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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Rep. Collins calls proposed EPA rules on waterways 'overreach,' a burden on agriculture

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

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator, Honorable Robert W. Perciasepe, at a Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on the EPA’s overreaching rule proposal entitled “Definition of the ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.”

“The problem is the public doesn't trust the EPA, farmers don't trust the EPA not to overreach, Congress doesn't trust the EPA,” said Congressman Collins during today’s hearing.

“Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and the EPA fail to recognize that their agency’s overreach is causing real harm for farmers and stalling business development across our country,” Congressman Collins said. “When I visit with farmers in my district, the heavy burdens under the Clean Water Act come up each and every time. When the bureaucrats at the EPA decide to call a divot in the ground that fills with rain a ‘navigable waterway’ under the CWA, we know our federal government has run amuck. The fact that the EPA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are now looking to formally broaden the definition of ‘navigable waters’ is an insult to hard working farmers all across this country.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, sports

Batavia's annual basketball camp opened this week with sessions at Batavia Middle School and John Kennedy School.

Conducted by Batavia High School head Coach Buddy Brasky and assistants, the camp provides instruction ball handling, shooting, defense and game-play situations, among other skills.

There were sessions today for high school boys at the middle school and younger players at JK. Tomorrow, the girls will have camp day.

The camp runs through Aug. 15.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

Three arrests reported during Vans Warp Tour at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake performing arts center

The following arrests were reported by the Sheriff's Office in connection with the Vans Warped Tour on Tuesday at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Kayla M. Cihak, 18, York Street, Olean, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Kristen M. Kwitowski, 19, of Morning Sun Court, Erie, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Hayden J. Cypressi, 18 of Pine Terrace, Macedon, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

There were also three individuals cited for alleged possession or consumption of alcohol under age 21.

NOTE: The Sheriff's Office has decided to not include the names of people receiving underage citations in their concert press releases this season.

UPDATE: Right after posting this, we received a revised press release from the Sheriff's Office with three additional arrests listed.

A 16-year-old resident  of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Nickolas C. K. Mancuso, 18, of Redleaf Drive, Chili, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Matthew C. Sofia, 18 of Pemberton Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Deputy Frank Bordonaro dies of apparent heart attack while sleeping at home

post by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office

On calls, he was known as GS-29, but there was no mistaking Deputy Frank Bordonaro's slow-rolling baritone.

GS-29 answered his final call some time this morning. 

Bordonaro's shift ended at 7 a.m. He went home, went to bed and was later found unresponsive.

Sheriff Gary Maha said Bordonaro may have had a heart attack.

Bordonaro was 44. He was with the Sheriff's Office for 19 years. He is survived by his wife, Robin, and two sons, Bryce, 14, and Chase, 12.

No further information is available at this time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Batavia Bulldawgs host football and cheer camp at GCC this weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in Bulldawgs, football, sports

Press release:

The Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program will hold its 5th Annual Extreme Youth Football and Cheer Camp. This year’s camp cosponsored by Extreme Streetwear will be held at GCC Fields this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday July 10th – 12th.

Walk-up registration still available. Cost for the camp is only $30.

Campers will receive quality instruction from USA Football certified coaches, a camp T-shirt, and lunch at the end of camp on Saturday July 12th.

Camp on Thursday & Friday will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. with check-in at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to noon with check-in at 8:30 a.m..

The camp is open to ALL athletes no matter what league affiliation between the ages of 6 to 13 years old by Dec. 1st. Birth certificate is required.

Camp is a stationed-based training where campers are divided by age and experience level so each athlete receives the right level of instruction and support. The Bulldawgs staff and volunteers will teach techniques, skills, and appreciation for all football positions and cheerleading in a fun, positive way!

For more information, please contact:
Extreme Streetwear at 585-344-4411
League Commissioner John Reigle – 716-228-5787
Cheer Director Sherri Wahr – 585-356-0639
Or by e-mail at bataviabulldawgsfootball@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Boys and girls invited to summer youth basketball camp at Jackson School

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Jackson School, sports

Young, aspiring basketball players are invited to a youth basketball camp Aug. 11-15 at the Jackson School Gym in the City of Batavia.

The camp is sponsored by Batavia Boys Basketball Boosters and is open to boys and girls entering grades 3 through 7.

The cost is $65 and includes a camp T-shirt.

Coach Jim Fazio, youth director for Batavia Junior Blue Devils, will lead the camp, with assistance from other coaches and current Blue Devil basketball players.

