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June 19, 2014 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, bergen.
Event Date and Time: 
June 26, 2014 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

The Gillam-Grant Community Center is having a '70s-style birthday bash starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26. All are welcome! Get down and boogie at the center, located at 6966 W. Bergen Road, Bergen.

June 19, 2014 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

The attorney for John Robinson, the Bergen man arrested 15 months after he allegedly pointed a shotgun out a window at another person, has asked Justice Donald Kunego, Town of Bergen Court, to dismiss the case "in the interest of justice."

The motion, part of several otherwise standard defense motions filed yesterday by attorney Kevin DeCarolis, addresses all seven statutory points Kunego must consider before rendering a decision.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell filed an answering affidavit, but interestingly, did not use any sort of pointed or strong language opposing the dismissal motion.

In court yesterday, DeCarolis characterized Finnell's response as favorable to his client.

"There isn't a lot there that cuts against my client and his rights in the motion," DeCarolis told Kunego. "A lot of what he raises parrots my motion, quite frankly."

Finnell hardly disagreed, stating, "I laid out the facts as I believe them to be, but I don't know what way that cuts, but certainly it is what it is."

The facts Finnell and DeCarolis seem to agree on is that Brookport resident Michael Crooks went to Robinson's house under the belief that Robinson and Mrs. Crooks had some sort of relationship that Michael Crooks found objectionable.

Crooks banged on Robinson's front door, threatened him and called him a coward for not coming out. In the process, perhaps while trying to gain entry to the house, Crooks damaged the front door.

When he couldn't get Robinson to open the door, Crooks went to the side of the house and looked in a window. At that point, he found Robinson pointing a shotgun at him.

Crooks immediately fled the residence.

On that date, Jan. 13, 2013, Crooks never filed a complaint or even contacted law enforcement. In fact, according to DeCarolis, Crooks actively tried to evade State Police during their investigation.

Crooks was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief, 4th. A charge later dismissed on the condition Crooks not be re-arrested.

Trooper Eric Daigler, who handled the investigation, consulted with other members of his department and the District Attorney's Office on whether to charge Robinson along with Crooks, and concluded that Robinson should not be arrested.

Crooks lobbied the State Police to arrest Robinson in November 2013. When that didn't work, he contacted the Sheriff's Office, which had no prior involvement with the case, in March 2014.

Robinson was arrested by a deputy in April and charged with menacing in the second degree.

"Significantly, the New York State Police, to this day, believe that Mr. Robinson should not have been charged and are not supportive of his prosecution," DeCarolis wrote in his motion.

Finnell wrote in his motion that for basic facts -- the facts contained in the DA's own files -- he agrees. He does not agree with statements by DeCarolis that go to the state of mind or thoughts of Robinson or other parties involved.

These would include the assertion by DeCarolis that Mrs. Crooks often initiated the contact with Robinson and was a "willing participant in their communication."

DeCarolis also stated that "Due to Mr. Crook's relentless and persistent actions, aggressive demeanor and verbal threats, Mr. Robinson felt threatened in his own home."

Finnell said that Robinson's actions rose to the level of probable cause for his arrest.

In addressing one of the points Kunego is asked to consider in the motion for dismissal, Finnell wrote, "The events that led to the conflict are somewhat unique and are not likely to be repeated by this defendant. The typical societal justifications for punishment, rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence are perhaps less applicable to this fact pattern. However, the defendant here might have employed other, less inherently dangerous methods in his claimed defense of his person and property, which methods would not subject him to the possibility of criminal prosecution."

One of the key factors Kunego must consider is whether dismissal would cause the public to loose confidence in the justice system.

DeCarolis argued that public sentiment is clearly behind Robinson already, citing comments left on news media accounts of Robinson's arrest (The Batavian has provided nearly exclusive coverage of Robinson's arrest).

"People expect to be able to protect their 'castle' from attack," DeCarolis wrote. "Mr. Robinson's castle was under attack by Mr. Crooks and public opinion in form of comments on the reporting of this story in the news are overwhelmingly supportive of Mr. Robinson and his actions to thwart an uninvited and threatening presence on his property."

