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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Photo: Wood Street resident rescued from structure fire

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Wood Street

A fire this morning at 8 Wood S., Batavia, caused $35,000 in damage to the structure and building contents, according to the Batavia Fire Department.

The fire was caused by an electrical issue and started in the kitchen.

A second-floor resident climbed onto the roof of an alcove on the first floor and was rescued by a city firefighter.

A dog that barked to alert residents to the fire perished as a result of smoke in the residence.

The incident commander was Mark Mikolajczyk.

(initial post)

Photo by Frank Capuano.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Batavia turns tables on Livonia to win first Section V title in 23 years

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Blue Devils, High School Football, sports

With a come-from-behind touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game, Batavia struck for a touchdown and then a daring two-point conversion to beat Livonia 15-14 and win the program's first Section V title since 1991.

The late strike was nearly a mirror of how Livonia handed Batavia its only defeat of the season in 2014's first game when the Bulldogs scored a touchdown in the final seconds.

The gutsy call to go for two following a 69-yard TD reception by Ryan Hogan with just over two-minutes left in the game harkened back to the fifth game of the season against Geneva when Head Coach Brandon Briggs went for it all with two minutes left to pull out an 8-7 win.

Batavia scored first, but the touchdown didn't come until the start of the second quarter. The Blue Devils carried a lead into the half, but Livonia scored on its first possession.

The teams traded possessions until 2:28 left in the fourth quarter when Livonia scored again.

With 2:07 left and the ball on Livonia's 31, Batavia struck on a second-down play when Greg Mruczek hit Hogan streaking down the side line, hitting him in stride near the 20. Hogan dashed into the end zone.

Livonia is a team built around a grinding ground game and couldn't muster the quick-strike capabilities to get the ball within at least field goal range. Batavia took possession of the ball on downs with less than 30 seconds left and fans and players erupted in celebration.

Mruczek finished 15 for 25 for 334 yards and two TDs. He also had four carries for 29 yards, including the winning two-point conversion. Hogan had three receptions for 113 yards. Jarrett Laskett had five receptions for 88 yards. Trevor Sherwood had two receptions for 77 yards and a TD. Dom Mogavero carried the ball eight times for 33 yards. Trevor Rittersback had 16 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery. 

For Livonia, Josh Henderson had 24 carries for 168 yards and a TD. Liam Clements had eight carries for 67 yards.

Thanks to Bob Brown and Juan Velasquez for the play-by-play on WBTA.

Video by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

Photos by Alecia Kaus

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Le Roy wins record 15th Section V title

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

Le Roy beat Bath in a Class C Section V final this evening in Rochester, 34-24.

The Rams had the Oatkan Knights on the ropes by the close of the first quarter, securing a lead of 14-6.

A turnover deep in Bath territory proved effective in shifting the momentum and sent the Knights on a 28-0 run, with Bath managing the final touchdown of the game.

The win is the 15th Section V title, a new Section V record.

It's the 202 career win for Head Coach Brian Moran and his 14th Section V title.

Next step, a Far West Championship game next week.

Game stats: Mike McMullen was 13 for 28 for 250 yards and four TDs. Tom Kelso, 18 carries for 71 yards and a TD. Ryan McQuillen had two catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Henry had four catches for 38 yards and two TDs. Kody Lampkin had eight tackles and a sack. Nick Egeling, eight tackles. Tyler Prinz, seven tackles. Tom Kelson, seven tackles.

Photos by David Boyce. For more pictures, click here.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

Law and Order: Guardian of minor who ran from police charged with curfew violation

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, batavia, Alabama, corfu, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, pembroke

Juanita Jackson, 58, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with juvenile curfew violation. Jackson is the legal guardian of a youth who was allegedly found in a public place within the city past juvenile curfew time. The youth was allegedly involved in criminal mischief, larceny from a vehicle and possession of stolen property at 10:50 p.m., Oct. 29. The youth fled from police and was later located hiding in St. Joseph Cemetery by K-9 Destro.

Reginald C. Sampson, 48, of Holland Avenue, is charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. Sampson is accused of refusing to comply with officers requests during an investigation being conducted at his residence. Sampson reportedly became irate and allegedly began yelling obscenities, disrupting the peace of the neighborhood and interfering with the investigation. When told he was under arrest, Sampson allegedly became combative with officers. Williams was jailed following arraignment. (Previous report).

Deavin L.A. Herman, 20, of Caroline Street, Albion, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. Herman was jailed on $500 bail.

Olivia M. Lyons, 21, of Judge Road, Basom, is charged with petit larceny. Lyons was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation into complaints of numerous thefts from UMMC staff. Lyons is accused of stealing mobile phones Wednesday evening.

Kenneth M. Gray, 22, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with acting in a manner likely to be injurious to a child less than 17 and harassment, 2nd. Gray was arrested on a warrant out of City Court related to an alleged incident Oct. 20.

Nathan J. Pascuzzo, 23, of Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI. Pascuzzo was stopped at 5:10 a.m., Nov. 2, after officer Peter Flanagan observed a vehicle on Ellicott Street driving on two flat tires.

