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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Law and Order: Police break up alleged Halloween underage drinking party on Jackson Street

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

Jerry J. Jordan Jr., 19, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21. Patrols responded to 156 Jackson St., Batavia, at 1 a.m., Saturday, on a complaint of an underage drinking party in progress. When police arrived, occupants of the house locked the door. Officers determined that the occupants were gathering behind the front door with a plan to rush the officers. Jordan was allegedly the first person through the door when it opened. He was carrying a large speaker that he allegedly used to pushed into the first officer he encountered. Several other individuals were arrested. Deputies and troopers assisted at the scene. Supplemental Information Not in the Press Release: The property is owned by James Pontillo. The property has been condemned. Pontillo said as many as 80 people were gathered in the living room at one time, causing a floor joist to break.

Also arrested:

  • Philbert Prince Williams, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana.  
  • Demetri C. Stewart, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Didier A. Antoine, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Terrence Brown, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Jason A. Perry-Murray, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Tavid C. McIntosh, 19, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Naquil T. Jones, 22, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Maleak H. Green, 21, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with rape, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Green was arrested following an investigation into an alleged incident at 2:15 p.m., Aug. 7. No further details released. Green is being held in the Genesee County Jail on an unrelated charge.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Douglas is accused of violating an order of protection at 2:52 p.m., Friday, on Ross Street.

Jeffrey E. Williams, 30, of Westhigh Terrace, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Williams was jailed, no bail specified.

Marlon M. Chess Jr., 33, of Bergen Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Chess was arrested following an investigation by Batavia PD at 1:08 p.m., Thursday, into a suspicious vehicle parked near the Verizon Store on Lewiston Road, Batavia.

Mark T. Zdrojewski, 61, of Meyer Road, Pendleton, is charged with three counts of issuing a bad check. Zdrojewski was arrested on a warrant for allegedly issuing bad checks in August in Batavia.

Terrance H. Riley, 26, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest. Riley was arrested after allegedly trying to fight another person while officers were present. He then allegedly resisted arrest. The incident was reported at 2:20 p.m., Wednesday, on South Main Street, Batavia.

Jeremy Allen Weatherbee, 45, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI (alcohol or drugs), aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving on sidewalk, refusing to take breath test and failure to stop at stop sign. Weatherbee is accused of failing to stop for a stop sign at Pearl Street and Roosevelt Avenue at 1:14 a.m., Saturday. His car reportedly struck the south curb of Pearl Street, resulting in heavy damage to the front tires and rims of his vehicle. He then allegedly drove the vehicle with the damaged rims back to his residence on Roosevelt Avenue. Weatherbee was ordered held without bail.

Dustin J. Wilmet, 25, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, driving with an open container and aggravated unlicensed operation. Wilmet was arrested following an investigation at 2:12 a.m., Friday, by Sgt. Eric Bolles into a reported fight at a location on West Main Street, Batavia.

Nicholas Joseph Breau, 22, of Glenwood Drive, Clarence, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Breau was stopped at 10:31 p.m., Friday, on Galloway Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona for alleged traffic violations. Breau was also arrested on a warrant out of Amherst.

Chantalle Josephine Bessil, 19, of High Manor Drive, Henrietta, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a location on Main Road, Corfu, at 12:59 p.m., Thursday, and during the investigation found that Bessil, a passenger in a vehicle at the scene, was in possession of a small amount of marijuana in a grinder and a baggie. She also allegedly had a stun gun in her purse.

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, and Tonya D. Smith, 29, both of Overlook Drive, Batavia, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Officer Micheal Lute, Corfu PD, responded to a complaint of a disturbance at 2 p.m., Wednesday, and upon arrival found a vehicle with a suspended registration. Upon further investigation, he found Hensel and Smith allegedly in possession of heroin and a needle. Hensel also charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, for allegedly breaking into a building in Corfu at 11 a.m., Oct. 5.

