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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.

April 25, 2014 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

The man who went to the residence of John Lavarne Robinson the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2013 and allegedly found himself face-to-barrel with a shotgun said in a statement to police that he only had a simple question for Robinson: Why was the Bergen resident communicating with his wife?

The Brockport resident said he had previously confronted his wife about the communication with Robinson and said he believed she had gone out on a couple of dates with Robinson. After checking phone records online, the man said he found there were new, recent communications between Robinson and his wife.

"I wanted to talk with John about his involvement with (my wife) and tell him to stop talking with her," the man wrote in his statement.

The statement, and Robinson's statements, along with the charging document were acquired by The Batavian from the Sheriff's Office through a FOIL request.

Members of Robinson's family and his supporters have left comments on The Batavian, through e-mails and on social media defending his actions.

Their version of events has consistently said that the alleged victim was banging on Robinson's door, threatening Robinson and that Robinson called 9-1-1 and was told by dispatchers to use his shotgun to protect himself.

Family members have also said the alleged victim was arrested by State Police the day of these alleged events, but Trooper Victor Morales, spokesman for Troop A, said there is no record of such an arrest.

Deputy Matthew Butler, who investigated the case and arrested Robinson, included several statements he attributes to Robinson in part of the charging document. He said Robinson told him, "I called 9-1-1." "He was kicking the shit out of my door." "I loaded my shotgun." "I yelled that I had a gun." "9-1-1 told me to do that." "He was calling me a coward and that he was going to kill me." "I thought he was coming in."

The Brockport resident said, "At no time did I want to cause harm to John. I just wanted to discuss his relationship with my wife. When I saw that shotgun pointed at my face, I was scared to death that John was going to shoot me."

In his statement, the man said he had reason to believe Robinson was in his house and kept knocking on the door. He said when he went looking for another doorway, he walked past a window and saw movement so he took a closer look into the window.

He says he did call Robinson "a coward" for not coming out.

He said he saw Robinson on the phone and Robinson screamed at him, "get out of here or I'm going to (blow) your (sic) f---ing head off." He wrote, "John was saying this and pointing the gun at my head and he was only a few feet away from me."

April 21, 2014 - 6:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, bergen.

Bergen has a new gas station and convenience store, along with a Dunkin' Donuts location, on Clinton Street Road, near the intersection of Route 33 and Route 19.

Owner Kamaljat Sembhi, who started operating a small, old gas station on the property in 1996, said he thought the location was ideal for an expanded store and gas station. He worked with Dunkin' Donuts to lease space inside the store and offer drive-up donuts and coffee.

"I thought it was a pretty good spot," Sembhi said. "The best corner in the area."

The new store is 3,000 square feet and there are three pumps outside along with two diesel pumps and a kerosene filling station.

The Bergen resident said business has been "pretty good" since opening a month ago.

"We've been busy. I'm happy with that."

April 21, 2014 - 12:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, bergen.

A grass fire is reported at 56 S. Lake Ave. in Bergen. The caller indicated it may be a controlled burn that got out of control. Bergen Fire Department is responding. The location is between Mackenzie Street and Parkview Drive. A responder on scene reports smoke coming from behind a residence.

UPDATE 1:03 p.m.: The fire is out. Bergen is back in service.

April 18, 2014 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Pavilion, bergen.

John Laverne Robinson, 51, of North Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Robinson is accused of pointing a shotgun at another person while the person was looking through Robinson's window.

Aaron M. Hatt, 22, of Alexander, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Troopers responded to a complaint of a domestic dispute in the Town of Pembroke. In route, troopers came upon a young man walking down the center of Gabby Road. He reportedly said he had just argued with a female at the address of the initial complaint. Hatt was taken back to the house and upon investigation, troopers learned Hatt had allegedly been involved with a physical confrontation with the victim. He allegedly possessed marijuana at the time of his arrest.

Connor W. Kelly, 19, of Rushville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. A trooper stopped Kelly's vehicle on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, for allegedly lacking its plate lamp. the trooper noted evidence of alleged recent marijuana use.

Bernard Lee Evans, 43, of Cato Street, Pavilion, was arrested on bench warrants for alleged criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Evans was held without bail.

Kelly Marie Faro, 37, of Church Road, of Hamlin, was arrested as a fugitive from justice. Faro was arrested on an unrelated matter by Deputy John Baiocco. During his investigation, he discovered an active warrant out of Cuyahoga County for alleged drug possession. Faro is being held without bail pending extradition.

