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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Photo: Wood Street resident rescued from structure fire

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Wood Street

A fire this morning at 8 Wood S., Batavia, caused $35,000 in damage to the structure and building contents, according to the Batavia Fire Department.

The fire was caused by an electrical issue and started in the kitchen.

A second-floor resident climbed onto the roof of an alcove on the first floor and was rescued by a city firefighter.

A dog that barked to alert residents to the fire perished as a result of smoke in the residence.

The incident commander was Mark Mikolajczyk.

(initial post)

Photo by Frank Capuano.

Monday, November 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

Possible electrical fire inside wall of Ross Street apartment

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

City fire is responding to 174 Ross St., lower apt., for the odor of something electrical burning inside a wall.

UPDATE 11:07 a.m.: A city code enforcement officer is called in.

Monday, November 10, 2014 at 6:59 am

Structure fire on Wood Street in the city

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

Smoke is reportedly coming from the house at 8 Wood St., located between Jackson Street and Pringle Avenue. Smoke is coming from the attic, too. City police are on scene and city fire is responding.

UPDATE 7 a.m.: The incident has gone to a second alarm.

UPDATE 7:05 a.m. Alexander's Fast Team and Elba fire is called to the scene. Mercy medics are requested for an evaluation. Town of Batavia fire is called to fill in at the city fire hall on Evans Street. Also, D "ESU 2" is called to the scene along with all off-duty platoons.

UPDATE 7:14 a.m.: Command reports fire knocked down. Overhaul started. The blaze is believed to have started in the kitchen.

UPDATE 7:27 a.m.: Alexander is returning to quarters.

UPDATE 7:50 a.m. (by Howard, info and photo from Alecia Kaus/Video News Service): A resident who lived on the second floor was rescued from the roof. A dog died. The fire started in the kitchen. Two people downstairs were evacuated. The second-floor resident is being evaluated in an ambulance on scene.

UPDATE (info from Alecia Kaus/Video News Service): the dog that perished had alerted residents to the fire. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Fire reported inside classroom at O-A School

post by Billie Owens in fire, Oakfield

An unknown type fire is reported in a classroom at Oakfield-Alabama School, 7100 Lewiston Road. Command on scene tells firefighters to respond non-emergency.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Batavia turns tables on Livonia to win first Section V title in 23 years

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Blue Devils, High School Football, sports

With a come-from-behind touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game, Batavia struck for a touchdown and then a daring two-point conversion to beat Livonia 15-14 and win the program's first Section V title since 1991.

The late strike was nearly a mirror of how Livonia handed Batavia its only defeat of the season in 2014's first game when the Bulldogs scored a touchdown in the final seconds.

The gutsy call to go for two following a 69-yard TD reception by Ryan Hogan with just over two-minutes left in the game harkened back to the fifth game of the season against Geneva when Head Coach Brandon Briggs went for it all with two minutes left to pull out an 8-7 win.

Batavia scored first, but the touchdown didn't come until the start of the second quarter. The Blue Devils carried a lead into the half, but Livonia scored on its first possession.

The teams traded possessions until 2:28 left in the fourth quarter when Livonia scored again.

With 2:07 left and the ball on Livonia's 31, Batavia struck on a second-down play when Greg Mruczek hit Hogan streaking down the side line, hitting him in stride near the 20. Hogan dashed into the end zone.

Livonia is a team built around a grinding ground game and couldn't muster the quick-strike capabilities to get the ball within at least field goal range. Batavia took possession of the ball on downs with less than 30 seconds left and fans and players erupted in celebration.

Mruczek finished 15 for 25 for 334 yards and two TDs. He also had four carries for 29 yards, including the winning two-point conversion. Hogan had three receptions for 113 yards. Jarrett Laskett had five receptions for 88 yards. Trevor Sherwood had two receptions for 77 yards and a TD. Dom Mogavero carried the ball eight times for 33 yards. Trevor Rittersback had 16 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery. 

For Livonia, Josh Henderson had 24 carries for 168 yards and a TD. Liam Clements had eight carries for 67 yards.

Thanks to Bob Brown and Juan Velasquez for the play-by-play on WBTA.

Video by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

Photos by Alecia Kaus

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Grand Jury: Man indicted on multiple counts for alleged sex acts with minor

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Grand Jury, Pavilion

Beniluis Ruiz is indicted for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, for allegedly subjecting another person to sexual contact in the Spring of 2013 when that person was physically helpless and therefore incapable of consent.

All counts stem from alleged incidents in the Town of Pavilion.