Barbara E. Ferrando, 43, of West Main Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Ferrando was stopped for driving with an alleged suspended license at 9 p.m., Oct. 23, by Officer Michael Lute, Corfu PD. During an inventory of the vehicle's contents, a large bag of marijuana was allegedly found in the trunk.

William Gordon Schultz Sr., 40, of Evans Street, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Schultz was arrested at his place of employment and arraigned in front of Judge Eric Adams. Schultz was released on his promise to pay the majority of the fine today and the balance on Nov. 12.

Lauren K. Pellegrino, 32, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Pellegrino was arrested by State Police for allegedly stealing a credit card. The blotter entry is labeled "purse snatching." She was jailed on a bail amount that is not listed. The alleged incident is reported at 1:36 a.m., Sunday, in Oakfield. No further details released.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Police investigate claim of attempted kidnapping at Dollar General and find it's unfounded

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

An 11-year-old girl dropped some money on the floor at Dollar General and a deaf man tried to use sign language to tell her she dropped money.

The girl became alarmed and told a clerk at the store that a man tried to grab her to kidnap her, and this is how the call went out to the responding Batavia PD officer.

The officer investigated and found the claim of a kidnapping in progress completely unfounded.

The man didn't even try to leave the scene. He waited in his car.

"It was all a big misunderstanding," the officer said.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Parents picking up students at Jackson School mostly like new traffic barrier on extension

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson School

A parent complained to The Batavian about the new barrier blocking off the little extension road by Jackson School on South Jackson Avenue, so we thought we would investigate.

Of the nine parents we spoke with, seven gave the barrier an unconditional thumbs up. At first, one said she thought it made the traffic situation worse, but after being asked, "in what way?" She said, "I guess it's OK. It's not really a problem."

The first mother we spoke with said the barrier was a big improvement. She said when parents could park on the extension, they would pull in and pull out "any old way, acting like idiots." She thought it was much more dangerous for children without the barrier.

"They're picking up their kids, but they act like they have to get out so quick to do neurosurgery or something," the woman said. "I don't get it. I guess that's just the way it is today. People are in a hurry."

A grandmother -- the ninth person we spoke to and one of the last to arrive -- called the situation since the barrier was put in a "cluster." She said there was more parking available before the barrier went up.

A father with a younger child in the back seat said he's never had a problem at the school, either before or after the barrier.

"I just get here early enough to get a parking spot," he said.

The barrier went up after the city discovered a problem with illegal garbage dumping at the end of the extension, but it's unclear whether the city or state erected the barrier. The no trespassing sign installed behind it says "New York State."

Attempts to reach City Manager Jason Molino this afternoon for clarification were unsuccessful.

UPDATE: We just heard back from Jason Molino. He confirmed the extension is state property and the state put up the barrier.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Police ask for assistance in locating missing man from Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy
Donald Legg

A 49-year-old Le Roy man is missing and Le Roy PD is asking for the public's assistance in locating him.

Donald R. Legg Jr., is missing due to unknown circumstances, according to police. He was last seen Friday afternoon on Clay Street.

He is 6'1" and about 170 pounds. He likes to wear glasses and a baseball-style hat. He may also be wearing a plaid jacket.

His vehicle is also missing. It's a 2011 Chevrolet Cruz, which is a 4-door vehicle and is light blue, with a license plate of APV-5276.

Police are asking if you've seen Legg since Friday or know his whereabouts, call Le Roy PD at (585) 345-6350.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m., Tuesday. Donal Legg has been located safe and in good health.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Mini Titans win championship

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, football, Oakfield, sports, youth sports

The Oakfield/Elba Titans in the Mini Division won their league's championship today, beating Albion 27-19.

Photo and info provided by Kevin Zito.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

Batavia, the team that shouldn't be here, has shot at sectional title after 35-12 win in semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

By all rights, at the end of the first half Saturday night, Batavia should have been down to Penn Yan by a score more along the lines of 28-7.

