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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 10:35 am

City of Batavia to sell 19 acres to town for joint facilities location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

The City of Batavia will go into the real estate business tonight, considering a proposal to sell 19 acres of land to the Town of Batavia for $150,000.

The land could serve number of needs for joint facilities, including a potential location for a Genesee County Chamber of Commerce facility, maybe the visitors' center, according to Town Engineer Steve Mountain. who spoke with WBTA this morning. 

Previously, Assemblyman Steve Hawley pushed through legislation in Albany that would enable Elba, Oakfield and both the town and city of Batavia to share a court facility.

The 19-acre location is on the south side of Park Road near Oak Street.

The City Council meets tonight in Council Chambers at 7 o'clock.

UPDATE: Curious about the Chamber of Commerce plans, I called Steve Lockwood, chamber chairman, who replied via e-mail: "There is no item on the City Council’s agenda that involves the Chamber.  I have no comment to make."

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 10:14 am

Batavia police looking for alleged hit-and-run driver who struck motorcycle Friday night

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

The driver of a black Pontiac Grand Am or Grand Prix that reportedly hit a motorcycle on Walnut Street on Friday night and then fled the scene is being sought by Batavia Police.

The motorcycle driver, Justin Fagan, 22, who suffered an injury to his lower leg, told police he had seen the Pontiac behind him on Route 98 driving at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic. Both the car and the motorcycle were northbound on Walnut when they approached the construction area in the 100 block and Fagan said he slowed down and moved left to try avoid being hit.

The black Pontiac allegedly maintained its original speed, striking the motorcycle in the rear, sideswiping it and then continuing northbound on Walnut Street, turning right onto Law Street (its only option with Walnut closed to northbound traffic at that point).

Fagan's passenger, Emily O'Brien (age not available), suffered an unspecified back injury.

Both O'Brien and Fagan were taken to UMMC, but both have apparently been released as of today.

Witnesses at the scene Friday night complained that even with the rough road during construction, cars continue to drive the street faster than they should.

"This was bound to happen," said Walnut Street resident T.J. McAllister. "See how bumpy it is. Look at that police car and how much it's bouncing even as slow as its going.  People come through here going twice as fast. It's just crazy."

Det. Richard Schauf, Batavia Police Department, said the police are aware of speed problems along Walnut and Law streets and are doing as much as possible to address it.

"Whenever we have somebody available that's an area we try to enforce," Schauf said. "We try to be visible."

Another witness, Joe Elmore, who was first on the scene, described Fagan as a bit of a hero, sacraficing his own body to keep his bike upright.

"He said he did everything he could to protect his girlfriend," Elmore said. "He broke his leg just trying to hold up his bike."

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 6:36 am

Batavia resident competing in wheelchair games in Seattle

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports

Batavia resident Mark Blanch is competing this week in Seattle at the 2009 National Veterans Wheelchair Games, according the D&C.

Blanch, 52, will compete in swimming, table tennis, track and field and pool.

We’re not people that sit around the house and do nothing,” Blanch said. “We like doing things. We like competing and every one of us feel that we’re not disabled.”

Blanch was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992.

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 6:18 am

Police Beat: Woman charged with resisting arrest following alleged disturbance at park

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford

LaToya D. Jackson, 23, of 25 Hutchins St., Upper, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Jackson allegedly caused a disturbance at Goade Park early Saturday morning about 4 a.m.. She allegedly resisted arrest while being taken into custody. Jackson was placed in Genesee County Jail on $2,000 bail.

Brandt L. Arnold, 28, of 752 Reynolds Road, Darien, is charged with harassment. Arnold allegedly grabbed a woman by her wrist, dragged her to the ground and would not let her get up. He is held on $450 bail. The alleged incident occurred Sunday about 11:45 p.m..

John Nicholas Vaccaro, 21, of 7081 Transit Road, East Amherst, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Vaccaro was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation when he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Andrew James Ahmad, 22, of 4120 Gunville Road, Clarence, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Ahmad was reportedly the driver of a vehicle pulled over for an alleged traffic violation. Marijuana was reportedly found in his pants' pocket.

Daniel W. Winters, 25, of 125 Kenwick, Rochester, is charged with DWI. Winters was taken into custody following a traffic stop just after midnight Sunday on Sumner Road in Darien. Winters is also charged with driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. His license was reportedly previously revoked. He was taken to jail on $7,500 bail.

Zachary D. Parisi, 20, of 1752 Broadway, Grand Island, is charged with DWI. Parisi was stopped on Colby Road in Darien for allegedly crossing a double yellow line while driving his 2004 Ford Mustang. Parisi was also charged with driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. The incident occurred at 10:38 p.m. Saturday.

