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Howard Owens's blog

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 4:38 am

Fire heavily damages barn on Brown Road, Corfu

The initial call came in as a chimney fire, but when East Pembroke Fire Chief Don Newton first got on scene he could see it was more than just the chimney on fire. Nearly the entire back wall of the barn at 2689 Brown Road, Corfu, was on fire.

He immediately called for a second alarm.

Firefighters were initially hampered by a lack of water, so Newton called on more tankers from neighboring departments.

But even facing these difficulties, the volunteer firefighters were able to save much of the structure and most of the contents, including a 40-foot yacht.

Besides East Pembroke, the departments responding were Corfu, Pembroke, Indian Falls, Town of Batavia, Alexander and Darien.

Mercy EMS also responded.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

(Initial Report)

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 12:46 am

Smoke reported coming from barn on Brown Road

post by Howard Owens in corfu, fire

There is reported smoke coming from the barn at 2689 Brown Road, Corfu.

East Pembroke fire and one engine from Corfu dispatched.

Mercy EMS also dispatched.

UPDATE 12:49 a.m.: A responding chief warns of slick roads in route to the scene. More manpower requested to East Pembroke's hall.

UPDATE 12:51 a.m.: Working chimney fire in the barn. Heavy smoke showing. East Pembroke chief requests a second alarm.

UPDATE 12:58 a.m.: Pembroke dispatched to the scene. Town of Batavia to stand by in East Pembroke's hall.

UPDATE 1:04 a.m.: Town of Batavia tanker requested to the scene.

UPDATE 1:08 a.m.: Indian Falls is responding.

UPDATE 1:15 a.m.: Firefighters are having water supply issues. More tankers requested to the scene. Another pumper requested from Pembroke to set up a hydrant draw site. Fire now breaking through one of the walls.

UPDATE(S) by Billie 1:24 a.m.: The fire has broken through another side of the barn.

UPDATES 1:43 a.m.: Heavy smoke and flames are coming out of the east side of the barn. Alabama is requested to have an engine fill in at East Pembroke's hall.

UPDATE 1:52 a.m.: Initially, the property owner did try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but realized the effort was futile and he got out of the barn safely.

UPDATE 2:12 a.m.: A lot of white smoke is still coming from the back of the barn, but no flames are showing at this point.

UPDATE 3:02 a.m.: National Grid is called to the scene to cut power to the barn and to find out why there's no power at the house. It's unclear if power is out at other properties in the immediate vicinity.

UPDATE 3:10 a.m. (by Howard): Fire is out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Rollover accident with possible injury reported on Lewiston Road

post by Howard Owens in batavia, accident

A rollover accident is reported in the area of 7714 Lewiston Road, Town of Batavia, and dispatchers believe there is one injury.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:51 p.m.: A responding chief warns responding units to proceed with caution. The roads are very icy, he said.

UPDATE 10:54 p.m.: The assignment is being held to Engine 23 and Engine 24.

UPDATE 11:22 p.m.: Town of Batavia back in service.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Caution, slippery roads tonight

post by Howard Owens in accidents, weather

From the National Weather Service:

Areas of wet snow this evening have at least partially melted on road surfaces...and for those roadways that remain untreated...This will lead to some black ice as temperatures settle below freezing. At higher elevations...untreated roads will be snow or slush covered. This will especially be the case for the higher terrain south of Buffalo where several inches of snow has fallen since 4 p.m. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destinations and pedestrians should use extra caution if walking over untreated pavement.

The Sheriff's Office is working a property damage accident that is actually two accidents in one location, involving a pole with power lines. I don't have the location. A tow truck is delayed getting there because it's pulling a car out of a ditch in the Town of Batavia. There was also a property damage accident in the city (hit-and-run).

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Photos: Medical field job fair at GCC

post by Howard Owens in employment, GCC, jobs

GCC hosted a job fair this afternoon for those seeking careers or new jobs in the healthcare fields. About two dozen employers had information available and dozens of job candidates came through the forum during the fair.

GCC will host a job fair for general employment opportunities in the region April 10.

If you're in the market for a job or for employees, be sure to check out our new employment Web site for the region, GLOWJobs.net.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:29 am

Four teams advance to semi-finals of mock trial competition

post by Howard Owens in batavia, bergen, byron, mock trials, pembroke

The quarter finals of the GLOW-region mock trials were held Wednesday night in the Genesee County Courthouse.