The game should have been over in every manner except the time clock.

Three turnovers, a trio of 15-yard penalties, enemy receivers allowed to roam free and the repeated gifts of good field position didn't doom the Batavia effort.

It would be fair to say the Mustangs didn't cash in on all of these gold-plated errors, but that would be only half the story.

The Blue Devils hung tough. The line stepped up and stopped the run. Rushers put enough pressure on the passing game that completions were hard to come by.

With two minutes left in the first half, instead being down 20 or 28 to 7, Batavia trailed by only five points, 12-7.

Then the magic happened.

Greg Mruczek engineered a 70-yard drive in less than two minutes that ended with a five-yard pass in the end zone to a wide open -- open as in "alone on a Kansas prairie" open -- Malachi Chenault.

A two-point conversion later and Batavia headed into the locker room with a 15-12 lead and a level of confidence that makes Floyd Mayweather look shy.

"That was huge," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "I would like to say that was the game right there because that just gave us the momentum to get back into it. I think if we'd gone into half time down, I think our kids really would have been in a little bit of a hole. But they've been grinding and fighting all year and that's what they did."

Briggs said he went into the locker room at half and told the team it was their game to lose.

He told them, he said, " 'we've done everything we could do wrong and we're still leading this game by three points. That says something.' "

"I said," he added, " 'we've got 24 minutes left. All the time, all the effort you've put in come down to these final 24 minutes. Do you guys want to pack it in or do you guys want to go out and dominate like we can?' "

Batavia scored 20 unanswered points in the second half and never really allowed the Mustangs to get a drive going. The win, in the end, was a blowout, 35-12.

The unsung heroes of this semi-final game -- as they often are in football -- are the offensive and defensive lines. 

Against a team that featured two heavyweights tipping the scales at more than 320 pounds each, and with a degree of athleticism, the Batavia line on both sides of the ball simply outplayed the other team's big men.

The Blue Devils feature two young men up front who are pretty hefty themselves. Seniors Gunner Rapone and Devon Koepp, who are 6' 4", 260 pounds, and 6' 3", 265 pounds.

Rapone said the men up front for Batavia are not intimidated by anybody.

"We've faced big kids before," Rapone said. "An example is Bath. Bath has a lot of big guys. We knew what we were in for. We've been practicing all week about moving our feet and driving guys down the field and opening holes up for our backs and that's what we did the second half."

One of the beneficiaries of this offensive line largess was Anthony Gallo, a quick, slashing back with a knack for making defensive players miss.

"The linemen were making huge holes and I have good vision," said Gallo, who gained 110 yards on 14 carries. "I just see where I've gotta go and I just run."

It was another big game for junior QB Greg Mruczek, who was six for 13 for 161 yards, tossing three TDs and scoring one himself on the ground.

"Going into halftime, we thought we had the better team, you know," Mruczek said. "We came out and just played tough, despite the weather conditions. We've both got to play in it so you've got to keep playing tough. We thought we did a good job coming out in the second half and just playing hard."

If game balls were given out, surely one went to Jerrett Laskett, who had a 40-yard TD reception, but more importantly, snagged two key interceptions, including the pick just before the two-minute mark of the first half that set up Batavia's game-winning scoring drive.

It was Laskett's first game ever at corner back. 

"He did an unbelievable job," Briggs said. "You know, he's come a long ways this year and I can't say just how proud I am of the kid. We just put him at defensive back this week and he gets two picks."

Chenault had two receptions for 38 yards and the TD. Dominick Mogavero had 21 rushes for 84 yards and a TD. Ryan Hogan had two catches for 50 yards. Trevor Rittersback and Koepp had five tackles each.

The win gives Batavia a shot at a sectional title for the first time since 1998. The Blue Devils haven't won a title since 1991, the program's only title since sectional play began.

This is a program that was going nowhere before Briggs took it over four years ago and Briggs and the players have talked all year about how nobody gives the team the respect of a potential champion, that winning wasn't part of the pre-season projections of pundits.

