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Howard B. Owens's blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Weather: Big piles of snow everywhere with more to come

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

rosenbeck_snow.jpg

Batavia got a pretty good blanket of snow overnight and into this morning, with more snow in the forecast.

We can expect another two or three inches of snow each of the next couple of days.

Temperatures will be in the mid 30s with light winds.

Photo: I wish I lived on the same street as Mike Rosenbeck. This morning he was out on Lewis plowing the sidewalks for his friends and neighbors. And he seemed to be having quite a bit of fun doing it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm

One year ago today, The Batavian became locally owned

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

It's an old tradition -- a dollar bill hung on a wall signifying the first dollar earned by a business -- signed and dated by the first customer, usually a friend or a relative.

On our bulletin board, is a dollar bill signed and dated by my former GateHouse Media boss, Bill Blevins. The date: Feb. 27, 2009.

Although this site started before last February, that's when Billie and I became sole proprietors of The Batavian.

One year ago, today.

I know there were people, even in these parts, who predicted we wouldn't last six months. I know one online wag who said I'd be out on the street in three months.

It's that kind of talk that gave me a little extra motivation. Plus, I truly love what we're doing and I don't want to stop.

Billie and I are truly grateful for all of the support and friendship we've received from so many people in Genesee County, from cops to business owners, firefighters and school teachers, politicians and college students. You've been our readers and our sponsors and our friends. Though we're not originally from Batavia, you've made us feel welcome and given us your encouragement. Thank you. We never forget that without our readers and our sponsors, we wouldn't be here.

We do love living in Batavia. We enjoy the people, the surrounding fields and hillsides, great local restaurants, the lack of crowds, affordability and having four distinct seasons. We appreciate the unique character of this sometimes belittled and battered city and the way so many residents continue to take pride in their hometown. There are a lot of good places in America. We're very happy right where we are and have no desire to be anyplace else. Thank you for letting us make Batavia, and Genesee County, our home.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Possible apartment fire reported in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in fire

A caller is reporting smoke coming from house fixture at a residence on 11 Buffalo St., Bergen.

Bergen Fire, a ladder truck from Le Roy and Churchville Fire are being dispatched.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m.: An assistant chief on scene reports, "Nothing showing."

UPDATE 2:18 p.m.: All residents are out of the building.  No determination yet on the nature or extent of the fire.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: An interior firefighter reports it appeared to be "a small partition fire." The fire appears to be out. They're not checking for extensions.

UPDATE 2:28 p.m.: Command reports still some smoke coming from a window. An interior firefighter said it was a small fire, but produced a lot of smoke.


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Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

Today's Deals: Olivers, Alex's, Delavan's, O'Lacy's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.c

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.

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.

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.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.  We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

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.

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.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: The Batavian is able to offer a limited number of reduced-price haircuts for children under 12. Click Here for details of the offer and to purchase vouchers.

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

SOLD OUT

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Six unlocked cars hit by thieves, say Le Roy Police

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

For months, we've heard the same mantra from county law enforcement officials: Lock your cars.

Now, after a spate of thefts from unlocked cars in the village, Le Roy Police are putting out the same plea.

If you don't want your stuff stolen, lock your car.

Le Roy Police report six complaints in the village of items stolen from vehicles left unlocked, mostly in the area of West Main Street, Myrtle Street and Church Street.

Most of the thefts occurred during the night Sunday, but the latest happened on Myrtle Street Tuesday night.

Anyone having information about these thefts is asked to contact the Le Roy Police at 768-2527.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Could uncovered Pontillo's neon be a sign of what's to come?

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

pontillos_sign.jpg

Covered by a giant tarp because business signs cannot appear on the outside of buildings that are for sale, according to city code, the neon-lit Pontillo's Pizzeria sign once again hangs proudly from the building at 500 E. Main St., Batavia.

Could it be a sign that Sam Pontillo is getting close to reopening the legendary restaurant? We still haven't heard from Sam or building owner Thomas Masachi about what's going on there, but crews continue to work inside the building.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Readers of The Batavian help police nab petit larceny suspect

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alberty Drug Store, crime, thebatavian

albertyslarcensuspect01.jpgThe publication of a security camera photo on The Batavian led to a Batavia man admitting to petit larceny during his arraignment today in City Court.

Robert Douglas, 29, of 48 Buell St., was arrested today by Det. Kevin Czora, after several readers of The Batavian reportedly called police to identify Douglas.

Czora e-mailed us this message:

I arrested Robert Douglas, age 29, from Batavia, today for the theft at Alberty’s. In a bit of a surprise, Douglas pled guilty to the charge of petit larceny at arraignment. Douglas had cooperated once confronted with the fact that he was identified by numerous people after the photos were published. Please thank your viewers for their assistance.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Alleged cohorts say Wilson not part of State Street burglary

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Reginald Wilson may have a long criminal history, he may even have been caught driving an allegedly stolen vehicle, but that doesn't mean he did the crime this time.

mug-reginald_wilson.jpgTwo of the other men who are accused of breaking into a State Street home in Batavia in early September have made sworn statements, according to Judge Robert Noonan, admitting to their participation in the burglary, but they say Wilson wasn't part of the crew.

