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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:49 am

Richenberg wins sixth straight ARC 5K

post by Howard B. Owens in 5K, ARC 5K, elba, sports

For the sixth consecutive year, Mike Richenberg won the ARC 5K in Elba on Saturday. He finished with a time of 19:06. Claire Skowronski, 12, finished the race in 22:08.

Richenberg overcame a nagging calf injury to notch the win.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

Lindsey Coniber, 13, and Laura Neumann, 12 participated in the race.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Car reportedly hits pole on West Main, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A car vs. pole accident is reported on West Main Street, across from Tops Market.

Unknown injuries.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 6:48 p.m.: Photo submitted by Greg Rada. We've not heard any further transmissions related to this accident.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 7:58 am

Johnny Bench, from Buffalo to Batavia with a Hall of Fame career along the way

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Downs, sports

Johnny Bench was just a 19-year-old kid from a town of 600 people in Oklahoma when he arrived in Buffalo 47 years ago.

"I didn't venture much beyond the Kenmore District and North Tonawanda," Bench said during an interview Saturday at Batavia Downs when asked if this was his first visit to Batavia. "I was still trying to figure out who I was and who I was supposed to be."

His 98 games as a Buffalo Bison in 1967 helped answer some of those questions.

"I matured (in Buffalo)," Bench said. "I had older players I played with. They gave me a lot of guidance, worked with me, helped me along. It was a great stepping stone, more importantly for the Dom Zannis, the Jim Duffalos, the Steve Boroses, the Duke Carmels, the Frank Obregons and the Gordy Colemans, and there was Dick Stigman, a pitcher, too, and Rollie Sheldon. It was a maturation process. These guys had pitched before. I kept calling games and learning stuff and doing stuff and you had to get the most out them. I felt like I could paint the picture, but I had to pull it all out of them. That was the secret and the thing I learned the most and enjoyed the most here."

That list of former Bisons -- who, unless you were a Bisons' fan in 1967, you probably never heard of -- were all 30 years old or older. Bench was the youngest player on the team, and one of only six players who hadn't yet turned 23.

But through the years, Buffalo stayed with Johnny Bench. All those names, easily recalled. He turned a question about his legacy into remembrance of a time before he became rookie of the year, an MVP, won two home run crowns, 10 gold gloves and played on two world championship teams.

"We played at the old War Memorial Stadium, but then they had the riots," Bench said. "We had to go over to Niagara Falls and play on the old football field with the temporary snow fence. The yardage lines were still there on the infield."

Arguably -- and some of us would say it's beyond dispute -- Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher in baseball history.

We can talk about his 389 career home runs, his 1,376 RBI, his 3,644 total bases, as well as two home run titles and three RBI titles, but suggest he's best remembered as an offensive catcher and he's quick to rebuff the audacity of dwelling on how he swung a bat.

"The 10 gold gloves didn't hurt," says the man whom base runners feared and pitchers counted on to do a very basic thing time after time: catch the ball.

"That was my main job, getting a win for the pitcher," Bench said. "I took great pride in the fact that I wanted to get that pitcher a win and if we got a win for him, we got a win for the team. Individually, I could throw runners out, I could block the plate, I could get hits, I could call a great game, but calling a great game was the most important."

And it was guys in Buffalo, like Zanni, Duffalo, Obregon, Stigman and Sheldon, who taught him to call a great game.

Bench was in town for a memorabilia show at the Downs. So were Pete Rose, Tony Perez and George Foster, along with other sports stars.

It's worth noting, perhaps, that Bench, Rose, Perez, Foster, and the other stars were signing autographs for a fee. Bench and Rose commanded the highest price, especially on a jersey or bat, but they all got paid.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, of course, is that fact that as players, none of them were enriched the way today's stars are lavished with cash. Bench never earned as much as $500,000 in a season and Rose never made it to the million-dollar mark until his final year as a player-manager with the Reds.

So it's not surprising, perhaps, that these heros of so many youths so many years ago would travel to America's small towns, sit under bright lights on folding chairs at plastic tables and sign their names for fans and speculators for a fee.

While Bench was affable and at times chatty with patrons who came through his line about an hour after Rose had finished, Rose seemed detached from the parade of people pushing baseballs, bats, jerseys, baseball cards and 8x10s onto the table in front of him.

An assistant sternly rebuffed a fan who asked if Rose would pose for a picture. No, she said, but he could kneel in front of the table while somebody snapped a keepsake.

Rose didn't even look at the camera.  

Rather than a smile, Rose wore the look of a man who seems beaten down by a decades-long wrestling match with the Lords of Baseball over his legacy.