Heather L. Draper, 25, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged trespass. Draper is accused of entering a store she had been banned from entering.

Kelsey Anne Sanders, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine on a disorderly conduct charge. Sanders was released on $125 bail.

Joseph W. Freeman, 30, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Freeman allegedly punched another person in the face during a domestic argument at 4:45 a.m., Monday.

Crystal L. Lawrence, 30, of Main Street, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear.

Didier Asne Antoine, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Antoine was allegedly on College Village property after being banned.

Robert Ray Davis, 53, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Davis allegedly hosted an underage drinking party at his residence.

Elizabeth Michelle Grattan, 24, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 3rd, and petit larceny. Grattan is accused of entering Walmart after being banned for life from the store. She allegedly stole $110 worth of merchandise.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:59 am

Hawley thanks constituents for big Election Day support

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), who was reelected on Tuesday with more than 95 percent of the vote, is extending his gratitude to the people who have entrusted him to represent them for another two years. Hawley’s priorities for the next two years include creating a better business climate in Western New York that creates well-paying jobs and working to restore Second Amendment rights. Hawley issued the following statement:

 “I am humbled by the overwhelming support that the people of the 139th Assembly District have shown me. I will continue to faithfully represent them by holding town halls across the district so that constituents have the chance to let me know what they want to see from our state and bringing those concerns to Albany. I look forward to keeping a good thing going representing the good people of Western New York for another two years.”

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

For Brian Moran, the wins are nice, but boys becoming men is the bigger reward

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

Sports talk in Ron Rossi's barber shop flows as freely as hair tonic and Barbasol.

From the folding seats along the north wall, facing the green leather, chrome-trimmed chair that is nearly always occupied by a customer, you could probably sit all day if you liked talking sports.

Rossi bleeds pinstripes, and the Yankee logo with its red, white and blue top hat hoisted on a bomber’s bat adorns all three walls on a pennant, banner and poster, but the Yankees are not the only sports team dear to Rossi’s heart.

Once a Knight always a Knight, and Rossi is among that fraternity who have donned black and red. It may have been more than four decades ago, but Rossi follows his alma mater the way Sooners stick with Oklahoma and Tigers hold tight to Clemson.

So it’s no surprise that one afternoon years ago, with a few loyal Le Roy fans in the shop, the talk soon turned to the Oatkan Knights and their new rookie coach.

He came from Livonia. This was the kid’s first head coaching job. Could he handle it? What did he know about football? Could he motivate the kids? Was he tough enough? Would he deliver championships?

The way Jim Rudgers remembers it, he was sitting in that barber chair with this banter going about. He happened to know the new head coach, and as a former Knight and an up-and-coming coach himself, he thought maybe the new guy was getting a bum rap.

“They were complaining about this new, young football coach,” Rudgers recalled. “Some of them said he didn’t know what he was doing. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Brian Moran walking down Mill Street. Now, I still have a towel wrapped around my neck, but I get out of the seat and go out and grab him. I knew Brian because his dad used to sell sporting equipment. I say, ‘Brian, come on in here, these guys don’t think you know what you’re doing.’ ”

Moran, tall, sandy-haired and built like a defensive end, entered the shop and Rudgers said, “Come on guys, here he is. Tell him he’s an idiot and that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. They were like, ‘uh, uh, uh.’ ”

Rudgers thinks that 26 years later, after more than 200 wins, 13 Section V titles and a state championship, the record has been set straight.

Brian Moran knows what he’s doing.

Development of a coach
There wasn’t a time in Brian Moran’s life that he wasn’t passionate about sports. With two older brothers, he had plenty of opportunity to play, compete and try to keep up. Football, basketball, baseball were all staples of young Brian’s life.

After high school, Moran attended Bridgton Academy in Maine, with its motto, “The Year that Makes a Difference.” It was a chance to continue his athletic pursuits in football and baseball as well as prepare for the rigors of college.

Though a prep academy, the football program exposed Brian to some top-notch competition. In an eight-game schedule, Bridgton played the freshman teams from the University of Boston, Umass and Norwich.

In 1983, he entered the University at Cortland as a physical education major. He also earned his teaching degree.

He played football all four years at Cortland, knowing that when his collegiate career was over, he wanted to coach high school kids.

“I really enjoyed being around athletics,” Moran said. “I really did. My career goal was to be a coach and in education just because I enjoyed being around that atmosphere so much.”

His first job out of college was teaching at St. Joe’s in Penfield, then he got a call from the University of Rochester to be an assistant under U of R’s legendary Pat Stark.

The next three years, he worked as an assistant coach at Livonia, his alma mater. In his third year, he was the head coach for JV.

His next job was as a driving education instructor at Wayland-Cohocton, where he also coached baseball.

Then in the Fall of 1989, just weeks before the school year was to start, he heard Le Roy was looking for a new head coach. He got an interview, then a second interview, then he was hired as head coach and athletic director.

“I grew up in a community similar to Le Roy and I knew the reputation Le Roy had as a football community,” Moran said. “It’s a privilege to coach, but as I said, I’m very lucky to have been hired and given the opportunity to coach in Le Roy.”