Jesse Matthew Caudill, 28, of 5373 Wethersfield Road, Silver Springs, is accused of causing a disturbance in the beer tent of the Alexander Tractor Pull on Friday night. Caudill allegedly took an open-handed swing at Deputy J.L. Baiocco. Caudill was charged with harassment and issued an appearance ticket.

Ronald E. Quayle, Jr., 42, of 305 Mason Road, Mohawk, was charged with DWI Thursday about 11:45 p.m. following a traffic stop on Route 33 near Lovers Lane Road. Quayle was allegedly driving with a BAC of .08 or greater.  He was also issued a ticket for allegedly driving 67 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone. and a ticket for an alleged failure to keep right.

Charles R. Engel, 39, of 1835 E. Albert St., Philadelphia, Pa., was charged with DWI for allegedly driving  while intoxicated on Main Road in Stafford early Friday morning. He was also charged with driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, speed over 55 m.p.h., driving left of pavement markings and moving from a lane unsafely.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Shop local first and support the businesses that support The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

They're commonly called "bicycle-shaped objects" -- the bikes Wal-Mart sells. They're built and designed to be cheap, not reliable. The same could be said for the lawn mowers you can get at Home Depot -- for $120 to $130 you can get a lawn mower, that if you're lucky, will last the summer, and then you can replace it next year.

People think of the Big Box Stores as low-price leaders, but there's an adage we all know: You get what you pay for.

When you shop on price alone, you may just be throwing your money away.

The advantage of the local retailer is that his or her reputation rests on the products in the store, and the service that goes with the sales.  The typical local business owner went into a particular line of work because that's his passion. He or she is an expert in the field. That passion and expertise makes for a better shopping experience.

And sometimes you'll be surprised -- the lowest prices aren't always at the big boxes.

Here at The Batavian we're thankful for the men and women who own so many of Genesee County's great stores and restaurants, because without them, there would be no site in town like The Batavian.  If you appreciate what we're doing, please support the sponsors listed below, and when you do, please let them know that you saw their ad on The Batavian and it influenced your patronage for that day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Rain doesn't diminish 4th Annual Ramble

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ramble Music & Arts Fest

This video captures just a slice of the early hour or so of the 4th Annual Ramble Music & Arts Fest.  By the afternoon, T.F. Brown's was wall-to-wall music fans both inside and on the patio. The spirit of the event is can only be captured if you show up in person, and from all over the country.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 11:47 am

Seventeen people arrested at Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake

The following arrests were reported in conjunction with the Rascal Flatts concert yesterday at Darien Lake Theme Park:

Crystal M. Parmenter, 23, of 111 Lincoln Mills Road, East Rochester, was charged with harassment for allegedly slapping another person who was in a car while exiting the concert venue.

Gaston R. Prattis, 18, of 247 Erb St. E, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a 17-year-old from Canada were charged with trespass for allegedly climbing into the backstage area. Each was held on $500 bail.

David B. Terrance, 23, of Wheeldon Drive, Rochester, was arrested and charged with exposure for urinating in public.

Landon B. Zeeman, 21, of 2004 Ten Concession, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, was charged with petty larceny for allegedly stealing a can of beer from a concession stand. He is held on $500 bail.

Melissa M. Thompson, 33, of 100 N. Main St., Medina, was arrested for allegedly stealing approximately $3,000 over the course of four years while working as a manager of food service at Darien Lake. She was charged with grand larceny and issued an appearance ticket.

The following individuals were also cited for ABC violations:

August C. Nienburg, 19, of 477 80th St., Niagara Falls.

Brian K. Drylewski, 19, of 474 21st St., Niagara Falls.

Jason M. Hahn, 19, of 1049 101st St., Niagara Falls.

Mark D. Bigley, 20, of 250 73rd St., Niagara Falls.

Brianna J. Cowell, 20, of 58 Coronet St., Tonawanda.

Jennifer C. Malley, 20, of 3349 Wallace Drive, Grand Island.

Carrie L. Schoeping, 18, of 3349 Wallace Drive, Grand Island.

Danielle R. Bruno, 19, of 195 Deerwood Lane, Grand Island.

Plus three people under the age of 18.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 10:32 am

Stafford Fire Department sponsors waterball tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford


The Stafford Fire Department sponsored its annual waterball and volleyball tournaments Saturday at its facility in Stafford.

Alden's department won the waterball tournament this year. 

Waterball is a competition between two teams with fire hoses trying to shoot a ball on a rope from one end of the field to the other. When a team can push the ball against the other team's backboard, that team gets a point.

The charity event helps raise money for Stafford's health and education fund. The fund recently distributed $500 each to cancer patients so they have fuel money to get to and from treatments. Also, each year the fund provides $1,000 college scholarships to a pair of Stafford high school seniors.

