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December 2, 2016 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A corrections officer working at the Genesee County Jail is being accused of having consensual sex with a female inmate, leading to his arrest and firing by the Sheriff.

Michael E. Glow, 36, of Batavia, is charged with rape in the third degree.

Though the sexual act was deemed consensual, under New York law, a person in custody is deemed incapable of giving consent when the partner is an employee of the corrections facility.

The incident allegedly occurred while Glow was supervising a work detail at a location in the City of Batavia on April 17.

The Sheriff's Office initiated an investigation recently after learning of the alleged sexual contact.

Glow, who worked at the jail for five years, was terminated by Sheriff Gary Maha when he was charged with the Class E felony.

Following arraignment in City Court, Glow was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

December 2, 2016 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Starowitz family visited the Genesee County Sheriff's Office yesterday bringing with them 100 bags of candy to show their appreciation and support for law enforcement and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.  Emma, James, Elizabeth, and Collin (ages 10 to 5) have aunts and uncles who are officers in Virginia, and they made bags for them during a recent visit.  "The children decided they wanted to also let their local law enforcement know how much they appreciate what they do and for keeping them safe," said their mother, Sherry.  Each bag was put together by the children and a creative thank you note was attached.

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December 2, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

Press release:

Work on constructing next year's school budget has begun and volunteers are being sought for the Budget Ambassador Program, initiated in 1996 as a way to increase communication with the community about the District's financial plan. Ambassadors are residents of the Batavia City School District (BCSD) who volunteer and commit to serve on a committee which meets with Superintendent Christopher Dailey and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski for three (3) two and a half (2.5) hour evening sessions on February 1, 8, and 15, 2017, with an alternate “snow date” scheduled for March 1. Ambassadors review the preliminary 2017-2018 budget as developed by the administration within the parameters established by the Board of Education, and recommend to the Board any modifications they would like to see. The recommendations, while highly valued, are advisory rather than binding as the Board develops the Proposed Budget to be brought to voters. Ambassadors also agree to explain their work to any interested community member.

Persons interested in serving must notify the District in writing by January 5, 2017. The letter of interest should include name, address, email address, and daytime phone number and be addressed to BCSD Superintendent Christopher Dailey and the BCSD Board of Education at the District Administration Offices, 260 State Street, Batavia, NY 14020. The letters will be reviewed, with official appointments scheduled to be made at the Board of Education meeting on January 10, 2017.

December 2, 2016 - 11:14am

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Press release:

On Friday, December 2, 2016, funeral directors, Justin Calarco-Smith, Joshua Smith, and Steven Johnson of the H.E. Turner & Co., Bohm-Calarco-Smith, and Burdett & Sanford Funeral Homes were honored to present a check in the amount of $1000 to Jim Neider and Tom Cecere of the Joint Veteran’s Honor Guard of Genesee County. 

This donation was made in the names of the 31 area veterans who the funeral home group was privileged to arrange funeral services for in the past year. 

The Joint Veteran’s Honor Guard is a dedicated group of volunteers comprised of veterans from across our county.  They provide funeral honors to our fallen.  The honors include a color guard, the playing of TAPS, and a firing squad.  This year, they have rendered honors to over 60 fallen veterans throughout Genesee County.

One of only a handful of such organizations statewide, Genesee County is extremely fortunate to have selfless volunteers who are at the ready in a moment’s notice.  They stand, without complaint, in the heat, cold, wind, snow, and rain; to pay final tribute to their comrades. 

“We are humbled by the members of our community who selflessly served this great nation.  Additionally, we consider it a privilege to care for our veterans and their families when called upon” said funeral director Justin Calarco-Smith, who along Joshua Smith, Randy McIntire, James Smith, and Steven Johnson operate H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Homes in Batavia and Bergen, Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home in Batavia, and the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home in Oakfield.

“This donation will allow us to continue to honor and serve Genesee County’s Veteran’s in the manner they deserve for a long time to come,” said Jim Neider, Commander of the Honor Guard.

The funeral homes plan to honor the veterans they care for annually by making similar donations to a local veteran’s organization each year.

Photo: Steven Johnson, Tom Cecere, Joshua Smith, Jim Neider, and Justin Calarco-Smith.

