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Howard B. Owens's blog

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Former nurse convicted for second time of stealing $14K from employer

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

It took a jury all of 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict against former Bergen resident Michele Ann Case of grand larceny in the third degree.

This is the second time a jury in Genesee County has found Case guilty of stealing more than $14,000 from her former employer, HomeCare & Hospice.

The first conviction, in March 2012, was overturned on appeal because state justices found that summations of her thefts were improperly prepared and presented to the jury.

Case, 47, was represented in this trial by attorney Larry Koss, who argued before the jury in closing statements this afternoon that the extra compensation received was all just a big misunderstanding.

"The fact that there are discrepancies doesn't mean anything was done intentionally," Koss told the jury. "People make mistakes. I submit to you, if you're in the profession she's in, your primary concern has to be your patients. If you want to be a good nurse, you want to care for your patients. They have to be your primary concern. They have to be what you pay attention to."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told the jury that the evidence was clear: Case submitted claims for "call outs" (patient visits supposedly outside of regularly scheduled hours) during her normal work shift; that she submitted claims for call outs that she didn't make; and that she claimed mileage that was greatly exaggerated.

Koss said it was a lack of proper training and clear policies that caused Case to submit inaccurate claims for compensation.

There's nothing in the polices that define what allowable mileage is (to which Friedman responded during his close, "I think the answer is you're expected to record mileage truthfully."

During her employment with HCH, Case submitted 61 mileage claims. Of those, Friedman said, 60 of them contained wildly inflated mileage, up to 100, 200 and 300 more miles than Case possibly could have driven.

For a trip to Crossroads House on Liberty Street from the HCH office on East Main Street, Batavia, Case claimed 30 miles.

When confronted by Det. Charles Dudek (now retired) about the discrepancy, Case claimed at one point her trip that day originated in Warsaw, but even those miles -- combined with the side trips she claimed -- didn't add up, Friedman said.

When she went to Delavan for training, Case claimed mileage that was nearly double the actual trip, even using the longest possible route offered by MapQuest for the drive, Friedman said.

That didn't happen just once, but twice.

Case told Dudek that she forgot to reset her trip counter on her odometer and didn't realize her mistake when submitting her mileage reports.

Friedman said the pattern of Case's inflated claims made it quite clear she was trying to increase her compensation illegally.

On 69 occasions, Friedman said, Case claimed compensation for call-outs during what should have been her normal, salaried working hours. Those claims alone totaled $5,300 in extra compensation.

"There is one common scheme to illegitimately and illegally increase what she saw as her insufficient income," Friedman said.

To Koss's argument that HomeCare & Hospice neglected to spot and correct Case's false claims for two and a half years, Friedman said such fraudulent claims went undetected because they were unexpected.

"The defendant was a registered nurse," Friedman said. "She's a professional and they expected her to be professional and honest when she documented her claims, and it turned out, they couldn't count on that."

At the start of his summation, Koss quoted Oscar Wilde.“The truth is rarely plain and never simple.”*

The case against his client, he said, was complicated and obscured by poorly written policies and inadequate training.

Friedman said at the close of his summation, that actually, the facts of the case were pretty straightforward.

"The plain and simple truth is this defendant stole more than $14K by falsifying time vouchers and mileage records," Friedman said.

With uncommon speed, the jury reached the same conclusion.

NOTE: Wilde's correct quote is, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Batavia PD investigating report of disturbance at State and Lewis

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia PD is responding to State Street and Lewis Place for a report of a disturbance.

The initial call was for a group of people making a lot of noise. Minutes later, a follow-up call said people were fighting.

When the first patrol arrived on scene, the officer said members of the group fled. Some headed toward Bank Street, some are said to be heading north on State Street.

Multiple police units responding.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: An officer reports he's out with several individuals at State and Lewis.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Photo: New utility pole on Center Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Center Street

Workers with National Grid installed a new utility pole on Center Street. The road was closed for a portion of the morning during the installation. The pole will help accommodate power upgrades for the new call center for the Tompkins Insurance Company going in at that location.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Photos: Basketball camp at John Kennedy School

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, sports

Here are some pictures from today's basketball camp at John Kennedy School. This portion of the camp is for boys and girls going into the 7th and 8th grade.

From the small portion of the camp I watched, high school coaches in the county can anticipate getting some skillful young athletes with a lot of heart in a couple of years.

Coaching at John Kennedy were Tom Redband and Matt Shay.

