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July 14, 2015 - 5:57pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Oakfield.

Oakfield resident Preston S. Daigler, 17, was sentenced by Judge Robert C. Noonan to two years in state prison and three years of post-release supervision in Genesee County Court today.

Judge Noonan denied Daigler youthful offender status for his guilty plea to first-degree robbery. As a result, Daigler received prison time instead of probation.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, argued in court that Daigler had stated in phone calls with his mother while he was incarcerated that he wouldn’t complete probation and would run away when he got out of jail.

Emily Fusco, representing Daigler, said that he didn’t mean what he had stated in the phone calls. Daigler made a statement addressing the phone calls as well.

“I said some things I didn’t mean, your honor,” Daigler said. “I was scared and freaking out.”

Based on the seriousness of the case, Judge Noonan didn’t consider the crime to be a youthful offense.

Daigler and Tyshon L. Taylor, 18, hit the victim in the head with a gun, punched the victim and stole property. The incident happened in March at a residence on Central Avenue, Batavia.

Taylor was sentenced last week to three years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

July 14, 2015 - 5:54pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Le Roy, Darien.

Lamar A. McCain, 44, and Horatio Coleman, 61, both of Oak Street, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and criminal impersonation, 2nd. McCain and Coleman allegedly stole $65 worth of merchandise from Kmart in Batavia. Following an investigation, Deputy Chad Cummings found they allegedly gave false identification to law enforcement while being questioned. McCain and Coleman were jailed on $2,000 bail.

Tanisha N. Gibson, 30, of Brooksville, Florida, was arrested on a grand larceny warrant for an incident that allegedly occurred while Gibson was employed at Walmart in Batavia in January 2014. Gibson was arrested in Florida and extradited to New York jailed on $10,000 bail. No further details released.

Richard M. Schiersing, 39, of Sandhill Road, Caledonia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, DWI drugs, moving from a lane unsafely and operating a motor vehicle with an obstructed view. The charges result from a traffic stop on Main Street in Batavia by Officer Kevin DeFelice. Schiersing was jailed without bail.

Robert L. Carney, 23, of Maurice Street, Buffalo, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Carney is accused of damaging a door in the emergency room at United Memorial Medical Center. He jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 16-year-old male from Batavia is charged with petit larceny, identity theft, 2nd, and unlawful possession of personal identification information, 3rd. The youth allegedly possessed debit card information belonging to another person and used that information to purchase several items.

Tyler D. Price, 22, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Price allegedly violated the terms of a Genesee County Family Court order of protection by being at the residence of the protected party. The incident happened on Liberty Street in Batavia.

Scott R. Kantra, 47, of Cheektowaga, is charged with aggravated DWI and DWI following an erratic operation complaint at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Kantra allegedly was in operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Jason Stout, 28, and Bailey J. Heinzerling, 25, both of Rochester, are charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing video game accessories at Target in Batavia. Stout allegedly stole approximately $165 and Heinzerling stole approximately $230 worth of merchandise. Stout  was jailed on$500 bail. Heinzerling was released on her own recognizances.

Rondell J. Watson, 33, and Joy S. Robinson, 23, both from Rochester are charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th, following an incident at Kohls in Batavia. Watson and Robinson are accused of conspiring together to steal two pairs of khaki pants from the store. Upon arrest, Watson allegedly became verbally abusive and was yelling obscenities in the parking lot. Robinson was also arrested for petit larceny for allegedly stealing several shirts from Marshalls in Batavia prior to the other larceny. They posted bail of $250 each.

Harry T. Gibson, 50, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Gibson is accused of stealing an exhaust manifold from a business in Batavia and then scrapping it for money.

Joseph H. Schenk, 23, with no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. Schenk is accused of stealing coins from an acquaintance. The incident happened on Mill Street in Le Roy. He jailed on $250 bail.

Timothy J. Wood, 26, City of Batavia, and Christopher D. Bisig 29, Town of Batavia, were charged with petit larceny. Wood and Bisig allegedly were allegedly caught stealing earrings from Kmart by placing them in their pockets and passing all points of sale.

Crystal A. Mounts, 38, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Mounts allegedly stole a pair of sandals and a plastic container of earthworms at Walmart in Batavia. After an investigation, state troopers determined she had been banned from the store due to a previous incident.