In contrast, there sat a youthful, smiling Johnny Bench, with his Hall of Fame ring secure on his left hand, scanning the field and letting nothing go unnoticed.

"That's my jersey," he says to a woman with a camera standing off to the side waiting to snap a picture of a friend who will get an autograph.

As a man tries to get a picture of his friend with Bench as Bench signs a picture, Bench tells him to wait. "I'm not looking up," he says.

When the same photographer seems to move the camera before the shutter snaps, Bench says, "that one's not going to turn out," but the quick-release snapper has moved on without noticing.

Without being asked, he poses for another photographer with a bat at the ready.

When he meets a Batavia Muckdogs season ticket holder, he says as he signs, "I don't even know what a Muckdog's baseball hat looks like. I'd like to see one."

The 66-year-old Johnny Bench smiled and signed and kept chatting even in the face of a line dozens of people long. His massive hands -- hands that make grizzly bears stand up and take notice -- etched a beautiful cursive on whatever he was asked to sign.

Johnny Bench is always the team player.

"Winning an MVP award or rookie of the year, it's a fantastic honor, but there is nothing like the feeling though when I walked into the clubhouse after game seven of the '75 World Series and we were World Champions," Bench said. "That's when I knew what it was all about, because every player was a world champion. Every player, every owner, every sponsor, every equipment manager, and all the fans were world champions. That's when you can really share and realize the importance of what team sport is about."

Bench isn't without some pride over his individual accomplishments. When asked to sign a 1972 San Diego Padres game program with Nate Colbert on the cover, Bench smiled, "Old Nate," he said. "I hit five homers in the last week of the season to beat him for a home run title."

In 1972, Colbert had 38 dingers. Bench had 40.

To enjoy a career like Johnny Bench, that's one in a billion, but just getting the chance to go pro for today's young athlete is nearly impossible.

Bench, who went straight from high school to the Reds instructional league team at age 17 in 1965, said today's young athlete should take advantage of the wealth of college scholarship opportunities.

"When I played, only one in every 500,000 kids who played Little League baseball ever signed a contract," Bench said. "I don't know if they want to go up against the numbers, but the fact that there's so many scholarships out there available, I'll still push education every chance I get. Be a good student, study various things, find something you love and be prepared in case athletics doesn't work out."

If you do want to be an athlete, Bench said, work hard, practice, study the sport, prepare, understand the game. Watch the great ones to figure out what they do and how they do it.

"I think Ozzie Smith is a guy who taught kids how to play shortstop," Bench said. "I taught kids how to catch better."

Which brings us to Johnny Bench's final word of advice: Catch every ball.

"My theory in life is, 'catch every ball.' Somebody says, 'my kid wants to be a catcher, what do I tell him?' and I say, 'catch every ball.' If you learn to catch everything that comes your way, then people say, 'wow, you're a great catcher,' or 'you're a great shortstop,' or 'you're a great first baseman,' or 'you're a great businessman.' If they throw stuff at you and you have the answers, they're going to say, 'this guy really knows what he's doing.' People are going to rely on you and they're going to trust you and more things will come your way."

Pete Rose

Tony Perez

Lou Piniella

After the show, Pete Rose stopped at Larry's Steakhouse for dinner. Pictured with Sandy Mullen and Brenden Mullen. Photo submitted by Steve Mullen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 12:34 am

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

Football Round Up: Week #3

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, alexander, football, high school sports, sports

Attica 21, Alexander 9. Alexander played a tough game, but fell to GR rivals Attica, 21-9. The Trojans are now 1-2 on the season and Attica is 3-0. QB Jared Browne was five fo 12 for 113 yards. Samuel Brown was one for two passing for 58 yards and a TD, which was caught by Jacob Riggs. The Trojans were held to 34 yards on the ground on 26 carries. Zack Shilvock made a 45-yard field goal. Ty Laird had seven tackles and Rick Amico, Tristan Aldinger and Riggs all notched six each.

Batavia 41, Hornell 21. The Blue Devils had 350 total yards on the ground. Dominick Mogavero had three touchdowns. 

Photos by Rick Franclemont.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:29 am

Le Roy scores big against third straight opponent, wins 61-12

post by Howard B. Owens in football, High School Football, Le Roy, sports

Le Roy scored on its first six possessions Friday night in Letchworth to build a 41-0 lead on its way to the team's third dominating victory of the season, winning 61-12.

Mike McMullen connected on seven of his eight passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Ryan McQuillen caught two of those passes for 85 yards and two TDs.