Yesterday: Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

Landmark Society announces annual house and garden tour

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

Press release:

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will hold its 4th Annual House and Garden Tour on Saturday, August 2, 2014, from 12—4:30 p.m.  Each year the Landmark Society donates proceeds from the tour to support a local preservation effort.  This year the proceeds will go to the Batavia Cemetery Association to assist with its efforts to restore the Richmond Mausoleum.  Specifically, the stained glass window in the mausoleum is in need of extensive repairs.  The Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue will be one of the stops on the tour, and stationed at the mausoleum, Connie Boyd will portray Mary Richmond.

The tour will showcase notable homes and gardens in the City of Batavia.  Vibrant Batavia has collaborated with the Landmark Society to organize and plan the event.  The Sun Catchers Garden Club has pitched in to help staff the cemetery tour stop and decorate the Richmond Mausoleum exterior with flower pots that its members design.  The Youth Bureau Community Garden and the Peace Garden will also be open and staffed with volunteers to provide information and answer questions.

House and Garden Tour Chairperson Marcia Gann’s home will be one of the stops on the tour.  “The Landmark Society is so pleased to have partnered with Vibrant Batavia this year.  Leanna Di Risio has worked with our committee and given us the benefit of her enthusiasm, event planning experience, and contacts in the city.   She’s gone above and beyond by opening her beautiful home for one of the tour stops, too.  We have an interesting mixture of old and new homes; public and private gardens; and both new and established gardens.   We even have a Fairy Garden on the tour this year!”

The private homes on the tour are:

  • RaeAnn Engler and Richard Beatty* (home also open for tour)
    • 123 Summit Street
    • C. 1870 National/Vernacular Style
    • When RaeAnn and Richard moved into 123 Summit in 2000, they gutted the interior down to the old studs. Over the next few years virtually everything was replaced except for the framing and oak wood floors. Remarkably, RaeAnn and Richard are only the second family to live here.  In 2005 they were named Homeowners of the Year by the City of Batavia.  In the gardens they salvaged peonies, tulips, some raspberries, and perennial springtime star flowers.  Over the years a variety of perennials and more raspberries have been added. This year the raised vegetable beds were revamped. 
  • Georgene  and Rocco Della Penna
    • 19 Richmond Avenue
    • C. 1930 Colonial Revival Style
    • “I started buying bulbs and progressed to perennial flowers.  Two of my favorites are Chinese Tree Peony and Lime Light Hydrangea.  I have been gardening for 25 years; it is my favorite past time.  The garden looks the best in June, but we enjoy it throughout the growing season. ”
  • Dave and Marcia Gann* (home open for tour)
    • 268 East Avenue
    • C. 1935 Cape Cod
    • Dave and Marcia have resided in their Cape Cod home with Arts and Crafts influences for 25 years.  The gardens encircling the house were designed and landscaped by Tim Richley and Holly Dougherty.  The gardens feature several varieties of hydrangea.
  • Paula Miller* (home open for tour)
    • 15 Pearl Street
    • C. 1927 Folk Victorian Style
    • Paula has used Small Space Gardening techniques to create an outdoor living and entertaining room.   Her newly planted garden features annuals, perennials, and vegetables arranged around a large backyard patio.
  • Debbie and Mike Barone
    • 3919 West Main Street Road
    • C. 1948  Ranch Style
    • “I love to add unique things to my gardens such as antique pieces.  We supplement the perennial selection with annuals to add further color and appeal.  The arbor covered with climbing clematis serves as the gateway from our sunroom to our peaceful backyard.”
  • Leanna and Dan Di Risio* (home open for tour)
    • 60 Edgewood Drive
    • C. 2012  Craftsman Style
    • “Our simple landscape blooms from spring to fall, and during the summer months we display flower planters to add bursts of color throughout the front and back yard.  We recently installed a back patio to give us additional entertaining space to be enjoyed by family and friends!”
  • Lou and Millie Moretto
    • 65 Edgewood Drive
    • C. 2010 Ranch Style
    • Several specimen plants make Lou’s yard unique.  In only four years, a vacant field has been transformed into a beautiful landscape with the help of Tony and Michele Moretto Slominski (LANDVISION). Lou’s young garden is designed to have something in bloom throughout the season.  Be sure to see the “Fairy Garden.”
  • Rose Mary Christian
    • 29 Williams Street
    • C. 1958 Ranch Style
    • “I have lived here for over twelve years and my flower bed garden just keeps on growing!  My favorite two flowers are from Poland and I will tell you about them when you visit on the tour.”
  • Tim and Lisa Stoddard
    • 20 Ellicott Avenue
    • C. 1880  Queen Anne Style
    • Victorian gardens featuring period plants complement this fairy tale home with a large circular front porch and ornate decorative trim.  The Stoddards are Landmark Society of Genesee County Preservation Award recipients for their historically appropriate, meticulous restoration of this Batavia gem.
  • Kathy Owen and Jim Owen
    • 2 Redfield Parkway
    • C. 1930 Colonial Revival Style
    • A long-established garden hidden from the bustle of Main Street in a park-like setting. This yard features a variety of Hosta plants, an informal perennial garden, and a small pond.
  • Judith Hale
    • 14 Jackson Avenue
    • C. 1951 Cape Cod Style
    • Showcasing a beautiful collection of Hosta plant varieties, Judith’s gardens flow from the front to the back of the property.  Each flower bed is painstakingly cared for.

