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Howard B. Owens's blog

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Democrats host open house for new campaign headquarters

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Democrats, politics

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The Democrats held an open house for their 2010 Genesee County Campaign Headquarters in the mall this evening.

Above, Chris Charvella explains how much he loves The Batavian (um, actually, I have no idea what he was talking about at the time). Below in the dark suit is Senate candidate Marc Coppola. Bonus picture for regular readers after the jump.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Big crowd turns out for Jim Nigro's book release

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, books, Jim Nigro, outdoors

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Dozens and dozens of people turned out to Go Art tonight for the release of Jim Nigro's first novel, "Tapestry: A Life Walk Among Friends."

When Nigro was at best about half way through signing copies of his book, he said his hand was getting tired. When I arrived, the line out the door was at least 20-people deep. When I left, it was still at least 20-people deep.

For more about the book and Jim, click here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Pink Hatters gather at Holiday Inn for annual breast cancer awareness program

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity

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It was Pink Hatters Night at the Holiday Inn this evening.  The event is an annual breast cancer awareness program.

It included a Chinese auction, dinner, Dr. Nina Strollor as a speaker and a comedy variety show hosted by Nels Ross.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Pizza shop owner planning to open tavern on Park Road

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

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Jerry Arena is planning to open a new bar at property he owns on Park Road. He will call it The Ten Cent Millionaire Tavern. He intends it to be a relaxing, affordable environment for a couple of drinks and maybe some chicken wings or a burger. 

He's already bought an attractive curved -- and very long -- bar for inside and is working on remodeling now.

There are some permits to secure from the Town of Batavia and he will add more space on the back of the building.

If everything goes to plan, he expects to open in the spring. More realistically, he said, he will likely open later in the summer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Photo: Emergency preparedness day at Pembroke Primary School

post by Howard B. Owens in East Pembroke Fire, pembroke, Pembroke Primary School

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Volunteer firefighters from several companies turned out to Pembroke Primary School today as part of East Pembroke's annual effort to educate students on emergency preparedness.

Eleven trucks rolled up to the school first thing this morning, with all the sirens, horns and flashing lights the children could hope for.

Most of the trucks stayed at the campus throughout the school day and classes of children took turns touring the rigs.

Firefighters also provided information on emergency preparedness.

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Window cleaner uses unique contraption to get the job done

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown

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Ray England is 70 years old and lives in Albion. He cleans windows for a living and has a handful of clients in Downtown Batavia.

He was on Main Street this afternoon in his top hat and green scarf taking care of some shop windows when I met him.

He uses a contraption that he built himself. It's quite ingenious. One metal poll with a cleaning wand at the end. A tube is connected to the wand and an air-pressure garden sprayer on a pull cart. England can spray water up the tube and onto the window.

One advantage of the system, he said, is that his hands never get wet, so he can easily clean windows in winter.

The squeegee he uses to wipe the water off the windows has a swivel head so he can handle any shape, including rounded edges, of a window.

The idea for the design came to him after he was seriously hurt in an auto accident.

“My arm was broken in three places and split at the wrist," England said. "For two years I couldn’t use this arm. It was dead meat. That’s when the great Lord above, the great engineer, He designed the universe, showed me this idea. I put it together and I’ve been using it ever since."

England claims to have a patent on the design and would like to find a U.S. manufacturer to build it and sell it so Americans could be put to work, but he claims a German company stole his idea and is building the same system out of cheap plastic.

"Mine is made with steal and copper and I sell it for $600," England said. "They sell theirs for $1,700 and if you drop it, it breaks."

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Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Students say fencing is a great way to make new friends and have fun

post by Howard B. Owens in fencing, sports

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Ben Cook, 9, saw fencing in a movie and thought it would be fun. Peter Koziol, 12, thought it would be like sword fighting. Clair Zickl, 10, was inspired by her older brother and has already competed in her first tournament.