The winners were:

  • Batavia, 2-0 with 121 points
  • Byron-Bergen, 2-0 with 108 points
  • Attica, 1-1 with 112 points
  • Pembroke, 1-1 with 104 points

The semi-finals are Monday in the Wyoming County Courthouse. The cases start at 5 p.m.

The case this year involves a lawsuit filed by a farmer over nearby hydrofracking.

To purchase prints, click here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:14 am

Ranzenhofer announces Earth Day Poster Contest

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

Senator Mike Ranzenhofer today encouraged local student entries for the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest, a statewide competition that raises student awareness of recycling and waste reduction.

“The New York State Senate takes this opportunity to celebrate the great strides New York has made in helping to improve our environment. By educating students about the importance of recycling, they can be a part of the many New Yorkers who are already helping to make a difference,” Ranzenhofer said.

The Earth Day Competition is for schoolchildren in grades K-6. Students are encouraged not only to be creative, but also to convey a real commitment to making the environment a better place. Entries should be photographed and submitted electronically, preferably in jpeg or pdf format, via Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov. All submissions must be uploaded by April 11, 2014.

“The Earth Day competition encourages the exchange of ideas among schools, children and adults and inspires creative thinking about solutions to the environmental challenges we face in the 21st Century. Teaching children about the importance of recycling and waste reduction is critical, and I encourage children to submit their own poster,” Ranzenhofer said.

The theme of this year’s competition is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The winning posters will be displayed at Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site. All participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Since then, more than 20 million Americans have participated in the annual day, helping to improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. In addition, landmark legislation has been passed to help support this effort, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of fighting with police

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Oakfield
Tyquawn D. Bethel

Tyquawn D. Bethel, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal trespass, 2nd, and petit larceny. Officers were dispatched to an address on Prune Street for a report of an argument at 10:06 p.m. Tuesday. Bethal allegedly entered the residence uninvited and refused to leave. Bethal allegedly argued with a person at the residence. He allegedly grabbed money from the purse of the resident and then attempted to leave with the money. When patrols arrived, Bethal was allegedly combative with officers and refused to comply with verbal commands. Bethal allegedly initiated a fight with the officers. Children were allegedly present during the scuffle. He was subdued and taken into custody. Bethal was jailed on $2,500 bail. The investigation was handled by Officer Kevin DeFelice and Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Robert L. Peachey Jr., 30, of Gibson Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Peachey is accused of stealing a bottle of Jack Daniel's Honey from YNGodess on Feb. 28. (Previously)

Shaumyk Antonio Santiago, 21, of St. Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with burglary. Santiago is accused of forcing entry into a residence on Tinkham Drive, Darien, on or about Dec. 27, and stealing handguns, cash, jewelry and other property. Santiago was arraigned, released on his own recognizance and turned over to another police agency on unrelated criminal charges. A second arrest in the case is pending. The investigation was conducted by Investigator William Ferrando and Sgt. Ron Meides.

Christopher M. Colantonio, 34, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. Colantonio was arrested on a bench warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Elizabeth A. Denise, 33, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Denise turned herself in. She was released on $100 bail.

Kevin R. Baumgarte, 39, of Birchwood, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, passing a red light, leaving scene of a property damage accident and failure to keep right. Baumgarte was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident on South Main Street at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Batavia patrols subsequently located Baumgarte. The accident was investigated by Officer Eric Foels.

Micahel Samuel Yamonaco, 41, of Trumbull Street, Mount Morris, Kathleen Melissa Pritchard, 35, of Spartan Drive, Farmington, Aaron Michael Higgins, 34, of Genesee Street, Piffard, and Miranda Ariene Ralston, 27, of Genesee Street, Piffard, are all charged with grand larceny, 4th. The four suspects are accused of stealing a TV from the Batavia Walmart. They were arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and found with the allegedly stolen TV. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

No injuries reported in rollover accident on Thruway near Kelsey Road bridge

post by Howard Owens in batavia, accident, east pembroke, thruway

A vehicle, possibly a tractor-trailer, has reportedly rolled over on the Thruway near the Kelsey Road bridge. There are no injuries reported.

The mile marker is reported as 393.4.

East Pembroke fire was originally dispatched, but the accident has been determined to be in the Town of Batavia's district, so that department is being dispatched.