Refreshments will be served at each tour stop.  

Door prize drawings will be held at the Historic Batavia Cemetery at 4:30.  Completed tour surveys will serve as the door prize entries.  You must be present to win.  Prizes were generously donated by: Delre’s Greenhouse and Garden Center; Floral Fantasies; Harvester 56 Theatre; Pudgie’s Greenhouse; The Landmark Society of Genesee County; and Vibrant Batavia.

Tickets are $20 per person and are available for presale at Harrington’s Produce (Batavia), GOART!, and Valle Jewelers.   Tickets will also be available the day of the tour at the Batavia Cemetery starting at 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Photo: Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

After the Tigers Under 6 soccer game this evening, members of the team posed for a picture with a rainbow behind them. Shannon Whitcombe, who took the picture, titled it, "Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow."

Submitted by Jeff Whitcombe.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Nearly three weeks later, results of neighborhood police activity announced

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

City announcement:

On June 26th the City of Batavia Police Department joined by the Genesee County Drug Task Force, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County Probation and New York State Police participated in a series of neighborhood enforcement details. The purpose of these details was to systematically approach known problem areas within the City and target criminal activity.

The benefits of participating in the joint operation are to provide continual support amongst the agencies, increase familiarity with working with each other, thereby enhancing the ability to curb criminal actvity.

Sixteen law enforcement personnel from four different agencies were partnered in a focused enforcement detail of eight separate locations in the central and south sides of the City. Due to ongoing investigations the exact locations are not being disclosed at this time. This approach to neighborhood sweeps/enforcement was identified in the City’s Strategic Plan with the goal of providing additional resources to focus on quality-of-life concerns for City residents. The following are preliminary results of this year’s first detail:

  • 59 data runs
  • 19 traffic stops
  • 16 probation visits
  • 5 traffic citations issued
  • 3 drug-related arrests, including marijuana and crack cocaine
  • 1 parole violation
  • 1 probation violation
  • 1 drug court violation
  • 1 disturbance call, 2 suspicious activity calls and 1 foot pursuit

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said “The City of Batavia Police Department is grateful for the assistance provided by the other participating agencies during this special detail. The residents of this City should know that every resource is being utilized to its fullest extent to weed out criminal activity within their neighborhoods. No one should have to feel oppressed in their own home or on their own street; therefore the Police Department is committed to using whatever resources are necessary to curb illegal activity.”

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha added “This is a fine example of corporation between the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, City of Batavia Police and other law enforcement agencies to improve the quality of life within our community.  We must continue to pool our law enforcement resources to meet citizen expectations and to benefit the taxpayer."

Major Michael J. Cerretto, Troop A commander, New York State Police, continued by stating "In these days of fiscal restraint, it is very important that police agencies work together. The success of this community-policing initiative in the City of Batavia shows how important this cooperation is to the citizens of Genesee County. The relationship between the Batavia PD, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and the State Police has never been better."

Neighborhood Sweeps/Enforcement Details were outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan as part of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts. They include dedicated patrols for targeted enforcement with the goal of intercepting and interrupting the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband as well as locating and arresting wanted persons. All agencies involved expect to continue joint law enforcement efforts in the future. These details are not advertised prior to taking place and locations are selected based on criminal data, the presence of nuisance and illegal behavior and ongoing investigations.

If you see criminal activity or know about a crime that has occurred please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Funeral services set for GS-29

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Sheriff's Office

Funeral services for Deputy Frank Bordonaro will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, St. Joseph's Oratory, 27 Lake St., Le Roy.

Bordonaro, a 19-year veteran of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, died unexpectedly at home some time Tuesday afternoon.

The 44-year-old Bordonaro is survived by his wife, Robin Radwich Bordonaro, his sons, Bryce and Chase, his parents, Lawrence and Arlene, of Batavia.

Family and friends may call on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at the Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc., 8700 Lake Road, Le Roy.

