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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Le Roy students set to perform Shrek: The Musical

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, Le Roy, theater

"Shrek: The Musical," based on the Dreamworks animated motion picture, is coming to Le Roy. Performances are at 7 p.m. March 5 and 6 and 4 p.m. March 7 at the Le Roy Junior Senior High School Auditorium. Tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the door.

The show is directed by Jacqueline McLean.

Photos from Thursday's rehearsal.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

Water main break on east side of City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, infrastructure

There is a water main break outside City Center on the east side of the mall.

Businesses on the east side are impacted.

Water department crews are on scene.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: Repairs are completed and service is restored.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Rep. Collins critical of FCC net rules plan

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

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reclassify the Internet as a Title II utility.

“FCC actions to reclassify the Internet under Title II pose a direct threat to Internet freedom,” Congressman Collins said. “Today’s vote threatens the innovative culture that makes the Internet one of the world’s greatest technologies. I am disturbed by the lack of transparency involved in this decision process, and am afraid it is a foreshadowing of the big government overregulation that will stem from Title II classification. These actions will add further uncertainty to the net neutrality debate chilling vital private sector investment.

“Here in Congress, under Chairmen Thune and Walden, we have proposed draft legislation that would achieve the goal of protecting Internet consumers through the bright-line rules that net neutrality proponents are calling for in a way that limits burdensome regulations from crushing innovation. This fight is far from over and I will be steadfast in my commitment to keeping the Internet free from debilitating government intervention.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Hawley encourages participation in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in business, education, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. More information about the competition can be found at http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Transcript: State of the County Speech 2015

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, ray cinanfrini

This is a transcript of the State of the County address delivered yesterday evening by Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature:

One year ago, at my first State of the County Address, I indicated how the outlook for Genesee County for the Year 2014 was bright and how I believed 2014 was to be the “Year of Change.” So let’s take a look back and see what transpired:

I stated we were going to begin the process of selling the county-owned Nursing Home. We did that! We have gone through a tedious quality selection process where we submitted an RFP and received eight proposals. We are currently in the process of vetting the final two respondents to ensure a continuity of workforce and quality of care for nursing home residents. The transition of the County Nursing Home to the private sector will ensure a continued “Genesee Centric” service to our frail elderly and a quality of care at or better than the county has been providing -- with good paying jobs in coordinated care with United Memorial Medical Center. We are confident that a choice will be made soon with an expectation that the sale could be completed before the end of this year. When the sale is complete, the County’s “fiscal dark hole” will be closed -- putting an end to spending in excess of $3 million a year of taxpayer dollars to cover the annual deficits incurred in the operation of the home.

I stated that in 2014 the County was going live with our new $10.5 million 800 MHz public radio communications system. The system is now up and running with the addition of three new towers in Alabama, Bergen and Darien to increase reception. We also saw the transition to a new VHF high bank paging solution for our Fire and EMS responders. 

Tourism in Genesee County continued to be strong. Bed tax revenues last year or $443,000 generated an impressive 27% return of $93,000 on our County investment to the Chamber of Commerce of $350,000.

I noted that 2014 was the year the County Legislature was going paperless. Done! We now work off iPads without the endless flow of paper. The process is time-saving, cost-efficient, and utilizes the latest technology available for streamlining both our Committee and Legislator meetings.

Last year we hired or had elected a number of new, young, talented and energetic management employees and Legislators that I referred to as our young guns. Each is now settled into his or her role and they are on their way to becoming our next generation of County leaders. Since my address last year, as a result of retirements, the County has hired three new department heads that I can best describe as middle-aged guns, because they are not only energetic and talented, but each comes with years of experience in his or her field.

Ruth Spink, our new Director for the Office for the Aging served for years under her predecessor, Pam Whitmore. Michael Eula, our new County Historian, has a PhD in history, has published numerous historical articles in several books, and is a former long-term college professor. Jerry Ader, our new Public Defender served for many years as an assistant in the office under his predecessor, Gary Horton. Each has replaced a dedicated and long-serving department head. It is often times difficult to replace the years of experience and skill sets lost upon retirement, but we as a County are fortunate to be able to replace experience with experience and our County leadership remains strong.