The camp will focus on the offensive fundamentals of the game including shooting, passing, dribbling, and ball handling, with a major emphasis on shooting. There will be daily contests with full-court and half-court games.

For more information and the registration form, click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Severe thunderstorm predicted for area this afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

"There is even a low chance for a tornado," concludes a National Weather Service statement establishing a severe thunderstorm watch for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Western New York.

"The strongest storms may form into a line and quickly move east along the New York and Pennsylvania border affecting the western Southern Tier and upper Genesee Valley," according to the weather service.

Strong winds, heavy rain and small hail are expected.

All of Genesee County is under the watch. It's in effect until 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

Officially, cause of Saturday's fire in Le Roy undetermined, but electrical origin likely

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

The likely culprit in Saturday's fire Le Roy that destroyed the home of Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell is electrical.

Whether it was an electric device that first caught on fire or wiring in a wall hasn't been determined.

There is no evidence of any deliberate action that caused the fire.

Jim Bouton, a coordinator and investigator with Genesee County Office of Emergency Management, discussed the investigator's findings with The Batavian this morning.

"On the report it will say the cause is undetermined," Bouton said. "The primary principle is electrical."

The fire started in the garage, Bouton said, not on the porch as initially reported.

Also, the explosion during the fire was caused by backdraft, which is caused by the rapid reintroduction of oxygen into an enclosed area where oxygen has been depleted by fire.

There was lots of fuel available for a fire -- what firefighters call "fire load" -- big wood beams and all of the accoutrements of a modern lifestyle.

Bouton said these days people have a lot more polyester, plastic and other flammable materials around the house, which is just fuel for flames.

In the Luetticke-Archbell garage there was a motorbike, snowmobile and woodchipper, all with gasoline in the tanks, not to mention the fiberglass of the snowmobile to add fuel to the fire.

The house at 8005 North Road was built in 1806. There had been many upgrades to the residence, including upgraded electrical, Bouton said, but that still doesn't mean an electrical problem can't creep up.

Asked how concerned other residents should be about electrical fires, Bouton explained people should pay attention to how they're using electric and what's going on with the electric in their house.

Houses built before the electronic gadget age are susceptible to problems.

Most people don't understand how they overload their circuits.

(NOTE: During our conversation, Bouton wanted to make it clear he wasn't implying Greg and David did anything to cause the fire -- the cause remains undetermined.)

Bouton used this example: In your bathroom you probably have a 15-amp circuit. You plug in a curling iron and hair blower. Each draws 1,500 watts. Divide those 3,000 watts by 120 voltage and you're drawing 25 amps on a single 15-amp circuit.

That overload causes wires to heat and over time the wires become damaged.

It can take many years, but it's a fire hazard.

If you read the instructions for your microwave, refrigerator and freezer, you are warned that each should be on their own 20-amp circuit. Often, however, people just plug these items in with no consideration to what circuits they're on.

For those of us using power strips for our home entertainment centers or desk areas, chances are the devices are not drawing enough concurrent electricity to create a problem, but the preponderance of electronic devices -- mobile phone chargers, computers in every room, TVs in multiple rooms, etc., should be a concern.

In older homes, the fusebox has been replaced by a circuit breaker (perhaps not by a licensed electrician), Bouton said, but it's still a 60-amp service when it should be 100 amps for all the electronics in a typical home today.

If your lights flicker when you turn on electronics, or you keep blowing a circuit breaker, perhaps you're overloading circuits, Bouton said.

Bouton noted that it's ironic that in the City of Batavia, only a licensed plumber can do plumbing work in another person's home, but there's no prohibition against using unlicensed electricians.

Bouton recommends using licensed electricians for any wiring or rewiring for inspecting any suspected issues with circuits.

"I'm not saying we have a big problem out there, but people should be aware," Bouton said. "If you've got a question call an electrician."

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

GCEDC board to consider projects at meeting on Wednesday

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

This is from the GCEDC:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two projects at its July 10, 2014, board meeting. The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, NY, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College. 

U.S. Gypsum Company is planning to upgrade its paper mill at 2750 Maple Ave. in Oakfield, NY. The project will include replacing and relocating equipment, stock cleaning and enhanced manila production to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the facility. The projected capital investment is approximately $23 million and will ensure retention of 98 existing manufacturing jobs and the addition of 12 new production jobs. The board will consider a final resolution for this project.

