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Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

KISS concert: Four arrests, no underage drinking citations

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

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office at the KISS concert at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center.

Joseph A. Bishop Jr., 35, of West State Road, Olean, is charged with criminal trespass. He is accused of allegedly entering the backstage area of the concert venue without permission. He was jailed on $300 bail.

Steven P. Hare, 36, of S. Main Street, Warsaw is charged with petit larceny. He is accused of stealing a Red Bull table at the concert venue.

A 16-year-old of Erb Street, Buffalo is charged with petit larceny after stealing ice cream Dip ‘n' Dots from a food stand inside the amusement park.

Katie L. Kieliszek, 22, of Quaker Lake Terrace, Orchard Park, is charged with harassment, 2nd. She is accused of striking another person in the face.

There were no citations issued for underage drinking.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Batavia man pleads guilty in federal court to child pornography charge

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A 33-year-old Batavia man pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to a felony charge of receiving child pornography.

Samuel W. Nigro faces a prison sentence of five to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was prosecuted in a Buffalo federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango. Mango said Nigro received images and videos of child pornography using various internet sites on or about Dec. 9, 2008.

A search warrant was executed on Nigro's Batavia residence on Dec. 9, 2009. Mango said a forensic analysis of Nigro's computer revealed a total of 5,239 images and 113 videos of child pornography.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1 p.m., Nov. 16 in Buffalo.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

For sale sign hung on Batavia Muckdogs franchise

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, Batavia Muckdogs, sports

UPDATED 11:59 a.m.

With recent reports that the Rochester Red Wings are not likely to operate the Batavia Muckdogs for a fourth, reportedly money-losing season, the local owners of the storied franchise announced today they are seeking a buyer for the ball club.

Presumably, the owners, Genesee County Baseball Club, will seek an owner willing to keep the team in Batavia, though that's not yet confirmed.

Club President Brian Paris said ideally, the Genesee County Baseball Club will be able to find a buyer willing to keep the team in Batavia.

"Obviously, that's our first preference," Paris said.

But he's also hopeful that just like the miracle of the Red Wings rescuing the team at the last minute three years ago, perhaps another miracle will keep the team in GCBC hands.  What the club needs, he said, is three or four deep-pocket Western New York companies to step forward with sponsorships of $25,000 to $50,000 each.

It happens in other small markets, he said.

"That's a very realistic thought because other teams have those kinds of sponsorships," he said.

Paris said he doesn't blame the community.

"The tragic portion of this, is that we are on brink of losing the team and I think I’ve tried to be very frank with people and the media that this is what could happen if we don’t have a greater amount of support in ticket sales and sponsorship," Paris said. "I love Batavia and this is something we're just going to have to work through one way or another."

One of the team's most valuable assets is its name, Batavia Muckdogs. Little League teams across the nation have licensed the logo and name. It the team moves, it will no longer be the Batavia Muckdogs.

Paris said it's too soon to talk about scenarios involving no buyer being found, or a buyer being found and the team being moved to another city.

"I hate to be Pollyanna, a small town tree hugger, but something good is going to come of this," Paris said. "It’s going to work out. We just don’t know what it is yet."

Full press release after the jump:

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

Police Beat: Suspected drug dealer allegedly caught with 22 bags of crack

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

mug_willie_woods.jpgWillie J. Woods Jr., 36, of Casper Street, Rochester, is charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Woods was stopped at the entrance to the New York State Thruway by members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force and uniformed deputies. Woods was nabbed after a month-long investigation into the trafficking of crack cocaine in Batavia. Woods was allegedly found in possession of 22 bags of crack and a quantity of suboxon as well as $2,000 in cash. Woods was jailed without bail.

Jerry T. Saddler, 34, of 112 State St., Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and harassment, 2nd. Saddler was reportedly involved in an altercation in a front yard on State Street on Wednesday. Saddler reportedly aggressively approached neighbors and used profane language, leading to a disorderly conduct charge. On Wednesday, the woman he reportedly hit in the face declined to press charges. She changed her mind on Thursday and Saddler was charged with harassment, 2nd.