April 10, 2014 - 6:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, byron, byron-bergen, bergen.

Photos by Howard Owens / Story by Sloan Martin, WBTA.

New York has several State symbols: the sugar maple is the state tree and the state gem is a garnet. What it doesn’t have, though, is a state snack and the fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School are doing something about it.

In a fun school assembly Thursday, the students marked their accomplishment of getting a bill to Albany.

With pop hits like ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and Lorde’s “Royals” reimagined to proclaim the benefits of yogurt, along with funny skits, the auditorium was filled with B-B fourth-graders who’re amped up and extremely knowledgeable about yogurt.

“It’s very healthy for you and it has lots of good vitamins and calcium,” Sadie said.

“We’ve learned that we’ve been producing the most yogurt in New York State, especially in this area,” Grace said.

Learning about its impact on their bodies, the economy and the government, it’s been an interactive and engaging learning experience.

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek says he’s proud of the kids and their teachers for taking what they learn and putting it into action.

“It really lines up with everything Genesee County’s about with dairy farming and additions to our yogurt companies as well,” he said. “It really aligns well. It’ll be memorable for the students, especially after it becomes a law.”

“Absolutely, this is interdisciplinary,” Kosiorek said. “They’ve had to work on their writing, they’ve had to utilize their math, they’ve had to learn about social studies, they’ve had to learn about government. As you can see, they were singing and writing songs, producing films – all the skills that we look for as our young people move up to the junior-senior high school and then college and careers."

State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer says it’s government in action.

“They’re living it by writing us letters, by doing these skits today,” Ranzenhofer said. “We’re going to make this become a law.”

The bill to make yogurt the official state snack has been introduced in the Senate and once it passes both houses, it will find itself on the governor’s desk -- all because of the Byron-Bergen fourth-graders.

Mike Davis, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Kevin Williams, Muller Quaker Dairy, and Roger Parkhurst, Alpina Foods.

 

April 8, 2014 - 11:19am

Press release:

On March 19, a distinguished group of 23 students from Byron-Bergen Jr. High School was welcomed into the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) by its President, Lauren Burke. Ms. Burke addressed the audience with a challenge: Continue to excel in the five qualities that members of National Junior Honor Society must represent – Scholarship, Citizenship, Service, Leadership, and Character. “While the recognition [of being a member of National Junior Honor Society] is great, the true reward is the satisfaction in knowing that you are working to be the best person you can be.”

The induction ceremony featured two guest speakers – English Teacher Diana Walther and Music Teacher Laurence Tallman. 

Mrs. Walther focused on the skills needed to be a successful citizen. She shared stories of witnessing the newest members of NJHS exhibiting those skills. “I see perseverance. Each of you has shown me, at one time or another this year that you finish what you start,” she said. “Your character is transparent through your choices. You do what’s necessary to be successful, and are beginning to realize that there is a distinct difference between the ‘easy path’ and the ‘successful path’ in life. Walking down the more challenging path has led you here.”

Mr. Tallman referenced the recent Byron-Bergen musical production “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” which is based on the writings of acclaimed author and philosopher, Robert Fulghum. He reminded the audience that some areas of wisdom, often learned at a young age, play a vital role throughout a lifetime. “We must be reminded of them from time to time, because these are the things that remind us to live not just for the self, but for the better of the whole. They remind us to practice civility, good character, kindness, and love. And, like anything, they must be practiced daily in order to become a regular part of your life.”

The National Junior Honor Society Vice President, Margaret Graney, concluded the ceremony by reading descriptions of the five defining qualities of NJHS members and lighting a candle to signify the importance of each quality in our lives. 

Congratulations to National Junior Honor Society 2014 Inductees.

7th Grade
Sarah Bleiler
Kolbi Brew
Lydia Campbell
Adam Drake
Mariah Fee
Jared Fregoe
Leah Gale
Emma Goodman
Annaliese Hersom
William Johnson
Oliver Kelley
Rayelle Merrell
MacKenzie Rosse
Brianna Shade
Emma Smith
Wade Thompson

8th Grade
Cameron Brumsted
Benjamin Chaback
Brionna DeMichel
Justin Hannan
Brendon Kendall
Adam Swapceinski
Esther Wilkins

April 8, 2014 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, byron-bergen, bergen.

Press release:

Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminars have been held yearly throughout the United States and Canada since 1958. The purpose of HOBY is to provide sophomores the opportunity to meet many distinguished leaders of the community from various sectors such as business, technology, education, government, arts, and science. Through intense but informal panel discussions, HOBY participants get a realistic look at their nation, its people, and their own role in the world community.

