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Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Oakfield family finds out about sister in Kentucky they didn't know they had

post by Howard Owens in Oakfield

Six Oakfield residents found out recently that they have a sister in Bowling Green, Ky., whom they never knew anything about until the woman's daughter connected the siblings through Facebook.

The Bowling Green Daily News has a story.

Philip Semar, Sandy Berrios and Cindy Kline all made the drive this week from Oakfield to Bowling Green to meet 61-year-old Linda Richardson.

Richardson never knew her real father, William Semar, and didn't find out about him until she was 15. She then spent the following decades searching for him and hoping she would find out she had brothers and sisters.

On the day her mother died, her daughter told her about finding the Semar family in Oakfield.

Her other three half brothers are John, David and Willy Semar, all of Oakfield, but they couldn't make the trip to Bowling Green.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Richardson’s son, Teddy Freeman, of Bowling Green, “I had two aunts and now I have four.”

After warm embraces all around, the new family stood misty-eyed and chatting together for the first time in Walker’s front yard, the resemblance unmistakable.

“You all look so much alike, each in a different way,” Walker said, “the eyes especially.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Bring out your inner artist at Art Ah La Carte

post by Howard Owens in Art Ah La Carte, batavia, business, Harvester Center


If you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, you haven't been to Art Ah La Carte yet.

Kimberly Argenta says she can teach anybody to create art.

"People have come in and said, 'I have no talent. I don’t know how to do anything,'" Argenta said. "I’ve actually had people come in and watercolor for the first time and their work comes out beautiful. They say they don’t have any creativity, yet I can pull it out of them. I believe everybody has creativity, you just have to find the right medium.”

artalcarte03.jpgArgenta has turned her passion for art and teaching into a business at the new Artisan Center at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia.

Classes started this week and cover a range of mediums, from painting to paper mache. Art Ah La Carte also has classes on altered tins, beading, drawing and turning old junk into art.

Caledonia artist Robert Garland is helping Argenta and teaching drawing. He said getting involved in Art Ah La Carte has sparked his own creativity.

Among the students in class on Friday evening was Linda Carson, who raised her hand when Argenta spoke about students coming in thinking they had no talent. She completed two watercolors so far, one in class and one at home, and she seemed to think the second one turned out pretty good.

"I thought I would just enjoy expressing myself in painting," Carson said. "I always wanted to try it, but ... " at which point Carson just shrugged.

Art Ah La Carte is open to individual students as well as groups. Argenta said people can form groups for a girls' night out or a guys' night out or any special event, such as a bridal shower.

artalacarte02.jpg“I just really felt that the community needed an inexpensive way to come out and enjoy an evening without breaking the wallet, yet they’re learning something," Argenta said.

Art Ah La Carte is part of the new Artisan Center being created by Patricia Hawley for Mancuso Business Development Group at the Harvester Center.

Hawley has been in talks with a number of artists, multimedia companies, writers and others about taking space in the new center.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Rollover accident with fire reported on Thruway

post by Howard Owens in accident, pembroke, thruway

There is a one-vehicle rollover accident reported in the westbound lane of the Thruway at mile marker 399.1 in Pembroke.

The vehicle is reportedly on fire and one person may have been dragged from the roadway.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire are being dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 8:55 p.m.: First responder reports the car is fully involved.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m.: The fire is out. The Thruway is closed. Firefighters are now searching the area for possible passengers. It still unknown how many occupants were in the car.

UPDATE 9:39 p.m.: Fire units are leaving the scene. No further information available at this time.

UPDATE 10:58 p.m.: East Pembroke just cleared the Thruway and went back in service.

UPDATE Sunday morning: The Buffalo News reports this was a fatal accident. Mark Deacon, 53, of Buffalo, sustained head injuries in the accident and died at ECMC. He had been ejected from his 1997 Chevy Blazer after it overturned. Deacon apparently over corrected after his vehicle drifted onto the left shoulder. There is no report of other accident victims.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Four generations show up for haircuts

post by Howard Owens in batavia


Four generations of Scarboroughs were at the Cutting Shack on Center Street today for haircuts.

For Gunnar Scarborough, it was his first hair cut.  He's on his father Nick's lap.  Nick will soon be redeployed to Afghanistan.

Also pictured, from left, Grandfather Mike, Patty Fragnito and Great-Grandpa Gary.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Akron man accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend in Pembroke

post by Howard Owens in crime, pembroke

mug_charles_william_schilling.jpgAn Akron man faces six criminal charges and has been jailed on $50,000 following an alleged domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend in Pembroke.