One other suspect in the burglary has said the 37-year-old Wilson helped in the break-in.

Today, Wilson, who faces a possible life sentence because of multiple prior felony convictions, had to answer to a deadline on whether he would accept a plea offer or take his case to trial.

The offer: A felony count of possession of stolen property with no sentencing agreement.

Wilson turned down the offer.

His attorney, Public Defender Gary Horton, countered with a misdemeanor charge of possession, but that proposal, like District Attorney Lawrence Friedman's offer, faces a legal technicality. Because Wilson is charged with a Class C felony, he can't be offered a plea on a greatly reduced charge unless Friedman asks to have the original count dismissed. Friedman hasn't done that yet.

"I’m not interested in entertaining an illegal plea from either one of you, so thanks for turning it down, Mr. Wilson," Noonan said.

The two attorneys and Noonan agreed to extend the deadline for Wilson to accept a plea to 9 a.m., Monday.

Wilson, who was shackled and dressed in Genesee County Jail orange, was fairly animated during the proceeding, especially when conferring with his attorney. While Friedman and Horton were talking privately with Noonan, Wilson leaned over and tried to get First Asst. D.A. David Gann's attention to say, "hello, Mr. Gann."

After Noonan granted an extension on the plea deadline, Wilson said emphatically, "Thank you, Your Honor," before leaving the courtroom.

mug_joseph_dash.jpgPrior to Wilson's hearing, Joseph D. Dash, 24, who was also arrested in connection with the State Street burglary, admitted to a prior attempted burglary in exchange for a dismissal of charges in the State Street crime as well as another burglary, which Dash hadn't been charged with yet, on Pringle Avenue.

Dash has a prior felony conviction -- attempted robbery, 2nd -- from March 2003. With that prior felony, Dash faces a 5- to 7-year sentence on the attempted burglary conviction.

The other two suspects in the State Street burglary are Quentin L. Gibson, 25, and Dillon M. Brito, 19. We don't have any information at this time on the status of their cases.

Photos: Top, Wilson; bottom, Dash.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

Weather: Warning lifted, continued light snow expected

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

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Above, Bryce Hobson shovels snow off his family's home front sidewalk. This morning, a lot of Batavians were digging out from the overnight snowfall.

The winter storm warning that had been in effect until 1 p.m. was cancelled this morning. The forecast still includes snow for the rest of the day, but only a little accumulation.

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Camdon King, 5, is building a snow fort in front of his grandfather's house.

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Chance King, 2, plays in the snow in front of his grandfather's house.

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Grandfather Larry Hale shovels his driveway.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 10:06 am

Gov. Paterson expected to announce he won't seek full term

post by Howard B. Owens in Gov. David Paterson, State News

From the New York Post:

Gov. David Paterson has decided not to seek election to a full term amid a roiling scandal over whether he and his troopers intimidated a woman who'd reported domestic violence against one of his top aides, The Post has learned.

Read more.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:12 am

Police Beat: Woman who reportedly left scene of accident charged with DWI

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

Carylee A. Logan, 44, 7079 Meadville Road, Basom, is charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, leaving the scene of an accident, driving left of pavement marking, unreasonable speed for hazards, refusal to take breath test. Deputy Jason Saile was dispatched at 11:26 p.m., Wednesday, to the scene of a one-car accident on Sandhill Road, Town of Alabama. Upon arriving, he found the driver had left the scene. After further investigation, Saile concluded Logan was the alleged driver and that she allegedly drove drunk.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Snow doesn't chill 'Perfect Pour' celebration at O'Lacy's

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, O'Lacy's Irish Pub

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O'Lacy's Irish Pub on School Street in Batavia celebrated its "Perfect Pour" award from Guinness this evening. Guinness representatives were on hand to add to the merriment, which include a free draught for Guinness fans as well as door prizes. The place was packed, even with the slightly bad weather.

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More pictures after the jump:

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Car rolls down embankment on Thruway in Pembroke

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke, thruway

A vehicle has gone down an embankment off the Thruway near mile marker 400.5.

It's unknown if there are injuries, but the caller reports nobody moving in the car.

Pembroke and Indian Falls Fire as well as Mercy EMS are being dispatched.

If needed, Mercy Flight is grounded due to weather.

UPDATE 11:25 p.m.: No injuries. This was not a roll over. Mercy EMS canceled. The driver just needs a winch out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Ownership of Elks Lodge building apparently in dispute

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

Even though the property has been listed for sale, ownership of the Batavia Elks Lodge building is apparently in dispute.

elkslodge_front.jpgThe Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks listed the property at 213 E. Main St., Batavia, with Charles Mancuso and Son, according to agent Mike Sisson.

The deed, however, lists "Batavia Lodge #950, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of Batavia" as the owner. It is dated Nov. 16, 1918, according to County Clerk Don Read. The property was conveyed by Louis and Sarah Waird to the local Elks for $6,000.

Former Lodge #950 Exalted Ruler Paul Weiss left a comment on The Batavian disputing the Grand Lodge's claim to ownership.

