John Gillard, Duzmor Painting, Inc., Circular Hill, Inc., Peter McQuillen, Judith McQuillen and John Does.

In 2012, McQuillen lost a lawsuit brought by Boyce and Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau, who both have properties adjacent to a 12-acre parcel where McQuillen planned to build homes for people 55 and older.

Boyce and Barbeau prevailed in that suit, which also named the village as a defendant, and that development was halted.

Subsequently, McQuillen started building duplexes on property off Filmore Drive, an -- at the time -- unfinished street connecting Presidential Acres with Robbins Road.

During this time period in 2013, McQuillen built a barn near the property line of Barbeau's residence.

Barbeau and other Presidential Acres residents challenged the legality of the barn, but after McQuillen requested a permit to built a house on the same property, the ZBA allowed the barn to stand.

The new lawsuit challenges that ZBA determination and seeks to have the barn removed.

In August of 2013, Barbeau confronted McQuillen over activity adjacent to Barbeau's residence. Barbeau allegedly pushed McQuillen and was later arrested. That criminal case is still pending.

(Previously: Barbeau and McQuillen feud building for months)

The main point of contention in the new suit (we'll call it the Bartz suit, after the first name listed on the Plaintiff's side) is that one side claims Presidential Acres is zoned R-1, meaning only single-family residents and other side claims that when the subdivision was created, it was planned to contain at least 10 duplexes.

McQuillen's construction of duplexes has been based on his belief, and approvals have been granted by the village and the ZBA, that Presidential Acres can have up to 10 duplexes in the subdivision.

The Presidential Acres subdivision was approved by the village in January 1989, with up to 10 duplexes permitted. 

It's the contention that development of the subdivision was suspended in 1999 and there were no plans at that time for duplexes.

A new zoning law that made the entirety of the village R-1 was enacted in August 1990. 

The plaintiff's contend, then, that the subdivision as once approved is no longer in effect and current zoning law makes all property in the neighborhood eligible for only single-family home development.

The ZBA issued a determination in June that the subdivision rules still apply to development within the Presidential Acres area.

In his own affidavit, Lang, a code enforcement officer with the Town of Batavia, who is part of a shared services agreement with Le Roy, states that if Presidential Acres is indeed R-1 and not a subdivision, several of the plaintiff's homes are out of compliance with zoning because their frontage doesn't conform to R-1 zoning.

Lang said he believes the subdivision rules still apply and the duplexes are permitted.

It will be matter for further court proceedings to determine which side is interpreting Le Roy's conflicting zoning rules correctly.

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 10:55 am

Man from Batavia ticketed following accident in Perry

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Wyoming County

A driver from Batavia was uninjured in an accident Thursday in Wyoming County after he apparently fell asleep.

Alex Jarvela, 25, was, however, cited by State Police. Jarvela received traffic tickets for allegedly moving from lane unsafely and driving left of pavement markings in a no-passing zone.

The accident occurred on Route 246, Town of Perry.

Jarvela was southbound when his vehicle drifted into the northbound lane and exited the highway off the east shoulder, coming to rest in a ditch.

The Perry and Perry Center fire departments assisted at the scene.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Photo: Super moon over Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Tonight was the second super moon of 2014. Here it is over Downtown Batavia.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Photos: Slusser Road, East Pembroke

post by Howard B. Owens in east pembroke, Slusser Road

I went out this afternoon to see if I could get a photo of the accident on the Thruway in East Pembroke. There was no vantage point for an accident photo, but I did come back with three pictures from Slusser Road.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Three arrests reported at One Republic concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the One Republic concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday:

Christopher M. Kirsch, 19, of Gerald Drive, Hamburg, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Bryce R. Feiner, 18, of West 70th Street, Dunkirk, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Jenna R. Andolina, 18, of Tisbury Road, Hamburg, was issued a ticket for alleged possession of a fictitious Pennsylvania Identification Card.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Hochul attends Batavia Muckdogs game

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, batvia, kathy hochul

Jim Owen and Kathy Hochul at Saturday's Batavia Muckdog's game at Dwyer Stadium. 

Owen was one of Hochul's teachers in high school. Hochul is the former congressional representative for Genesee County and a current candidate for lieutenenant governor.

Photo provided by Hochul's campaign staff.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Photos: Jackson Square concert with the Ghost Riders

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

The Ghost Riders played Jackson Square on Friday evening.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Photos: Brian Kemp paints fire hydrant on Main Street

post by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Vibrant Batavia

Among the artists painting fire hydrants Downtown this weekend as part of a Vibrant Batavia project was Brian Kemp, co-owner of T-Shirts Etc. Kemp painted the hydrant in front of the Key Bank location.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

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