Finnell used an analogy of about speeding tickets in his answer and concluded, "The decision of whether or not to charge in the above scenario (or dismiss in the interests of justice in this case) requires the decision maker (the court) to look beyond what is literal and do what is right. The public's confidence in the criminal justice system will be bolstered with the just decision here, no matter what that decision ultimately is."

If the case isn't dismissed, it will likely go to trial, at which point, DeCarolis is likely to raise the defense -- also a part of his dismissal motion -- that state law allows a person to defend his person and property.

"... a person may be legally justified in his actions when he acts not only to protect himself but also to prevent a criminal trespass or even prevent damage to premises," DeCarolis wrote. "In these instances the law allows for a person to go so far as to use physical force in order to defend against these various threats."

June 18, 2014 - 10:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, bergen.

On the drive back from Bergen this afternoon, I stopped for a couple of pictures on Townline Road.

June 17, 2014 - 8:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, bergen.

A tree and wires are down at 5968 W. Sweden Road, Bergen. The roadway is blocked. Bergen fire dispatched.

A tree and wires are down at 45 Church St., Elba. Elba fire dispatched.

UPDATE 8:35 p.m.: A utility pole has snapped and power lines are down in the area of 6112 Byron Elba Road. Byron and South Byron fire departments dispatched.

UPDATE 8:43 p.m.: A tree and wires are down in the area of 1075 Ham Road, Alabama. Alabama fire dispatched. Also, on 6323 Warboys Road, a pole is down with wires in intact.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: Town of Batavia Fire Department is requested to 5025 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, for water coming through an electrical panel.

UPDATE 10:02 p.m.: State Police have requested Pavilion fire police to shut down Route 63 at Route 19 because of a stuck railroad crossing gate.

June 13, 2014 - 11:17am
Event Date and Time: 
July 26, 2014 -
7:00am to 11:55pm

Byron Heritage Festival   July 26, 2014

 

      Where is the center of the Universe?  On Saturday, July 26, it will be Byron, New York.  So look it up on MapQuest, orient your GPS and set your Bat-radar for Byron.  Your life will improve, the community’s spirit will be lifted, flags will wave, and the world will be better!  Just look at these great activities and special events taking place throughout the day:

 

June 11, 2014 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, bergen.

Eric Marc Chiddy, 36, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful possession of marijuana and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Chiddy was arrested following an investigation into an alleged domestic incident on Maple Street. He was jailed on $2,500.

Travis C. Bauer, 25, of Water Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana. Batavia PD responded to a complaint at 11:43 p.m. Friday of a sick or intoxicated driver on West Main Street. After an investigation by officers Peter Flanagan and Chad Richards, Bauer was charged.

Timothy Blase Antinora, 23, of Swamp Road, Brockport, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Antinora was stopped for alleged traffic violations at 4:09 p.m. Monday on North Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

June 9, 2014 - 8:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, bergen, Howie Hawkins, Green Party.

Press release:

Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for governor of New York State, will conduct a press conference in Bergen on Thursday, June 19 to be followed by a meet-and-greet with local Green Party members.

The slate of Hawkins, Brian Jones, lieutenant governor, Ramon Jimenez, attorney general and Theresa Portelli, comptroller, was nominated at the recent Green Party state convention in Troy.

Hawkins launches his second bid for NY executive after running against Andrew Cuomo in 2010. Jimenez is also reprising a run for AG.

The Green Party candidates have dubbed their platform, the Green New Deal. Hawkins says he plans to challenge the 1-percent tag team of Cuomo and Republican nominee Astorino on economic, climate change and criminal justice issues. Hawkins also wants NY to go carbon free with a 100-percent clean renewable energy by 2030, while providing a public living wage job to any New Yorker who needs one.

The Greens selected NYC Educator Brian Jones to highlight their opposition to Cuomo's education policies promoting privatization of the education system, including his promotion of the Common Core agenda and charter schools. The Greens are seeking full funding to meet the educational needs of New Yorkers, including free tuition at CUNY and SUNY.

The press conference in Bergen is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the residence of Genesee County Green Party member Chris Barons, 24 Clinton St. A Meet-and-Greet will follow a presentation to local Greens at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public.

