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Howard B. Owens's blog

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

Photos: Pinewood Derby in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in Cub Scout Pack 23, Le Roy

Here's some photos from a Pinewood Derby this past weekend submitted by Eric Friedhaber. I didn't get a chance to post them sooner, but they're too good not to share. It's Cub Scout Pack 23 in Le Roy at Our Lady of Mercy.

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

SCOPE members lobby in Albany to repeal SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SCOPE

Press release and photo from SCOPE:

On Tuesday, every SCOPE chapter and committee sent a delegation to Albany to meet with senators and assemblymen. A delegation left Le Roy at 4 a.m. with SCOPE members representing Genesee, Orleans and Niagara counties. Some of the issues that were discussed in those meetings included: Full repeal of the SAFE Act; defunding of the SAFE Act; and uniform pistol licensing requirements across New York State with no additional restrictions added by the local licensing.

Photo: Genesee, Orleans, and Niagara SCOPE delegation meeting with Assemblyman Stephen Hawley at his Albany office for SCOPE Lobby Day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm

'Roy Mason' Flip Ad contest winner

We ran a Flip Ad contest yesterday, but I haven't had time until now to count up the entries and find the 18th correct answer to our secret code.

The code this time was "Roy Mason" (a local artist of some reknown).

The winner was Jeffrey Gillard, of Batavia.

We'll send Jeff a check for $25.

Look for another random Flip Ad contest at some time next week.

Remember to patronize the businesses that sponsor The Batavian.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hawley supports bill to assist small business owners

post by Howard B. Owens in business, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today renewed his support for New York’s small businesses as the Legislature begins budget negotiations. Hawley cited his own small business ownership and urged the Legislature to make cutting regulations and taxes for small businesses a priority in this year’s budget negotiations.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business for many years, I know the amount of hard work and determination it takes to succeed in New York’s economic climate,” Hawley said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation and the driving force behind employment and economic growth, and are oftentimes family owned for generations. It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly leadership have, year after year, neglected to enact sweeping deregulation and tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire more employees and compete with larger corporations. My district is home to many small businesses and I will be sure to make their voices heard during this year’s budget negotiations.”

Hawley has received 100-percent ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate for his legislative votes during the 2013-14 year. Hawley also urged other legislators to sponsor and support the Small Business Full Employment Act.

“This legislation provides a comprehensive overhaul of how we regulate and tax small businesses,” Hawley said. “The bill focuses on cornerstones of economic growth such as tax cuts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, repeal of the 18-A utility tax and tax credits for creating new jobs. I urge my Assembly colleagues to support this bill and help our businesses thrive in a less than ideal economic climate.”

Hawley’s comments came on Small Business Day in Albany, hosted by the NFIB. Hawley has been a staunch supporter of the organization’s efforts during his years in the Assembly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Darien Lake once again planning full concert season

The summer line-up for the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center is starting to take shape, with Kelly Clarkson the latest star announced by Live Nation for a show at the amphitheater next to Darien Lake Theme Park.

The Clarkson show is at 7:30 p.m., July 21. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., March 14. Also on the bill, Pentatonix and Eric Hutchinson.

Also on the schedule so far are some Darien Lake regulars, such as Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Zac Brown and Nickelback.

The Van's Warp tour is also returning.

Those shows are listed on the Live Nation Web site.

Darien Lake's site also lists Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts.

The first upcoming show is Debby Ryan and the Neverending at 6 p.m., May 23.

Other acts scheduled are Shawn Mendes, Fallout Boy, Train, Slipknot, Florida Georgia Line, and Darius Rucker.

For dates and times, check the links above.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Do you plan to attend any concerts this season at Darien Lake? To download the app, click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm

American Pickers coming back to WNY, looking for possible locations locally

post by Howard B. Owens in American Pickers, television, tourism

The reality television series "American Pickers," about two guys traveling around the country looking for "rusty gold" -- stuff some might call junk, others call collectable -- is going to make another swing through Western New York and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce was asked to help get the word out.

Producers are interested in hearing from or about interesting people with interesting private collections.

From the press release:

Filming is scheduled to start next month. "American Pickers" is looking for leads and would love to explore what you may have. They are on the hunt for interesting characters with interesting and unique items. Some of what they look for: vintage bicycles, toys, unusual radios, movie memorabilia, advertising, military items, folk art, vintage musical equipment, vintage automotive items, early firefighting equipment, vintage clothing, pre-'50s Western gear.

