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May 3, 2014 - 4:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in cornell extension, master gardeners.

Press release:

Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Spring Garden Gala on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.

There will be a plant sale featuring outdoor and indoor plants (many grown by Master Gardeners), geraniums and a Chance Basket Auction. Bring in a soil sample from your garden for free soil pH testing. Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions.

There will also be a terrarium demonstration at 11 a.m. and a container gardening demonstration at noon.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants and other interesting items for your garden. Sale starts promptly at 10 a.m. No early birds please. Chance Auction drawing at 12:30 p.m.

For more information contact Brandie Schultz at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 10; stop by the Extension office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia; or visit our Web site at

May 3, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, corfu, child pornography.

Press release:

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Thursday that David Woods, 37, of Corfu, who was convicted of distribution of child pornography, was sentenced to 120 months (10 years) in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol G. Bridge, who handled the case, stated that Woods used an online bulletin board system designed for viewing and sharing images and videos of child pornography. Using the e-mail address [email protected], the defendant collected and distributed over 12,000 videos and 20,000 images of child pornography. Many of the images portrayed children, including infants and toddlers, being subjected to bondage and rape by adults.

On March 6, 2012, the defendant uploaded eight videos depicting young female victims. On the bulletin board, Woods stated “I hope this gets me into VIP, but even if it doesn’t, I figured I would share.” On April 17, 2013, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence and seized a laptop and other digital equipment containing the images of child pornography.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.

May 3, 2014 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC.

Jenicka Baker, 9, of Batavia, plays tug of war with a Genesee Community College student during a kids carnival held in the GCC Forum. The carnival featured a variety of games for children and was organized by students and GCC.

Charles Smith, Kiajia Johnson, 6, and Tahlia Smith, who turned 6 today, at the Frisbee toss.

While waiting for children to come to her game, Seneria Curtis, a GCC student, practiced her ballet.

May 3, 2014 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, art, NY-27, chris collins.

Congressman Chris Collins met with some of the 81 students from the 27th District who submitted original works of art in the annual House of Representatives art contest. The reception was held at Genesee Community College in the lobby of the Genesee Center for Arts. Above, Collins with Melanie Perkins, of Warsaw, and below, Makennah Aquino, of Batavia.

The winners are:

  • First place: Hailey Kilian from Iroquois HS
  • Second place: Jacob Weed from Kendall HS
  • Honorable mentions: Siena Pullinzi from Batavia HS and Alphonso Butlak from Lake Shore HS.

May 3, 2014 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, Tompkins Insurance.

City Firefighter Mike Dorgan helps Reese Koukides, 3 1/2, into her new car seat at a child car seat safety inspection and installation event in the City Centre Parking lot this morning. The event was sponsored by Tompkins Insurance.

May 3, 2014 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden.

Alex Wallace, Rachel Curtine and Angie Hennessey were among the volunteers this morning at the Batavia Peace Garden helping to plant spring flowers.

May 2, 2014 - 10:06pm

Members of the Buffalo 716ers, a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association, made a personal appearance at T.F. Brown's tonight. Jerry Smith, proprietor of the Showtime Sports Academy in Batavia, organized the event. Smith is taking on several projects to promote basketball locally and throughout the region.

From left are, Darnell Boswell, Devon Dawson, Anthony Hodge, Tawan Slaughter (the team's owner and coach), Jerry Smith Donald Felice (media agent) and Mario Williams.

May 2, 2014 - 5:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, Le Roy, Grand Jury, bergen.

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

Scott A. Kopper is indicted on first-degree assault, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Jan. 8 in the Town of Pembroke, with intent to cause serious injury to another person, he caused injury to such person or to a third person, in this case Sheriff's Deputy Brian Thompson, by means of a dangerous instrument -- a vehicle. In count two, Kopper is accused of the crime of reckless endangerment, 1st, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on the same day, "under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life," he recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person by closing the window of his vehicle thereby trapping Deputy Thompson's arm, and started to drive away, dragging Deputy Thompson with him. In count three, Kopper is accused of second-degree assault, also a Class D felony, for acting with intent to prevent a police officer from performing a lawful duty, causing physical injury to such person, Deputy Thompson. In count four, Kopper is accused of second-degree assault, another Class D felony, for allegedly intending to cause physical injury to another person, and causing injury to such person, Deputy Thompson, by means of a dangerous vehicle -- a vehicle.