December 1, 2016 - 7:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas in the City, downtown, batavia, news.

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• Parade at 7pm.
• Holiday Musical Concert at The Mall - 6-7pm by The Batavia Concert Band.
• Ornament Making at 39 Jackson Street - 5-7pm by Art Ah La Carte
• Homer’s Workshop, hosted by The Home Depot at 109 Main Street.
• Face Painting, hosted by T-Shirts Etc.
• Vendors
• Horse & Buggy Ride/Chili at 8 Center Street, by Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles.
• Shirt Coloring Workshop at 37 Center Street, by by T-Shirts Etc.
• Wonderland Of Trees. Catch a bus from Save-A-Lot Parking Lot to the Holland Land Office Museum.
• Professional Pet Photos at 238 Ellicott St by Amy’s Fluffy Friends
• Celtic Christmas at 201 E. Main Street, by GoArt.
• Pictures with Santa at 201 E. Main Street, by GoArt.
• Letter to Santa at 202 E. Main Street, by Pollyanna & Dot & The Hidden Door.
• Adult Tasting at 73 Main Street, by The YNGodess Shop.
• Children’s Craft at 50 Batavia City Centre, by Hillside Children’s Center.
• Live Nativity at 300 E. Main Street, by First Presbyterian Church.
• Video Gaming - Open Play at 214 E. Main Street, by Game on.
• Hair Tinsel at 99 Main Street, by The Mane Attraction.
• Basket Raffle at 2 School Street, by The Bahama Bay Salon & Spa.
December 1, 2016 - 4:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in James Pontillo, batavia, crime, news.

A local landlord appeared in County Court today to enter a not guilty plea to a four-count indictment that accuses him of falsifying records and stealing Section 8 rent money from the state.

The charges stem from a dispute, said his attorney Fred Rarick outside of court, between James Pontillo and officials in Genesee County (see statement at bottom of the story for clarification) over the proceeds from the estate of Jeanne Veronica Pontillo, the 25-year-old sister of James Pontillo who died in 2012 from a rare form of cancer.

“There’s a lot more to this than him going out and saying I’m going to rip off my estate," Rarick said.

Jeanne Pontillo was not an official business partner with James Pontillo, but she helped him with his real estate investment business, Rarick said.

“If you just look at the history of James and his sister, they worked together very well for many, many years," Rarick said. "I’ve known Jeanne and James and I saw the way they worked together. She did the office and James bought the properties and refurbished them. They had an incredible relationship.”

James Pontillo is Jeanne's sole heir.  Her estate included her personal residence.

After her death, James continued to manage that property, even renting it out with, according to Rarick, the blessings of the County Treasurer's Office (see statement at bottom of the story for clarification)​.

Everything was above board, Rarick said.

James Pontillo even paid all of the taxes on his sister's property. He also paid all of the funeral expenses instead of waiting for the estate to do it, Rarick said.

“Because," Rarick said, "ultimately he said, ‘it’s all coming to me anyway.’”

There are other allegations related to the handling of the estate by the County, but documentation was not immediately available.

Most arraignments are uneventful but two issues came up during Pontillo's arraignment today: A dispute over whether Pontillo had previously violated his release under supervision contract and a really unusual dispute over an order of protection.

There was a prior allegation that Pontillo left the county without properly notifying Genesee Justice.  He apparently went to Monroe County to deal with property he owns there. According to Rarick, the issue was amicably resolved because there was some question as to the proper message got to the proper person at Genesee Justice, but that Pontillo had called Genesee Justice about his plans.

As for the order of protection, typically, a temporary order of protection is issued to a defendant barring contact or harassment by the defendant of the crime victim, persons making an allegation or key witnesses. 

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman tried to make just that point to Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka today when a disagreement arose over an order barring Pontillo's contact with County Treasurer Scott German.

Pietruska asked Friedman if he anticipated any trouble and Friedman said he doesn't typically ask for orders of protection because he anticipates trouble, but because he wants to ensure there isn't a problem.

The request for an order left the territory of ordinary when Rarick noted that because of the ongoing estate case, Pontillo might have contact with German. Friedman said he wasn't aware of any example of anybody being arrested because they had contact with a person during normal court proceedings.