Charles William Schilling, 26, of 9 Exchange St., Akron, is accused is of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home at 6 a.m. today and assaulting and threatening her in front of her 7-year-old son.

Schilling was arraigned on three felony and three misdemeanor charges.

He is charged with burglary 2nd, coercion 1st, criminal mischief 1st, menacing 3rd, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Possible fire in wall of house in Elba

post by Howard Owens in elba, fire

Elba Fire is being dispatched to 13 Chapel St. for a possible house fire.

There may be a fire in one of the walls of the residence.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Revamped farm labor bill is no improvement, says Farm Bureau president

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, business, farm bureau

A so-called compromise bill on changes to farm labor laws would cost New York farmers more than $200 million in added expense, according to New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.

In a press release from the bureau, Norton says the proposed changes to labor laws are more onerous than any other state, except California, which has an agriculture industry three times larger than New York's.

Ironically, Norton noted, that primary backers of the bill -- legislative staff and nonprofits -- are exempt from the same kind of labor laws they now advocate for family farms.

"Food is a basic human need, and this legislation seeks to ensure that local farms won't be around to produce local food for local people. This bill would force us to turn our farms into factories, to meet these onerous labor mandates that virtually no other state in the union has. It's yet another example of Albany seeking to drive businesses -- and farmers -- out of New York," Norton said. 

The bill, S.2247b, was introduced by Sen. Pedro Espada Thursday night and it opens the door to collective bargaining on family farms and forces small, seasonal operations to pay unemployment benefits for temporary workers.

"This proposal forces mandates on our family farms that will put New York at an extreme competitive disadvantage," Norton said. "Sen. Espada and the legislature need to consider the long-term viability of the Upstate and Long Island economy before passing legislation that wrecks it."

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm

City Council to discuss budget on Tuesday

post by Howard Owens in batavia, city council

The Batavia City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the 2010/11 budget.

Department items are scheduled for the following times:

7 p.m. -- administrative services

7:30 p.m. -- finance, personnel, youth bureau, assessment

8 p.m. -- police and fire

8:45 p.m. -- public works, water and sewer.

No time for public comment is scheduled; however, there will be a public hearing on the budget prior to a vote.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Federal charges brought against suspects in Le Roy meth lab

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy, methamphetamine

Five people arrested in early December in connection with a suspected methamphetamine lab at 28 Clay St., Le Roy, now face federal charges as well.

elmore.jpgChristopher J. Elmore, 31, of 14 St. Marks St., Le Roy, was arraigned in Federal Court in Buffalo on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute or dispense 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Besides the Genesee County charges resulting from the meth lab raid Dec. 10, Elmore was accused a week later by Le Roy Police with passing fake $10 bills.

Also charged were manufacturing and distribution were:

  • Kari L. Riggi, 21, of 28 Clay St.
  • Koree R. Stephenson, 22, 6539 Dodson Road, Wyoming
  • Nathan D. Bernard, 21, 28 Clay St.
  • Joshua A. Miller, 20, 51 Myrtle St.

None of those four defendants face the additional weapons charge, which is an enhancement that can lead to more time in a federal penitentiary.

Elmore, Stephenson, Riggi and Bernard remained jailed in Genesee County on $75,000 bail.

Miller is out of jail under the supervision of Genesee County Justice.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Police Beat: Man accused of stealing gun from store in Corfu

post by Howard Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Le Roy, pembroke

Jason Howard Freeman, 28, of 5312 Genesee St., Bowmansville, is charged with grand larceny 4th. Freeman is accused of stealing a firearm from A & K Gun Sales in Corfu. Freeman was issued an appearance ticket. The case was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Eric D. Halsey, 18, of 3718 Main St. Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. On Dec. 31 at 10:45 p.m., Halsey allegedly grabbed a woman by the face and threatened to smash her car window and hurt her.

Ian C. Lawlis, 29, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd. Lawlis allegedly backed into Ellicott Street unsafely and then sped away, traveling at 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. Lawlis was stopped by Sgt. Greg Walker. Upon investigation, it was discovered that Lawlis was allegedly operating on a suspended license. Lawlis was also cited for other alleged violations, such as unsafe backing, speeding, operating without insurance and failure to notify DMV of address change.

Ronald Louis MacGregor, 41, 6960 Cole Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd. Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a car driving without headlines and heavy front-end damage. The car was reportedly found at MacGregor's address. Upon investigation, Deputy James Diehl charged him with the listed offenses. Following arraignment, bail was set at $100.