Also on offense, Jon Pierce, five carries for 24 yards and two TDs; Nick Egeling, five rushes 70 yards, two TDs; Nate Flint, six carries for 38 yards and a TD; Tom Kelso hauled in three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Kody Lamkin had seven tackles, a sack and a blocked punt. Brian Hodges had five tackles. Luke Hogle recorded a sack. McMullen had an interception.

Le Roy had 385 total yards and held Letchworth to 183.

Photos by David Boyce. For more photos, click here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:24 am

Chimney fire reported at Baskin Livestock

post by Howard B. Owens in Baskin Livestock, Bethany, fire

A chimney fire is reported at Baskin Livestock on Creek Road, Bethany.

Bethany fire along with Alexander and Town of Batavia dispatched.

UPDATE 10:56 a.m.: Alexander was going to respond from this fire to an alarm of fire in its own district, but the alarm company confirmed false alarm. Alexander is back in service. Town of Batavia also has an alarm at College Village. Batavia's Ladder 25 is on scene at the chimney fire.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:46 am

Oakfield-Alabama scores 33 against Pembroke for second win

To whatever degree the Pembroke Dragons might have had a chance against the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets on Friday night, too many scoring opportunities were snuffed out by turnovers.

Most of the Dragon's possessions ended with a fumble or interception.

"We're always emphasizing creating turnovers," said O-A Head Coach Brian Palone after the Hornet's 33-6 win on their home field. "We work on it a lot. So I was happy to see that we were able to execute."

The Hornets are now 2-1 and Pembroke falls to 0-3.

On offense, the Hornets were pretty much able to have their way.

QB Alan Chatt was 16 for 19 passing and 199 yards. He tossed touchdown completions of 55, 17 and two yards. He also rushed for 85 yards and a TD on eight carries.

Ryan Emery rushed for 33 yards and a TD on eight carries and Jon Harris gained 47 yards on five carries.

Receiver Reice Woodward had a big night with two touchdowns on four receptions for 85 yards.

Defensively, Pat Caprio had six tackles, Harris, five, Jake Valletta and Tyler Hamm, four each, Chatt had two interceptions, Casey Arnold, two sacks, Trent Stack, an interception and Emery had a sack.

Collin Scheiber was one for three on point after attempts. His make was the first of his kicking career.

"I'm very proud of way we finished the game," Palone said. "We talked all week about finishing, especially after last week. We weren't able to finish and we let it get away from us, but tonight they were really focused for four quarters of football. They really finished. I'm proud of the way they executed at the end."

Next up for O-A, Elba/Byron-Bergen, who takes a 2-0 record into today's match up with Notre Dame (0-2).

Pembroke will host Notre Dame next week.

Top photo: Alan Chatt picks a Mitch Lewter pass in the first quarter. The pass was intended for Dakota Swimline.

Pembroke receiver Zack VonKramer with a reception in the first quarter.

Pembroke's Cal Neurohr was hard to bring down on a run play in the 4th quarter.

Mitch Lewter sacked in the 4th quarter.

To purchase prints and ensure you'll have copies of these photos for years to come, click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Hiram and Lucine are the Talk of the Town on WBTA

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, elba, wbta

The way Hiram Kasten and Lucine Kauffman see it, Genesee County is a great place to live.

It's beautiful, there's a lot going on, and you'll meet some of the nicest and most interesting people if you just get out on the town a bit.

It's these qualities that they want to highlight in their new weekly, one-hour radio show on WBTA, which debuts Oct. 1.

"Talk of the Town" will feature talk about what's going on and some of the region's interesting people.

It's a cultural show -- arts and entertainment -- but it's more than that.

"There's a national trend toward localism," Kauffman said. "It's not just shopping local. It's living local. We want to capture that idea."

Kasten and Kauffman like interesting people, but they are, of course, interesting people themselves.

Kasten has been a professional entertainer for decades with a long resume in New York and Hollywood that included recurring roles on "Seinfeld" (Hiram and Jerry came up through the New York comedy club circuit together) and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Diana Kisiel Kasten, Hiram’s wife, is from Batavia and operates Pinnacle Manufacturing on Harvester Avenue. She convinced Hiram to move here a year ago. The couple has a grown daughter who attends Cornell University.

Kauffman is the former town supervisor for Elba and has been active in local theater for years. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from USC. She moved to Genesee County with her Batavia-born-and-bred husband, Bill, 25 years ago. Their daughter attends Notre Dame University. Bill Kauffman is the author of nine books and the screenplay "Copperhead," which had its theatrical release last year.