There's a sense now that those critics, whomever they are, are proven wrong.

"It's crazy," Mruczek said. "It's an amazing feeling. It just turns some heads, you know. I don't think anyone would have thought we'd be in the sectional finals this year, honestly. It's just an incredible feeling and we're all happy to be here right now." 

Mruczek gives a lot of the credit to Briggs.

"He worked very hard with us all off season, with lifting and passing with me and the receivers," Mruczek said. "He's put in a lot of time and effort. He deserves to be in this position."

For players like Rapone, who has been dreaming of being part of a winning Blue Devils program since at least middle school, said it's an unbelievable feeling to get to this point in the season.

"It's unreal to me, to be honest with you," Rapone said. "It's a strange feeling because everyone is so used to looking down on this program and it being this year, my final year, and a lot of our guys final year, and we have the opportunity that we have this year, is unreal and unbelievable."

There's another Rapone, Max, coming up the sports ranks in Batavia and Gunner thinks he and his teammates have set an example of hard work and dedication for the next generation.

"I hope Max and all of his teammates look up to what we are and want to strive to be what we have done and know they can do it," Rapone said. "I've got a good feeling they can do it."

Now the focus shifts to Livonia, as if that isn't where the focus has been all along.

The Blue Devils are 8-1. That one loss was handed to Batavia in the final seconds of a thunder-interrupted game opening week when Livonia managed a last-ditch touchdown.

Players and coaches all seem to think it was a game Batavia should have won, could have won, but didn't. Hardly a week has gone buy since where the loss to Livonia didn't figure in the conversation at some point.

It's the game that has fueled Batavia's resilience and swagger, two words Briggs has attached to his players all season.

"After losing to a good team like that, we knew we had a good team and we could compete this year for a sectional title," Mruczek said. "We came out with some confidence after that game. We almost beat Livonia, supposedly the top of Class B."

Now, as one player said, it's time for revenge. 

"We're happy we're getting a shot at the sectional title, but there's really nobody else our guys would want to have it against," Briggs said. "If you wrote up a storybook ending, you know, you really couldn't write it up any better than that."

Well, it's not quite a storybook ending. Not yet. A win against Livonia would be a storybook ending.

Go get 'em, boys.

Top Photo: Malachi Chenault.celebrates his first-half touchdown that proved the turning point of the game.

Jerrett Laskett with a key first half interception.

Jerrett Laskett with a TD reception. 

Anthony Gallo finding another big hole.

Trevor Sherwood with a long reception just ahead of the goal line, setting up another Batavia score in the second half.

Dominick Mogavero got most of his 84 rushing in the 4th quarter as the Blue Devils chewed up the clock and kept the Mustangs' offense off the field.

Mogavero gets a handle on Mustangs' QB Austin Fingar. Fingar pulled free and gained another four or five yards.

At times during the game, the icy rain and sleet came down heavy.

Fans weathered the chill and the damp.

Gunner Rapone after the win.

Post-game celebration.

To purchase prints, click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

Le Roy will play for 15th sectional title after crushing Dansville in semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

It was a game that was essentially over before it barely began.

Inside of the first four minutes, the Le Roy Oatkan Knights had a three-touchdown lead over Dansville in the Class C Section V semi-final game played at Webster Thomas.

Going into the second quarter, Le Roy was up 29-0 on its way to a 54-0 win and a chance to play for a Section V title Friday at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester.

"I just thought everybody played well today," Head Coach Brian Moran said. "They prepared well. There's no secret, you win games in practice and I thought our kids practiced extremely well top to bottom."

Mike McMullen and Tom Kelso helped lead the offensive attack. McMullen was eight for 12 passing for 124 yards and two TDs. Kelso rushed 15 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns.

