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Howard B. Owens's blog

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Caller on Swan reports loud noise

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Batavia Police are being dispatched to the area of Swan Street for the report of a loud noise.

The caller was on his porch and said it was very loud, a boom.

I heard it, too, and I'm four or five blocks from Swan. From the echo, I could tell it was some blocks away, but loud. I was guessing in the area of Kibbe Park, but I'm inside.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.: A reader on Hutchins reports hearing it, too. Police cleared the scene about 11:30 p.m. without finding anything.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Dog struck on Colorado Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, crime, pets

A dog has been struck on Colorado Avenue.

The driver did not stop.

No description of the hit-and-run vehicle is available.

A person is on scene awaiting police in order to help identify and notify the owner.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Drinking may have been factor in serious accident in Basom on Sunday

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama

An Alabama man was seriously injured in a single-car accident today when his car struck a tree on Sandhill Road, Basom.

Robert J. VanPelt, 22, was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC following the 1:40 p.m. accident.

While the accident remains under investigation, a Sheriff's Office release says alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

"Charges may be pending," according to the release.

VanPelt is being treated for multiple serious injuries.

VanPetl's passenger, Brandon Rueben (no age provided), also from Alabama, was taken by ground ambulance to ECMC. The Sheriff's Office describes his injuries as "non-life threatening."

VanPelt was driving a 1997 Buick north on Sandhill when he apparently failed to negotiate a curve and traveled off the east side of the road. His car then traveled back across Sandhill and off the west shoulder, where hit struck an embankment and then a tree.

Responding to the scene were Deputy Lonnie Nati, Deputy Dana Richardson, Sgt. T.A. Sanfratello, Investigator Kris Kautz, Deputy Kevin McCarthy and Deputy Eric Seppela from the crash-management team. Assisting at the scene were Alabama, Indian Falls and Pembroke fire departments as well as Mercy EMS.

For our initial report, click here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Report of large brush fire off Harper Road, Corfu

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

A "large brush fire" moving into the woods has been reported in the area of 9980 Harper Road, Corfu.

Darien Fire has been dispatched.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: Chief on scene reports large brush fire, but not heading into the woods. He's going to explain the new burn laws to the property owner. Darien units, except 46, being put back in service. Incident address corrected to 9990 Harper Road.


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Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Big soccer weekend at new athletic fields in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Turf, soccer, sports

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Regional and local soccer players gathered at the recently completed Batavia Sports Park at Batavia Turf Farms on Bank Street Road over Saturday and Sunday for various training sessions.

The camp included sessions for the New York State West Olympic Development Program on both days. This afternoon the Genesee Amateur Soccer Association held a Coaches and Players Clinic.

More pictures after the jump:

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Town of Batavia Fire holds annual awards dinner

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, volunteer firefighters

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In the Town of Batavia Fire Hall on Saturday night, Batavia's volunteers gathered for their annual awards dinner and installation of officers.

Above, all of the firefighters who responded to at least 100 calls during 2009 are recognized.

Dan Kemp was named Firefighter of the Year and Randy McIntire won the President's Award. Nate Fix and Bob Mullen were recognized for each responding to more than 200 calls.

Dan Jacques and Paul Barrett (who was unable to attend) were recognized for 25 years of service.

After the jump, more pictures:

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Car hits tree on Sand Hill Road, Basom

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama

Mercy Flight is on stand by following a single-car accident in the area of 7605 Sandhill Road, Basom.

The car hit a tree. Injuries are reported.

Alabama Fire and Indian Falls are being dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 1:49 p.m.: Two Mercy Flight helicopters are being requested along with another Mercy EMS advance life support ambulance. One patient is reported unconscious. The landing zone is being set up at the corner of Hopkins and Sliker Roads. The first helicopter has a three-minute ETA.

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: A fire engine needs to be positioned so the winch can be used to stabilize the vehicle.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: Second patient extricated.

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: The second helicopter is coming from Buffalo. It has at least at 20 minute ETA yet.

UPDATE 2:28 p.m.: The second helicopter is being cancelled. The patient will be transported by ground ambulance.


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Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 9:10 am

New OTB chairman says video terminals keeping Batavia Downs afloat

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, harness racing, sports

Harness racing isn't want it used to be and probably never will be again, according to newly elected Chairman of the Western Region Off Track Betting Board of Directors Dick Siebert.

In an interview with WBTA, Siebert characterized harness racing as "the cost of doing business." It's the loss leader that under state law allows Batavia Downs Casino to keep its doors open for the much more profitable video slot machines.

"The people that used to come to our parlors, the 55 and older men, are no longer 55 years of age," Siebert said. "Unfortunately, they're dying off. The newer group of people, it doesn't have the interest to them that it did with the old bettor. ... I honestly can't see where harness racing is going to turn around and ever be back where it was in the '50s, '60s and '70s."

He said in 2009, Batavia Downs lost $1.5 million on harness racing while the video lottery terminals brought in $3 million in profits.

To help reduce harness racing costs, more bets will be placed at electronic terminals rather than at the traditional caged window with a person taking the bet.

Meanwhile, Siebert said the Downs continues to work with state regulators on a plan to address deficiencies in some administrative procedures. He said the board is looking to hire a consultant to help address the state's concerns, rather than bring in a management company to take over the Downs' operations, which is one of the state's other suggestions.

Full interview available here (mp3).

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 8:46 am

Batavia woman hurt in two-car crash in Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Alabama

A Batavia woman was hurt in a two-vehicle accident at 1:35 p.m. Friday in Alabama.

The woman stopped the 2003 Toyota pickup she was driving at intersection of Townline Road and Maple Street Road when she was struck by another car that was behind her.

