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Howard B. Owens's blog

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Darien resident killed in motorcycle accident in Wyoming County

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

An 18-year-old man from Darien was riding a motorcycle in Wyoming County about 9:30 a.m., Saturday, when he may have swerved to avoid a deer and lost control of his bike.

Kyle Walker's bike hit the deer and then struck a utility pole.

Emergency responders found him unresponsive when they arrived on scene.

(via Buffalo News)

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 7:35 am

Giant hogweed in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in Gardening, outdoors, plants

decgianthogweed.jpgI never heard of a giant hogweed until one day a couple of years ago  I went for a walk in Corbett's Glen in Rochester.

There was this big leafy plant surrounded by yellow police caution tape and a hand-made sign explaining the dangers of hogweed.

It produces a sap that burns like acid. You don't want to get exposed to it.

The Democrat & Chronicle has a story today about a DEC eradication program that is running out of funding.  This year and next its running on federal stimulus money, but after that, local property owners will be on their own for learning how to properly remove the plant.

The info graphic at the end of the story is a map that includes Genesee County.  A similar, wider-area graphic, is on the DEC site, with a DEC article about hogweed. The maps show two areas of heavy infestation -- more than 400 plants -- in Genesee County. One is roughly in the Bethany area and the other in the Corfu/Darien area. There are another four sites with as many as 400 plants, and four sites being monitored.

And those are only the identified infestation areas. The DEC believes there are many more unidentified locations in the state.

From the DEC site, "Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves."

As for plant distribution, "Giant hogweed grows in wet areas along streams and rivers, on waste ground, near houses, in vacant lots, and along railways and roads. It prefers moist soil and can quickly dominate ravines and stream banks."

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Photos: Michael Napoleone Memorial Baseball Tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, sports, youth


For the past two days, young ball players from all over Western New York converged on the ball fields at MacArthur Park for the annual Michael Napoleone Memorial Baseball Tournament.

The tournament is named after a Batavia boy who succumbed to a form of leukemia and raises funds for a foundation in his name that assists families of children with cancer.

Ten teams in the 9-10 year old range and 10 teams in the 11-12 year old range competed. There was also a tournament for T-ball-age players.

More pictures after the jump:

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Today's Deals: It's all about food

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, W. Main Street, Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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.

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.

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


Friday, May 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Photo: Memorial Day preparations

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Upton Monument


Terry Ross affixes brand new flags to the Upton Monument in preparation for Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:12 am

Police Beat: Pair of marijuana charges

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

Scot Geoffrey Judd, 27, of Caroline Street, Albion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Judd was stopped for an alleged traffic violation by Sgt. Brian Frieday on West Main Street Road in Batavia.

Lee J. Zawicki, 22, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Zawicki was cited by State Police at 1:05 a.m., Thursday, in Pembroke.

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:01 am

Three people arrested after melee in hospital's ER

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy

An apparent fight broke out in UMMC's emergency room Thursday evening, and two men were jailed as a result on $7,500 bail each.

The incident started around 7:35 p.m. while a Batavia Police officer and a State Police officer where at the ER on unrelated and separate investigations. The officers observed a commotion in the waiting room and moved to intervene and separate the parties.

One of the men in the waiting room struggled with officers and a woman who was in the ER for treatment of an earlier head injury jumped on the back of the Trooper.

She was Tasered by police.

Another man apparently involved in the altercation is accused of threatening to kill hospital staff.

Backup was called in from Batavia Police and State Police to help get the situation under control.

Charged with disorderly conduct and menacing, 3rd, was Ryan M. Norton, 35, of 45 Summit St., Le Roy. Norton is accused of threatening hospital staff.

Kyle W. Nash, 22, of 38 Church St., Le Roy, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Alexandria M. Zarty, 18, of 38 Church St., Le Roy, is charged with obstructing governmental administration.

Norton and Nash were jailed. Zarty was released on her own recognizance so she could receive treatment in ER for her earlier head injury.

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 6:57 am

Gas Spill reported at Yellow Goose station in Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in elba

A caller reported a "substantial" gas spill at the Yellow Goose station in Elba.

A first responder from the Elba Fire Department reports a "smaller gas spill."

The original call said the gas was flowing into a storm drain.  The caller said the driver who caused the spill left the station.

UPDATE 7:07 a.m.: Spill contained. Elba Fire back in service.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Car possibly smoking after hitting deer on Route 98, Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander

A car has hit a deer on Route 98 and Rose Road.

Town of Batavia Fire has been dispatched to check on the vehicle, which may be smoking.

View Larger Map
Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Photo: Gulls on the Tonawanda Creek Falls

post by Howard B. Owens in falls, outdoors, Tonawanda Creek


Gulls -- I guess around here we don't call them seagulls -- on the falls of the Tonawanda Creek behind the County Courthouse.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Photos: Fishing by the falls

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fishing, outdoors, photos, Tonawanda Creek


Late this afternoon, Chris Hamel and his friend James Bonning were on the Tonawanda at the falls fishing.



Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Police looking for man who struck another with unknown object

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


Batavia Polcie are looking for a man allegedly involved in an altercation on Wood Street around 5:30 p.m.

The man allegedly stuck another person in the face with an unknown object.

According to Det. Kevin Czora, the suspect and the victim were involved in a verbal argument. The assailant went to his car, grabbed some sort of object, came back and struck the victim in the face.

The victim suffered facial cuts and was transported by ambulance to UMMC.

The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s. He fled the scene in a red Chevy Monte Carlo. The Monte Carlo may already have had a busted passenger window.

It's unknown, Czora said, whether the suspect was also injured.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Former corrections officer admits workers comp fraud

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A former corrections officer admitted in Genesee County Court this afternoon that he filed false workers compensation claims and stole thousands of dollars from the state.

James S. Gibbs, 34, faced a 24-count indictment, but reached a plea agreement to admit to one count of grand larceny and one count of filing false instruments.

As part of the plea, Gibbs will be required to pay back to the state $40,000, with a $20,000 payment due before he is sentenced. 

The maximum sentence under the plea agreement is four months of intermittent incarceration and five years probation and a $5,000 fine.

Gibbs was also required to resign from New York State Corrections.

Gibbs was arrested in October for receiving disability benefits while operating a company plowing snow and sealing driveways.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Courthouse event highlights foster care

post by Howard B. Owens in CASA, foster care


Representatives of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and other community groups were at the courthouse this afternoon to raise awareness, in particular, of foster care programs.

CASA set up 60 cardboard life-size cutouts representing children in foster care.

Pictured below are Tara Pariso, director of CASA, and Amanda Rissinger and Mary Shaughnessy.


Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Suspect in alleged Alabama meth lab succumbs to heart attack

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime, methamphetamine

One of the three suspects in an alleged meth lab operation uncovered in November died May 17.

At the time of this death, charges were still pending against Kenneth Mosholder, 45, as well as the other two defendants in the case, Dustin R. Benham, 20, of Darien and Denise Montgomery, 41, of Batavia.

Mosholder's obituary was published on The Batavian by Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home yesterday. We confirmed today with the Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo that the obituary was for the same Mosholder charged in the case.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said only that, "the case is proceeding."

Mosholder, according to the obituary, suffered a heart attack.

Local law enforcement as well as the DEA announced a raid on a property in Alabama on Nov. 12. It was one of five suspected meth labs uncovered in the county over a couple of months late in 2009. The property was auctioned off in March for back taxes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

Prominent Batavia-area eye surgeon passes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, obituaries, University Eye Specialists

alan_siegel.jpgDr. Alan L. Siegel died Wednesday evening, according to an obituary posted by Michael Tomaszewski this morning.

The 57-year-old Siegel was a partner in University Eye Specialists, located on Summit Street in Batavia.

The obituary notes that Siegel had been under the care of hospice.

According to the company website, Dr. Siegel received his BA from Colgate University, an MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and performed his residency at Boston University Medical Center. Dr. Siegel specialized in cataract, eye muscle and laser surgeries.

No further details are available at this time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

Landmark Society presents annual art awards

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County


Fourth-graders countywide competed recently in the 20th Annual Architectural Drawing contest sponsored by the Landmark Society of Genesee County.

The winners were (pictured below):  Stephanie Hoy, 1st Place; Courtney Powers, 2nd Place; Allison Gallup, 3rd Place. Also pictured in the back, Laurie Oltremari, Landmark Society president and Jackie Swinarski, contest coordinator.


Second- and third-place pictures after the jump:

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:27 am

Driver says brakes failed, causing accident that sent her to the hospital

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

A Le Roy woman said her brakes failed, causing her to enter the intersection at Ledge Road and Route 77 in Alabama, resulting in a two-car accident Tuesday that sent her to the hospital.

Injured was Sarah Scott, 21, of Oatka Trail, Le Roy. She was transported by ambulance to UMMC with "complaint of pain" injuries.

At 3:55 p.m., Tuesday, Scott was reportedly driving her 1990 Buick sedan eastbound on Ledge Road when she failed to stop at the intersection with Route 77.

She told Sgt. Greg Walker, who investigated the accident, that her brakes failed. Walker reported that a check of the vehicle showed it was low on brake fluid, but the brakes appeared operational.

Scott was issued a traffic citation.

The driver of the other vehicle, 53-year-old Maryann Ander of Medina, was not injured in the accident.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

Police Beat: Home Depot employee accused of stealing $2K

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

Grace Anne Stewart, 50, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Stewart is accused of stealing more than $2,000 in cash over a seven-month period while working at Home Depot.

James Matthew Rodriguez, 30, of Spring Road, Brockport is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Rodriguez was stopped by Town of Ogden Police and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on a warrant.

Michael John Coffta, 18, of Burns Road, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under 21. During a school-requested K-9 sniff search of school grounds at Oakfield-Alabama High School, the K-9 reportedly alerted on Coffta's vehicle.

Micheal J. Hodgins, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI with no prior offense. Hodgins was arrested by State Police at 11:40 p.m., Tuesday, on Pearl Street in Batavia.

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