Ryan McQuillen sparked the offensive onslaught with a 75-yard punt return after Dansville was stymied on its first drive to open the game. Less than two minutes later on the game clock, McQuillen struck again, hauling in a McMullen pass for a 32-yard touchdown.

"He just makes great plays," Moran said of McQuillen. "With his speed, it's obviously something you can't duplicate in practice. I don't think people realize how fast he really is, and he can scoot."

The game, of course, wasn't all about offense. The Knights held the #4 seed, a 5-3 team coming into the came, scoreless through four quarters. Dansville's star running back, a husky Evan Dieter, was held to 91 yards on 24 carries. Even the second team, entering the game in the third quarter, held Dansville down.

"That shows how good our coaching staff is," Moran said. "I think our assistant coaches did a great job in preperation and that's important. Sometimes you forget about them and I'm very proud of them, too."

Le Roy's opponent Friday (game time is 5 p.m.) will be Bath, who beat East Rochester 51-19.

"It wil be very tough," Moran said before Bath and ER faced off. "Any sectional final game is going to be a tough football game. Bath and East Rochester are great football teams with great traditions and we'll just have to prepare themselves for who comes on top."

It will be the 18th time a Moran-coached team played for a section title game in the past 26 seasons. Le Roy has won 14 of those games. (See correction below)

"We're feeling good about things right now," Kelso said. "We've just got to keep doing what we're doing."

It will be Kelso's third chance at a sectional title, and as he noted, he hasn't been there himself. The same could be said for several members of the Knights.

Moran said those previous disappointments have taught his team what it takes win a sectional title.

"I think the kids understand that you really have to get yourself focused," Moran said. "You can't just assume that you're going to walk in and everything will fall your way. You've got to prepare yourself through hard work and dedication so you can put yourself in a position with a chance to win a sectional title."

CORRECTION: This will be the 18th time a Moran-coached team has played for a sectional title. Moran's teams have won 13 times. The first sectional title was won 1984 when Jim Laemlein was head coach. The 14 titles won by Le Roy, according to Ed Henry, is a Section V record held along with Cal-Mum and Clyde-Savannah.  Clyde plays a title game today against Avon, giving the program a shot at its 15th title.

UPDATE: Clyde-Savannah lost to Avon, giving Le Roy a shot at becoming the sole record holder at 15 for sectional titles.

Top Photo: Mike Shepard and another Le Roy defender get their hands up to block a pass from Dansville's Matt Martuciello.

Kelso scoring Le Roy's second touchdown of the first quarter.

Kody Lamkin walloped Dansville's Gage Koch on a kickoff return in the first quarter.

Tom Kelso evades a tackle attempt.

Jake Henry with a reception. Henry caught three passes for 33 yards and a TD.

To purchase prints, click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

Accident with injuries reported on the Thruway along with icy conditions

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported on the Thruway at mile marker 397.0 in the eastbound lane.

Dispatchers warn responders of extremely icy conditions in the area.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

The location is about a half mile west of the Slusser Road overpass.

UPDATE 7:43 a.m.: No injuries.

UPDATE 7:53 a.m.: A second ambulance requested after a vehicle may have struck the fire truck -- or close to it, hitting a guard rail instead. Darien fire's ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 7:57 a.m.: "They hit the guard rail pretty good," reports a chief, but everybody is out of the car and injuries, if any, appear minor. The chief also reports "this is not good," cars are slowing down, but still sliding around.  

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls requested to assemble in quarters.

UPDATE 8:06 a.m.: The East Pembroke chief informs the Pembroke chief that their crews are needed for traffic control in the eastbound lane. Another chief informs Darien's ambulance that it can go back in service. Mercy EMS can handle the signoffs on the second accident.

UPDATE 8:12 a.m.: A Pembroke chief reports icy conditions, at least two cars into guard rails. Dispatch says the Thruway Authority has a salt truck in route.

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: There's a non-injury accident on the Route 98 overpass. A dispatcher notes, "Apparently the bridges in this county are iced over. It's Nov. 2 and the bridges are iced over."