  • In count two, he is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct with a person less than 17 years old in December 2013 when he was age 21 or older;
  • In count three, he is indicted for third-degree rape, a Class E felony. It is alleged that in December 2013 he engaged in sexual intercourse with a person under 17 years old and he was age 21 or older;
  • In count four, he is indicted for criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on a second occasion with a person less that 17 years old in December 2013 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count five, Ruiz is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on Jan. 5 with a person under age 17 when he was 21 or older;
  • In count six, he is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was 21 years old or older;
  • In count seven, he is indicted for third-degree criminal sexual act, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on a second occasion on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count eight, Ruiz is indicted for third-degree rape, a Class E felony, for engaging in sexual intercourse on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count nine, he is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly acting on Jan. 4-5 in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child under age 17;
  • In count 10, he is accused of the same actions as in count nine, but involving a second child under age 17;
  • In count 11, Ruiz is indicted for unlawfully dealing with a child, 1st, a Class A misdemeanor, for on Jan. 4-5 allegedly giving or selling or causing to be given or sold, alcoholic beverage(s) to a person under age 21;
  • In count 12, he is accused of the same crime as count 11, but involving a second person under age 21.

Matthew D. Marvin and Brenden R. Jones are accused of fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on June 20 in the Town of Batavia, they stole property valued in excess of $1,000, including baby monitors, K-9 Advantix products, Braun electric razors, Oral-B electric toothbrush, computer software, router, "spyder" wire and other products valued at $2,928.84 from Walmart. In count two, they are accused of fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intending to commit a felony on June 20. They allegedly agreed with one or more persons to engage in this criminal conduct.

Christopher M. Colantonio is indicted for criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on April 3 at a bank in the City of Batavia, he cashed a bogus check for $100, which was made payable to him and taken from another person's account. In count two of the indictment, he is accused of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing $100 by means of the aforementioned forged check.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Le Roy wins record 15th Section V title

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

Le Roy beat Bath in a Class C Section V final this evening in Rochester, 34-24.

The Rams had the Oatkan Knights on the ropes by the close of the first quarter, securing a lead of 14-6.

A turnover deep in Bath territory proved effective in shifting the momentum and sent the Knights on a 28-0 run, with Bath managing the final touchdown of the game.

The win is the 15th Section V title, a new Section V record.

It's the 202 career win for Head Coach Brian Moran and his 14th Section V title.

Next step, a Far West Championship game next week.

Game stats: Mike McMullen was 13 for 28 for 250 yards and four TDs. Tom Kelso, 18 carries for 71 yards and a TD. Ryan McQuillen had two catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Henry had four catches for 38 yards and two TDs. Kody Lampkin had eight tackles and a sack. Nick Egeling, eight tackles. Tyler Prinz, seven tackles. Tom Kelson, seven tackles.

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

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 11:47 am

Car vs. motorized scooter accident in Walgreen's parking lot, Le Roy

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Le Roy

A car vs. motorized scooter accident, with injuries, is reported in the Walgreen's parking lot in Le Roy. The address is 8 W. Main St. Le Roy medics are on scene and firefighters are responding.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

Law and Order: Guardian of minor who ran from police charged with curfew violation

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, batavia, Alabama, corfu, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, pembroke

Juanita Jackson, 58, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with juvenile curfew violation. Jackson is the legal guardian of a youth who was allegedly found in a public place within the city past juvenile curfew time. The youth was allegedly involved in criminal mischief, larceny from a vehicle and possession of stolen property at 10:50 p.m., Oct. 29. The youth fled from police and was later located hiding in St. Joseph Cemetery by K-9 Destro.

Reginald C. Sampson, 48, of Holland Avenue, is charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. Sampson is accused of refusing to comply with officers requests during an investigation being conducted at his residence. Sampson reportedly became irate and allegedly began yelling obscenities, disrupting the peace of the neighborhood and interfering with the investigation. When told he was under arrest, Sampson allegedly became combative with officers. Williams was jailed following arraignment. (Previous report).

Deavin L.A. Herman, 20, of Caroline Street, Albion, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. Herman was jailed on $500 bail.

Olivia M. Lyons, 21, of Judge Road, Basom, is charged with petit larceny. Lyons was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation into complaints of numerous thefts from UMMC staff. Lyons is accused of stealing mobile phones Wednesday evening.

Kenneth M. Gray, 22, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with acting in a manner likely to be injurious to a child less than 17 and harassment, 2nd. Gray was arrested on a warrant out of City Court related to an alleged incident Oct. 20.

Nathan J. Pascuzzo, 23, of Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI. Pascuzzo was stopped at 5:10 a.m., Nov. 2, after officer Peter Flanagan observed a vehicle on Ellicott Street driving on two flat tires.

Heather L. Draper, 25, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged trespass. Draper is accused of entering a store she had been banned from entering.

Kelsey Anne Sanders, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine on a disorderly conduct charge. Sanders was released on $125 bail.

Joseph W. Freeman, 30, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Freeman allegedly punched another person in the face during a domestic argument at 4:45 a.m., Monday.

