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Howard B. Owens's blog

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Possibly intoxicated truck driver reported on westbound Route 5

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford

A pair of men reportedly entered Red Osier on Route 5 in Stafford, but were refused service because they appeared too intoxicated.

So they left.

They got into a semi-truck without a trailer and tried to drive off. The driver reportedly hit a tree before exiting the parking lot.

The truck was last seen westbound on Route 5.

State Police and deputies are responding to the area.

UPDATE: It sounds like an arrest was made.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Genesee Justice by the numbers

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice

This post is an attempt to gather as many data points as possible related to the issue of Genesee Justice and the county budget.  If you can think of anything that's missing, let me know. Bonus points if you can provide the data.

Genesee Justice was founded in 1981 and by 2006, had received about $6.3 million in grants from government agencies and private foundations.

By the time founding Director Dennis Wittman retired in 2006, 4,959 offenders had performed community service, doing 356,858 hours of unpaid work.

The alternative to jail had also saved county taxpayers, as of 2006, more than $5.9 million because those offenders weren't in jail for the 60,000 days they would have served otherwise.

Jay Gsell's budget message indicates that "Continued female jail population management efforts, particularly in collaboration with Orleans and Wyoming counties, may be the only way to stave off radical State Commission of Correction mandates -- up to and including a new 100 to 120 bed county jail. With a $250,000 per bed construction cost ($24 to $28 million), plus increased staffing, (it) would effectively "blow a hole" in the county budget as 100 percent of these increases are county-only burdens."

At the budget hearing, Sheriff Gary Maha said a new jail would cost about $30 million.

The current jail has a capacity for 87 inmates with a variance to allow for 97 inmates, but can't house females. The annual operating budget is about $3 million.

The Genesee County Jail has revenue from housing inmates from other jurisdictions of about $100,000 per year, of which $30,000 to $35,000 comes from housing federal inmates. 

The county spends about $250,000 per year housing female inmates in other jails.

Livingston County recently completed a $28 million annex to its existing jail, taking the 90-bed facility to 189 beds. Prior to the expansion, Livingston had to place some inmates in Monroe and Steuben counties. The original jail was built in 1983. The annual operational budget is $4.48 million. Debt payment on the new addition is roughly $2 million over 15 years.

Genesee County Probation Department 2010 amended budget -- $1,028,784; proposed 2011 -- $1,354,464, an increase of $325,680

Genesee Justice 2010 amended budget, $678,477; proposed 2011 budget, $173,588, a decrease of $504,889.

Actual apparent cost savings, $179,209.

The total county budget is $140 million.

The total property tax levy is $24,994,063

The current assessment rate per $1,000 of assessed value is $9.82.

In 2007, the assessment rate was $9.98. In 2006, it was $10.25.

The total value of assessed property in Genesee County is $2,544,134,312.

A one penny increase in the levy would generate $254,000 (decimal place error; actual number is $25,400) in new revenue for the county.

A one penny increase in levy would raise the annual tax assessment on an $80,000 home by 80 cents. A dime assessment would be $8.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Photo: Some snow in Downtown Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

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It's not much yet, and even seems to be slowing down since this picture was taken, but there was some snow in Downtown Batavia around 2:30 p.m.

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Here's what it looked like at 3:30 p.m.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

The county budget and Medicaid

post by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, Medicaid

propertytaxpie.gif

The future of Genesee Justice wasn't the only matter discussed at the county budget hearing a week ago. County Manager Jay Gsell made a presentation about the county's entire budget picture.

Among the most interesting slides were those dealing with Medicaid. As the pie chart above shows, Medicaid accounts for 41 percent of the county's property tax levy, even though only 10 percent of the county's residents are eligible for benefits.

medicaidcaseload.gif

Federally mandated medicaid services:

  • Inpatient Hospital Services
  • Outpatient Hospital Services
  • Physician Services
  • Medical and Surgical Dental Services
  • Nursing facility services for individuals aged 21 or older
  • Home Health Care (Nursing, Home Health Aide, Medical Supplies and Equipment)
  • Family Planning Services and Supplies
  • Rural Health Clinic Services
  • Laboratory and X-Ray Services
  • Nurse Practitioner Services
  • Federally Qualified Health Center Services
  • Midwife Services
  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Services for individuals under 21 (Child/Teen Health Plan in NYS)
  • Medicare Coinsurance and Deductibles for qualified Medicare beneficiaries for Chiropractors, Podiatrists, Portable X-Ray and Clinical Social Work Services

