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Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Report of furnace explosion on Masse Place

post by Howard Owens in batavia, fire, Masse Place

City Fire is being dispatched to 8 Masse Place for the report of a furnace explosion.


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Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm

House fire reported on Knowlesville Road, Alabama

post by Howard Owens in Alabama, fire

What started as a report of electric lines arcing is now believed to be a structure fire at 6296 Knowlesville Road, Alabama.

Alabama Fire has requested mutual aide from Oakfield Fire.

UPDATE 9:10 p.m.: Firefigher reports smoke pumping from a wall. They're going to open up the wall.

UPDATE 9:27 p.m.: Oakfield units back in service.


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Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Flood watch issued by NWS

post by Howard Owens in weather

Snow melt combined with heavy rains later tonight could lead to flooding, according to a Flood Watch issued by the National Weather Service.

The watch is in effect starting at 9 p.m. through early Monday evening.

Creeks will start to run over first, possibly impacting the morning commute.  Small streams may run high as well.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Men reportedly wounded in fight in Le Roy were not shot

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy, Myrtle Street

Le Roy police are continuing to investigate a possible fight in the area of 31 Myrtle Street early Saturday morning.

The initial reports of the 1:15 a.m. incident indicated there may have been shots fired, but none of the three men injured in the fracas suffered gunshot wounds.

The alleged fight seems to have involved five or six young men.

All three men who were injured were cut by a sharp object. One man was cut in the chest and treated at UMMC. Two other men were treated at Strong Memorial Hospital, one for a neck wound and the other for an arm wound.

No names have been released and no arrests have been reported.

Det. John Condidorio said in a statement:

As of this time it has been determined that there were two groups involved in an altercation in the area of 31 Myrtle Street, however the investigation is continuing to attempt to determine what actually transpired and no further information is available for release at this time.

The Le Roy Police Department is being assisted in the investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Genesee County Drug Task Force, New York State Police and the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone having any information relating to this investigation is encouraged to contact the Village of Le Roy Police Department.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Corfu's Pizza Pantry gets big write up in pizza magazine

post by Howard Owens in business, corfu, Pizza Pantry

The ongoing success of Pizza Pantry has made the national press.

A trade industry magazine, Pizza Today (yes, pizza shop owners have their own trade magazine), featured the Corfu pizza parlor in its latest edition.

The article details how Bev Snider (at first with her sister and mother as partners) took a low-budget pizza shop in the village and turned it into a thriving business that draws a crowd throughout the year.

Snider started the company with her mother and sister in 1983 in the middle of the village of Corfu, having bought the take-out shop on the cheap. “The woman who owned it, she said, ‘Sundays are your good days. I made $34 Sunday.’ That’s what we grew from.”

In 2000, Snider’s sister left the business and she took it over full time. Three years ago, they gutted an empty bowling alley turned bar and grill nearby and converted it into a 120-seat freestanding restaurant that afforded them much needed additional parking. “I’ve always wanted a dine-in place, but we just didn’t have room for it,” Snider says.

Pizza Pantry Manager Adam Kahabka said he suggested the article to Pizza Today a year ago after the business made an obviously successful transition to the much larger location.

"It's (the article) is a pretty big for us," Kahabka said. "For a small business to grow that much in such a small community, especially some place as small as Corfu, we thought was exceptional."

Pizza Pantry has flirted with disaster a couple of times in the past year and come out unscathed. First, there was the tornado that blew right by its parking lot. Then there was a small fire in the basement on Jan. 10.

The fire, Kahabak said, did minimal damage and the restaurant was open for business at its usual time the next day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Dryer reported sparking and smoking at cleaners on Mill Street in Le Roy

post by Howard Owens in Le Roy, Mill Street

Le Roy Fire is being dispatched to 11 Mill St. for the report of a sparking and smoking dryer at the dry cleaners at that location.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Smell of propane at scene of yesterday's fire

post by Howard Owens in Bank Street, batavia, fire

City Fire is being dispatched -- non-emergency -- to 130 Bank St., the scene of yesterday's fire for the smell of propane.

