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Howard B. Owens's blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:58 am

Motorcyclist who hit deer in satisfactory condition

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion

A motorcyclist is in satisfactory condition at Strong Memorial Hospital after hitting a deer on Route 19 yesterday.

Jeffery Dorris, 43, of 54 Perry Ave., Warsaw, was traveling southbound on Route 19 in Pavilion at 6:11 p.m. when his bike hit the deer. Dorris was ejected forward and the motorcycle landed on top of him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

Batavia: 250th hottest place to retire

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, retirement, Seniors

You might not think of Batavia as a hot retirement destination, but according to a study by American City Business Journals, it is -- after 249 more popular choices.

That's right -- Batavia, in wintry, high-taxed, economically challenged Western New York is the 250th hottest place to retire.

That puts it ahead of such places as Klamath Falls, Oregon, Knoxville, Tenn., Clewiston, Florida and Bay City, Texas.

A total of 940 cities were ranked in the list.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:19 am

Young man found dead Saturday in Batavia was Iraq War veteran

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A young man who was found dead outside the Blockbuster store on Lewiston Road on Saturday night was being treated for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) at the VA Medical Center in Batavia, according to an obituary published in the Albany Times-Union.

The obituary reports that James M. Maher, 27, died of injuries sustained in a fall.

The official cause of death remains under investigation. It has been categorized by Batavia Police as an "unattended death." No foul play is suspected.

Maher was an Iraq war veteran, having served an 11-month tour in Iraq with the Army 101st Armored Division, earning the Combat Infantry Badge and the Army Achievement Medal.

A 2000 graduate of Mechanicville High School, Maher entered he military and served in New York City immediately after 9/11.

He was born in Saratoga Springs, July 17, 1982, son of Michael Maher and Janet (Tony) Amoroso, both of Mechanicville.

According to the obituary:

After being released, James worked at several mortgage brokerage firms in the Capital Region, and lastly worked for Royal Pharmaceuticals of Malta. Growing up, James was always the "daredevil" of the group, enjoyed bridge jumping, parachute jumps and parasailing, or as his family says, "The faster and higher, the better."

Donations are encouraged in his name to Jack Wisby PTSD Clinic, c/o Dr. Paul Harrigan, VAWNY Health Clinic, 222 Richmond Ave., Bldg. 5, Batavia, NY 14020.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:52 am

Today's Deals: Matty's Pizzeria, Magarita's, South Main, Present Tense and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. Dine-in, Take-Out, or Delivery. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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.

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.

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.

Belladessa's Pizzeria/Jackson St. Grill, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Here's a deal -- half off on a Family Meal Deal from Belladessa's, which is a large 1 topping pizza, 24 wings and 2-liter bottle of soda. It's a $25 value for $12.50.

Present Tense Books and Gifts, 101 Washington Ave., Batavia, NY: Whether your taste runs to local authors, the finest in fiction or nonfiction or you're looking for a unique and special gift, this charming store in a cozy Victorian house on the edge of downtown is a great place to stop and shop. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Men, enjoy a $5 haircut again with this offer exclusive to The Batavian. (gift card can be applied toward other services, but not products).

Great Kutz

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 6:39 pm

New York Prime does it again at Batavia

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

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- New York Prime tied Outlaws Ransome for the winningest horse at the 2009 Summer-fall meet when he took the featured $8,000 Open Handicap, Saturday night (Nov-7.) at Batavia Downs Casino.

In eight Batavia starts, New York Prime has won seven and finished second in the other. He’s won 18 races this year which makes him one North America’s best, only three horses, Shortest Distance, Bell On Wheels and Real Expresso have won more.

Tom Agosti sent New York Prime right to the top and they were cruising on the lead in :59.3. Approaching the five-eighths the real race started when last week’s Open winner, Arm and a Leg with Kevin Cummings, moved alongside to challenge.

The two best pacers in Western New York put on quite a show as Arm and a Leg gained command at three-quarters in 1:28 but couldn’t clear.

Around the final turn Arm and a Leg was still in front but feeling pressure from both sides as New York Prime was beginning to fight back at the rail while Oh Gee Whiz and Ron Beback. Jr., were advancing three-wide. At the top of the stretch all three pacers were across the track.

Down the lane it was a determined New York Prime who fought back to score a neck victory over a very game Arm and a Leg in 1:56.3. Oh Geez Whiz wound up third.  

New York Prime, a 6-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight, is trained by Alex Giuliani for owners Richey Edward Myers, Jeffry Myers, Robert Marsjanik and Robert Stern.

2009 Downs dash leading driver Kevin Cummings and Ron Beback. Jr., scored hat tricks on Saturday night while Tom Agosti had a driving double. Jim Graham, Alex Giuliani and Ron Beback. Jr., conditioned a pair of winners each.