On the economic front, 2014 saw some of our lowest unemployment rate in years; the unemployment rate for Genesee County in December 2014 was 5.6%, which was the lowest unemployment rate in our County for December since 2006. The rate was an historic low of 4.8% in August and September and per capita income grew in our County 6.16% in 2014. Our Job Development Bureau placed over 1,900 workers with area businesses in 2014 and we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in the GLOW region.

Agriculture continues to be a driving force of our economy and Genesee County was in the forefront to support our local farmers with soil health workshops put on by our Soil and Water Conservation Board; the legislature also sponsored resolutions in support of Congressman Chris Collins' successful effort to kill the federal EPA Waterway Rule, which if implemented, would greatly increase the cost of doing business for farmers, if not put some of them out of business; and Genesee to college was instrumental in partnering with Genesee Valley Education Partnership to institute a new program called the Agribusiness Academy for high school seniors interested in pursuing careers in the agribusiness field.

2014 saw a concentrated focus on our County Airport for the replacement of the existing terminal and main hangar. The County advertised for bids and over 31 were received with the project bids coming in at $5.9 million (well below engineers' estimates). With $1.2 million in federal and state grants, the County issued bonds in December of last year in the amount of $4.75 million to cover the cost of the project with construction scheduled to begin in March of this year. Our airport continues to be a hub of activity with increased jet traffic from economic development and with numerous entertainment acts for Darien Lake Theme Park using the airport. With all this activity the County generated a surplus in excess of $100,000 from fuel sale receipts and T-hangar rentals.

Genesee Community College continues to give us the best bang for our buck. Last year GCC launched a new food processing technology degree program and with our County support and with significant fiscal support from the GCC Foundation, GCC is expanding with a new Student Success Center and a new Student Wellness Event Center, both scheduled for construction this year.

Economic development thrived in Genesee County in 2014 thanks to the efforts of Genesee County Economic Development Center creating a positive business climate by securing $58 million of new private capital investment including Yancey’s Fancy $20 million expansion project; A $9.8 million expansion of Liberty Pumps and Bergen and a $23 million investment in US Gypsum Company in Oakfield. It was truly noteworthy that $33 million was committed in the 2014 New York state budget for the development of our Western New York STAMP Project in the Town of Alabama. It is been said before but bears repeating that STAMP has the potential to create thousands of good-paying jobs, including thousands of long-term construction jobs, and will have a transformational impact on our economy both locally and statewide.

In last year’s address I stated that the County was heading in the right direction with many positive forces at work. I acknowledge our dedicated and hard-working staff of County employees, department heads and elected officials. With 2014 now behind us, I can look back and say with pride the hard work and dedication paid off. My expectations for success and change were accomplished. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my colleagues on the Legislature and to our County Manager and all our department heads for accepting change and working toward common goals that enable us to end 2014 and to begin 2015 with a balanced budget, a solid AA bond rating, (and) strong reserves in a 2015 budget that included a rare $.18 per thousand tax decrease.

If 2014 was the year of change, I see 2015 as a year of progress. With a multitude of factors at play, we, as a Legislature are again challenged to be innovative and to make more hard decisions that can have a positive effect on moving the County forward. For example, we as a Legislature have recognized that there is an imbalance in our current management salaries. Our non-management employees have the benefit of collective bargaining to address salary issues. There is no such benefit to our management personnel who are literally at the mercy of the Legislature for salary relief. Over the years, because of budget restraints, management has received little or no pay increases, which according to a study we conducted, now puts many of them at or near the bottom of a scale when compared to like employees and like positions in counties similar in size to Genesee County. The Legislature is currently engaged in an in-depth management salary review and hope to bring compensation fairness and equity to our management staff in the very near future.