Antonio A. Ayala and Ashley L. Alvord are indicted on drug-related charges stemming from contact with law enforcement on Nov. 19 in the Town of Bergen. Ayala is indicated for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing a narcotic drug, cocaine, with intent to sell it. In count two, Alvord is indicated for the crime 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 with an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more. In count three, both Ayala and Alvord, are accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of child less than 17 years old, in this case a 4-year-old child.

Alissa A. Fodge is indicted for third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony, for allegedly stealing property valued in excess of $3,000 from a convenience store in the Town of Bergen between Aug. 19 and Oct. 16. The value of the property is about $7,040.

Aaron M. Zastrocky is indicated for driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony, for allegedly driving a 1998 Jeep on South Lake Road in the Town of Le Roy on Dec. 20 while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of aggrevated driving while intoxicated, also a Class E felony, for having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

May 2, 2014 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCC, recreation, Batavia Loop Trail.

Press release:

The "Spirit Award" in the Social Entrepreneurship / Nonprofit category was awarded to five Genesee Community College students after they presented their "Batavia Loop Trail and Bordering Business Development" plan to a team of judges at the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition in Albany last Friday, April 25, 2014. The annual competition invites students from colleges around the state to submit innovative ideas designed to address a currently unmet need in one of six categories.

The GCC students presenting the Batavia Loop Trail (BLT) included Tara Beckens of Clifton Springs, Danielle Cannella, Richard DelPlato, and Maryssa Peirick, all from Batavia, and Adrienne Payne, of Byron. As members of GCC's CEO or Earth Clubs, they envision developing an 11-mile loop trail that skirts around the edge of the City and Town of Batavia connecting a wide array of businesses and regional resources -- from ice cream shops and restaurants to Batavia's treasure trove of city and county parks.The BLT maximizes the idyllic views of Tonawanda Creek and would provide safer walking and bicycling pathways to GCC, College Village, as well as Batavia High School and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership/BOCES on State Street.

The project builds upon the growing international interest and economy of bicycling tourism, and also on Batavia's proximity to NYS Thruway providing a huge tourist market. BLT also links into the new Ellicott Trail, which was recently awarded $1.5 million through NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Fund. Students researched state and federal funding resources and were delighted to learn that BLT potentially meets many of the criteria for funds from the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), NYSERDA's Cleaner Greener Communities, and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Lastly, and most importantly to the students – the long-term vision poses excellent hands-on learning opportunities not only for GCC students but for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP/BOCES). Next year, students hope to present a plan to GCC's Board of Trustees sharing their idea of creating a small on-campus business, the Recreational Rental Center, giving both students and the general public the opportunity to rent bicycles for the trail and potentially other equipment such as tennis rackets or soccer balls. The new micro-business will provide future GCC students enrolled in Business Administration, Accounting, Sport Management, Travel & Tourism, Web Design, Digital Arts and Physical Education with excellent co-op, internship and work study opportunities. Equally dynamic is providing GVEP/BOCES students enrolled in Conservation, Welding and Automotive Technology programs the chance to help develop and maintain the trail.

The students say the BLT is a "transformative idea that extends out 11 years," but they divided the overall plan into five phases with the most easily implemented segments of the trail opening in 2018. Before heading off to Albany, they shared the BLT idea with local key officials, including New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino, and were delighted the concept was unanimously well received.

"When Jason Molino called the project a 'home run' and pointed out how it would enhance Batavia's quality of life, the students were smiling from ear to ear," said Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC's staff advisor for the project. "While they will probably no longer be GCC students when the project becomes a reality, they are excited to pass the torch along to their peers. And, they hope they will be able to use the trail in the future with their own children years down the road -- or perhaps I should say path!"

The New York Business Program Competition is hosted by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany's School of Business and Syracuse University. It has become the premier collegiate contest encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New York's colleges and universities in the following 10 regional economic zones: Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island.

May 2, 2014 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD.

While making further inquiries into the reported unintended discharge of a police officer firearm April 22, Chief Shawn Heubusch informed us that the investigation into the matter has been closed.


I will not be releasing any further details other than to say that the investigation has been completed and that there was no criminal negligence in this matter. The matter has been dealt with as a personnel issue.

The Batavian has issued a FOIL request to the city for the incident documents. The City has five days to acknowledge the request.

Previously: Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

May 2, 2014 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law day, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

At the annual Kiwanis Club Law Day Dinner Thursday night at Terry Hills, Deputy Joseph Corona was among those in the local criminal justice community who were honored for their work. Corona received the Exceptional Service Award from GCASA. In 2013, Corona, who joined the Sheriff's Office in 2012, had the highest number of DWI arrests in the county. 

