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November 19, 2015 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
mug_donniearmstrong_nov2015.jpg mug_l_fletcher_nov2015.jpg
   Donnie Armstrong     Laura Fletcher

Two people were arraigned on drug dealing charges in County Court on Wednesday, following their arrests on warrants the night before.

Information on the investigation leading to their arrests has not yet been released.

Charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell, both Class B felonies, is Donnie Armstrong, 43, of East Main Street, Batavia. Armstrong is being held on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Also charged is Laura L. Fletcher, 41, of Holley Street, Lockport. She is charged with criminal sale of a narcotic drug and criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell. Her bail is $10,000 bash or $20,000 bond.

It's unknown at this time if the cases are related.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: The arrests of Donnie Armstrong and Laura L. Fletcher were made after the conclusion of an investigation into the sale of "crack" cocaine in and around the City of Batavia, according to a press release this afternoon from the Sheriff's Office. The investigation was done by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force -- comprised of officers from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET and Le Roy Village PD. The task force was also assisted in the investigation by state Parole and the DA's Office.

November 19, 2015 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Law Street, chestnut street, batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

Law/Chestnut Street between South Jackson and Walnut streets in the City of Batavia will be closed to “local traffic only” during the day today due to a water line repair. It is not expected that water service will be interrupted or affected.

November 18, 2015 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, business, land use.

The process of getting approval for a new Dunkin' Donut's has served to make for a better plan, project engineer Kip Finley told city planners during Tuesday's meetings, where planners eventually approved or recommended approval of a series of plans and variances allowing the project to go forward. 

The proposed Dunkin will be slipped in between Barrett's Batavia Marine and Five Star Bank on West Main Street, with the cooperation and blessing of those two property owners. The three properties will share driveways in and out of the location, helping traffic flow and thereby addressing one of the recurring objections to construction of the franchise store.

Finley, working on behalf of Dunkin' Donuts and franchisee Mike Mikolajczyk, who owns the current Dunkin' in the city, at West Main and Ellicott Avenue, has been hauling elevation drawings before city and county planners since September 2014, and until Tuesday's votes hadn't received much in the way of nods of approval.

The new design fits into the current environment better, Finley said.  The building will be a little more residential looking and the frontage will align with Barrett's, making it more of an urban approach to aligning storefronts.

Even so, there are still residents from nearby Redfield Parkway who object to the proposed location.

"Regardless of how good the aesthetics of the building, none of the design changes will improve its location," said Nan Zorn, a Redfield resident.

The planning committee approved the site plan review and recommend to the Zoning Board of Appeals that it approve variances for the frontage, the driveways and parking.

By code, the size of the building would require 80 parking spaces, which board members agreed was a bit much.

The Burger King on West Main has 80 spaces and Finley pointed out that is way more than the drive-thru restaurant needs.

"If you go there, the front third are used, and the rest you could play basketball on," Finley said.
"There are weeds growing. It doesn't get used."

Finley's work is not done. Dunkin's new location doesn't get built if the city's ZBA doesn't approve the variances.

November 18, 2015 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, batavia, business, code enforcement.

Jeremy Liles said he will continue to push for a rules change in the City of Batavia on commercial signs that prohibit electronic signs from regularly changing their messages.

Earlier this year, Liles installed a new sign on his business, Oliver's Candies, at Main and Oak with an electronic message board.

Under the current city ordinance, he can only change the message on the board once every 24 hours. He would like to change it hourly, especially this time of year when he might have four or five different promotions going to attract holiday business.

Tuesday night the city's planning board unanimously rejected his request for a variance to allow the message to change at least hourly.

Duane Preston, chairman of the board, said his vote was based on the fact there is no precedent in the city for allowing an exemption.

Liles argued that signs at Salvation Army and Batavia High School change more often than every 24 hours, but Preston said the city's code enforcement officers report that no permission has been granted for such changes where the city has jurisdiction. He doesn't have jurisdiction over the school property, he said.

Liles said the inconsistency bothers him.

He vowed to continue the fight after the vote, including bringing it up during the city's comprehensive plan update.

One apparent argument against frequently changing signs is that it creates a traffic hazard. Liles said he doesn't buy that argument. Distracted driving from mobile phones is a bigger problem than business signs, he said.

"There were two accidents in front of Oliver's this morning and that had nothing to do with my sign," he said.

November 18, 2015 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, arts, entertainment, Talent Show, batavia.


Cameron Bontrager performs "Sweet Child of Mine" during the 2015 Batavia HS talent show Tuesday night in the school's auditorium.