Ra Aaron, 39, of 111 Liberty St., Apt. C, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, disorderly conduct, attempted assault, 3rd. Aaron reportedly aggressively approached a person on Lewis Place and grabbed her by her wrists. When police responded, Aaron was located a short distance away. When approached by Officer Thad Mart, Aaron allegedly threatened the officer and then attempted to punch him. Aaron was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Martin L. Flickner, 48, of 4503 York Road, Leicaster, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and falsifying business records, 1st. Flickner was taken into custody on an arrest warrant upon his release from the Livingston County Jail. He is accused of falsifying the business records of his employer and stealing more than $3,000 between July 2008 and January 2009.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 9:46 am

Batavia men accused of trying to shoplift more than $1K in items in Henrietta

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, monroe county

One Batavia man was arrested and a warrant issued for another last week by Monroe County Sheriff's deputies for an alleged scheme to shoplift a basketful of items from the Home Depot in Henrietta.

Chad M. Johnston, 24, of Batavia, was taken into custody Aug. 5 and a warrant was issued for Mark W. McWerthy, 43, also of Batavia.

The duo is accused of filling up two shopping carts full of identical merchandise, running one through a check-out stand while leaving one unattended, then returning for the second cart and trying to exit the store using the first receipt as a proof of purchase.

The cart reportedly contained more than $1,000 in merchandise.

Johnston, already on parole, was jailed without bail. McWerthy reportedly fled the scene before deputies arrived.

Both are being charged with grand larceny, 4th.

In February, Johnston admitted in Genesee County Court to a burglary on Fairway Drive, where he attempted to steal more than $1,000 in household items, including a washer and lawn mower. Johnston was reportedly on parole at the time.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

Today's Poll: Who's been the worst president?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
Friday, August 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

Today's Deals: Main St. Pizza, Settler's, Trading Post, Center Street and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Pizza, wings, subs and even hamburgers and hot dogs, Main St. Pizza makes everything deliciously. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate 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.

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.

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.

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.

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



Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:58 am

Double murder suspect from Oakfield reportedly confesses to cellmate

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

jail_rebert.jpgA former Oakfield resident who is a person of interest in a local unsolved murder reportedly told a cellmate in a Pennsylvania jail that he killed a couple there for money.

Stephen Patrict Rebert, 45, will stand trial for the double homicide of Victoria and James Shugar, both 61, of Jefferson County, following a preliminary hearing in which District Judge David Inzana said the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to try Rebert.

District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett presented a signed statement at the end of the hearing from Rebert's cellmate saying Rebert was motivated by his desire to steal rare coins and currancy, according to the Punxsutawney Spirit.

Rebert was arrested in Genesee County on June 3 and turned over to Pennsylvannia law enforcement. Investigators there say they found evidence on Rebert's computer tying him to the 2005 murder of Bill Fickel in Oakfield as well as the unsolved murder of Kevin Smith in Orleans County.

Photo courtesy of the Punxsutawney Spirit.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:19 am

Late Closers Contested at Batavia

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


Press release:

Batavia, NY --- The New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old Late Clos Batavia, NY --- The New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old Late Closing filly trotters invaded Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (August 11). The talented trotting fillies raced in three divisions and each had a purse in excess of $13,000.

The photo finish camera was needed for division one. Neverhitthebrakes and Jack Flanigen took a solid three length lead just after the quarter pole and held that margin until Final Time and Jimmy Whittemore began to close in.

Down the lane Neverhitthebrakes was grimly holding on but it was a relentless Final Time who trotted up for a head victory in 2:01.3. Study Hall and Josh Marks finished well back in third in a race marred by four early breakers. The fractions for the field were :30.2, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4.

Final Time (Conway Hall-Charm’s Chip) is trained by part owner Joseph Flynn. She is also owned by Edward Flynn. The winning price of the first stakes race was $7.90.

Late Closer stakes action continued in the fourth race on the card. This event had three fillies getting class relief by dropping out of Sire Stakes events and two of them would finish one-two. Distracting Beauty with trainer-driver Perry Simser at the controls moved to the front at the quarter pole and trotted strongly to the wire, holding off the pocket sitting Jetties with Jimmy Whittemore by one length in 2:01.3 Judith (Jack Flanigen), who came first over, wound up third.