"We're going to talk about the cultural aspects of Genesee County and the region," Lucine said. "It's more than just arts and entertainment. There are farm co-ops and local artisans and people who enrich life in Genesee County. It's all about quality of life and the quality of life here is very good."

Hiram said he often knows the comedians passing through Rochester and Buffalo, so that will be an opportunity to hear from nationally recognized talent, but they'll also feature the volunteers who make community theater so vital to Batavia.

"There's a lot to celebrate in Genesee County," Lucine said.

"Celebrate. That's a good word," Hiram added. "There is a lot to celebrate here."

The show will air Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. on WBTA-1490.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Man who may have left Walmart with lost wallet sought by Sheriff

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The Sheriff's Office would like to interview the man in this picture.

During the early afternoon of Sept. 10, this man is believed to have picked up a woman's wallet seconds after she dropped it while exiting the grocery side vestibule at Walmart.

The Walmart greeter saw the man pick up the wallet and the greeter offered to take it to customer service. The man said he was heading to customer service himself. 

Investigator William Ferrando said he never made it to customer service. He walked into the restroom and allegedly left the store without turning in the wallet.

He is believed to have left in the maroon crew cab pickup truck depicted in the picture below.

Anybody with information that might assist in the investigation is asked to call Ferrando at (585) 343-5000.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Photo: Patriot Trip group at Marine museum in D.C.

post by Howard B. Owens in patriot trip, steve hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, checkered shorts, is with a group of constituents on his annual Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C.. With Hawley at the National Museum of the Marine Corps are Ed and Dorothy Morgan, Robert Ballard and Rose Schlegal.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Collins secures grants for three airports, including Le Roy

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

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $675,699 in federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for three local airports. Akron Airport received $222,402 for runway repairs. Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport received $150,726 for removal of existing on-airport obstructions to a runway. And Le Roy Airport received $302,571 to upgrade its lighting and beacon systems.

“Supporting local governments by maintaining, repairing and building critical infrastructure is a beneficial use of federal tax dollars,” Congressman Collins said. “Providing these local airports the necessary funding for a variety of improvements will allow for more efficient and safer airport operations. Continued investment in local infrastructure is necessary to ensure that valuable economic assets like local airports can continue to grow and successfully operate.”

“Le Roy Airport is a ‘state-of-the-art’ ‘reliever airport’ for the Greater Rochester International Airport,” said Raymond Detor Jr., president of Le Roy Aviation Services, Inc. “Le Roy Airport will be accepting a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and New York State Department of Transportation to upgrade taxiway lighting, wind direction indicators, Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPIP), and various other lighting upgrades.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Roadside recliner on fire on Pratt Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

A recliner sitting roadside along Pratt Road near Powers Road is reportedly on fire.

East Pembroke fire dispatched.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Photo: Yesterday's sunset

post by Howard B. Owens in photos

Reader Laura Pedro submitted this photo of yesterday's sunset.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Traffic stop in Le Roy leads to arrest of crack cocaine possession suspect

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A Le Roy Police officer made a traffic stop Monday and found a Batavia man allegedly in possession of crack cocaine and five different types of pills as well as drug paraphernalia.

Arrested was Anthony A. Leone, 46, of 7 Jackson St., Batavia.

He is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th, a Class C felony, five counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. 

The traffic stop was conducted by Officer Jared Dent, who is also a member of the Local Drug Task Force. The task force assisted at the scene.

Leone was jailed without bail.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Law and Order: Burglary suspect from LA awaiting extradition in county jail

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, crime, pembroke
Baybhann Tagber

Baybhann Osman Tagber, 38, of North Almond Drive, Beverly Hills, was arrested as a fugitive from justice. Tagber was being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center on a possible immigration issue. While in custody, authorities learned of a warrant in the City of Los Angeles. Tagber was wanted on a burglary charge. Tagber is being held in the Genesee County Jail pending an extradition hearing.

Gary William Bird, 60, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with stalking, 4th. Bird is accused of contacting a person at their place of employment while knowing that such contact was unwanted and would cause alarm and annoyance.

Carrie A. Stewart, 34, of Attica, is charged with conspiracy, two counts of criminal trespass and petit larceny. Stewart was arrested at Walmart by State Police at 10:10 p.m., Sunday. No further details released.

Timothy Ryan

Timothy M. Ryan, 20, of East Pembroke, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Ryan is accused of entering the residence of a family member and taking more than $600 worth of electronics. The items were sold to a pawn shop. Ryan was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

 

 

 

 

 

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