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Howard B. Owens's blog

Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

Today's Deals: Stafford Trading Post, South Main, Herbly Wonderful and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10. A great Valentine's gift!

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

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.

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.

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.

SOLD OUT

Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

Funnel cloud spotted in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, weather

oakfieldtornado.jpg

Reader Chad Hilchey sent in this picture at 11:14 p.m. of a funnel cloud spotted in Oakfield. 

A dispatcher who worked overnight had heard nothing of a possible funnel cloud and said there wasn't a single report of storm damage over night. "Not even a tree limb down," he said.

There was a severe thunderstorm watch overnight, which was lifted at 6 a.m.

UPDATE: Chad clarifies that he took the picture around 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Photos: South side of Harvester building

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Harvester Center, photos

harvester02a.jpg

This afternoon while waiting for a business in the Harvester Center to open, I killed time by walking along the south side of the building looking for objects to photograph.

If you've ever looked closely at the building, there are stars bolted into the walls between the first and second stories. These, I'm sure, are not decorative, but part of the building's support structure, bolting thick wires that run from wall to wall. That's just a guess, but I've seen this kind of construction before.

Below, a "weed" (I can't identify the flower) set against a red door, and three more pictures after the jump.

harvester04a.jpg

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Police Beat: A pair of pot busts and a driver accused of being on drugs while driving

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

Kimberly Lynn Blue, 21, of 7 Wood St., Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Blue was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle stopped for alleged traffic offenses 5:53 p.m., Tuesday. During the stop, she was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of marijuana and Ritalin. The stop was made by Deputy Brian Thompson.

General G. Sanders, 38, of Haxton Lane, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Local law enforcement made contact with Sanders when a van was stopped in order to execute a bench warrant out of the Town of Batavia for a passenger in the van, Jeremy Lyons. The stop was made at 2:33 p.m., Tuesday, by Deputy Brian Thompson and a unit from the State Police. During the stop on Angling Road in Pembroke, Sanders was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Luke M. Tarnacki, 19, of Sandridge Road, Alden, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, failure to keep right, unlawful use of an electronic device (texting) and aggravated unlicensed operation. Sheriff's deputies Ron Meides and Chris Parker were dispatched at 7:47 a.m., Wednesday, to the scene of an alleged accident on Route 33 near Read Road in the Town of Batavia. A vehicle had driven through a ditch and left the scene. Tarnacki was located later and reportedly admitted to texting while driving. Tarnacki reportedly crossed two lanes of traffic and drove off the roadway on the opposite shoulder. Upon further investigation, deputies determined that Tarnacki was allegedly driving while impaired by drugs. Tarnacki was jailed on $3,000 bail.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Attorney skeptical letter contained any kind threat against Sheriff employee

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

After his client entered a not guilty plea to an aggravated harassment charge, attorney Dan Killelea read the letter for the first time that Dawn Doll allegedly wrote a Sheriff's Office employee and shook his head.

After court, Killelea said, "I can't see a single threat in the entire letter."

He said he will need to research the case further before deciding on a defense, but he indicted he isn't sure there was even a crime committed when Doll, sister of convicted murderer Scott F. Doll, allegedly mailed the letter in a Father's Day card to one of the officers involved in the murder investigation.

The Sheriff's Office employee wrote in an affidavit that he felt threatened by the letter.

"The content of the letter was disturbing to me," he wrote. "The fact that a Father's Day card was sent along with the letter and receiving the envelop on Father's Day was very threatening to me and my family members."

Scott Doll was convicted by a jury last month of killing Joseph Benaquist outside Benaquist's Pembroke home.

Dawn Doll appeared in City Court at 1 p.m. accompanied by friends and family to answer to the Class A misdemeanor charge.

In a statement Doll reportedly made to a State trooper at the time of her arrest Saturday, Doll said she had come to understand writing the letter was the wrong thing to do.

"I should never have done it," Doll reportedly said. "If I could take it back, I would."

Judge Michael DelPlato issued an order barring Doll from having contact of any kind through any means with the Sheriff's Office member she allegedly wrote the letter to.

Killelea assisted Paul Cambria in the defense of Scott Doll.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

5.5 earthquke in Canada rattles Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in earthquake

neic_xwa7_w.jpgA 5.5 earthquake 33 miles north of Ottawa, Ontario was felt at least as far south as Attica in Genesee County.