Tzyonah Scheffield-Reese performs "Photograph."


Madison Hoerbelt and Eryn Dunn perform "For Good."


Ross Chua and Chelsea Jensen perform "I'm Yours."


Hannah Bluhm performs "Dear Future Husband."

November 17, 2015 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, byron, bergen.

John E. Tejada, 19, of Cherry Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, and second-degree menacing. On Nov. 10 at 10:01 p.m., at 300 Ellicott St., Tejada allegedly pulled out a BB gun, pointed it in the direction of several individuals, two of whom are under age 17, and shot several times, injuring one person. He was jailed without bail and ordered to return to City Court last Friday, Nov. 13. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

A 17-year-old male who resides on Route 237, Byron, was arrested and charged with forcible touching for allegedly touching a female's intimate body parts on the afternoon of Nov. 6 in Bergen. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Bergen Town Court on Dec. 16. The case was investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Butler.

Kathryn M. Yark, 18, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant issued for the alleged unauthorized use of a vehicle on July 18. After her arraignment Saturday in Town of Batavia Court, she was jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

James P. Colantonio Jr., 27, of South Swan Street, Batavia, was arrested Saturday on a bench warrant issued following his alleged failure to pay a fine last December. He is scheduled to appear in City Court on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Leo Richard Brown, 19, of West Main Street, Batavia, was arrested today on a bench warrant issued for allegedly failing to appear in court on April 7. He was turned over to Batavia PD by Albion PD. He was released and scheduled to return to City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

A 17-year-old who lives on Liberty Street in Batavia was arrested today and charged with attempted petit larceny, stemming from an incident which occurred at 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 15 on East Main Street, Batavia. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket for City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

November 17, 2015 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in missing pets, batavia.

This beautiful, sleek indoor boy (betcha it's a Bombay) is named "Ted" and he is missing from his house on Osterhout Avenue in the City of Batavia. You've no doubt heard of TED talks. Well, we can assure you this Ted talks, he just doesn't speak English. A real chatterbox -- when he's not napping or noshing.

He made his stealthy escape Sunday night, well camouflaged in the cloak of darkness. His family (Greg Carney, Alicia Hale and their 5-year-old daughter) pines for him most acutely.

Please contact Alicia Hale at 585-300-9669 if you have any information about Ted. If you see him, try to engage him in a conversation, then call his mom. Hopefully, he'll hold forth until she can arrange for his safe return.

November 17, 2015 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Notre Dame, batavia.

Submitted photos. Top -- newest Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: Alex Sepi, Lisa Dwyer Lenhart, Dawn Sherwood Norton and Walter Szczesny; middle -- retired teacher and coach Bill Sutherland; above -- and John and Tom Borrelli, who accepted an award on behalf of their father, Nicholas.

Press release:

On Saturday, Nov. 14, friends and supporters of Notre Dame High School enjoyed a “Tailgate Party” themed event as they celebrated Sports Night at Slomba Hall in Batavia. They also honored people newly chosen to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

The night started with a welcome from the school’s new principal, Wade Bianco, who spoke about all the exciting things going on at Notre Dame High School.

Athletic Director Mike Rapone introduced the Athletic Hall of Fame inductees who included:

  • Alex Sepi -- ’84
  • Lisa Dwyer Lenhart -- '83
  • Dawn Sherwood Norton -- ’79
  • Walter Szczesny -- ’76

Retired teacher and coach Bill Sutherland, was also honored for his 41 years of service to Notre Dame.

Nicholas Borrelli was inducted for his contributions to Notre Dame High School and his award was accepted by his sons, John Borrelli, who is the current chairman of the Notre Dame High School Board of Trustees, and Tom Borrelli.

All honorees spoke of their appreciation of Notre Dame High School and their educational and athletic experiences there.

Notre Dame High School of Batavia has been ranked #1 among private schools in Western New York for the past eight years by Buffalo Business First. In addition, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Interscholastic Athletic programs also ranked #1 in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties.

November 17, 2015 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, batavia, business.


Press release:

The Genesee ARC Redemption Center is open for business!  “Bring us your cans and bottles,” said Director of Operations, Paul Saskowski.

Along with offering new employment options for individuals with disabilities, Saskowski said, “The expansion of our transfer station allows customers to drop off refuse, recyclables and now get their deposits on beverage containers back so these chores can be done in a ‘one-stop’ concept.” 

The Genesee ARC Redemption Center, 3785 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m.

“The hundreds of community members that visit monthly for trash and recycling now have an even greater convenience,” Saskowski said.