If you have a large collection or want to refer someone to Mike and Frank, e-mail your name, number, address and description of the collection and photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com, or call 1-855-old-rust.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:36 pm

First company for STAMP project could be named within weeks, Legislature told

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, STAMP

From The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

An announcement of a company to occupy Genesee County’s long anticipated STAMP project in the Town of Alabama could be just weeks away.

The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park has been in the works for years and holds the prospect of hundreds, if not thousands, of high-paying jobs.

Steve Hyde is the president of the county’s Economic Development Center:

“We are weeks away on the final decision on the one we have been working on, less than weeks away. This has been over 12 months we have been working the sales process on this one project. It has been long with multiple versions and very competitive. We have competed against 54 different sites and eight states.”

Hyde issued his annual report to the county legislature’s Ways and Means Committee last night.

The committee went on record opposing a change in state industrial development regulations that would transfer final decisions on state tax breaks from local IDAs to Albany.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Do you think a manufacturing company will commit to STAMP within the next few weeks? To download the app, click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm

A championship weekend for Genesee County

Genesee County will have four teams playing for Section V championships in their respective classes this weekend.

Elba's Lady Lancers plays Jasper-Troupsburg for the Class D1 crown at Letchworth at 8 p.m., Friday. Elba beat Arkport last night 68-36.

Byron-Bergen's Lady Bees take on Mynderse at 1 p.m., Saturday, at Rush Henrietta after winning last night 42-38 over Gananda.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on Genesee Valley in the boys Class D1 championship at 7:15 p.m., Saturday, at Blue Cross Arena. Notre Dame beat Mt. Morris 62-45 to advance. Head Coach Mike Rapone asked that fans be advised that officials are going to clear out the stands at Blue Cross Arena following the completion of the 4:15 p.m. game Saturday. Doors will open for the 7:15 game at 6:45 p.m.

The Batavia Blue Devils go for the Class A2 title at 5 p.m., Sunday, against School of the Arts at Blue Cross Arena. (Click here for coverage of their semi-final game). 

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Batavia girls overcome by Mendon in second half, lost playoff game 57-43

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

The size and speed of Pittsford-Mendon caught up with the Lady Blue Devils in the 4th quarter of their Class B1 Section V semi-final game in Penfield on Wednesday night.

Batavia was outscored 20-11 in the 4th quarter after being held to seven in the third.

"Mendon's girls play defense," said Head Coach Marty Hein. "They know where the screens are going to happen. They get around the screens. It's a totally different level of basketball IQ. They're a well-coached team. They've got a great program, a great feeder program. We weren't getting the same looks we get against other teams. It was a lot more difficult."

The final score was 57-43.

Even as she was constantly harassed and hurried, dogged by defenders and given few opportunities to score, Tiara Filbert still managed six field goals and 16 points on the night, making her the game's high scorer.

Batavia's other scorer, Maddie McCulley hit four field goals and had 13 points.

Significantly, neither girl managed a three-point bucket.

Sam Cecere was held to eight points.

Hein said his team would have benefitted by being a little more patient on offense, setting up more open looks for their scorers.

"I think I'd almost rather have taken 30-second shot clock violations than some of the choices we made offensively, but pressure does that to you," Hein said.

It was a great run for the Lady Devils, which is still a young team. Only three players will graduate off the team. The nucleus is all returners, including Filbert, McCulley, Cecere and Taylor Stefaniak, a freshman who played her way into a starting role over the course of the season and shows a lot of promise as a guard, playmaker and gutsy leader.

To purchase prints, click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Blue Devils put up numbers in the second half to win Section V playoff at Blue Cross Arena

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

Basketball, when played pure and sweet, is five guys on the court coordinated in a single purpose. It's a team game. Wednesday, the Batavia Blue Devils played as a team to pull away from College Prep in the second half to pull off a 58-48 win in the Section V Class A2 Semi-Final at Blue Cross Arena.

Nerves may have gotten to the Blue Devils in the first half, when they played College Prep even through all 16 minutes and finished the half in a 21-21 tie.

"It was a very hard fought game," said Head Coach Buddy Brasky. "No matter how many times you're here, it's hard the next year the first time you come back. It's the big arena. It's the big stage. I thought we played very tentative early, the entire first half. I thought we were more like a deer in headlights, to be quite honest with you. I got after them a little bit at halftime and asked them to forget where we're playing. 'You've been playing the game your whole life. Just play.' "

Play they did. Jeff Redband, harassed on the perimeter by a swarming defense in the first two quarters, started driving the lane. Trevor Sherwood distributed the ball well, frequently finding Malachi Chenault under the board. Greg Mruzcek disrupted on defense and grabbed rebounds. Jerrett Laskett was a motivational spark throughout the game and was a big reason Batavia was even still in the game in the second half.

