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Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Report: Plumbing board has history of not operating in Batavia's best interest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Plumbing Board

For nearly 20 years, the Batavia Plumbing Board has conducted secret meetings, failed to keep proper minutes, not abided by its own regulations regarding plumbing examinations and administered tests seemingly designed to assure failure.

These are the accusations contained in a report issued by the City Manager's office on Thursday in advance of Monday's city council meeting.

"After researching the Plumbing Board and Plumbing Inspector actions over the past two decades, it has been discovered that there are numerous questionable actions with regard to the conduct of prior Plumbing Boards and the Plumbing Inspector," reads the report.

"Furthermore, when considering the severity of issues revolving around illegal meetings, refusal to review plumbing exam applications, lack of aptitude in creating the exams and answer keys, and blatant disregard for accurate record keeping, it would appear that the actions of the Plumbing Board and Plumbing Inspector have been collusive, self-serving, and not in the best interest of the residents of the City of Batavia.

"These actions further reveal a deliberate abuse of public trust and obvious pursuance of self interest for those involved."

The 18-page report contradicts most of the reporting of the Batavia Daily News on plumbing board issues. The Daily's stories have consistently protrayed city plumbers as protectors of public safety foiled in their public service efforts by an uncooperative City Hall.

In a July 22 article (City plumbers are united in protest), the Daily reports:

The board corrected the tests and all three applicants failed.

It is a difficult test, plumber Doug Diegelman said.

“It absolutely should be. It’s a definite public safety issue,” he said. “I want to try and get this resolved so that everyone is working on the same page. Each and every plumber had to have certain qualifications to pass that test.”

Of course, any test is difficult if the answer key doesn't match the questions. In each of the sets of questions given, the answer keys contained between 4 and 21 incorrect answers. In one case, the answer key contained "false" as the correct answer on a multiple choice question.

City Manager Jason Molino said in an interview with The Batavian on Friday that he isn't even sure the exams are up to date with current plumbing codes. And since the plumbing board has generally failed to keep proper meeting minutes, there is no record of the board adjusting the tests to keep pace with changes in code.

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Tributes added to memorial where three young people lost their lives

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield


More flowers, notes, gifts and two signs have been added to an informal memorial created by friends and family of three young people killed in a one-car auto accident early Saturday morning. The accident claimed the lives of Matthew Ware, 22, Joshua Durham, 21, and Allyson Galens, 20. Ware lived in Batavia and was a graduate, along with Basom-resident Durham, of Oakfield-Alabama High School. Galens, a GCC student, was from Stanley.



Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Photo: Tree on Caswell Road, Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in Caswell Road, photos


I continue to be impressed by the beauty I find in Genesee County as I drive around the back roads (and, truth be told, I think I was still on Caswell when I took this picture, but frankly, forgot to write down where I was).

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Photos: Memorial for Deborah Maniace

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford


Friends and family of Deborah Maniace gathered on the Route 33 CRX overpass this evening to pay respects to Maniace, whose body was found early Saturday morning next to the railroad tracks. The cause of her death has yet to be determined.


Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Sunflower farm adds beauty, but grower wants to sell produce

post by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, agriculture, Clinton Street Road, Stafford



Drive from Bergen to Batavia, southwest on Route 33, and just a mile or so from the Route 237 intersection, you will see a big red barn with "Oderkirk" in hand-painted big white letters on one end.

We've all seen it.

And this time of year, we've all noticed the sunflowers saturating the north side of the property, too.

sunflowers03.jpgThe free sunflowers, it turns out, are just a ploy to get you to stop and buy vegetables from Richard Oderkirk.

The 69-year-old is a fifth generation farmer to operate the Oderkirk spread since 1877. But he's retired now and growing vegetables is both a hobby and a way to supplement his income.

"They're self-seeded," Oderkirk said about the sunflowers. "I try to exterminate a few more of them each year. They provide a lot of shade for my squash plants -- too much shade."