Crystal L. Lawrence, 30, of Main Street, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear.

Didier Asne Antoine, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Antoine was allegedly on College Village property after being banned.

Robert Ray Davis, 53, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Davis allegedly hosted an underage drinking party at his residence.

Elizabeth Michelle Grattan, 24, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 3rd, and petit larceny. Grattan is accused of entering Walmart after being banned for life from the store. She allegedly stole $110 worth of merchandise.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:59 am

Hawley thanks constituents for big Election Day support

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), who was reelected on Tuesday with more than 95 percent of the vote, is extending his gratitude to the people who have entrusted him to represent them for another two years. Hawley’s priorities for the next two years include creating a better business climate in Western New York that creates well-paying jobs and working to restore Second Amendment rights. Hawley issued the following statement:

 “I am humbled by the overwhelming support that the people of the 139th Assembly District have shown me. I will continue to faithfully represent them by holding town halls across the district so that constituents have the chance to let me know what they want to see from our state and bringing those concerns to Albany. I look forward to keeping a good thing going representing the good people of Western New York for another two years.”

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:14 am

One-vehicle rollover, minor injuries, on Transit Road, Pavilion

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Pavilion

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported at 9867 Transit Road. It's at the intersection with East Bethany-Le Roy Road. Minor injuries. Pavilion Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 9:16 p.m.: Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 9:34 a.m.: A patient is being transported to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 9:43 a.m.: The Pavilion assignment is back in service.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

For Brian Moran, the wins are nice, but boys becoming men is the bigger reward

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

Sports talk in Ron Rossi's barber shop flows as freely as hair tonic and Barbasol.

From the folding seats along the north wall, facing the green leather, chrome-trimmed chair that is nearly always occupied by a customer, you could probably sit all day if you liked talking sports.

Rossi bleeds pinstripes, and the Yankee logo with its red, white and blue top hat hoisted on a bomber’s bat adorns all three walls on a pennant, banner and poster, but the Yankees are not the only sports team dear to Rossi’s heart.

Once a Knight always a Knight, and Rossi is among that fraternity who have donned black and red. It may have been more than four decades ago, but Rossi follows his alma mater the way Sooners stick with Oklahoma and Tigers hold tight to Clemson.

So it’s no surprise that one afternoon years ago, with a few loyal Le Roy fans in the shop, the talk soon turned to the Oatkan Knights and their new rookie coach.

He came from Livonia. This was the kid’s first head coaching job. Could he handle it? What did he know about football? Could he motivate the kids? Was he tough enough? Would he deliver championships?

The way Jim Rudgers remembers it, he was sitting in that barber chair with this banter going about. He happened to know the new head coach, and as a former Knight and an up-and-coming coach himself, he thought maybe the new guy was getting a bum rap.

“They were complaining about this new, young football coach,” Rudgers recalled. “Some of them said he didn’t know what he was doing. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Brian Moran walking down Mill Street. Now, I still have a towel wrapped around my neck, but I get out of the seat and go out and grab him. I knew Brian because his dad used to sell sporting equipment. I say, ‘Brian, come on in here, these guys don’t think you know what you’re doing.’ ”

Moran, tall, sandy-haired and built like a defensive end, entered the shop and Rudgers said, “Come on guys, here he is. Tell him he’s an idiot and that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. They were like, ‘uh, uh, uh.’ ”

Rudgers thinks that 26 years later, after more than 200 wins, 13 Section V titles and a state championship, the record has been set straight.

Brian Moran knows what he’s doing.

Development of a coach
There wasn’t a time in Brian Moran’s life that he wasn’t passionate about sports. With two older brothers, he had plenty of opportunity to play, compete and try to keep up. Football, basketball, baseball were all staples of young Brian’s life.

After high school, Moran attended Bridgton Academy in Maine, with its motto, “The Year that Makes a Difference.” It was a chance to continue his athletic pursuits in football and baseball as well as prepare for the rigors of college.

Though a prep academy, the football program exposed Brian to some top-notch competition. In an eight-game schedule, Bridgton played the freshman teams from the University of Boston, Umass and Norwich.

In 1983, he entered the University at Cortland as a physical education major. He also earned his teaching degree.

He played football all four years at Cortland, knowing that when his collegiate career was over, he wanted to coach high school kids.

“I really enjoyed being around athletics,” Moran said. “I really did. My career goal was to be a coach and in education just because I enjoyed being around that atmosphere so much.”

His first job out of college was teaching at St. Joe’s in Penfield, then he got a call from the University of Rochester to be an assistant under U of R’s legendary Pat Stark.

The next three years, he worked as an assistant coach at Livonia, his alma mater. In his third year, he was the head coach for JV.