UPDATE 10:32 a.m.: Mercy medics confirm no injuries. State troopers on scene indicate a fire department response is not required. East Pembroke chief already well in route is continuing to confirm.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

A new way for regional employers and job seekers to find the perfect employment matches

post by Howard Owens in business, GLOW, GLOWJobs.net

It's important, we think, that our regional economy grow. We work constantly to promote local businesses, but an important part of that picture is seeing people find good jobs and employers finding the right people to hire. As long as I've been running The Batavian, I've wanted to launch a regional employment Web site.

There's been a missing link, I think, in between Rochester and Buffalo, for finding and posting jobs in our rural counties.

I searched a long time for the right technology platform for such a site and I think I found it with a company called Real Match.

Today, with their help, we're launching GLOWJobs.Net.

Job Seekers: If you're both actively looking for a job or just want to keep your name out there waiting for the next great opportunity in your career, you'll love GLOWJobs. You can post your resume and have the site's technology match your qualifications with the right available jobs and then apply online. If you don't find the right match right away, the search engine will be working away in the background 24/7 watching for good job matches for you as they become available in the network.

Employers: Now you have a one stop, local shop to post your openings and have them distributed across thousands of job boards, including ones specializing in your industry, along with promotion on social media sites. You will also have access to our resume database and receive notifications of potential candidates with the right qualifications for your jobs. The job-matching engine will also notify you of potential candidates on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

Several wells in Batavia-Oakfield, Lewiston Road area test positive for bacteria

post by Howard Owens in batavia, environment, Oakfield, water

Press release:

Several of the initial water samples collected this week from private drinking water wells located near Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road -- east of Route 63, and Lewiston Road south of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road -- have confirmed bacteriological contamination of coliform bacteria and E. coli. Residents who had their water tested and confirmed positive have been notified at this time. These organisms can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants and people with compromised immune systems. Residents in this area who are experiencing these symptoms should contact their medical provider.

Although the contamination has been confirmed, the exact origin and extent cannot be determined without further analysis, the Genesee County Health Department will assist the Department of Environmental Conservation in this process in the near future.

Impacted residents are urged to continue to follow the instructions below until their water can be confirmed safe to drink. With the extent of the contamination unknown at this time, re-occurrence of contamination is possible.

If you are living in the identified area and would like your well water tested, please contact the Genesee County Health Department at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5525. There is no charge for this testing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:45 am

Town of Batavia fire lays out plans for new Station 2 in Stringham Drive area

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire

The ball is rolling on a new fire station in the Stringham Drive area for the Town of Batavia Fire Department.

The first steps were taken toward plan approval last night at the Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting when the board agreed to seek lead agency status for the environmental review process.

David Morrill, building committee chairman for the department, presented initial site plans to the board during the meeting.

The department has acquired 12 acres between Clinton Street Road and Stringham. The acreage runs west roughly to the area of North Street, but the back of the lot won't be used by the department. The seller didn't want to keep the potentially landlocked parcel. The department may someday sell that portion of the property.

The plan calls for a firehouse with drive-thru bays large enough to accommodate a new engine and a new ladder truck, as well as space for administrative offices, a kitchenette, a turn-out gear room, a washroom and storage.

The primary entrance and exit will be on Stringham with a secondary driveway on Clinton Street Road.

The new station will replace a small firehouse at the corner of Stringham and Clinton.

"We've long since outgrown that station as our trucks have gotten bigger and our equipment has gotten more specialized," Morrill said.

Besides conducting fire calls out of the station, the department will use the facility twice a month for Monday night training, which usually runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

"Other than that, you'll hardly know we're here," Morrill said.

There will be no big fundraisers held at the new station, no carnivals, and the annual Harley Raffle will continue to be held at Station 1 on Lewiston Road.

"There will be no Ferris wheels in your back yard," Morrill said.

With growth at the ag park, fire officials see the need for a ladder truck on the east side of the Town of Batavia. The location, however, needed to be on the college side of the train tracks running through the town to aid in responses to GCC and College Village.

The department plans on acquiring a 75-foot "straight stick" (no platform) ladder truck within 12 to 18 months. It will also purchase a new, larger rescue truck.

The department will retain the old fire station at Stringham and Clinton for the time being. It will be needed for storage once the department's current rec hall on Lewiston Road is torn down to make room for a new station there. Long-term, the department hasn't decided what to do with the property.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

Batavia Daily News names new publisher

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Daily News, business

Watertown-based Johnson Newspapers has selected the former publisher of Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times to head its Batavia-based news operation, which includes the Batavia Daily News and the Livingston County News.

Michael D. Messerly led the 12,000 circulation paper for three years. His prior experience includes time in the digital divisions in two other newspaper companies, Morris Communications and Gannett.