As indicated earlier, work will begin this year for construction of our new airport terminal and main hangar and for expansion for Student Success Center and Wellness and Event Center at Genesee Community College. Tourism should continue to be strong in our County this year. Two new rides at Darien Lake should spur new visitors and the Chamber’s new collaborative fishing packages with Orleans County looks very promising. This year the county is looking to institute an innovative archery hunt for deer overpopulation and force management at the Genesee County Park in Bethany for four weeks from October 19 through December 15. The Park has become a safe haven for the deer during hunting season and they are feeding on shoots and seedlings threatening the viability of natural reforestation. A loss of new forest growth means a loss of future County income from the sale of timber from the Park as well as degradation of the recreation amenity and forest canopy.

The STAMP project has been recognized by the state and the Finger Lakes Region Economic Development Council is a top priority project for Western New York. Ongoing infrastructure, planning and permitting work continues and GCEDC is aggressively marketing the site in anticipation of attracting its first tenant this year. When that first tenant is on board, the $33 million in the state budget will be released for site improvements to include water, sewer and power. It’s no wonder Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC recently stated the “STAMP is a full-time job for many of us at GCEDC.” I firmly believe that 2015 is the year STAMP comes to life.

With the completion of the sale of our Nursing Home anticipated this year, I believe there is an urgency and a consensus among us as Legislators to leverage the proceeds from the sale to address the much-neglected condition of our 258 centerline miles of County roads and the deteriorating condition of many of our 379 county-owned bridges and culverts. Aside from the tremendous impact the sale of the Home will have on improving County finances, the sale proceeds and subsequent relief from the fiscal “dark hole” it created will allow us the opportunity to achieve both short-term and long-term improvements to our County’s infrastructure. I foresee increased annual funding and the creation of a 5-year capital reserve account dedicated solely for road and bridge repairs. We have procrastinated in this area for too long and if not addressed immediately, it is only a matter of time before public safety is compromised and our roads and bridges crumble before our eyes.

It is difficult to predict in advance how a year will unfold. Factors beyond our control can have a positive or negative impact on our best-laid plans.

For example, this brutal winter what we are experiencing is increasing our costs for fuel, salt, overtime, (and) wear and tear on our equipment. An up or down economy affects our sales tax revenues, job placements and our economic development. Heavy rain, drought or winds can adversely affect our crop production. A rising or falling female jail population affects our County Jail operating expenses.

Just as unpredictable is this State of New York. We have all too often seen how a stroke of the pen in Albany results in increased costs for Genesee County. A prime example is last year when the State unexpectedly mandated that we have to hire an additional 6 full-time correction officers and a jail supervisor at a cost to County taxpayers of over $700,000. In reviewing the Governor’s 2015 budget proposal I continue to see little or no relief for counties from the dreaded State mandates that consume 82% of our tax levy. While touting a $5.4 billion windfall, the Governor does nothing to provide property tax relief. Rather than saddle the counties with unfunded or underfunded mandates, I endorse State efforts to achieve the following: Increase access to broadband to unserved or underserved communities; facilitate NYS’s takeover of indigent defense spending over 3-5 years and relieve the counties' burden; increase the share of revenue counties retain for providing State DMV services.

Did you know under current law New York State takes 87.3% of all fees collected from work performed by county-operated DMV’s and the remaining 12.7% County share has not been increased in 14 years. This is a major inequity when the County DMV provides all the services and the State takes 87.3% of all of the revenue.

I asked the State to increase funding for probation and other alternatives to incarceration. In 2014, our Probation Department utilized its confinement option program that resulted in 848 jail days being saved, which substantially decreased our jail operating expense.

Also, I strongly implore the State to increase state investments and locally owned roads and bridges (for) reasons I previously cited. The State must cease over-regulating our IDAs and live up to its slogan that New York is open for business.