Calamar Senior Housing is planning to construct a 117,000-square-foot, three-story building that will house 110 senior apartment units, a lobby and common rooms in the Town of Batavia. The facility they have proposed here in Batavia will be restricted to residents 55 years and older, and is scheduled to have many amenities that will create a holistic senior community including: a full-time director, events, educational seminars, meals, transportation, etc. The apartments will rent at market rate from around $805 to $1,050 per month with all major appliances and utilities included. The look, style, amenities offered at the proposed development to ensure effective “aging in place” models for our seniors.  Overall the company plans to invest $11 million, create two full-time positions, and estimates that 200 construction jobs will be needed to complete the facility. The facility will generate long-term tax base for the County without added demands for services on our school districts. The board will consider an initial resolution for this project as the incentives exceed $100,000.

Graham Corporation’s 2013 project with the GCEDC involved expansion of their operations on Harvester Avenue, Howard Street, and Florence Street in the City of Batavia. There has been a longer than anticipated construction time on these projects and Graham Corporation is requesting a PILOT amendment in order to delay the commencement of the PILOT by one year. This amendment will not result in any additional incentives and Graham will receive the total incentives that the board previously approved.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Nationally acclaimed balloon artist to appear at 175th Genesee County Fair

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee County Fair

Press release:

Nationally award-winning balloon artist Janice Spagnola will be appearing this year at the Genesee County Fair, July 15th-19th. Janice transforms thousands of latex balloons into works of art. “I call what I do air sculpture” says Janice.

This year marks the Genesee County Fair’s 175th year, and in commemoration Janice will take her inspiration for this large art display straight from the Genesee County Fair logo. Featured will be a large Ferris wheel. This installation will take thousands of balloons to complete. Fairgoers are should stop by often to view the progress and take pictures.

In addition, Janice will be offering two demonstrations each day during the fair. The installation will be completed by the last day of the fair to ensure guests are able to view the finished piece.

Besides balloon fun, the fair offers a variety of agricultural experiences, exhibitors and interactive activities as well as traditional fair fun! People who have attended the fair recently are finding it a fun family place to spend time together. Where else can an entire family go to spend a day enjoying exhibitors, demonstrations, animal and agricultural exhibits for just $5 per carload? This fee includes parking, entry for everyone in the vehicle to the fair and a show program.

So what’s going on at the fair in 2014?

There will be a new midway for 2014. Midway Rides of Utica will be providing quality rides for fairgoers to enjoy. There will be several featured performances this year in the grandstands. Grandstand events include: a Monster Truck & Thrill Show on Tuesday night; Special Raceway 5 Stock Car Racing on Thursday night; The Grand Demolition Derby on Friday night; and ESP Tractor Pulls on Saturday night.

Other featured events include: The Grand Parade; Day one of our two-day Fair Queen and Princess Pageant; and karaoke on Tuesday night; an all day Draft horse show on Wednesday; Day two of our Fair Queen and Princess Pageant Wednesday night; and “Genesee’s Got Talent” Show on Thursday night. Don’t forget about the Livestock Exhibits and Kids Corner going on all day every day of the fair.

For a complete listing of events during fair week, visit gcfair.com
If you are interested in volunteering, or becoming an exhibitor of the fair, go to the fair’s Web site gcfair.com to download all of the forms and to obtain contact info. We would like to make the 175th fair special. In order for us to do this, we need your help!

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Cause of Le Roy fire not yet determined as investigators continue to search for clues

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

Don't let the crime scene tape mislead you. Officials are not calling their search for the cause of Saturday morning's fire at 8005 North Road, Le Roy, a criminal investigation.

But arson hasn't been ruled out, either.

Nothing's been ruled out.  

Today, investigators from the Sheriff's Office, Emergency Services and the State of New York, were going over every inch of rubble looking for signs and clues. Le Roy FD's ladder truck was brought in at one point so investigators could obtain aerial photos of the site. The property's owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell came to their house to explain to investigators what was where.

Jim Bouton, an emergency management coordinator and fire investigator with the county, said officials may be ready to discuss theories and findings soon.


Greg, David and their children lost all of their personal belongings in the fire. A site for community donations has been set up. Click here to access the site.