Talk with anybody about Le Roy football and sooner, always sooner rather than later, the word “tough” is dropped into the conversation.

To play Le Roy football, you’ve got to be tough.

It’s not enough to run fast, throw lasers down the field or stand tall and strong on the line. You’ve got to be tough.

Football is a mental and emotional game, and physical ability will only get a player so far.

If the players need to be tough, the coaches need to be tougher.

“We have high expectations for our football team,” Rossi said.

The skepticism Rossi’s customers felt that autumn day in 1989 was real, but it was nothing personal. Nobody knew anything about Brian Moran. Here was this young guy coming into the community to coach their football team and his only prior experience was as an assistant and a head JV coach.

Was he tough enough?

“When you come into a program like this that has always pretty much been successful,” Rossi said, “and you’re a new guy and nobody knows a lot about you, there’s going to be apprehension as to whether he can handle the situation.”

Moran was replacing Jim Laemlein, the coach who brought Le Roy its first sectional title and first 10-win season (1984, the last year in the sectional era ((and before there were state titles)) that Le Roy went undefeated).

“He had big shoes to fill coming in after a guy like Laemlein,” Rossi said.

Taking over a storied program
That first year, Moran says he was blessed to come into a program poised to win. The Knights went 8-2 in 1988, losing a sectional title game.

“I was very fortunate,” Moran said. “We had the nucleus of a good team, a team that lost by a touchdown the year before to Clyde-Savannah. It was a great situation to be in. We were 8-2 and we played Livonia in the sectional finals. It was bittersweet to coach for a title against my old school, but we were a pretty good football team in 1989.”

The 26-12 win brought home the first Section V trophy for a Moran-coached team.

Then Le Roy hit a rut, going 1-7 in 1990, then 4-4 in 91.

That ’91 team, though, is one Moran believes to this day could have won it all if they had back then the playoff format used today.

“That third year, I thought we had a great football team,” Moran said. “If they had let eight teams in (to the playoffs), that team would have won it all. That’s how good we got by the end of the season.”

As if to prove it, the Knights went 7-1-2 the next season and cinched Moran’s second Section V title.

Through Moran’s first six seasons, the Knights were 33-21-2 with three Section V titles.

There were few people left in Le Roy who questioned whether Moran could uphold the Oatkan Knights' tradition of winning football, but the best was yet to come.

Moran says, “we went on a little bit of a run.”

From 1995 through 2008, Le Roy did not suffer a losing season. The team’s record through the 13-season span was 136-20. There was a state championship in 1995, appearances in '96 and 2004, and 10 sectional titles. Le Roy has only played for a sectional title twice since, in 2012 and 2013, losing both championship games.

Developing champions
Winning a state championship is a big deal. There’s nothing easy about navigating through the post season. The waters are choppy for even very good football teams as they advance through each round.

The best teams are always much better than nearly all of their regular season opponents. You’re only going to lose to bad luck or to that one team you might meet during the year that is also on a championship romp through the league. When post season arrives, Class B teams are no longer piling up wins against Class C and D teams in league play and the C teams are no longer playing D teams.

The class system — based on school size — is used throughout New York State.

There are no playoffs to determine conference champions. The post season is strictly a matter of the best teams playing the top teams in each class. On any given Friday or Saturday, a top-seeded school can find its season terminated by a last second score.

(more after the jump)

The difference between winning and losing isn’t ruled by the action on the field. It’s a matter of players staying focused and motivated and coaches developing successful game plans.

As Moran often says, games are won and lost in practice the week before. The practice is based on the plan, and the plan is developed by the coach and his staff.

How much of Moran’s life is turned over to football during the season?

“All day, every day,” Moran said, “just ask my wife. I’m constantly watching film early in the week, trying to watch teams a week ahead. Then I start thinking about what we’re going to do offensively and defensively. Constantly. It’s not like I’m sitting down constantly and writing things down, and I’m not watching film constantly, but it’s a thorough process that really takes up your time. You really have to think to be successful.”

Linemen might refine their footwork, receivers their cuts, quarterbacks their time. Practice is about fine-tuning the skills needed in the game.

Teams learn the schemes and plays coaches think will work best against the coming opponent.

“One week at a time” is every successful team’s mantra.

One thing Moran excels at, according to former players, is motivation.

“It was about teamwork,” said Brian Fulmer, a senior tight end in 1995. “He was motivational. We all had buy-in. It was just the way he carried himself. Everybody just bought into teamwork.”

Fulmer skipped football his sophomore year to play in basketball tournaments, a decision he now says he regrets, even though he went on to play basketball at a Division I university, Cornell.

It’s a basketball memory that Fulmer used to illustrate Moran’s ability to motivate his players. There were a couple of game periods where Le Roy’s basketball coach was away and Moran was the substitute head coach.

Before one game, going over the game plan, Moran really got into Fulmer’s head.

“ ‘There’s no reason you shouldn’t dominate this entire game,’ ” Fulmer remembers Moran telling him. “He was like, ‘yeah, you’re going to go out and kill this guy.’ I thought, ‘yeah, you’re right.’ He knew how to push the right buttons. He cared about us.”

