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Howard B. Owens's blog

Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 8:37 am

Police Beat: Batavia woman charged with drug possession

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Sabrina Shumway, 29, of Batavia, is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. Her arrest dates back to an April 17 traffic stop in which she was allegedly found to possess cocaine and marijuana. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Driver expected a right turn from a left turning car in Bethany accident

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany

We have more information on an accident in Bethany we first reported yesterday afternoon.

There were apparently no serious injuries in the accident, which involved a driver following another car expecting the front car to make a right-hand turn on Bethany Center Road, when the car was actually turning left, according to State Police spokesperson Rebbecca Gibbons.

The first vehicle was driven by B.A. Pietrzykowski, 50, of Bethany. The second driver was Charles Fuller, 21, of Castile.

Fuller's car struck Pietrzykowski's vehicle and then drove off the road and hit a utility poll.

The police report hasn't been completed yet, Gibbons said, and it's unknown if any citations were issued.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Charlie Mallow announces retirement from politics

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Charlie Mallow, politics

cmallow.jpgCity Council President Charlie Mallow, who was rumored a few weeks ago to be a candidate for County Legislature, issued a statement moments ago saying that he's withdrawing from elective politics.

He won't seek re-election nor a seat on the County Legislature. Mallow expresses no intention to run for any other office in the future.

He will finish his current term.

Here's his statement:

I appreciate the faith that people placed in me by electing me to a term on City Council and it has been a real honor to serve the last four years. It should not come to a shock to anyone I have ever spoken to but, I will not seek another term. It was never my intention to run  for more than one term and I have no desire to be a politician. My time on City Council has been a life changing experience and I wanted  to thank each and every one of you that gave me the opportunity to represent you. After spending my time on Council, I have a new perspective on small town politics. Batavia is a great place to live and I hope other people will decide to step up and serve our city. I don't believe the public is served well by career politicians and I support term limits. I did consider running for Legislature but, I have withdrawn my name from consideration. I will serve out my current term on Council as promised.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 11:08 am

Signs posted at Mother's saying restaurant closed for remodeling

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mother's Chicken and Fish

mothers_closed.jpgWhen I was in Mother's for lunch on Friday,  Tim Chugg didn't say anything about closing for remodeling.

He did make a remark that I took as more hyperbole than reality that his frustration with the Ellicott Street situation had him thinking about throwing in the towel.

As of at least yesterday, there are signs up at Mother's saying the restaurant is closed for remodeling. A phone call to Mother's gets you a recording of Tim's voice saying that Mother's is closed and they will advertise when they reopen.

John Ferry, who did and may still own Mother's, is out of the area, I'm told, and I'm not sure how to contact him.  Tim Chugg doesn't have a listed number.

So who knows what's going on, but unless Tim is planning something very different for some part of the store, everything seemed in good shape when I was there.

I'm posting this in the hopes that it brings forward Tim or John to provide more details on their plans.

UPDATE: Tim Chugg left me a voice mail a little while ago. "I don't know why you're trying to bring me forward or John. It's real simple, temporarily closed for remodeling. That's it." When I called Tim back, I asked him what kind of remodeling he was doing and he said, "No comment. It's just what the sign says."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:55 am

Masse Gateway assessment changed, could improve grant chances

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project, Rose Mary Christian

Rose Mary Christian's call to RestoreNY about the Masse Gateway Project caused a bit of a stir at the last City Council meeting, but it also helped uncover a mistake in the grant application, Joanne Beck reports.

It turns out, the property in question doesn't carry an assessed value of $825,000, but $278,000.

Both City Manager Jason Molino and City Council President Charlie Mallow said the change in the grant application will actually improve the city's chances of winning funding.

"I think it adds to the application," he (Molino) said Tuesday. "Unfortunately we didn't have a unanimous vote. Overall, it's still a great project; it's got a decent chance of getting funding."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:34 am

Deal of the Day: Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles Gift Certificate

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Deal of the Day

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

The last time I was in Adam Miller, there was a nice croquet set for sale. With grass getting greener, corquet seems like a great idea for some family and friends fun this time of year.

The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. Previous winners of this gift certificate are not eligible for this offer.

Rules: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

SOLD

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:27 am

Police Beat: Man accused of imprisonment in Oakfield

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

Timothy Grice, 47, of Oakfield, is accused of unlawful imprisonment, coercion and harassment for allegedly not letting a housemate leave their residence. Sheriff's deputies responded to the house after receiving a 911 call yesterday at 10:10 a.m..  Grice reportedly punched, kicked and held the housemate. Grice allegedly also tried to grab the phone to prevent the housemate from calling 911.

