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April 15, 2018 - 5:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, batavia, colonial boulevard.

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Alyssa Wolford, of Colonial Boulevard in Batavia, submitted this photo of the perfect sheet of ice molded by her mailbox cover.

 

April 14, 2018 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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GSO Conductor S. Shade Zajac led a group of young musicians today in a string workshop at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia.

The students will perform May 6 with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra at Elba Central School on Sibelus, "Andante Festivo." 

The program that day includes featured soloist Mimi Hwang on cello joining the orchestra for Elgar's "Concerto for Cello & Orchestra in E-minor."

The orchestra will also perform Wagner's "Siegfried's Death & Funeral March," Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2 'Romantic," and Holst's "St. Paul's Suite for String Orchestra."

The concert, "Romantic Masterpieces," begins at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available through geneseesymphony.com or GO Art!, Roxy's Music Store, YNGodess, and Smokin' Eagle BBQ  & Brew in Le Roy.

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April 14, 2018 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, arts, NY-27, news, notify, batavia.

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Students from more than a dozen high schools in the NY-27 Congressional District entered the annual Congressional Art Show and when the top four winners were announced at GCC this morning, all four students came from Batavia High School.

Kiara Cherry won top honors and her work, "Out from Underneath," will be displayed in the Capitol Building for 12 months and she will travel to Washington, D.C., for the show's opening.

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand for the awards presentations after visiting with the students in the Roz Steiner Gallery and viewing their work.

Runner-up was Tara Clattenburg and honorable mentions went to Stephanie Hoy and Sophia Dinehart.

The art show judges see only the pictures. They don't know the artists' names or what schools they go to.

Kiara said her work is meant to reveal how people are different and everyone has a story.

The work didn't come together easily. First, she spent nearly three months working on it and as she neared completion she spilled "a ton" of India ink on it. Rather than give up on the project, she reimagined it, using pages from an old dictionary to help frame the painting of the two girls in the picture.

"I had completely different plans," Kiara said. "It was just unbelievable how everything changed, and so quickly, but it actually ended up better than my original conception."

Ask what lesson she learned from that process, she said, "Not to be cheesy or anything, but it’s like the Bob Ross quote, 'we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.' That was a happy accident because it paid off in the end."

Kiara wasn't surprised BHS swept the awards.

"At Batavia, everyone there is so amazing and they work so hard for what they do," she said. "We all encourage each other and Mrs. A (Mandi Antonucci) is an amazing art teacher."

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Sophia Dinehart tells Collins about her painting, which is a portrait with bees and a honeycomb. She is showing, she said, how we all have ideas and thoughts always buzzing around in our heads.

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Stephanie Hoy

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Eva Jensen, Perry High School, with a painting of a national park in Utah, where she once lived.

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Tara Clattenburg

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April 13, 2018 - 11:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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Michael Piasta in  2010

More than seven years ago, Michael J. Piasta stood before Judge Robert C. Noonan and said he thought he could turn his life around.

"At this point, I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta told Noonan before receiving a maximum state prison term of seven years for burglary. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."

Piasta served the maximum term. He was released Oct. 24.

In March, he allegedly robbed the Arby's Resturant in Batavia. Today, he was arrested by Batavia PD with assistance from members of the Local Drug Task Force.

He is charged with robbery in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and grand larceny in the third degree.

He allegedly got away from the Arby's robbery March 23 with more than $6,000 in cash.

When he was arrested on West Main Street, three other individuals were in the truck with him. Batavia PD did not release any information on those individuals or whether they were charged with any crimes.

Piasta was jailed without bail following arraignment in City Court.

When he appeared before Noonan in 2010, Piasta already had a lengthy criminal record. 

On Nov. 5, 2010, Piasta entered a guilty plea to burglary, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Piasta also admitted that he broke into a business at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, and stole a credit card -- running up more than $500 in charges -- and checks. He attempted to forge the checks at two local banks.

That summer, Piasta was also accused of stealing DVDs from Pandora's Boxx and shoplifting from Wilson Farms.

April 13, 2018 - 7:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify, Batavia PD, Sheriff's Office.

