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Howard B. Owens's blog

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:31 am

Don't panic if you see people in decontamination suits at UMMC tomorrow morning

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, UMMC

Press release:

United Memorial will host a multi-agency decontamination drill on the morning of Saturday, September 27th. Visitors to the hospital at 127 North Street, Batavia during this time should expect to see several emergency vehicles, first responders, increased activity and people wearing hazmat suits and hoods. This drill will test communication skills during a crisis across several agencies and caregivers; the effectiveness of the decontamination process; and our skill with specialized equipment. Additional staff will be brought in for the exercise and patient care will not be impacted.

The Hospital frequently performs drills to test and maintain skills needed to safely address true, large-scale emergencies. The patience and understanding of our visitors is greatly appreciated. Please contact the Community Relations office at United Memorial at (585)344-5415 or by email to [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:11 am

City firefighters announce 2nd annual poster contest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, IAFF Local 896

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department together with the Fire Fighters Union – IAFF Local 896 are sponsoring the 2ndAnnual Fire Prevention Week Poster Contest.  This poster contest is open to students from grades 1 – 5. “Our hope is to get the children to discuss fire safety with their teachers and fellow students, as well as parents and guardians.” 

This poster contest can be a take home project, individual class project or an art class project.  Information has been distributed to City schools, but we wanted to include any City area home schooled children as well

“Our first year doing the contest was met with a great response.  We are hoping to grow this great opportunity this year.  The value is that the kids and adults get exposure to fire safety and safe practices, helping to reduce injury and death and change some habits.  We encourage all eligible students to participate.”

The 2014 Fire Prevention Week (October 5-15) theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Test Yours Every Month.”  Ideas and more information can be found at the Fire Prevention Week website www.FPW.org

Any posters wishing to be entered need to be at the Fire Station located at 18 Evans Street in Batavia no later thanThursday, October 9, 2014 at 4pm.  Schools/groups/families may contact us via phone or email to arrange in school pick up of posters. 

Posters are to be drawn horizontally on white paper, 8 ½” x 11”.  The back of the poster must contain the students name & phone number, school & grade, and teacher’s name.

Judging of the posters will take place between October 10th – 12th.  The winner of each group will receive a ride to school on a City Fire Engine, and be invited to a special awards luncheon with their family held at the fire station in late October.  2nd and 3rd place finishers in each group will also be invited to the fire station awards luncheon.

The best of luck to the students!  Full rules are available at the City of Batavia Fire Department at 18 Evans Street in Batavia or by contacting us via phone and/or email.

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:09 am

DOT puts weight restrictions on Route 20 bridge in Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, dot, Route 20

Press release:

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced that the Route 20 (Broadway Road) bridge over Tonawanda Creek in the town of Alexander, Genesee County, is being restricted, effective today, to vehicles weighing 6 tons or less and the shoulders are closed.

This posting is being put in place following a recent inspection and engineering analysis that revealed the bridge can no longer safely carry heavier traffic in its current condition.

NYSDOT monitors bridge safety through a thorough and rigorous inspection program. All bridges inspected are analyzed for their capacity to carry vehicular loads.

This bridge is located just east of the cloverleaf intersection with Route 98.  Electronic message boards and several other signs are being placed at key locations.

State forces will be making repairs to this structure through the weekend. The goal is to restore service on Monday, September 29.

A capital project to replace is structures is being progressed and is slated to be under construction next year in 2015.

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:00 am

Johnny Bench got his Batavia Muckdog's hat

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

This past weekend we told you about the visit Hall of Famer Johnny Bench paid to Batavia Downs, and we mentioned that Bench expressed an interest in seeing a Batavia Muckdog's baseball cap.

The person with Bench at the time was season ticket holder Ross Fanara. Fanara called his wife and confirmed that they in fact had a brand new Muckdog's hat at home, so she brought it to Batavia Downs and they presented it to Bench.

Fanara sent over this picture of him with Bench wearing the Batavia Muckdogs hat.

Ross said, "Johnny Bench is a class act."

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 6:35 am

Today's Poll: Do you regularly read books?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Widespread Time-Warner internet outage in Genesee County reported

post by Howard B. Owens in time-warner

Emergency dispatchers have informed fire departments and local law enforcment of a widespread Time-Warner internet outage in Genesee County that is effecting some dispatch center systems.

The dispatch center remains operational.  It can still receive and dispatch emergency 9-1-1 calls.

No word on the cause or duration of the outage.

UPDATE: 7:50 p.m. phones are back up at UMMC and internet is back up in Batavia area.

UPDATE: 8:34 p.m. Genesee County dispatch operations are back to normal.


Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Combine fire at farm on Route 98, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

There is a combine on fire at Offhaus Farms on a Route 98, Batavia. 

Multiple fire companies on scene. 

More info TK. 

UPDATE: 8:25 p.m.  The Town of Batavia Fire Department along with Elba and Oakfield Fire departments responded to Offhaus Farms on Rt. 98 for a combine fire that sent thick black smoke into the air around the area of the thruway about 6:00p.m. this evening. 

