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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

Photo: Batavia Area Jaycees 5K run and walk

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Area Jaycees, sports


About 100 people participated today in the Batavia Area Jaycees 5K Run and Walk, which started and finished at MacArthur Park, taking runners down Bank, to Washington, to Ellicott Avenue and back via State Street.

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

The U.S. overreacted to 9-11

post by Howard B. Owens in Blogs

Fareed Zakaria writing for Newsweek:

While it (Al Qaeda) has inspired a few much smaller attacks by local jihadis, it has been unable to execute a single one itself. Today, Al Qaeda’s best hope is to find a troubled young man who has been radicalized over the Internet, and teach him to stuff his underwear with explosives.

I do not minimize Al Qaeda’s intentions, which are barbaric. I question its capabilities.


Five miles southeast of the White House, the largest government site in 50 years is being built—at a cost of $3.4 billion—to house the largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs: the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.

This new system produces 50,000 reports a year—136 a day!—which of course means few ever get read. Those senior officials who have read them describe most as banal; one tells me, “Many could be produced in an hour using Google.” Fifty-one separate bureaucracies operating in 15 states track the flow of money to and from terrorist organizations, with little information-sharing.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Le Roy police looking for burglary suspect

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Le Roy Police are looking for a person who broke into a residential garage and moved several items Sunday at a Lake Street address.

The burglary was interrupted when the resident heard a dog barking at the rear of the house and went outside to investigate. The resident spotted a man in the garage; the suspect ran into a wooded area.

He is described as a male wearing a red baseball cap, a yellow checkered short sleeve shirt and jeans.

This is the second garage burglary in the past month. A previous burglary occurred on East Main Street on Aug 6. It is unknown if these two incidents are related.

A witness was found who said that a person matching the suspect's description was seen walking the railroad tracks behind 101 W. Main St. shortly after the burglary. Police think it's possible the suspect lives in the area of West Main Street.

Anyone seeing a person wearing the same colored clothing or having information pertaining to this crime is asked to contact the Le Roy Police Department at 768-2527.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Photos: Barns and railways

post by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, batavia, photos, railroad, Stafford


On the way back home from the fire on Roanoke Road, Stafford, yesterday, of course I stopped along the way to take some pictures.

Above is a series of barn and silo structures on Sweetland Road, Stafford.  Below, the back of the barn at Ellicott Street Road and Stafford-Batavia Townline Road, and under that a railroad mile marker along the railroad track next to Lehigh Road, Batavia.

BTW: If you like my photography, you might enjoy the photoblog I set up: Vufindr.com. Of course, many of the shots will have appeared on The Batavian, but I set up Vufindr.com to allow for larger format pictures.



Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

Four people injured Friday in West Main Street, Batavia, accident

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

emainkelseyaccident.jpgA driver says he glanced down at his gas gauge and then didn't see a car in front of him slowing to make a turn, causing a rear-end accident on West Main Street in Batavia on Friday.

Nicholas J. Fenner, 19, of Clarence, was cited for allegedly following too closely.

Four people in the car Fenner reportedly hit were transported by ground ambulance to UMMC with non-life-threatening injuries: Shartanay R. Gibbs, 19, of Batavia (the driver of the second vehicle), Farah St. Cloud, 18, Delore Opoku-Boateng, 18, and Kyla R. Preston, 18.

Also in the second car, but not injured, was Shaday D. Gibbs.

There were no passengers in Fenner's car.

Shartanay Gibbs was cited for allegedly driving without a license.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chad Minuto.

(initial report)

Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 12:44 am

Notre Dame needs only one TD to open season with win

post by Howard B. Owens in football, Notre Dame, sports


It took Norte Dame two quarters to get its running game untracked in its season opener against Attica, but once the Irish were putting positive yardage on the board, a ball control game led to a 7-0 victory.

Mike Pratt punched the ball into the end zone with seconds left in the third quarter.

In all, Norte Dame had its offensive squad on the field for 27 minutes.

Pratt gained 70 yards on 18 carries. Bo Richter had 8 1/2 tackles, including 3 1/4 for a loss.

Pratt also blocked a field goal attempt (pictured above).


More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm

187-year-old home in Stafford destroyed by fire

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford


In 1823, James Monroe was president, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were still alive, and it would be more than six decades before Thomas Edison would start the first electric company.

It was also the year a brick house was built at 9418 Roanoke Road.

Today, electricity sparked a fire, driven by high winds, that gutted the little red brick house.