Simser commented that the young filly is “becoming more handy” and “showing improvement.”

The fractions for the fillies were :30, 1:00.2 and 1:31.3. Distracting Beauty (Malabar Man-Overnight Rail) is owned by Gary Greenhouse, Harvey Friedman and Ronald Rubenstein. The winning price was a modest $5.50.

The third division started out pretty much as expected with 2-5 favorite Dream State and Josh Marks showing the way, however the final result was anything but expected.

Heading around the final turn Don’twanttobeblue and Ray Fisher, Jr., going off at 50-1 despite leaving the tougher Sire Stakes ranks, were up to challenge and trotted right on by the heavy favorite as the field of seven turned for home.

Not home free yet, Don’twanttobeblue was surrounded as Radiant One and Jack Flanigen had exited the pocket and were storming down the center while My Winning Way K with Jimmy Whittemore, who split horses also were coming on.

At the wire it was the Erv Miller trained Radiant One who got up by a head over the upset minded Don’twanttobeblue and My Winning Way K in 2:01.2. The fractions were :30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:30.3.

Radiant One (Credit Winner-Marvelous Yankee) notched her fourth win of the season for owners Mystical Marker Farms, Shim Racing and John Carver. The winning price for the final stakes race was $23.20.

The New York Sire Stakes season continues next Wednesday evening, August 18, when the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters head to Western New York.

Live Racing will continue this Friday and Saturday evenings with a 6:40 p.m. post time. Be sure to join us when harness racing goes 'Back to the Track' this Saturday, August 14. There will be a chance to win a trip for two to the 2010 Little Brown Jug, a $50,000 must-win national Pick 4, baseball caps to the first 500 racing fans that swipe their Players Club card beginning at 5 p.m. at Players Club, food and drink specials, a special handicapping contest for prizes and other special incentives offered on track. For more information, visit www.BackToTheTrack.com .

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

Many Incentives to Come Back to the Track at Batavia Downs Casino

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

Press release:

(Batavia NY) --- Harness fans will celebrate the history and future of harness racing this Saturday when Batavia Downs teams with the United States Trotting Association (USTA) to present Back to the Track night.

Back to the Track is a promotion designed to bring fans out for an evening at the harness races as a means of recapturing the excitement they remember from earlier visits. A variety of special incentives are planned.

Batavia Downs and 20 other harness tracks around the U.S. will each give away a trip to the 2010 Little Brown Jug, the brightest jewel in the pacing Triple Crown, on September 23. There are two ways to become eligible to win the trip. Either download a VIP pass, and deposit it a box located next to Players Club or play the Back to the Track handicapping contest. One name will be picked via a drawing to win.

Beginning at 5:00, the first 500 fans to visit Player’s Club will receive a coupon for a free Back to the Track baseball cap, redeemable in The Paddock Room following the evening’s 7th race.

Additionally, food and beverage specials will be served all evening in The Paddock Room, including: $1.50 Sahlen’s Hot Dogs and soda, $2.00 drafts, a chicken BBQ for $8.50 and free coffee from 6:00 to 8:00. Soda and drafts are served in a commemorative Back to the Track cup.

Drivers and trainers will be signing autographs from 5:15 to 6:15, a handicapping seminar, hosted by Todd Haight, begins at 5:45. There will be a dedicated betting window for beginners. A horse and groom will be on-site until 8:00 pm., giving racing fans a chance to learn more about the sport and a representative from the USTA will be on hand to answer questions. All events taking place in The Paddock Room.

Players Club bonuses include a free taco from compliments of Taco Bell and a special handicapping contest for prizes. Sign up to play the handicapping contest begins at 5:00 p.m at Players club. Batavia Downs racing programs will be free of charge also beginning at 5:00p.m.

Batavia Downs Casino is owned and operated by Western Regional Off Track Betting, a public benefit corporation that operates in 15 counties and creates revenues for racing and local governments.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

Grand Jury Report: Man accused of raping girl in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Grand Jury

Philip E. Kroft Jr., is indicted on ten counts of rape, 2nd. Kroft is accused of being 18 years of age or older and engaging in sexual intercourse with a person 15-years-old or younger. The alleged encounters occurred between Sept. 29 and Nov. 10, 2008, in the City of Batavia.

