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January 27, 2016 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia, business.
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 Wanda Frank 1926 - 2016

WBTA's local legendary and longtime on-air personality Wanda Frank passed away this morning at the Genesee County Nursing Home.

Although a native of Lockport, Wanda will always be linked to Batavia. She spent the most of her 89 years in Batavia, 23 of them on WBTA as hostess of “Frankly Speaking.”

Wanda served as executive director of the Genesee Arts Council for 10 years. For most of her life, she was involved in local theater as an actress and director, many years associated with Batavia Players.

Wanda left the air four years ago when her health began to fail. But well into her 80s she was interviewing community leaders, fellow actors, and promoting the arts.

Wanda had a quick wit and rarely shied away from speaking her mind.

In 1977, at the age of 51, she earned an associates degree from Genesee Community College, an accomplishment for which she was rightly proud.

She would later be named a Distinguished Alumna of GCC.

“Wanda was a colleague, a friend, and a character, who loved a good laugh. We'll miss her," said WBTA President Dan Fischer.

Arrangements for Wanda Frank will be announced later by the H. E. Turner and Company Funeral Home.

January 27, 2016 - 2:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in pets, animals, batavia.

Police are responding to 10 Seneca Ave. after a caller reported two dogs outside attacking another dog.

January 27, 2016 - 1:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Darien, Le Roy, alexander.

Philip R. Ayala is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on July 9 in the City of Batavia that Ayala knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, the defendant is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and these preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more.

Robert B. Hansen III is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that between Feb. 15, 2013, and June 16, 2014, in the Town of Darien Hansen stole property with a value exceeding $3,000. He is accused of stealing $38,353.56 in U.S. currency. In count two, he is accused of committing the crime of second-degree forgery, also a Class D felony, on Feb. 6, 2014, in the City of Batavia, with the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, by falsely making, completing or altering a written instrument which was to become public record or legally authorized.

Justin G. Parsons is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 19 in the Town of Alexander that Parsons drove a 2011 Chevrolet pickup on Route 20 and/or Brookville Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, the defendant is accused of the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

Jose Sanabria-Lozada is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 2 in the Village of Le Roy that Sanabria-Lozada drove a 2000 Ford pickup truck while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, the defendant is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 at the time.

January 27, 2016 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Coffee Culture.

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Coffee Culture at Court and Ellicott streets in the City of Batavia has closed.

Workers are removing the signs at this moment.

We have a call into corporate headquarters to see if we can get more information.

January 27, 2016 - 9:48am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia.

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A person allegedly poured gasoline on a vehicle at 22 Brooklyn Ave. and allegedly caused other damage has a gun. City police are responding and Mercy medics are told to stage in the area.

UPDATE 10:29 a.m.: "Right now we're in the real early stages of investigating a call that came in (about) 10 o'clock this morning that someone poured gasoline on a vehicle and had a gun. We came down here and set up a perimeter," said Det. Richard Schauf. "No one we've talked to has seen a gun. ... We immediately called the school and told them not to let anyone leave. We cleared the house and separated the parties involved. We had the fire department and medics on standby." A K-9 officer happened to be in the area at the time of the call and responded, although he was not specifically requested. Schauf said there was evidence that gasoline was poured on a vehicle and the fire department cleaned it up. The detective said a total of four people are being interviewed about this incident. No one was injured. No one is currently under arrest, although he didn't rule out the possibility of someone being charged. He said they cleared the house and went in thinking there might be weapons; there were none. Dogs inside were contained by a resident. As to the purported gun, it seems to be a case of someone heard someone say someone had a gun but nothing more than that. The motivation for pouring gas on the vehicle has not yet been determined.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: City police just issued a press release about this morning's incident at 22 Brooklyn Ave. Two people have been charged in the case. Thomas A. Culver, 37, who lives at that address, is charged with two counts of second-degree menacing, and one count of second-degree reckless endangerment. Raquel D. Duval, 27, no address provided, of Rochester, is charged with one count of second-degree criminal trespass. The details: "The police dispatch was notified via 9-1-1 by a female occupant of 22 Brooklyn Ave. that there was a female at the residence who did not belong there and was refusing to leave. The female refusing to leave was later learned to be Raquel Duval. Information continued to be received as police were being dispatched that Thomas Culver, a resident of 22 Brooklyn Ave., was pouring gasoline on what was later learned to be Duval’s vehicle, which was parked in the road in front of the house. Reports were that Culver was threatening to light the car on fire. As Police units arrived more information was relayed from police dispatch that Culver may be in possession of a gun. The Batavia Police with the assistance of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and NYS Troopers coordinated a perimeter around 22 Brooklyn Ave.. The Business Agri Child Development Center located near the scene was placed into a lock down condition. City of Batavia Fire Dept. and Mercy Medics were placed on standby and staged in the area. Police contact was made with an occupant of 22 Brooklyn who followed police directions to have persons in the house leave one at a time and be secured to determine the facts of the incident. The house was then checked for any unknown persons or weapons. As a result of the investigation it was determined that, Duval and Culver had an outstanding financial situation which Duval was attempting to resolve when Culver did display what appeared to be a handgun, which later turned out to be a BB gun that replicated an actual gun, he then proceeded to pour what appeared to be a flammable liquid on her car and threatened to burn her and the car when she would not leave the house."