Cheryl A. Vagg, 53, of 110 Evans St., Batavia, was transported to UMMC by ground ambulance with back pain, according to Deputy Timothy Wescott, who investigated the accident.

The other driver, Susan J. Neamon, 46, of 2272 Thomas Road, Varysburg, was not injured.

Vagg's passenger, Keith W. Cadieux, 54, was not injured.

Neamon told Wescott she was "looking for oncoming traffic and must have rolled forward." Her 2009 Ford Sedan struck Vagg's truck, which was in front of her preparing to make a right-hand turn on Maple Street Road.

No citations were issued.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 7:31 am

Batavia man tells police he was shot while walking on Indian Falls Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Indian Falls Road

A 35-year-old Batavia man reported being shot and his wallet stolen as he walked down what he thinks was Indian Falls Road about 5:30 p.m., Saturday.

After being shot and robbed, Carlos Torres called a friend for assistance, who drove him to UMMC. He was transferred from UMMC to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight, according to the Sheriff's Office.

He was in surgery at the time the Sheriff's Office released information on the incident at 11:23 p.m., Saturday.

Torres told officials, according to the release, that he believes he was walking on Indian Falls Road when a car pulled up behind him and somebody demanded his wallet. He was then shot in the back and his wallet was taken.

After the suspects left, he continued walking to Route 5, where he called a friend for help.

The Sheriff's Office says Torres was shot twice with a small caliber weapon. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 345-3000.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Fight reported at the carnival

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, carnival, crime, downtown

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Police have responded to a report of a fight at the carnival in downtown Batavia.

When the first unit he arrived, the officer reported "quite a fight." He immediately called for an ambulance for a person having a seizure.

A subject was reportedly seen fleeing west on Ellicott Street and crossing the street toward Della Penna's. Police are looking for two white males, with one wearing a white T-shirt.

UPDATE 10:04 p.m.: One of the subjects who fled reportedly dropped a knife. A second fight has reportedly broken out. Two State Police units have been called in to back up Batavia Police.

UPDATE 10:11 p.m.: Mercy EMS was requested to check on a male down behind Alberty's. He reportedly has a head laceration. There is also a report of "all suspects are black males." It's unclear if that's related to all fights or just one of the fights.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: One patient transported to UMMC. Police units going back in service. 

UPDATE 8 a.m. Sunday: Reader Adam Lowder submitted the photo above. His description of events follows after the jump:

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Photos: More fun at the carnival

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, carnival, downtown, photos

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The Downtown Batavia Carnival continued on Saturday, so we have more pictures from this afternoon. Sunday is the final day and it runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

May Day Party features arts and crafts for kids

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Families from Batavia's Natural Parenting Network gathered at the home of Kristi Evans today for a May Day Party that featured arts and crafts for the children. Evans said the wind today made it a little tough to do crafts outside, but all the kids were having a great time, anyway.

Sarah Fisher set up the foot-painting activity and Olivia Dayton was the first child to give it a try.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Methodists wash cars to raise funds for school in Nicaragua

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, First United Methodist Church

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Kids from the First United Methodist Church in Batavia were at the Town of Batavia Fire Hall today washing cars for donations. It's a fundraiser to build a school for a village in Nicaragua. The church needs to raise $20,000. The next car wash is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 12 at the same location. To help with the school building project, call Sharon McWerthy at 343-6326.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Charcoal hots at Jerry Arena's

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, food, Jerry Arena

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One of my favorite parts of Spring in Batavia is charcoal-cooked hot dogs at Jerry Arena's pizzeria on Lewiston Road. I made my first stop of the season there today.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Photo: Barn and dandelions on Judge Road, Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, Alabama, photos

barn_judgeroad_alabama.jpg

A barn behind a field of dandelions on Judge Road in Alabama.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Photo: Hauling rocks from a field

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, photos, Root Brothers

rootbrothers_rocks.jpg

Workers were in the field of Root Brothers Farm in Oakfield this morning removing rocks. Here Armando Luna hauls away a bucket full.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

The Batavian is two years old

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Yes, it's May Day. And it's Law Day. You might also say, it's The Batavian Day.

The Batavian officially launched on May 1, 2008. In our first month, 2,756 people visited the site.

In May 2009, there were 25,553 visitors. The past two months, we've topped 40,000 unique visitors each month.

And, of course, we've gone from zero to 75 local businesses sponsoring the site.

In May 2008, I was an employee of GateHouse Media and launched The Batavian for my employer. Now, Billie and I own The Batavian, LLC and I no longer work for GateHouse and Billie and I live in Batavia.

A lot can change in two years, and Billie and I (and Pachuco) love how things have turned out.

Thank you all for your support.

P.S.: It would be fun to hear in comments how you first heard about The Batavian.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm

One-car accident reported on Lover's Lane, Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu

A car is reportedly in a ditch in the area of 8936 Lover's Lane Road, Corfu.

It's unknown if there are any injuries.

Corfu Fire and Mercy EMS have been dispatched.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: A chief reports that a tow is already in route. The driver has left the car and is reportedly walking north toward Main Road. Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: The driver has been located and is being returned to the scene. His only injury appears to be a minor cut on his arm.


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Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

Ambulance struck by hit-and-run driver

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A small gray car reportedly hit a Mercy EMS ambulance that was parked at 103 Ross St., Batavia. The driver reportedly fled the scene.

The car will be missing a side-view mirror, knocked off in the accident. It was last seen heading east on East Main Street East Avenue

No further description is available. No injuries were reported.

Police are responding to take a report and look for the car.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: The car is likely a Chevy Cavalier.

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