And finally, as I stated last year, the State must repeal the SAFE Act! It’s a law that makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens and is a law that we didn’t ask for and don’t want.

Time does not permit me to dwell on the scope and value of taxpayer-funded County services. Suffice it to say that we as a County are very fortunate to have a workforce dedicated to providing quality and qualified services on a daily basis. Our diverse services include public safety with our Sheriff’s office, our legal and criminal justice staffs, highway crews, (and) emergency providers: they include human services with family assistance Medicaid; child protective services, mental health and veteran services; and also in support services like information technology, our County Clerk, and our County Treasurer, Job Development, Purchasing and Planning. We as a County will continue to support education, agriculture and economic development. Our goal is to keep these services and support flowing and to deliver them in a cost-effective and improved manner.

Like last year, I’m optimistic that this year Genesee County is headed in the right direction. Last year’s changes became this year’s progress. We as Legislators must continue to move forward. Last year I challenged you to be innovative, to not be afraid of change and to be willing to make hard decisions. To your credit, you accepted my challenge. This year I offer you another challenge. If you thought 2014 was a productive year for County government, let’s make 2015 even better, let’s continue to be innovative. Let’s not be afraid to make those hard decisions in doing so, let’s be inspired by the words of Ronald Reagan who wisely stated: “There are no barriers to progress except those that we erect.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:07 am

Pembroke Lady Dragons opens sectional play with win over Sodus

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, high school sports, pembroke, sports

The Pembroke Lady Dragons beat Sodus in a first-round Section V Class C1 playoff game Wednesday night in Pembroke, 69-45.

They took a 46-21 lead into the half.

Olvia Kohorst had 16 points to lead the Dragons. Hannah Duttweiler, 14 and Rylee Moser, 13. 

For Sodus, Jackie Barclay scored 15 and Alexis Jackson 14.

Pembroke (11-9) plays at 2 p.m., Saturday, against East Rochester (18-1) in East Rochester.

Photo and game information submitted by Aaron Burch, athletic director, Pembroke Central Schools.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:50 am

Notre Dame wins 55-29 in opening sectional game

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

The Notre Dame girls basketball team won its first Section V Class C1 playoff game of 2015 with a rout over Williamson, 55-29.

The Fighting Irish took a commanding 31-4 lead into the half.

Shea Norton (#44) hit three threes and had 17 points on the night. Becca Krenzer had 12 and Emma Francis had 11, including a trio of threes.

For Williamson, Kiki Hall had 11 and Maddie Thornson finished with 10.

Next up for Notre Dame (16-4), Byron-Bergen (16-3), at 2 p.m., Saturday at Byron-Bergen.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:24 am

Water main repair underway on Treadeasy Drive

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

The City of Batavia's Water Department is making repairs to a broken water main in the area of Treadeasy Drive this morning. Water service is interrupted on Industrial Boulevard and Treadeasy Drive, primarily south of the railroad tracks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Photos: NCO Club dedication at the VA Hospital in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, va center, VA Hospital, veterans

The VA Hospital in Batavia has a new NCO Club on the third floor thanks to the efforts of residents, staff and several area veterans groups who donated money and material to make it possible. The club will be a place for veterans to gather and socialize while at the VA.

The new club, a converted storage room, was dedicated today with speeches and a ribbon cutting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm

County set to auction off 23 tax-foreclosed properties

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, tax liens

Here's a list of the properties to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Genesee County as part of a tax lien auction at 10 a.m., March 14, at Bontrager's on Wortendyke Road. For more on the auction, which includes City of Batavia tax foreclosures as well, visit bontragerauction.com