Pietruszka amended the order to ensure it didn't cover legal proceedings and Friedman expressed concern that the language was too vague.

At that point, Pietruszka plopped a big book of statues on his desk and started thumbing through it and  then read a passage covering the need to show cause for an order of protection. He then pressed Friedman to show cause.

Friedman said he didn't come prepared to argue that point because of the routine nature of an order of protection, so he didn't have the specifics in front of him, but there had been, he said, communication between Pontillo and German that would be of a concern.

Rarick then objected to the order noting that the DA had failed to show cause.  Pietruszka asked for the signed copy of the order back, said he was vacating and ripped it up.

Pontillo was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.  

Previously: Landlord accused of falsely claiming to own a dwelling in Batavia (we've covered James Pontillo extensively over the years and  this story contains links to most of that prior coverage).

Photo: File photo of James Pontillo at his property in Stafford.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.: We emailed Scott German to give him a chance to respond.  Here is his statement:

I will not comment on pending litigation.  This litigation has nothing to do with the county, other county officials, or county attorney’s.   The only reason I am involved is because I am the county treasurer and according to NYS law, when surrogates court determines there is no one qualified to serve as administrator of an estate, the surrogate names the county treasurer; I don’t get a choice.  Apparently, at the time, the court determined no one was qualified to serve and I was appointed.

December 1, 2016 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Marlet HolmesA Level 3 sex offender facing a possible life sentence on his latest charges alleged sexual conduct with a child won't get a chance to make bail, Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka ruled in Genesee County Court this morning.

A convicted sexual predator facing new sex crime charges now also stands accused of lashing out while at the Genesee County Jail and injuring another person and causing damage to county property.

Marlek E. Holmes was arraigned in County Court this morning on three sealed indictments.

The first indictment contained counts of assault in the second degree, a Class D violent felony, and criminal mischief in the third degree.

Holmes allegedly attacked another person while at the jail on Oct. 30 and also damaged a holding cell that day.

The other two indictments contain a total of 29 counts of criminal contempt for allegedly violating a restraining order by contacting another person.

Holmes, who is being held without bail, was escorted into the courtroom by a Sheriff's deputy.

Already a Level 3 sex offender, Holmes was arrested in late October on charges of two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, two counts of incest in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, rape in the third degree, criminal sexual abuse in the third degree and two counts of incest in the third degree.

December 1, 2016 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.

The Buffalo attorney who has been by the side of Jaquetta Simmons throughout most of the Batavia woman's court appearances since 2012 has apparently had enough.

After Simmons failed to appear in City Court yesterday to be sentenced on a harassment conviction, Ann Nichols asked to be taken off the the case.

The judge told her to submit her request in writing.

Simmons made international news on Christmas Eve 2011 when she delivered a round-house punch to the face of an older cashier at Walmart.

The case eventually went to trial, Simmons was convicted and given a lengthy prison term by Judge Robert C. Noonan.  That sentence was overturned by a higher court and Simmons was sent to jail for a year.

The harassment charge came from an altercation with a woman at an event at a local non-profit's meeting room.

A warrant had to be issued for Simmons arrest after that case. She was eventually located and arrested.

With her failure to appear yesterday, Simmons is again on the wanted list.

Via our news partner WBTA.

December 1, 2016 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar energy, GCC, education, batavia, news.

Press release:

With courses spanning the fields of accounting to veterinary technology, criminal justice to communications, sports management to supply chain management, healthcare to human services-- and many more, the spring 2017 semester at Genesee Community College offers something for everyone! Register now to ensure your seat! Classes begin Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

One of GCC's newest courses is Introduction to Solar Manufacturing (CHE193) taught by Dr. Brian Fraser, assistant professor of chemistry. The new course provides overview of the solar manufacturing industry including the latest technology, production and the growing market for the newest high tech industry that promises to bring hundreds of new jobs to Western New York. Students will understand where and how the new local companies, Solar City and 1366 Technologies, fit within the solar industry and landscape. Through this course, students can explore if this may be a new career opportunity for them, and if so, the best pathway to pursue it.