Ryan L. Krupp, 23, of Batavia is accused of cashing a forged check from another Batavia resident at a local bank. He is charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument and held in Genesee County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Ruben Torres, 19, of Mt. Morris, was stopped in Stafford April 24 at 2 p.m. for an allegedly obscured license plate. During a search, deputies reportedly found marijuana and cocaine. Torres is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Friday: The Batavian turns 1-year-old

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

The official launch of The Batavian was May 1, 2008.

Friday, we celebrate our 1st Anniversary.

We're going to have a little party at T.F. Brown's from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.   We'll provide $200 in finger foods.  If you can make it, you're on you own for drinks or dinner.

I hope you can make it.  Brian Hillabush will be there, but unfortunately, Philip Anselmo has prior plans.

It's been a heck of a first year.  When we launched The Batavian, it was part of a multi-state media company.  Now, I'm the sole propritor.  A year a ago, I couldn't have predicted that -- I wouldn't have wanted to predict that, frankly, though now I'm exceptionally happy with how things worked out.  The Batavian should be independently owned.  I'm proud to own it.

I'm excited about the future of The Batavian.  I can't wait for us to sell our Pittsford house and get moved out to Batavia.  When that happens, I'll be able to do more both on the coverage aspect and for site sponsors.

To all of you who have supported The Batavian over the past year, thank you.  I hope you can make it to T.F. Brown's on Friday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Gas leak in Village of LeRoy last night had Main Street shut down

post by Howard B. Owens in LeRoy

A reader e-mailed us this morning and asked why Main Street in LeRoy was shut down last night.

In response to our inquiry, we just received this e-mail from Deputy Chief Tom Wood:

There was a natural gas leak in the Vintage and Vougue store. The gas leak was in the basement on one of the meters.  Gas odor had spread to to other buildings additional alarm was tramitted for Caledonia and Pavilion Fire Dept.  and residents were evacuated and Main St was shut down for the call.  RG&E arrived and fix the problem

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Burning house in Pembroke last night, just training

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke

A reader sent an e-mail this afternoon asking why we didn't have information today on the full-engulfed house fire on Lake Road in Pembroke last night.

It was news to me. There was no press release, WBTA didn't have the story and neither did the Daily.

Tim Yaeger, office of Emergency Management, said the fire was a routine Monday night training drill.

"It was a house that was damaged in a fire last summer," Yaeger said. "It was used for training purposes."

Our reader writes:

I saw it burning, the entire place was engulfed. I have never seen a house go  up like that one seemed to. The flames were on the outside and going from the  ground up on every wall. Usually houses burn and have some part at least on  the outside without visible flames but not this one. It was a scary scene. 

Too bad we don't have pictures.

UPDATE: The picture below was submitted by Peter Sformo.

pembroke_training.jpg

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Three shopping plazas in Batavia up for sale

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

Three shopping plazas, including Tops, have been put up for sale by the conglomerate that owns them.

The Buffalo News reports the sell-off are part of a larger effort by Developers Diversified Realty Corp. to unload 52 shopping plazas in 20 states, valued at about $1.9 billion. Fourteen are in Western New York.

Also slated for sale locally are Batavia Commons and B.J.'s Plaza.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Two car accident in Bethany, with one running into a tree

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany

There's been a two-car accident at 10537 Bethany Center Road, with one car slamming into a tree.

Initial personnel on scene report two patients.  We've also heard reports that people in the cars have been out walking around, appearing dazed.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Darian hog farmer concerned about Swine Flu news impact on prices

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Darien, Swine Flu

pig_mug.jpgCommodity traders pushed down the price of hogs yesterday and the trend continues so far today, which has Charlie Miller, owner of Willow Ridge Farms in Darien, just a little worried.

Miller's operation sells 200 to 250 hogs every week, and the worldwide recession had already sent prices down from 80 cents per pound two months ago to around 70 cents. Yesterday, prices dropped to 66 cents.

The reason? Panic over Swine Flu.

Never mind that health officials state flat out that the disease cannot be transmitted from eating food. Commodity traders -- who place bets on the anticipated future price of items -- believe the flu scare will deepen a trend of over supply in pork.

Miller said as of this morning, the cash market, the current price of hog meat, had not yet been effected.

"We have six families involved in ownership and operations of the farm," Miller said. "When things don't go well in the market, it impacts more people beyond just individual needs. And it also impacts everybody we do business with."

The National Pork Producers Council reiterated points made by the National Center for Disease Control that eating pork cannot transmit the disease to humans. Further, there is no evidence that the current strain was contracted by humans from pigs.