David W. McCoy, 49, of 101 Kurtz Ave., Lancaster, is charged with DWI, driving left of pavement markings and failure to obey traffic control device. McCoy was stopped on Route 77 in Corfu at 8:21 p.m. Friday by Le Roy Police Officer Edward Caton and charged with the listed offenses.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Two passengers injured in accident after driver strikes deer

post by Howard Owens in accident, corfu, pembroke

A teen-age driver reportedly struck a deer Wednesday evening, over corrected and overturned her car in a ditch on Boyce Road in Pembroke.

Two of her passengers were injured.

Taken to UMMC for treatment were Randy J. Hesler, 16 and Amanda Richley, 18.

Kelsey Nichole Milks, 17, of 576 Main Road, Corfu, was driving a 2001 Pontiac sedan at 9:21 p.m. She was uninjured.

A fourth passenger, Abbigayle R. Henry, was also not hurt.

No citations were issued.

Deputy Patrick Reeves investigated the accident.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Minor injury reported in rear-end accident on Pratt Road

post by Howard Owens in batavia, accident, pembroke

One person was injured in a rear-end car accident on Pratt Road in Batavia on Wednesday.

Treated at the scene was Mark D. Humel, 18, of East Pembroke, for an arm pain complaint.

Humel was cited for allegedly speeding.

The other driver, Lori A. Defazio, 53, of 2636 Pratt Road, Batavia, was uninjured.

Defazio was reportedly driving westbound on Pratt when she slowed to make a left turn. Humel allegedly did not notice her slowing or see her turn signal.

Humel's car struck Defazio's from behind and spun it around 180 degrees.

The accident occurred at 5 p.m. It was investigated by Sgt. Greg Walker.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Haitian mission team makes it to Port au Prince in effort to return home

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Churches, Haiti, religion

The Lutheran mission team, which includes two Batavia residents, that was in Haiti when the 7.0 earthquake hit Monday has made it safely to the Port-au-Prince airport, according to Jason Christ.

Yesterday, WBTA's Geoff Redick spoke with Rev. Allen Werk (mp3), pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church, who described the plan for the group's return.

Werk said once the group reached the Port-au-Prince airport, a military aircraft would take them to either Florida or the Dominican Republican, and from either of those airports, they could take a commercial flight home.

The big challenge was transportation from Les Cayes to Port au Prince. The group regularly depends on a bus driver based in Port au Prince, which is where the driver was when the quake struck.

"Somehow or another he found gas in Port au Prince for his bus and is right now on his way from Port au Prince to Les Cayes," Werk said yesterday.

On the trip from Batavia are Sharon Wolf and Zach Ashley.

One of the team members from Tonawanda, Sue Steege, occasionally updates her Twitter account with the group's status.

Apparently, at least two members of the group are still awaiting visas.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

National figures show sales up with local businesses for holidays

post by Howard Owens in business, localism

While national chains struggled a bit with holiday sales, a national survey showed locally owned shops gaining 2.2 percent sales, according to a report on New Rules Project.

The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active "Buy Local" or "Think Local First" campaigns reported stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns. These campaigns have been launched by local business alliances in more than 100 cities and towns. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average increase in holiday sales of 3.0%, compared to 1.0% for those in cities without an active Buy Local initiative.

Nearly 80% of those surveyed said public awareness of the value of choosing locally owned businesses had increased in the last year (16% said it had stayed the same).

"The buzz about buying local was louder among my customers this year than any other year," said a shoe store owner in Michigan.

"We've had many customers say they are making a real effort to 'Buy Local' this year. A number of customers said they saw an item at a chain store or online, and came back to us to purchase it," said a retailer in Maine.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Trends in rural small business in 2010

post by Howard Owens in business, localism, rural

Small Business Trends has published a list of 10 trends to watch in 2010 for small businesses in rural areas.

Top of the list is the census.

Census 2010 – Population counts are critical for government programs, grants, and more for a decade. Smart small towns and counties will be actively finding ways to get everyone counted. Watch for town meetings to answer questions, and a whole bunch of canvassing. Your small town business will be indirectly affected by the results for ten long years.

At number three is the always important "shop local" trend.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Brasky named Geneseean of Year; Rose Garden, The Batavian, Kutter's Cheese Factory win annual awards

post by Howard Owens in Buddy Brasky, chamber of commerce, thebatavian

Batavia High coaching legend Myron "Buddy" Brasky has been named Geneseean of the Year for 2009 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Reached just before a basketball game tonight, Brasky didn't have much time to talk, but he said he never expected the award.