Family is also important to Head Coach Brian Moran.

He and his second wife, Wendy, married for 16 years together for 20, enjoy their home in a well-wooded lot near Nunda. He likes to tinker in the garage when he isn’t watching game film or playing golf.

His children are all grown. Brendon, 31, played for the Knights in 2001 and was part of the team that won the 100th game for Moran and was defensive player of the year for Section V. Casey, 29, also played for the Knights. Shane, 26, works for a landscaping company and attended Livonia, and his daughter, Kaitlin, 23, also attended Livonia and just earned her teaching degree.

Moran is also proud of his brothers. Tom is a State Supreme Court judge. Sean lives near Conesus Lake. Patrick lives in St. Louis and works for General Motors.

Perhaps the proudest person in the Moran family is the coach’s mother, who still attends most of her son’s games at age 82.

“She’s a big supporter of all of us,” Moran said.

1995
In the late Summer of 1995, it was starting to look like the unthinkable might happen: there would be no football season.

Mired in budget woes, the school board was considering drastic cuts in spending.

Coming off an 8-3 season that ended in a regional playoff loss, the players and coaches thought they might have a pretty good team, but they also wanted to play.

“The board was considering a real austerity budget,” Fulmer said. “We didn’t even know if we were going to have any sports that year. We had a great group of guys, a talented, talented group. A lot of us went on and played sports in college. A lot of us probably would have gone down the road and played at a different school if they cancelled the season.”

Players, parents, fans all packed a critical board meeting. The board heard the pleas to save sports and voted against the cuts.

“We promised the fans we will bring home a state championship,” said Adam Higgins, a member of the 1994 and 1995 teams. “If not for them, we would never have had a chance to play.”

Moran had no premonition of a state championship. The season, as they all do, unfolded one game, one week at a time. The way they should, in coachspeak.

“I always say weeks four, five and six are really crucial, because it gets to the point where if you’re not getting better, you’re almost getting worse,” Moran said. “If you don’t practice well, by the time you get the end, you may not have reached your peak. You want to get to that peak performance by the end of the season.”

Moran’s praise for the 1995 team: “They got better every week through very hard work. I like the way they practiced.”

Team chemistry was a big reason the team performed so well, Fulmer said. The players didn’t just play and practice together, they had meals to together, they hung out together and they supported each other.

They didn’t put their individual issues ahead of the team.

Higgins said Moran instilled the team-first attitude through hard work and discipline. It shows, he said, by the way Le Roy teams enter the field before before games. Two silent lines, like a military platoon, walking onto the field.

“Walk, don’t talk,” was the rule, Higgins said.

It was the same procession players are expected to take leaving the practice field, and after one hot August pre-season practice, when the team thought they were out of earshot of Moran, a couple of players started cutting up. The team — the whole team — spent an extended practice running laps.

“You do everything as a team,” Higgins said. “If one messes up, all mess up. He and Andrew (Paladino, defensive coordinator) just really instilled that in us and it showed.”

Higgins was the starting QB throughout his junior year, helping the team to a sectional title in 1994, and started the season at the top of the depth chart as the field general, but before the third game of the year — which turned out to be the only loss of the season, to archival Cal-Mum — Higgins lost his starting job to a sophomore.

“It was a big, traumatic event,” Fulmer said, but how Higgins handled it really set an example of team before self, he said.

“To his credit, he didn’t externally show a lot of emotion,” Fulmer said. “He was an awesome defensive player and he just went out and played great defense. I know he was hurting inside and I hurt for him, but he shut his mouth and went out and played great defense the rest of the year.”

It was a big deal, said Higgins, who is now a high school coach himself. He spent 10 years as an assistant at Letchworth and now coaches girls swimming. To this day, he counts Brian Moran as among his best friends. They talk frequently. He’s known Moran pretty much his entire life. His best friend from elementary school is the son of Moran’s wife, Wendy.

“He brought me into his office and I could tell he was upset,” Higgins recalled of the meeting where he learned he had lost the starting QB job. “It was hard for him to tell me. I looked at him and said, ‘I’ll do whatever I can for this team.’ ”

Quarterback controversy settled, the Knights started to gel. They won their next six regular season games, then crushed East Rochester 19-0 for the Section V Class C title. They beat Eden 19-0 for the Far West Regional title, won 12-0 over Dogelville in the state qualifier and faced Saranac Lake for the state championship.

The promise to the fans who saved the team was fulfilled by a final score of 37-27.

Love
The 2014 season, Moran’s 26th and last as head coach, has been another great run for the Oatkan Knights. All but one game has been a blowout, and that game, in the end, wasn’t really very close. It’s the year in which Moran became the fourth head coach in Section V history with 200 career wins.

After each victory, Moran gathers the team around them and shares the same message that makes these points.

“I’m proud of you.”

“Get your rest, stay hydrated.”

“We have another game next week. Stay focused. Come to practice Monday ready to work.”

“Enjoy the victory, but don’t do anything stupid.”

“Do the right thing in school.”

“I love you guys.”

The precise words may change each week, but the message remains consistent.