Address Town Type Delinquency Value
6287 Knowlesville Rd. Alabama Single family $3,037 $37,800
Bowen Rd. Alexander Vacant land $3,493 $29,000
Route 98 Alexander Vacant land $1,064 $3,400
11098 Route 98 Alexander Single family $6,342 $61,500
6859 Route 237 Byron Single family $10,247 $45,300
6371 Freeman Rd. Byron Single family $10,439 $50,000
6062 Oak Orchard Rd. Elba Mobile home $1,141 $4,000
5054 Hundredmark Rd. Elba Seasonal residence $2,851 $7,000
7150 Weatherwax Rd. Elba Single family $1,970 $5,000
7011 W. Main Rd. LeRoy Commercial $128,512 $375,000
9339 Warsaw Rd. LeRoy Mobile home $2,314 $19,500
10875 South Lake Rd. Pavilion Mobile home $9,837 $86,000
1448 Indian Falls Rd. Pembroke Single family $6,288 $83,200
8576 N. Lake Rd. Pembroke Old church residence $3,977 $30,000
Alleghany Rd. Pembroke Vacant land $3,227 $21,300
Genesee St. Pembroke Vacant land $551 $500
Clinton St. Rd. Stafford Vacant land $2,084 $2,700
6224 Route 5 Stafford Vacant land $20,309 $6,200
Spring St. Bergen Village Vacant land $1,424 $5,300
29 LeRoy St. Bergen Village Vacant land $2,084 $8,900
42 South St. LeRoy Village Single family $23,693 $77,000
19 Munson St. LeRoy Village Single family $14,769 $76,700
9266 Robbins Rd. LeRoy Village Single family $27,086 $28,000
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Hawley says Cuomo playing politics with tuition assistance

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s budget negotiation tactic of tying funding for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to passage of the DREAM Act. Hawley said we shouldn’t play politics with college students’ education and it is wrong to link such a vital higher education program to the passage of a politically tumultuous initiative.  

“It would be wrong to jeopardize TAP funding, which hundreds of thousands of college students rely on every year because the governor wants to pass a politically controversial initiative,” Hawley said. “With the cost of college and university tuition continuing to rise and student loan debt at an all time high, it is insulting to hold this funding hostage in exchange for providing illegal aliens access to taxpayer-funded tuition assistance. The average TAP award per student is upwards of $2,500 which, if not available next year, could lead to hundreds of thousands of students being unable to attend a New York college or university.”

Hawley’s comments come after Gov. Cuomo released his 30-day amendments, which link passage of TAP funding to several education initiatives, including the DREAM Act. The 2015-16 Executive Budget proposal includes an additional $27 million in TAP funding for the DREAM Act.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Law and Order: Driver of car found on snow bank charged with DWI

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

Anthony W. Janda, 37, of Gasport, is charged with DWI, speed unreasonable, failure to use designated lane and driving across hazardous markings. Janda's vehicle left the south shoulder of Route 5 in Pembroke and struck a snow embankment. Upon a trooper's arrival, Janda was in a Mercy EMS ambulance. The trooper said he detected "an overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage." The trooper administered two field sobriety tests and a breath test, which indicated alcohol consumption. Janda was transported to ECMC as a precaution and reportedly refused a blood test for the trooper, though the hospital had already drawn blood.

Vanessa Lynn Silvernail, 29, of Meadow Farm North, North Chili, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, moving from lane unsafely and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Silvernail was arrested following an investigation into a one-vehicle accident in which the vehicle left the roadway on North Road, Town of Le Roy, and went into a ditch at 12:30 a.m. The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Loftus.

Annie E. Johnson, 86, of Milbank Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an overnight parking ticket in the city. Johnson turned herself in and was released on $100 bail.

Christina M. Sanchez-Anderson, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a possession of stolen property, 5th, charge. Sanchez-Anderson turned herself in, was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance.

Lee Edward Richeson, 53, of 8th Street, Canisteo, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes. Richeson was stopped at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday on Route 77, Pembroke, for an alleged traffic violation by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Farm Bureau president lays out legislative agenda for 2015

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, elba, NY Farm Bureau

Heading into the 2015 legislative session, the top priority for the New York Farm Bureau is immigration reform, said Dean Norton, bureau president, during a media conference call this morning.