"Anyone interested in solar energy and science will find this course very helpful. There will be enough information to help students appreciate careers in nanotechnology and other sciences, and understand the emerging developments in the solar industry. It is also a great general education elective with a focus on the future," Fraser said. "The hybrid format of the course also provides some flexibility with in-class and online requirements."

There is no prerequisite for CHE193, which meets Wednesdays from 1:25 – 2:45 p.m.at the Batavia campus starting January 17 and running through May 13. Additionally, Professor Fraser will use a variety of freely accessible resources that include up-to-date information, rather than requiring purchase of a textbook.

GCC offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs, including over 15 degrees that can be completed 100% online. Most degree and certificate programs feature online or hybrid courses and at least 50% of each program can be completed online without attending class at a campus center location. In addition, every course in GCC's Computer Information and Networking Technology program offers at least one section that uses the 360 degree learning model enabling students to learn anytime, anywhere and on any device. The instructors in these courses deliver two-way, interactive instruction in the classroom and/or online through personal computers, laptops, tablets and other smart communication devices. All course material is recorded and stored in the cloud allowing students to review and revisit a class lecture for clarification.

"Without a doubt, GCC remains at the cutting edge of new teaching and learning opportunities," Dr. Rafael Alicea-Maldonado (Dr. RAM), dean of Math, Science and Career Education said. "We hope anyone who is even remotely considering college education will contact us soon. There are so many great and affordable options."

No matter what industry or field, regardless of age and educational background, and irrespective of geography due to GCC's many online courses and seven campus locations-this spring semester is the time to enroll in a course at GCC. The spring semester starts Tuesday, January 17, 2017. To review the class schedule which features hundreds of courses, go to: http://www.genesee.edu/courses/schedule/

December 1, 2016 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Innovation Zone, batavia.

Press release:

The Innovation Zone in the Upstate MedTech Center is hosting an event for businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies regarding various incentives to assist their businesses.

The event will take place on Wednesday, December 7th from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 99 MedTech Drive. Suite 107, Batavia. It’s free and open to all business leaders including entrepreneurs and start-up companies ready to take their business to the next level with increased research and Development (R&D) activity.   

Certified Public Accountants from FreedMaxick including, Don Warrant, Sam Disalvo, Joesph Burwick, and Nick Zoyhofski will present on a variety of topics ranging from how the federal research tax credit system works to incentives available from New York State companies.  The presentation will focus on the manufacturing, technology, life sciences, medical devices and the software industries.

In addition to FreedMaxick, sponsors include the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Livingston County Development, Orleans County Economic Development Agency and the Wyoming County IDA.

November 30, 2016 - 6:30pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Sponsored Post, advertisement, Empire Access, batavia, ny.

Get the FASTEST Internet in Batavia! Just $44.95/mo. for 100 Mbps Internet and home phone over Fiber for your first 6 months!* Visit us online or call today. Multiple services, one bill, one low price! Empire Access 1-888-868-4002www.empireaccess.com

November 30, 2016 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-car accident with possible minor injuries is reported at Veterans Memorial Drive and Lewiston Road, Batavia. 

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. 

November 30, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, bergen, Le Roy, news.

Tesia Renee Plantiko, 24, of Harris Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Plantiko was arrested after police responded to a complaint at 9:50 a.m. Nov. 23 from a business on East Main Street, Batavia, that a woman had been in the restroom for more than two hours.

Joseph M. Marscelli Jr., 31, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Marsceilli allegedly failed to appear in City Court as ordered.

Francis W. Derenzo, 60, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Derenzo was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Thomas J. Mitchell, 27, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with a violation of probation. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Dawn M. Newton, 56, of Crane Road, Medina, is arrested on a warrant. Newton turned herself in on the warrant, which is related to an alleged city code violation for deteriorating roof and gutters. Newton posted $350 bail and was released.

Shamir K. Aslam, 29, of Landstone Terrance, Rochester, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and criminal mischief, 4th. Aslam was allegedly involved in a domestic incident in violation of a court order and prevented a subject from contacting dispatchers for emergency assistance.