July 14, 2015 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

fullsizerender_0.jpgPress release:

City Manager Jason Molino today announced his appointment of Matthew Worth as the director of Public Works for the City of Batavia. Matt has worked for the City for more than 28 years, his most recent post as the superintendent of Water and Wastewater.

As a lifelong Pembroke and Indian Falls Road resident, Matt has held several roles throughout his tenure with the City of Batavia. He started with the City in 1987 as an engineering technician where he was then promoted to deputy superintendent of Water and Wastewater in 1999. Matt took over the superintendent of Water and Wastewater role in 2002.

During his time with the City, Matt has been an intricate part of the public works team, participating in almost every aspect of the public works operations from street reconstruction, water and sewer plant upgrades, to capital infrastructure planning.

Pier Cipollone, 4th Ward councilmember who participated in the interview process, said, “I think it’s great to have someone from within the department move up and take on the responsibilities of running the department. Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the job and I know I speak for Council in saying we applaud his appointment to the position of director of DPW and we look forward to our continued relationship.”

City Manager Jason Molino added, “Over the years Matt has proven himself as a steadfast leader. He has served this community for over 28 years and comes into his new role with a depth of knowledge. Having worked side by side with Matt over the past decade, his passion to serve the community and residents has never been stronger. I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”

Matt lives with his wife Joan, and they have two grown children: Adam (25) and Kathryn (22).

Matt holds a Grade-D Distribution System Operator License issued by the NY State Department of Health.

Matt’s first day as the director of Public Works is July 14. His annual salary is $88,705.

City Manager Jason Molino encourages all Batavia residents to celebrate this appointment and welcome Matt to his new position. 

July 14, 2015 - 9:25am
Event Date and Time: 
August 20, 2015 -
11:30am to 7:00pm

August 20, 2015 – 15th Annual Van Hulburt Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit Crossroads House ­@ Batavia Country Club, 11:30am – Sign In, 12:00 lunch, 
12:30pm Shotgun Start 4 person scramble, 18 holes with cart, lunch, dinner, prizes, $70.00. (Dinner guests only $20.00) Basket & Side Auctions also. Registration forms available at Crossroads or for more information call Marty @ 585­-494­-2147. 


July 14, 2015 - 9:23am
Event Date and Time: 
August 15, 2015 -
11:00am to 9:00pm

August 15, 2015 – Summer in the City – Main St. Batavia Crossroads House will have an informational booth set up. Stop by and see all that goes on here, pick up an application and become one of our amazing volunteers. 


July 14, 2015 - 9:20am
Event Date and Time: 
August 1, 2015 -
1:30pm to 6:30pm

August 1, 2015 – 2nd Annual George & Wilma Garrison Memorial Golf 
Tournament to benefit Crossroads House. 2:00pm Shotgun start at Batavia Country Club, 4 person scramble, 1pm registration with hotdog & beverage. $55.00/person includes golf, cart & buffet dinner. Chinese Auction on Site! More info contact Mark @ 716­-474­-7960 or Penny @ 716­-474­-6581. 

July 13, 2015 - 7:43pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Stafford.

Janet Knauss, 50, pled guilty to falsifying business records while working at Target in Batavia.

Knauss is subject to five years probation and up to six months in Genesee County Jail. She was represented by Attorney Jerry Ader in Genesee County Court today.

She allegedly entered false discounts, voided transactions and bagged items that were not scanned so they could be stolen while working as a cashier at the store.

An order of protection was also filed. Her sentencing date is Oct. 13.

July 13, 2015 - 7:40pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Alabama, Bethany, batavia.

Storm U. Lang, 18, entered a guilty plea to two counts of first-degree child sex abuse, and one count of second-degree child sex abuse in Genesee County Court today.

Lang faces up to four years in prison and 10 years of released supervision. He is currently being supervised by Genesee Justice.

Lang allegedly was sexually involved with three different victims on separate occasions when he was 17 years old. He is accused of subjecting a 7-year-old to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama in October. In November, he also allegedly subjected a 12-year-old child to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama and a 5-year-old child to sexual contact in the Town of Bethany.

Orders of protection for the victims were filed today. His sentencing date is Sept. 9.

July 13, 2015 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Millennials, population, batavia, business, redevelopment, downtown.

