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Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Photos: Block party on Morton Avenue, sponsored by Vibrant Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Morton Avenue, Vibrant Batavia

Residents of Morton Avenue came together today for a block party sponsored by Vibrant Batavia.

While Vibrant Batavia has sponsored other community events, this was the first block party, said Leanna DiRisio, director of Vibrant Batavia.

The event was largely organized by residents Bill and Lisa Scott with help from Rick and Dawn Calkins.

Food and drink was provided by Vibrant Batavia and cooked by Bill and Rick. Neighbors brought beer, desserts and side dishes and pitched in with recreational activities from Ping-Pong to sprinklers to basketball.

Members of the Batavia Fire Department stopped by with Ladder 15 and Officer Nedim Catovic represented Batavia PD (in the Ping-Pong battle between Police and Fire, Fire won 21-19, and then fire went on to trounce Local Media 21-6).

Councilmembers Eugene Jankowski and Patti Pacino also stopped by.

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Photos: Lions Club fishing tournament at Dewitt

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, DeWitt Recreation Area, Lions Club, outdoors

Joshua von Kramer is all business as he casts his line into the pond at DeWitt Recreation Area today during a youth fishing tournament sponsored by the Batavia Oakfield Lions Club. Fishing with him are Nicole and Eric von Kramer.

Reice Woodward reels in a catch.

Reice Woodward

Ed Staniszewski with the boys and girls derby grand prizes.Other prizes on the table.

Joey Staniszewski

Blake Bradt gets her catch measured by Joe Bradt.

The tournament was dedicated to the memory of Kendra Haacke, who died this Spring at age 31. Above, members of the Haacke family, Melissa, Chris, Ken, Emma, Mary Ann and Lily.

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Grand Jury indictments: DWAI incident that seriously injured five people, plus couple of alleged dope dealers

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Grand Jury

Michael L. Sanders is indicted for the crime of driving while ability impaired by drugs, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 29 in the City of Batavia, he caused serious physical injury to another person while operating a 2013 Acura on Oak Street with his abilities impaired by drugs. In count two, he is accused of vehicular assault, 1st, a Class D felony, for allegedly causing serious injury to another person while driving the same vehicle with his ability to do so impaired by drug use, thereby seriously injuring more than one person. In counts three, four, five, six and seven, respectively, Sanders is accused of the same thing, specifically seriously injuring five different named individuals.

Kevin J. O'Connell Jr. and Samantha L. Hicks are indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 24 at 62 S. Main St., Batavia, they knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug, cocaine, with the intent to sell it. In count two, the defendants are accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing a narcotic drug, heroin, with the intent to sell it. In count three, they are accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances containing a narcotic drug, cocaine, with an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more.

Friday, June 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Photos: Ireland well represented on first night of 2014 Jackson Square concert series

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, downtown, entertainment, Jackson Square, music

The annual Jackson Square concert series kicked off Friday night with a return engagement by Stone Row, who first played the series nine years ago.

The electrified Irish band entertained the crowd with traditional and contemporary numbers.

Opening the show was a string quartet from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra playing traditional Irish tunes.

For a line-up of this summer's shows, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Flowers by Dick Burton closing its doors for the last time Monday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Flowers by Dick Burton

One of Batavia's venerable businesses, Flowers by Dick Burton, is closing its doors the final time Monday evening.

The roots of the business are in Oakfield, growing out of greenhouses owned by Irving Bates and Benjamin Harrison, who opened a flower shop in Batavia sometime in the 1940s.

Eventually, Dick and Mary Burton bought the shop and after operating on Main Street for some time, moved it to Cedar Street.

John and Shelia Hamel purchased the business -- and kept the name -- 34 years ago.

Even though the Hamels have built up a customer database of 21,000 people (including customers in seven other nations), it's become too difficult to compete against Internet businesses, Hamel said.

"Yes, we have local competition, but our main competition is the Internet," John said. "These 1-800, Procom, Just Flowers, all these things -- I just urge our customers and anybody, do not use them because you get taken. You don't get the quality they expect here or any flower shop."

Hamel said customers have compared his prices to Internet prices and complained, but people don't realize the quality just isn't the same. The flowers aren't prepared properly and can even arrived dried out, and shipping costs often exceed the cost of the flowers.

Hamel said he isn't sure what's next for him and his wife. Shelia can still work in the flower industry if she wants. She's a certified master designer who got a near perfect score when she tested for the certification. She was Florist of the Year in 2002, named by the now defunct Floral Association of Greater Rochester.

Flowers by Dick Burton was Genesee County's Retail Business of the Year in 1994. The business as also won numerous awards from FTD and other trade organizations.

Hamel said there are so many people to thank for all the years of support of the business that he can't possibly name them all -- all of the customers, most of all.

He in recent years it's been a treat to do the flowers for brides whose mothers first came to them for their weddings in the 1980s and 1990s.

He said he especially wanted to thank the shop's longtime employees, Barb Spring, Charlie Augrom, Linda Luthart, Sally Case and Lori Mosier.

Through Monday, everything in the shop is half off. On July 9 and 10, the shop will be open for other florists to come in and buy fixtures and cases. The property will be auctioned off July 17.

"We really don't know what we're going to do after that," Hamel said. "We're letting our faith take us at that point."

Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Work set to begin on Trumbull Parkway, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

Press release:

On Tuesday July 1st, the Trumbull Parkway Infrastructure Project will begin on Trumbull Parkway from East Avenue to Lown Street in the City of Batavia. The project includes installation of a new sanitary sewer main, water services, replacement of damaged sidewalks, and resurfacing the roadway.  The work is expected to be complete by Sept. 19th. Given the scope of the work, sections of Trumbull Parkway will be temporarily closed to thru traffic, excluding the residents who live in the work zone.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm

If you saw a lot of police activity on Jackson Street, here's why

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A person was reported running behind houses between Maple Street and Morton Avenue, Batavia, and members of the Local Drug Task Force happened to be in the area and took the young man into custody.

The person was cuffed and questioned while other law enforcement officers also by chance, apparently, who were in the area (Batavia PD and State Police) stopped by. 

A search of the area found nothing amiss.

With no further reason to hold the young man, he was going to be released, police said.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Batavia Cab returns to service after repairing its one vehicle

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Cab, business

After several weeks of being out of service for significant repairs to its engine, Batavia Cab's lone cab is back in service.

Co-owner James Soggs said the cab just went back on the road today.

There were reports of Batavia Cab being out of business, but Soggs said the company hadn't closed, it just didn't have a vehicle it could put on the road.

There's been a lot of turmoil among local cab companies over the past two years with three or four companies opening and closing.

B-Town Taxi, Affordable Cab and Mike's* all appear to be out of business (we've confirmed B-Town is out of business). The only locally owned cab company we know to be currently operating in Genesee County is Batavia Cab.

Multiple readers contacted The Batavian over the past few weeks noting that there no longer seemed to be an operational cab company locally, creating a hardship on a lot of people, so the return of Batavia Cab should please a lot of people.

*I remember another company that started up two years ago and is now apparently out of business, but can't remember the company's name.

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