"It was a total surprise," Brasky said. "I had no idea I was even being considered. It was a surprise. It's a big honor. I'm surprised and honored."

Rose Garden Bowl/Viking Valhalla Restaurant was named Business of the Year.

The Batavian was named Innovative Enterprise of the Year.

The Agriculture Business of the Year is Kutter’s Cheese Factory in East Pembroke.

Special recognition awards are going to the Batavia Area Jaycees and the Batavia Muckdogs' parent company, Rochester Red Wings Community Baseball.

The annual awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Holiday Inn on March 6.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Chimney fire reported in Stafford, across from fire hall

post by Howard Owens in fire, Stafford

A chimney fire has been reported at 6154 Main Road, Stafford, directly across from the Stafford Fire Hall.

UPDATE 6:05 p.m.: Fire is out.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Thruway Authority floating idea of wind turbines along I-90

post by Howard Owens in batavia, thruway

Apparently, the New York State Thruway Authority thinks it can get a little greener by constructing wind turbines at various locations along I-90.

While a memo from the authority to Genesee County officials stresses the preliminary nature of its planning, there is a dot on the map at the Batavia exit.

The state agency is seeking public feedback on the proposal, and county officials seem pretty cool to the idea.

County Planner Jim Duval shared with the Planning Board last night that County Manager Jay Gsell and Highway Superintendent Tim Hens are concerned that the Batavia location is a mere 4,500 feet from the county airport.

The ideal distance would be more than 10,000 feet.

Not to mention the exit is a relatively commercial, high-traffic area.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to send a resolution to the authority opposing placement of a wind turbine at the Batavia exit.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Owner of 14 pure bred dogs upset after board votes against permit

post by Howard Owens in animals, Alabama, pets, Wright Road

Suzanne Macre left last night's Genesee County Planning Board meeting in tears, seemingly sure that she will need to put down some of the Shiba Inu pure bred dogs she owns.

Macre has been involved in a dispute with neighbors and the Town of Alabama over her kenneling as many as 14 dogs at her home on Wright Road.

According to neighbors, the dogs bark in loud, shrill woofs multiple times per day, destroying the quiet of their neighborhood and making it impossible to do something as simple as sit on a back deck and watch the grass grow.

At one point, it looked like the board was going to recommend approval of her application for a special-use permit to kennel more than six dogs, which Alabama declared was required after neighbors started complaining about the dogs. Just as the motion for approval was about to be made, one of the neighbors spoke up and reminded the board there were residents who wished to talk on the topic.

In all, five neighbors spoke and disputed Macre's claim that the dogs only bark for a minute or so two or three times a day.

They said the dogs bark any time there is any noise of motion in the area of Macre's house.

Board member Michael Cianfrini noted that many times with requests for special-use permits the board only hears what the impact might be of a proposed development, but in this case, the impact was already clear.

"I don't think anybody has the right to destroy the quiet use and enjoyment of other home owners for what is in essence a hobby," Cianfrini said.

He then made a motion to recommend denying the special-use permit.

The motion passed 9-0.

Macre said, "So I'm just supposed to destroy half of my dogs?"

One of the other residents then spoke up and told the board a search of Google will show that there is a good market for Shiba Inu. He said nobody wanted to see dogs destroyed, but he was sure Macre could find buyers.

"Nobody is going to pay to ship a 10-year-old dog across the country," Macre said.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Drivers of both cars in fatal Darien accident named in lawsuit

post by Howard Owens in accident, alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

One of the passengers in a car involved in a fatal accident Aug. 14 in Darien Center has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against the drivers of both vehicles.

Timothy L. Enderle names as defendants Ronald J. Wendt, Jr., Rachel L. Enderle and Michael A. Enderle.

Rachel, 27, was reportedly the driver of a 1993 Toyota sedan owned by Michael. Timothy, 20, was a passenger along with Gabrielle E. Mahus, 18, and Katie M. Stanley, 18.

Stanley died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.

According to the initial Sheriff's Office press release, Timothy was transported by ambulance to UMMC and later transferred to Strong Memorial with a hip injury.

When we reached Rochester attorney Sheldon W. Boyce, who is representing Timothy, he wasn't in his office and didn't have a copy of the case with him, but he indicated there is no specific allegation of distracted driving by Rachel or equipment failure in the Toyota.

"Any time there are two cars in an accident, there is a certain percentage of fault with both drivers," Boyce said.

Wendt, who is accused of drunken driving, is in jail on $250,000 bail awaiting trial on a 12-count indictment that with enhancements could lead to a 25-year prison term.

For previous coverage, click here.

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