The U.S. Census Bureau put out a press release and the national media ate it up: There are now more people living in the United States who are classified as Millennials than there are Baby Boomers.

The Democrat & Chronicle got into the act by pointing out Millennials now outpace Baby Boomers in Monroe County.

There’s been no similar coverage in Erie County, but Buffalo has enjoyed a reputation for the past couple of years as one of the major cities young adults are helping to revitalize.

So where does that leave Genesee County?

Not on par, it seems.

While nationally, there are 83.1 million Millennials, comprising a quarter of the U.S. population, and the number of Baby Boomers has slipped to 75.4 million, the post-war cohort still rules the roost in the Batavia Micropolitan Area.

According to the Census Bureau Web site, there are 15,422 Baby Boomers locally compared to 14,670 Millennials.

Is Genesee County’s lagging Millennial population a trend that's important?

Absolutely, say those with the jobs related to the area’s development and growth.

“You definitely want to have Millennials in a community,” said Felipe Oltramari, the county planning director. “The next generation will create the jobs and opportunities for future generations to be here. As they become players with purchasing power, we want to make sure they are living here and they’re bringing more buying power and creating more jobs and running our community. From an economic development perspective, and social perspective, you want people here from all sorts of generations.”

The window of opportunity to anchor a small town with Millennials may be closing shortly, according to William Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

And it’s a critically important issue for the future of small cities.

“Most people settle down by age 35, and usually don’t move from one metro area to another after that,” Fuller wrote in an article for “And the demographic group behind the Millennials is a lot smaller. Just like Baby Boomers, the preferences of the Millennials will drive our society for two generations. They’re making location decisions based on their idea of quality of life. And they’re going to make all those decisions in the next few years -- by the time they’re 35.”

The good news, according to Fuller, is even if time is short, the goal is obtainable for small cities.

“Even Millennials … want to live near their families and near where they grew up, meaning that if you can create interesting places, they’re likelier to stay,” Fuller wrote. “And you don’t need the endless hip urban fabric of New York or D.C. to compete. You just need a few great neighborhoods for people to live and work in. For most cities, that’s an achievable goal.”

Interesting places, amenities, activities, culture and the opportunity to interact socially, these are the things planners say Batavia needs to retain and attract Millennials.

“I try to drive this point every time I speak,” Oltramari said. “This generation moves first and then finds a job. If you look, there are jobs here and available, but they want to be where their peers are.”

So how do we create an environment where Millennials want to live?

A key word: density.

According to research by Nielsen:

“Sixty-two percent indicate they prefer to live in the type of mixed-use communities found in urban centers, where they can be close to shops, restaurants and offices. They are currently living in these urban areas at a higher rate than any other generation, and 40 percent say they would like to live in an urban area in the future. As a result, for the first time since the 1920s growth in U.S. cities outpaces growth outside of them.”

Tim Tielman, a Buffalo preservationist and development consultant, observed at a Landmark Society talk in 2013 that Batavia is hampering its ability create the kind of economic core that attracts Millennials and like-minded residents with its over-abundance of downtown parking.

"One of the biggest issues every city faces is dead zones," Tielman said. "Batavia has dead zones up and down its streets. Dead zones are devoid of commercial activity. You chain too many dead zones together and you destroy your local community."

When you build your commercial district around the car, the district loses its appeal to pedestrians, and when people walk and interact, commercial activity soars, the feeling of community is pervasive, and social and civic capital grows.

"It isn't cars that make a place a commercial success," Tielman said. "It's a success (based) on how well the human animal can get about certain places. It's what appeals and what stimulates them to walk."

More and more, City Manager Jason Molino said, he’s hearing people talk about walkability. Increasingly, it’s what all communities are after, and something — along with the companion concept bikeability — that Batavia is lacking.

“People want quality-of-life amenities,” Molino said. “People will commute a little bit if you don’t have the jobs in this area if they have the amenities.”

Molino got an immersive experience in the kind of lifestyle amenities that help bring vitality to an urban area. On a vacation day, he and his family visited a couple of the shopping districts in Buffalo and then stopped for dinner at Larkin Square. It was Food Truck Tuesday (video).

