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March 14, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

Mike Hackett of Pavilion notched his first USBC-certified 300 game last Tuesday night (March 7) at Legion Lanes in Le Roy to highlight league play last week.

Other perfect games were recorded by Chris Bardol of Rochester at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia and Rob Sease of Brockport at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

For a list of high scores from leagues throughout the Genesee Region, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

March 14, 2017 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander, news.

A tractor-trailer has jackknifed in the area of 2757 Broadway Road, Alexander.

It is blocking.

Unknown Injuries.

Alexander fire dispatched.

UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: Darien fire requested to shut down eastbound traffic on Route 20 at Townline Road.

March 14, 2017 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Stafford, news.

James Pontillo, who operates a residential rental company in the city, agreed to a plea deal today over an allegation that he falsified business records related to a residence he was operating as a rental after his sister died.

The 49-year-old Stafford resident entered a guilty plea to second-degree falsifying business records, a misdemeanor, and faces up to a year in jail when sentenced.

He also agreed to pay $2,550 in restitution.

The plea satisfies several initial charges, including forgery and grand larceny.

Fred Rarick, attorney for Pontillo, previously explained to The Batavian that the charges stemmed from a dispute over how Pontillo handled the estate of his late sister, who died in 2012. Pontillo was accused of providing false information to Pathstone on paperwork related to Section 8 housing.

March 14, 2017 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, news.

A fire in a wall is suspected at 8180 W. Bergen Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy fire dispatched along with an engine from Pavilion and ladder from Bergen.

City of Batavia and Stafford asked to stage in quarters for possible second alarm.

UPDATE 12:21 p.m.: Second alarm. City of Fire, Stafford, second engine from Pavilion for working trailer fire.

UPDATE(S) 1:01 p.m. (By Billie): The Bergen assignment is back in service.

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: The American Red Cross is called to the scene to aid the displaced: A man, a woman, a child, a dog, a cat. Also, a code enforcement officer will be responding to the trailer in an hour or so.

March 14, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, news.

John Eric Jaszko Jr., 31, of Kelsey Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, refusal to take breath test, driving left of pavement markings, inadequate headlamps. At 12:50 a.m., Deputy Ryan Young discovered at property damage accident at 3599 Galloway Road where a fire hydrant was sheared off and laying by the side of the road. There was no vehicle around. Young followed tire tracks in the freshly fallen snow and the tracks led him to Jaszko's home. After a brief investigation, Young determined that Jaszko had been the driver of the vehicle and that he had allegedly been driving drunk. Deputy Eric Meyer and Sgt. John Baiocco assisted in the investigation.

Sean Aldwyn Jr., 24, of Starling Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputy Richard Schildwaster reported detecting the odor of marijuana following a traffic stop at 5:48 p.m. Saturday on Park Road. Following a vehicle search, a quantity of marijuana was allegedly found in the vehicle.

Salvatore Michael Schwable, 19, of Webber Street, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, unlicensed operator, and inadequate headlamp. Schwable was stopped at 10 p.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Cassidy Longhini.

March 14, 2017 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
      Leonard Aguayo

A Rochester resident has been arrested a second time on a drug-dealing charge, this time while sitting in jail on the first arrest.

Leonard E. Aguayo, 30, of Affinity Lane, Rochester, allegedly sold a quantity of crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force at a location in the city last month.

He was arrested at the end of February following a traffic stop by members of the Local Drug Task Force when he was allegedly found in possession of more than a half ounce of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of $4,000, a quantity of marijuana and cash. 

In November, Aguayo was arrested in Genesee County following a traffic stop on Route 33 in Byron and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

The new arrest is on charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

He is being held in the Genesee County Jail without bail.

March 14, 2017 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford, byron, batavia.

A driver has been cited for alleged failure to yield the right of way leading to an injury accident at 5:04 p.m. Monday on Griswold Road in Stafford.

Cited was Thomas J. Scheuerlein, 78, of Griswold Road, Byron. Griswold along with passenger Patricia Scheuerlein, 78, were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy EMS.