His next job was as a driving education instructor at Wayland-Cohocton, where he also coached baseball.

Then in the Fall of 1989, just weeks before the school year was to start, he heard Le Roy was looking for a new head coach. He got an interview, then a second interview, then he was hired as head coach and athletic director.

“I grew up in a community similar to Le Roy and I knew the reputation Le Roy had as a football community,” Moran said. “It’s a privilege to coach, but as I said, I’m very lucky to have been hired and given the opportunity to coach in Le Roy.”

Talk with anybody about Le Roy football and sooner, always sooner rather than later, the word “tough” is dropped into the conversation.

To play Le Roy football, you’ve got to be tough.

It’s not enough to run fast, throw lasers down the field or stand tall and strong on the line. You’ve got to be tough.

Football is a mental and emotional game, and physical ability will only get a player so far.

If the players need to be tough, the coaches need to be tougher.

“We have high expectations for our football team,” Rossi said.

The skepticism Rossi’s customers felt that autumn day in 1989 was real, but it was nothing personal. Nobody knew anything about Brian Moran. Here was this young guy coming into the community to coach their football team and his only prior experience was as an assistant and a head JV coach.

Was he tough enough?

“When you come into a program like this that has always pretty much been successful,” Rossi said, “and you’re a new guy and nobody knows a lot about you, there’s going to be apprehension as to whether he can handle the situation.”

Moran was replacing Jim Laemlein, the coach who brought Le Roy its first sectional title and first 10-win season (1984, the last year in the sectional era ((and before there were state titles)) that Le Roy went undefeated).

“He had big shoes to fill coming in after a guy like Laemlein,” Rossi said.

Taking over a storied program
That first year, Moran says he was blessed to come into a program poised to win. The Knights went 8-2 in 1988, losing a sectional title game.

“I was very fortunate,” Moran said. “We had the nucleus of a good team, a team that lost by a touchdown the year before to Clyde-Savannah. It was a great situation to be in. We were 8-2 and we played Livonia in the sectional finals. It was bittersweet to coach for a title against my old school, but we were a pretty good football team in 1989.”

The 26-12 win brought home the first Section V trophy for a Moran-coached team.

Then Le Roy hit a rut, going 1-7 in 1990, then 4-4 in 91.

That ’91 team, though, is one Moran believes to this day could have won it all if they had back then the playoff format used today.

“That third year, I thought we had a great football team,” Moran said. “If they had let eight teams in (to the playoffs), that team would have won it all. That’s how good we got by the end of the season.”

As if to prove it, the Knights went 7-1-2 the next season and cinched Moran’s second Section V title.

Through Moran’s first six seasons, the Knights were 33-21-2 with three Section V titles.

There were few people left in Le Roy who questioned whether Moran could uphold the Oatkan Knights' tradition of winning football, but the best was yet to come.

Moran says, “we went on a little bit of a run.”

From 1995 through 2008, Le Roy did not suffer a losing season. The team’s record through the 13-season span was 136-20. There was a state championship in 1995, appearances in '96 and 2004, and 10 sectional titles. Le Roy has only played for a sectional title twice since, in 2012 and 2013, losing both championship games.

Developing champions
Winning a state championship is a big deal. There’s nothing easy about navigating through the post season. The waters are choppy for even very good football teams as they advance through each round.

The best teams are always much better than nearly all of their regular season opponents. You’re only going to lose to bad luck or to that one team you might meet during the year that is also on a championship romp through the league. When post season arrives, Class B teams are no longer piling up wins against Class C and D teams in league play and the C teams are no longer playing D teams.

The class system — based on school size — is used throughout New York State.

There are no playoffs to determine conference champions. The post season is strictly a matter of the best teams playing the top teams in each class. On any given Friday or Saturday, a top-seeded school can find its season terminated by a last second score.

(more after the jump)

The difference between winning and losing isn’t ruled by the action on the field. It’s a matter of players staying focused and motivated and coaches developing successful game plans.

As Moran often says, games are won and lost in practice the week before. The practice is based on the plan, and the plan is developed by the coach and his staff.

How much of Moran’s life is turned over to football during the season?

“All day, every day,” Moran said, “just ask my wife. I’m constantly watching film early in the week, trying to watch teams a week ahead. Then I start thinking about what we’re going to do offensively and defensively. Constantly. It’s not like I’m sitting down constantly and writing things down, and I’m not watching film constantly, but it’s a thorough process that really takes up your time. You really have to think to be successful.”

Linemen might refine their footwork, receivers their cuts, quarterbacks their time. Practice is about fine-tuning the skills needed in the game.

Teams learn the schemes and plays coaches think will work best against the coming opponent.

“One week at a time” is every successful team’s mantra.

One thing Moran excels at, according to former players, is motivation.