It's the winter squash that Oderkirk really hopes to sell each year -- it will be ready in a few more weeks, and when it is, even the cucumbers and tomatoes will be given away, so more people will stop and buy the squash.

And people do stop. Often with cameras in hand.

"I enjoy seeing people like the sunflowers," Oderkirk said. "I had an art student from GCC here 10 days ago taking pictures, and two girls yesterday. I'm happy seeing that."

The sixth and seventh generation of the Oderkirk family now live on the property. Once a dairy farm of 280 acres, it's now the 2.5-acre residence of Mary Thomas, her husband and daughter.

sunflowers05.jpgAsked what she thought of so many people driving by and admiring her property, Thomas said, "I’m surprised to hear somebody say that. I guess I didn’t think of the place like that. I see people stop to take pictures of the sunflowers. That’s nice. I get tickled when Dad gives them away for free."

Knowing that daughter Mary enjoys the sunflowers, Dad planted a small variety  -- the plants closer to the road are HUGE -- on the far side of the barn, and if she squints between barn structures, Mary can see from her kitchen window.

Good naturally, she turned to her dad while we were taking and said, "They aggravate you because they’re not produce, but I love them because they add beauty. Everybody likes them, Dad."

Everybody does, even Richard, even if he doesn't always admit it.


More photos after the jump:

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Obituaries for Ware and Durham published

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield

H.E. Turner and Sons has posted obituaries for Matthew Ware and Joshua Durham.

Ware and Durham, along with Allyson Galens, died early Saturday morning in an accident on Albion Road in Oakfield.

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 8:43 am

Police in Le Roy looking for golf club burglar

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Somebody broke into a residential garage on East Main Street in Le Roy a couple of days ago and stole two sets of golf clubs and a laptop computer.

Le Roy Police are asking for the public's help in solving this crime.

The burglary was discovered by the homeowner in the early afternoon on Friday. Police believe the burglary occurred either late Thursday night or Friday morning.

It was a forced-entry burglary.

No further information is available.

Anyone with information or who may have seen anything suspicious or who may have seen persons carrying golf bags late at night on the East side of the village is asked to call the Le Roy Police Department at 768-2527.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Three arrests and 34 citations at Tim McGraw concert at Darien Lake

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

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Tim McGraw concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday:

Michael E. Tamol, 23, of Walden Avenue, Alden, is charged with trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue.Tamol was jailed on $200 bail.

Andrew F. Heidt, 29, of Beech Street, Erie, Pa., is charged with disorderly conduct. Heidt is accussed of fighting with concert security. He was jailed on $250 bail.

Alexander T. Froman, 21, of Baker Street Extension, Ashville, is charged with trespass. Froman is accused of returning to the concert venue after being repeatedly told to leave and not return.

The following individuals were issued citations for allegedly drinking under age 21.

Kevin M. Richard, 20, of Montvale Lane, Rochester
Matthew P. Myers, 19, of Garden Street, Avon
Brian R. Hopkins Jr., 19, of Parkside  Lane, Rochester
A 17-year-old of Barber Road, Dansville
Matthew J. Piedmont, 20, of Winding County Lane, Spencerport
Lindsey M. Masullo, 20, of Nittany Valley Drive, Bellafonte, Pa.
Ashleigh M. Bunton, 20, of West Church Street, Lockhaven, Pa.
Paige E. Ambrose, 20, of Jack Street, Custer City, Pa.
Tricia K. Copeland, 20, of Interstate Pkwy, Bradford, Pa.
Ellin C. Vaccaielli, 19, of Northbrook Way, Webster
James E. Taft, 18, of Ruie Road, N. Tonawanda
Kaitlyn D. Worth, 19, of Humbert Road,. N. Java
Jessica M. Raichel, 19, of Aurora Street, Lancaster
Rebecca G. Keller, 18, of Marlau Road, E. Aurora
Jocelyn T. Gleiser, 18, of Longs Lane, Corfu
Rebecca K. Parese, 19, of Sherman  Street, Little Falls
Ashley L. Boepple, 20, of State Road 67, Little Falls
Erika L. Labaff, 20, of Hurley Road, Brasher Falls
Lindsay M. Wigderson, 18, of Fairmont Drive, Webster
Jonathan W. Daniels, 19, of Middlebury Road, Webster
Emily R. Von Schondorf, 19, of Shady Glen Circle, Webster
Samantha L. Smith, 18, of Apple Orchard Lane, Webster
Nathan F. Crosby, 20, of Howard Street, Hornell
Teren L. Persichilli, 18, of Lattimer Road, Arkport
A 16-year-old, of Starin Avenue, Buffalo
A 16-year-old, of Winston Road, Buffalo
Katie A. Luthringer, 20, of N. Forest Road, Williamsville
Kathryn M. Mucha, 18, of County Road 16, Dalton
Michael H. Moran, 20, of North Street, Batavia
A 17-year-old of Fisher Road, Oakfield
Dale B. Frier, 20, of William Street, Lancaster
Austin T. Smith, 18, of Fox Hunt Road, Lancaster
Derek C. Jansma, 19, of Matthews Drive, Lancaster
Jason D. Platt, 18, of Center Road, Kendall