The snowfall was pretty heavy just before midnight, Saturday, Dec. 10, 1977.  That hour was shift change for Batavia PD then and Officer Douglas D. Squires manned the only patrol car on the road in the city. He was parked at Main and Oak watching the green, yellow, and red lights change, swirls of big snowflakes fall, and any cars that might pass through the intersection.

Down the street, at Quik-N-EZ Food Mart, 40 Oak St., employees were about to close up for the night. The little shop had recently hired some new employees and Squires remembers that two or three times that week they had accidentally triggered the alarms while trying to get them set.

Carl Salway, the only law enforcement officer shot in the line of duty in Genesee County


A police-involved shooting is generally defined as a police officer discharging his weapon in the line of duty.

Based on a search of historical records and conversations with law enforcement professionals in the county who have worked locally for decades, it appears that Officer Doug Squires and Deputy Ryan Young are the only LEOs in Genesee County history to be involved in an officer-involved shooting.

It also appears that only once in Genesee County history has a police officer been shot.

In August 1921, Officer Carl Salway, Batavia PD, came within an inch of his life, literally.

That night, shortly after 10 p.m., he stumbled upon a burglary in progress of an auto storage warehouse owned by Raymond M. Walker at 241 West Main St., Batavia. 

Inside were Harold W. Pratt, 27, of 128 South Main St., Batavia, who owned a cider mill, and Earl Lee Smith, of Law St., Batavia, 27. 

Pratt shot Salway with a .45-caliber automatic pistol. The bullet passed through Salway's chest, just missing his heart.

Salway would eventually retire from the police department, but not before serving a suspension in 1931 for insubordination.

Squires, now 64, grew up in Batavia but graduated from Byron-Bergen High School. That night in 1977, he was more than a year into his five-year stint with the Batavia Police Department. He would go on to work security for Kodak before moving into sales and marketing with the company. As he moved up, Kodak moved him, first to Orlando, then Birmingham, then Atlanta, and eventually Charlotte, N.C., in 1989, where he lives in with his wife. 

He didn't realize until told today that what would transpire just before midnight that Saturday night in 1977 would stand as the only officer-involved shooting in Genesee County history until two nights ago.

As the minutes drew tighter toward midnight that night, a Batavia dispatcher informed Squires the alarm at the Quik-N-EZ Food Mart had gone off again.

Squires put his patrol car in drive and drove down Oak. As he approached, he turned off his lights. The store lights were on and the parking lot was empty.

As he pulled up, he remembered a news story out of Buffalo from a couple of days before. Two police officers had been shot and killed responding to a robbery alarm at the Holiday Inn by the airport.

"I remembered that when that alarm came in for that store, that incident came to mind and I thought I’m not going to just wheel in there and think they made a mistake and set off the alarm again," Squires said.

As he approached, he unholstered his revolver.

Peering in, he saw two female employees, Edwina Heschke, of Batavia, and Debbie Maskell, of Indian Falls, lying face down on the floor. Behind the counter, pulling money out of the cash register was a male in a ski mask.

The man in the ski mask turned out to be William M. Timoney, who was 34 at the time, recently released from Attica on parole, and a resident of Dewey Avenue. 

Squires pushed the door open, identified himself and yelled, "freeze."

Timoney looked at Squires, pointed his 14 shot .22 long rifle calibre handgun with a full magazine, at the back of one of the clerks and told Squires, "Pig, you get out of here or they’re both as good as dead."

"At that point," Squires said, "the gloves were off. He's threatening a third party with physical harm and possibly their lives."

Squires fired at Timoney and missed. Timoney ducked behind a counter, popped up again and Squires fired again, missing again.  

As the gun battle ensued, another Batavia officer, D.G. Kopper, arrived as back up.

When the perp's head popped up from behind the counter again, between the cash register and orange drink dispenser, Squires fired again. This time he caught Timoney in the face, the bullet hitting his cheek and ear.

"He was quite a mess," Squires said. "He lost his right ear. The shot picked him right up off the floor. The money went one way and the gun went another."

As Sheriff William Sheron noted today, police officers go to work every shift knowing this may be the eight hours where they get shot at or they may have to shoot another person.