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January 27, 2016 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

A caller on East Main Street, Batavia, reports hearing a noise this morning and when he went outside some time later, he found a brick and a broken window on his house and a broken window on a vehicle.

Police are responding to take a report.

January 27, 2016 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Rachel C. Marks, 25, of Heritage Street, Albion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unsafe backing. Marks was allegedly observed by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk at 1:37 a.m. Jan. 23 on West Main Street, Batavia, backing into another vehicle and striking it.

Derek Ernest Dingman, 28, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on a highway. Porter was stopped at 1:17 p.m. Tuesday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Shentelle Christine Gagnon, 25, of East Avenue, Brockport, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Gagnon is accused of bringing drugs and drug paraphernalia into the Genesee County Jail.

Gregory A. Emerson, 33, of Park Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to comply with instructions of Genesee Justice, failure to appear and failure to pay fine. The charges stem from a DWI conviction in 2014. Emerson was released on his own recognizance.

Roseann Cooper, 46, of Pearl Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear and failure to pay a fine. Cooper was originally convicted of petit larceny. She was released on her own recognizance.

Matthew R. Hinze, 25, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and uninspected motor vehicle. Hinze was stopped for an alleged uninspected vehicle violation at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday on Court Street, Batavia, by Officer James DeFreze, who reported seeing drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and subsequently found a quantity of marijuana on the person of Hinze.

January 26, 2016 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Imagination Station, batavia, schools.

Press release from Imagination Station:

Due to the water main break in between the Robert Morris School and Notre Dame School, we are having to close our Batavia facility early today. We request that all students are picked up by 3:30 p.m. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

January 26, 2016 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy.
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    Noel Wentworth

A 46-year-old Pringle Avenue resident has been arrested by Le Roy PD, accused of stealing five checks from an acquaintance, forging her name and cashing them at a local bank.

Noel M. Wentworth is charged with five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, one court of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and two counts of petit larceny. 

Wentworth allegedly took the checks in June while staying with the acquaintance.

In July, Wentworth alleged possessed a credit card belonging to the same person and used the card to withdraw money from the bank.

The petit larceny charges stem from the cash Wentworth allegedly received from the bank.

Following arraignment, Wentworth was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

January 26, 2016 - 11:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

There is a water main break on Union Street in front of Notre Dame High School, a Water Department crew has responded to begin the repairs. Water service on Union Street will be affected in this area, and water discoloration may be noticed in the surrounding areas. Union Street will be closed to traffic between Richmond Avenue and Soccio Street until repairs are complete.

The repair of the water service line on Washington Avenue has been completed.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.: Union Street has reopened. The Break is repaired.

January 26, 2016 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Police Facility, batavia.

Two months ago, members of the City Council were unanimous in their support of proceeding with a study of a potential merger between the city's police force and the Sheriff's Office.

Monday night, support for such a study dwindled to three, Adam Tabelski (who wasn't on the council in November), Brooks Hawley and John Canale.

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian opened the discussion with her change of heart. Christian said she heard from at least 11 of her constituents who support keeping a city police force and she also spoke with officers about how police protection might decline following a merger.

"I want to keep our police department," Christian said. "Crime is going up and there's no doubt drugs are running rampant."

Christian, like several other council members, was also scared off the potential $80,000 to $100,000 cost of a merger feasibility study.

"I don't want a study," Christian said. "It's a waste of money."

Canale tried to argue that most of that expense would be covered by state grants and the city, county and Village of Le Roy, would likely share only 10 percent of that expense.

Canale said he thinks that small expense to the city is a good investment since it could lead to greater cost savings down the road.

Council President Eugene Jankowski pointed out that even if the bulk of the cost is covered by a grant, a grant is still taxpayer money.

For most of 2015, the city was moving toward a proposal to build a new police station, replacing the cramped and dilapidated building the police currently call home, with a police facilities task force making a recommendation for a new station on vacant property on Swan Street.

A new station could cost $10 million.

Once the council received the recommendation, there was board support for the proposal and calls not to "kick the can down the road" any further on the need to provide police with an appropriate and modern facility.

Then at a meeting in November, at least a half dozen members of the local Libertarian Party showed up at a council meeting and blasted the proposal, especially without first studying the idea of eliminating the police department and going to a countywide agency.

Unanimously, the council agreed to explore the idea and instructed a committee to open discussions with the county.