The Elba resident is in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with members of New York's congressional delegation to represent farmers' interests.

"We need a stable, legal, reliable workforce," Norton said. "What we have now is broken. A stable workforce on our farms means a stable rural economy."

The Farm Bureau is calling on Washington to create a visa program or temporary worker program that will make it easier for farmers to hire and retain farm workers and not worry about all of their workers being taken away by immigration officials without notice.

"Everybody (in Washington) understands there's a problem, but neither side trusts and has faith in the other side to deal fairly," Norton said. "Both sides want to hold immigration as a political football."

The Farm Bureau is also looking for clarification from the FDA on food safety rules and there's been some progress on that front, Norton said.

Until recently, a small dairy farm with gross revenue of $500,000 that also grows a few strawberries for a fruit stand would face reams of regulations for the strawberry operation, but the FDA will start to apply those rules to $500,000 per crop, so the strawberry operation would not be covered in that circumstance.

Still a top priority for the Farm Bureau is the EPA's proposed rule change on what constitutes navigable waters. Farmers remain concerned that rule changes would bring into regulation small --- even very small -- bodies of water on farms.

"We continue to push the EPA for a clarification on the rules," Norton said. "Of the comments sent in by individuals, 58 percent of the comments ask the EPA to start over and become better partners with agriculture and come up with rules that are better for everybody."

Also on today's conferance call was Elisabeth Walters, director of national affairs, who said the Farm Bureau is paying close attention to the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, and is pushing for trade reform and reforms in tax structure to encourage more farmers to donate crops to local food pantries.

Norton said farmers want greater access to foreign markets, which means trade agreements, and the president should have greater authority to reach trade deals. 

Rep. Chris Collins has publicly opposed the idea, and Norton said he would be meeting with Collins today to discuss the issue with him.

"The reason we're in favor of it is that our trading partners want to deal with one person, not negotiate with 365," Norton said.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Snow plow driver in Elba complains about resident repeatedly blowing snow in the road

post by Howard B. Owens in elba

Law enforcement is being dispatched to Batavia Elba Townline Road near Pekin after a highway worker reported he had a confrontation with a resident who is blowing snow in the road.

The worker said this isn't the first time the issue has come up.

"He gave it to me and I gave it right back to him," the worker told dispatchers.

The worker said the resident videotaped the encounter.

"He's putting the hazard right back in the road," the worker said.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 11:34 am

Pembroke and Byron-Bergen open tournament play with battle to the end

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, byron-bergen, high school sports, pembroke, sports

Two teams, evenly matched, made for action-packed basketball at Byron-Bergen Tuesday night, but a 14-2 run in the second quarter made all the difference for Pembroke as the Dragons pulled out a 51-45 win in a first-round Section V playoff game.

Byron-Bergen and Pembroke came into the game as the #8 and #9 seeds, both with 7-12 records and having split their two regular season contests.

"We know everything that they're running," said Chad Smith, Bees head coach. "I mean, he had to change up his pace and we were able to adjust to it. We figured it out. We did a great job. He knows pretty much what we're doing. We worked them down to five seconds on the shot clock a lot throughout the night, but they had guys come up big."

Smith and Pembroke Coach Matt Shay agreed that the turning point was the second quarter, when shots stopped dropping for the Bees and the Dragons got hot.

"We really locked down defensively and that was huge because they made some shots in the first quarter and I told the guys after the first quarter, I thought we were playing solid defense, but they were just making tough, good shots, good offensive plays. I told the guys, 'stick with it.' I think the defense looked pretty good and eventually those percentages even themselves out."

The game wasn't really decided into the closing second, but Byron-Bergen wasn't able to run its plays to get some scores.

Smith realizes he has a young team and he's eager to start off-season work with his returning players with an eye toward a stronger 2015-16.

"We've got a great group of kids," Smith said. "They work their tails off for me. I knew it was going to be a fight. They weren't going to give up at all until the end. I'm very proud of our guys.
I think we're moving in the right direction."