"It's a nice old house," said Betty Smart, who lived on the former farm property for 40 years with husband Terry.

It first started when winds disconnected a electrical wire leading from the house to the barn. The live wire hit the metal roof over the kitchen igniting combustible material under the tin.

Once there were flames, wind gusts quickly fed the fire.

“It’s an abnormal condition that we normally wouldn’t see, but that wind got into the interior and just moved the fire right through the house," said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator.

The Smarts called 9-1-1 as soon as they spotted the fire and immediately got out of the house. Nobody was injured in the fire, or in fighting it, and the Smart's three pets live outside and were not harmed.

Yaeger said beside the winds, water supplies were a challenge. Firefighters used two hydrants, but one of them was nearly 3/4 of a mile from the scene. Crews also trucked water in from a pond two miles away.

Assisting Stafford were fire departments from Pavilion, Bethany, Byron, Bergen, Le Roy, Town of Batavia, Caledonia, York, along with Le Roy's ambulance service and Mercy EMS.



More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Man who fell on Route 77 calls 9-1-1

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

Dispatch has received a call from a man on Route 77 in Darien who apparently fell, hit his head, was knocked on unconscious, awoke, then called 9-1-1.

It's unknown how long he was unconscious.

He is still lying beside the roadway. He fell in the area of Darien Lake.

Law enforcement and Mercy EMS are in route.

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm

ATV accident reported on Harloff Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A woman has possibly suffered a back injury in an ATV accident at 3500 Harloff Road, Batavia.

That's the location of Polar Wave.

East Pembroke Fire and Mercy EMS are responding.

UPDATE 7:21 p.m.: Mercy Flight requested to the scene.

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: Mercy Flight in route to Strong Memorial Hospital.

View Larger Map

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 10:05 am


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

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- The start of Labor Day weekend at Batavia Downs Casino featured four NY County Fair finals for 2 and 3 year-old pacers and trotters, worth $8,000 each.

The 3-year-old pacers kicked off the fair finals in race two. This one saw Emmas Lily (Artiscape-Sweet Rosa Belle) with trainer/driver Truman Gale upset favored It’s Only Roni with Jack Flanigen in 2:00. Charlesinazone was right there in third. Emmas Lily, who won for the eighth time this season, is owned by Stephanie and Brian Cassell.

The win machine, Vagra (Dream Vacation-Agra), notched his 13th win of the season when he trotted to a 4-1/2 length score in 2:03. The veteran Doug Ackley trains and drives the talented 3-year-old trotter. EJ’s Dream Kat (Jack Flanigen), who was the early leader, held on for second over Here Comes Doodles (Kevin Cummings).

Heavily favored Lofty Dreams did not disappoint in the 2-year-old trot when he went on to a much the best 8-1/2 length win in 2:05.1. Jack Flanigen put the Dream Vacation-Dusty Girl colt on the lead for owner-trainer Steve Pratt and they never had an anxious moment. The win was Lofty Dream's eighth of his freshman campaign. Iroquoindianspring with Kirk Desmond got second over Love And Peace with Mark Whitcroft.

Last, but not least, former Batavia Downs regular Dave Fisher guided Surf Cast Michelle to a head victory over Totally Determined and Leon Bailey in 2:02.3 in the 2-year-old pace. Fisher brushed the Quality Of Life-Surf Cast Paradise filly to the front at the half and that proved to be the winning move. Surf Cast Michelle is now five for seven lifetime.

Queen Creek got Pick-6 players off on the right foot, when she went gate-to-wire in the $9,000 Preferred Trot. Starting from post position two, Queen Creek assumed command when the gate opened and under strong Ron Beback, Jr. urging was able to hold off the pocket sitting Kash N Credit (Troy Boring) in 1:59.2.

Thanks to six straight winning chalks the Pick-6 was hit. Five winning ticket holders took home $268 each. The Pick-6 pool will be guaranteed at $1,000 on Saturday night.

New York Sire Stakes action continues on Saturday night when the glamour division, the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, race for almost $150,000 in purses. Post time is 6:40 p.m.

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

Four arrests and 19 citations issued at Rascal Flatts concert

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

The following people were arrested during the Rascal Flatts concert Friday at Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center:

Ramzi J. Abialmouna, of Castlebar Drive, North Tonawanda, is charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest. Abialmouna allegedly refused to leave the area and kicked a deputy while being arrested. He was jailed on $200 bail.