"The caller believes it's from a tank she relocated," according to the dispatcher.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Today's Deals: Great places to eat

post by Howard Owens in Deal of the Day

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 happensin sports, it happens at Brown'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.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Belladessa's Pizzeria/Jackson St. Grill, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Here's a deal -- half off on a Family Meal Deal from Belladessa's, which is a large 1 topping pizza, 24 wings and 2-liter bottle of soda. It's a $25 value for $12.50.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.

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.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10. Just in time for Valentine's!

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.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Report of shots fired on Clay Street in Le Roy overnight

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy

There was apparently a report of shots fired on or around Clay Street in Le Roy last night -- according to readers who contacted The Batavian -- at about 1:30 a.m.

Chief Chris Hayward of the Le Roy Police Department responded to our request for more information with this message: "We are currently conducting an investigation but at this point I have no further comment."

In a follow up e-mail, Chief Hayward confirmed that two people were taken to the hospital, but they did not have gunshot wounds.

"Can't tell you a lot at this point because we are getting different stories," Hayward wrote.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: Det. John Condidorio issued the following statement on behalf of the Le Roy Police Department:

On 01/23/2010 at about 1:15 A.M., The LeRoy Police Department received a report of a disturbance or break-in at a residence in the Village. Subsequently three persons required medical assistance and were sent to the hospital for treatment. Two of the three have been released and the status of the third is unknown.

Friday, January 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Fire on Bank Street destroys garage

post by Howard Owens in Bank Street, batavia, fire

A fire at 130 Bank St., Batavia, destroyed an old garage and the items inside and partially damaged a neighbor's garage.

The fire was reported about 10:45 a.m. when a resident came home and saw smoke coming from the garage. By the time fire crews were on scene, flames were visible.

The homeowner, a 47-year resident, said he lost an ATV, snow blower, two bikes and other equipment. While Chief Ralph Hyde said he suspected a wood-burning stove in the garage, the owner said he had recently cleaned the stove and it wasn't in use at the time. He suspected it was an electrical fire.

Kelly Herold, a claims supervisor for Tompkins Insurance, was on scene quickly meeting with her clients. She watched the City's firefighters move quickly to dose the flames.

“The Fire Department did a great job," Herold observed. "It was a good save. They were able to contain the fire to the barn with limited damage to the surrounding homes."

The photo was submitted by reader Tricia Zdep. The bottom two photos were submitted by another reader.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Le Roy's meth lab suspects get release from county jail

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy, methamphetamine

The final two defendants suspected of taking part in a meth lab operation at 28 Clay St., Le Roy, have gotten their get-out-jail-free cards.

Christopher J. Elmore and Koree R. Stephenson appeared in court this afternoon and Judge Robert C. Noonan granted First Assistant District Attorney David Gann's request to release both pending dismissal of the State charges against them by a lower court.

Like their three other co-defendants, Elmore and Stephenson are facing Federal drug charges and will be on supervised release under Federal jurisdiction. Elmore is also facing charges out of Le Roy for allegedly passing fake $10 bills. No bail had been set in that case, and it was not a factor in today's short hearing.

Bail had originally been set at $75,000 on all five defendants. The original state charge against all five was criminal possession of a controlled substance 2nd.

Yesterday afternoon Kari L. Riggi was released in the afternoon and Nathan D. Bernard was granted release in the morning on the State drug charges, though he's still serving a 90-day sentence on another charge. Joshua A. Miller, who appeared in court with his attorney, was already free pending trial but under a noon to 8 a.m. home curfew, which only allows him time to go to work.

At the federal level, all five are charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute or dispense 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Elmore also faces an enhanced weapons charge.

NOTE: This post confirms what we first reported yesterday that all five were due for release and that local charges are in the process of being dismissed.

(Billie Owens contributed to this story.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Photos: Oakfield-Alabama beats Elba in boys basketball

post by Howard Owens in basketball, Alabama, elba, Oakfield, sports

elba-oa-21a.jpgLast night in Oakfield, the Oakfield-Alabama boys basketball team beat Elba 65-43.