The idea that Moran loves the kids on his team isn’t just morale-building rhetoric. It’s not hokum to con a bunch of kids into conformity. Moran gets a little misty eyed when he talks about his players, and the lifelong bonds that develop, the mutual loyalty, the commitment and devotion that develops, are strong evidence that Moran’s heart is what leads his head.

Moran doesn’t take a lot of credit for his 201 wins. He credits the kids and the community, but it’s not even the most important thing, he says.

“This is high school athletics,” Moran said. “The wins are nice, but we need to be sure we’re teaching them the things they’ll need to know to be successful in life.”

The great thing about athletics is it teaches kids that discipline and success go hand-in-hand. The lessons that lead to winning championships also carry over into careers and families.

More important to Moran than trophies are the kids who come back to the school year after year and can proudly recite for him their successes in life.

At the start of this season, five members of the 1995 championship team came to a pep rally at the school, some flying from as far away as Minnesota and Texas, to cheer on and encourage the 2014 team.

To a man, they shared how much they learned from Moran and how playing for him changed their lives.

“The things I learned from coach that helped me is don’t cut corners in your work,” Fulmer said. “It’s all about teamwork. Show respect. Don’t ever disrespect somebody in public. Certainly, my Dad’s a big influence, too, but that’s the kind of stuff I learned with Coach Moran. He showed me the best example of teamwork I’ve ever been a part of and that carries with me to this day.”

Hundreds of kids have passed through Moran’s programs at Le Roy — not just football, and not just winning teams — and many can tell similar stories.

Tim Spezzano was part of the 1-7 squad in 1990. He later coached at Le Roy, starting with seventh-graders and eventually working four years as head basketball coach for boys varsity. He now works for Tompkins Insurance and holds Moran in the highest regard.

“He was always very well prepared in his approach to coaching and that’s certainly something I take from him,” Spezzano said. “One of the things he preached at great length is do the little things well. If you do the little things well, big things will happen for you. Generally, I think of myself as somebody who is properly prepared. I think a large part of why people are successful is they are prepared.”

Life lessons, thought, don’t come wrapped in brightly colored paper with pretty bows tied on top. They come through hard work, persistence and reinforcement.

In other words, the teacher dolling out the gifts needs a firm hand and a loud mouth.

Moran knows how to get in a kid’s face when he needs to.

“What’s most important to Brian is what happens to these kids 10 years from now,” said defensive coordinator Jim Bonacquisti. “Are they better men, are they better husbands, are they successful? That all comes from Brian demanding the best from them. It’s not a touchy-feely world. It’s not about everybody getting ribbons, everybody getting an award. It’s about making yourself better.”

The one thing, though, you’ll never see Brian Moran do, says Bonacquisti, is embarrass a kid during a game or in front of his parents.

“I can recall once when I got after a kid during a game,” Bonacquisti said. “The kid was a sophomore, and Brian turned me and said, ‘we’re going to need this kid the next two years. Let’s not beat this kid down. Stay positive.’ That’s what he always reiterated, ’stay positive.’ "

Andrew Paladino, the defensive coordinator who was coaching at Le Roy five years before Moran became head coach, will also retire at the end of this season. He said Moran has always treated him well and given him the freedom to run his own squad.

Paladino said he’s sure the love and appreciation players have for Moran is genuine, honest and hard won.

“He can be a hard-ass sometimes, but he truly likes the kids and he cares about the kids,” Paladino said. “A lot of people don’t understand that, a lot of times it’s tough love but when it’s all said and done I think the kids appreciate it.”

They do, said both former team members Brian Fulmer and Adam Higgins.

Fulmer, who played Division I basketball, said Moran was the best coach he ever played for at any level.

“I won Athlete of the Year my senior year and Brian spoke at the awards ceremony,” Fulmer said. “He spoke about how hard I worked and how I was always the first guy on the field and the last guy off the field. He got a little emotional about it. I never forgot how he got a little emotional about what I did. It was the coolest moment in my life. I’d run through a wall for that guy.”

It was also the moment that an award was handed out that is a deeply imprinted memory of Moran for Higgins as well.

“I was named Best Defensive Player for the Section V championship and I was standing right next to coach when they announced the award,” said Higgins, the kid who earlier that year lost his starting QB job to a sophomore. “He looked right at me and said, ‘I was hoping and praying that you would win that award.’ That was just the bond we had.”

Moran doesn’t remember the wins nearly as much as he remembers the individual players and their big moments: Fulmer knocking down a pass in the end zone during the championship game; Justin Ausher with a key two-point conversion in that game, beating people to the goal line; Joe Miller in a title game against East Rochester running a fullback trap 53 yards for a touchdown; Tony Mason with a seven-yard run in another game against East Rochester that combined with a PAT by Kevin Price gave Le Roy a 7-6 victory.

“There are so many great memories of kids making plays that even surprised me sometimes at how well they performed,” Moran said.

The coach also remembers the non-starters, the kids who just wanted to be part of the team. He remembers the kid with Asperger's syndrome who made the team and the kid with autism who became the team manager for a couple of years.