Larkin Square, part of what is now known as Larkinville, an area once known as the Larkin District, which is considered Buffalo’s first commercial district, was a rundown industrial warehouse neighborhood. Spurred by a $2 million public-private investment in 2009, the Larkin Building and surrounding cityscape was redeveloped and revitalized. It’s become a hot spot in Buffalo for retail, food and entertainment activity. Tielman was a consultant on the project.

“Two things were obvious to me,” Molino said. “You had people coming to the square right after work, Millennials coming right after work, but you also had the senior population and families — people interested in this kind of quality-of-life amenity with vendors, live music, a pavilion and seating area, and a grass area, and 20 food trucks, all reasonably priced.”

There’s an interesting intersection these days between what Millennials want and Empty-nesters want, Molino noted. They want to get away from the demands of suburban home ownership and the lack of a closely knit community fabric and they seek out walkable neighborhoods with plenty of retail, dining and entertainment options.

That’s what he saw throughout his vacation day with his family in Buffalo.

Steve Hyde’s spent some time recently in Larkinville as well and came away with the same observations.

“It’s a fabulous, vibrant place,” said Hyde, who is the president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Hyde has been spending more time recently working with the City of Batavia to help secure funding and support for the city’s Batavia Opportunity Area, also known at the Brownfield Opportunity Area, or BOA.

The BOA plan is focused specifically on redevelopment of properties that are stalled in the revitalization pipeline in the Downtown area, such as the Della Penna property on Ellicott Street. Moving these projects forward would help advance further Downtown revitalization.

A look around town at all the underused and often dilapidated space might make revitalization feel like a daunting task, and though time is short to attract Millennials, Julie Pacatte, the economic development coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., isn't feeling any pressure, at least in the sense that revitalization needs to occur before Millennials age out of relocating.

"I think we're fortunate that by the time people reach 35, they tend to move back here with their families," Pacatte said. "They want that smaller-town environment, where they know who's who and they like that feeling of community. We're fortunate it in that way, so no, I don't feel the pressure. I do think we have an opportunity to attract younger people sooner into our community and we're excited about that opportunity. I don't feel the pressure of it, but I certainly want to see something happen in a shorter time frame, in the next five years, in terms of turning some of these sites around."

Since the trend in cities across the country is toward density and mixed use, with greater demand for apartments in downtown areas, Batavia has backed several initiatives to convert underused or unoccupied space in Downtown into apartments, and Pacatte has been right in the middle of it.

She said the new apartments Downtown have certainly proven attractive to Millennials.

Molino agreed.

“All of our marketing studies show there is a demand for this kind of housing in Batavia,” Molino said. “People want to come to our area. It’s a core, central area.”

Part of the plan for Downtown is also creating more office space. Businesses that are founded by Millennials or that hire Millennials need space to relocate and grow, Pacatte said.

"A priority for us is drawing more people Downtown to live, work and shop," Pacatte said. "Millennials are the right target market for our Downtown plan."

While Hyde’s job is to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in Genesee County, Molino’s focus is a little broader. He wants to see Batavia become a better place to live.

He believes Batavia is ideally suited to be a less-expensive alternative to Buffalo and Rochester for Millennials and Empty-nesters, even when they work in the larger neighboring counties.

“With mobility being what it is these days, if you draw a half-hour circle around Rochester and Buffalo, they’re going to intersect in Batavia,” Molino said. “If people at that half-hour distance as a reasonable community, where can they find those amenities? That’s going to be what sells communities to Millennials and Empty-nesters.”

Hyde said what has already been accomplished in Batavia is attracting Millennials. He knows because his daughter, who works in Rochester, and a roommate, who works in Buffalo, rented one of those Downtown apartments.

“They love it,” Hyde said. “Everything is in walking distance. There are restaurants and bars and things for them to do. We need more of that Downtown.”

A place for Millennials to land in Batavia will increase the impact of STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park) if the GCEDC is successful in attracting the kind of high tech, nano tech, advanced materials, solar and bio-manufacturing the park is designed to accommodate. The companies that set up shop in STAMP are going to hire a lot of Millennials who will make good wages and want a lifestyle that is social and active.

Hyde believes Batavia needs to be ready for them, or miss the opportunity to secure future growth.

“We can be a bigger center of economic opportunity,” Hyde said. “We can create a hip, smaller center city with lots of lifestyle choices.”

The BOA is tuned to provide just that kind of boost.