The three young fencing students are taking classes from Colin Dentino at his En Garde Fencing Academy on Harvester Avenue.

Dentino said fencing is appropriate for youngsters because it's a sport that anybody can enter at any age and learn.

"For me, I always liked the mental aspect," Dentino said. "It's really like a three-dimensional chess game with your opponent."

For Ben, Peter and Clair, it's just fun.

"I like fencing because I'm making new friends," Ben said. "It's physically active, and it's just really, really, really fun."

Claire is advancing fast, according to Dentino. She placed 17th out of 22 in her first tournament, competing against girls in her own age bracket, but who have been fencing up to five years.

Claire started just this summer.

"For her to finish anything higher than 22nd is fantastic," Dentino said.

She is mentally tough and has absorbed her lessons quickly, Dentino said, which allowed her to take one match against a girl with more experience who eventually went on to finish third in the tournament.

Her performance qualified her to compete in an April 15 tournament in Portland, Ore.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

Cuts to DMV staff would erase profits, county clerk tells legislators

post by Howard B. Owens in County Clerk, DMV, genesee county

If the county's Department of Motor Vehicles office were to cut 5 percent of its expenses, it would seriously jeopardize current, profitable revenue streams, County Clerk Don Read told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

donread.jpgIn 2009, the county's DMV took in $70,000 in profits, and that number could top $150,000 in 2010.

As part of the county's budget process, department heads are being asked to suggest ways to shave 5 percent of their expenses.

Read said to make that significant of a cut he would need to lay off a staff member, which would mean less staff time to process DMV paperwork for out-of-county auto dealers.

Apparently, Read's office has been able to build a business around servicing the DMV needs of Monroe County dealers because of quicker turn-around times.

Eliminating staff members would take that process from three or five days to 10 days or more, erasing the edge Genesee County's DMV office has over Monroe County.

"We've gone from a deficit in that office of $41,000 to this year showing a significant profit," Read said.

He thinks 2011's profit could exceed $200,000.

Profits from the DMV office go back into the county's general fund.

Read said the local staff's primary responsibility is taking care of walk-in clients, so if staffing were reduced, their would be less time available to handle dealers' DMV needs.

About 35 to 40 percent of Genesee County's walk-in DMV clients are from outside of Genesee County, and if waits became longer because of staffing constraints, the county would start losing that business as well.

County Manager Jay Gsell called the idea of 5 percent cuts a "suggestion."

"We told the department heads, you know your budget better than we and so we'll take those suggestions and see what to do with it," Gsell said.

During the Ways and Means Committee meeting, there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for cutting the county clerk's budget.

"The bottom line is the bottom line," said Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Legislature. "I’m glad you’re making money. I don’t want to hurt that."

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

One of the phone lines into Sheriff's Office is having problems

post by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office

If you try to call the Sheriff's Office at 343-5000, you might not get through.

The problems with the phone lines this morning is not affecting 9-1-1 at all, according to Undersheriff Bill Sheron.

People who need to place non-emergency calls to the Sheriff's Office are asked to call 345-3000 and select and press 0.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Photos: Tonight's sunset downtown

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

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Another great sunset tonight. Here's a couple of shots I grabbed on Main Street.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Photo: William Morgan, Batavia Cemetery

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Cemetery, photos, William Morgan

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This afternoon I had the pleasure of touring one of the businesses in the Harvester Center and when I found myself on an upper floor on the south end of the building, I was able to get a picture of William Morgan's statue at an angle we don't usually see.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Pratt Road bridge will be closed for a week for repairs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Pratt Road

The Pratt Road bridge over the Tonawanda Creek will be closed for repairs starting tomorrow, according to County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

The closure is expected to last a week.

Two steel girders will be reinforced.

The repairs will enable the county to remove a load restriction placed on the bridge following inspections this summer.