The other driver, Danielle Rozell, 35, of Elm Street, Batavia, was not injured.

According to the report by Deputy Robert Henning, Scheuerlein pulled onto Griswold Road from Godfrey's Pond Road without yielding the right of way to traffic on Griswold.

Rozell's car struck Scheuerlein's car on the driver's side.

March 14, 2017 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.


Crews were out and working in Batavia this morning dealing with the few inches of snow that fell overnight and this morning.

The winter storm warning remains in effect through 8 p.m. tomorrow with a prediction of steady snowfall and a storm total in the area of about 18 inches.




March 13, 2017 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a statewide state of emergency starting at midnight.

We've received notifications of the following closing and cancellations:

  • Batavia City Schools
  • Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools
  • Pembroke Central Schools
  • Alexander Central School
  • Byron-Bergen Central School
  • Elba Central School
  • GCC, all locations
  • Le Roy Central School
  • Pavilion Central School
  • St. Joseph's
  • Notre Dame
  • Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties
  • Pembroke Town Court
  • Elba Fire Bingo canceled tonight
  • Art Ah la Carte is closed
  • 4-H Green Thumbs Club meeting
  • Alabama Town Court
  • Blue Pearl Yoga
  • Oliver's Candies - Closing at 5 p.m.

Send closings to [email protected]

March 13, 2017 - 8:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, Ellicott Trail.

City Council on Monday night passed numerous resolutions, most notably the 2017-18 city budget, which was approved by an 8-1 vote (with Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian dissenting).

The $24 million budget -- of which $16.5 million comprises the general fund -- calls for a property tax levy of $5.2 million and an increase of less than 1 percent in the tax rate.

Passage of the budget was welcome news for Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corporation, who attended the meeting along with BDC President Pier Cipollone.

"It means that the city is supporting us in more good work to do, particularly related to the Brownfield Opportunity Area advancement," Pacatte said. "This budget, specifically, has some additional carve-outs to help us advance our second BOA site – Creek Park – behind the (Falleti) ice arena (on Evans Street)."

Before the budget vote, Christian expressed her disappointment with the fact that city revenues are down by $458,000 and that a sales tax agreement has yet to be reached with Genesee County.

"Also, I've been waiting for sidewalks on Clifton Avenue (in her Ward) for over 12 years and wanted some of the money from the VLT (video lottery terminals at Batavia Downs Gaming) for a pool on the Southside," she said.

This prompted Robert Bialkowski to mention that no one spoke against the budget during last month's public hearing and that City Manager Jason Molino met Council's request to reduce the tax increase to less than 1 percent.

Adoption of the spending plan means that the tax bill for a city resident with a house assessed at $90,000 will now be about $838 for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that the property tax levy of $5.2 million is only about a third of the total general budget, and asked for a breakdown of the revenue stream.

Molino pointed out that, beyond the $5 million from property taxes, about $6 million comes in from sales taxes, another $1.7 million from state aid, and the rest from an assortment of fees, aid, grants, income from services provided and mortgage taxes.

In other action, Council:

-- Passed resolutions establishing slightly higher new water rates and meter fees, a 2.75-percent increase for non-union city employees (including management) and slight wage increases for part-time and seasonal city employees. All three of those resolutions passed by 7-2 votes, with Christian and Paul Viele voting "no" in each instance.

-- Voted unanimously to adopt a local law to amend the Business Improvement District Plan.

Molino said the amendment to the plan was a lowering of the assessment charge on the properties in the Business Improvement District because of the expiration of a large debt service payment.

"The amount levied is going down from about $120,000 to about $57,000," he said. "So what property owners can expect to see in the BID is a decrease in that BID assessment charge."

In an email to The Batavian, Molino said that the BID Plan identifies two sources for funding the activities of the Business Improvement District: the Business Improvement District assessment (BID Assessment) and the City of Batavia. The BID Assessment for each property is calculated by multiplying the assessed valuation of the property by the BID assessment rate.

In accordance with the General Municipal Law 980-k, a BID is limited in the amount of money that can be raised through the assessment. The district assessment charge, excluding debt service, may not exceed 20 percent of the total general municipal taxes levied in a year against the taxable property in the BID.