This thermostat is on a shed about 100 feet from the west side of the house. Radiant heat turned it into a curly fry.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 11:47 am

Law and Order: Buell Street resident accused of cashing forged checks

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

Jamie A. Dutton, 22, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of a forged instrument, 3rd, and grand larceny, 3rd. Dutton is accused of cashing multiple forged checks. He was jailed on $50,000 bail.

Randy L. Haughton, 56, of Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Haughton was allegedly speeding in the Village of Le Roy when he was stopped by Le Roy PD. Haughton was jailed on $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 bond.

Dealmond T. Robinson, 28, of Le Roy, is charged with strangulation, 2nd, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Robinson was allegedly involved in a domestic disturbance. He was jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Diane L. Powell, 42, of Main Road, Corfu, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and failure to signal lane change. Powell was arrested following a traffic stop at 12:49 a.m., July 1, on West Main Street Road by Officer Matt Lutey.

Mark Walter Grabowski, 56, Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass and harassment, 2nd. Grabowski was allegedly involved in an incident (no details provided) at Batavia Downs on June 27.

Peter A. Conway, 28, of North Maple Street, Warsaw, is charged with issuing a bad check. Conway was arrested on a warrant and jailed on $500 bail.

Robert J. Barnes, 24, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barnes was allegedly involved in a disturbance at a residence on Watson Street at 2:58 p.m. Friday.

William C Welch Jr., 25, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Welch is accused of possessing a stolen BMX bike.

Tyrone N. Thigpen, 37, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Thigpen is accused of threatening another person with physical harm during an alleged incident on Maple Street at 4 p.m. July 1.

Amy L. Munnings, 37, of Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. Munnings was stopped at 10:08 p.m. Saturday on Wortendyke Road and Pearl Street Road, Batavia, by a State trooper.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

Video: Vincent Di Risio's first grand slam

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, little league, sports

Vincent Di Risio hit his first grand slam home run Saturday in a 10-and-under Little League All-Star game against Le Roy. Batavia won 12-1.

I saw this on Facebook and asked Leanna Di Risio for a copy so we could post it on The Batavian as well.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7:32 am

Truck on its side on Route 63 at Little Canada Road

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany

A 10-wheeler is on its side on Route 63 near Little Canada Road.

No word on injuries.

Bethany fire and Stafford fire dispatched.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: According to Deputy Cory Mower, it appears the weight of gravel in the bed of the truck shifted causing the driver to lose control rounding the curve just north of Fargo Road. The estimated speed of the truck was 40 to 45 mph. At 8:45 a.m., it was expected it would take at least another hour before Route 63 was reopened. At this time, it's still closed. There were no injuries.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7:00 am

Accident involving motorcycle in Darien with minor injuries

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

A car and motorcycle accident is reported at Broadway Road and Attica Road, Darien.

Minor injuries are reported.

Darien fire and ambulance responding.

UPDATE 7:02 a.m.: First responder: "Motorcyclist is up and conscious."

Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

Holley man dies after car hits pea combine on Route 19 in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen

A man was killed early this morning after his car crossed the center line on Route 19 near Bissell Road in Bergen and struck a pea combine head on.

Carmelo Rivera, 22, of Holley, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The accident was reported at 2:32 a.m.

Rivera was driving a 2004 Mercury Sable northbound when it crossed the center line and ran into a OXBO 9500 XP Pea Harvester.

It's possible another vehicle was in the area at the time of the crash and if so, investigators would like to interview that car's occupants. Anybody with information should call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.

The accident is being investigated by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, Deputy Howard Carlson, Sgt. Eric Seppala and Deputy John Duyssen of the Crash Management Team.

Responding to the scene were the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department, Mercy EMS and State troopers.

Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 1:17 am

Rare coins found buried in front yard of home on Elm Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Elm Street, history

Joseph Gottstine found four $1 coins in the front yard of his mother-in-law, Stacy Lynn Neureuther, Saturday afternoon. What makes them such a neat find, is three of them are silver dollars from the 1880s. One is a silver dollar from 1971.

Gottstine's metal detector tells him if the hunk of metal under the ground is likely a penny, nickel, dime, quarter or silver dollar. Neureuther's yard on Elm Street is apparently filled with coins, though Gottstine only dug out the dollars.

Neureuther is curious how the coins got there. The house was built in 1910. Could construction workers have lost them? Or did they just accumulate over time.

She looked up the value of the coins online and the 19th Century pieces may be worth about $65 apiece.  

Gottstine said he took up the hobby of metal detecting about a year ago and this is probably his most exciting find yet.

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