A.J. Kehlenbeck had 27 points and 15 rebounds for O-A and Sam McCracken scored 18 points.

Zack Beechler scored 16 points for Elba. Matthew Ramsey, 11.

Both teams are now 6-5

More pictures after the jump:

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Town of Pembroke board member convicted on illegal fireworks charge

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke

BATAVIA, NY -- A Town of Pembroke board member was fined $200 yesterday following a bench trial in City Court for allowing fireworks to be detonated during a party at his house in June.

Several hundred people attended the party at Gary DeWind's house, according to Michael Mohun, his attorney. Mohun said the party was thrown in honor of DeWind's son, a major in the Army who was being sent to Afghanistan.

The casings for a total of eight rocket-type fireworks were recovered, Mohun said. "Not hundreds, but eight."

The trial was moved from Town of Pembroke Court to City Court because of DeWind's status as a board member and to avoid any possible conflict of interest. Judge Robert Balbick presided.

The charge was an infraction and carried fine of $80 plus a $120 surcharge.

"There was no property damage and nobody was hurt," Mohun said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

Senior driver involved in property damage accident in Oakfield

post by Howard Owens in accident, Oakfield

An 85-year-old driver damaged several mailboxes and other property Wednesday when he apparently lost control of his car in the area of 7575 Pearl St. Road, Oakfield.

Earl S. Smith Jr., of 15 Sunrise Parkway in Oakfield, was not seriously injured in the 4:20 p.m. accident.

Property damage was reported to mailboxes, trees and the yards of five different homes.

After reportedly driving off the right shoulder, striking a mailbox, a bush and a tree, Smith reportedly tried to drive back onto the roadway before his car became stuck on the opposite shoulder.

Smith was cited for failure to stay in his lane of travel.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

Police Beat: Man accused of running up more than $1k on employer's credit card

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke

Bret L. Bellacosa, 51, of 7852 Hewes Road, Bergen, is charged with grand larceny 4th. Bellacosa is accused of allegedly using his employer's credit card to fill up his personal vehicle with gas on several occasions. The total amount purchased reportedly exceeded $1,000. The case was investigated by Det. Charles Dudek of the Batavia Police Department.

Sean Douglas Lacy, 23, of 7248 W. Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment 2nd. Lacy was arrested late last night for allegedly punching another person in the face.

Lisa M. Smith, 37, of 5 Thorpe St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Smith allegedly called another person in violation of an order of protection.

John T. Kingsley, 32, of Stafford, is charged with 30 counts of petit larceny. Kingsley was arrested Jan. 14 by State Police for allegedly stealing from a business on Veterans Memorial Drive. No further details were released.

Accident reports from the State Police blotter:

8:54 a.m., Jan. 19, Route 77, Pembroke, two vehicles; Driver 1: Tammy M. Corbin, 29, of Batavia; Driver 2: Cody L. Pahuta, 18, of Corfu. No injuries. No citations.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 2:13 am

Keep Alabama rural is local farmer's plea

post by Howard Owens in Alabama, business, GCEDC

There's rural aplenty in these parts, but it doesn't get much more rural than Alabama.

With its wildlife refuge, Native American reservation, its hundreds of acres of open space, farmland and roads that can stretch for a mile or two between houses, Alabama is something like the wide-open West of Genesee County.

All of that could change -- or at least that's the fear of some Alabama residents -- if the GCEDC is able to push through plans to develop a high-tech industrial part over 1,300 acres in Alabama.

alabama-farmer_phelps.jpgAlabama farmer Bryan Phelps -- who's grandfather started farming in Alabama in 1919 -- gave an impassioned speech to the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday arguing against the GCEDC's plans.

The project, known as STAMP, for Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, would forever alter the rural nature of Alabama, Phelps said.

"If you bring the STAMP program to the Town of Alabama then the same thing will happen here that happened in Clarence and Lancaster," Phelps said.  "I know you might think nothing will happen, but it will be here and the houses will come and the farms will disappear and residential growth will occur, and our taxes go up and restrictions on farming practices increase."