Every year, all sophomores are eligible and encouraged to apply for this exceptional leadership seminar. This year, Ashley Montgomery, daughter of Becky and Marc Montgomery, was selected as the Byron-Bergen High School “HOBY Ambassador,” with Colby Savage, son of Julie and Donald Savage, selected as alternate. Ashley, Colby, and sophomores around the country are selected based on a variety of criteria such as leadership ability, sensitivity to others, communication skills, community service, etc.  Ashley will attend this seminar held at the University of Rochester from May 30 through June 1. Check www.hoby.org for more information.

April 7, 2014 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, pembroke, Bethany, corfu, bergen.
Bradley Jordan Amber Reinisch

Bradley R. Jordan, 21, of East Bethany, and Amber L. Reinisch, 18, of Castile, are charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th.

The investigation that led to the charges against Jordan and Reinisch began with a resident in the Village of Silver Springs reporting that she observed a male and female break glass in an overhead door and enter the garage attached to her apartment. State Police responded, but the suspects fled before they arrived on scene. Suspect and vehicle descriptions were provided to law enforcement officers in Wyoming County.

Police also received a complaint of a male and female fitting the description of the burglary suspects causing a disturbance at the McDonald's in Warsaw. The vehicle description for the two individuals also fit the burglary description. The vehicle was reportedly seen heading toward Save-A-Lot in Warsaw.

A short time later, a customer at Save-A-Lot reported seeing a male customer in possession of a handgun. The person had not threatened anybody with the weapon, but had removed it from his waistband as he walked through the store and then put it back in his waistband.

Village of Warsaw police officers, Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies and troopers all responded to the area. The suspect vehicle was located and Jordan and Reinisch were taken into custody.

Both suspects are accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart and Olympia Sports in North Warsaw, along with the burglary in Silver Springs. The alleged theft from Walmart was of a compact C02 pistol, which State Police say was the weapon later observed by a customer at Save-A-Lot. State Police alleged that when Jordan observed troopers at the front of the store, he ducked into a bathroom and discarded the weapons in a wastebasket. The weapon was later recovered and secured as evidence.

Jordan and Reinisch were arraigned and jailed on $5,000 bail each.

Tilar B. Clark, 22, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Clark's vehicle was stopped by State Police in the Town of Attica, Wyoming County, for an alleged equipment violation. He was allegedly found in possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Paul D. Barth Jr., 23, of Cohocton Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barth was allegedly sending text messages to a person he was ordered by a judge not to contact.

Desiree Michelle Hutchinson, 18, of Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Hutchinson allegedly admitted to Officer James DeFreze that she was hold her baby while in same room with a friend who was smoking marijuana.

Scott P. Rodon, 48, of Garfield Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Rodon was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 1 a.m. Thursday.

Oliver Thomas, 22, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Thomas allegedly hit a person in the face during an argument, which was reported at 3:45 a.m. Friday.

Taylor M. Andrews, 20, of McKenzie Road, Caledonia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy, 5th. Andrews is accused of encouraging a juvenile to use a crowbar against another person during an argument. The victim was not struck with the crowbar. The alleged incident was reported at 2 a.m. Friday at 21 Wood St., Batavia.

Robi Liam Terziani, 19, of Route 19A, Portageville, is charged with petit larceny. Terziani is accused of stealing hydrocodine pills from a residence in Byron where he was hired to do service work.

Billy Joe Budziszewski Jr., 22, of Route 77, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and bail jumping, 2nd. Budziszewski was arrested on warrants out of Village of Corfu Court. He is also allegedly the subject of warrants out of Erie County on burglary, 2nd, and petit larceny charges and out of Wyoming County for failure to pay fine. Budziszewski was jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond.

Chance Robert Cooley, 19, of Route 5 & 20, Canandaigua, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cooley was allegedly found in possession of marijuana in a medicine container and a glass smoking pipe with marijuana in it. Cooley was the passenger in a vehicle stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 12 :15 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Chris Parker. Also charged was Anthony Lee Irish, 22, of Terri Drive, Farmington, who was also issued traffic summons for no front plate and no insurance.

Christopher C. Berg, 27, of Pavilion, is charged with a misdemeanor under the vehicle and traffic law. Berg was stopped by State Police at 8:36 p.m. Wednesday on Veterans Memorial Drive. No further details released.