For Pembroke, Ryan Cansdale had 16 points, Zack Von Kramer, 10, and Kyle Ludwig hit three triples on his way to a 10-point game.

For the Bees, Steele Truax had 11, and Brandon Burke and Adam Strassner had 10 each.

Next up for Pembroke at 7 p.m., Friday, is #1 seed Mynderse (15-4). 

Shay knows it's going to be a tough game for his young team.

"We're definitely the underdog, which is OK with us because we've been an underdog team for most the season," Shay said. "I don't try to focus too much on the other team. We will get focused on what we do and execute on what we do rather than concentrate on what they do."

To purchase prints, click here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Pictures: Community art displays from Jackson School students

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Jackson School, schools

Ella, Mrs. Shuknecht’s First Grade
My Snowman
My snowman’s name is Krystal. She is fancy and happy.  She likes to wear bows and a hat. Her favorite food is ice cream cake. When it is cold outside she likes to have snowball fights and go snowboarding. 

Parris, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Grandma’s House
I went to my grandma’s house. It was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my grandpa and grandma. It was good. I had turkey and mashed potatoes with them. Next, I played at the park with my friend, Emma. We played on the monkey bars. Last, I went to feed the ducks. I fed them bread.  I had a great time at my grandma’s. I hope I can visit them again soon. 

Martha, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Papa’s House
I went to my papa’s house and it was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my papa and my grandma. It was delicious. Next, we watched the Croods. It was a funny movie. Last, they took me to the park. I went on the swings. I had fun at the park. I had a great time at my papa’s house. I hope I can visit him again soon. 

Jay’lee, Mrs. Mattice’s Kindergarten
Penguins
Penguins can swim. 
Penguins have blubber. 
They have claws. 
They have beaks. 

Trey, Mrs. Wolff’s Kindergarten
Seasons
My favorite season is summer because I play baseball with my brother, mom and my dad.

Brandon, Mrs. Colvin’s First Grade
How to Build a Snowman
To make a snowman I would first roll three snowballs. One big, one medium and one small. Then, I would stack them. The biggest on the bottom, then the medium and finally the smallest on the top.  I would decorate. My arms would be sticks. My nose would be a carrot. My eyes would be coal.  My mouth would be rocks. I would do a scarf with a zigzag design. I would name my snowman Snowy and give him a hug. 

More after the jump:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Law and Order: Buffalo man allegedly found with 4,600 untaxed cigarettes

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, Le Roy, pembroke

Zaid Amhad Alhariri, 47, of Dodge Street, Buffalo, is charged with possession of more than 4,600 untaxed cigarettes. Alhariri was stopped for alleged traffic violations at 12:23 p.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. He was allegedly found in possession of 4,600 untaxed cigarettes with a value of $1,055.

Cindy Lou Bush, 63, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with five counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Bush was allegedly involved in an incident at 7:30 p.m. Monday at a residence on Oak Orchard Road, Elba, with five other people, all who are the subject of a complete stay away order issued to Bush.

Annette Monique McMillian, 30, of Elmdorf Street, Rochester, is charged with scheme to defraud, 1st, petit larceny and issuing a bad check. McMillian was arrested on a warrant after turning herself in to Monroe County Probation. She was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and jailed on $1,000 bail.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Sentencing delayed for woman in animal abuse case

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Nina Kelso isn't sure she should have entered a guilty plea in October to one count of animal cruelty, the Batavia woman indicated in City Court today as she wiped away tears.

She told Judge Robert Balbick that she wanted a new attorney before being sentenced on the conviction.

"I need somebody more suitable for somebody who attends mental health and needs more help with the case to be able to show their innocence and not be pretty scared into taking a plea," Kelso said.

Under no circumstances, Balbick told her, would she be allowed to withdraw her guilty plea, nor would he assign a new county-paid attorney to her, but he did give her two weeks to hire her own attorney.