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Photos: Elba Onion Festival

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, Onion Festival, photos


The sun was out and the humidity down, making for perfect weather conditions at the Elba Onion Festival. Hundreds of people were there by mid-afternoon. Several people mentioned to me how much they especially enjoy the Onion Festival. I saw people there from all over Genesee County and met one family from Erie County who said they come to the festival every year.

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Photo: Bank Street sewer project moving forward

post by Howard B. Owens in Bank Street, batavia


There are large sewer pipes on each side of Bank Street -- part of the Bank Street sewer-replacement project.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Batavia woman's body found next to railroad tracks in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a woman whose body was found early this morning under the Route 33 overpass next to the CSX tracks in the Town of Stafford.

A CSX engineer on a westbound train contacted Sheriff's Dispatch at 5:53 a.m. about spotting the body of a woman along the tracks.

The woman was identified as Deborah Maniace, 47, of Batavia.

Coroner Kristine Flanigan pronounced Maniace dead at the scene.

No cause of death has been determined. Her body was transported to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

The investigation by the Sheriff's Office is continuing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 11:35 am

Photos: Elba Onion Festival Parade

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, Onion Festival


All photos submitted by Steve Ognibene.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:48 am

Three young people, including former Oakfield-Alabama football star, killed in accident

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, ebla, Oakfield


(UPDATED 12:49 p.m.)

matthew_ware.jpgOne of Oakfield-Alabama's football stars of the past decade was among three people killed in an accident on Albion Road in Oakfield overnight.

Matthew Ware, 22, and Joshua Durham, 21, were declared dead at the scene, according to a statement issued by the Sheriff's Office.

Ware, a running back for O-A, was named to the All-State second team in 2004 and 2005.

joshua_durham.jpgDurham was on the track and baseball teams during those same years. He was a Genesee Region League track All-Star in 2007.

Allyson E. Galens, 20, of Stanley, was a passenger in the 2005 Scion TC. She was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC. Galens was declared dead at 4 a.m.

The trio had been at the Elba Onion Festival prior to the accident, according to Sheriff Gary Maha. Maha said investigators believe alcohol was a factor in the accident.

joshua_allyson.jpgThe accident occurred at 1:37 a.m. on Albion Road just past Lockport Road. The car collided with a utility pole.

Oakfield Fire responded to the scene.

No further information about the accident was released.

The investigation is ongoing and being handled by Investigator Timothy Weis, Sgt. Greg Walker, Deputy Frank Bordonaro, Deputy James Diehl and Deputy John Duyseen of the Crash Management Team.

Photos: Top, Matthew Ware, from his Facebook Page; Joshua Durham, from his MySpace page; Josh and Allyson Galens from Josh's Facebook page.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: Top photo, flowers left at the scene of the accident. Below, sign in the beer tent at the Elba Onion Festival. I wanted to talk with somebody from the organization about the positive steps they take to discourage drinking and driving (not that that has been established in this case), including having firefighters available to give free rides home, but officials steadfastly refused to speak.


Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

Muckdogs drop three straight in Brooklyn

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

The Muckdogs rode into Brooklyn as the hottest team in the NY-Penn League. They're leaving with a three-game losing streak on their tails.

Batavia dropped the three games by scores of 4-0, 14-4 and on Friday in extra innings, 5-4.

Yesterday, the Muckdogs' bullpen spoiled an outstanding pitching performance by Zack Russell, who gave up no runs and no hits over six innings. Batavia was up 2-0 when he left the game.

Michael Reid gave up two runs in the seventh to get tagged with a blown save. After the Muckdogs scored two runs in the top of the ninth, Keith Butler gave the runs back to Brooklyn in the bottom half. Tavis Lawlor took the loss, giving up the winning run in the 11th.

Nick Longmire and Chris Edmondson each had two hits.

The Muckdogs are 3-5 since hot-hitting catcher Audry Perez was injured while running the bases on July 31. He hasn't played since.

The team's record is now 27-20 and they're 2.5 games out of first.

They now travel to Vermont for a three-game series against the Lake Monsters, who are in first in the Stedler division with a record of 26-21.

Batavia returns home Tuesday to face Aberdeen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

Red Wings president says Muckdogs likely to lose Rochester support after this season

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

Baseball America -- the premier publication covering minor league and college baseball -- reports that the 2010 campaign for the Batavia Muckdogs will likely be the team's last under Rochester Community Baseball management.

"I have had discussions with (Genesee County Baseball Club) president (Brian Paris) and told him that we would probably not be interested in coming back for another year," said Silver, the president of the Red Wings. "So he is going to have his work cut out for him."

The article blames lack of community support for the situation, noting that average attendance has not risen above 1,045.

"It wouldn't take a miracle to turn it around, but it takes a certain community spirit to make something like this work," Silver said. "In a lot of communities, particularly where the population is rather small and drawing power is not the greatest in the world anyway, it becomes increasingly hard for a team to generate enough excitement and turnstile attendance unless something major happens. A small community can make it work if a team is new to them or a new stadium becomes all the buzz for several years. That may be enough to get them excited for years to come.

"In Batavia, it is real tough. We market much the same way as we do in Rochester. It's a miniature version, but it just doesn't get the same attention. People are missing out. And then the franchise disappears. And then you don't get it back. Once you lose it, you don't get it back." 

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 8:51 am

Triple fatal accident on Lockport Road over night

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield

Sheriff Gary Maha has confirmed that there was a triple-fatal accident last night.

He said details will be provided to local media as soon as family notifications are completed.

Based on information from readers, the accident occurred around 1:37 a.m. on Lockport Road.

We will update this post as soon as information becomes available.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

Today's Deals: The Mane Attraction, Enchanted Florist, Herbly Wonderful and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

The Mane Attraction, 99 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: The Mane Attraction is a spa and salon offering pedicures, manicures, hair styling and massage. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Give yourself the gift of flowers, or give to a friend. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, NY: Unique specialties for your home and garden, from floral arrangements, to heirloom vegetables, herbs, teas and spices. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

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.

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.

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.

Herbly Wonderful

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 8:02 am

Le Roy Fire providing mutual aid for structure fire in York

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

Le Roy Fire has been dispatched to a structure fire at 3556 Main Road, York.

Bergen has been requested to the Le Roy Fire Hall to fill in.

I've not heard if any other Genesee County units have been dispatched.

Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Batavia PD looking for subject involved in incident at Wilson Farms

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, East Main Street


Batavia PD is looking for help in identifying the individual in these photos. The subject was reportedly involved in an unspecified incident at Wilson Farms, 505 E. Main St., Batavia.

Officer Marc Lawrence asks that if anybody has information about the individual or the incident to contact him at mlawrence (at) batavianewyork dot com  (put that back together in a proper e-mail address) or call 585-345-6350.


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