Christian and Kathy Briggs both said they heard after that meeting from their constituents that they didn't want to get rid of the police department.

"In the 5th Ward, when there's a problem, the police are there immediately," Briggs said. "I like that we have a quick police response and I don't want to lose it."

Christian said she feared calling the police only to be told by dispatchers that all of the officers are out on Creek Road dealing with a minor incident and it will take 15 minutes for a patrol to reach her house.

Jankowski pointed out that in a merged department, there are other communities in the county that feel they don't currently have enough police protection and some resources earmarked for the city could wind up in villages and towns.

While at the November meeting Jankowski, a former city police lieutenant, went along with the city request, he also argued for many of the benefits of a local police department and noted many of the cost savings already taking place through multiple shared services.

Monday, he recalled that the last time there was going to be "just a study" of merged services, the city wound up losing its own emergency dispatchers.

The council will take up the issue of a new police facility and how to move forward at its next conference meeting in February.

January 26, 2016 - 7:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, land use, sign ordinance.

Businesses with digital signs should be able to change their message every 10 seconds, City Council President Eugene Jankowski suggested during Monday's council meeting.

He wants the city's Planning Board to review that suggested rule change and come back to the council with a recommendation. His fellow council members unanimously concurred.

The current ordinance is interpreted to prohibit a business from changing the message more than once every 24 hours.

Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver's Candies, raised the issue with the city a couple of months ago after installing a new digital sign outside of his business at Main and Oak streets.

The suggested change, Jankowski said, is an important step toward supporting local businesses.

January 26, 2016 - 7:33am

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Two parcels of property that are part of the city's brownfield opportunity area are advancing in the redevelopment process.

The City Council approved resolutions Monday night that will make it possible for the Batavia Development Corp. to take over ownership in order to prepare the property for sale to a private developer.

The transfer is contingent on a successful tax foreclosure process.

Both properties, at 40-52 Ellicott St., the former Dellapenna property, and 56-70 Ellicott St., the former Santy Tire's location, along with other businesses, have been elligible for tax foreclosure for some time, but the city has let the properties sit in limbo to avoid becoming responsible for the expense of environmental cleanup.

City Manager Jason Moliono wouldn't confirm that property title transfer to BDC signals that Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacette has identified a specific private owner for redevelopment of the properties, but the resolutions passed by the council indicate a developer is waiting in the wings.

The resolutions both say, "the BDC has agreed to accept title to said property and work towards executing agreements with a preferred developer for redeveloment of the site consistent with the accept Brownfield Opportunity Area Step 2 Nomination Plan ..."

The BOA covers all of the city's central corridor and is 366 acres. It affords an opportunity to provide developers with assistance in revitalizing abandoned, blighted and underused properties.

The BDC has been working for years to establish the designation, identify properties for redevelopment and market those properties to potential developers.

There's no information available yet on who the developer might be, what is planned for the property, or when the next steps will be announced.

January 25, 2016 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be making a repair on a broken water service line on Washington Avenue Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Water service should not be interrupted to make this repair. Please try to avoid the area between Bank Street and Summit Street as travel lanes may be restricted.

January 25, 2016 - 11:05am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia.

City firefighters on are scene at Woodstock Gardens Apartments where they responded to a report of smoke in Apartment #24. They found a smoking pan of food on the stove and no one home. They removed it from the apartment. They are ventilating. The complex is located at 219 N. Spruce St.

UPDATE 11:29 a.m.: Command reports no damage to the apartment. The assignment is back in service.

January 25, 2016 - 6:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, pembroke, bergen.

Philip Michael Molina Sr., 30, of Slade Road, Medina, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, 2nd. Molina was arrested following an investigation into a shoplifting complaint at Walmart involving a female companion. Molina was allegedly found in possession of metal knuckles and driving on a suspended driver's license. He was jailed on $15,000 bail or $30,000 bond.

Thomas C. Williamee, 45, of Clay St, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Williamee is accused of shoplifting from Tops Market in Le Roy. He allegedly stole $8.11 in merchandise.

William A. Andrews III, 36, no permanent address, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged aggravated criminal contempt. Andrews allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection. He is accused of punching the protected party in the face at 1:55 a.m. Aug. 23 while on West Main Street, Batavia.  Andrews charged with another count of aggravated criminal contempt for allegedly being with the protected party at the time of his arrest at 11:23 a.m. Friday. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Justin T. Pahl, 31, of Perry Road, Le Roy, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Pahl allegedly punched out a window during an incident reported at 8:30 a.m. Friday at a location on Thomas Avenue, Batavia, causing shards of glass to scatter in a room where there were two children, ages 2 and 6.

Amanda R. McDonald, 34, of Pearl Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay restitution stemming from a December 2013 incident. McDonald was arraigned and released on her own recognizance with the balance due on her restitution by her next court appearance, March 24.

