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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Structure fire reported on South Main Street, Village of Oakfield

post by Billie Owens in fire, Oakfield

A working structure fire is reported at 102 S. Main St. in the Village of Oakfield. Oakfield fire is responding along with Town of Batavia and the city's Fast Team. East Pembroke is asked to fill in at Oakfield's hall.

UPDATE 9:51 p.m.: Fire police are requested to shut down traffic at Route 63 and Fisher Road, and in the Village at Route 63 and South Pearl Street.

UPDATE 9:59 p.m.: Elba's firefighting "Cascade" is called in.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.: National Grid has been notified. Command reports the blaze is under control.

UPDATE 10:34 p.m.: One code enforcement officer is on scene and a second one is contacted to respond.

UPDATE 11:25 p.m.: Roadway being reopened.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Batavia wins defensive battle to wrest Rotary trophy from Notre Dame

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

In an effort to defeat Batavia's anticipated press in the Rotary Tournament championship game Thursday night, Dave Pero gave his girls a great plan -- quick passes down court to open shooters.

The Fighting Irish got a lot of open shot opportunities in the first half of the game. The part of the plan that didn't work is that too few baskets went through the hoop.

In the end, the Blue Devils prevailed in the defensive battle of rivals, 41-33.

"A game like this is great for us come sectional time," said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. "We're not going to see a team in our sectional bracket that presses like Batavia, so it's a great lesson we learned tonight of how to handle it."

Pero thought his team handled it pretty well, even mounting a bit of a comeback in the 4th quarter that had to make Batavia supporters a little nervous, but Batavia answered and held off the Fighting Irish charge to avenge defeats in the previous two Rotary tournaments.

"These guys hate me at practice, as hard as we run, but there's a reason," said Marty Hein, Batavia's head coach. "In the second half, and we don't turn the ball over any worse than we do in first half, but we seem to force more in the second half than anybody else. I think that gives us an edge."

Hein tightened his defense during half time, putting more pressure on Notre Dame at half court, which took away passing lanes and made it harder for offensive players to get behind his defenders. It created more turnovers.

Pero said his team was ready and primed for this game, but Batavia just did a little bit better.

"We had a great practice yesterday, perhaps one of the best practices we've had," Pero said. "Did we do a lot with the basketball? We did a little bit. We did a lot of talking. The girls were upbeat. They were responsive. When we got to the locker room upstairs, they were focused. When you get girls that are focused, a team like that, I don't care if they're boys or girls, win or lose, that's when you've got to give them credit for the way they prepared. They were awesome. They were ready for what they were going to give us, we just fell short. Next week is another week."

Hein said he and his team thought they were going to do a lot better.

"We're a little down, because we thought we should play better, myself included, but that's just a credit to them and their coach," Hein said.

Tiara Filbert, Batavia, was tournament MVP and scored 22 points Thursday. No other Blue Devil got into double figures. Essence Williams scored eight.

Shea Norton led Notre Dame with 10 points. Taylor DiMartino and Emma Francis each had eight.

(Filbert and Norton in the top photo)

To purchase prints, click here.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Today's Deals: Rack Shack, Mooney's, John & Mary's, Oliver's, El Burrito Loco, and more!

post by Billie Owens in today's deals

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $7.

Pudgie's Lawn & Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Time to order your 2015 trees and shrubs. Also, Buffalo Bills flags in stock -- $19.99. Protect your green investment with stakes and burlap to cover shrubs, roses and more. We also sell all-season horticultural and dormant oil, fruit tree spray, and supplies for organic growers. Come see our full, well-stocked Master Nursery garden center, the only one in Genesee County. Get help and advice from our staff of Cornell-certified master gardeners. Visit our 1,500-square-foot gift shop and hear the soothing, melodic Corinthian Bells wind chimes. Hours are  9 to 7 Monday thru Saturday, and 9 to 4 on Sunday. "Don't garden hard, garden smart!" We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Sweet Pea’s Cupcakery Café, 23 Jackson St., Batavia, NY. We are a full-service Cupcake Bakery and Café. Now serving fresh-baked artisan pizza for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday thru Friday! Treat yourself to a variety of baked goods, mainly varieties of specialty and traditional scratch-made cupcakes, as well as other bakery items like cookies and brownies. We also serve a variety of hot and cold beverages. Check out our location, or place an order for parties, gatherings or any other reasons you can think of to enjoy some cupcakes. We have a $10 gift card for $4.

Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia, NY: Fine dining in an atmosphere of casual elegance. Lunch and dinner, steak, prime rib and seafood. Ask about Bohn's catering services and banquet facility. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Fortuna's Restaurant inside Batavia Downs, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY: Italian-style menu, drinks in one of the region's most popular entertainment venues. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15. (Must be new or current Players Club member to redeem.)

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Jagged Edges Salon, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, NY: Jagged Edges Salon is a walk-in and appointment salon for men, women and children. It is a fun, welcoming salon that offers all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, treatments, and facial waxing. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Rack Shack, 4974 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, NY: Genesee County's newest BBQ restaurant offers a varied menu that ranges from tender, tasty slow-cooked BBQ ribs and smoky beef brisket to Cajun catfish, ribeye steaks, burgers and wraps. Family owned and operated, the atmosphere is warm and comfortable, and the meats are smoked on-site. The homemade BBQ sauce is “sweet with a spicy kick.” Sides include authentic Southern-style collard greens, 5-bean chuck wagon beans with bacon and ground meat, mac ‘n’ cheese, tater tots and more. Catering available. Dine in, take out, phone in (585-201-7077). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 to 7, closed Monday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Scooter's Restaurant in Le Roy, 140 W. Main Street Road (Route 5), Le Roy, NY: Come see us at Scooter's family restaurant with our friendly atmosphere and homestyle cooking! We offer classic American food with breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day. We also offer a full take-out menu anytime. We have a $10 gift certificate for $4.

Mooney's Sports Bar & Grill, 65 Lake St., Le Roy, NY: "Not Your Average Sports Bar!" This place is Home of the Mac N' Cheese, an All-American favorite with nine kinds to choose from. Plus, monster 1/2-lb. burgers, huge tacos, pizza, wings, fingers, wraps, soups, salads, appetizers (including deep-fried pickles), a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, seafood, and plenty more. Mooney's has a fun, welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy watching your favorite teams. Endless soda pop, great selection of ice-cold beer. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Catering available. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $8.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

El Burrito Loco, 4125 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Located in Valu Plaza, this new eatery offers tasty, authentic Mexican fare. Tell us what you want on your burrito! We make it fresh just for you. Choose from steak, seasoned ground beef, chicken, pork, and/or beans -- black, refried or pinto. Other ingredients to choose from include lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, guacamole, Spanish or white rice, cilantro, salsa, and jalapeno peppers. The menu also offers tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, loaded nachos, Mexican soda pop, lemonade, and more! Relax and eat in, or take out. Call in your order if you like -- 219-4620. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

John & Mary's Restaurant, 3711 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, NY: This popular restaurant offers a varied menu that people love. From subs, hoagies, hand-tossed pizza, and wings, to fish & chips, salads, Mexican food, gyros and other Greek fare, it's all here. Only the finest and freshest ingredients are used. Bread, using homemade dough, baked fresh daily. Amazing specialty pizzas and appetizers! "We never waver on quality!" Delivery available all day, every day. We offer catering. Hours 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Rancho Viejo, 12 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Traditional Mexican cuisine, from tacos and burritos to pollo norteno, Rancho Viejo brings a bit of "South of the Border" to Batavia's restaurant scene. We have a $10 gift card for $6.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

The Mane Attraction Salon and Spa99 Main St., Batavia, NY: offers "Affordable Luxury" in downtown Batavia. We pride ourselves in the great customer service we give to the entirefamily. Men, women and children are all welcome either by appointment or walk-in. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, facials, leg and back waxing, Shellac Polish System, manicures and pedicures. We are the only salon in Batavia that has an airplane chair for kids' cuts! Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $7.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Stretch your body and soul with yoga. This offer is for a $20 gift certificate for the price of $5. Not good with any other discounts or offers. Excludes workshops.

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12. Valid only for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's."  Stop in and check out our Jumbo Chicken Wings, Roast Beef on Weck and Friday night fish fry. The original family spaghetti sauce still adorns all of our Italian specialties. The other popular selections from our menu range from Super Salads, butcher cut Strip Loin and South of the Border items. We offer daily lunch and dinner specials as well as a full adult and children’s menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

[Last updated June 6, 2014. Subject to change without notice.]

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Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase, unless it states otherwise. It is not valid with other offers, has no cash value, and does not include gratuities. Only one gift certificate per-merchant, per-household every SIX months. Gift certificates cannot be combined with other offers without prior approval of the merchant. Gift certificates bought separately cannot be combined for a single purchase. Individuals buying gift certificates must use their own personal PayPal account for the purchase. For hair salons, good for services only, not products.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Unless other arrangements are made immediately after purchase, the gift certificate will mailed to the winner at his or her PayPal-provided postal address within two or three days of purchase.

