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Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 9:03 am

Corfu fire allegedly caused by teens smoking, improperly disposing of cigarettes

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire

The Sheriff's Office reports this morning that Thursday's fire in Village of Corfu, which damaged the former Pizza Pantry building at 10 Main St., possibility erupted after two teens inadequately disposed of cigarettes.

The press release says that further investigation may result in the teens being petitioned to Genesee Family Court.

The fire started at the rear of the building.

Fire units from Corfu, Pembroke, East Pembroke, City of Batavia, Oakfield, Darien, Alden, Crittenden and Akron responded to the blaze.

Two firefighters reportedly suffered minor injuries.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Invitation to pastors for Easter: Post your sermons

post by Howard B. Owens in church, Easter, religion

Here's an open invitation to area pastors and preachers: Post your Easter Sermons on The Batavian.  On Easter Sunday, we'll post sermons submitted by 10 a.m. ish on the home page.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Minutes from County Legislature Ways and Means Committee meeting, April 1

PRESENT: Chair Zambito, Legislators Hancock, Leadley and Grasso.  County Manager Gsell. Also Present: Planning Director Duval, Emergency Management Coordinator Yaeger, Purchasing Director Kaleta, Emergency Communications Coordinator Sharpe, Personnel Officer Marchese, Youth Bureau Representative Frank, IT Director Zimmer, Interim Public Health Director Garney, Sheriff Maha, Mental Health Director Reaves, County Treasurer German, Deputy County Treasurer Landers, Concerned Citizen Steve Ferry, Legislator DeJaneiro, Daily News Reporter Mruzak, and Legislature Clerk Pratt.

Chair Zambito called the meeting to order at 4PM in the Legislature Conference Room. The minutes of the March 18 meeting were approved upon motion of Legislator Leadley seconded by Legislator Grasso.


Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Author Roy Kesey to Visit Genesee Community College

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, GCC

Press Release:

BATAVIA, NY -- Genesee Community College continues to demonstrate a commitment to student success and community connections with a campus visit from nationally known author Roy Kesey on Monday, April 27. With the aid of the Humanities department, assistance from The New Courier, Genesee's student run newspaper, and funds from the Academic Innovations Senate Committee, Kesey will be reading, answering questions, and signing books from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at the Batavia Campus in room T102. This event is free and open to the public.

Roy Kesey is the author of three books: a short story collection called All Over (Dzanc Books), a novella entitled Nothing in the World (Dzanc Books), and Nanjing: A Cultural and Historical Guide for Travelers (Atomic Press.) He recently won the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction at The Missouri Review.

Kesey's work has appeared in more than seventy magazines in North America, Europe and Asia. Prior to their publication in All Over, several of his stories appeared in anthologies including The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology and New Sudden Fiction. The story Wait was picked by Stephen King for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories 2007 anthology.

Nothing in the World is the story of Josko Banovic, a lonely schoolboy who, with the outbreak of fighting between Serbia and his native Croatia, reveals himself to be a gifted sniper and becomes an unwitting war hero. Winner of the Bullfight Little Book Prize, Nothing in the World received unanimously great reviews, sold out its original 2006 printing in just a few months, and was recently brought back into print by Dzanc Books.

Nanjing: A Cultural and Historical Guide for Travelers has been lauded as a "well-informed and beautifully observed book," and Kesey as "the ideal guide to the mighty city on the Yangtze." The book combines vivid historical anecdotes and profiles to give the reader a clear image of contemporary Nanjing.

"We're honored to have Roy Kesey visit Genesee and share his literary works with the community," Tracy Ford, associate professor of English said. "This couldn't have been possible without the commitment and funds contributed by the Humanities department, The New Courier and the Academic Innovations Senate Committee.  We are truly grateful for all their contributions."

Roy Kesey was born and raised in northern California, and currently lives with his wife and children in Syracuse. He has traveled around the world writing and has lived in China, as well as Peru. For more information regarding Roy Kesey, please visit www.roykesey.com <http://www.roykesey.com> .

For further information, please contact Kris Dassinger 585-343-0055 x6233, Marie Iglesias-Cardinale 585-343-0055 x6275 or Tracy Ford 585-343-0055 x6277.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Cybersafety Topic of Discussion at Genesee Community College

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, GCC

Press Release

BATAVIA, NY -- "Addressing Cybersafety and Cyberbullying" will be the topic of discussion at an upcoming workshop to be held at Genesee Community College on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 7:00PM - 8:15PM in room T102 at the Batavia Campus.  The free workshop, sponsored by the Genesee Region Teacher Center, will feature Dr. James Colt, Coordinator of School Safety and Security at Monroe BOCES #1.