Andrew E. Aguado, 23, of South Maple Street, Warsaw, is charged with disorderly conduct. Aguado allegedly urinated in the roadway.

Eric R. Weitz, 38, of Pine Wood Drive, West Seneca, is charged with aggravated DWI, DWI and following too closely. Weitz was allegedly involved in a car accident in the concert parking lot.

Calebmoises H. Garcia, 24, of Tremont Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unlicensed operation. Garcia was allegedly involved in a motor vehicle accident on Employee Road.

The following people were issued citations for allegedly possessing alcohol under 21 years of age (after the jump):

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 1:01 am

State champs smother Blue Devils in season opener

post by Howard B. Owens in football, sports


Coming off a 1-7 season, the Batavia Blue Devils found themselves in a rather unfortunate situation for their 2010 home opener: Facing off against state champions, Hornell.

The score was as lopsided as you might expect, with the Blue Devils getting swamped 49-7, but for a time in the first half, it looked like Batavia High might actually make a game of it.

"I thought we came out good there early on," said Head Coach Dan Geiger. "We found a way to move the ball. Hornell’s definitely a tough team, but early in the game, we put them on a longer field. Later in the game, they were on a short field. They’re not a team you can keep on a short field. They’re a strong, physical team."

Hornell struck first and even though the Blue Devils tide the score on its next possession with a 66-yard TD pass from Aaron Gugel to Justin Washington, the game quickly slipped away from Batavia.

By the start of the second half, it was clear Batavia was not likely to make a miraculous come back.

Ryan Pyatt had five carries for 28 yards to lead the ground game.

Spencer Stresing led the defense with seven tackles and was a real presence defensively throughout the game.

"Hornell’s a great team, but we hurt ourselves more in that we didn’t play assignment football," Geiger said. "Our kids realize that. At the end of the game they were talking about, ‘our assignments weren’t perfect enough.' Against a great opponent, and Hornell is a great opponent, you’ve got to be perfect."

In other Genesee County football action Friday: Holly beat Oakfield-Alabama 52-0 and Le Roy beat Livonia 16-8.


Note: I took still photos during most of the first half, and then switched to video once the sun went down. Hopefully, I can get the video edited, processed and posted before I need to head out for more coverage.

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 12:10 am

Fire alarm at new med-tech building by GCC

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

An automatic alarm of fire sounded a short time ago at the new Med-Tech building near GCC.

Town of Batavia is responding, and first responder requested a responding fire truck position itself next to a fire hydrant. He reported condensation on one of the windows.

A key holder (somebody with emergency access to the building) is responding.

UPDATE 1:11 a.m.: The alarm is sounding from an elevator shaft.

UPDATE 1:13 a.m.: "It's very steamy." (Not sure of the context of that statement.) The key holder is on scene.

UPDATE 1:14 a.m.: "Second floor clear. No type of steam atmosphere up here."  Responder has made entrance to elevator room. "Nothing showing." Maintenance person reports "they poured concrete this morning." Checking the rest of the building.

UPDATE 1:19 a.m.: Crews are double-checking the entire building, but the drying concrete seems to be the cause of the alarm.

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 12:02 am

Muckdogs beat Auburn, 8-5

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

joey_bergman.jpgFlorida native Joey Bergman has made quite a showing in his first year of pro ball, hitting .302, scoring 35 times, driving in 31 runs and drawing 30 walks. But Friday night he achieved a special milestone -- hitting his first professional home run.

The blast in the fifth inning was part of a Muckdog onslaught against Auburn that lifted the division champs to a 8-5 victory.

Chris Edmundson also homered -- his second of the year. Edmundson's three-run shot was part of a five-run third inning for the Batavia.

Burgman had three hits and Edmundson two.

Starter Zach Russell went five innings and gave up three runs -- all in the first -- to get the win and move his record to 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA.

Batavia is in Auburn on Saturday and closes out the regular season at 1:05, Sunday, against Auburn. The playoffs open on Tuesday, but Batavia's first opponent and the location of the game have not yet been announced.

Photo: File photo.

Friday, September 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Treasurer from a Le Roy nursery school accused of stealing funds

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

The treasurer of a Le Roy nursery school is being accused of using the school's ATM card to make unauthorized withdrawals and purchase.

The total of the alleged misappropriated funds is more than $6,200.

Jennifer M. Riggi, 29, of 47 Lake St., Le Roy, is being charged with grand larceny.

Riggi was arrested by Le Roy detective John Condidorio following an investigation that started Aug. 16.