"The opportunity is in front of us," Pacatte said. "We have to make our Downtown more attractive and through these BOA sites, we will really be able to transform the Downtown experience."

July 11, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia.

A two-car accident with three minor injuries is reported in the parking lot at Batavia Downs on Park Road. Town of Batavia fire and Mercy medics are responding.

July 11, 2015 - 10:02am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, City Hall, centennial committee.



The big flashy bow is sure to catch the eyes of anyone who drives past City Hall.

To spruce up City Hall and evoke some community spirit for the celebration of the city's 100th anniversary, the Centennial Committee decorated the sign with a banner and bow this week.

The committee originally planned on buying a bow to complement the 100-years banner but the cost was more than $200. Lisa Casey, secretary at City Hall, came up with the idea to make the bow by hand and did it for a fraction of the cost.

At first, Casey didn't know how to make a bow large enough so she asked design experts at Michael's Arts and Crafts Store for some advice. They helped her come up with a solution to make several bows and attach them to a hula hoop. From there, Casey put her creative skills to work and finished the project in a half hour.

The ribbon for the bow is made out of poly-deco mesh. The color gold was chosen to match the color scheme on the other banners hanging throughout the city. The banner on the sign was purchased from John's Studio.

The committee hopes to keep the banner and bow up for as long as possible.

July 10, 2015 - 2:49pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, crime.

Kerri L. Forsberg, 43, of Alexander Road, Attica, is charged with attempted assault, 2nd, and obstructing emergency medical services following an incident at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. Forsberg, who was admitted as a patient, allegedly attempted to bite a nurse and punched the nurse in the stomach several times. She was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Jeffrey M. Currier, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt of court, 1st, criminal trespassing, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Currier allegedly violated an order of protection in place from the Town of Alabama Court. He is accused of calling and physically confronting the protected female. He was held on $50,000 bail.

Jamie L. Soto, 40, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested for a parole violation. Soto allegedly was in violation of terms regarding a supervised release by New York State Parole. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office assisted with the arrest. She was jailed.

Jacqueline A. Thompson, 46, of Naramore Drive, Batavia, is charged with allowing her dogs to habitually bark. According to Thompson's neighbor, she allegedly let her pair of German shepherds bark continually and habitually for 45 minutes. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Harry T. Gibson, 51, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on an outstanding warrant issued by Batavia City Court for violation of probation while at the court for another matter. Gibson was held on $5,000 bail.

James E. Wroten, 48, and Eugene L. Sumeriski, 35, both of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Wroten and Sumeriski allegedly stole an 18-pack of Keystone Ice from Hess Express in Batavia.

James C. Hardy, 41, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and menacing, 3rd, following an incident at his resident. Hardy allegedly damaged property and raised his hand in an attempt to strike the victim.

Kurt. W. Hersee, 47, of Prospect Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, following an incident at City Slickers Bar & Grill. Hersee allegedly punched another patron at the location. 

Michael J. Lathan, 29, of Briarwood Terrace, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, following a complaint that happened in the Town of Batavia on June 24. Lathan allegedly smashed the exterior door to a residence with a hammer, causing more than $400 in damage.

Charles L. Smith, 41, of Richmond Avenue, Batavia, is charged with bail jumping. Smith is accused of failing to reappear in court after a case in the Fall of 2014.

Courtney M. Digennaro, 21, of Lewiston Road, Basom, turned herself into Batavia Police for two arrest warrants for parking tickets from 2013. Digennaro was released after posting $100 bail.

July 10, 2015 - 9:04am
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, entertainment, music.


Scott DiMartino played in local bands as a teenager. He had all the sound equipment needed for his big idea. In December, he approached his brother, Danny DiMartino, with the idea to set up a portable night club in Batavia. They bought a light setup and are now staging events at T.F. Brown’s and Billy Goats with their business, Esdee Entertainment.

“Batavia has a lot of culture for bars,” Scott said. “There is Center Street, Bourbon & Burger and other places. As far as dancing goes, there isn’t really much to offer. It’s the same bars, the same bands, the same nights.”

The brothers never thought that Batavia was big enough to support a nightclub for more than six months. Scott is hoping that monthly events will get people out and give them exposure to a different scene they may not have necessarily seen before.