“The best thing about the ARC-operated redemption center is additional employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” the director said.  “This expansion aligns with Genesee ARC’s mission of supporting people with disabilities in partnership with their families and the community."

All NYS beverage bottles and cans are accepted at the site. Customers wishing to donate their refunds to a nonprofit can designate Volunteers for Animals, Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads House or Genesee ARC. Organizations wishing to hold a can drive can contact Paul Saskowski or Redemption Center Manager Carl Jones at 343-4203 to set it up.

Photo: Carl Jones, Redemption Center manager, with Mark and Wesley, employees of the Genesee ARC Redemption Center.

November 17, 2015 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Talent Show, arts, entertainment, batavia.


Batavia High School hosts its annual faculty and student talent show tonight in the auditorium starting at 7 o'clock.

Pictured during yesterday's rehearsal are Tzyonah Sheffield-Reese (top) and Kesa Janes.



November 17, 2015 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, batavia, Wonderland of Trees.


Yesterday, volunteers were busy preparing baskets for the auction Friday during the Holland Land Office Museum's 14th annual gala for the Wonderland of Trees.  The opening night festivities get under way at 7 o'clock. General Admission is $25 per person or $20 for Museum members. There will be live Christmas music, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, basket raffles, catering by D&R Depot, and nearly 40 Christmas trees and displays -- thanks to the generosity of you, our community. Tickets can be purchased in advance in the Gift Shop or the night of the Gala.

Pictured are Kathy Jasinski, Mary Jo Eddy, Theresa Potter, Donna LaValle.





November 16, 2015 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, alexander, byron, Attica.
 Abraham Martinez

Abraham R. Martinez, 31, of Alexander, is charged with assault, 2nd. Martinez was arrested by State Police following a month-long investigation into an incident in the Town of Orangeville. A female was struck in the mouth with a bottle, resulting in the need for dental surgery after she lost part of her front teeth. State Police were provided with the first and last name of a suspect but had no other information to go on. Troopers, with the assistance of Border Patrol agents, obtained information that indicated the suspect might be located at a farm in Alexander, where he had been employed for about two weeks. Martinez was located and arrested and processed in Warsaw. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Alicia Kimberly Urban, 30, of Main Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Urban is accused of stealing $432.96 in merchandise from Kohl's.

Luke William Ritzenthaler, 32, of Route 237, Byron, is charged with aggravated family offense and criminal contempt, 2nd. Ritzenthaler allegedly had contact with a female by phone and letter in violation of a court order while incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail.

A 17-year-old resident of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. The youth allegedly shoplifted at Walmart. The youth allegedly placed electronic merchandise in her purse and exited the store.

Kelvin B. Murphy, 42, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Murphy allegedly pushed another person at 3:47 a.m., Nov. 8., at an address on State Street.

Gregory S. Yark, 51, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Yark was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail. Yark was also charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Yark was allegedly found in possession of these items at the time of his arrest.

November 15, 2015 - 10:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia.


November 15, 2015 - 10:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, sports.


Cheektowaga's athletic playmakers and Batavia's inability to convert a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half were the big difference in the Blue Devils' second consecutive try at a Far West Regional Championship.

A win would have propelled Batavia into the state championship Class B semifinal. Instead, as happened last year, the team traveling to Syracuse is the Warriors.

Batavia led from the opening drive until nine minutes left in the game, when Cheektowaga tied it up at 36-36. When Batavia couldn't sustain a drive on the following possession, the Warriors moved the ball downfield effectively and scored on a four-yard by Tyr Willingalea with 1:36 left on the clock. A turnover with less than 20 seconds left in the game, and the score 43-36 gave Cheektowaga the championship.

"They played so well and they've been such tough kids," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "My heart breaks for them. I mean, right now, my heart's broken, really. These guys, I love them. We've got 18 seniors and it's going to be very tough saying goodbye to them."

Briggs felt coming into the game his team would be able to run on the Warriors and Dom Mogavero put together a great game. He rushed for 125 yards on 33 carries. He carried the ball in twice and scored another touchdown on defense with a fumble recovery. QB Greg Mruczek had four carries for 76 yards, including a long of 61 yards. Ray Leach carried the ball six times for 29 yards, and Jonathan Barber had two carries for 19 yards and a TD.

Mruczek was 7-20 passing, including two interceptions. 

Ryan Hogan caught four of those passes for 108 yards, including a long of 58 yards. 