“It was about teamwork,” said Brian Fulmer, a senior tight end in 1995. “He was motivational. We all had buy-in. It was just the way he carried himself. Everybody just bought into teamwork.”

Fulmer skipped football his sophomore year to play in basketball tournaments, a decision he now says he regrets, even though he went on to play basketball at a Division I university, Cornell.

It’s a basketball memory that Fulmer used to illustrate Moran’s ability to motivate his players. There were a couple of game periods where Le Roy’s basketball coach was away and Moran was the substitute head coach.

Before one game, going over the game plan, Moran really got into Fulmer’s head.

“ ‘There’s no reason you shouldn’t dominate this entire game,’ ” Fulmer remembers Moran telling him. “He was like, ‘yeah, you’re going to go out and kill this guy.’ I thought, ‘yeah, you’re right.’ He knew how to push the right buttons. He cared about us.”

Family is also important to Head Coach Brian Moran.

He and his second wife, Wendy, married for 16 years together for 20, enjoy their home in a well-wooded lot near Nunda. He likes to tinker in the garage when he isn’t watching game film or playing golf.

His children are all grown. Brendon, 31, played for the Knights in 2001 and was part of the team that won the 100th game for Moran and was defensive player of the year for Section V. Casey, 29, also played for the Knights. Shane, 26, works for a landscaping company and attended Livonia, and his daughter, Kaitlin, 23, also attended Livonia and just earned her teaching degree.

Moran is also proud of his brothers. Tom is a State Supreme Court judge. Sean lives near Conesus Lake. Patrick lives in St. Louis and works for General Motors.

Perhaps the proudest person in the Moran family is the coach’s mother, who still attends most of her son’s games at age 82.

“She’s a big supporter of all of us,” Moran said.

1995
In the late Summer of 1995, it was starting to look like the unthinkable might happen: there would be no football season.

Mired in budget woes, the school board was considering drastic cuts in spending.

Coming off an 8-3 season that ended in a regional playoff loss, the players and coaches thought they might have a pretty good team, but they also wanted to play.

“The board was considering a real austerity budget,” Fulmer said. “We didn’t even know if we were going to have any sports that year. We had a great group of guys, a talented, talented group. A lot of us went on and played sports in college. A lot of us probably would have gone down the road and played at a different school if they cancelled the season.”

Players, parents, fans all packed a critical board meeting. The board heard the pleas to save sports and voted against the cuts.

“We promised the fans we will bring home a state championship,” said Adam Higgins, a member of the 1994 and 1995 teams. “If not for them, we would never have had a chance to play.”

Moran had no premonition of a state championship. The season, as they all do, unfolded one game, one week at a time. The way they should, in coachspeak.

“I always say weeks four, five and six are really crucial, because it gets to the point where if you’re not getting better, you’re almost getting worse,” Moran said. “If you don’t practice well, by the time you get the end, you may not have reached your peak. You want to get to that peak performance by the end of the season.”

Moran’s praise for the 1995 team: “They got better every week through very hard work. I like the way they practiced.”

Team chemistry was a big reason the team performed so well, Fulmer said. The players didn’t just play and practice together, they had meals to together, they hung out together and they supported each other.

They didn’t put their individual issues ahead of the team.

Higgins said Moran instilled the team-first attitude through hard work and discipline. It shows, he said, by the way Le Roy teams enter the field before before games. Two silent lines, like a military platoon, walking onto the field.

“Walk, don’t talk,” was the rule, Higgins said.

It was the same procession players are expected to take leaving the practice field, and after one hot August pre-season practice, when the team thought they were out of earshot of Moran, a couple of players started cutting up. The team — the whole team — spent an extended practice running laps.

“You do everything as a team,” Higgins said. “If one messes up, all mess up. He and Andrew (Paladino, defensive coordinator) just really instilled that in us and it showed.”

Higgins was the starting QB throughout his junior year, helping the team to a sectional title in 1994, and started the season at the top of the depth chart as the field general, but before the third game of the year — which turned out to be the only loss of the season, to archival Cal-Mum — Higgins lost his starting job to a sophomore.

“It was a big, traumatic event,” Fulmer said, but how Higgins handled it really set an example of team before self, he said.

“To his credit, he didn’t externally show a lot of emotion,” Fulmer said. “He was an awesome defensive player and he just went out and played great defense. I know he was hurting inside and I hurt for him, but he shut his mouth and went out and played great defense the rest of the year.”

It was a big deal, said Higgins, who is now a high school coach himself. He spent 10 years as an assistant at Letchworth and now coaches girls swimming. To this day, he counts Brian Moran as among his best friends. They talk frequently. He’s known Moran pretty much his entire life. His best friend from elementary school is the son of Moran’s wife, Wendy.