Messerly claims to be a digital publishing expert who has grown revenue and audience in his previous jobs.

According to Quantcast, the Portsmouth paper, with a slightly larger print circulation than the Daily News, has 70,000 unique visitors monthly compared to 98,000 for the Daily News. Quantcast measures 129,000 monthly unique visitors for The Batavian.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

Progess being made toward reopening Bed, Bath & Beyond, but it's slow going

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Town Center, Bath & Beyond, Bed, business

It's hard to say when Bed, Bath & Beyond will reopen in Batavia, but it will be awhile, the town's building inspector told the Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday night.

It's not as simple as it might seem after a fire in a commercial structure to get the store ready for customers again, said Dan Lang.

"It's a full revamp of the store," Lang said. "It's not a quick process. It will be roughly the same layout, but there's a lot of components that go into a structure to make it safe and sound again that they have to look at when there's been a fire."

All of the electrical has to be inspected and possibly replaced. The fire walls need to be replaced. The duct work must be examined and possibly replaced. The fire suppression system may need to be replaced. And, of course, all new fixtures and shelving must be installed.

The store was heavily damaged by smoke, fire and water in January. It's been closed since.

Lang said contractors are on the job trying to get the store ready to reopen, it's just a long process. He said Batavia Town Center's owners, COR Development, have been cooperative and easy to work with throughout the process.

It's also a learning experience, Lang said, because a commercial structure fire isn't something the town has had to deal with in more than 20 years.

"Things are moving, but they're going to move slow," Lang said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

Law and Order: Stafford resident arrested in Attica for alleged larceny and drug possession

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford
Corey Snyder

Corey S. Snyder, of Route 33, Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, unlawful possession of marijuana and operating with no front bumper. Snyder's vehicle was stopped by Village of Attica PD on Route 99, Attica, at 10 p.m. Monday for an alleged traffic violation. He was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance, hypodermic instruments and marijuana paraphernalia. He was also charged in connection to an allegation that he cashed a check that had been reported stolen. Snyder was arraigned and jailed in Wyoming County Jail on $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

Gregory Allan Merritt, 27, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and unsafe starting. Merritt is accused of striking another vehicle in the T.F. Brown's parking lot at 1:49 a.m. Tuesday and leaving the scene of the accident. The incident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 8:41 am

Today's Poll: What happened to Flight 370?

post by Howard Owens in polls
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Incumbents get unexpected challenger in Corfu; Taylor and Kettle win in Le Roy

post by Howard Owens in corfu, Le Roy

The only election in Genesee County tonight that was supposed to be contested was in Le Roy, but a last-minute write-in campaign in Corfu made that vote suddenly interesting.

Nick Skeet -- son of former mayor Todd Skeet -- decided just a week ago or so that he wanted to try and win a seat on the village board.

He got 17 write-in votes tonight, which wasn't enough to close the gap on incumbents Art Ianni (31 votes) and Ken Laurer (53 votes).

"I don't like some of the things going on at meetings," Skeet said after the votes were tallied. "I still don't like the way the village is being run. I think we can do a better job. I just think everything can done for the better interest of Corfu. There are details I don't like that I'd rather not get into."

Asked if he was targeting a specific incumbent with his write-in campaign, he said he wasn't. Asked to explain what was bothering him at meetings, he wouldn't go into details.

The village government has been a bit of a soap opera for about two years, ever since an investigation was opened into missing court funds. A year ago, Ralph Peterson was elected mayor and immediately became a controversial figure in local politics. Facing pressure to resign, Peterson took medical leave and has been on leave for about six months.

Meanwhile, in Le Roy, one incumbent won reelection and another lost.

The winners were Robert Taylor, a longtime village trustee, and Bill Kettle, a local businessman. Trustee Jennifer Keys lost as did challenger John Mangefrida.

Taylor had 279 votes, Kettle, 267, Mangefrida, 228 and Keys, 191.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Photos: 'First to hoop' at Williams Park in March

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, sports, weather, Williams Park

It almost felt like a spring day today, with a high 40, but the cold and snow isn't necessarily over for March.

Still, the weather was good enough to entice Ray Williams and Joe Watts to Williams Park.

"We wanted to the first to hoop at Williams," Watts said. "We've been playing here since we were little."

It's NCAA Tournament time, March Madness, and neither Williams nor Watts are wedded to any teams as potential champions, but Williams went with Syracuse and Watts picked Louisville to take the national title.

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