The $10,000 expenditure comes from the 2010 Bridge Capital Improvement Project, which is funded with state highway aid.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Monroe County accused of trying to force OTB to accept new executive

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western Regional OTB

An attempt to fill a long-vacant executive position at Western Regional OTB with a Monroe County politician with some baggage is meeting resistance locally.

Genesee County's representative on the OTB board, Richard Siebert, told the Democrat & Chronicle that Monroe County officials are trying to make the appointment without going through proper procedures.

James Smith is a former deputy executive for Monroe County who was charged -- and later acquitted -- of misdemeanors related to alleged misuse of county workers for non-county work.

Smith's nomination is supported by Dennis Bassett, who is Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy’s appointee to the board.

According to Siebert, there's been no interview process and no other candidates considered.

One subcommittee vote was a tie, effectively killing Smith's application.

However, Bassett is now reportedly trying to bring a vote on Smith to the entire board.

A meeting with this single item on the agenda is scheduled for Oct. 11.

From the D&C:

Siebert said Smith supporters are trying to push the appointment through without advertising the job. Smith lacks gaming experience and, while Smith was acquitted of criminal charges, the accusations against him did raise questions about his managerial work, Siebert said.

“They’re ramming it down our throats,” Siebert said.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 11:44 am

Driver faces possible charges following rollover accident

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke

A driver involved in an early-morning, single-car rollover accident on Route 33 in Pembroke was taken to ECMC and may face charges related to the accident.

Igor Tancevski, 26, of 101 Christina Drive, North Chili, was reportedly traveling west on Route 33 when his car went off the road in the area of 1505 Route 33 hitting a mailbox  and a post.

The 2008 Toyota sedan rolled over and came to rest on its passenger side.

No other vehicles were involved in the 4:07 a.m. accident, which is being investigated by Deputy Eric Seppela.

The nature of any possible pending charges were not disclosed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

Truck driver accused of speeding in crash that injures one person

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu

One person was transported to UMMC yesterday following a three-car pile up on Route 5 in Corfu. A big rig truck driver towing a trailer reportedly failed to stop in time for cars that had slowed to allow another vehicle to make a left-hand turn into the Kutter's Cheese parking lot.

Elias P. Seward, 21, of 7812 Gorton Road, Basom, was cited for allegedly speeding. Seward reportedly told investigator Deputy Chad Minuto that he was unable to stop his truck in time.

The truck, owned by Zahm & Matson, Inc., of Falconer, slammed into a car driven by Joseph Kester, 34, of Warsaw, whose 2006 Kia then hit a car driven by Melody J. Zuppa, 48, of Amherst.

Zuppa, who was cited for allegedly not wearing a seat belt, was injured in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

The accident occurred at 3:57 p.m. in the area of 857 Main Road.

(Initial Report)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

Police Beat: Man accused of not paying for cab ride and punching driver

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

William George Horner, 59, of Bank Street Road, Batavia, is charged with theft of services and harassment, 2nd. He is accused of refusing to pay a driver of Batavia Cab Company following a taxi ride and then allegedly punching the driver. The alleged incident occurred at 2:40 a.m. in the area of 8013 Bank St. Road.

John M. Parker, 58, of 1302 Phelps Road, Pembroke, is charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or higher, driving with no headlight, failure to use turn signal, no seat belt and avoiding traffic device or intersection. Parker was stopped at 10:26 p.m., Tuesday, by Officer Richard Retzlaff of the Corfu Police Department on Route 33 just east of the village. Parker was allegedly found to have a BAC of .21.

Nadine M. Jackson, 48, of Le Roy, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Jackson was arrested by State Police for an alleged crime reported at 9:05 a.m., Aug. 15. No further details were released.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm

GCC men's soccer putting together dominant season

post by Howard B. Owens in GCC, soccer, sports

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I took in a little GCC men's soccer this evening. The Cougers beat Corning 5-0 for the team's 13th win against one loss on the season.

Above, Brady Smith, of Brisbane, Australia, battles for the ball near Corning's goal.

More pictures after the jump:

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