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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Truck crashes into Batavia Police Station on West Main Street, driver trapped

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A truck reportedly struck the Batavia Police Station at 10 W. Main St. and a person is trapped inside the vehicle. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m.: The driver is speaking with a police officer.

UPDATE: The male driver was not seriously injured. He was transported to a hospital outside of Genesee County.

More information in the video:

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Photos: Batavia after the storm

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

Joel Emerson delivering mail through the snow and bitter cold on Redfield Parkway.

Joe Caruso cleaning his driveway on North Spruce.

Also on North Spruce.

Craig Thurman on State Street.

Joseph Verssagi on Union while his neighbor Buck Oltman works with his own blower in the background.

The sun was out, the storm was gone, but snow was still blowing on Main Street.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 8:13 am

Photo: School bus stuck in traffic circle at BHS

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

A reader submitted this photo of a school bus reportedly stuck in the snow in the traffic circle at Batavia High School.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

Sheriff issues travel advisory for Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff has issued a travel advisory for all of Genesee County effective immediately and continuing until further notice. While travel in the county is not banned at this time, unnecessary travel is discouraged. Heavy, blowing and drifting snow is making roads slippery and limiting visibility. Several motor-vehicle accidents have been reported with numerous vehicles going off the road.

UPDATE: The travel advisory was lifted at 9:30 a.m.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 7:16 am

Genesee County football players honored in All-State awards

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

The following players were honored for their 2014 season in the New York Sportswriters Association All-State awards.

  • Dom Mogavero, linebacker, Batavia, First Team, Class B
  • Tom Kelso, linebacker, LeRoy First Team Class C.
  • Greg Mruczek, quarterback, Batavia, Second Team, Class B
  • Mike McMullen, quarterback, Le Roy, Second Team, Class C
  • Steele Truax, linebacker, Elba/Byron-Bergen, Second Team, Class C
  • Honorable mentions in Class D: Josh Johnson, Notre Dame; Tyler Laird, Alexander; Zach Shivlock, Alexander; Allen Chatt, Oakfield-Alabama

UPDATED to include Tom Kelso. who was inadvertantly left out of the original post. Apologies to the Kelso family.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 6:50 am

Car hits tree, injuries reported on Cole Road, Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy

A car has reportedly hit a tree on Cole Road, Le Roy.

Injuries are reported.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance dispatched.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 6:10 am

Car reportedly hits tree on South Main Street Road, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A car has reportedly hit a tree and there are unknown injuries at 3992 South Main Street Road, near Fairway Drive, Batavia.

Town of Batavia Fire and Alexander Fire's ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 6:11 a.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports no injuries. Alexander's ambulance is cancelled. Town of Batavia can hold all equipment in hall.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 5:59 am

Closings and cancellations for Friday, Jan. 9

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Closing and cancellations reported to us:

  • "This is a message from the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.  School will be closed today, Friday January 9th due to the weather. This closing includes all after-school and evening activities. Please note that this is our last built-in snow day of the school year. Our plan for makeup days will be distributed next week to allow you to adjust your calendars. Please stay warm and safe this weekend."
  • Alexander Central School
  • Attica Central School
  • BOCES, Batavia campus
  • Pavilion
  • Pembroke
  • Pembroke Family Medicine delayed opening until 10:30 a.m.
  • Independent Living of Genesee Region is closed today.
  • Notre Dame
  • Lamb Family Medicine (Now Open)
  • Bingo at St. Mary's
  • Delayed opening for County Court and City Court
  • Delayed opening to 10 a.m. for Dr. Basra
  • The Women's Care Center in Batavia at 33 Chandler Ave.

E-mail closings and cancellations to [email protected]

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 5:56 am

Eastbound Route 5 in Le Roy reportedly blocked by truck accident

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy

A reader who witnessed the accident reports a westbound tractor-trailer has jackknifed on Route 5 near Bater Road, Le Roy.

The truck hit a pole and the eastbound lane is blocked.

A trooper just arrived on scene.

UPDATE 5:58 a.m.: Le Roy fire requested to shut down traffic westbound on Route 5 at Keeney Road. Stafford fire requested to shut down traffic eastbound at Buckley Road.

UPDATE 6:44 a.m.: Traffic is reopened. Stafford and Le Roy back in service.

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 5:49 am

Heavy lake effect snow expected in western Genesee County before 7 a.m.

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

In a special weather statement, the National Weather Service reports a heavy lake effect snow band is moving toward the western portion of Genesee County and could drop snow at a rate of three inches per hour as far east as Batavia.

Visibility will be near zero with winds gusting to 40 mph.