As of Feb. 1, it is estimated that 20 percent of the total general municipal taxes levied in 2017-18 against the taxable property in the BID is $57,926, based on current taxable assessed values and the existing City property tax rate. The BID assessment rate is estimated to be $1.844 per $1,000 of assessed value. There is currently no debt service to be paid for with district assessment charges.

-- Welcomed new Batavia City Police officers Ryan Shea and Matthew Dispenza, who were officially sworn in by City Clerk Heidi Parker, and recognized Jayme Privitera, of Le Roy, for submitting the first-place logo in the Ellicott Trail Logo Contest, which was reported first on The Batavian last month.


From left, Assistant Chief Todd Crossett, Ryan Shea, Matthew Dispenza, Chief Shawn Heubusch.


City Councilwoman Kathleen Briggs reads a proclamation honoring Jayme Privitera, who created the winning logo in the Ellicott Trail Logo Contest. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

March 13, 2017 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.


There are going to be some unique features to the winter storm predicted to hit our county this evening and local officials are both preparing for unusual conditions and warning residents to prepare themselves.

First, there is the duration of the storm -- more than 48 hours of steady snowfall, about four inches every two hours. Second, there is the direction of the wind, coming from the north at the start of the storm rather than the usual west-southwest winds.

There is a winter storm watch in effect from tonight through 8 p.m. Wednesday with anticipated stiff winds and storm totals for snowfall of up to 20 inches in some parts of the county.

The winds won't be strong, but blowing in from the north changes the dynamic of the storm.

'It's going to be an almost three-day storm," said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. "I think highway crews are going to be able to keep up with it easily enough. The wind may cause a problem with visibility. Just the sheer temperatures will be difficult to deal with itself."

Yaeger said people need to be prepared for the idea that the storm will last for a while and travel conditions will naturally slow down emergency responses if there is a problem.

"The mantra that we always carry with emergency services is to be ready for 72 hours," Yaeger said. "Obviously, the past week proved that everyone needs to be prepared."

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said he's already reminded his crews that the wind is going to be coming from the north.

"The lake effect will enhance the snowfall rates for the nor'easter, but the odd thing is for the highway department is it affects roads different for us than we’re used to," Hens said. "Normally, we get west to southwest winds, so the north to south roads, you get a lot of blowing and drifting. We’ve had it before, so the guys are used to it, but it is a little bit different. You’ll  have the east and west roads that are getting the whiteouts and the drifting."

Hens noted that snow fences along roadways are set up on north-south roads, not east-west, so blowing and drifting snow could be worse than a typical storm.

"Take a little time to think about where you’re going and realize that you’re going to get whiteouts on roads you don’t normally get whiteouts on," Hens said.

Sheriff William Sheron said drivers need to allow themselves enough time to get where they're going.

"Be prepared for slippery roads and whiteout conditions," Sheron said. "Reduce speeds and allow extra stopping distance."

Driver safety was also on the mind of Yaeger and Hens.

"If you don’t  have to drive, delay that trip, delay that shopping trip if you can," Yaeger said. "Stay off the roads. Stay home. Stay safe. Stay warm."

It's been a light winter, Hens noted, so there hasn't been much demand on drivers this year to practice their snow-and-ice driving skills.

"People have probably gotten a little bit lazy in terms of winter driving skills, so just a reminder to give yourself extra time, give yourself a lot of room, respect the snowplows, try not to get up behind them too close and pass them," Hens said.

It's hard to say if we'll have power outages. The winds will not be that strong, but they are coming just days after a heavy windstorm that may have weakened some root systems or moorings for utility pools, but more importantly, the winds are coming from the north and tree root systems are set up to handle west-southwest winds.

Yaeger expressed a little concern, but Hens said he isn't anticipating an issue unless the winds come on stronger than expected.

"I think most of the trees are pretty good at handling 30 to 35 mph winds," Hens said. "It’s just if we get a repeat of what we had last Wednesdayy and Thursday, it will be a whole other story."