Richard Dean McKague, 26, of Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. McKague allegedly pushed a person into a door and then kicked her. There was reportedly an order of protection in place. McKague was jailed on $500 bail or $2,000 bond.

November 30, 2016 - 6:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Kemp, BID, batavia, downtown, business, news.

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Beth Kemp, who has been active in the Downtown business community since she and her husband, Brian Kemp, moved their business, T-Shirts Etc., to East Main Street in 2012, has been named the new executive director of the Business Improvement District.

Kemp replaces Laurie Oltramari, who resigned about two months ago, following a recruitment search by the board of directors that brought in potential job candidates from throughout the region.

Kemp thinks the board recognized her passion and commitment to Downtown.

"I feel there is a lot of potential for our Downtown and I would love the opportunity to bring it to the vision that I see," Kemp said. " I feel the board of directors is moving in the right direction. I think I’m able to collaborate nicely with all the organizations and the city. I have great relationships already established to move things forward."

In order to take the job, Kemp resigned from her director position with the Business Education Alliance.

The move seemed like a natural extension of her longtime involvement with the BID, she said.

"I've actually been in love with our downtown since we moved our small business down here," Kemp said. "I jumped on any opportunity I could take to get on all the committees to help with events to help other small business owners, so it just seemed like a perfect fit for me.  It’s everything that I love to do."

Since moving Downtown, T-Shirt's Etc., which started in the Harvester Center, them moved to the former WBTA building at Main and Harvester, before moving to East Main, has continued to grow and is now located on Center Street.

There's been some tension the past year or two between City Hall and the BID, but Kemp things will be smooth sailing going forward.

"For me personally, I’ve never had any tension or problem dealing with the City on any level," Kemp said. "They’ve always been very willing to help me with any event that we’re coordinating. Any committee I’ve been on, we’ve had great relationships. I don’t see that as being an issue at all."

November 29, 2016 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, 400 Towers, news.

The 400 Towers resident who admitted to baking his cat to death will serve the next five years on probation, Interim Judge Michael Pietruszka ruled in Genesee County Court today.

The defense attorney for Darren Annovi, Lisa Kromer, argued that jail was not an appropriate sentence for Annovi because he has had persistent mental illness and has suffered from mental health issues since childhood.

Annovi has limited intelligence and did not intend to harm his cat, she said, even though he knew it would die in the hot oven, he apparently thought it would painlessly go to sleep and pass away.

During the term of Annovi's probation he will not be allowed to own any pets.

Wendy Castleman with Volunteers for Animals was hoping for more. 

“I think the concern I would have is the signal it sends to the public," she said. "This is a person who killed an animal in a cruel way and received probation. So does that make it OK for other people?”

Via our news partner, WBTA.

November 29, 2016 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Bethany, news.

Jordan Paul Fleming, 28, of East Bethany Le Roy Road, Bethany, is charged with third-degree sexual abuse. Fleming is accused of subjecting another person to sexual contact without that person's consent.

Fawn Lynn Marie Kaczmarek, 28, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. Kaczmarek was allegedly found in possession of a needle during an investigation by Deputy Matthew Clor.

November 29, 2016 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, drama club, theater, arts, batavia, news.

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The Batavia High School Drama Club presents three performances this weekend of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," as dramatized by Trish Black Melchan.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, on the stage of the school's auditorium.

Tickets are $8 per adult and $6 for students and seniors.

The Cast:

Messenger of the Court -- Hannah Bluhm
Beatrice -- Serena Strollo-DiCenso
Benedick -- Evan Bellavia
Don Pedro -- Sam Rigerman
Claudio -- Pierce Corbelli
Hero -- Eryn Dunn
Leonato -- Alex O'Brien
Don John -- Cameron Bontrager
Borachio -- McKenna Dziemian
Conrade -- Christian Arteaga
Dogberry -- AnnMarie Georgia
Verges -- Taylor McKenzie
Margaret -- Celia Flynn
Ursula -- Taylor Fonda
Nerissa -- Elise Hoerbelt
Friar Francis -- Olivia Judge
Kinsman -- Alicia Scroger
Kinsman -- Madeline Keenan
Attendant -- Parise Ricks
Attendant -- Alayna Tatarka
Sexton -- Shannon Cervone

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