“We want to bring something different to this town,” he said. “People in Batavia may not have seen real mixing on turntables and that’s what we want to bring.”

The idea came to Scott after his friend, Macy Paradise, came back from Colorado for a visit. He asked Scott to play a show with him at T.F. Brown’s. At the event, Paradise spun records and DiMartino played the drums. The response was overwhelming.

“Tons of people showed up,” DiMartino said. “We received so much support from the people of Batavia that night.”

DiMartino praises Paradise and his brother for their help with bringing his idea to life, but he really does it out of his love for music. He works 55-hour weeks at his full-time job. Yet, he somehow finds the time to plan events to share his passion with the rest of Batavia.

“We are just two brothers who love music and bought a bunch of stuff with a ton of support from the community,” he said.

The duo is hosting their next event on July 24 at Billy Goats. The $5 throwback dance party is for the 21-and-over crowd. Music will be exclusively from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s. The brothers hope to turn the occasion into a giant karaoke party.

“I want to see the looks on people’s faces when they say, ‘Oh my god, I forgot this song existed!’ ” DiMartino teased. “People are going to have a really good time. I couldn’t be more excited to share this with my hometown.” 

Check out their Facebook page for updates on their future events. 

Photos by Steve Ognibene



July 9, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flakka, crime, batavia, synthetic drugs.


While incidents involving apparent synthetic-drug use in Genesee County have dropped dramatically since the closure of the 420 Emporium, on Ellicott Street, in July 2012, the use of drugs created in clandestine overseas labs to mimic more common street narcotics is still an issue locally, according to officials.

A federal agent revealed in a press briefing in Buffalo today that there are "a couple" of ongoing investigations in Genesee County into the sale and distribution of Flakka (aka Alpha-PVP).

"The investigations involve Genesee County people," said Special Agent Brad Brechler, with Homland Security, but he offered no further details.

Brechler and Special Agent Frank Zabawa conducted a briefing for a few members of WNY media in Buffalo today to discuss what they're seeing in the region regarding synthetic drugs and how federal authorities are responding.

The issue is much bigger in Buffalo and Niagara County than it is in Batavia, a point seemingly underscored by Brechler when pointing out that the first arrest in WNY for the sale and transportation of Alpha-PVP was in Genesee County in January 2013, but in that case the two suspects were from the Steuben and Niagara counties, not Batavia, and there was no suspicion in that case of the drugs being sold locally. Batavia was just a convenient meeting place for dealer and distributor, Brechler said.

Greg Walker, head of the Local Drug Task Force, said in a separate interview today that the task force has not been involved in the current federal investigation into the local sale of Alpha PVP, but he said there have been recent indications of synthetic drugs in and around Batavia, such as deputies coming across subjects with medical conditions that suggested chemical injection of some type or subjects behaving strangely.

It's not been common or widespread by any means, Walker said.

Flakka is described in media reports as a potent hallucinogen that officials consider addictive and dangerous.

The primary country of origin appears to be China, the agents said, and that's a trade the Chinese government is doing little to stem.

"The Chinese say one of their main industries is researching chemicals for the world," Brechler said. "Until a drug is illegal in their country, they're not interested in doing anything about it."

The drug is easily obtainable over the Internet. Often, the Chinese drug manufacturers will provide U.S. dealers with Web sites, and when federal authorities seize a drug-trade Web site, the Chinese companies will have a new Web site with a new domain name set up for the same dealer in a matter of days.

Online ordering, however, does not necessarily translate into widespread sales to users.

Most online sales go to distributors.  

Users tend to be cautious about getting purchases traced back to them and most distributors require a minimum order of 25 grams, Brechler said. 

That would cost from $300 to $350, a steep price for an addict.

Those 25 grams have tremendous street value, however. A gram typically sells for $80 to $120, making 25 grams worth at least $2,000.

"The drug is so addictive, you will see people hosting house parties and just giving it away," Brechler said.

Dealers also convince their buyers that it takes a special connection in China to get the drugs.

"Some users don't realize how easy it is to get," Brechler said.

Flakka is now a controlled substance, but that doesn't make it any easier to detect when it's coming into the country. The favored port of entry is the JFK Airport because JFK deals with the highest volume of overseas mail. It's easier to slip a package through just because of the massive amount of mail officials must sort through.

Drug-sniffing dogs won't detect it and the package sizes tend to be small.