The quake was reported at 1:41 p.m.

Reports of the temblor flowed in from just about all parts of Genesee County, but many people also did not feel it.

Here are the messages we received from readers:

Please check out the tremor that was just felt in batavia.  3 of us here at work felt it and people at a doctors office felt it too.

Around 145pm we felt our house shake on the Maltby Road in Oakfield.  Questioning if there was a earthquake.  It was also felt in amherst.

I just felt an earthquake on genesee st in attica and my husband felt in in  Batavia as did my co-workers at Cooperative Extension

I'm pretty sure we just had an earthquake! Our office building was shaking!

Has anyone reported an earthquake in Batavia?  We felt a slight movement at  our job (GCC) and was wondering if you heard anything.

about 5 minutes ago our building here in oakfield was shaking and my girl friend who lives 2 miles away emailed me to ask if i felt the shaking

Can u confirm if we had an earthquake in Alexander today? It happened about  10 min ago and seemed to last about 5 - 7 seconds or more! It was bigger than  the quake last year.

Did you feel your building shake in the past 5 minutes? I work in Oakfield &  our building shook. Someone said it was an earthquake.

We just felt our whole building shake in the city of Batavia

just felt a earthquake by many on north pembroke rd.  wow.  shook the whole  house and rattled stuff on the walls.

Small earthquake felt at Attica High School

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

Suspects sought in alleged credit card thefts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

ccsuspects01.jpg

Local law enforcement is looking for individuals who allegedly used stolen credit cards to make purchases at a retail store in Batavia.

The credit cards were allegedly stolen from a vehicle parked on Gateway Drive on June 14.

Credit cards were also stolen from a car on Park Road on June 4.

Batavia PD is investigating the Gateway Drive theft and the Sheriff's Office is investigating the Park Road incident.

The individuals in the picture above are wanted for questioning in the case. They may be driving the car in the picture below.

Police are asking persons who may have information on the identity of the suspects to contact the Batavia Police Department’s Detective Bureau at (585) 345-6444 or the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department at (585) 345-3000 x-3570. Persons can also leave information on the Batavia Police Department’s Confidential Tip Line at (585) 345-6370.

ccsuspects02.jpg

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 8:03 am

Support The Batavian and save money

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Last week, we announced a new "voluntary subscription" program.

The idea is to create a win-win for readers of The Batavian. You win with as much as $600 in annual savings at local businesses, and you win because the additional revenue from the program is expected to help us expand coverage of Genesee County.

There are three ways to join: Use PayPal to authorize either a monthly payment of $4.95, or an annual payment of $59.95, or you can mail a check to The Batavian for $59.95 for an annual voluntary subscription.

For more information, click here, or just use the PayPal buttons below.

PayPal Buttons:

Monthly Subscription Fee: $4.95

The monthly subscription fee will automatically be deducted from your PayPal account until you unsubscribe via PayPal.*

Annual Subscription Fee: $59.95

Our mailing address is: The Batavian, LLC, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

Muckdogs fail to hold late lead, drop second straight

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

Reliever Jose Rada was handed a one-run lead in the eighth inning Tuesday and let it slip away, surrendering two runs to State College and giving the Batavia Muckdogs their second straight loss.

Batavia (2-3) lost 5-4 to the Spikes (2-3).

The only Muckdogs with two or more hits Tuesday were catcher Audris Joel Perez, with three, and DH Adam Melker, with two. Perez had 2 RBIs and a stolen base.

No Muckdog managed an extra base hit.

Starter Ron Russell went four innings and gave up two earned runs. Reliever Travis Lawlor gave up one run in three frames.

The Muckdogs are in State College again tonight. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:30 am

County's unemployment rate the lowest its been in 17 months

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, economy, genesee county, unemployment

Genesee County's unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent in May, four points lower than May 2009, and five points lower than April.

Batavia's unemployment rate is the best its been since November, 2008, when the rate was 6.0.

The official numbers confirm anecdotal evidence of an improving employment picture provided last week by Scott Gage, director of the Genesee County Career Center.

The positive trend is ahead of the curve for New York State, which saw only a one point improvement in the job picture, with the state going from 8.4 to 8.3 year-over-year.