“He brought me into his office and I could tell he was upset,” Higgins recalled of the meeting where he learned he had lost the starting QB job. “It was hard for him to tell me. I looked at him and said, ‘I’ll do whatever I can for this team.’ ”

Quarterback controversy settled, the Knights started to gel. They won their next six regular season games, then crushed East Rochester 19-0 for the Section V Class C title. They beat Eden 19-0 for the Far West Regional title, won 12-0 over Dogelville in the state qualifier and faced Saranac Lake for the state championship.

The promise to the fans who saved the team was fulfilled by a final score of 37-27.

Love
The 2014 season, Moran’s 26th and last as head coach, has been another great run for the Oatkan Knights. All but one game has been a blowout, and that game, in the end, wasn’t really very close. It’s the year in which Moran became the fourth head coach in Section V history with 200 career wins.

After each victory, Moran gathers the team around them and shares the same message that makes these points.

“I’m proud of you.”

“Get your rest, stay hydrated.”

“We have another game next week. Stay focused. Come to practice Monday ready to work.”

“Enjoy the victory, but don’t do anything stupid.”

“Do the right thing in school.”

“I love you guys.”

The precise words may change each week, but the message remains consistent.

The idea that Moran loves the kids on his team isn’t just morale-building rhetoric. It’s not hokum to con a bunch of kids into conformity. Moran gets a little misty eyed when he talks about his players, and the lifelong bonds that develop, the mutual loyalty, the commitment and devotion that develops, are strong evidence that Moran’s heart is what leads his head.

Moran doesn’t take a lot of credit for his 201 wins. He credits the kids and the community, but it’s not even the most important thing, he says.

“This is high school athletics,” Moran said. “The wins are nice, but we need to be sure we’re teaching them the things they’ll need to know to be successful in life.”

The great thing about athletics is it teaches kids that discipline and success go hand-in-hand. The lessons that lead to winning championships also carry over into careers and families.

More important to Moran than trophies are the kids who come back to the school year after year and can proudly recite for him their successes in life.

At the start of this season, five members of the 1995 championship team came to a pep rally at the school, some flying from as far away as Minnesota and Texas, to cheer on and encourage the 2014 team.

To a man, they shared how much they learned from Moran and how playing for him changed their lives.

“The things I learned from coach that helped me is don’t cut corners in your work,” Fulmer said. “It’s all about teamwork. Show respect. Don’t ever disrespect somebody in public. Certainly, my Dad’s a big influence, too, but that’s the kind of stuff I learned with Coach Moran. He showed me the best example of teamwork I’ve ever been a part of and that carries with me to this day.”

Hundreds of kids have passed through Moran’s programs at Le Roy — not just football, and not just winning teams — and many can tell similar stories.

Tim Spezzano was part of the 1-7 squad in 1990. He later coached at Le Roy, starting with seventh-graders and eventually working four years as head basketball coach for boys varsity. He now works for Tompkins Insurance and holds Moran in the highest regard.

“He was always very well prepared in his approach to coaching and that’s certainly something I take from him,” Spezzano said. “One of the things he preached at great length is do the little things well. If you do the little things well, big things will happen for you. Generally, I think of myself as somebody who is properly prepared. I think a large part of why people are successful is they are prepared.”

Life lessons, thought, don’t come wrapped in brightly colored paper with pretty bows tied on top. They come through hard work, persistence and reinforcement.

In other words, the teacher dolling out the gifts needs a firm hand and a loud mouth.

Moran knows how to get in a kid’s face when he needs to.

“What’s most important to Brian is what happens to these kids 10 years from now,” said defensive coordinator Jim Bonacquisti. “Are they better men, are they better husbands, are they successful? That all comes from Brian demanding the best from them. It’s not a touchy-feely world. It’s not about everybody getting ribbons, everybody getting an award. It’s about making yourself better.”

The one thing, though, you’ll never see Brian Moran do, says Bonacquisti, is embarrass a kid during a game or in front of his parents.

“I can recall once when I got after a kid during a game,” Bonacquisti said. “The kid was a sophomore, and Brian turned me and said, ‘we’re going to need this kid the next two years. Let’s not beat this kid down. Stay positive.’ That’s what he always reiterated, ’stay positive.’ "

Andrew Paladino, the defensive coordinator who was coaching at Le Roy five years before Moran became head coach, will also retire at the end of this season. He said Moran has always treated him well and given him the freedom to run his own squad.

Paladino said he’s sure the love and appreciation players have for Moran is genuine, honest and hard won.

“He can be a hard-ass sometimes, but he truly likes the kids and he cares about the kids,” Paladino said. “A lot of people don’t understand that, a lot of times it’s tough love but when it’s all said and done I think the kids appreciate it.”

They do, said both former team members Brian Fulmer and Adam Higgins.

Fulmer, who played Division I basketball, said Moran was the best coach he ever played for at any level.