The heavy black smoke was caused by fuel tanks and tires that caught fire.

Work crews were using the combine in a field of corn on the south side of the farm when it caught fire.

(pictures provided by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service)


UPDATE: Video of the smoke submitted by Chad Zambito.


Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Little free library blooms on Washington and Lewis, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, books, Literature

Jen Reardon loves books and wants to encourage people to read more, so she set up a little free library in front of her house on the corner of Washington Avenue and Lewis Avenue.

She got the idea after learning about a web site called LittleFreeLibrary.org. In fact, she bought her brightly colored box from the web site. The site also tracks locations of little free libraries, and hers is the first one registered in Genesee County.

"I knew of nothing in area, at least on the map, so why not do this?" Reardon said. "I love books. I seem to always have lots of readers around me with lots of books and they're like, 'what can I do these,' so I thought we'll put them out and let people take a book, leave a book."

That's the whole concept of the little free library right there -- there's no fee, no library card to sign up for, you take a book and leave a book. Return what you take whenever you like, nor never return it if you like it that much. Just put something else in its place.

Yesterday was the first day for Reardon's little free library and quite a few people stopped and took books. Not too many have been added to the collection yet.

"Yesterday was a busy day at the little free library," Reardon said. "There was definitely more borrowing than trading, but since it's the first day, I don't think people really knew what to make of it."

Reardon already has one of the most colorful front yards in Batavia, with a cornucopia of flowers growing all spring, summer and fall. Her green, orange and purple box fits right in.

Her neighborhood is perfect for something like this, Reardon believes.

"We have all income levels within like a three block area," she said.

"I think people don't read enough and some people might not have access to books. You can always go to the library, but if you have books in your home, you're more likely to pick it up and read it, kids especially.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Photos: Troopers host ice cream social at School for the Blind

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NYS School for the Blind

State Troopers hosted an ice cream social this afternoon at the New York State School for the Blind.

This is the second year troopers have brought their K-9s, patrol cars and tubs of ice cream to the school for a little hang out time with the students.

This year included an Easter Egg hunt using beeping eggs. It was a fun hunt, one trooper said, until the students hear the ice cream was ready to serve. That ended the hunt pretty quickly.

Students were able to pet the dogs and handle some police equipment and ask questions about what troopers do.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Serious high school basketball players invited to mini camp at Batavia HS

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

Batavia varsity basketball coach Buddy Brasky hosts his annual mini-camp starting Monday at Batavia HS.

The camp is for experienced and serious basketball players only in grades 7 through 12.

The program will emphasize offensive skill development.

The cost is $125.

It is sponsored by the Basketball Booster Club.

The sessions are two nights a week starting from 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 29. Additional sessions are Oct. 2, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30.

For more information and to sign up, contact Coach Brasky at (585) 356-4050 or [email protected]

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Former Notre Dame runner wins MAAC athlete of the week honors

post by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, sports

Press release:

Canisius College’s Jeffrey Antolos was named the MAAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week, while Rider University’s Emily Ritter earned the MAAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the week.

Canisius sophomore Jeffrey Antolos came up huge for the Golden Griffins this weekend, leading the Canisius men’s cross country team to a first place finish in the 35th Annual National Catholic Championships. The event took place on Friday, Sep. 19 at the University of Notre Dame. Antolos was the top finisher for the Blue and Gold, recording a time of 25:07.84 in the five-mile race, good enough for third place in the event. Antolos led the Griffs squad to the team’s only first place victory in the Championships in school history. The highest previous finish for the Griffs was a second place finish in 2002, the closest the team came to winning the Championships until this year. Antolos improved greatly from his 2013 season finish in the National Catholics when the Warsaw, N.Y. finished in 30th with a time of 26:23.

Ritter finished first overall among 171 runners at the Monmouth Invitational, covering the 3.1 mile Holmdel Park course in 18:34.2. It marked the second time in as many race this year that Ritter was the overall winner.

The 2014 MAAC Cross Country Championships will be held on Friday, October 31st at Holmdel Park, Holmdel N.J.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

City Fire planning more hydrant flushing tomorrow

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Friday September 26,  2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the general area north of West Main St. and west of Bank St.  Homes and businesses nearby will be affected.  These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area.  As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Sheriff's Office looking for missing teen from Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia
Preston Daigler

The Sheriff's Office is looking for the public's assistance in locating a missing teen.

The youth reported missing is Preston Daigler, 16, of Batavia.

He was last seen Sept. 15.

Preston has blonde hair and blue eyes.  He is 5'11" and 150 pounds.

Any one with information are asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.




Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Arrest made in alleged attempt to start residential fire on East Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Brian Sprague

An arrest has been made in an attempted arson reported yesterday morning on East Avenue in the City of Batavia.

The suspect broke three windows on the first floor of a residence, poured gasoline around the outside of the house, but then was unable to get the fuel to ignite, according to police.