Just because there have only been two incidents in Genesee County history, and now three, where an officer either shot someone or has been shot himself, doesn't mean it isn't an ever-present danger. Every chance encounter, when you're in law enforcement, can turn deadly with very little warning.

“Law enforcement officers go to work every day knowing that they may be required to sacrifice their own lives, or take the life of another human being in order to fulfill their obligation of protecting the citizens of our communities," Sheron said.

Two nights ago, Deputy Ryan Young faced the challenging decision of whether to fire his weapon after responding to a report of a disturbance and shots fired at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Indian Falls. As Young and other officers pulled into the parking lot, Keith Kent, 61, of Albion, fired another shot. Young and his colleagues yelled at Kent to drop his weapon. He didn't. Rather, Kent turned -- according to information available so far -- toward Young and pointed his pistol at him.

As Undersheriff Gregory Walker put it describing the incident while talking with reporters on Gilmore Road early Thursday morning, "Our officer did take the shot and the suspect was killed."

Timoney, the 1977 robber, was lucky. He lived. After he was shot, Squires and Kopper rushed to his side and cuffed him.

Timoney, who used a gun stolen from a home in Alexander, was treated at St. Jerome Hospital then hauled before County Court Judge Glenn R. Morton, charged with robbery in the first degree along with several other charges, then jailed without bail.

The district attorney in 1977 was Ronald L. Fancher. He settled on a plea agreement for Timoney, attempted robbery.  Timoney entered a  guilty plea and was sent to state prison for less than four years. He was released in 1982. By 1984, he was back in prison for an armed robbery in Queens, serving a maximum 15-year sentence. He was released in 2000.  In 2000, his name pops up in a couple of stories in the New York Daily News about homeless people in the city.

Squires described shooting Timoney as "a surreal experience." He was put on paid leave and he had to turn over his revolver for ballistic testing. 

"I had a lot of sleepless nights," he said. "It was quite an experience. Most police officers never even draw their weapons or let alone fire their weapons over a 20 or 30-year career. Here, I'm on the job for at most a couple of years and I run into something like this."

Eugene Jankowski, who served Batavia PD for more than 35 years, starting in 1978, was a corrections officer in the Genesee County Jail the night Squires shot Timoney.  He remembers Timoney coming into the jail with a big bandage on his ear.

Now City Council president, Jankowski is a firearms expert and led in the creation of the county's Emergency Response Team.

Even though Jankowski never encountered a situation that escalated into the need to shoot somebody, he faced many life-and-death decisions during his career. Training and experience are critical to helping officers handle the unexpected, he said.

"I’ve found scenario-based firearms and defensive tactics training, combined with state law and department policy, was the most beneficial to me," Jankowski said. "That, along with real-life experience helped me to physically and mentally prepare for many types of use-of-force encounters."

Squires said he thinks about Dec. 10, 1977, every time another police shooting hits the news.  

"Until you're a police officer and you go through it, there's really not much you can think about to know what it's like," he said.

His advice for Young or other officers who must fire their weapon at suspects: Don't second guess yourself.

"And don't let others second guess you. Just know that it's your job and you have to do what you have to do to defend yourself or innocent bystanders. You have to know what you did is right."

April 13, 2018 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in swing fling, geneseean awards, news, batavia, GO ART!.

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The 2018 GO ART! spring awards gala will be held in a new venue this year -- at GO ART! itself, in historic Seymour Place in Downtown Batavia.

The theme of "Swing Fling" is "Come back to the 1940s," it will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and feature music, dancing, appetizers, a cash bar, live radio show and awards. 

Geneseean Awards will go to:

  • Organization of Year: Genesee Chorale
  • Individual Artist of the Year: Lisa Roeseler, Medina High School Medina High School A Cappella Choir Director 
  • Supporter (of the cultural sector) of the Year award will go to one of three nominees: Bryan DeGraw, 810 Meadworks, OR Diana Kastenbaum, Pinnacle Manufacturing, OR Brian Kemp, T-Shirts Etc.

Tickets: $20 for non-members, $15 for GO ART! members.