May 31, 2014 - 2:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen.

A has hit a tree in the area of 39 North Lake Ave., Village of Bergen. Unknown injuries. 

Bergen fire and ambulance, and Mercy EMS responding. 

UPDATE 2:42 a.m.: Assignment being held to a single Bergen engine.

May 28, 2014 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, bergen.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has named 304 students to its spring dean's list.

Mackenzie Lynn Heale, a senior Criminal Justice major from Bergen, is one of them.

Dean's list status is awarded to full-time students who have earned a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

May 25, 2014 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, bergen.

Bergen’s newest Marine is PFC Aaron K. Inzinca, who graduated on May 23rd, 2014 from the United States Marine Corps, Mike Company Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island, S.C.

Aaron is a 2013 graduate of Byron Bergen Central School and is the pride of Brian & April Stone of Bergen. Following SOI training at Camp Geiger, PFC Inzinca will be furthering his education in aviation mechanics in Jacksonville, Fla.

May 22, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, corfu, bergen.

Cody D. Mayer, 21, of South Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Mayer was arrested following a traffic stop by members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force in the Town of Stafford. He was allegedly found in possession of heroin and 20 Xanax tablets. 

Jennifer Lyn Stack, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Stack was stopped at 8:42 p.m. Monday on Clinton Street Road by Deputy Joseph Corona. During the traffic stop, it was found there was an arrest warrant on file for Stack. Her arrest led to a search of her person.

Matthew Garrett Opitz, 29, of Hunting Spring, Rochester, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operator, leaving the scene of an accident and unreasonable speed. Opitz was allegedly involved in a one-car accident at 5:03 a.m. on Angling Road, Pembroke. The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Ronald D. Williams, 37, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, trespass and endangering the welfare of a child. Williams is accused of stealing scrap metal from a location on Cedar Street. Williams allegedly enlisted the assistance of a child less than age 17.

Gregory M. Munroe II, 28, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Munroe is accused of pushing and striking a woman while in the presence of her children.

Danielle Marie Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with appearance in public under influence of drugs. Stevens was arrested following a report that she was seen consuming an unknown amount of pills and may have overdosed. 

Casey T. Vaughn, 25, of Prune Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and menacing, 2nd. Vaughn allegedly had an altercation with a construction worker at his residence.

Robert D. Wood, 23, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wood allegedly shut the door as a woman was attempted to enter her residence, striking her in the abdomen with the door. Wood was jailed on $250 bail.

Robert C. Paris, 24, of Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing and harassment, 2nd. Paris was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 12:18 p.m. May 20 in Batavia. Paris was jailed on bail. No further details released.

Stephen J. Holdaway, 62, of Corfu, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving an unregistered motorcycle. Holdaway was stopped at 6:07 p.m. Monday in the Town of Batavia by State Police.

May 21, 2014 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

It boggles the mind, according to attorney Brian Decarolis, that his client, John Laverne Robinson, has been charged with menacing in the second degree.

The 51-year-old Bergen resident is accused of pointing a shotgun out the window of his home on North Lake Road at another man who seconds earlier had been banging on his door.

"I think it's ridiculous," Decarolis said this afternoon after Robinson was arraigned in Town of Bergen Court, where he entered a not guilty plea. "I've never seen anything like it. I'm a former prosecutor. I do exclusively criminal defense work. I've never seen it, never heard of it. It's something I've never dealt with before."

The case is unusual, Decarolis said, because not only was Robinson defending himself against an intruder, the District Attorney's Office had declined in November to prosecute Robinson.

Robinson was arrested last month by a deputy after the man who did the door banging, 46-year-old Michael S. Crooks, of Salmon Road, Brockport, took his complaint to the Sheriff's Office when he couldn't convince a state trooper to arrest Robinson.

The charge should be dismissed, Decarolis said. Either the charge is dismissed outright or the case is going to trial, he said.

Decarolis noted Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, who is handling the case, has the power to seek a dismissal, but in case that doesn't happen, Decarolis is preparing a motion to deliver to Justice Donald Kunego asking that the charge be dismissed "in the interest of justice." 