"He stepped up big time and that's what seniors are supposed to do," Brasky said. "You know, they're boxing and oneing Jeff. He can barely gets a look and when he gets them. He's got to rush them, so he couldn't get in any kind of a rhythm, and Jerrett just made big plays and hit big shot after big shot. You're right, we wouldn't be standing here talking right now if it was for Jerrett."

Laskett finished with 17 points, two assists, two steals and three rebounds. He was 3-5 on three-point attempts.

Redband led the game with 24 points, going 3-8 from beyond the arch. He had 13 defensive rebounds (14 total) to go along with three blocked shots and a rebound.

Chenault has been coming on strong the past few weeks and scored 11 points, several of them on offensive put backs.

"He's been here before and he knows what it takes," Brasky said. "He was in some foul trouble, but he got some put backs and that was just huge."

Before the game, Brasky told Mruzcek he would need his biggest rebounding performance of the season, and so Mruzcek delivered.

"Greg will do whatever I ask him to do," Brasky said. Greg does not care about anything else except for winning. That's all he cares about. If I were tell him to run down the court backwards the whole game, he would do it, and he wouldn't question me. He would just do it. Yes, Greg was huge, his defense and his rebounding and his physicality. He's been doing that stuff for us all year. He doesn't get a lot of notoriety, but he's a huge part of our success."

In the post-game interview, the first words from Redband, who scored his 1,000th career point in the 4th quarter, were praise for his teammates. 

"All I know Jerret and Malachi played their butts off tonight," Redband said. "They played so good, they played so tough, they rose to the occasion. That was a good team that we just beat right there. We had to fight through a lot of obstacles throughout the game. It was a good win."

Laskett, Redband said, was the difference in the first half.

"He was amazing tonight," Redband said. "He kept us in the game when everybody else was perhaps a little bit nervous, or we were just a little bit thrown off by their defense or something, but he kept us in the game and let everybody else get going. That was big tonight."

The senior guard was clearly fired up from the opening tip off.

"I knew this could be my last time playing basketball," Laskett said. "That's it. It's win or go home."

As for Redband, he played varsity for only a few games his sophomore year and was a starter for only his junior and senior year. At the start of the season, he didn't give himself much of a shot at reaching 1,000 points.

He was surprised when he heard the PA announcement in the 4th quarter.

"I didn't even know I was close to be honest," Redband said. "I thought I needed another hundred.
Just to be on that 1,000-point list is just amazing. I didn't think I would get there. It means a lot that I got it."

The next step, a sectional title, will be tough, but Redband thinks the team has it in them to pull it off.

"We've got to keep going doing what we did all year," Redband said. "We can't get nervous. We can't just be robots out there. We've got to make basketball plays. I feel like we did better towards the end of the game driving and dishing to people who were open. Trevor did some good moves and got Malachi open. We were just doing better basketball plays. We've got to keep doing that."

Batavia (18-2) plays School of the Arts (19-2) at 5 p.m., Sunday, at Blue Cross Arena, for the Section V Class A2 championship.

Several of the Batavia players were part of the football team this past season that won a sectional title and advanced to the regional final. They're aware, Brasky said, that they have a chance to be part of history -- the first players in school history with championships in both football and basketball in the same year.

That championship experience is also an advantage for the players, Brasky said.

"I think that helped in the second half," Brasky said. "You're right, they've been to this stage. They've succeeded on this stage, in a different sport, but it carries over. We fell behind. We weren't playing very well, but they didn't panic. They're winners. It goes hand in hand." 

.

To purchase prints, click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 11:02 am

Photo: Former shoe store soon to become laundromat

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

The sign in the window at the former Payless ShoeSource location on West Main Street at Valu Plaza tells it the location will soon become a laundromat.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

Hawley says now is the time for rules reform

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the Legislature to pass a comprehensive Assembly Rules Reform package. Hawley said this legislation cannot be delayed any longer in the wake of major scandals involving top House leadership. The proposals are aimed at greatly improving openness, transparency and accountability.  

“The people of New York deserve a higher standard of government,” Hawley said. “These reforms will stand in stark contrast to the sea of corruption we have seen over the past few years. The public is sick and tired of lies, backroom deals and the secrecy that has shrouded the Legislature for years. It is long past the time to shed some light on our internal workings. I have included my own proposal in this package that would mandate a two-thirds vote in the House to pass a message of necessity.