Kenneth R. MacGregor is indicted on three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, and one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. MacGregor is accused of writing a forged check on June 4 in the Village of Corfu for $482.12, and on June 7 for $477.18 and on June 7 for $892.43. He is also accused of driving a car with his privileges suspended on June 7 in the IGA parking lot, Village of Corfu.

Javonie E. McKinney is indicted on one count of DWI and one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. McKinney is accused of operating a 2009 Kia on Bank Street, Batavia, on April 17 while intoxicated.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10:32 am

Police Beat: Duo allegedly caught with stolen vehicle

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

Tara Marie Gardner, 31, of West 3rd Street, Oswego, is charged with criminal possession of a stolen vehicle. Gardner was taken into custody at 7:51 a.m., Wednesday, on Route 98 near the Thruway entrance. The vehicle she was in was reported stolen earlier in Fulton. She was jailed on $100,000 bail.

John Patrick Smith, 39, of Somers Drive, Fulton, is charged with criminal possession of a stolen vehicle, DWI, and breath test refusal. Smith was taken into custody at 8:16 a.m. on Route 98, Batavia, following a complaint about use of a stolen credit card. The vehicle he was operating was reportedly stolen in Fulton. Smith was jailed without bail.

Jolene J. Goodell, 30,  of 13 Gilbert St., Le Roy is charged forgery, 2nd. Goodell is accused of altering a doctor's prescription in order to receive more of a narcotic medication. Goodell allegedly tried to pass the prescription in September at a local pharmacy, but a pharmacist detected the alteration.

Kathleen A. Wenzel, 62, of 8481 North St. Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 or greater and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Wenzel was taken into custody Wednesday on Lake Street by Det. John Condidorio after a witness reported seeing Wenzel seemingly having a hard time getting in and out of her car.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Police Beat: Man charged following argument with his brother

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime

Thomas Ralph Stevens, 46, of Cook Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Stevens is accused of arguing with his brother and jamming a finger into his brother's face, knocking off his glasses.

Dominic Joseph Cordello, 25, of Crossbow Drive, Penfield, is charged with a felony count of DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, and failure to keep right. Cordello was stopped at 12:24 a.m., today, on Alexander Road, Alexander, by Deputy James Diehl.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 3:11 am

Three arrests and 29 citations at John Mayer concert

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, Darient Lake

The following arrests were made by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the John Mayer concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Ryan E. Hart, 20, of Cynthia Drive, Orchard Park, is charged with trespass and unlawful possession of marijuana. Hart is accused of returning to the concert venue after being ejected.

Leonard G. Booher, 59, of Carney Hollow Road, Wayland, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Booher allegedly pushed an usher to the ground.

A 17-year-old of Ross Common Crescent, Fairport, is charged with trespass and possession of alcohol by a minor. The youth allegedly tried to re-enter the concert venue after being ejected.

The following people received citations for alleged consumption of alcohol under age 21.

Michael J. Wright, 18, of Washington Highway, Amherst
Michele P. Reilly, 18, of Treeview Court, Cicero
Emilee K. Dixon, 19, of Buffalo Street, Jamestown
Nicole E. Frederickson, 20, of Sandford Road, Jamestown
Brittany N. Theophilus, 20, of Crestwood Circle, Pittsford
Jennifer A. Castiglione, 19, of Rush-Hen. Townline Road, Rush
A 17-year-old, of New Road, Amherst
A 16-year-old, of Squire Court, Getzville
Joseph J. Schenkel, 18, of Teakwood Terrace, Williamsville
A 17-year-old, of Oakwood Avenue, Hamburg
Michael J. Kolanski, 18, of California Road, Orchard
A 17-year-old, of Pinebrook Avenue, Williamsville
Gabrielle A. Rinaldi, 19, of Catatunk Road, Canisteo
Katelyn J. Fragnoli, 18, of Shady Beach Lane, Seneca Falls
A 16-year-old, of Fleetwood Terrace, Williamsville
A 16-year-old, of Robin Road, Amherst
Rebecca L. Switzer, 19, of Middle Black Brook Road, Seneca Falls
Alexandra A. Ferrino, 18, of S. Grove Street, East Aurora
Sean P. Sullivan, 18, of Emerald Hill Circle, Fairport
A 17-year-old, of Culpepper Road, Williamsville
A 17-year-old, of Glen Oak Drive, East Amherst
A 17-year-old, of Chapel Woods, Williamsville
Maxwell G. Greene, 18, of Sunset Boulevard, Pittsford
Emily K. Check, 18 of Sandpiper Lane, Pittsford
A 17-year-old, of Beatrix Circle, Lancaster
Brittany J. Hamsaik, 18, of Klein Road, Williamsville
Zachary F. Ostroff, 18, of Thomas Fox East Drive, North Tonawanda
A 16-year-old, of Woodward Avenue, Kenmore
Jonathan C. Palmeri, 18, of Countrygate Lane, Tonawanda
Justin P. Lee, 18, of Templeton Trail, Orchard Park