As part of an investigation, agents purchased a supply of synthetic drugs from a Chinese company and it arrived with four large pills inside. Three pills were benign chemicals and one contained the drugs, but agents e-mailed the distributor to ask which pill was their order.

"Your drugs are in the blue pill," was the reply.

"The Chinese are open about it in their e-mails," Brechler said. "Some of the more sophisticated dealers in the U.S. use coded communications, but they don't always use code and talk about it openly because of the gray area legally of drug analogs."

Synthetic drugs are illegal either because they've been identified as controlled substances, or their chemical make up is clearly intended to mimic a controlled substance. Those are known as analogs and are governed by another set of laws.

Because synthetic drugs are changing constantly and are easy to distribute and hard to detect, one of the most important responses to the drug isn't enforcement, the agents said, it's education.

Homeland Security provides bar owners, schools and concert venues information on how to recognize a possible overdose on a synthetic drug and how to provide immediate treatment until medical professionals arrive.

There was no indication from the agents when and if arrests will be made in connection with the local investigations.

Top Photo: the agents hold recently seized drugs. Bottom photo, an agent demonstrates a device that can detect synthetic drugs. It uses a laser that can detect the chemical makeup of a substance inside a bag so the agents do not need to open the bag and risk their health and safety. The device can only identify a substance already in the federal database of chemical compounds that are controlled substances or analogs, otherwise, the device reports an "inconclusive" test.


July 9, 2015 - 3:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, road work.

Press release from the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

On Monday, July 20, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. North Street from Ross Street to Naramore Drive will experience traffic delays. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane for cold milling operations. Then on Wednesday, July 22, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the same area can expect traffic delays because of paving operations.

The following streets that intersect with North Street will see temporary traffic closures preventing access to North Street while cold milling and paving operations are ongoing:

  • Manhatten Avenue
  • Columbia Avenue
  • Vine Street
  • Trumbull Parkway
  • North Spruce Street
  • Allenview Drive
  • Naramore Drive

Residents and businesses are not to park on the roadway during cold milling and paving operations.

Residents and businesses of North Street, from Ross Street to Naramore Drive, will have access to their properties, but should expect delays when cold milling and paving operations are in front of their properties. If work is postponed by weather, work will be rescheduled for the next calendar day.

All other traffic is asked to avoid this area and seek alternate routes. Thank you for your cooperation.

July 9, 2015 - 3:37pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, Police Facility.

The Police Facility Task Force recommends the 35 Swan St. site as the most viable location for the new police station.

The task force voted 6 to 1 in favor of the site at its final meeting Tuesday night. The next step is to bring the recommendation to City Council.

"Really what we felt in terms of the Swan Street location is we think financially it was the second-cheapest option," Chariman Marc Staley said. "The location is excellent and the property has already been demolished."

The industrial site is located near Main Street and Ellicott Street and the cost of the project is estimated at $12 million. The large site opens up the opportunity for expansion of the police station if it is needed in the future. 

Some environmental cleanup was done by the owner of the site. If City Council moves forward with the recommendation, environmental studies will be conducted before any purchase.

The majority of the task force has been favoring the location for a couple months now.

Member Peter Garlock's vote against the location came as a shock to the task force. Garlock sent a two-page letter outlining his opposition to build a new police station a few hours before the final meeting -- opposition he never mentioned before in prior meetings, Staley said. In the letter, Garlock stated the current police station should be renovated and shared services with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office should be considered.

The task force has been meeting since December analyzing approximately a dozen sites. After walking all the sites, conducting studies and having numerous architectural drawings done, Staley feels comfortable with the recommendation. The task force has also been working closely with Chief Shawn Heubusch who supports the site.

"Now the decision is whether to invest in the community or not," Staley said. "If we go ahead and build the new police station, I think it's a spot that will hold our police here in the city for the next 75 to 100 years."

On Aug. 10, the task force will present its recommendation in a written final report to the City Council. 

July 9, 2015 - 2:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A gasoline leak is reported at Richmond Avenue and Oak Street. Law enforcement is on scene. City fire is responding, non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 2:46 p.m.: Fuel spill clean up. Engine 11 returning to service.

July 9, 2015 - 7:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, batavia, accident.

A two-car accident is reported on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 397.5.