"The Elks Lodge building is not owned by the Grand Lodge. It is owned by a local Batavia Elks corporation," Weiss wrote.

Lodge Exalted Ruler Timothy Garlock agreed that the ownership is in dispute, but he's still hoping the disagreement that led to the Grand Lodge revoking the local charter on Feb. 12 can be resolved.

The charter was apparently pulled purely for administrative reasons.

"If the Grand Lodge wants to pull our charter and make us go away, that's their call," Garlock said. "If they want to give us another crack at the bat, well, we've got some members working on that."

Kenneth Perry, one of the trustees appointed by the Grand Lodge, and who has previously commented on this matter, could not be reached.

UPDATE: News of an other New York lodge being closed, this time in Norwich.

According to an executive order issued by the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Grand Lodge, Elk’s Lodge #1222 has failed to make reports required by the laws of the order, and has not complied with the auditing and accounting manual.

Sound familiar.  And there's this:

Officers and members of the Norwich lodge, however, strongly disagree with the decision, and have called upon the higher courts of the order for an opportunity to refute the executive ruling.

“This has been a problem for nearly a decade,” said local Exalted Ruler Jeff Cola. “We’re now in the process of appealing the Grand Lodge’s decision, and we believe it was based on past issues.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

Police Beat: Le Roy man accused of resisting arrest

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

Jeffery M.  Rider, 31, of 8130 Route 5, Le Roy, is charged with resisting arrest. At 10:50 p.m., Tuesday, Deputy Bradley D. Mazur reportedly tried to execute an arrest warrant for Rider for alleged violation of probation. At the time of the attempted arrest, Rider allegedly resisted arrest. Rider was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Robert L. Vanburen, 48, of 370 W. Main St., lower, Batavia, is charged with throwing an injurious substance on the highway (littering), DWI and aggravated DWI with a BAC of .08 or greater. Vanburen was stopped by Officer Dan Coffey at 11:53 p.m., Wednesday, on West Main Street.

Robert F. Williams, 49, of 114 State St., Apt. #3, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Williams is accused of grabbing a woman and throwing her. She was not injured.

A 17-year-old from Bergen is charged with criminal contempt. The youth is accused of shoving another person. There was an order of protection barring such conduct.

Kimmie A. Welsh, 43, of Corfu, is charged with DWI and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs. Welsh was stopped by State Police at 9:40 a.m., Tuesday, at the intersection of Route 33 and Route 77 in the Village of Corfu. No further details available.

Clarence L. Blackmon, 39, of Oakfield, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Blackmon was arrested by State Police at noon, Tuesday. He is accused of stealing an item valued at less than $3,000. No further details are available.

Tanya L .Thyret, 31, of Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and an equipment violation. Thyret was stopped by State Police at 8:45 p.m., Tuesday, on Culver Road, Town of Bativia. No further details are available.

Accidents from the state police blotter:

4:59 p.m., Feb. 22, Thruway, Mile Marker 399 west, Pembroke, two vehicles; Driver 1: William Burton Lewis, 22, of East Amherst; Driver 2: Leonard E. Neal, 58, of Gravehurst, Ontario, Canada. One injury reported. No further details available.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:32 am

Today's Deals: Sallome's, Adam Miller, Enchanted Florist, Oliver's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.  We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY:  Spring is almost here, but you an make your home or office feel like spring now with flowers! We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. 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.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

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.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: The Batavian is able to offer a limited number of reduced-price haircuts for children under 12. Click Here for details of the offer and to purchase vouchers.

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, February 25, 2010 at 7:51 am

Weather: Strong storm pushing across New York

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

weather0225.jpg

A large storm front that the National Weather Service says is dropping heavy, wet snow, is pushing across the heart of New York this morning.

A winter storm warning remains in effect through 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Genesee County is on the edge of the storm front and today's snow accumulation is expected to be about only one to three inches. Tonight, the area may get heavier snow accumulation, with the heaviest snowfall coming in the Finger Lakes area and Genesee Valley.

This storm may dump as much as eight inches of snow on Genesee County, while the Finger Lakes may get as much as 12 inches.

Below is a snapshot from the Thruway Cam at the Pembroke exit showing current conditions there.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 7:26 am

Suspected meth lab found dismantled in apartment on Ross Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, crime, methamphetamine

Two Batavia men were arrested last night after the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at 13 Ross Street, lower, looking for a suspected meth lab.

mug_warren_t_cotton.jpgWhat officers reportedly found was a dismantled lab and some quantity of methamphetamine in various stages of production.

The two suspects in the case were apparently not at the residence at the time of the raid and were located elsewhere in the county.

Taken into custody were Warren T. Cotton, 33, and Eric D. Johnston, 31.

Cotton is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Johnston is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

mug_eric_johnston.jpgCotton was arrested following a traffic stop at Walkers Corners Road in Byron. Johnston was located on Evans Street.

While Johnston was released on an appearance ticket, Cotton was jailed without bail.

The investigation is ongoing.

Assisting in the case were Wyoming County Drug Task Force, the Genesee County District Attorney's Office, the Office of Emergency Management and Mercy EMS.

Photos: Warren T. Cotton, upper right; Eric Johnston, lower left.

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