Designed to familiarize participants with the scope and magnitude of internet crime, the discussion will also provide ways in which to protect children and adults from online victimization.  This workshop is appropriate for students, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, parents and any interested community members.

According to Christine Belongia, coordinator of the Teacher Education Transfer Program at Genesee, as well as Genesee Region Teacher Center (GRTC) Policy Board member, "People are only just beginning to realize the scope and magnitude of internet crime.  This workshop is designed to familiarize participants with this important topic as well introduce ways in which we can protect children and ourselves from online victimization."

The workshop will include startling data from a local 2007 survey of 40,000 K-12 school-aged students.  Results from the survey, conducted by a team of researchers lead by one of the nation's leading cybercrime experts, Dr. Sam McQuade of the Rochester Institute of Technology, indicate that "the more time children spend online and the more ways they access the Internet, the more vulnerable they become to being a victim of cybercrime and the more likely they are to slip into offending behaviors."

This workshop is an excellent learning opportunity for area residents interested in cybercrime and ways to prevent victimization. This workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

For more information, please contact Christine Belongia at 585-343-0055 x6278.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 7:17 am

Police Beat: Women allegedly enters home, then refuses to leave

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

Tracylee Cayea, 39, of Lakeville, reportedly entered the home of a person in Pavilion on Tuesday and then refused to leave after numerous requests that she depart.She is charged with criminal trespass in the second degree.

Michael P. Johnson, 23, of Batavia, reportedly failed to stop for a stop sign, which led to police pulling him over early this morning. On further investigate, officers concluded he may have been drinking, He is charged with DWI with a BAC of .08 or more.

Jovoun Webb, 23, of Brockport, was arrested early yesterday morning and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Webb reportedly came to the attention of a Sheriff's deputy after allegedly failing to yield the right of way and unlawful tint on his windows. The deputy reports he smelled marijuana while talking with Webb. A search, the deputy reports, led to the discover of marijuana on Webb and in the center console of his vehicle. Webb allegedly has 8 suspensions on his license in four different states.

William A. Henderson, 34, of Rochester, was arrested for DWI yesterday in Corfu.  Henderson was identified after State Police received a tip from Wende Correctional Facility in Alden that an intoxicated individual had driven away from the facility.  A short time later, a state trooper spotted the suspected vehicle at Routes 33 and 77.  The trooper reported that Henderson failed several field sobriety tests. A small amount of marijuana was reportedly found in Henderson's vehicle. Henderson reportedly has two previous DWI convictions. Henderson was charged with DWI, operating a vehicle without a seat belt and possession of marijuana. He is being held on $10,000 bail.

Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Draft of April 8 meeting mintues for Genesee County Legislature

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, genesee county legislature

To read the draft minutes of Monday's Genesee County Legislature meeting, download the PDF of the minutes here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Structure fire in Village of Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire

Units from Genesee and Erie counties have responded to a structure fire in Corfu at 4 Main Street, the former location of Pizza Pantry. 

An ambulance was called to the scene for a firefighter who reportedly fell in the building, but he exited safely and the extent of his injuries, if any, are unknown at this time.

The building is a two-story brick structure that was apparently gutted, but there is no significant exterior damage.

The initial call came in at about 12:35 p.m.

Dan Fischer at WBTA is also working on getting information on the fire.  Updates as they become available.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Tim Yaeger says the firefighter mentioned in our first report is fine. He was treated and released. A second firefighter was struck by a piece of equipment and broke a tooth.

Linda Doll of Corfu says she called in the fire. She was returning from a funeral in Batavia when she saw smoke as she pulled into the village. As soon as she turned onto Main Street, she saw flames coming from the back of the building, she said. She immediately called 911.

UPDATE: The following photo was submitted to The Batavian by James F. Gerber, photographer for the Alden Fire Department.

UPDATE: Joanne Beck reports that the cause of the fire is suspicious.

The cause remains under investigation. Yaeger said it started on the outside of the building, and a witness reported children in the area.

Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Batavia to receive $700,000 in stimulus funding

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, stimulus

We've just received a copy of a press release from the governor's office which says the City of Batavia will receive $700,000 to repave Route 98 between Main St. and Noonan Drive. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

From the press release:

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the Rochester area is expected to receive at least $74 million in transportation and infrastructure funding through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This critical funding will go toward much-needed highway and road repair, bridge span work and other long-term improvements to the region’s infrastructure and will create an estimated 1,776 jobs. The Governor was joined by Senator Charles E. Schumer at a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Maintenance Facility in Canandaigua.

“I want to thank President Obama and New York’s Congressional Delegation for their work to secure these funds, which will provide Rochester-area projects with the financing they need to move forward,” Governor Paterson said. “These investments update aging infrastructure, making our roads, highways and bridges safer, while also creating jobs, bolstering economic development and ensuring a brighter future for our State.”

In addition to these funds, the DOT will also award $82 million in traditional highway and bridge contracts next year to the Rochester area. This region will also receive approximately $29 million in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding, which the recovery funds enabled us to restore to the State budget. In total, the Rochester area will receive more than $185 million in highway and bridge funding in State Fiscal Year 2009-10.

UPDATE: Shortly after originally posting this, I interviewed Charlie Mallow about the funding, then before I could post it, I ran out to cover the fire in Corfu. Here's a few minutes of Charlie talking about stimulus money, other grants and ongoing improvement projects.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 7:21 pm

County legislators look on four-year terms favorably, but issue needs more study

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, legislature, politics

Steve Ferry, a Darien Town Council member, made his case tonight that Genesee County Legislator should serve staggered four-year terms rather two-year terms with all nine seats up for election in the same year.

Legislators seemed inclined to favor the idea, but bristled at the idea that the Legislator could enact a change without proper study and community committee meetings.

At the end of the meeting, Ferry told the legislators that they are leaders and should lead.

"You are elected officials, public servants, and if serving the public means putting it on the ballot, then do it," Ferry said.

Ferry's position is that the current two-year system is a disincentive for people to get involved in the local policy decisions and that too many legislative seats draw only a single candidate each election cycle.

"It seem ridiculous to have a legislative board having all nine people up for election at the same time," Ferry said.

Legislators, by and large, rejected the notion that there isn't enough public involvement in the county government.

"One reason we don’t have a lot of people involved is this is a well run county and we don’t have a lot of controversy in the county," said Legislator John J. Hodgins.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Local Democrats to attend Democratic Rural Conference

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, Democrats, politics

Press Release:

The Democratic Rural Conference (DRC) will hold its annual Spring Conference at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga, NY on April 17 and 18, 2009. The theme of this year’s conference is Winning Rural Campaigns and will feature a series of campaign training workshops.  Registration is required.

The DRC Spring Conference has a tradition of bringing top Democratic Leaders to upstate New York.  Confirmed speakers are United States Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor David Patterson, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. Others are expected.

The DRC is an organization composed of the 42 New York counties with a population less than 250,000.  Its purpose is to represent and promote the interests of rural New Yorkers within the New York State Democratic Party and within the government of the State of New York.

Five Genesee County Democratic committee members will be attending the DRC.  Chairman Lorie Longhany along with state committee members representing the 147th assembly district, Bill and Connie Bruggman and state committee members representing the 139th assembly district, Joe and Dawn Cassidy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Gov. Paterson set to announce that Batavia will receive some stimulus funding

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, stimulus

We just received this message from City Council President Charlie Mallow:

I just received the word from the governor's office that Batavia will be included in the first round Transportation Stimulus announcement tomorrow morning in Canandaigua.  Although I have few specifics regarding the exact announcement as it pertains to our city, it is my understanding that there is at least one city project will be included. I will be attending to represent the city tomorrow, Thursday, April 9, 10 AM at  125 Parish Street, Canandaigua.

Governor Paterson will announce transportation Stimulus funds at a DOT maintenance facility in Canandaigua. Ground breaking for this work will start within 180 days.
My apology for the the lack of information as to what streets will be receiving the repairs, I will have more for you after the meeting.

UPDATE: Rose Mary Christian left the following remark in the comments:

I'm very happy that our city will be on Governor Patterson list to recieve some of the stimulus money from the state. I must say Jason Molino and Sally Kuzon worked very hard for Batavia to compete against other communities. The city taxpayers should be very pleased with this process because it was their money ( from the VLT) to put into this project. It was our manager and his assistant who presented this to our Albany officals. Great job Jason and Sally, Rose Mary

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

John Kennedy parents warned that death of student could be linked to Meningitis

post by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools

The cause of death of 9-year-old Michaela L. Fidanza is still unknown, but school officials have notified parents of children attending John Kennedy Elementary School that New York health officials have not ruled out Meningitis.