Miller noted that the current outbreak shouldn't even be called Swine Flu because it is a different strain with more in common with Avian Flu. "It should be called North American Flu," he said.

The World Health Organization has identified only 79 cases worldwide, and the only reported deaths have been in Mexico, according to ABC Radio News.

"Often times things like this happen and people get worried and emotional," Miller said. "I encourage people to use the information from groups such as the Center for Disease Control to make their food-buying decisions."

Photo Illustration courtesy Flickr member The Pug Father.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 11:36 am

Shopping in your hometown has its advantages

post by Howard B. Owens in localism

When you shop at locally owned businesses, you're helping to keep more of your dollars in the local community. A locally owned business owner has made a long-term investment in the community and is more likely to serve on community boards, volunteer for non-profit organizations and donate to local charities.

Meanwhile, out-of-town chains usually employ revolving-door management, will close locations regardless of the impact on the community and often seek tax subsidies out of proportion of the financial benefit to the region.

In fact, large retailers such as Wal-Mart often have minimal impact on an improved job opportunity and revenue growth because of the number of small businesses such big box retailers displace.

These are some of the points made by Stacy Mitchell in The Hometown Advantage, published in 2000 by the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

The subtitle helps tell the story: "How to Defend Your Main Street Against Chain Stores ... and Why It Matters."

Mitchell's suggestions for protecting Main Street range from local solutions such amending master plans to prohibit stores over certain square footage, prohibiting "formula" stores (each location must be unique from other stores in the chain), and up to the state level, which includes additional tax levies on chains that own and operate more than one outlet in the state.

Locally owned businesses are the backbone and heart of economic vitality for any community. The long-term health of a community that has lost its local businesses is sketchy at best.

The Hometown Advantage is out of print, but Erica  Caldwell at Present Tense on Washington Avenue tells me she can easily special order copies. She is also getting into stock the next book by Mitchell, The Big Box Swindle, which goes into more depth on the issue of major chain retailers and their impact on local communities. That's next on my reading list.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

Single car accident this morning reported in Pembroke

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke

The teen-age driver a 1991 Dodge sedan suffered a minor injury in a single-vehicle accident this morning in Pembroke.

Genevieve K. Sprague, 18, complained of back pain after the accident at 2508 Route 5, 200 feet east of West Avenue.

For an unreported reason, Sprague drove the vehicle off the road, struck a utility poll and fence.

A passenger in the vehicle, Michelle Sprague, age unknown, was not hurt the crash.

Both women are from Batavia. The accident was reported at 6:28 a.m.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 7:37 am

Deal of the Day: Mancuso Bowling Center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Deal of the Day, mancuso bowling center

Today's Deal of the Day: Today we have three (3) gift certificates from Mancuso Bowling Center for a Friday or Saturday night "Rock 'n' Bowl."

Value of each is $17. The Batavian good-deal price: $10 each. That's $7 off!.

"Rock 'n' Bowl" runs every Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

SOLD

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 5:57 am

Police Beat: DWI arrest follows report of domestic incident

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Joseph E. Buckley, 47, of Batavia, was arrested yesterday at 5:30 p.m. and charged with a felony DWI. The aggravated charge arose from a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years. He is also accused of consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Buckley was stopped after police received a call about a domestic incident. He is being held without bail.

UPDATE, 10:35 a.m.

Just released: A 17-year-old was arrested April 22 at Batavia High for allegedly possessing marijuana. The youth, from Batavia, is scheduled to appear in court May 6 on the charge.

Monday, April 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Local law enforcement leaders discourage police use of mobile phones while driving

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee County Sheriff

So we here on The Batavian, had some debate over the past day or two about the need/wisdom for hands-free driving rules, whether New York should have outlawed cellphone use while driving.

And that prompted me to note that I've seen a few cops in Monroe County, at least, but none so far in Genesee County, gabbing on mobile phones will driving patrol cars.

That's always bugged me.  I've never gotten a ticket for such an offense, but friends have, and if cops are going to enforce a law, they should obey it.

So I contacted Sheriff Gary Maha and Batavia Chief Randy Baker to see what the local policies are -- not the most earth shaking issue to raise with local law enforcement, but still good information to know.

Sheriff Maha responded via e-mail:

We do have a written policy (copy attached).  Keep in mind  police officers, a peace officer, a member of a fire department, or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle are exempt from this law when acting in the performance of their duties.

Download the PDF of the policy here.

I caught up with Chief Baker after the City Council meeting. He said Batavia PD has no written policy, but he's verbally and strongly encouraged Batavia PD officers to avoid using mobile phones while driving for personal use.

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