Brian J. Sprague, 24, of Adams Street, Batavia, is charged with attempted arson 2nd and criminal mischief 3rd.

Three people were at home and in bed when they heard the windows being broken at 6 a.m., but didn't get up to investigate until nearly three hours later.

After the alleged attempt to start a fire failed, Sprague left the area, but was located later in the day.

He was arrested, arraigned and jailed without bail.

The case was investigated by detectives Kevin Czora and Todd Crossett along with City firefighters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation hosting two events

post by Howard B. Owens in Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation

Press release: 

September is Pediatric cancer Awareness Month and the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is hosting  2 events to raise funds and awareness for this devastating disease. Pediatric Cancer is the number one cause of  disease-related death in children.  Forty-six children a day are diagnosed with cancer and 40,000 children undergo cancer treatment each year. There is so much to be done and so many families in need of assistance.

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is hosting a 5k Run /Walk for the Gold on September 27th @ 9am in Leroy, NY , registration begins at 8am.  The race begins at the Tennis Courts on Wolcott St.  $25/per participant. Go to active.com to register or to www.michaelshope.org for  mail-in registration. First 100 runners get a free T-shirt.

The Foundation is also raffling a  “DINNER FOR TEN”, which is a 5 course gourmet dinner for 10 people served in a private setting with limo service (50 mile travel radius). This is a one-of-a-kind raffle  and  is an amazing prize to win!! Winner can select a mutually agreed upon date for the dinner.  Tickets are $20/each or 3/$50. Call 585-409-3276 or 585-409-3275 for more information or if you need tickets dropped off. Go to www.michaelshope.org to see previous   winners.

Support Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month by supporting the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.  Your assistance helps us “Lend a Hand of Hope” to families, to research efforts, and to youth in our community.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Accomplice in Park Avenue burglary given five years in state prison

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Akeem Simmons Nathaniel Davis

The accomplice in a home invasion burglary on Park Avenue on Jan. 22 -- a burglary that included the use of a handgun -- will spend the next five years in prison Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled today.

Nathaniel Davis, 18, has no prior serious criminal record and Noonan acknowledged that his testimony in the trial of Akeem Simmons probably helped put the much more experienced criminal away for 20 years.

Simmons was convicted of burglary 1st in August and sentenced last week.

Davis entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of burglary 2nd immediately after Simmons was convicted.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman denies there was any deal with Davis to secure his testimony in the Simmons trial, but both Noonan and Public Defender Jerry Ader cited his forthright testimony as a reason for a sentence less harsh than the one given to Simmons.

Ader said he didn't want to minimize the seriousness of his client's conduct Jan. 22, but "he was threatened if he testified and knew he was facing a state sentence, but he testified anyway," Ader said. "I can't say for sure it was a linchpin in swaying the jury, but I think it was helpful. I think he came across as believable and honest, so I do think it was helpful to the prosecution in getting a conviction."

As part of the plea deal with Davis, Friedman agreed not to speak at the sentencing.

Noonan said he understands there may be some public concern over the 15 years difference in the sentence, but besides the criminal history and the testimony, Noonan said there's no doubt in his mind that Simmons was the primary mover in the decision to burglarize a house in Batavia.

Noonan expressed skepticism at the contention by Davis that he felt trapped into participating in the crime over fear of retaliation from Davis.

"You haven't had a particularly productive life," Noonan said.  "You had some difficulties that perhaps contributed to that lack of productivity, but you haven't shown any willingness to be productive and be a mainstream citizen that I can see."

Davis must also pay $4,040 in restitution.  Because there was no request for restitution from Davis before he was sentenced, the entire four grand is on Davis.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

Business in Harvester Center broken into overnight

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A business deep inside the Batavia Industrial Center/Harvester Center on Harvester Avenue was broken into some time over night.

The original dispatch said there was quite a mess made inside the business.

The burglar gained access by breaking a window on the south side of the building that was tucked behind an old rail tanker.

It's yet to be determined what, if anything, was stolen, said Det. Todd Crossett (pictured taking a DNA swab on the broken window).

The break in remains under investigation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:52 am

Police and fire responding to residence to investigate report of gas being poured in window

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

City fire is being dispatched a location on East Main Street, East Avenue near Ross Street, to investigate a report of a window being broken and gasoline being poured inside the residence.

The incident occurred at 6 a.m., but is just now being reported.

UPDATE 10:32 a.m.: A residence at 15 East Ave., Batavia, had three windows broken on the Columbia Avenue side of the structure.

Gasoline was poured into the windows and onto the ground outside.

Three people live at the residence. 

The incident occurred about 6 a.m., and residents heard the glass breaking but didn't get out of bed to investigate, according to authorities.

A police officer said it's likely the perpetrator is somebody who knows one or more of the people who live at the residence.

Photo: A firefighter uses a meter to collect fume readings from a window sill.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:39 am

Today's Poll: Is Derek Jeter overrated?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
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