From his obituary:

He will be remembered as a very caring and compassionate man, who put his family and community first. He was very involved with all aspects of his sons’ participation in school and community sports programs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Support local journalism in Genesee County: Join The Batavian Club

Four weeks ago, we put up a request for people to join The Batavian Club and got a good response. We're about to send out a batch of membership kits and want to give you a chance to join before we do.

Reader support is critically important to us. We appreciate your membership.

Membership is important because:

  • It provides another avenue to support local businesses (you get more than $300 in gift certificates to local businesses);
  • It's a way for The Batavian to reward our loyal readers;
  • The financial support helps us sustain our community news coverage of Genesee County.

So many people every day tell me how much they love The Batavian. All we're asking is for those loyal fans to make a small financial contribution to help support and sustain our news coverage and in exchange we'll send you valuable gift certificates that far exceed the price of the membership.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form; Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

PayPal buttons after the jump:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Rep. Collins calls proposed EPA rules on waterways 'overreach,' a burden on agriculture

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, chris collins, environment, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator, Honorable Robert W. Perciasepe, at a Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on the EPA’s overreaching rule proposal entitled “Definition of the ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.”

“The problem is the public doesn't trust the EPA, farmers don't trust the EPA not to overreach, Congress doesn't trust the EPA,” said Congressman Collins during today’s hearing.

“Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and the EPA fail to recognize that their agency’s overreach is causing real harm for farmers and stalling business development across our country,” Congressman Collins said. “When I visit with farmers in my district, the heavy burdens under the Clean Water Act come up each and every time. When the bureaucrats at the EPA decide to call a divot in the ground that fills with rain a ‘navigable waterway’ under the CWA, we know our federal government has run amuck. The fact that the EPA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are now looking to formally broaden the definition of ‘navigable waters’ is an insult to hard working farmers all across this country.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, sports

Batavia's annual basketball camp opened this week with sessions at Batavia Middle School and John Kennedy School.

Conducted by Batavia High School head Coach Buddy Brasky and assistants, the camp provides instruction ball handling, shooting, defense and game-play situations, among other skills.

There were sessions today for high school boys at the middle school and younger players at JK. Tomorrow, the girls will have camp day.

The camp runs through Aug. 15.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

Three arrests reported during Vans Warp Tour at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake performing arts center

The following arrests were reported by the Sheriff's Office in connection with the Vans Warped Tour on Tuesday at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Kayla M. Cihak, 18, York Street, Olean, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Kristen M. Kwitowski, 19, of Morning Sun Court, Erie, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Hayden J. Cypressi, 18 of Pine Terrace, Macedon, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

There were also three individuals cited for alleged possession or consumption of alcohol under age 21.

NOTE: The Sheriff's Office has decided to not include the names of people receiving underage citations in their concert press releases this season.

UPDATE: Right after posting this, we received a revised press release from the Sheriff's Office with three additional arrests listed.

A 16-year-old resident  of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Nickolas C. K. Mancuso, 18, of Redleaf Drive, Chili, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Matthew C. Sofia, 18 of Pemberton Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Deputy Frank Bordonaro dies of apparent heart attack while sleeping at home

post by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office

On calls, he was known as GS-29, but there was no mistaking Deputy Frank Bordonaro's slow-rolling baritone.

GS-29 answered his final call some time this morning. 

Bordonaro's shift ended at 7 a.m. He went home, went to bed and was later found unresponsive.

Sheriff Gary Maha said Bordonaro may have had a heart attack.

Bordonaro was 44. He was with the Sheriff's Office for 19 years. He is survived by his wife, Robin, and two sons, Bryce, 14, and Chase, 12.

No further information is available at this time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Batavia Bulldawgs host football and cheer camp at GCC this weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in Bulldawgs, football, sports

Press release:

The Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program will hold its 5th Annual Extreme Youth Football and Cheer Camp. This year’s camp cosponsored by Extreme Streetwear will be held at GCC Fields this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday July 10th – 12th.

Walk-up registration still available. Cost for the camp is only $30.

Campers will receive quality instruction from USA Football certified coaches, a camp T-shirt, and lunch at the end of camp on Saturday July 12th.

Camp on Thursday & Friday will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. with check-in at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to noon with check-in at 8:30 a.m..

The camp is open to ALL athletes no matter what league affiliation between the ages of 6 to 13 years old by Dec. 1st. Birth certificate is required.

Camp is a stationed-based training where campers are divided by age and experience level so each athlete receives the right level of instruction and support. The Bulldawgs staff and volunteers will teach techniques, skills, and appreciation for all football positions and cheerleading in a fun, positive way!