Contact GO ART! at goart.org, 343-9313, or stop in at Seymour Place, located at 201 E. Main St.

Platinum Sponsors for the Swing Fling are: WBTA, and Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.

Gold Sponsors are: J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, Jim Burns Photography.

Silver Sponsors are: Carrotman Productions, St. Joseph Catholic School.

(To help attendees prepare with flair for this affair, we offer this link about the 1940s -- here -- and it's a real Humdinger, as they used to say. And also, for your listening pleasure, this obscure oldie, here.)

April 13, 2018 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in BCSD Foundation, scholarship, batavia, news.

Press release:

The BCSD Foundation is seeking nominations for its 2018 scholarship.

You are invited to nominate a Batavia High School graduating senior for the Batavia City School District Foundation Scholarship. The nomination deadline is May 11 and the scholarship will be awarded at the BHS graduation in June.

The candidate should be a senior who is academically successful, who has tried to improve on skills to further his or her career goals, and who is a role model for others in creating a school climate of "Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Connected and Be Ambitious."

The nomination form, as well as further information on the BCSD Foundation, may be found on the District’s website (www.bataviacsd.org) by clicking on the District Information tab, then on the link labeled “More” for the alphabetical District Information Directory, then on the BCSD Foundation link.

If you have any questions, please contact Julia Rogers at [email protected].

April 13, 2018 - 3:21pm

Press release from Frank Panepento:

There will be a free music concert to show thanks and appreciation for Crossroads House and its 20 years of community service. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at the Attica High School Auditorium.

Over the span of two decades, the nonprofit Crossroads House, providing comfort care for the dying, has helped more than 470 residents and their families.

This will be "a celebration concert" featuring original and longtime supporters -- the Attica High School Marching Band, and Amanda Hofheins and Don Rogers, plus the Hamburg Kingmen Drum Corps, Batavia Jazz Ensemble, St. Joe’s Brass Ensemble, Alexander Fireman's Band, and the St. Joe’s Alumni Drum Corps.

The Attica Marching Band has been one of the very first and longest supporters for the house. The house took a few years of planning and fundraising to put all the necessary pieces in place before the house was able to open. The Attica Free Music Concerts were building blocks that helped fund the house and educate the communities that Crossroads served. These concerts were an avenue to help explain what Crossroads House was able to do for its residents.

Rogers, while spearheading the earlier shows moved into retirement while Hofheins took his place literally and figuratively. She took over filling in for Rogers’s duties and supporting Crossroads House and the Free Musical Concert.

Come on out to enjoy the music! This is going to be a great afternoon while supporting Crossroads House and Gateway House (Attica’s own soon-to-open comfort care home). Attica High School is located at 3338 E. Main St. in Attica.

April 13, 2018 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tim Hortons, Batavia PD, batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Batavia Police Department, along with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County Probation, Le Roy Police Department and the New York State Troopers – Troop A, would like to thank Dave Lumberg, Owner/Operator of Tim Horton’s (20 Main St.) for their daily donation of fresh, hot, coffee to our officers and instructors during the last two weeks of Active Threat Training, which is concluding today. The added level of convenience aided in the productivity of the training.

April 13, 2018 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, batavia, Babes on Blades, women's senior hockey team.

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Press release:

The Batavia “Babes on Blades” women’s senior hockey team finished off a strong season this year by competing in and winning the local annual Scottsville women’s senior hockey tournament last weekend.

In the first game, the Babes were down 5 to 3 in the second period before rallying to win 7 to 6. The second game against the host Scottsville team was a defensive battle with the Babes scoring the first goal of the game with 3 minutes left in the third period. The Babes scored an open net goal at the end of the game for a 2 to 0 win. In the third game, the Babes team’s offense exploded for 9 goals in a 9 to 2 win over Brockport.

The championship game ended up with a rematch against the host Scottsville team again. the Babes team scored early in the game and were able to maintain the lead throughout the hard-fought game for a 4 to 2 win.

April 13, 2018 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corporation accepted the resignation of Julie Pacatte, economic development director in charge of economic development for the City of Batavia. Pacatte has accepted a position for a private-sector employer located in New York’s Capital District Region. 