J'Shon K. Naegely, 19, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Naegely is accused of possessing and selling a video game console and video games that did not belong to him.

Allison Josephine Minnick, 22, of Maple Ridge Road, Medina, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, speed not reasonable and prudent. Minnick was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Chad Cummings into a motor-vehicle accident reported at 5:16 a.m. Saturday on Route 262, Byron.

A 17-year-old resident of Judge Road, Alabama, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. The teen allegedly sent threatening text messages to a female victim causing annoyance and alarm. 

Cheryl A. Baker, 32, of Rochester, is charged with forgery, 2nd, falsifying business records, offering for file a false instrument, criminal impersonation, 2nd, and driving on a suspended registration. Baker was arrested by State Police for alleged criminal activity in the Town of Pembroke. She was jailed on $15,000 bail. No further information available at this time.

Matthew D. Chojnacki, 80, of Akron, is charged with DWI. Chojnacki was stopped at 1:23 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Bergen, by State Police.

January 24, 2016 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

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A rollover accident with injuries and entrapment is reported at the intersection of Park Road and Oak Street. City firefighters are responding along with Mercy medic #1.

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: The city's third platoon is requested to stand by in fire headquarters.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: A female is being transported to UMMC. Another patient was just extricated from the vehicle.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: Two vehicles were involved, a sedan and a minivan with Kentucky plates. Both have heavy front-end damage. The female driver of the sedan was transported to UMMC. The female driver of the minivan was extricated and is now is an ambulance awaiting transport to a hospital; she is conscious and alert but said to be in a lot of pain. The minivan she was trapped in, landed on its side. Firefighters had to cut off the vehicle's roof to get to her.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: Batavia Police Sgt. Dan Coffey said preliminary findings indicate a Chevy Cruze, which is a compact sedan, had a green light as it traveled northbound on Oak Street (Route 98). A Nissan Rogue, which is a compact SUV, was southbound on Oak Street with a green light when the driver attempted to make a left turn onto the Thruway entrance. Coffey said it appears the driver of the Nissan failed to yield the right of way. A driver may be cited, pending completion of the investigation. Impairment from drugs and/or alcohol is not a factor in the accident. The driver of the Nissan was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, primarily for precautionary reasons, Coffey said. Although the Nissan had Kentucky plates, the driver is a local resident and the Nissan is believed to be a rental, Coffey noted.

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January 23, 2016 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thomas Rocket Car, batavia.

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The Thomas Rocket Car has been sandblasted down to bare metal as it continues through the process of restoration by a group of local antique car buffs who will donate the fully restored vehicle to the City of Batavia.

The car was designed by former Batavia resident Charles Thomas as a prototype of a car he was hoping Detroit would build in the late 1930s, but the car was considered too far ahead of its time and then the war came, so the Thomas Rocket Car is truly one of a kind.

It was built in Batavia.

The sandblasting was completed by Hillcrest Coating in Attica. 

Old World owner Dick McClurg said next he will fabricate a new front, driver's side fender.

"I always do the hardest part first," he said.

The bottom photo is of a print made by Pete Whyman from a glass plate negative of a photo taken by his father, Walter Whyman, sometime around 1941. The photo was taken in Williams Park. Pete Whyman showed up at McClurg's shop recently with the photos. Until then, nobody knew the color photos existed. The car must have been repainted shortly after Thomas completed it in 1938, because the vehicle was originally maroon and in the photos it's red.

For previous rocket car coverage, click here.

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January 22, 2016 - 7:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke.
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     Terry Roth      Michelle Hamill

Terry M. Roth, 40, and Michelle Hamill, 48, both of Batavia, are charged with third-degree grand larceny. Roth is also charged with second-degree forgery. Hamill is accused of stealing a credit card from the wallet of an elderly victim who was under her care as a healthcare aide in the victim's residence. The victim is presently under 24-hour care. Roth, accompanied by Hamill, allegedly made $23,000 in unauthorized purchases in Genesee, Erie and Monroe counties. These alleged purchases were documented through surveillance video at the stores, according to State Police. Roth was jailed on $25,000 bail. Hamill was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Kyle Robert Ratulowski, 19, of Elenore Place, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Ratulowski is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Nicole Marie Capretto, 32, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Capretto is accused of stealing $100 from the cash register of the Pembroke Arrow Mart along with a 12-pack of Bud Light beer.

Alissa Marie Eastridge, 18, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Eastridge is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Ryan James Sundown, 35, of Meadville Road, Alabama, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, criminal obstruction of breathing, endangering the welfare of a child, and resisting arrest. Sundown allegedly choked the victim, threw her phone to prevent her from calling for emergency assistance and attempted to leave the scene in his truck, striking another vehicle with his son in the backseat. Sundown was allegedly intoxicated.

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