Moran has always had a soft spot for the kids who might have some disadvantage, Bonacquisti said, whether it’s something like Asperger's or autism, or they just don’t have any money or a lot of social grace.

That comes from being picked on as a kid. Moran said he had two older brothers who always gave him a hard time.

“That’s the way life was then,” Moran said. “Nobody worried about bullying. I was always trying to keep up with them.

Every kid deserves a chance to succeed, Moran said.

“When you look at our kids here today, you don’t know where they come from sometimes,” Moran said. “You don’t know what their home life is, and really, when they come to school, it might be the brightest part of their day.”

Working with the kids who might have disadvantages is also a powerful lesson for the rest of the kids, Moran said.

“It helps them understand the issues in society,” Moran said. “Not everybody is born perfect. Some kids struggle with whatever they have. I have a granddaughter who is very handicapped and it’s tough. I want these kids to understand that they have a lot of benefits that they don’t even think about.”

The fact Moran is so inclusive is part of the reason the football program has been so successful, Spezzano said.

“It’s evident in the numbers of participants in the program,” Spezzano said. “Look at the number of the kids on the sideline. “That doesn’t happen if the focus is only on the top 11 or top 12 players.”

Yeah, Moran may be a hard-ass at times, practices may be rough, but he thinks the community and the parents understand what the larger goals are, and that it isn’t necessarily to win championships. Winning is something that is an outcome of turning boys into men.

“I’m fortunate to work in this community,” Moran said. “I get after our kids pretty good sometimes, and in other places, I don’t think they would be as accepting as we are now. When you work in a place for 26 years, I think people understand you have their kids' best interest at heart.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Chamber introduces 2015 board at annual meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2015 Board of Directors at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting at Bohn’s Restaurant Thursday.  

Serving on the Board in 2015 are Steven Beardsley, Bank Of Castile; Tim Call, Empire Tractor; Keith Conway, Z&M Ag and Turf; Dan Harvey, Graham Corporation; Dennis Kohl, Darien Lake Amusement Park; Steve Krna, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; Hiedi Librock, Town of Batavia; Jonathon Mager, Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia, Inc.;

Chan Patel, Clarion Hotel; Steve Pies, Max Pies Furniture; Michael R. Rivers, Rybak, Metzler & Grasso, PLLC; Chris Suozzi, Genesee County Economic Development Center; Joseph Teresi, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Eric Wies, Clark Patterson Lee; and Jennifer Zambito, GCASA.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Vinnie Esposito, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Council. Esposito praised Genesee County for being a leader in economic development and predicted a bright future for the county’s business community.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull gave an overview of the past year at the Chamber and outlined plans for 2015 initiatives. According to Turnbull, the Chamber will continue to fulfill its mission to create an environment for business success and improve the quality of life for all citizens of Genesee County.    

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Poster contest winner get rides to school in fire truck

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

Press release:

The Group 2 winner of the Fire Prevention Poster Contest received her prize today. Violet March, a third-grader at St. Joseph School, received a ride on a fire truck to school. She boarded the truck at the fire station on Evans Street and from there took a tour of the City on Engine 11. She arrived at school and was greeted by her classmates. The poster contest is in its second year and sponsored by the City of Batavia Fire Department and the City Firefighters Union Local 896.

Top photo: Firefighter Art Smith, Captain Greg Shilvock, Fire Chief Jim Maxwell, Group 2 Winner Violet March and her mother Kelly March.

Bottom photo: Captain Greg Shilvock, Violet March and firefighter Art Smith in driver’s seat. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Flying to San Diego

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

I've boarded a plane in Buffalo. I'm heading to San Diego to attend to family matters. 

Billie will be running the site the next few days. As usual our news partner WBTA will help us with news coverage as will Alecia Kaus from Video News Service. 

I'm most disappointed that I'll miss Batavia and Le Roy play for Section V titles. The pursuit by both teams is a great story. I wish I could be there to tell it. But we have made arrangements for coverage. Good luck to both teams. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

Former Le Roy rescue truck fits like a glove at the Batavia Fire Department

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

Le Roy Fire Department's ability to upgrade its rescue vehicle has given City fire the opportunity upgrade its own capabilities.

The Batavia department purchased Le Roy's retired rescue truck for $55,000, which is $12,000 below what the city had budgeted for a new pickup truck and trailer to handle the same duties.

New, the truck goes for about $200,000.

Now dubbed Truck 14 and assigned to special operations, the new vehicle will be used for hazmat, rope rescue, water rescue, swift water rescue, cold water rescue and confined space rescue.

"They're all operations that we don't do very often, but there is always potential for a large need in the city," said Lt. Bob Fix.

Truck 14 will also respond to fire scenes with crew and equipment and serve as a rehab vehicle. It has an awning to provide shelter in heat and will carry water and fans to assist firefighters who need a break during a fight.

Up until now, the city had no vehicle to meet the needs of these operations. Equipment was stored in the fire hall and pulled out as necessary.

Now, everything is ready to roll with little time wasted.