"This would prevent future abuses such as the SAFE Act from coming to the floor for a vote before proper debate and discussion has been initiated. I am calling on my Assembly colleagues across the aisle, who called for these very same proposals weeks ago, to stand with us today and bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”

Hawley’s comments come after a press conference was held in Albany today by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) to introduce legislation to overhaul the Assembly’s rules. Highlights of the package include term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs, and allowing each member of the Assembly to bring one piece of substantial legislation to the floor for a vote.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:50 am

Water main break reported on Union Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

Press release:

City of Batavia Water Department is repairing a water main break on Union Street this morning. Water service on Union Street between Union Square and Oak Street will be affected until repairs are completed.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

Today's Poll: Are you satisfied so far with the offseason moves by the Buffalo Bills?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls

Answer this question later today on the smartphone app Reacht for a chance to win a $5 gift certificate from Southside Deli. To download Reacht on your smartphone, click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

Batavia man will serve 15 years for armed robberies

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Mark Maltese

At one time, Mark Maltese was a model citizen, his attorney David Pilato told Judge Robert C. Noonan this morning before Maltese was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The 44-year-old Batavia resident had a couple of driving under the influence arrests, but otherwise never had any contact with the law until he decided to start robbing and burglarizing local businesses in order to feed a recently acquired cocaine addiction.

He was educated, employed, a father and a son who grew up loving football and caring about his family, Pilato said.

"His addiction is not an excuse for his behavior," Pilato said. "It explains his behavior."

Noonan said, even so, the crimes committed by Maltese, which he was convicted of at a jury trial in January, were "among the most violent crimes in our criminal justice system" and deserved a significant prison term.

The 15-year sentences were handed down on Maltese's conviction of robbery in the 2nd degree.

The armed robberies were committed over a few days period in November 2013 at the Best Western on Park Road, the 7-Eleven in Oakfield, and the Days Inn on Noonan Drive, Batavia.

Maltese was captured after burglarizing Rent-A-Center days after the Days Inn robbery.

The two 15-year sentences were imposed concurrently, as were the series of two-and-one-third to seven-year sentences for his convictions on burglary, 3rd, criminal mischief, 2nd, and grand larceny, 3rd.

Also in court today: Robert W. Plantiko Jr., 29, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, who entered a plea in January to criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, was sentenced to two to four years in prison. The conviction stems from a Sept. 5 incident on Thorpe Street that led to charges of burglary, 1st, robbery, 1st, menacing, 2nd, assault, 3rd, and criminal mischief.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 10:10 am

City: Trickle of water will help prevent pipes from freezing

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

From Matt Worth, city superintendent of Water / Wastewater:

Over the past week there has been a few reports of frozen water services in the City, the area of Oak Street and Clifton Avenue in particular. Any residents who might have shallow water service or have had an issue in the past should consider running a “trickle” of water in one faucet until temperatures moderate for a few days to avoid freezing. A stream of water smaller than a pencil will typically prevent any freezing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

Today's Poll: Should the minimum wage be raised to $10.50?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls

D&C: Cuomo heads to Rochester to push for minimum wage hike

Answer this question later today on the smartphone app Reacht for a chance to win a $5 gift certificate from Southside Deli. To download Reacht on your smartphone, click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6:58 am

Travel advisory issued for Genesee County (Lifted)

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory for Genesee County:

A travel advisory has been issued for all of Genesee County as of 0540 hrs. There are numerous accidents due to icy road conditions.

UPDATE 6:40 a.m.: Two-hour delays for schools: Batavia City, Attica, Alexander, Elba, Notre Dame.

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: The travel advisory has been lifted. Also, the Richmond Memorial Library has delayed opening until 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6:41 am

Icy road conditions predicted for this morning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo warns of a patchy, freezing drizzle with accumulations of a trace of ice.

Temperatures will be in the low 30s throughout the morning.

Expect slick spots on untreated roads.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6:31 am

Accident with entrapment reported on Route 98, Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

One person is reportedly trapped following a motor-vehicle accident on Route 98 and Edgerton Road, Elba.

Elba fire and Bergen ambulance dispatched.

Also, there's an accident with minor injuries in Stafford, Roanoke Road near Westcott Road. Stafford fire responded to that call.

UPDATE 5:40 a.m.: The person is out of the vehicle. Minor injuries reported.

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