In anticipation of higher call volume, there are already extra dispatchers scheduled for the storm period, Sheron said. Extra patrols will be called in if needed.

The prolonged storm won't be too much of a stress on his road crews, Hens said, but it might be harder on town highway departments.

"We have enough people that we can run two shifts of drivers, but the towns (have) three- to four-men departments, so they run as long as they can run," Hens said. "They’ve got to take a break and sleep at some point. It affects them more when you get a long duration storm. It beats them up pretty good, but they fight through it and make it work most of the time."

Yeager said he's confident all of the men and women trained to handle emergencies in the county are ready for what's coming. They proved that Wednesday and Thursday, he said.

"Our hats from our office go off to those folks, the guys and girls of all the emergency services, from the dispatchers to law enforcement out there working hand-in-hand, from the career guys to the volunteers," Yaeger said. "They put their foot forward and I don’t think there was any time that we were worried that something wasn’t going to be addressed, whether it be a fire, to the lines down and arcing, to motor-vehicle accidents. They came out and did their jobs."

March 13, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rashaad Santiago, arts, entertainment, batavia, business.


Special effects artist Rashaad Santiago has set up a studio on the third floor of the Harvester Center where he can do work for his clients from all over the world as well as teach aspiring artists.

Santiago won the reality TV series "Face-Off" in 2014 for his monster-making prowess.

The studio gives Santiago a place where he can make costumes, masks, and props for clients, whether molded, sculpted or welded.

He said he's been getting work for movies, television and commercials.

He's also traveled on personal appearances to conventions and special events. He returned recently from Nashville where he was invited to provide a demo in monster-making.

He said he enjoys teaching.

"I love talking about this stuff," Santiago said. "I love being part of the process of watching somebody learn something new and then watch them work at it until they get it."

Currently, Santiago is running a four-week Wednesday night course. He will start a new course when he returns from his business trip. For more information or to sign up, visit his Facebook page or email him at [email protected]

March 13, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.

Press release:

The Yard Waste Station on Law Street will be closed this week, Tuesday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 15th due to the forecasted snow event. We plan to resume operations on Thursday, March 16th with regular hours (noon-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for the season. If there are any questions or concerns about this matter, contact the Bureau of Maintenance at (585) 345-6400, option 1.

March 13, 2017 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Pavilion, news.

A vehicle rammed into the doors of a new annex being built on Pavilion High School over the weekend causing more than $3,000 in damage.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said investigators have solid leads and they think there will be an arrest in the next couple of days.

There's no description of the vehicle available.

The potential charges against any eventual suspect would be second-degree criminal mischief and trespass.

March 13, 2017 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A distrubance is reported in the Walmart parking lot in the area of Row #8 by the food entrance. There are three people involved, including at least one female. A subject reportedly has some sort of a weapon, which was brandished because "he was being attacked." Sheriff's deputies just arrived.

March 13, 2017 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.


Mixing different kinds of chemicals and compounds together isn't the only kind of experiment going on in David Porter's classroom at Oakfield-Alabama High School.

Porter is also introducing a concept that is only about a decade old called "flipped learning." Basically, students watch videos of typical lecture material at home or otherwise away from the classroom and then classroom time is used for worksheets, labs or individual instruction. 

Proponents say it's a style of teaching more suitable to students raised in the Digital Age. Porter says it empowers kids to more easily master the subject.

"With flipped learning, more lecture and note-taking takes place at home and typical homework now takes place in class," Porter said. "The whole idea behind it is that it’s almost brainless work to do note-taking. I fill in the blanks. I just copy what’s on the board. It’s not high-level thinking skills being used. Then students go home and get stuck on question number four and then they give up. By flipping that order, students can do the lower level thinking skills at home. They just watch a video, fill in their notes and there’s no question. Then when they come into the class, do the work and they have a question on question number four, I’m right there; they have a teacher who can jump in and say, ‘ok, now we’re stuck, here’s how we get past there.’ "

Porter started trying flipped learning in the middle of the semester last year so this year's chemistry class is the first one getting the instruction through the whole course.

Students say they like it.