Nursery school officials contacted Le Roy Police after checking bank statements and reportedly finding unusual activity.

After being arraigned in Le Roy Town Court, Riggi was released on her own recognizance.

Friday, September 3, 2010 at 8:52 am

Police Beat: Man accused of inappropriately touching two girls at water park

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

Phillip Antonio Lee Sanders, 20, of Marine Drive, Buffalo, is charged with sexual abuse, 2nd. Sanders is accused of touching two girls under age 14 in intimate spots on their bodies. The alleged incidents were reported Thursday and allegedly occurred at Darien Lake's water park.

Friday, September 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

Muckdogs drop home game to Jammers

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


The Jamestown Jammers managed to get to starting pitcher Justin Edwards (4-5, 3.38 ERA) for five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, giving them all the runs they needed to defeat the Batavia Muckdogs.

The Jammers (40-32) are still in a wild card playoff hunt with Williamsport (41-32), while the Muckdogs are cruising into the playoffs as Pinckney Division champions.

The Muckdogs scored early, taking a 2-0 lead following a Victor Sanchez double, and hits from Jon Rodriguez and Joey Bergman.

The Muckdogs would score again in the fourth and fifth innings, but still come up short, 5-4.

Muckdogs coach Oliver Marmol was ejected in the fifth inning along with Manager Dann Bilardello. Marmol and Bilardello argued a foul ball call, which may have cost the Muckdogs a run. Shortstop Yunier Castillo hit the called foul, and later grounded out, and he apparently mouthed off himself and got tossed.

Rodriguez had three hits, knocked in two and scored twice.

Batavia is at home tonight against Auburn, in Auburn tomorrow and finish out the regular season Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against Auburn.

The playoffs start Tuesday at a location to be determined.


More pictures after the jump:

Friday, September 3, 2010 at 7:36 am

Today's Deals: Daily Grind, O'Lacy's, Margarita's, South Beach and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St. Batavia, NY: In Irish pubs, it doesn't get more authentic than O'Lacy's. Be sure to try the homemade chips. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Only recently reopened, a fine/casual dining atmosphere, offering steaks and seafood and daily specials. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Nov. 30, 2010).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

NY-Penn League commissioner questions Batavia's viability for professional baseball

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

The Muckdogs need to make money and draw more fans, according to NY-Penn League Commissioner Ben Hayes, but even that might not be enough to keep the team in the city of the NYPL's birth.

Hayes said Dwyer Stadium is one of three or four ballparks in the league that is not up to professional baseball standards.

"It's not that I want them to relocate," Hayes said while visiting Dwyer for Thursday's game. "It's not something I want to happen. But it is something that, if the market is not supporting the ball club, or you have a stadium that’s not in condition for professional baseball, either one of those can end a franchise, and that’s where we are."

The infield is a particular concern, Hayes said. He said he's heard, but doesn't know about firsthand, that one team that visited Dwyer this year refused to take infield practice  because the manager was concerned about the condition of the playing surface.

Minutes earlier Hayes spoke with the groundskeeper. Hayes said the groundskeeper told him the field needed to be bulldozed.

"The infield needs to be laser leveled," Hayes said. "Those things are very costly."

The local ownership group is nonprofit, Hayes noted, and doesn't have the resources to take on those kinds of improvements.

The commissioner pointed to Aberdeen, State College, Staten Island and Brooklyn as franchises with professional quality facilities. He singled out Vermont as a club that, while profitable, will need to relocate if it can't solve its ballpark problems.

Hayes agreed that it would be a shame if one of the last original franchises had to relocate.

"We considered that three years ago," Hayes said. "That was one of the top things on our minds. It's one of the last original, founding clubs in the New York-Penn League.

Unfortunately," he added, "it’s a situation where I’m not sure this club can make money. It’s losing money every year and if that’s the case, then, you know, like the other original members, those clubs will have to depart and go somewhere else."

UPDATE, Friday, 9:22 p.m.: Groundskeeper Donald Rock called to clarify -- he's concerned that some might read his comments as meaning that the whole stadium needs to be leveled. That's not what he said. He said Hayes came to him before the game and asked, "If you could do one thing, what would it be?" and he replied bulldoze the field (both infield and outfield) and level it. Rock said years of football play on the field has left it uneven. He said Hayes told him he does a great job with the field and it's in the best condition it can be under the circumstances. He said Hayes said, "The things that need to be repaired, you can't do yourself."

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