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 8:33 am

Heading out to California

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

This afternoon, Billie and I board a California-bound plane.

We'll be on the West Coast for one week.

We'll be visiting San Diego, Bakersfield and Ventura.  In Bakersfield, we'll gather with the whole family to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

While we're gone, the staff at WBTA -- particularly Geoff Redick -- will update the site with breaking news and other news items. Billie and I will post any news that comes in over e-mail -- particularly, of course, crime and arrest reports. And I'll try to have a daily poll and a couple of deals of the day.

I've done a sort of informal survey of people I've talked to over the past week about posting pictures from California while we travel and there was general enthusiasm for the idea, so I plan on doing that.

Unfortunately, Pachuco can't make the trip, but he is happy and cozy at Beds-N-Bones, his favorite pet lodge.

So, here's a song of California -- Tom Russell doing "California Snow," which he co-wrote with one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Dave Alvin.  It's topical -- dealing with immigration -- and it mentions El Cajon in the first verse (the whole geography of the song is a part of California I know well).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 8:20 am

Batavia will move forward with plumbing board reforms

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Plumbing Board

Several reforms in the policies and procedures of the city's plumbing board will be implemented following the Batavia City Council meeting Monday, where no council members raised any major objection to the plan.

rosemary_christian.jpgAfter the meeting, City Manager Jason Molino said the next step is for he and his staff to meet with the plumbing board -- which currently consists of one master plumber and two city staff members -- and work out a plan for implementing the reforms.

The reforms include ensuring state laws regarding open meetings and public records be followed, that better records be kept and filed on applicants for plumbing licenses, and that a third-party company be found to fairly and unbiasedly administer plumbing exams.

The city must also continue looking for a new part-time inspector of plumbing -- a job candidate who can also share code enforcement duties.

If no such candidate can be found, then the city will need to have one of its current code enforcement officers be certified to perform plumbing inspections.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski said that's the one part of the plan that makes him the most uncomfortable. He would much rather have an experienced plumber performing inspection duties.

Three plumbers and the city's former plumbing inspector, Barb Toal, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, well before the city manager's report came up for council discussion.

jason_molino.jpgThe plumbers made general statements about the importance of plumbing regulation with regard to public health. Toal spoke more to the point of the report, questioning its accuracy on meeting notices and minutes and how exams were administered.

Toal's speech was delivered rapidly and was somewhat disjointed. She seemed to blame the lack of minutes and the fact no tests were administered for some period of time on the fact that the board has not been able to operate as a full, five-member board.

The city has traditionally found it difficult to meet state requirements to have a journeyman plumber on the board.

"There has not been a full plumbing board for a full year, so therefore there have been no meetings, no minutes and no business conducted,” Toal said.

Later in the meeting, council members discussed the fact that the board only needs three members present to conduct business.

Toal also criticized the report for claiming that meetings were not advertised with proper public notice in accordance with state law.

"Planning board meetings for last four years are on the third Wednesday of every month," Toal said. "What a surprise? How is the meeting not legal? How does management not know what’s going on?"

As for not administering tests, Toal said applicants were told that without a full board, the board couldn't write a test for them to take. She said they all understood the situation.