Two teams from Stafford and one each from Alden and Elba participated.

Assistant Chief Scott Kibler submitted the pictures.


More photos after the jump:

Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Person struck by lightening outside Wal-Mart

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

A person reportedly suffered only a minor injury after being struck by lightening outside of Wal-Mart in Batavia at about 11:30 a.m.

At this time, no further information is available.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 10:28 am

Ramble moved to T.F. Brown's

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ramble Music & Arts Fest

Because of the weather, the Ramble Music and Arts Fest has been moved indoors to T.F. Brown's on E. Main St.

There is an indoor stage for eletric bands and the acoustic bands are playing on the patio.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the region.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

Eleven arrests reported at Nickelback concert at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in concert, crime, darien lake theme park

Josephine A. Boltz, 25, of 174 Burch Ave., of Buffalo, is charged with DWI following a minor property damage accident at Darien Lake Theme Park during the Nickelback concert. Boltz reportedly had a BAC of .08 or greater.

Other arrests associated with the Nickelback concert:

Joshua R. Handy, 25, of 6 Williams St., Mt. Morris, charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Nolan R. Boughton, 24, 188 Canal St., Lyons, was charged with harassment for allegedly striking a security officer while being escorted from the concert venue.

A 16-year-old from Hamburg was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Richard W. Randall, 32, of 4349 Cemetery Road, Marietta, was charged with charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly fighting inside the concert venue. He is held on $100 bail.

Benjamin Q. Antonucci, 18, of 4192 Broadway, Alexander, charged possession of alcohol by a person under 21.

Christopher J. Burger, 18, of 9393 Stady Road, West Valley, charged with possession of alcohol by a person under 21.

Erica A. Taylor, 31, of 1802 Lodi St., Apt. 2, Syracuse, charged with criminal possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly smoking marijuana in front of her 13-year-old daughter.

Michael Boland, 25, of 1802 Lodi St., Apt. 2, Syracuse, charged with criminal possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly smoking marijuana in front of his girlfriend's 13-year-old daughter.

Matthew J. Pentycofe, 22, of 29 Spencer Court, Batavia, charged with harassment for allegedly pushing and fighting with security guards inside the concert venue. He was held on $300 bail.

Peter B. Vanderwall III, 19, of 47 Seneca Street, Waterloo, is charged unlawful possession of marijuana and with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly smoking and possessing marijuana in front a child under 17 years of age.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 7:56 am

Mercy Flight dispatched to scene of one-car accident in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

UPDATE: Jeremy M. Pysher, 19, of 730 Exchange Road, Attica, was seriously injured and is in critical condition at Erie County Medical Center following a one-car accident on Route 238 this morning at 8:42.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash in which Pysher, driving a 1991 Chevrolet Lumina, drifted across the southbound lane and off the west shoulder of the roadway. The car struck a tree "virtually head-on" and twisted around the trunk of the tree before striking a second tree.

The car caught fire, but the fire was contained to the rear of the engine compartment. 

Pysher suffered unspecified injuries as well as burns to his lower legs.

He was transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

The location of the accident on Route 238 was appoximately 4/10 of a mile south of Griswold Road in Darien.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by Deputy Eric Seppala with assistance from Sgt. James Meier, Sgt. William Scott and Investigator Timothy Weis. Also responding to the scene were the Corfu Police Department, the Darien Fire Department and members of New York State Corrections.

Original post:

A car reportedly hit a tree on Route 238 just south of Griswold Road in Darien.

At least one person is trapped in the car and extraction tools are needed. Mercy Flight has been requested. The car was also reportedly smoldering.

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Friday, July 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Hit-and-run against motorcycle on Walnut St. injures two people

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

An apparent hit-and-run driver injured two people tonight after reportedly rear-ending a motorcycle as it slowed to pass over an unpaved area of Walnut Street.

A witness, Joe Elmore, of Walnut Street, said he heard a loud crack followed by a woman's "blood curdling" scream, and he rushed from his back yard out to the roadway.  He assisted the driver and his female passenger, trying to get a passing BMW to call 911 and and follow the hit-and-run driver. He doesn't believe the BMW driver did either.

Elmore said he screamed at a semi-truck driver to stop and put on his flashers, and he did, to slow down traffic.

The location of the accident, about 143 Walnut St., is the start of a road construction area where the pavement has been completely removed and replaced by stones. There is an at least four-inch drop from the paved area to the rocky surface.

Both Elmore and T.J. McAllister, who lives adjacent the accident scene, said cars continue to come flying down Walnut as if there's no construction at all.

Elmore said the motorcycle driver told him that he slowed when he hit the unpaved area, but the car behind him didn't and plowed right into him.

"He said he did everything he could to protect his girlfriend," Elmore said. "He broke his leg just trying to hold up his bike."