In October, Kelso entered a guilty plea on an Alford basis, meaning she admits she would likely be found guilty by a jury, but did not admit to the facts of the case.

It's been a year since Kelso was first accused of mistreating her former dog, Fox'r. Fox'r was found by an animal control officer extremely malnourished at Kelso's residence.

Kelso maintained that Fox'r had eaten something that made him sick.

Today, Kelso said she felt pressured to enter a guilty plea because she said her attorney -- her second attorney on the case -- had told her if she didn't plead guilty, she would likely be found guilty by a jury and sent to jail once convicted.

Balbick reminded Kelso that when he accepted her plea, she questioned her about her understanding of the plea and her confidence in her attorney.

"If you had given any indication you were not making the plea voluntarily, I would not have taken the plea," Balbick said. "We went through the entire plea process very, very clearly."

The plea deal required Kelso to surrender ownership of Fox'r, who had been languishing in the animal shelter for eight months, so he could be adopted by a new family. It also came with a stipulation that Kelso would not be sent to jail.

Kelso is scheduled to reappear in City Court for sentencing in two weeks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

City set to auction off houses for unpaid taxes, turn three over to Habitat for Humanity

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity

The city's tax lien auction list for 2015 includes 12 parcels, with five single-family homes and two commercial buildings.

City staff is also recommending the sale of three vacant homes in poor condition to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation and sale to a low-income family.

There's also a piece of vacant property on Law Street next to the city's current yard waste collection center -- the center is on leased land -- that may be suitable for a new yard waste facility.

These four properties aren't included on the list of properties slated to be auctioned off March 14 at Bontrager's on Wortendyke Road, Town of Batavia.

In a memo to City Council, City Manager Jason Molino noted that the city has previously sold seven single-family homes to Habitat for Humanity, and these homes have been successfully rehabilitated and occupied, increasing the average assessment by 38 percent.

The three properties to be offered to Habitat this year are:

  • 54 Oak St., which has been vacant since March 2011, for $2,500
  • 131 Pearl St., which has been vacant since August 2012, for $1,000
  • 240 State St., whose owner died, for $2,500

The foreclosed properties slated for auction are:

Address Type Delinquency Value
214 Ellicott St. Commercial $13,396 $70,000
Ellicott Street, rear Vacant land $2,923 $31,000
Hall, City Centre Commercial $1,146 $10,000
30 Hutchins Place Vacant land $2,458 $3,600
26-28 Hutchins Place Vacant land $17,421 $35,000
South Main St. Vacant land $88 $100
159 Bank St. Single family $22,017 $72,000
33 Clinton St. Single family $37,630 $79,000
42 Lyon St. Single family $24,479 $69,000
27 Oak St. Single family $31,817 $60,000
210 Ross St. Single family $32,532 $68,000
214 Swan St. Two family $32,532 $68,000
141 Liberty St. Vacant land $9,325 $6,800

As in previous years, buyers will be reviewed by city staff and the city reserves the right to reject a purchase a buyer it believes is not qualified to maintain the property.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

City, mall merchants appear ready for mediation on long-simmer disputes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, city centre, mall merchants association

So far, attorneys have been paid a combined $207,000 for the City of Batavia and the Mall Merchants Association to battle in court over who is responsible for what in the rapidly deteriorating structure.

There's a chance now the case may go to mediation, the City Council was informed Monday night.

After losing a motion for a summary judgement, City Manager Jason Molino said the MMA is willing to submit to mediation. 

A final agreement on mediation has not be completed.

The city and MMA have locked horns over responsibility for concourse maintenance, major repairs, ownership and governance.

In 2009, the MMA filed suit against the city.

Since then, the city has spent $104,199 on legal fees, while the suit has cost the mall merchants $103,317, according to Molino's memo.

"A thriving and healthy City Centre is critical to the City's downtown revitalization, and the City is very interested in an overall resolution that will best support long-term and prosperous solutions for all parties involved," Molino wrote.

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