Racing resumes on Tuesday night, this will be the last Tuesday of the season. It will also be the final opportunity to take advantage of one of the best deals ever offered at America’s oldest lighted harness track. Purchase one clubhouse buffet at the regular price ($13.95) and receive $10 back in Casino free play. Post time is 7:05 p.m.
Todd Haight
Promotional Marketing Specialist
Batavia Downs Casino

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Truck off road, in swamp off Batavia-Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road

A pickup truck has reportedly gone off the road in the area of 2964 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road.

The truck is reportedly in a swamp area.

No report on injuries.

Mercy EMS and Town of Batavia Fire responding.

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Monday, November 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Last night's Byron fire under investigation by Sheriff's Office

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, fire

We heard an investigator was 6296 W. Main St. (Route 262), Byron, the scene of last night fire, and so we e-mailed the Sheriff's Office for more information.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster sent the following reply:

The investigator assigned is currently back out at the scene. He will be consulting with the District Attorney's Office about possible charges later this afternoon. As far as arson, that will be one of several possibilities that will be discussed. 

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Pedestrian struck by truck on Summit Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Summit Street

A pedestrian has been hit by a dump truck in the area of 29 Summit St., Batavia.

The initial report had people trying to help her get up.

Mercy EMS and Batavia Fire and Police are responding.

UPDATE 2:54 p.m.: The person struck was not walking, but on a bicycle.

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Monday, November 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Leaf burning in Pembroke turns into grass fire

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke

A controlled burn of leaves apparently got out of control at 2099 Phelps Road, Pembroke.

Fire crews have been dispatched to the location to help put out a grass fire.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Fire knocked down.

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Monday, November 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

Alleged hit-and-run driver strikes pedestrian in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford

A pedestrian was hit by an alleged hit-and-run driver Saturday at 6:14 p.m. on Route 5 in Stafford.

Richard D. Sanderson, 24, of 5563 Broadway Road, East Bethany, said he was walking along the road when a car crossed the white fog line and struck him with the passenger side mirror.

The mirror struck his hip.

Sanderson was transported to UMMC.

The driver has not been identified and no further description of the vehicle was released.


Monday, November 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

Police Beat: Man accused of firing shotgun at neighbor's front door

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, Le Roy, Stafford

Gary W. Merritt, 50, of 9570 Bernd Road, Le Roy, is charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree. Merritt allegedly fired shotgun rounds at a neighbor's house. The rounds struck a glass door while the resident was standing near the door. The alleged incident occurred Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and was investigated by Deputy James Diehl. Merritt was released under supervision of Genesee County Justice.

Darryl Stephen Johnston, 34, of 111 Copeland St., is charged with petit larceny. Johnston is accused of stealing five bottles of booze off the bar at the Pizza Pantry in Corfu. The bar was closed at that time of day on Aug. 28. Johnston was arrested at his home in Rochester on Nov. 4.

Paul S. Banach, 22, of 166 Lake Road, Avon, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to stop for a stop sign, speeding and driving left of pavement markings. Banach was stopped Saturday at 2:50 a.m. by Deputy Jason Saile on Route 262 in the Town of Byron.

Arthur W. Hale, Jr., 48, of Foxe Harrow Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and driving left of pavement markings. Hale was allegedly observed crossing a double yellow line once, and a dotted yellow line twice on Route 33 in Stafford by Sgt. Greg Walker at 2:03 a.m. on Saturday. The officer stopped Hale and determined that he was allegedly driving drunk. Hale was also cited for failure to keep right and refusing to take breath test.

David M. Jackson, 32, of Bethany, is charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Jackson was arrested by State Police at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday. No further details available.

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

New Today: Margarita's Mexican Restaurant

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

New Today: 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.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Family photos are more than just photographs. When you need photos for that special occasion, Carlson's is a great choice in Genesee County. We have a $50 gift card for $25.

The Color Salon, 35 Center St., Batavia, NY: Susan Francis, the owner and stylist at The Color Salon reminds women, "your hair is your greatest accessory." Francis has more than 20 years of experience helping women get the best hair color. We have a $50 gift certificate for $25.

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.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, NY: Winter teas, spices and fall colors for your home in stunning floral arrangements and seasonal wreaths are now available at Herbly Wonderful. We have a $25 gift certificate for $11.

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.

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


Monday, November 9, 2009 at 12:29 am

Back unit of apartment house in Byron gutted by fire

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, fire


The back apartment in a three-unit complex at 6296 W. Main St. (Route 262) in Byron was completely gutted by a late night fire.