“To say that she will be missed is an understatement, Ms. Pacatte was instrumental in a number of initiatives to improve the economic environment in Batavia,” said Pierluigi Cipollone, president of the Batavia Development Corporation. “She has advanced economic development in the city to new levels and facilitated more than $30 million in pledged investment into the city."

Pacatte was successful in leading the way to develop the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2), a first in the state PILOT Increment Financing (PIF) district that diverts new PILOT payments from three tax jurisdictions (City, School, and County) to develop the most blighted and impoverished areas of the city.

The program was developed following the city’s success in creating the Brownfield Opportunity Area and identifying sites primed for investment. These efforts lead to the attraction of $20 million investment pledge by Savarino Companies at the Ellicott Station brownfield site. 

Pacatte led efforts to craft the successful $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative (DRI) application, was the driving force behind the BDC’s Public-Private Partnership, the freshLab restaurant incubator, as well as an administrator for loans and grants to aid new and existing businesses in the city.

She has helped bring the BDC to solid ground and advance our mission of new economic opportunities in the city of Batavia. The BDC still has much to do and will continue to work in the city helping small businesses, ensuring that the Savarino project can break ground this summer, working to advance development at Creek Park, assisting DRI project winners and working with all economic development partners in county and across the region. 

“Thank you, Ms. Pacatte for your passionate efforts to make Batavia a better place to work, live and play and I wish you continued success in your future pursuits,” Cipollone said.

April 13, 2018 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news.

Press release:

At the Batavia City School District Board of Education meeting on April 10, several students, staff members and volunteers were presented with awards by Board of Education president Patrick Burk for their exemplary work and contributions.

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In recognition of the positive example she provides, Gabriella Smith was presented with an Outstanding Student Award.

She was nominated by kindergarten teacher Debra Wolff, who wrote, “Gabby is a quiet, confident leader in our class. She is respectful, responsible, and safe without needing to be reminded. She is a very kind and caring friend who always makes sure to include others.

"Gabby always has a smile on her face, which makes everyone's day brighter. We can always count on her to be setting a very positive example of what a good listener and what being a good friend look like.”

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In recognition of her enthusiasm and hard work, Daisylynn Bastedo was presented with an Outstanding Student Award.

She was nominated by pre-kindergarten teacher Emily Giuliano, and teacher aide Nancy Okoniewski.

Mrs. Giuliano wrote, “Daisylynn is a perfect example of a kind, caring, polite, and hard-working student. She always comes to school with a smile on her face and looks forward to greeting her teachers. Daisy consistently makes good choices in all parts of the school day.

"She shows an enthusiasm for learning and tackles new challenges seriously and with a positive attitude. We can always count on Daisy to be polite and respectful in and out of the classroom. She is always willing to help a classmate, whether it is during an activity or zipping up their coat at the end of the day. Daisy has made so much growth this year."

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In recognition of her infectious enthusiasm and dedication, Nancy Okoniewski was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award.

She was nominated by pre-kindergarten teacher Emily Giuliano, who wrote, “Mrs. Okoniewski has been working for the District for over 18 years at both the High School and the Middle School but has found her calling at Jackson Primary. She has been the UPK teacher aide (in Mrs. Giuliano's UPK classroom) since the start of the program in 2007.

"Mrs. Okoniewski wears a smile on her face each and every day. She has a very bubbly and friendly personality and you may catch her singing to the children as well as the adults. She makes people laugh and feel happy right along with her. She is a hard worker who goes above and beyond her duties as a teacher aide.

"She is also a bus monitor and rides the bus home with the kids to make sure they get home safe. She is the Batavia Clerical Association building representative at Jackson Primary and continues to put in hours of work outside of her normal workday by attending union and BCA meetings. Mrs. Okoniewski is a very special person who is thoughtful, kind and always willing to help others.

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In recognition of their continued dedication to our students, Barbara Holder and Paula Wortzman were each presented with an Outstanding Community Member Award.

They were nominated by first-grade teacher Jessica Torrey, who wrote, “Since their retirement from the District, Barbara Holder and Paula Wortzman have devoted countless hours to the students in the first-grade classroom at Jackson Primary.