Batavia scored easily on its first drive and scored again less than a minute later on an Adonis Davis interception, making the score 14-0. Cheektowaga struck back quickly on its next position, but from then on until the fourth quarter, Batavia always managed to keep the game out of reach of the Warriors. Or, the Warriors used their athletic weapons to keep the Blue Devils in reach.

Cheektowaga had the last three scores of the game, a 27-yard run by Willingelea that put the Warriors within eight, a five-yard run by Eric Bartnik and a two-point conversion that tied the score, and then the final TD that sealed Batavia's fate.

"They're an athletic team," Briggs said. "They've been known for it all year. They've been down and they've come back. Even when we were up two scores, I said it to my guys, 'They are the comeback kids. They did it last year and they did it this year. They're a good football team.' "



Leach picking up a fumble that set up a Batavia TD.



Terren Lorrie was defensive player of the game.








To purchase prints of game photos, click here.

November 14, 2015 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Williams Park, batavia, football, Turkey Bowl, sports.


Photos from the finals of the annual Turkey Bowl at Williams Park. We expect to hear later who won.







November 13, 2015 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
    Frank H. McEwan

An arrest has been made in a case involving two people who were assaulted by multiple people in the area of Harvester Avenue and East Main Street in the early morning hours of Oct. 25 after one of them had made a run to 7-Eleven from a Halloween costume party on Swan Street.

Charged with gang assault, 2nd, robbery, 1st, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and criminal use of a firearm and petit larceny is 16-year-old Frank H. McEwan, of 3 McKinley Ave., Batavia.

McEwan was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $25,000 bail.

The alleged assault involved multiple people and there was possibly a handgun displayed. A victim's wallet was stolen. 

One victim was transported to UMMC and later transferred to ECMC with serious injuries. Det. Todd Crosset said the victim is doing medically fine and is recovering.

The Batavian exclusively reported on the alleged assault Oct. 28 and did a follow up two days ago reporting that an apparent lack of cooperation from witnesses was hampering that investigation. That story led to more calls to the police, which provided the break in the case leading to the arrest of McEwan, said Det. Eric Hill.

There remain other suspects at large, and the group of alleged attackers includes individuals described as black and as white.

A gang assault under New York penal code, means an assault perpetrated by three or more people. It does not necessarily mean the individuals involved have any sort of gang affiliation or would comprise a gang in the common use of the term.

The investigation is ongoing and police are still seeking witnesses or information from people who might know anything about the case. Those with information are asked to contact Det. Todd Crossett at (585) 345-6353.

November 13, 2015 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia.

Wayne A DraperAn Albion man has been charged for alleged sexual conduct against a female at her Batavia residence while he was acting as an exterminator on Oct. 27. The victim in this investigation was unable to stop the conduct due to her medical condition(s).

Wayne A. Draper, 56, of Bacon Road, Albion, is charged with third-degree sexual abuse -- forcible touching, according to a press release issued this afternoon by Batavia PD.

He is in jail with $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

The defendant has been working on-and-off as an exterminator for various companies over the past 20 years. Due to the nature of the offenses, there is a concern that this may not be the first time a vulnerable female has been victimized in this manner. The defendant worked as an exterminator in Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties during this time period. 

The Batavia Police Department is requesting any other person(s) who may have been abused to contact the department, their local law enforcement agency, or Det. Kevin Czora at 585-345-6311.    

The Batavia Police Department will not be releasing any information pertaining to the current or past employers of the defendant, nor any further victim information.

UPDATED Saturday, Nov. 14: The Batavia Police Department has learned that Wayne Draper had also worked in the Ontario County area.

November 13, 2015 - 12:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, bergen.

Alfred B. Ranzenbach III was arrested Nov. 11 in Bergen by the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and charged with felony grand larceny, 3rd. No further information was released.

Macy Fay Paladino, 34, of Clay St., Le Roy, was arrested Nov. 11 at 2:22 p.m. and charged with petit larceny and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, following a shoplifting incident at Target. Paladino allegedly stole merchandise from Target and during her apprehension, she was allegedly found with narcotic paraphernalia in her possession. She was put in jail in lieu of $500 cash or $1,000 bond. She is to reappear in Town of Batavia Court on Nov. 30. The case was investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

November 13, 2015 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
   Marlek Holmes

Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department is looking for the communities help in locating a level 3 sex offender who has failed to change his address and appear at the police department for his 90 day verification. Marlek Holmes is a male black about 5’7”, 160 pounds with a shaved head.  If he is seen out, you are asked to call 9-1-1. If anyone has additional information on where he may be located you are asked to call the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370. If the media is looking for any further information please contact me at 585-345-6353.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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