Besides cost savings -- though some of that $12,000 was used to refit the truck to some of the city's needs -- the advantage over a storage trailer is that the trailer would need to be heated in the winter to help maintain the equipment. The new truck fits inside the fire station behind the current ladder truck.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

Lady Irish advance in regional volleyball tournament

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

Photos and story by Bare Antolos.

The Notre Dame Girls Volleyball Team, powered by the support of their fans, came out and proved to be too much for previously undefeated Hammondsport, 3-1 (25-15, 25-12, 18-25 and 25-13) to move onto play against Honeoye Falls-Lima on Thursday at Cal-Mum in the regional finals.

The Lady Irish are the Class DDD champions for Section V.

Throughout the match, the Hammondsport girls seemed to be overwhelmed by the Notre Dame attack and unnerved by the vocal Notre Dame student body cheering section.

Despite not having a strong service match, the Notre Dame girls used a balance attack to mix up their sets and win rather easily. Notre Dame Coach Rhonda DiCasolo said that her team "played really, really well and is very proud" of the effort and is "really excited about Thursday at Cal-Mum."

Shea Norton led the way for the Lady Irish with 19 kills. Lindsay Bender had a strong match, finishing with 30 assists and 10 service points, including finishing out the match on a run of five serves to send Hammondsport home.

The Lady Irish received strong contributions from Mary Bernadette Bochicchio who set the tone early in the first game, running out a string of five service points (nine total for the match) to open up a lead that Hammondsport could not recover from. Rebecca Krenzer lead the way with 15 service points with Olivia Marchese contributing 12 digs and Emma Francis, who seemed to be involved in all parts of the match, finished with 10 digs and 12 service points in the all around team effort.

Thursday's match against Honeoye Falls-Lima should be another difficult match for the Lady Irish and provide the Notre Dame students another opportunity to be help lift their team to victory!

More photos after the jump:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Statement from Chris Collins on winning re-election

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, election, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins tonight released the following statement announcing his successful reelection as New York’s 27th District Congressional Representative.

“I am honored and humbled to again be elected by the hardworking people of New York’s 27th District,” Congressman Collins said.

“Voters across America made a clear choice today about the direction in which they want our country to move. Here in the 27th District of New York, like many places across our country, people have chosen to be represented by individuals who believe that job creation and economic growth should be spurred by the private sector, that big government is not good government, and that elected leaders should stand behind the principles they campaign on.

“I look forward to building on this nationwide momentum. My focus will remain on the issues that my constituents care about such as ensuring our veterans have the resources they deserve, fighting to reduce burdensome government regulations that negatively impact our farmers and small business owners, protecting Medicare benefits for our seniors, and reducing taxes to keep more money in individual’s pockets.

“I want to thank our hundreds of volunteers, our donors and most of all the voters. I would not be here without their strong support. Additionally, I want to thank my opponent, Jim O’Donnell for his service to our community and wish him the best going forward.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Big win in Genesee County for Astorino not enough to help him overcome Cuomo statewide

post by Howard B. Owens in Elections

Incumbent Andrew Cuomo won the statewide race for governor, but was trounced in anti-SAFE-Act Genesee County by Rob Astorino, 11,016 to 4,040, according to unofficial election results.

The governor's win propels Kathy Hochul, once Genesee County's representative in Congress, into the lieutenant governor's office.

Howie Hawkins, from the Green Party, was the top vote getter among third party candidates both locally and statewide. With 55 percent of the precincts reporting, Hawkins has 107,000 votes. He had 369 votes locally.

Libertarian hopeful Michael McDermott, who needed 50,000 votes to improve ballot access for Libertarians, will fall well short of the mark. So far, only 8,800 ballots are marked for McDermott. He received 150 votes in Genesee County.

In the local Congressional race, Chris Collins had 11,722 votes to 3,324 for James D. O'Donnell. The districtwide results posted by 13WHAM indicate Collins will win the race easily. 

In the state Senate race, Micheal Ranzenhofer has 11,949 votes to 3,157 for Elaine B. Altman. Ranzenhofer is the projected winner of the race.

In the Assembly race, Steve Hawley had 13,580 votes to 532 for Mark E. Glogowski, running as a Libertarian.

A ballot measure to change redistricting procedures got 6,752 yes votes locally and 6,168 no votes. The measure appears to be passing statewide.

A proposal to allow e-filing of proposed legislation in Albany had 9,389 yes votes and 3,840 no votes locally. The measure appears to be passing statewide.

The Smart Schools Bond Act had 6,668 yes votes and 6,778 no votes locally. The measure appears to be passing statewide.

In the City of Batavia, a measure to realign wards to keep up with population shifts passed 1,818 to 885.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Person arrested following pair of disturbances in the city

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A pair of disturbances in the city early this afternoon has resulted in at least one person in custody with police still trying to sort out events.

There was an initial disturbance call, a possible assault involving multiple people in the area of Tracy and Washington, but when police arrive there were no victims nor assailants in the area, said Sgt. Dan Coffey.

An officer then responded to a call on Holland Avenue and shortly after arriving, radioed that he needed backup because two car loads of people just arrived. That brought at least a half-dozen officers and deputies as well as city detectives.

There was a lot of screaming and yelling and pushing and shoving on Holland.