Sure, we need the jobs, Phelps said, but at what cost?

GCEDC has projected that STAMP will create hundreds of jobs in the $15 to $25 per hour range, plus management positions that pay as much as $200,000 and add $500 million to the county's tax base.

Those are hard numbers to ignore, Phelps acknowledged, but he doesn't think farmland needs to be destroyed to make them happen. There are plenty of old, empty industrial buildings in Batavia and elsewhere in Western New York that can be renovated.

“It’s been said that rural development leads to rural destruction," Phelps said. "When development or destruction of rural farmland takes place, the needs for such services as schools, sewers, garbage collection, police forces, traffic control and water delivery go way up."

It's not hard to imagine housing development following STAMP, followed by new chain-laden shopping centers and pretty soon, you have Lancaster or Clarence.

Phelps wants none of that, and he said many Town of Alabama residents share his concerns.

The third-generation farmer found a sympathetic ear in Legislator Ed DeJaneiro, who sat down with Phelps after the Ways and Means Committee meeting was over and commiserated.

But DeJaneiro also noted, Genesee County needs jobs.

"I agree with him we on many of his concerns about this program," DeJaneiro said. "Prospective companies come in relying on tax dollars and end up using valuable land, but if we don't do it, somebody else will. We do need the jobs, so it's not as clear cut as he says."

Ray Cianfrini, who represents Alabama in the County Legislature, is pretty enthusiastic about the STAMP project and believes most Alabama residents support it.

"The land (for the project) is not considered the most productive land in Alabama,"  Cianfrini said. "It's owned by three of the largest farmers in our area. They certainly apparently had no reservations in taking the land out of production."

The final say on whether to approve the project, Cianfrini, will lie with the Town of Alabama board.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 12:11 am

Committee clears way for snowmobilers to get bridge back in Alabama

post by Howard Owens in Alabama, Sno-Packers, Sour Springs Road

At today's Ways and Means Committee meeting, Sno-Packers Snowmobile Club representative Kevin Fisher could only laugh.

"It's not easy, is it?" County Attorney John Rizzo said.

For Fisher and the other club members, getting their bridge restored on Sour Springs Road in Alabama has been a long process. There is always one more step.

Today's step was for the Ways and Means Committee to refer a resolution to the full County Legislature. It authorizes Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock to sign an agreement with the Town of Alabama accepting indemnification from any liability for the bridge.

There's always a wrinkle, of course, and in this case, according to Legislator Ray Cianfrini, who represents Alabama, the town attorney wants the Sno-Packers to be a party to the agreement.

But both Cianfrini and Rizzo said from the county perspective, it's a two-party agreement and there's nothing preventing the Town of Alabama from signing an agreement with Sno-Packers.

"That's raising some controversy that we don't necessarily agree with," said Ray " ... We want to make sure that we fulfill our side of the agreement by referring it to the Legislature to approve for signature."

For Fisher, he would just like to get the bridge in as soon as possible and he was hoping to find some way to start installation even before all of the agreements are signed.

"Right now we have a break in the weather," Fisher said. "It would be much more pleasant to set that bridge back in place now when it's 40 degrees than two weeks from now when it's 20. That's our only thing. We understand if it can't be done, it can't be done."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm

County stands to save $1 million on new bonds

post by Howard Owens in genesee county, ways and means

Lower interest rates on bond sales could allow the county to save more than $1 million in interest payments, County Treasurer Scott German told the Ways and Means Committee this afternoon.

German was there to seek authorization to rebond some of the county's previous bond purchases -- ones that helped build the court facility, make improvements to the county building and old courthouse, build the GCC technology center and renovate the county nursing home.

In all, the four projects account for $10.7 million in principle the county must repay, with interest rates as high as 5.3 percent. 

Once rebonded, rates would range from 3.5 to 3.7 percent.

The total savings would add up to $1,024,530.

The principle of the old bonds would be paid off with the purchase of the new bonds at the lower interest rate.

The committee authorized the rebonding, with Legislator Jay Grasso congratulating German on staying on top of the rebonding opportunity.

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