UPDATE 8:18 a.m.: An East Pembroke chief is requesting crews completely shutdown the eastband lanes.

UPDATE 8:29 a.m.: A second accident in East Pembroke's district, on Route 5 near Wortendyke Road. The East Pembroke chief requests a dispatch for Town of Batavia while he tries to free up a unit to head that way. The dispatcher warns Town of Batavia that the road is icy. There are very minor injuries in the accident.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Local firefighters called to scene of commercial fire in Caledonia

post by Howard B. Owens in caledonia, fire

Four Genesee County fire companies are requested to the scene of a structure fire in Caledonia.

Le Roy responded first, and now tankers from Stafford, Pavilion and Bergen are requested to the scene.

The fire is at a commercial structure next to a residence at 2773 Caledonia-Le Roy Road.

UPDATE 11:54 p.m.: Mutual aid out of Wyoming County requested to the scene. Tankers from Perry, Perry Center, Wyoming are requested. Shortly after the tone out in Wyoming County, a chief at the Caledonia scene suggests that Perry come right to the scene, and another chief responded, "because their tanker is loading up with massive amounts of water right now."

UPDATE 12:01 a.m.: A chief instructs a crew, "no water should go on the back of the building where you're at now. It's full of fertilizer." 

UPDATE 12:09 a.m.: Photo submitted by Jeremiah Russell.

UPDATE 12:28 a.m.: Below a photo taken by Sean Valdes from the Genesee Country Village and Museum grounds. Valdes said he can feel the heat from the fire that far away and he believes he heard explosions earlier.

UPDATE 12:38 a.m.: From 13 WHAM:

Calls into 9-1-1 started coming in around 11:30 p.m. for the fire at Commodity Resource Corporation on Caledonia Leroy Road. CRC provides products and tools to agribusinesses across the country.

UPDATE 12:49 a.m.: Rochester's 13 WHAM has reporters on scene.They were kind enough to send over the two photos below. Be sure to tune into 13 WHAM for complete coverage of the fire.

UPDATE 12:52 a.m.: Here's another photo from 13 WHAM:

UPDATE 7:32 a.m.: Crews are still dealing with this fire. Le Roy Fire is still on scene, as is Stafford, Pavilion and Bergen. Alexander fire responded overnight, and Le Roy's ladder truck crew was given a break, relieved by Town of Batavia's ladder truck.

UPDATE 8:10 a.m.: Le Roy Fire is going back in service. The Genesee County emergency coordinator who has been on scene all night is returning, relieved by another coordinator. 

UPDATE 8:38 a.m.: South Byron fire requested to the scene, non-emergency.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Batavia wins Section V Class B semi-final 35-12

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

The Batavia Blue Devils will get a chance to play for the school's first sectional title since 1991 in football next week after beating Penn Yan this evening, 35-12.

Above, Malachi Chenault in the end zone near the close of the first half. The score, making it 15-12, gave Batavia a lead it never relinquished.

The Blue Devils will face Livonia in the Class B final next week. Batavia's only defeat of the season came against Livonia on a last-second touchdown in the first game of the season.

We'll have complete coverage posted tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Le Roy beats Dansville 54-0 in sectional semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

Le Roy will play for a sectional title next week after beating Dansville in a semi-final today in Webster, 54-0.

Above, Tom Kelso crosses the goal line for an extra two points after the Oatkan Knights' second touchdown in the first quarter.

We'll have full game coverage posted sometime tomorrow. Now, it's time for Batavia's sectional semi-final game in Irondequoit.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

Photos: Halloween in Batavia, 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

There were trick or treaters out all over the City of Batavia last night.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

Truck and car accident reported on the Thruway near Bank Street Road, Batavia

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

A car and semi-truck have collided on the Thruway in the westbound lane near mile marker 386.6

That's about two-tenths of a mile east of the Bank Street Road overpass.