Just in the five minutes or so Elmore, McAllister and myself stood there talking, after the accident scene had been cleared, at least a half dozen cars passed in each direction driving at or above the normal speed limit. One car hit the bump so hard something fall off of it.

Elmore said he wanted attention brought to the street so that people will be more aware that they need to slow down.

A few minutes earlier, while McAllister and I talked, he pointed to a police car pulling away and said, "This was bound to happen. See how bumpy it is. Look at that police car and how much it's bouncing even as slow as it's going. People come through here going twice as fast. It's just crazy."

No official report on the accident is available at this time.

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Friday, July 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Mercy Flight announces open hiring for ground ambulance service

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, ambulance, Mercy Flight

Mercy Flight announced job openings tonight, thanks to its new ground ambulance service, which is scheduled to start serving Genesee County Sept. 1.

We received the following announcement from Wade Schwab with Mercy Flight at 9 p.m.:

Mercy EMS, a ground ambulance service operated by Mercyflight of Western N.Y.  is seeking qualified individuals to fill numerous job opportunities.

The company will be providing ambulance service to all of Genesee County as of September 1st.

The positions will be EMT's, paramedics, paramedic shift supervisors and dispatchers.

There will be open job fairs at the Mercyflight Batavia base at 4781 E. Saile  Dr. Batavia on Wednesday 07/15 and Thursday 07/16 from 6pm until 8pm and on Saturday 07/18 from 9am until 11am.

Anyone interested in these local job opportunities is welcome to attend one  of the sessions.

We'll need to wait until Monday to talk with officials with Mercy Flight to see how the open hiring and job fairs squares with statements previously indicating the organization was looking to hire many, if not all, of Batavia's ambulance personnel.

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Go Art! names new executive director

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, genesee county, GO ART

Kelly Kiebala is the new executive director for Go Art!.

She replaces Linda Blanchet, who retires at the end of the month.

Most recently, Kiebala is executive director of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, and previously she spent nine years as program director for Go Art!

(Originally reported by WBTA.)

(Note: This almost seems like a trade -- We give Orleans County Pat Weissend (who is becoming branch manager for Bank of Castile in Medina), and Orleans gives back to Genesee County with Kiebala.)

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Prior planning averts fire disaster in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, fire

The fire wasn't serious, but a good fire alarm system and regular fire drills certainly demonstrated this morning in Darien how a good fire plan can save lives and protect property.

The 5:30 a.m. fire started in the bedroom of Jeremy Rademacker when a halogen lamp was accidentally kicked to the floor and left on.

The fire alarm in Jeremy's room sounded, but because the alarm is wired into a house-wide alert system, both his father and sister were awakened by the alarm. All three people exited the house safely, with Mr. Rademacker closing the door to the bedroom on the way out, and they met at a pre-designated spot.

The fire caused $10,000 to $15,000 in damage.

WBTA interviewed Genesee County Emergency Manager Coordinator Tim Yeager who credited the family with smart smoke detector installation and prior planning with averting disaster.

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Le Roy photographer's work put on display by Go Art!

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, Darrick Coleman, GO ART, photography

Darrick Coleman, a Le Roy resident who often shares his photos on The Batavian, has some of his work on display at the Shirt Factory Cafe in Medina now through Aug. 31.

There is an opening reception July 18 at 6 p.m.

The show portrays "the beauty that can be found in many backyards in Western New York through all four seasons, but in particular Mr. Coleman's backyard," according to the press release.

The exhibit, titled "Out of Doors," is sponsored by The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The Shirt Factory is located at 115 W. Center Street, Medina.

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

Bergen woman accused of stealing more than $58,000 via the Internet

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

mug-Rowan-Renee.jpgA Bergen woman is accused of stealing more than $58,000 using Internet transfers from an acquaintance.

Renee E. Rowan, 45, of 7527 Gilbert Road, Bergen, allegedly initiated four different transfers of at least $9,000 each.

Rowan was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and is held in Genesee County Jail on $10,000 bail.

The investigation was conducted by Deputy Matthew Butler and Investigator Timothy Weis, with assistance from Deputy Joseph Graff.

UPDATE: I'm not sure if this is related or not, but a reader points out that Rowan owns staubitzofbuffalo.com (WHOIS database).  The other domains that seem affiliated with that business are registered via an off-shore source that apparently hides the true identity of the domain owners. Here's the WHOIS for hartmanmodelboats.com and loyalhannadockyard.com and taubmansonline.com. All three sites have contact information for Rowan.

UPDATE: I just spoke to Investigator Weis and he said the alleged theft was unrelated to Rowan's businesses and there is no further investigation going on related to those businesses.  He said Rowan allegedly had direct access to the victim's account, but it wasn't business related.

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