"Travel will be extremely difficult or even impossible due to a combination of snowfall and strong winds," warns the weather service.

UPDATE 6:17 p.m.: A medic with Mercy EMS informs dispatchers that conditions are so bad, "we won't be doing any transports to Buffalo until further notice."

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 5:34 am

Accident at Judge Road and Macomber Road, Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield

A motor-vehicle accident is reported near Judge Road and Macomber Road, Oakfield.

A medic on scene reports two minor injuries and one person trapped. A second ambulance is requested to the scene.

Oakfield fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:40 a.m.: Alabama fire requested to the scene for traffic control.

UPDATE 5:44 a.m.: A second ambulance might not be needed. Two minor injuries. "We might be able to double stack one rig," a responder tells dispatch.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Thruway through WNY closing to all traffic at midnight

post by Howard B. Owens in thruway, weather

From the Thruway Authority:

Parts of the New York State Thruway in Western New York will be closed due to extreme winter weather conditions. The mainline Thruway, I-90, between Exit 46 (Henrietta) and Exit 61 (Shortman Road), as well as the Niagara Section, I-190, between I-90 and Exit 16 (I-290), will be closed to tractor-trailers at 9 tonight. Starting at midnight, these same sections will be closed to all traffic. Vehicles traveling westbound on I-90 will be detoured off the roadway at Exit 46 (Henrietta) and all eastbound traffic will be detoured off at Exit 61 (Shortman Road). All vehicles traveling south on I-190 will be detoured off at Exit 16 (I-290).

Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Committee rejects bid to build solar farm on nine acres of county land

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, solar energy

The idea of solar power for county government certainly brought a gleam to the eye of members of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, but in the end, a proposal by Solar City didn't exactly light up their lives.

The committee voted unanimously to reject a proposal that could have saved the county more than a quarter of its $500,000 annual electricity bill. 

The short-term cost savings looked good, but the long-term and potentially unknown consequences seemed daunting.

Legislator and Committee Chairman Bob Bausch worried about Solar City going bankrupt, and without some sort of bond to protect the county's financial liability, taxpayers could be left holding the bag on a nine-acre solar farm the county had no ability to maintain.

"We would have to clean up their mess," Bausch said.

County Attorney Chuck Zambito said Bausch was essentially right.

"It would be their responsibility, but if they go bankrupt, there would be no way to enforce it," Zambito said.

Legislator Maryanne Clattenburg was concerned that 20 years was too long to lock the county into technology that looks good today but may quickly become obsolete. She said she was especially concerned because the company seems so dependent on government grants, which could dry up in a few years.

"When I think of my phone 20 years ago, or I think of my computer 20 years ago -- I just think it's too long of a time to be tied into one technology," Clattenburg said.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens expressed concern that the state, which would help finance the project, might eventually reduce the amount of compensation the county would get for hosting the solar farm.

He also noted that the county may yet need to build a new jail and the proposed location of the farm -- nine acres off West Main Street Road, Batavia, next to County Building #2, might be a prime location for a new jail. Putting a solar farm on that land would potentially drive up the cost of a new jail if the county had to purchase nine acres elsewhere.

Solar City would get use of the nine acres to generate electricity to sell to National Grid tax free, legislators noted.

County Manager Jay Gsell said the county also looked at land at the County Airport, but found FAA regulations would prohibit any possible configuration the county could use because of glare, glide path and safety zone issues.

Hens said other companies have contacted the county about solar power and in rejecting the Solar City deal, which the county had to act on by mid-February, the county keeps its options open.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Treasurer and clerk critical of audit reports from state

post by Howard B. Owens in County Clerk, county treasurer

The way the county treasurer and county clerk see it, the NYS Office of Comptroller didn't do a very good job of crossing its Ts and dotting its Is when it came to issuing audit reports on their offices last month.

While the reports only raised minor bookkeeping issues and found no real evidence of mismanagement, both Scott German and Don Read told the Ways and Means Committee yesterday that they were blown over by the negative audit reports.

"Essentially, the State Comptroller's Office didn't follow normal protocol," German said. "There was no entrance interview, no exit interview, and they always give 90 days to respond and have our response in the audit, and that didn't happen either."

Read said the auditor who hit his office never clarified how certain court records were being handled, just said they weren't being handled correctly.

"Everything she complained about in the audit, we do," Read said. "They said we don't keep a record of it because we don't keep it in a book. Well, we don't keep it in a book any more. We keep it in a folder, a printout. We no longer have to write in a book, get a book out. We put it on computer. That was acceptable the last time they did a court and trust fund audit. They didn't raise any issues, but this time they found fault with it."