The former Monroe County prosecutor said he's talked to a lot of people in and out of the criminal justice line of work since Robinson became his client and people are flabbergasted by the arrest.

"I've talked to people involved in the case who are surprised," Decarolis said. "I've talked to people not involved in the case who are surprised. I've talked to law enforcement contacts that I've built up over the years, relationships from being in the DA's office, being a defense attorney, I haven't heard one person who said this is right, this sounds like what should happen. Everyone is stunned. Everyone is surprised."

The charge stems from a Jan. 13 incident when Crooks went to the home of Robinson because he suspected Robinson of communicating with Mrs. Crooks.

In a statement to police, Crooks said he just wanted to talk, but he admitted to yelling at Robinson, who was inside his house, that he was a coward for not coming out.

"He was essentially beating down the front door in an attempt to get into the house," Decarolis said.

He hit it hard enough to damage it, which is why a trooper decided to arrest him on a criminal mischief charge.

After his apparent unsuccessful attempt to break down the door, Crooks walked around the house looking for another entry. When he peered into a window he found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

That frightened him, he said.

"He goes to my client's house and is causing a rukus," Decarolis said. "He's a stranger to my client. The State Police come out and they investigate it and they determine that Mr. Crooks is the only person who should be arrested. That's normal. My client thinks he's a victim. He is."

Robinson was on the phone with 9-1-1 dispatchers, who had told him, according to reports, to warn Crooks that he had a shotgun.

Today, Kunego signed an order requiring the Sheriff's Office to turn over the 9-1-1 tapes to Decarolis. Finnell did not oppose the order.

According to Decarolis, his client thought the case is over with the arrest of Crooks, but after Crooks has the charge against him dismissed on an ACD (adjudication in contemplation of dismissal), Crooks starts making noise about having Robinson arrested.

"The State Police call him up and say this guy's crowing about charging you with a completely justifiable act," Decarolis said. "The State Police do a little more investigating, consult with the District Attorney's Office, the same office that is now prosecuting this case, and they say, we're not charging you. We're not doing anything. You shouldn't be charged. You were justified doing what you did on the day in question. Then out of nowhere, a different police agency that has never, ever been involved in this case, charges my client."

If the case does go to trial, the troopers involved in the arrest of Crooks will be expected to testify, Decarolis said.

"I think that would be on the defense witness list as opposed to the prosecution's, and you don't hear about that every day," Decarolis said.

The whole thing is unfortunate, Decarolis said.

"This guy's going through a heck of a stress," he said. "He's wasting time. He should be at work on a Wednesday afternoon, not coming to court for this kind of stuff."

Previously:

May 12, 2014 - 4:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, bergen.

An unknown type of fire, possibly burning tires, is reported in the woods behind 68 S. Lake Ave. Bergen firefighters are responding.

May 9, 2014 - 1:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones, bergen.

Nazareth College is pleased to announce 73 new members in the 2014 Class of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Two are from Genesee County: Kathleen O'Donnell, of Batavia, and Courtney Taylor, of Bergen.

May 8, 2014 - 8:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Oakfield, Alabama, corfu, bergen.

Joseph A. Saraceni, 17, of Linwood Avenue, Batavia, is charged with first-degree rape, a Class B felony. Saraceni was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation by Det. Charles Dudek and Det. Thad Mart in an alleged incident reported Nov. 11 on School Street, Batavia. No further details released.

Lance Mercado, 23, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs. Mercardo was arrested after Batavia PD received a reported of a possible intoxicated driver in the parking lot of McDonald's at 1:18 a.m., Tuesday. Mercardo was arrested by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Eric J. Davis, 36, of Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Davis was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 6:52 p.m. Tuesday on Drake Street, Oakfield. No further details released.

Timothy M. Gardiner, 38, and Maria A. Gardiner, 48, both of Scottsville, are charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd. Timothy and Maria were arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 9:39 a.m. Feb. 16 in the Town of Bergen. No further details released.

Heidi H. Stumbo, 48, of Lima, is charged with petit larceny. Stumbo was arrested by the State Police on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The alleged theft was reported at 1:04 p.m., Monday. No further details released.

May 6, 2014 - 1:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, bergen.