"Many students over the years have been so lucky to share their first-grade experience with these two ladies. They are kind, loving, and offer a wealth of knowledge in working with our young population. Their hard work and dedication is very much appreciated.”

April 12, 2018 - 7:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A car fire is reported in front of the Post Office in Batavia, 2 W. Main St.

City fire dispatched.

UPDATE 7:56 p.m.: City Fire back in service. A chief reports $2,500 in damage to the vehicle with a cause of the fire being grass built up around the exhaust system.

April 12, 2018 - 6:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

A 16-year-old resident of Oak Street in Batavia accepted a plea deal this afternoon that could result in a term of one-and-a-third to four years in prison.

Lionel J. Anderson Jr. was facing a Class D violent felony count of second-degree assault stemming from an altercation at 16 Highland Park, Batavia, on the evening of Nov. 28. The charge was downgraded today under a plea agreement, offered for Judge Charles Zambito's consideration, to a non-violent Class E felony of attempted second-degree assault.

The Oklahoma native, who finished the 10th grade of high school, accepted responsibility in Genesee County Court this afternoon for injuring a 13-year-old victim who was slammed to the ground, face first, then struck in the face, twice; the injuries stemmed from contact with a "metal belt buckle and/or curb."

Zambito ordered a pre-sentencing investigation, and sentencing is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. on May 21. Meanwhile, Lionel remains in custody on $25,000 bail.

It was unclear if other charges initially filed in the case are still pending in Batavia City Court -- one count of harassment and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Lionel's attorney, Michael Locicero, asked if the plea agreement would resolve any pending charges.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he could not agree "sight unseen" that additional charges pending for Locicero's client would be satisfied by the plea agreement at hand. But the DA did pledge that the plea satisfies all charges for the defendant in this case, involving this victim, pertaining to the Nov. 28 incident.

Lionel -- handcuffed, wearing faded orangish sweat pants, a bright orange jail shirt, long-sleeved thermal undershirt, white socks and tan slides -- fidgeted as Zambito explained what the plea meant. Slightly built and about 5'7", he answered "yes," softly, when asked if he understood the terms.

April 12, 2018 - 4:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in NY Sea Grant, drug take back day, Le Roy, pembroke, batavia.

Press release:

New York Sea Grant is encouraging the public to take expired, unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals to designated law enforcement agency locations on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 28.

This federally designated day for collection of waste pharmaceuticals prevents the entry of such products as antibiotics, blood pressure regulators, pain medications, tranquilizers, and hormones, into state waterways and drinking supply sources.

In Genesee County, you can drop off unwanted drugs, no questions asked, at these locations:

  • Batavia Police Department, 10 W. Main St., Batavia
  • Genesee County Sheriff's Office is conducting a drop-off at the Pembroke Town Highway Barn at routes 5 and 77, East Pembroke
  • Village of Le Roy Police Department, 3 W. Main St., Le Roy

“Proper disposal of unused medications is critically important to protect the public drinking water supply and the Great Lakes ecosystem," said Helen Domske, New York Sea Grant Coastal Education specialist, Buffalo.

"Take Back Day sites accepting these pharmaceuticals provide easily accessible drop-off points so everyone can do their part to protect New York’s waters.”

The New York Sea Grant website has information about the impact of keeping pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of the Great Lakes and other water sources. The results of a two-year research project, funded by New York Sea Grant, to examine the effectiveness of advanced water treatment options, environmental levels, and the potential effects of pharmaceuticals in New York waters are expected later this year.

“Research is increasing our understanding of the impact of bioactive chemical substances on the aquatic food web," said Domske, who is also the associate director of the Great Lakes Program at SUNY Buffalo.

"For example, research has recently documented the presence of antidepressants and their metabolites as well as antihistamines in fish such as largemouth bass, yellow perch, walleye and steelhead trout in the Niagara River. Although researchers believe the levels do not pose a threat to humans eating the fish, they are problematic and one of the reasons we do not want people to flush medicines down the toilet or drain."