Also honored were Chief Deputy Jerome E. Brewster, Batavia Police Officer Kevin M. DeFelice, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Area Supervisor at RESTORE, the Justice for Children Advocacy Center (the first time an organization has been honored), District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, former Public Defender Gary Horton and the Byron-Bergen High School Mock Trial Team.

The keynote speaker (pictured below) was Michelle Y. Spahn, resident agent-in-charge for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration office in Buffalo.

Press release with details of the awards after the jump.

May 2, 2014 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Richard Scott Ishmael, 49, of South Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest. Ishmael allegedly ignored Police Officer Peter Flanagan's commands and made lewd comments to the officer in front of his daughter, who is under age 17. While Ishmael was being placed in custody, he allegedly resisted arrest and continued to ignore officer commands.

A 17-year-old resident of Niver Road, Conesus, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. The youth was allegedly found at 9:10 p.m. on April 26 at 127 North St. in possession of heroin.

A 17-year-old resident of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. The youth is accused of knowingly hiding a juvenile runaway who had been reported missing for more than a week.

Eric M. Malecki, 33, of Prune Street, Batavia, was arrested on warrants for alleged parking on city streets between 2 and 6 a.m. Malecki was arrested following a traffic stop. He posted $200 bail and was released.

Harvey A. McMurray, 46, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. McMurray was arrested following a law enforcement and ambulance response to a medical call T.F. Brown's at 1:50 a.m., Sunday.

Gregory Seppe, 55, no permanent address, Batavia, is charged with appearance in public under the influence of drugs. Seppe was arrested following a request to check the welfare of a person on Ganson Avenue at 11:02 p.m., Sunday.

Lawrence E. Hanley, 63, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, failure to keep right, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and improper right turn.  Hanley was allegedly involved in a property damage accident at 7:57 p.m., April 20, on Walnut Street. The accident was investigated by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Landrea D. Ames, 41, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Ames allegedly stole $142.65 worth of meat from Tops.

Fabian Vazquez, 34, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with failing to signal a turn and aggravated unlicensed operation, three or more suspensions on three or more dates. Vazquez was stopped at 8:54 p.m., April 26, on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Chad Richards.

Adam D. Jett, 21, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Jett was stopped by Officer Darryle Streeter at 3:14 a.m., April 24, on East Main Street, following a report of an intoxicated male getting into a car and leaving the parking lot of a convenience store.

Lisa Marie Vega, 45, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Vega allegedly stole a jacket from the lobby of the Genesee County Mental Health Office.

May 2, 2014 - 9:02am
posted by Patricia Hawley in war, art, artists, opening reception, local photography, refugees.

The work of Pamela Dayton, a local artist who chronicled daily life through a series of photographs in a Syrian refugee camp, can be seen at The Gallery at Blue Pearl Yoga beginning today. The exhibit will be on display through June during normal gallery hours. The public is invited to a free opening reception on May 9.

Dayton traveled to Lebanon in 2013 with a short-term mission group from the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg. She became involved with a compassionate ministry to Syrian refugees while spending three weeks in a tented settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Beirut. Embedded with a team of doctors and nurses, she chronicled a “day-in-the-life” of a refugee in an attempt “to validate their existence and document their experiences for the wider world,” she explains. “My photographs illuminate the life of war refugees: the tragedy, sorrow, and tedium of living within a refugee settlement, as well as the beauty and strength of the Syrian people.”

Using a Sony a300 camera, Dayton took nearly 16,000 photographs -- or about 2,000 per day. Choosing which images make the cut has been “difficult” but Dayton hopes that people who visit the gallery will be able to identify with her subjects.

“There is one photograph of a mama holding a toddler that wanted no part of sitting on her lap. People are so similar, whether you’re in a makeshift tent in a Third-World nation or having coffee in my living room,” she says.

Pamela, who lives in Batavia with her husband Jon and their four children, plans to return to Lebanon this summer with the mission group. Then she will begin studying at Kilns College in Bend, Ore., to obtain a graduate degree in Social Justice and Theology in September.

“My heart is broken for refugees and families stuck in the cycle of poverty. There is an enormous refugee community in Buffalo, and poverty is a big problem in Genesee County and the Western New York area,” she says, “so I feel confident that I can make an impact here.”

An opening reception is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 9, on the third floor of Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia. Gallery hours are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call Blue Pearl Yoga at 585.230.5430 or contact Ms. Dayton at [email protected].