Genesee County is also faring better than all of the surrounding counties, which continue to have unemployment rates of at least 7 percent, with Wyoming and Orleans counties above 8 percent.

The Buffalo area's 7.6 percent unemployment rate is the best it's been since December 2008, when the rate was 6.8 percent. Rochester's rate of 7.3 percent is also a big improvement over the previous 16 months.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:12 am

Police Beat: Harassment charge filed against Bergen woman

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Tonya L. Buzzell, 27, of 26 Rochester St., Bergen, is charged with aggravated harassment. Le Roy Police report that officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the village allegedly involving Buzzell.  Some time later, Buzzell allegedly sent a series of harassing text messages to a resident of the village. The alleged incidents occurred Saturday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Cats find basement living just purrrrrfect

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, Carr's, cats, Ken Mistler

catplace01.jpg

catplace02.jpgThere are five cats that have the basement of the old Carr's building pretty much to themselves.

The cats wound up in the basement after owner Ken Mistler sold his pet store on East Main Street and the new owners wanted to get out of the cat sale business. Mistler's wife, Andrea, set up the cozy basement apartment and she ensures all of their needs are met.

They have plenty of places to climb and lounge. There's even a ramp to a cat gate that allows them outdoor time in a fenced-off area behind the Carr's building.

Andrea takes care of the cats and besides feeding them and keeping the litter boxes clean, she gives them plenty of affection.

For the cats, the living arrangement is probably more like a penthouse than a basement.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Judge lifts order of protection so man charged with larceny can work for alleged victim

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Warsaw man accused of grand larceny in a complicated scheme to steal money and building materials was in City Court today asking that an order of protection for two alleged victims be lifted.

The attorney for Dustin Hurlburt, 32, said Hurlburt could complete work if the order was lifted.

The District Attorney did not object to the request.

The orders were lifted.

Hurlburt is due back in court Aug. 10.

(Dan Fisher at WBTA contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Property owner refuses to discuss sea gulls plaguing former Latina's location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Latina's

gulls.jpg

Reached on his mobile phone, Tom Lewin, reportedly manager of LKLWL Properties out of Amherst, the listed owner of the former Latina's Market building at 45-47 Ellicott Street just hung up on The Batavian.

Asked what he plans to do about the sea gulls roosting on top of the apparently deteriorating former grocery store, Lewin said, "I have no comment" and terminated the call.

Lewin reportedly took the same tact when reach by Geoff Redick of WBTA earlier today.

Lewin reportedly said there are no plans to sell or develop the building. Redick reports that Lewin refused to comment on the issue.  Redick said he asked if he had a reason to disregard the public health in Batavia, Lewin reportedly called it a "loaded question" and discontinued the interview.

WBTA reports that the Business Improvement District has requested LKLWL clean up the problem, and USDA Wildlife Services have been contacted, and that the County Health Department regards the growing number of gulls as a possible public health concern.

WBTA reported that LKLWL has refused to let anybody on the roof to investigate the situation.

Ken Mislter, who owns 10 properties downtown and has in previous years helped organize the classic car show in the Court and Ellicott parking lot said the reason there is no classic car show this year is the car owners don't want to subject their rides to gull droppings.

The property is listed on the BID's website as for sale or lease. The current assessed value is $700,000.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

State Street burglar ordered to pay restitution of $1,400

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street

Reginald Wilson, convicted for his role in a burglary on State Street in September, must make restitution of $1,400 Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled today.

Already sentenced to 15 years in prison, Wilson was escorted into Genesee County Court by state prison guards for his 2 p.m. restitution hearing.

The elderly lady who was sleeping in her bedroom at the time of the burglary testified that she had to have the locks changed on her house, her car and replace a number of missing items.

A state victims' fund paid her $195 to help some of the costs associated with the crime, and she received more than $500 from her insurance company, but she still out about $700.

Noonan ordered that Wilson begin paying restitution immediately from his inmate fund to the victim. When she is paid off, he is to pay the state's victim fund, followed by the insurance company.

If the sum isn't paid off by the time of his term is up, Wilson is to begin making $100 monthly payments 60 days after his release.