There are only minor injuries.

Town of Batavia fire is responding along with Mercy EMS.

A chief on scene reports, "we've got one against the inside guard rail and one against the outside guard rail."

The left lane is blocked.

UPDATE 8:33 a.m.: A chief reports a correction on vehicles. One passenger vehicle and one flatbed truck, unloaded.

Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9:00 am

Efforts to dissolve village government in Corfu moving forward

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu

The winds of dissolution are blowing strong in the Village of Corfu.

There's been a committee formed, consultants are advising, documents are being prepared and trustees are talking the talk.

If the wind doesn't change direction, inside of two years, there will be no Village of Corfu, just a Town of Pembroke with a quaint little hamlet centered around the intersection of routes 33 and 77.

We'll still call it Corfu, but life will be different, but how different are among the details to be worked out.

Right now, it looks like the property taxes paid by village residents to maintain their current small government will vanish. Whether special districts need to be formed for sidewalks and lighting is an open question. Some village employees would be out of work, others positions would be shifted to the Town of Pembroke.

What Corfu would do for part-time police service is still under study, but committee members and the few residents who attended the committee's meeting last night seem to favor a contract with the Sheriff's Office for extra patrols.

The four trustees in Corfu (there is currently no mayor) are unanimously behind the dissolution effort, said Trustee and Deputy Mayor Dave Bielec.

"The population of the village is reducing tremendously," Bielec said. "We lost 100 people roughly since the last census. We've lost some businesses. We don't have much in the village anymore at all. Plus, the state is kind of pushing this a little bit, so there's some benefits for us there."

The committee was formed in April and has been meeting monthly. The Department of State has been providing a staff member as a free-to-the-village consultant.  

The list of considerations is long. It's no simple matter dissolving a village. There are laws that need to be changed or taken off the books, planning and zoning boards to wind down, decisions to be made about dealing with village records and documents, issues to be resolved around any existing village debt, plans to be made for maintenance issues and property to transfer.

The committee is in the midst of drafting a dissolution plan to present to village residents.

The residents would need to vote at some point on whether to eliminate their local government.

The plan probably will not be ready for a vote prior to the regular village election in March, so the vote would come at a later date.

The earliest the village could be dissolved would be Dec. 31, 2016.

Pembroke Town Councilman Ed Arnold, who is a member of the dissolution committee, said so far his fellow board members have been supportive of dissolution, but it's not like the town has a lot of choice in the matter.

The decision to dissolve or not is entirely a village decision, and if voters choose that route, the jurisdiction becomes part of the town regardless.

The town's participation at this point is about ensuring an orderly transition.

"If the village says this is what it wants to do, really from our end, that's what we need to follow through with," Arnold said. "What we're trying to do is be involved with it, seeing what are the concerns of the residents of the village and then seeing how we an incorporate that into the town side of it. But really, if the village says yes, we want to dissolve, we have to pick it up one way or the other."

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Time coming to change your clocks and change your batteries

post by Howard B. Owens in City Fire

Press release: 

The City of Batavia Fire Department is joining nearly 6,000 fire departments nationwide in promoting the annual Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries campaign on Sunday, Nov. 2.

Fire Prevention Officer Lt. Jeff Whitcombe encourages all residents to adopt the simple, lifesaving habit of changing smoke alarm batteries along with the batteries in carbon monoxide (CO) detectors when they change their clocks back from daylight savings time to standard time.

“It’s an easy, inexpensive and proven way to protect your family and your home,” Whitcombe said.

Since 1987 the International Association of Fire Chiefs has joined forces with Energizer batteries to spread the message that non-working smoke alarms are responsible for needless death and injuries. Now 27 years later, thanks to the change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries campaign, home fire deaths continue to decline.

Recent surveys conducted for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that 96 percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm, but only 75 percent have at least one working smoke alarm. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires. The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm can provide the critical extra seconds needed to get people out safely.