For more information, please contact:
Extreme Streetwear at 585-344-4411
League Commissioner John Reigle – 716-228-5787
Cheer Director Sherri Wahr – 585-356-0639
Or by e-mail at bataviabulldawgsfootball@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Boys and girls invited to summer youth basketball camp at Jackson School

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Jackson School, sports

Young, aspiring basketball players are invited to a youth basketball camp Aug. 11-15 at the Jackson School Gym in the City of Batavia.

The camp is sponsored by Batavia Boys Basketball Boosters and is open to boys and girls entering grades 3 through 7.

The cost is $65 and includes a camp T-shirt.

Coach Jim Fazio, youth director for Batavia Junior Blue Devils, will lead the camp, with assistance from other coaches and current Blue Devil basketball players.

The camp will focus on the offensive fundamentals of the game including shooting, passing, dribbling, and ball handling, with a major emphasis on shooting. There will be daily contests with full-court and half-court games.

For more information and the registration form, click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Severe thunderstorm predicted for area this afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

"There is even a low chance for a tornado," concludes a National Weather Service statement establishing a severe thunderstorm watch for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Western New York.

"The strongest storms may form into a line and quickly move east along the New York and Pennsylvania border affecting the western Southern Tier and upper Genesee Valley," according to the weather service.

Strong winds, heavy rain and small hail are expected.

All of Genesee County is under the watch. It's in effect until 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

Officially, cause of Saturday's fire in Le Roy undetermined, but electrical origin likely

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

The likely culprit in Saturday's fire Le Roy that destroyed the home of Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell is electrical.

Whether it was an electric device that first caught on fire or wiring in a wall hasn't been determined.

There is no evidence of any deliberate action that caused the fire.

Jim Bouton, a coordinator and investigator with Genesee County Office of Emergency Management, discussed the investigator's findings with The Batavian this morning.

"On the report it will say the cause is undetermined," Bouton said. "The primary principle is electrical."

The fire started in the garage, Bouton said, not on the porch as initially reported.

Also, the explosion during the fire was caused by backdraft, which is caused by the rapid reintroduction of oxygen into an enclosed area where oxygen has been depleted by fire.

There was lots of fuel available for a fire -- what firefighters call "fire load" -- big wood beams and all of the accoutrements of a modern lifestyle.

Bouton said these days people have a lot more polyester, plastic and other flammable materials around the house, which is just fuel for flames.

In the Luetticke-Archbell garage there was a motorbike, snowmobile and woodchipper, all with gasoline in the tanks, not to mention the fiberglass of the snowmobile to add fuel to the fire.

The house at 8005 North Road was built in 1806. There had been many upgrades to the residence, including upgraded electrical, Bouton said, but that still doesn't mean an electrical problem can't creep up.

Asked how concerned other residents should be about electrical fires, Bouton explained people should pay attention to how they're using electric and what's going on with the electric in their house.

Houses built before the electronic gadget age are susceptible to problems.

Most people don't understand how they overload their circuits.

(NOTE: During our conversation, Bouton wanted to make it clear he wasn't implying Greg and David did anything to cause the fire -- the cause remains undetermined.)

Bouton used this example: In your bathroom you probably have a 15-amp circuit. You plug in a curling iron and hair blower. Each draws 1,500 watts. Divide those 3,000 watts by 120 voltage and you're drawing 25 amps on a single 15-amp circuit.

That overload causes wires to heat and over time the wires become damaged.

It can take many years, but it's a fire hazard.

If you read the instructions for your microwave, refrigerator and freezer, you are warned that each should be on their own 20-amp circuit. Often, however, people just plug these items in with no consideration to what circuits they're on.

For those of us using power strips for our home entertainment centers or desk areas, chances are the devices are not drawing enough concurrent electricity to create a problem, but the preponderance of electronic devices -- mobile phone chargers, computers in every room, TVs in multiple rooms, etc., should be a concern.

In older homes, the fusebox has been replaced by a circuit breaker (perhaps not by a licensed electrician), Bouton said, but it's still a 60-amp service when it should be 100 amps for all the electronics in a typical home today.

If your lights flicker when you turn on electronics, or you keep blowing a circuit breaker, perhaps you're overloading circuits, Bouton said.

Bouton noted that it's ironic that in the City of Batavia, only a licensed plumber can do plumbing work in another person's home, but there's no prohibition against using unlicensed electricians.

Bouton recommends using licensed electricians for any wiring or rewiring for inspecting any suspected issues with circuits.

"I'm not saying we have a big problem out there, but people should be aware," Bouton said. "If you've got a question call an electrician."

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