Kassandra Ryan Funk, of Acton Road, Bergen, was charged with two felony counts of driving while intoxicated following a property damage accident at 1:35 a.m. today on North Bergen Road in the Town of Bergen.

The 21-year-old was arrested on felony charges of having previously been convicted of DWI within the last 10 years and aggravated DWI for an alleged BAC of .18 or more. In addition, she is charged with refusal to take breath test, failure to keep right, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Funk is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 5 p.m. on June 4 in Bergen Town Court. The accident was investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Corona, assisted by Deputy Jason Saile.

Photo of accident scene submitted by a reader.

May 2, 2014 - 5:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, Le Roy, Grand Jury, bergen.

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

Scott A. Kopper is indicted on first-degree assault, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Jan. 8 in the Town of Pembroke, with intent to cause serious injury to another person, he caused injury to such person or to a third person, in this case Sheriff's Deputy Brian Thompson, by means of a dangerous instrument -- a vehicle. In count two, Kopper is accused of the crime of reckless endangerment, 1st, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on the same day, "under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life," he recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person by closing the window of his vehicle thereby trapping Deputy Thompson's arm, and started to drive away, dragging Deputy Thompson with him. In count three, Kopper is accused of second-degree assault, also a Class D felony, for acting with intent to prevent a police officer from performing a lawful duty, causing physical injury to such person, Deputy Thompson. In count four, Kopper is accused of second-degree assault, another Class D felony, for allegedly intending to cause physical injury to another person, and causing injury to such person, Deputy Thompson, by means of a dangerous vehicle -- a vehicle.

Antonio A. Ayala and Ashley L. Alvord are indicted on drug-related charges stemming from contact with law enforcement on Nov. 19 in the Town of Bergen. Ayala is indicated for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing a narcotic drug, cocaine, with intent to sell it. In count two, Alvord is indicated for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances with an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more. In count three, both Ayala and Alvord, are accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of child less than 17 years old, in this case a 4-year-old child.

Alissa A. Fodge is indicted for third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony, for allegedly stealing property valued in excess of $3,000 from a convenience store in the Town of Bergen between Aug. 19 and Oct. 16. The value of the property is about $7,040.

Aaron M. Zastrocky is indicated for driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony, for allegedly driving a 1998 Jeep on South Lake Road in the Town of Le Roy on Dec. 20 while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of aggrevated driving while intoxicated, also a Class E felony, for having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

May 2, 2014 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for the Liberty Pumps project at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees.

In 2000, Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008, which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“We are pleased to see Liberty Pumps continue expanding its operations in our region, adding to the growth of employment opportunities in Genesee County,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

April 30, 2014 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

There was probable cause to arrest John Laverne Robinson, Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said about the case involving Robinson, a man from Brockport, and a shotgun pointed through a window on Jan. 13, 2013.

So Robinson was arrested and it's now up to the courts to determine the eventual outcome of the case.

It's been 15 months since the incident, and Robinson's arrest two weeks ago raised some interest locally about how a man some believed was just exercising his right to defend himself in his own house could be charged with a crime.

"There's no black and white on these things and there's a lot of gray area on how far you can go and whether your actions are justified," Dibble said. "The deputy looked at the circumstances and looked at the law and consulted with the District Attorney and felt there was probable cause to make an arrest and then let the courts handle it."

Police officers don't determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant, Dibble said. They make an arrest based on probable cause and then let the courts decide.

"There's always two or three sides to every story," Dibble said. "In this case, there's Mr. Crooks' account and then there is Mr. Robinson's account. In the business we're in, absent any other witnesses, it gets down to what one person says against the other and then let the courts sort it out."

Often, Dibble said, cases aren't as clear-cut as people imagine.

"In this system, some cases by their nature, are not always black and white and in the gray areas is where law enforcement and the courts often find themselves in the middle of controversy," Dibble said.

The incident last year was initially handled by the State Police, who arrested 46-year-old Michael S. Crooks, of Salmon Road, Brockport, on a charge of criminal mischief, 4th.