Additional mandated services covered by NYS Medicaid:

  • Free-standing Clinic Services
  • Nursing Facility Services for under age 21
  • Intermediate Care Facility Services for the Developmentally Disabled 
  • Optometrist Services and Eyeglasses
  • Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy
  • Prosthetic Devices and Orthotic Appliances
  • Dental Services, Audiology and Hearing Aids
  • Clinical Psychologist Services
  • Private Duty Nursing
  • Diagnosis, Screening, Preventive and Rehabilitative Services
  • Personal Care Services
  • Transportation to Covered Services
  • Hospice
  • Case Management
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Services for Individuals under age 21 and over 65
Friday, November 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Police Beat: DWI suspect jailed on $10K bail

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

James Lamar Poole, 46, of Fargo Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, unlawful possession of marijuana, unlicensed driver, driving left of pavement markings and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle on a highway. Poole was stopped at 1:46 a.m., Thursday, in Allegheny Road, Corfu, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy. Poole was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Gregory Scott Snyder, 42, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Snyder allegedly twice went to the residence of a protected person in violation of a court's stay-away order.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Photo: Red Kettle Campaign kick off

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Geoff Redick, Salvation Army, wbta

redick_redkettle.jpg

The Batavia Salvation Army kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign today at Seymour Place, East Main Street. WBTA's Geoff Redick made the honorary first donation.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Today's Deals: Alex's Place, South Beach, T.F. Brown's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Dec. 31, 2010).

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

Red Osier, Route 5, Stafford, NY: Truly, one of the landmark restaurants of the area. Red Osier features prime rib carved table side. We have $25 gift certificates for $12.50.

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY: A full menu, salad bar and drinks in one of the region's most popular entertainment venues. We have $25 gift certificates for $12.50. (Must be new or current Players Club member to redeem.)

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

SOLD OUT

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

Car into a tree reported on Lewiston Road, Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama

A car has reportedly hit a tree in the area of 1059 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

There are possible injuries.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS being dispatched.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: A second ambulance requested to the scene.


View Larger Map

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

Transformer blows near Clay and Myrtle, Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

"A squirrel did it," according to a fire chief on scene at Clay and Myrtle in Le Roy.

A caller reported a loud noise and suspected a transformer blew.

There was no sparking, however, though one caller reported a brief power outage.

Le Roy Fire responded and investigated.

No lines down. No fire.

All units back in service.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

The Genesee Justice Story

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice

dennis_wittman.jpg

In the late 1970s, the big issue in Genesee County was, should taxpayers fund the construction of a new jail.

According to former Sheriff Doug Call, now a Stafford town justice, the family court judge of the time, Charles Graney, wrote a letter to the editor that said something like, "You can either be the last county in the nation to build a 90-bed maximum security jail, or you can be the first to try to keep people out of jail by holding offenders accountable."

Call, a former JAG in the Air Force, a former seminarian and an attorney working for the County Attorney's office, would tell anybody who would listen that the criminal justice system was broken. The county didn't need a new jail. It needed to try alternatives to incarceration to limit the jail population and save taxpayers money.

The sheriff at the time wasn't buying it.

"We've tried alternatives to incarceration and they don't work," the sheriff told the County Legislature.

Finally, Call said, people told him to put his money where his mouth is and run for sheriff.

So, he did.

Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Photos: Kiwanis Thanksgiving Skate at Falleti Ice Arena

post by Howard B. Owens in Falleti Ice Arena

thanksgivingskate02.jpg

Batavia Kiwanis once again sponsored a community skate for Thanksgiving at the Falleti Ice Arena, and kids of all ages showed up.

thanksgivingskate09.jpg

More photos after the jump, and photos available for purchase by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Photos: When will it snow?

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

icesky01.jpg

Blake Polito, Mitch Riter and Austin Wilkson can't wait for it to snow so they can ski.

But while they wait, they hit upon an ingenious idea -- use the ice dumped from the Zamboni at the Falleti Ice Arena to fashion a mini ski ramp and get some practice in now.

The trio was out behind the arena today practicing-- with permission, they said, from the arena management.