The two incidents appear to be related, Coffey said.

One person was taken into custody and Coffey said the man impeded the investigation when officers arrived. He will likely be charged with obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Coffey said.

His name has not yet been released.

Several people then went to police headquarters for interviews. Coffey said they were potential victims of the Tracy and Washington assault. Officers were still trying to put the pieces together.

The investigation is ongoing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

Photo: It's Election Day

post by Howard B. Owens in Elections

Remember to vote today.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Law and Order: Police break up alleged Halloween underage drinking party on Jackson Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Oakfield

Jerry J. Jordan Jr., 19, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21. Patrols responded to 156 Jackson St., Batavia, at 1 a.m., Saturday, on a complaint of an underage drinking party in progress. When police arrived, occupants of the house locked the door. Officers determined that the occupants were gathering behind the front door with a plan to rush the officers. Jordan was allegedly the first person through the door when it opened. He was carrying a large speaker that he allegedly used to pushed into the first officer he encountered. Several other individuals were arrested. Deputies and troopers assisted at the scene. Supplemental Information Not in the Press Release: The property is owned by James Pontillo. The property has been condemned. Pontillo said as many as 80 people were gathered in the living room at one time, causing a floor joist to break.

Also arrested:

  • Philbert Prince Williams, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana.  
  • Demetri C. Stewart, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Didier A. Antoine, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Terrence Brown, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Jason A. Perry-Murray, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Tavid C. McIntosh, 19, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Naquil T. Jones, 22, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Maleak H. Green, 21, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with rape, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Green was arrested following an investigation into an alleged incident at 2:15 p.m., Aug. 7. No further details released. Green is being held in the Genesee County Jail on an unrelated charge.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Douglas is accused of violating an order of protection at 2:52 p.m., Friday, on Ross Street.

Jeffrey E. Williams, 30, of Westhigh Terrace, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Williams was jailed, no bail specified.

Marlon M. Chess Jr., 33, of Bergen Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Chess was arrested following an investigation by Batavia PD at 1:08 p.m., Thursday, into a suspicious vehicle parked near the Verizon Store on Lewiston Road, Batavia.

Mark T. Zdrojewski, 61, of Meyer Road, Pendleton, is charged with three counts of issuing a bad check. Zdrojewski was arrested on a warrant for allegedly issuing bad checks in August in Batavia.

Terrance H. Riley, 26, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest. Riley was arrested after allegedly trying to fight another person while officers were present. He then allegedly resisted arrest. The incident was reported at 2:20 p.m., Wednesday, on South Main Street, Batavia.

Jeremy Allen Weatherbee, 45, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI (alcohol or drugs), aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving on sidewalk, refusing to take breath test and failure to stop at stop sign. Weatherbee is accused of failing to stop for a stop sign at Pearl Street and Roosevelt Avenue at 1:14 a.m., Saturday. His car reportedly struck the south curb of Pearl Street, resulting in heavy damage to the front tires and rims of his vehicle. He then allegedly drove the vehicle with the damaged rims back to his residence on Roosevelt Avenue. Weatherbee was ordered held without bail.

Dustin J. Wilmet, 25, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, driving with an open container and aggravated unlicensed operation. Wilmet was arrested following an investigation at 2:12 a.m., Friday, by Sgt. Eric Bolles into a reported fight at a location on West Main Street, Batavia.

Nicholas Joseph Breau, 22, of Glenwood Drive, Clarence, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Breau was stopped at 10:31 p.m., Friday, on Galloway Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona for alleged traffic violations. Breau was also arrested on a warrant out of Amherst.

Chantalle Josephine Bessil, 19, of High Manor Drive, Henrietta, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a location on Main Road, Corfu, at 12:59 p.m., Thursday, and during the investigation found that Bessil, a passenger in a vehicle at the scene, was in possession of a small amount of marijuana in a grinder and a baggie. She also allegedly had a stun gun in her purse.

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, and Tonya D. Smith, 29, both of Overlook Drive, Batavia, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Officer Micheal Lute, Corfu PD, responded to a complaint of a disturbance at 2 p.m., Wednesday, and upon arrival found a vehicle with a suspended registration. Upon further investigation, he found Hensel and Smith allegedly in possession of heroin and a needle. Hensel also charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, for allegedly breaking into a building in Corfu at 11 a.m., Oct. 5.

Barbara E. Ferrando, 43, of West Main Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Ferrando was stopped for driving with an alleged suspended license at 9 p.m., Oct. 23, by Officer Michael Lute, Corfu PD. During an inventory of the vehicle's contents, a large bag of marijuana was allegedly found in the trunk.

William Gordon Schultz Sr., 40, of Evans Street, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Schultz was arrested at his place of employment and arraigned in front of Judge Eric Adams. Schultz was released on his promise to pay the majority of the fine today and the balance on Nov. 12.

Lauren K. Pellegrino, 32, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Pellegrino was arrested by State Police for allegedly stealing a credit card. The blotter entry is labeled "purse snatching." She was jailed on a bail amount that is not listed. The alleged incident is reported at 1:36 a.m., Sunday, in Oakfield. No further details released.

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