“I won Athlete of the Year my senior year and Brian spoke at the awards ceremony,” Fulmer said. “He spoke about how hard I worked and how I was always the first guy on the field and the last guy off the field. He got a little emotional about it. I never forgot how he got a little emotional about what I did. It was the coolest moment in my life. I’d run through a wall for that guy.”

It was also the moment that an award was handed out that is a deeply imprinted memory of Moran for Higgins as well.

“I was named Best Defensive Player for the Section V championship and I was standing right next to coach when they announced the award,” said Higgins, the kid who earlier that year lost his starting QB job to a sophomore. “He looked right at me and said, ‘I was hoping and praying that you would win that award.’ That was just the bond we had.”

Moran doesn’t remember the wins nearly as much as he remembers the individual players and their big moments: Fulmer knocking down a pass in the end zone during the championship game; Justin Ausher with a key two-point conversion in that game, beating people to the goal line; Joe Miller in a title game against East Rochester running a fullback trap 53 yards for a touchdown; Tony Mason with a seven-yard run in another game against East Rochester that combined with a PAT by Kevin Price gave Le Roy a 7-6 victory.

“There are so many great memories of kids making plays that even surprised me sometimes at how well they performed,” Moran said.

The coach also remembers the non-starters, the kids who just wanted to be part of the team. He remembers the kid with Asperger's syndrome who made the team and the kid with autism who became the team manager for a couple of years.

Moran has always had a soft spot for the kids who might have some disadvantage, Bonacquisti said, whether it’s something like Asperger's or autism, or they just don’t have any money or a lot of social grace.

That comes from being picked on as a kid. Moran said he had two older brothers who always gave him a hard time.

“That’s the way life was then,” Moran said. “Nobody worried about bullying. I was always trying to keep up with them.

Every kid deserves a chance to succeed, Moran said.

“When you look at our kids here today, you don’t know where they come from sometimes,” Moran said. “You don’t know what their home life is, and really, when they come to school, it might be the brightest part of their day.”

Working with the kids who might have disadvantages is also a powerful lesson for the rest of the kids, Moran said.

“It helps them understand the issues in society,” Moran said. “Not everybody is born perfect. Some kids struggle with whatever they have. I have a granddaughter who is very handicapped and it’s tough. I want these kids to understand that they have a lot of benefits that they don’t even think about.”

The fact Moran is so inclusive is part of the reason the football program has been so successful, Spezzano said.

“It’s evident in the numbers of participants in the program,” Spezzano said. “Look at the number of the kids on the sideline. “That doesn’t happen if the focus is only on the top 11 or top 12 players.”

Yeah, Moran may be a hard-ass at times, practices may be rough, but he thinks the community and the parents understand what the larger goals are, and that it isn’t necessarily to win championships. Winning is something that is an outcome of turning boys into men.

“I’m fortunate to work in this community,” Moran said. “I get after our kids pretty good sometimes, and in other places, I don’t think they would be as accepting as we are now. When you work in a place for 26 years, I think people understand you have their kids' best interest at heart.”

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 7:52 am

Fire inside Walmart's food section

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

A fire is reported at the Walmart Super Center on Veterans Memorial Drive. The building has been evacuated. Flames are visible on the wall in the meat department of the food store. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 7:52 a.m.: A fire is confirmed inside the meat cooler. Mutual aid from Oakfield fire is requested along with all available manpower from Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 8:06 a.m.: Oakfield is told to continue non-emergency with a fill-in unit for Town of Batavia's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:53 a.m.: Fire is out. A Health Department rep inspected the meat cooler and cleared the scene.

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 7:40 am

UPDATED: Man identified in Corfu manhunt

post by WBTA News in corfu
A Honeoye man, stopped for a traffic violation in Corfu, is behind bars this morning in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Robert Mann, 48, was stopped yesterday afternoon near the intersection of routes 77 and 33.
Authorities said as the officer was checking Mann’s license, Mann took off on foot and ran into a vacant building on East Main Street.
Other officers joined in the pursuit along with Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 Destro.
Erion said Destro found the suspect on the second floor of the building holding a stick with nails in it.
Eroin ordered Mann to drop the weapon and he was taken into custody without further incident.
Nearby Pembroke Elementary School was placed in lock-down as a precaution.
Mann has been charged with DWI and driving without a license. Police said additional charges are pending.
 
UPDATE / CORRECTION: We received an e-mail from Pembroke School District Superintendent Matthew Calderon stating that the school principal reported that "...we did not go into any lockdown and children went home at the normal time, 3 p.m. According to the principal, no one contacted the school to make us aware of any incident in Corfu." He added that if a lockdown were ever to occur, he would contact the media.
 