The fire was reported just before 10 p.m. and the cause remains under investigation, according to Tim Yaeger, Genesee County emergency management coordinator.

There are no reported injuries at this time, either to residents or firefighters.

As many as eight or nine people were in the back apartment when the fire started.

The fire was under control by 10:38 p.m., Yaeger said.

Red Cross Director Judith Nagel lives next door to the fire and was already providing relief in her home to a woman and her 17-year-old son. She was ready to provide assistance, she said, to the other residents, but they seemed to have dispersed. She indicated a number of people lived in the building.

"We saw smoke and heard people yelling," Nagel said. "This is my house. We looked out, saw smoke and came out to start assisting.

"The only time I've been able to respond quicker," she said, "was when it was in this place." She was pointing to the house on the other side of her home.

UPDATE: This morning, fire officials are saying the fire may have been caused by a spark from a bonfire in the backyard of the residence. When I was at the fire last night, I was taken into the backyard to take pictures, and there was clearly a bonfire still burning. The bonfire was about 40 yards from the house. The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage.

The fire was first discovered in a hallway leading to the back apartment.

Departments responding to the fire: Byron, South Byron, Bergen, Stafford, Bethany, Clarendon, Elba, Oakfield, Town and City of Batavia.



Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Apartment fire reported in Byron

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, fire

Byron and South Byron Fire have been dispatched to an apartment fire at Route 262, west of Route 237.

A first responder reports the building is across from the Presbyterian Church and is fully engulfed.

The initial caller was reported out of breath and talking excitedly.

All residents are reportedly out of the building.

The fire is now in a second alarm with Elba and Town of Batavia FAST teams responding, Stafford on standby.

UPDATE 10:02 p.m.: There are a number of residents out of the building.

UPDATE 10:09 p.m.: Town of Batavia FAST team is being reassigned to a task at the fire and City of Batavia FAST team is being brought in.  

UPDATE 10:19 p.m.: The Red Cross is responding to the scene. It has been ordered that the roof of the apartment building be opened up. A team of four firefighters is inside the building.

UPDATE 10:26 p.m.: For at least five minutes, water has been pumped into the fire scene. Just heavy smoke at this point. The roof has been opened up to the attic and firefighters are still working on the second story.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: All available units from Elba have been requested.

UPDATE 10:40 p.m.: Presumably, the Red Cross is the entity seeking to provide refreshments to the onlooking apartment dwellers.

UPDATE 10:47: All power has been cut off at the apartment building. One person at the apartment building reportedly can provide an eyewitness account of what happened, but the fire personnel will need an interpreter to communicate with him.

UPDATE 10:51: A code enforcement officer has been called to the scene. The eyewitness subject is being transported to a fire station to be interviewed.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Car fire on North Spruce Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, North Spruce Street

Engine 12 and Ladder 15 are responding to a reported car fire at 20 N. Spruce St., Batavia.

The car is reportedly close to a structure.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m.: Engine 12 on scene. "Smoke showing."

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Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Afghanistan: A letter of resignation

post by Howard B. Owens in afghanistan, foreign policy

One man's opinion is neither more nor less valuable than another man's, and one letter of resignation does not in itself prove any particular point, but this is a very powerful letter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Cause of death still undetermined for VA resident found on Lewiston Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road

A police official has confirmed that a body found near the Blockbuster location on Lewiston Road was an apparent suicide (see update below).

The victim was identified as James Maher, 27, a VA Home resident.

His family, from Mechanicville, was notified.

The official could answer no further questions and said the police department is planning a press release for Monday morning.

His body was apparently found in some shrubs near the business.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: Det. Pat Corona of the Batavia Police Department called a little while ago to emphasize that the police have not yet determined the cause of Mr. Maher's death. While suicide has not been ruled out, a "by the numbers" investigation has yet to arrive at a conclusive determination. There was no obvious signs of trauma, Det. Corona said. Within days, some initial facts will be available from the medical examiner, but it will take weeks (as usual) for toxicology reports to come back.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 7:04 am

Body found outside Blockbuster in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road

We've learned from multiple sources -- though there is yet no official confirmation -- that a body was found about 10:15 p.m. outside the Blockbuster store on Lewiston Road in Batavia.

The City of Batavia Police Department has not yet released a statement about the discovery and there is no information available at this time about the condition of the body or exactly where it was located.

Our news partner WBTA has attempted to learn more information about the discovery.

Here's one e-mail account we received at 11: 52 p.m. about the situation:

I was just at Sportos and was told that there was a body found behind  Blockbuster. There was police going to the scene at about 10:15. A news van  is present right now with about 3 police cars. This was confirmed by a  Trooper going into the restaurant. He could tell us no more.

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