Last week, The Batavian reported that there was no confirmation of an arrest of Crooks because Trooper Victor Morales said there was "no record" of that arrest. Morales was not with Troop A -- he's now Troop A's spokesman -- at the time of the incident 15 months ago and because a judge ordered the criminal case against Crooks sealed, Morales could only respond that there was no record of his arrest.

After learning of the sealed case file, The Batavian confirmed the arrest and charge against Crooks by obtaining a copy of orders of protection he signed Jan. 13 and on Jan. 16, 2013. Crooks was barred for one year from contacting Robinson.

Eventually, Crooks obtained an adjudication in contemplation of a dismissal ruling from the Bergen Town Court, which is why his case is sealed.

The events leading up to the alleged gun-pointing incident began when Crooks became aware -- according to his sworn statement in the Robinson case -- that Robinson and Crooks' wife were communicating with each other. His statement doesn't say whether it was by phone calls or by text or how Robinson and Mrs. Crooks know each other.

Crooks said he told his wife to stop communicating with Robinson, but one afternoon while Mrs. Crooks was out shopping with their children, Michael Crooks went online and checked phone records and found evidence of further communication with Robinson, he wrote in his statement.

According to the statement, Crooks went over Robinson's home on North Lake Road and wanted to speak with him and ask him to stop communicating with his wife. He claimed he intended no harm to Robinson.

Robinson did not answer the door, but Crooks believed Robinson was in fact home.

Crooks said he yelled for Robinson to come out and called him a coward for not coming to the door, according to his own account of events.

Deputy Matthew Butler, in his charging document, says that Robinson told him he called 9-1-1. He said he had a shotgun. He said a dispatcher told him to yell out that he had a shotgun.

Still unsatisfied that Robinson hadn't answered the door, Crooks walked around the house and looked into a window. That's when he saw Robinson pointing a shotgun at him, he said.

He claims Robinson screamed, "get out of here or I'm going to you're (sic) your f---ing head off."

"When I saw that shotgun pointed at my face," he wrote, "I was scared to death that John was going to shoot me."

Robinson is charged with menacing in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

During the course of the incident on North Lake Road, Robinson's front door was damaged, according to a family member, which is the apparent reason for the criminal mischief charge against Crooks.

Asked about the right in New York for residents to protect their home and themselves, Dibble said that's true, but the law has gray areas and that's where this case falls.

"The law also says you can walk up to anybody's door and knock on the door," Dibble said. "That's part of general business law."

Dibble said a deputy investigated the case because Crooks filed a complaint. It's not known why Crooks went to the Sheriff's Office rather than the NYSP with his complaint or why troopers didn't charge Robinson back in January 2013 after the initial investigation into the case.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said his office has yet to determine how it will proceed with the case.

"The best I can say is the Sheriff's Department did an investigation and made an arrest and that's what they do," Friedman said. "We haven't determined what the disposition might be. We didn't do the investigation. We don't do investigations. They came to the conclusion that the charge was appropriate and (Assistant DA) Kevin Finnell will look at the case. We have full discretion on what we feel is an appropriate disposition, whether not to prosecute it or to take it to trial or anything in between."

Robinson's next court appearance is 3 p.m., May 21, for arraignment on the charge.

Click here for an article about New York's "Castle Doctrine."

April 28, 2014 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a final resolution at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen, to create new spaces for production and warehouse, research and development and a new office, display, auditorium and training center. The company is investing $9.8 million for the expansion project, creating 27 new positions, and retaining 124 employees. 

Liberty Pumps has undertaken several projects in the last few years. In 2000, the company invested $3.7 million to construct and equip a 60,000-square-foot facility and in 2008 they undertook a 64,000-square-foot addition.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive in the Town of Batavia, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

Not in the press release, but from another e-mail sent out by GCEDC today:

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion onto its existing 120,000-square-foot facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. (Of that,) 81,400 square feet will be dedicated to production and warehouse, 7,600 square feet will house new research and development/ test facility space, and 11,000 square feet will hold new office, display, an auditorium and training center. ... The company has submitted an application to the GCEDC requesting assistance that includes tax savings of $377,600, a mortgage tax exemption savings of $93,750, and property tax abatement of $863,577 due to the incremental increase in assessed value.

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