"It helps because if you don’t understand something, you just watch that part over until, ‘oh, yeah, I get it,’ ” said Jonathan Mateos.

Ryan Douglas said he thinks it's more interesting than a whole class just watching a teacher lecture. He thinks he's learning the material faster.

So far this year, students have gotten through 28 labs in 25 weeks. Last year's class did 35 labs in 40 weeks.

"So I'm almost to where I was last year and I’ve still got another 15 weeks to utilize for that hands-on working material," Porter said.

Porter is a graduate of Batavia High School. He got his degree in Chemistry Education from Roberts Wesleyan College and is working on his master's at SUNY Brockport. He's writing his thesis on flipped learning.

He said as he works on his paper, he's continually studying all the literature on the subject and learning new things himself about the process. He brings new ideas into his own instructional approach, he said.

His interest in teaching was sparked by his mother, a teacher herself. He said he was always more of a math and science guy.

"I was never very strong in history and English, but I loved numbers and doing something to get numbers," Porter said. "It was always math or science, but I loved science because it's more hands-on. You get to do more than just put letters and numbers on a page."

To excel at chemistry in a flipped classroom, a student need not be strong in science. He or she just needs to follow through on assignments. Everybody works at their own pace, but they are expected to master the material before moving on. 

“Chemistry is a tough subject, where if you don’t understand day one you’re never going to get day two," Porter said." If you don’t get day two, you’re never going to get day three and that just sets up a whole year of hardship that’s not needed. So I’d rather take the time, dive in and really understand day one before we get to day two."

That's the approach Jonathan said he likes.

"If you go home and don't understand something, you can watch the video over and over again until you have a complete understanding," Jonathan said. "Then, when you come into class, it's really nice to have the teacher there while you're doing your homework."






March 13, 2017 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, Darien, fire, news.

Two barns were destroyed in fires on Saturday.

The first was reported about 2:45 p.m. at 7014 Townline Road, Bryon. Responding were Byron, South Byron, Elba, Bergen and Emergency Services. The fire is believed to have started when the owner was burning a small debris pile near the barn causing extension to the barn. The barn was a total loss. (Note: We didn't have prior coverage because I was in Buffalo covering basketball and Billie was at our house without any electrical power at that time.)

The second fire was reported about 10:30 p.m. at 9829 Simonds Road, Darien. Darien Fire, Town of Batavia, Alexander, East Pembroke, Corfu and Pembroke along with the City's Fast Team and Mercy EMS were dispatched. The barn was already fully involved by the time the first firefighters arrived, so the city's response was canceled and Mercy EMS soon went back in service. Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator, said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. For photos and additional coverage, click here.

March 13, 2017 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Pavilion, Le Roy, Stafford, batavia, news, bergen.

David Lane Handley Jr., 54, of Ontario Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with burglary, 3rd, and criminal mischief, 3rd. Handley allegedly broke into the Yellow Goose Store in Pavilion at 2 a.m. Feb. 12. The investigation was conducted by Deputy James Diehl.

Jeffrey Allan Youngs, 56, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, inadequate headlamps, driver's view obstructed, and open container. Youngs was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday on Route 20 in Alexander by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Timothy K. Smith, 23, of South Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, driving without insurance, inadequate headlamp, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and unregistered vehicle. Smith was stopped at 9:56 p.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

Chad Allen Cooper, 21, of Emily Court, Bergen, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. During a "check the welfare" request, Cooper was allegedly found in possession of heroin.

Ghislaine Pena, 25, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and failure to stop. Pena was arrested on a warrant during a traffic stop at 2:07 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Shamir Kamran Aslam, 29, of Landstone Terrace, Rochester, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and two counts of criminal contempt, 1st. Aslam allegedly drove his vehicle at a high rate of speed and swerved by a person covered by a protective order when leaving the Genesee County Courts facility at 11:05 a.m., March 1.

Mark Joseph Amico Jr., 29, of Route 237, Le Roy, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Amico allegedly called another person and made several threatening statements at 6:07 a.m., March 7.

March 13, 2017 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.


Frank Capuano sent in this picture of this morning's sky over Batavia.


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