May 2, 2014 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for the Liberty Pumps project at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees.

In 2000, Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008, which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“We are pleased to see Liberty Pumps continue expanding its operations in our region, adding to the growth of employment opportunities in Genesee County,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

May 1, 2014 - 4:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Jackson Square, 14 Jackson Square.

By the end of the month, 14 Jackson Square -- an address that never existed until recently -- will come to life in a new, and reinvented way.

The former Carr's Department Store Warehouse will contain three two-bedroom apartments (a fourth should be ready by the end of June) and a downstairs office space.

Paul Thompson and his partners will have invested more than $500,000 in the project, with the help of a state grant of $115,000, to convert the three-story structure into a mixed-use space.

The project fits a few of the city's goals to reinvigorate Downtown, said City Manager Jason Molino. It creates more residential space Downtown, more new office space and it converts a building that was doing nothing for the city into something vibrant.

"It takes a building that was always a warehouse and turns it into a useful and meaningful space Downtown," Molino said.

Thompson said his Byron-based company was interested in the project because they have some experience in redeveloping mixed-use spaces. It was a way to provide employment for his workers during the winter, and based on his experience with rental properties in the city, there's a strong demand for apartments designed to appeal to young professionals.

Study after study shows, young professionals want to live in environments where nightlife and shopping are in walking distance and there's a sense of urban life to the neighborhood (related story from USAToday).

This project brings the total of new apartments Downtown to nine, said Julie Pacette, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp. All of the previous apartments rented to young professionals within days of becoming available.

By assisting Thompson and his partners, Pacette said, a property that was off the tax roles for a few years is now in private, property-tax-paying hands.

Thompson said the project has helped him expand his company. His staff of 14 is now a staff of 20, though not all of the new hires are directly related to this project.

Related: For those interested in new urbanism, the Congress for New Urbanism meets in Buffalo, June 4 though 7.

Paul Thompson

May 1, 2014 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD.

While on a check-the-welfare call April 22, the handgun of a Batavia police officer discharged unexpectedly, Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed today.

The accidental discharged is being investigated, but the good news, the chief said, is nobody was hurt.

Officers responded to a check-the-welfare call in the Grandview Terrace complex and the chief said the officers were either concerned the person they were checking on was in danger or could be a danger to others.

An officer for this reason drew his or her weapon and when the officer went to return his weapon to its holster, the Glock .40 caliber fired.

The investigation so far has not ruled out a mistaken discharge or a gun malfunction. What has been ruled out is defect with the holster.

Heubusch confirmed that buttons on the sides of officers' jackets have been known to catch on the triggers of guns, but the officer in this case was not wearing a jacket and the officer had on no other clothing that might have caught on the trigger.

The officer's name is not being released. Outside of acknowledging that the incident took place, the case is being handled as a personnel matter, which requires confidentiality for the officer involved.

This is the first accidental discharge of a weapon in the department since Heubusch became chief and he said in "just asking the guys" nobody can remember a similar prior incident.

Asked if the officers were surprised when the weapon fired, he said the officers remained calm and in control. 

"They maintained their composure," Heubusch said. "If you think about their training, they're trained to maintain their composure in an actual live fire situation. They're trained to stick with the mission until the mission is accomplished and they did a great job of ensuring the scene was secured.

"Again," he added, "we're lucky nobody was injured and the floor suffered minimal damage."

May 1, 2014 - 2:33pm

At 42 years old, Bill Taylor thinks its important to stay in shape as he gets older. He needs more energy in his physically demanding job and just generally wants to feel better.

Oakfield Fitness and Cross-Training Center, with its full range of newer equipment and 24/7 availability does the trick for him, he said.

"Everybody feels different at different parts of the day," Taylor said.

As he's gotten more serious about physical fitness, he said he has more energy and improved endurance.

"It's just all around feeling better physically, mentally, too," he said.

For anybody who doesn't have a workout routine, Taylor's advice is simple: "Get off your butt and do it. That's the best way."

Oakfield Fitness moved just a few weeks ago, going from 1,800 square feet and multiple small rooms, to three logically organized rooms in 3,600 square feet. There's a room for weight machines, a cardio room and a cross-training room.

All of the equipment is quality Life Fitness machines.

A basic gym membership is $30 a month with no other fees and no annual contract. Cross-training members pay $80 per month and have access to the cross-training room and a cross-training coach during scheduled times.

For more information, visit


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