Adam J. Bobzin, 43, of Byron, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Bozin was stopped at 9:42 a.m. Thursday on West Sweden Road, Bergen, by State Police.

April 2, 2014 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Grand Jury, bergen.

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

Marino M. Marasciulo III is indicted on 16 criminal counts, including third-degree rape, all alleged to have occurred in the Town of Bergen. In late January or early February, 2013, this adult over the age of 21, allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a person under 17, a Class E felony. In count two, the defendant is accused of allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct with a person under 17, also a Class E felony. In count three of the indictment, the defendant is accused of forcible touching, a Class A misdemeanor. In or about July 2012, for intentionally and for no legitimate purpose, Marasciulo allegedly forcibly touched the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person or for the purpose of gratifying the actor's sexual desire. In count four, Marasciulo is accused of a Class A misdemeanor, in or about July 2012, for allegedly knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less that 17 or directed or authorized such child to engage in an occupation involving substantial risk of danger to her life or health. In count five, the defendant is accused of the same conduct as in count four but in April or May 2013 and with a second child under 17. In counts six and seven (Summer of 2012), eight (Summer of 2012 -- May 2013) and nine (late January or early February 2013) the defendant is accused of the same conduct but with a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth child, respectively. The remaining seven counts, all Class A misdemeanors, are for unlawfully dealing with a child for allegedly providing alcohol to a person or persons under 21.

Shadow S. Jonathan is indicted for the crime of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony, for allegedly intending to cause, and causing, physical injury to another person or a third person by means of a dangerous instrument, a wooden beam, on Sept. 13 in the Town of Alabama. On the same date, the defendant is also accused of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony, for allegedly intending to cause physical injury and attempting to cause such injury by means of a dangerous instrument, a metal stake.

Nicole M. Dellapenna is indicted for second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony, for allegedly intending to cause physical injury to another person, causing injury to the person or a third person by means of a dangerous instrument, a knife, in the Town of Le Roy of Aug. 24. She is accused of criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly possessing a dagger or dangerous knife or other dangerous instrument or weapon with intent to use the same unlawfully against another.

Matthew A. Beccue is indicted for allegedly driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony. On Nov. 22 in the City of Batavia, he drove a 1994 Chevrolet in the parking lot of a gas station and on Route 63 and on Liberty Street all while allegedly intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, also a Class E felony, for allegedly have a BAC of .18 or more.

March 28, 2014 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, schools, education, byron, byron-bergen, bergen.

Press release:

Fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School are on track to making a substantial economic impact on their state and their community. The class has created a well-researched rationale for designating yogurt as the Official New York State Snack, based on job creation and promoting healthy eating.

They sent handwritten letters – over 200 of them – to state legislators, farm owners, and yogurt companies. Their idea is now a bill sponsored by New York State Senators Mike Ranzenhofer, Kathleen Marchione, and James Seward and by Assemblymen William Magee and Steve Hawley. The bill is currently in committee.

The 17 members of the “Snack Pack,” led by fourth-grade teacher Craig Schroth, say yogurt deserves the title of Official New York State Snack. Student Madelyn Pimm says, “New York is now the biggest yogurt producing state in the U.S., with over 30 processing plants. Governor Cuomo refers to us as the ‘Yogurt Capital of the Country.’ We are the fifth largest milk producing state. We have three yogurt companies right here in our own community – Alpina, Müller-Quaker, and O-At-Ka. Many of us have family members who work there.”

“We want to support the yogurt industry and help create more jobs,” says student Alayna Streeter. “If this becomes law, there will be more opportunities for farmers who milk the cows, for drivers who deliver the milk, for people who make it into yogurt and other products, for distributors, and stores – jobs all down the supply chain.”

“Making yogurt the official snack will help New York promote healthy eating,” says student Caleb Calhoun. “Yogurt tastes great and is really good for you.”

These students are all highly knowledgeable and engaged in the legislative process they started. Letters of support from their representatives line the classroom wall. “Our whole class came up with the idea to promote yogurt,” says student Carly Bergeron. “We’re learning about government in action.” The class is hoping that they may be invited to Albany if their bill becomes law. Follow the progress of the bill at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6695-2013.

“We want to get the word out and build backing for our bill. It’s important for everyone to support the yogurt industry because they are also supporting our communities with jobs,” says Alayna.

One yogurt company is already grateful for the assistance being drummed up by the Byron-Bergen students. Chobani plans to send a representative to the school to thank the students in person later this spring.

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