If it's snow they want, they reportedly won't have long to wait. The National Weather Service has issued a lake effect snow watch from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening for parts of Genesee County, including, potentially, Batavia.

Two more pictures after the jump:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Suzanne Corona sentence: One year probation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Farrall Park, Suzanne Corona

suzanne_corona_nov24.jpg

Suzanne Corona -- the 41-year-old Batavia woman who admitted to sexual contact with an Oakfield man in Farrall Park over the summer -- was sentenced this afternoon to one year probation by City Court Judge Michael Delplato.

Her attorney, Brian Degnan, asked a conditional discharge -- meaning the charges would be dropped if Corona complied with certain requirements over a six-month period -- but Delplato said he thought the Probation's Department recommendation for probation was best for Corona.

Corona will need to continue in substance-abuse counseling, which she already started voluntarily, and stay out of trouble.

She previously pled guilty to public lewdness, a misdemeanor, and an adultery charge against her was dropped.

Outside of the courtroom, Corona was she was glad to put the embarrassing case behind her.

"I'm glad it's over," Corona said. "It was a long time coming. I'm glad. My family's glad."

Then she told the handful of reporters gathered outside the courthouse, "Hopefully there will be another scandalous behavior in Batavia to keep you all busy."

The reporters laughed and WHAM-13's Sean Carroll said, "One that doesn't involve you, right?"

"No, it won't involve me," Corona said.

Corona told Delplato prior to her sentencing that she's been going to private counseling three times a week and a group session once a week.

One reason Delplato decided upon probation, he said, was because she had a prior arrest in another state and she never went to court on the matter. There is an arrest warrant, he said, for her in that jurisdiction.

"It's my responsibility to fashion a sentence that addresses the needs you have," Delplato said. "That's why I'm sentencing you to a year in probation.

Delplato also ordered Corona not to have any contact with her co-defendant, 29-year-old Justin Amend.

Amend is currently a fugitive from justice. A warrant was issued for his arrest earlier this month after he failed to appear for his sentencing on a public lewdness conviction.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 9:18 am

Police Beat: Alleged shoplifter drives off in car, found by police

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

Meagan Victoria Finzer, 21, of Clarendon Street, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Finzer was allegedly confronted by loss prevention officers at Kmart shortly after 6 p.m., Tuesday, and she reportedly did not cooperate, and instead got into her car and drove off. A description of the vehicle, with license plate, was provided to local law enforcement and her car was stopped a short time later on West Main Street by Batavia Police. Following further investigation, she was taken into custody by a Sheriff's Deputy.

Michael John Coffta, 18, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Coffta is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Joshua A. Kitanik, 22, of Oakfield, is charged with trespass. Kitanik was arrested at 4:48 p.m., Monday, by State Police on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. No further details released.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 8:55 am

Today's Deals: Carlson's Studio, Adam Miller, Alli's, Delavan's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Holiday portrait time is now, or save for a spring wedding or other special event. We have a $150 gift card for $65 (+$2 PayPal service fee).

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY.: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; new all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

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

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Dec. 31, 2010).

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for Fall or start your Christmas shopping. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: What better way to brighten your home or office for the holidays than with flowers? We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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

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

The Enchanted Florist

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 12:18 am

Photos: Today, in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Le Roy, photos, Stafford

blueskyford.jpg

With some beautiful weather, I was able to get out of the city for a bit today and take some photos. Here are three of the pictures.

Above, a Ford pickup behind Bruce Scofield's place (Scofield Roll Off Service) on Route 5 in Stafford.

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An old windmill on Gully Road, Le Roy.

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Silos on Pagen Farms, Gully Road, Le Roy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Photo: Brent Persia's CD release party

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

cdrelease-1.jpg

Tonight, Pembroke native Brent Persia, hosted a CD-release party at Center Street Smoke House, Downtown Batavia. Before a full house, Persia sang songs from his debut CD as well as some favorite covers. The singer-songwriter's CD will be available for purchase through his website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Today's Deals: Center Street, Kravings, Stafford Trading Post, South Beach and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Nov. 30, 2010).

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Scratch Bakery, 24 Main St. Le Roy, NY: A real bakery right in Genesee County. Scones, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls and more. Call ahead, 297-2441, for availability or special orders. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

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

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