According to the NFPA, the maximum life cycle of a smoke alarms and CO detectors is 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of installation. Beginning in 2002, all smoke detectors must have a manufacture date marked on the outside of the smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm does not have a manufacture date, then it is older than 10 years and must be replaced. The City of Batavia Fire Department recommends purchasing smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. All smoke and CO alarms should be tested monthly.

Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way families can avoid injury or death in their homes. By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes. Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home.

“Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are three of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” Whitcombe said.

The City of Batavia Fire Department has a free smoke alarm and battery installation program.

“We have installed hundreds of smoke alarms and batteries over the past 20 years and will continue to do so until everyone who needs them has them,” Whitcombe said.

For information about the free smoke alarm and battery installation program, City of Batavia residents should contact the City of Batavia Fire Department at (585) 345-6375.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

Photos: New escalators being installed at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Batavia Downs is in the home stretch of a $20 million expansion that includes a new gaming floor, a new sign, new offices, and in the final phase, a new facade and entry on Park Road.

Today, a pair of 7,500-pound escalators are being installed and soon a statue of Fortuna, the goddess of good luck, will arrive from Wisconsin.

With the last major pieces in place, it's just a matter of putting on the finishing touches.

The new gaming floor, now on the first floor, opened last October. The old gaming floor on the second level is now offices for Batavia Downs and Western OTB staff.

The escalator to the second floor will provide access to the clubhouse and grandstands as well as a new OTB inter-track wagering facility, which will move from its current location across the street on Park Road.

The entry way will feature lighted neon and Fortuna will stand through a hole in the ceiling so she can be viewed from ground level or from up above.

"It's just going to look incredible," said Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Batavia Downs.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 9:45 am

Inmate transports essentially tie up four full-time deputies, so legislators exploring options

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail

Deputies spent 8,544 hours on inmate transports in 2013.

Most of those transports involve shuttling female inmates from Genesee County to jails in other counties that can house female prisoners (something the local jail was never designed to do).

Some of those transports involve taking inmates to and from court, and to and from doctor's appointments.

Those 8,544 hours equal more than 1,000 eight-hour shifts, or about 213 weeks of work for a deputy working five, eight-hour shifts a week.

In other words, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office is using the equivalent of four full-time deputies to move prisoners from one location to another.

Rather than spending their time out on road patrol fighting crime and assisting residents, deputies are stuck behind the wheel of a police cruiser driving on roads far from Genesee County.

Not coincidently, Sheriff Gary Maha is planning to request adding four new deputies to the department in 2016.

Members of the Legislature are asking if there isn't a better way.

Options were the topic of discussion during a budget session in the Old Courthouse on Wednesday.

With Undersheriff William Sheron, Jail Superintendent William Zipfel and Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble in attendance, legislators talked about whether it would be best to hire a part-time staff to transport inmates or try to expand teleconferencing for court appearances.

"We're looking for some middle ground where we might be able to get these deputies back to where they belong," said Ray Cinanfrini, chairman of the Legislature.

A few part-timers, who would have the flexibility to meet the demands of unpredictable transport needs, would cost less than hiring new full-time deputies, though no analysis has been done yet on the cost.

Sheron said the part-timers will still need to be sworn police officers, but their duties could be limited to transports.

At a previous meeting, legislators suggested hiring a private security company with bonded guards, but Sheron said the inmates need to remain under the custody of the Sheriff at all times for legal and liability reasons.

In an era of expanding technology, teleconferencing seems to be an option. Thanks to a state grant received two years ago, the jail already has a room set up for teleconferencing.

It's never been used.

Local courts have resisted the teleconferencing option, but Cianfrini said maybe it's time to start pushing local justices and defense attorneys to use the system.

Sheron said it would be helpful if all the local courts ended night court proceedings and scheduled all appearances during the day.

No decisions were made Wednesday.

As the current proposed 2015 county budget stands, property taxes would be reduced from $10.04 per thousand to $9.86.

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