If the other defendants -- Joseph Dash and Dillon Brito -- are ordered to pay restitution, they will share the expense until the $1,400, plus a 5-percent fee, is paid off.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Truck driver killed in fiery crash on Thruway

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy, thruway

A 49-year-old truck driver from Decatur, Ala. was killed in an early morning crash on the Thruway just east of the Le Roy exit.

State Police investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the one-vehicle accident that took the life of Freddie R. Hatfield.

Hatfield was reportedly seen driving erratically before his truck veered off the roadway and into a line of trees 50 feet from the shoulder, where his truck burst into flames.

"It could have been a medical issue or he may have simply fell asleep,"  State Police Capt.  Michael Nigrelli told WBTA.

No other vehicles were involved.

Le Roy Fire responded to the scene of the 6 a.m. crash to handle the accident and the fire, which was just over the Genesee County line.

Hatfield was hauling building material from Ohio to Gates, driving for Crete Carriers of Lincoln, Neb.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Scott Doll's sister accused of harassing member of Sheriff's Office over murder investigation

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

The sister of convicted murderer Scott F. Doll is in trouble this week.

Dawn Doll, 53, of 19 Thompson Drive, Corfu, is accused of sending an unwelcome Father's Day card to a member of the Sheriff's Office involved in the investigation of the murder of Joseph Benaquist in Pembroke.

The card reportedly contained a handwritten letter that accuses the officer of making statements to Scott Doll during an interrogation that added further stress to her mother's life.

She accuses the investigator of telling Doll the night of the murder, but before the body of Benaqust was found, "I know you killed your mother and stole her van."

Dawn Doll then adds at the conclusion of the letter, according to a copy of the alleged letter in the court file, "It is you (underlined three times) who is killing my mother. May you rot in hell."

Doll was arrested by State Police at 5:22 p.m., Saturday, and charged with  aggravated harassment, 2nd, a communication that caused alarm. The Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, 3 years probation and a $1,000 fine.

The officer said in a court statement that the tone and nature of the letter did alarm him.

"The content of the letter was disturbing to me," he wrote. "The fact that a Father's Day card was sent along with the letter and receiving the envelop on Father's Day was very threatening to me and my family members."

According to a statement included by a State trooper, Dawn Doll reportedly said she wrote the letter, "because of a statement he made to my brother, Scott Doll, the night my brother was picked up. I felt that I needed to throw it back at him cause I'm watching my mom deteriorate before my eyes."

She reportedly adds, "I wanted him to know that he's the one killing my mother, not my brother, as he accused him of the night my brother was picked up."

The investigator then reportedly asks Dawn Doll, "Now that you are discussing it in person, do you feel that you have done something wrong?"

"Yes, now that we have discussed this, I feel that I'm in the wrong," Doll reportedly replied. "I should never have done it. If I could take it back, I would."

Later she reportedly says, "I did not know how serious it was. I'm not a violent person and if I could go back, I would not have gone about it this way."

Dawn Doll is scheduled to return to City Court at 1 p.m. tomorrow to answer the harassment charge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Update: Two local men seriously hurt in weekend crashes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Bethany, corfu

Two Genesee County men remain hospitalized in serious condition following separate accidents over the weekend.

Both men were charged with DWI.

Ace J. Morz, 42, of Corfu, was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC on Sunday (his birthday) following an accident around 9:45 p.m. on Genesee Street, near the county line, in Darien.

Morz reportedly crossed over into oncoming traffic. He apparently tried to swerve to avoid a tractor-trailer heading west when his SUV was struck by the truck, according to Rebecca Gibbons, public information officer for the State Police in Batavia. (initial report)

The driver of the truck, George Hall, 55, of Kingsley, was not injured in the crash.

On Saturday, around 9:15 p.m., Kevin M. Hermann, 21, was reportedly driving on Route 63 when he attempted to make a left-hand turn onto Little Canada Extension. Gibbons said that the State Police investigation indicates he was driving too fast when his car went into the turn. His car traveled off the far side of the road and flipped over several times.

Hermann, of Batavia, was ejected from the vehicle.

Gibbons did not know if he was wearing a safety belt.

He is listed in guarded condition, which means he's in ICU, at Strong Memorial Hospital.

There were other passengers in the car, but the available report did not list how many or who. There were no other people reported injured.

The investigation into both accidents is ongoing and additional citations may be issued.

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