One of the speakers wasn't a plumber, but a customer of plumbers.

City resident Paul Passamonte discussed his own difficulty in finding a locally licensed plumber at a reasonable cost. It's the same topic Passamonte covered in a letter to the city last week.

Passamonte wrote that after hiring a contractor from Buffalo for a room addition, the same contractor offered a bid for the plumbing work. He said it would cost $3,200, but the contractor wasn't licensed in Batavia.

After obtaining the list of 31 licensed plumbers for Batavia, Passamonte said a surprising number didn't even live in Genesee County, and the ones who did usually didn't return his calls. Only four ever acknowledged his calls and only two showed up and gave bid estimates -- one for $5,200 and the other for more than $12,000.

When the plumbing report came up on the council agenda for council discussion, Councilwoman Rosemary Christian had her hand up first.

bob_bialkowski.jpgShe wanted to know why, if the board had been meeting for more than a decade without proper meeting notices and minutes, why that problem wasn't caught earlier.

City Manager Jason Molino said that part of the issue is that the board wasn't being required to file their documents with the city clerk's office. The board was only dealing with the plumbing office, so there wasn't any additional oversight.

"I can’t give you an answer for why this has gone on for a period of time, but we’ve identified it and now we need to correct it," Molino said.

Councilman Bill Cox suggested that when a person files an application to take a plumbing test, the application should be logged in the city clerk's office and the applicant should receive a formal letter of acknowledgment in a timely manner. The rest of the council concurred.

That was the one additional reform added to the city manager's proposal.

Council President Marianne Clattenburg praised the report as thorough, well documented and factual.

"It's not emotional," she said.

"I think we also have to keep in mind what the plumbing board is all about and how it benefits the city when we have a fully functional, fair plumbing board and a competent plumbing inspector," Clattenburg added. "It is ultimately about serving the citizens of the community. It really isn’t about serving one interest."

After the meeting, Molino said the reforms should make a big difference in how plumbing business is conducted in the city.

"The recommendations, I don’t think are monumental, but in terms of significant change, they’re important," Molino said.

Photos: Christian, Molino and Bialkowski.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 6:29 am

Council approves repairs to eliminate white streaks on City Hall

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre

A solution may have been found for the white streaks on the red bricks of City Hall.

sally_kuzon.jpgOn Monday, City Council approved a $31,500 contract with Highland Masonry and Restoration Inc., of Buffalo, to replace 46 windows and sills with material that won't run and create new streaks.

Once the building's cleaned up and the new windows are in place, the building should be more attractive, officials say.

"It does bother the citizens of Batavia," said City Council President Marrianne Clattenburg. "I get comments on it all the time – when are you going to fix those windows?"

Director of Public Works Sally Kuzon said the city tried two different replacement or repair options on three different windows on the building. The replacement process showed the most success on two windows, so the city then sought bids for the work on the remaining 46 windows.

frank_ferrando.jpgCouncilman Sam Barone was the only council member to object to the work, saying he was concerned about the expense and that he could live with the situation.

The city did budget $27,000 for the project. The $4,500 shortfall will be taken from the city's facilities reserve.

Councilwoman Patti Pacino was among the council members who questioned why the city couldn't sue the contractor who installed the windows, or the architect who wrote the specs.

"I still don't understand how it's not some body's fault," Pacino said.

City Attorney George Van Nest explained that the building contractor was merely going off the plans and specs provided by the architect when the building was erected five years ago, so couldn't be held libel.

As for going after the architect, he said expert opinion, according to his research, varies on the proper construction process and materials for installing windows in a masonry building, making getting a win on a lawsuit much more difficult.

"Legal action could cost more than the project itself," said City Manager Jason Molino.

patti_pacino.jpgBoth Molino and Van Nest explained that winter-time construction and the compounds used in installing the windows at that time of year may be the reason the streaks appeared. Van Nest said he's seen the same problem appear on buildings in Buffalo.

"In my opinion, this is a beautiful building and those stains under the windows really detract from it," said councilman Frank Ferrando. "I think we owe it to this community and the investment that we made here that we make it look good. This is our downtown. This is something we should all be very proud of."

Photos: Kuzon, Ferrando, Pacino.

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