CLARIFICATION: We just received another e-mail from the superintendent further clarifying the matter. It states:
"I was able to confirm the following: The Sheriffs called and spoke to our Transportation Director at 3:21 p.m. to hold the students. Our students had already dismissed at 3:00, but the Transportation director had the bus driver that transports Village students cease from dropping students off until she received the 'all clear' around 3:50 p.m."
Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Chamber introduces 2015 board at annual meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2015 Board of Directors at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting at Bohn’s Restaurant Thursday.  

Serving on the Board in 2015 are Steven Beardsley, Bank Of Castile; Tim Call, Empire Tractor; Keith Conway, Z&M Ag and Turf; Dan Harvey, Graham Corporation; Dennis Kohl, Darien Lake Amusement Park; Steve Krna, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; Hiedi Librock, Town of Batavia; Jonathon Mager, Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia, Inc.;

Chan Patel, Clarion Hotel; Steve Pies, Max Pies Furniture; Michael R. Rivers, Rybak, Metzler & Grasso, PLLC; Chris Suozzi, Genesee County Economic Development Center; Joseph Teresi, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Eric Wies, Clark Patterson Lee; and Jennifer Zambito, GCASA.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Vinnie Esposito, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Council. Esposito praised Genesee County for being a leader in economic development and predicted a bright future for the county’s business community.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull gave an overview of the past year at the Chamber and outlined plans for 2015 initiatives. According to Turnbull, the Chamber will continue to fulfill its mission to create an environment for business success and improve the quality of life for all citizens of Genesee County.    

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Poster contest winner get rides to school in fire truck

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

Press release:

The Group 2 winner of the Fire Prevention Poster Contest received her prize today. Violet March, a third-grader at St. Joseph School, received a ride on a fire truck to school. She boarded the truck at the fire station on Evans Street and from there took a tour of the City on Engine 11. She arrived at school and was greeted by her classmates. The poster contest is in its second year and sponsored by the City of Batavia Fire Department and the City Firefighters Union Local 896.

Top photo: Firefighter Art Smith, Captain Greg Shilvock, Fire Chief Jim Maxwell, Group 2 Winner Violet March and her mother Kelly March.

Bottom photo: Captain Greg Shilvock, Violet March and firefighter Art Smith in driver’s seat. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Driver in custody after reportedly running away from police during a traffic stop in Corfu

post by Alecia Kaus in corfu

A man who allegedly fled during a traffic stop in the Village of Corfu this afternoon is in police custody.

Corfu Police Officer Michael Petritz pulled over a Chevy Suburban with Washington plates about 3 this afternoon at the gas station parking lot at routes 77 and 33.

While Petritz wrote a ticket, the operator of the vehicle allegedly fled the scene and ran east, leading police on a short foot chase behind a row of buildings next to the gas station.

The State Police and the Genesee County Sheriff's Department also responded.

Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 Destro were disptached to the scene and the suspect was discovered about 3:40 p.m. hiding in a stairwell of a vacant commercial building just to the east of the intersection.

Erion says he was found holding a a wooden stick with nails. The suspect was told to drop his weapon and he complied. He was taken into custody without further incident.

According to Deputy Erion,  the Pembroke Intermediate School was told to shelter in place at 3 o'clock. The children were allowed to leave the school at 3:50 p.m. when the suspect was taken into custody.

The driver is facing charges for allegedly entering the vacant building, and vehicle and traffic violations.

 

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Driver Jake Baumeister injured in Batavia Downs spill

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tom Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Jacob "Jake" Baumeister, a 24-year-old provisional reinsman, was released from the United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia late Wednesday night (Nov. 5) after being involved in a racing accident at Batavia Downs.

Baumeister, driving 99-1 shot Vital Speed, appeared to hit the wheel of early leader (53-1) Call Her Quick with Jack Flanigen at the controls, as the field of winners of one but not more than three pacers were heading to the three-quarters.

Call Her Quick got rough gaited and went off stride. Baumeister and Vital Speed were directly behind and couldn’t avoid the breaker and went down. Baumeister was catapulted from the race bike.

Also involved in the accident was Justrollwithit and driver Truman Gale. They appeared to hook the wheel of the sulky of Vital Speed. Gale, a Vernon Downs regular, was also catapulted from the sulky.

Jacob Baumeister, the son of longtime Western New York trainer/driver Mike Baumeister and grandson of Ronald, who also raced at Batavia and Buffalo Raceway, suffered a concussion and facial lacerations. Gale walked off under his own power.

Vital Speed suffered minor abrasions and walked back to the paddock while Justrollwithit, who ran loose after unseating Gale, was apprehended by paddock personnel with no apparent injuries.

“We were definitely lucky that involved parties will be okay,” said Todd Haight, director/GM of live racing. “That was a very nasty spill. Jake is the nicest young man you’re ever going to meet and we all wish him a speedy recovery.”

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