That's by the Pembroke Service Area.

One vehicle is reportedly on fire.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy medics dispatched.

UPDATE 7:58 a.m.: Minor injuries reported.

July 8, 2015 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in brownfield opportunity area, batavia, downtown, business.

Press release: 

Less than a century ago, Batavia’s downtown was bustling with industry, where innovators relocated from New York City to mass produce farm implements to World War II incendiary bombs. These factories employed thousands of workers and took advantage of easy transportation, the railroad and nearby markets. But, the bygone era left a wake of deteriorating buildings, vacant lots and ground contaminants within City limits, a.k.a brownfield sites. Today, City leadership proclaims robust performance-based tax incentives available for the taking to return these underutilized or abandoned locations into vibrant mixed-use places.

In April, the New York Department of State (DOS) officially designated Batavia’s central corridor a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) listing five strategic redevelopment sites. On a parallel track, the City’s local development corporation encouraged Councilmembers to adopt real property tax exemptions and they chased other tax credits to motivate real estate investment. Bold incentives are now in place.

“We could stand by and let these properties continue to decay the neighborhood or do something about it,” City Manager Jason Molino said.

Do something about it, they have. The City has worked to increase its bond rating to A1, turned a multimillion dollar deficit into a balanced budget with capital reserves and secured more than $5,000,000 in grants to improve existing industrial areas, upgrade infrastructure and study the longtime stagnant community.

A Community Improvement Plan was released in 2012 emphasizing an upgrade in housing stock followed by local adoption of real property tax exemptions that offer 12-year tax-bill discounts for converting non-residential buildings into mixed-use spaces. Shortly after, a sizeable $265,000 New York State Department of State BOA grant enabled local activists to grease the skids even further.

“It took four years but, the grant allowed us to hire a consulting team and organize a local Steering Committee to define market opportunities, investigate the ground and write a plan to move our central business corridor into the 21st century,” Molino said. “We know our small city can offer the conveniences and experiences of a larger city, but at an affordable price.”

The challenge was to determine if the real estate community would invest in the area. Now, the market reports and community confidence suggest they will.

The expert-led and community-inspired BOA plan was formally adopted by City Council in June 2014 and handed off to the City’s local development corporation to implement. The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) immediately retained Harris Beach PLLC, a known deal-maker in the State to guide the efforts.

“It’s funny how the BOA designation appears like a badge of honor,” said Julie Pacatte, BDC coordinator. "It reads like a proclamation from DOS. In truth, it’s bittersweet. Sad we have these blighted areas but happy it sanctions bonus tax credits rewarding investment.”

Gaining access to that tax credit program is a whole different process, according to Pacatte.

The BDC Board authorized cash reserves to extend environmental investigation and to hire Harris Beach and LaBella Associates to prepare the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application. DEC serves as the gatekeeper to request access to the State tax credit program.

“It is a 643-page document enumerating data with compelling narrative to justify access to the program,” Pacatte said. “The BDC Board is clearly determined to advance the BOA plan.”

Unfortunately, their ambitious goal to go to market last year was stalled by expanded data collection, typical land assembly delays and uncertainty with the BCP as it under-went reform during the State’s budget process. Nevertheless, advocates still believe Batavia remains milestones ahead of other communities.

“The BDC’s approach is aggressive and recommended,” said Bob Murray, partner, Harris Beach PLLC. “To enter the BCP prior to marketing the property assures a preferred developer significant refundable NYS tax credits potentially worth up to 64 percent of total costs incurred for remediation, site preparation and new capital expended on that parcel. Not many communities are as proactive and committed.”

The BDC has released its first request for proposals addressing “Ellicott Station” a four-acre downtown redevelopment area that has confirmed acceptance to the BCP. The proposals are due next month, by Aug. 12.

“It was a no-brainer to spend the time and money necessary to line up these credits,” said Ray Chaya, BDC Board president. “No longer do we need to stand by to wait for investors, we are bringing the ROI to them.” 

For more information, visit the BDC Web site.

July 8, 2015 - 12:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, batavia.

A bicyclist has been struck by a vehicle on Trumbull Parkway. The person is conscious and alert and injuries are believed to be minor. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 12:51 p.m. A man with leg pain is being taken to UMMC. The medic says the patient was "bumped by a truck."




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