Like the Treasurer's Office, Read wasn't given a chance to file a written response before the audit was made public.

The treasure was knocked for not notifying the state of $507 in a trust that needed to be turned over as abandoned. German said the state has changed the rules on the time frame of such notifications in the past few years, but never communicated that change to county treasurers. The lastest printed booklet from the state, which is what German's staff was using contained the incorrect information. (There is apparently a downloadable booklet that is corrected.) He said his staff now has the corrected state booklet.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature, said the couple of minor complaints in the audit report were really a credit to both county offices because nothing more serious was found.

German said his office is currently in the third month of what he expects to be a year-long audit, and he's sure some discrepancy or another will be found.

"I'm sure they're going to find things," German said. "They always do, but nothing major."

Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Lake effect snow warning issued for tonight

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

From six to 10 inches of lake effect snow are possible overnight with winds blowing up to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

A lake effect snow warning has been issued. 

Snow could fall at three inches an hour.

The warning is in effect from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

Visibility will be near zero at times.

The weather service warns travel may become nearly impossible.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: Here's a weather report from our news partner, 13WHAM:

Tonight expect the gusty winds to continue with sub-zero wind chills. The actual low temperature will be near 14, but will feel much colder. Late this evening an area wide snowfall will make its way toward WNY. Snow will redevelop and bring a fresh coating of 2-3” for Rochester. South and west, through Genesee and Wyoming counties, another 3-5” are likely. For this reason, we have a lake effect snow warning in place west of Rochester for Friday.

The Friday morning commute could be a challenge as a quick burst of snow will fall producing an inch or more of accumulation. With the brutally cold temperatures and blustery conditions it’s no surprise that lake snow will continue also. Genesee and Wyoming counties will see another 3-6” of accumulation. Outside of any lake effect bands, some breaks of sunshine will be possible. 

Bitter cold temperatures and sub-zero wind chills will persist Friday night. Another lake effect band will move through the area and although the exact placement of this snow band is still to be determined, any area that stays within persistent lake snow could see 6-10” of additional accumulation.

Saturday morning will start out with some sunny breaks. Although the sun may be shining, conditions will still be blustery with ice-cold temperatures near 18. By afternoon 3-6” of new snowfall will accumulate south and west of Rochester, bringing snow totals between 2 and 3 feet. Continue to check back for further updates on the snowfall and upcoming storm system from the 13WHAM Weather Authority.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 11:17 am

Contrary to news reports, no attempt made to harm Elba teacher

post by Howard B. Owens in elba

At least two young Elba students made threats against a teacher three weeks ago, resulting in a complaint to local law enforcement, but school officials are handling the matter internally.

Contrary to media reports elsewhere, there was no attempt to either kill or sicken the teacher. It was all talk.

Following a public records request, Sheriff Gary Maha released a police report on the closed investigation, which stemmed from a person who had heard about the incident calling police.

The report indicates that school officials have been attempting to deal with a bullying problem in a fourth-grade class, and in the course of the turmoil at least two students, possibly more, discussed spreading hand sanitizer on personal items of the class's teacher.

The teacher had made it known to her students that hand sanitizer could make her seriously ill. It's not clear that exposure could be fatal.

The students seemed to believe that the hand sanitizer could be used to kill their teacher.

The students never actually spread any hand sanitizer.

Deputy Kevin McCarthy responded to the school Dec. 18 after a complaint was made about children threatening to kill their teacher.

McCarthy interviewed officials and students at the school.

The report states that students were contradictory in their statements about the threats and who made them.  

A parent was also interviewed and was concerned about the alleged threats.

School officials believed two students implicated themselves in statements and those students were reportedly disciplined.

UPDATE: Here's a statement from Jerry Piwko, superintendent of Elba Central School District:

It has been widely reported that certain fourth-grade students had been discussing a way to harm a teacher in the Elba Central School District. This event has been a shock to our community and school. The District cannot comment on the specifics of this event, including discipline, as the information is protected from disclosure under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The reports in the media and on social media do not accurately reflect the entire event.

As soon as the District was made aware of the students' discussion it called in students that were thought to have knowledge of the discussions. After the students were interviewed, the District contacted the Sheriff's Department and cooperated with the Sheriff's deputies in their investigation of the matter. The Sheriff's Department concluded that no crime had been committed and the matter was turned back over to the District. The District in turn has worked with the parents and students involved to address this issue. It is important to note that no one was injured or actually placed in harm's way.

The District does not condone any of the behaviors that have been reported and is in the process of working alongside the Sheriff's Department to use this incident as a vehicle for educating the District's students regarding appropriate behaviors.

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