Yesterday, the school had told parents that the Genesee County Health Department had determined it wasn't Meningitis.

Now the school is telling parents that "persons who may have exchanged saliva" with Fidanza in the past seven days should contact a physician.

WBTA obtained the letter to parents this afternoon and posted a copy on its Web site. The full text reads:

This is a message from the Batavia City School District for families whose children attend John Kennedy Elementary. You received a letter yesterday about the deal of a student at JK. In the letter, we indicated that the Genesee County Health Department had ruled out Meningitis as the cause of death. The NYS Health Department, because of the seriousness of the situation, feels that meningitis cannot be ruled out even though the tests are negative, because all symptoms support the meningitis diagnosis. The New York State health Department advises that persons who may have exchanged saliva with the patient during the last seven days should contact their physician. Any child who becomes ill with fever, rash or stiff neck, should be seen by a doctor immediately.

In today's edition of the Daily News, Scott DeSmit reports:

The ME's office looked immediately for signs of meningitis, a contagious viral disease.

"They were thinking that it was possibly meningitis but so far, the cultures have been negative for that," he said. "But they told us it takes four days to be sure. They don't think that's a cause but we don't know."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 7:23 am

Light snow still with us today, cold week ahead

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

There's still a chance of snow in our immediate future, with light snow predicted for this morning and a chance of snow on Friday.  It looks like it we will have cold nights, mild to cold days the rest of the week.

Here's the National Weather Service forecast:

Today: Scattered snow showers, mixing with rain after noon, then gradually ending. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a west wind between 16 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. West wind between 6 and 13 mph.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 48. West wind between 10 and 15 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 29. West wind between 3 and 8 mph.

Friday: A chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. East wind between 6 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Friday Night: A chance of rain and snow before 10pm, then a slight chance of snow between 10pm and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 47.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 26.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 6:38 am

Police Beat: Livingston County couple charged with stealing chain saws in Pavilion

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, crime, Pavilion

A Conesus couple is charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree for allegedly stealing four chain saws from Morg's Sawz & Stoves in Pavilion. The crime allegedly took place March 26 in the afternoon. The suspects were picked up that day by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. Arraigned yesterday in Pavilion Town Court were Michael G. Boggs, 31,and Jennifer R. Boggs, 26.  The couple remains incarcerated in Livingston County.

Kenneth Laird, 56, of Bethany, is accused of getting into a domestic dispute yesterday with a person he has been ordered not to contact. Laird reportedly threw rocks at this person's car as the person tried to leave the scene of the dispute. Laird is charged with criminal contempt in the 2nd degree and harassment in the second degree.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Buffalo attorney's lawsuit aims to halt government funds used in economic development

post by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, stimulus, taxes

Buffalo attorney Jim Ostrowski lost the first round in his legal fight against New York State grants and government loans to businesses, but he's pushing forward with his crusade against "corporate welfare."

GCEDC's VP of marketing and communications, Chad Zambito is concerned that efforts such as Ostrolwski's could undermine economic development tools such as empire zones and damage efforts to bring business to Western New York.

"What it really does is it sends ends a message to site selectors nationwide that New York is really unfriendly to business," Zambito said. "It certainly sends a message to business people who might be looking at New York State that we might not be the most stable environment."

Zambito said Ostrowski's effort, if successful, would hurt the state because of New York's excessive tax burden.

Ostrowski doesn't buy it.

"That’s a really bad argument," Ostrowski said.  "If you look at Pennsylvania and Ohio, to reduce our taxes to their level, we would have to cut $40 billion out of the budget. Now corporate welfare only moves around about $1.5 billion per year, so it’s not an effective tool to compete with other states (with lower taxes)."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 11:07 am

Ten voters attend Village of Alexander meeting to elect slate of candidates and pass budget

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander

Ten voters showed up to the Village of Alexander election meeting last night, five of them were candidates for village offices.

The voters also approved a $373,450 budget. The tax rate remains unchanged at $1.66 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Elected unanimously to one-year terms by the 10 voters:

  • Mayor: Richard Scharlau
  • Clerk/Treasurer: Vera Antonucci
  • Tax Collector: Nancy Bartz
  • Constable: Ralph Robbins

William Wagner was elected to a two-year term as village trustee.

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