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a $2 million pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back initiative that officially begins this month with pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other sites participating in the collection and proper disposal of the unwanted, unused pharmaceuticals. Learn more here.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Days take place twice a year, in the spring and fall. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, a record-setting collection of 912,305 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs took place during the Fall 2017 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, Wayne County Cooperative Extension in Newark, and SUNY Oswego. For updates on New York Sea Grant activities, visit this website.

About New York Sea Grant
New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through a statewide network of integrated services, New York Sea Grant has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness of Great Lakes and marine resources since 1971.

April 12, 2018 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A motor-vehicle accident with minor injuries is reported at Main Street and Bank Street, Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

April 11, 2018 - 3:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Gardening, batavia.

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners this spring as we “Catch the Gardening Bug.” Our next upcoming gardening program will be “Permaculture 2.0” on April 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., presented by Master Gardener Dan Esler.

Permaculture is a system of cultivation intended to maintain a permanent horticultural landscape by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Master Gardener Dan Esler will give a quick recap on last year’s program when participants learned about Zones, Sectors, Guilds and Edges as they apply to Permaculture. He will then discuss what to consider for a successful guild design and a reasonable timeline when developing a permaculture site. 

Registration required by April 17.  

The class will be held at the Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 420 E. Main St., Batavia. Cost is $10 per person. Preregistration is required as class size is limited.

Contact Brandie at 585-343-3040, ext. 101, or stop by our office to register. Visit our website at: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/events for more information.

April 11, 2018 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in immigrants, City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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When the children of Claudia Celia Rincon Pico and Loan Trang entered Batavia City Schools a few years ago, neither mother spoke a word of English.

On Tuesday night, both mothers spoke to City School Board members to demonstrate how a special Sunday night English class led by Jenna Mrzywka and Courtney Turner has helped them improve their English.

Mrzywka, an English as a Second Language teacher at Jackson, and Turcer, an ESL teacher at Batavia HS, started the Sunday adult English night class on their own (it's now supported by the district) two and a half years ago.

"They're new to the community and a lot of times when someone is new to a country they feel there are cultural and language barriers so they don't always come into the school," Turcer said. "This is a chance to bring parents into the school building and a chance for kids to help their parents and it's a way for them to make friends and get roots in the community. They know English is important so it's a way for them to help themselves."

Rincon Pico and Trang have been part of the program since its inception, though Trang recently opened a nail salon in Erie County and now lives in the Pembroke Central School District, where her son attends school.

Rincon Pico is from Colombia and Trang is from Vietnam. Turcer said ESL students tend to be predominately Spanish-speaking, though Chinese is often common, but students have come through speaking other languages, including an Indian language and French. When she started with district five years ago there were 13 or 14 ESL students, she said. Today there are 40, including 10 at the high school.

Both Mrzywka and Turcer have built solid relationships with parents in the class, which makes it easier to help them deal with school work for their children.

They also said the parents, despite often coming from different countries and cultures, build lasting friendships among themselves.

The non-English population in Batavia is fluid, Turcer said, so there is some fluctuation in class size. Currently, there are five adults in the class. There have been as many as 10 and as few as two.

Adult students start with the basics, learning their ABCs, and move onto personal identification, food, and household items.

In their presentations, Rincon Pico and Trang shared about their home countries, what their interests are, and their favorite dishes from their homelands. Interestingly, both dishes, though very different, featured pork, rice and peppers.

Trang said she was grateful to the Batavia district for all it had done for her and her family.

"I love to become an American," said Trang at the close of her talk, who also noted one of her favorite holidays is the Fourth of July. "I love it here and I love America."

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April 11, 2018 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Jordan S. Thomas, 19, of Elm Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Thomas allegedly violated an order of protection by allowing the protected party to stay at his residence for several hours on Monday. Thomas was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Octavio Michael Tardy, 52, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Tardy allegedly shoved another person during an argument at 1:22 p.m. March 25 at a location on Main Street, Batavia.

Amy M. Gasper, 45, of Webster, is charged with petit larceny. Gasper is accused of a theft in the Town of Batavia at 9:53 a.m. on April 4. She was arrested by State Police on Tuesday. No further details released.

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