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May 5, 2016 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A Batavia man is in Orleans County Jail charged with first-degree rape of a victim under age 11 -- in this case a 5-year-old child.

Nicholas L. McKague, 24, of West Main Street Road, was arrested April 18. He is also charged by Orleans Sheriff's Investigator K. Strickland with endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges, announced May 4, followed a two-month investigation conducted by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office related to an incident that allegedly occurred in the Town of Clarendon in 2011.

McKague was arraigned by Town of Clarendon Justice DiFante. McKague was put in the custody of the Sheriff and transported to the Orleans County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. McKague is scheduled to appear in the Town of Clarendon Court at 6:30 p.m. on May 9.

Additional charges are forthcoming as the Investigation continues. The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Justice for Children Advocacy Center, Orleans County Child Protective Services and the Batavia Police Department.

May 5, 2016 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, news.

Brian E. Bisig, 57, of 25 Clay St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI following a report of a vehicle which had been involved in an accident and had left the scene on Summit Street Road. Bisig was allegedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at about 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, which was observed by a concerned citizen. The citizen was able to provide a description of the vehicle to police and followed the involved vehicle to a residence located on Clay Street in Le Roy. After a brief investigation, Bisig was found to be allegedly intoxicated and was charged. In addition to the DWI charge, Bisig was also charged with DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or more. Bisig was also issued a summons by a member of the State Police regarding the accident occurring in the Town of Le Roy. Bisig will answer the charges at a later date in the Town of Le Roy Court.

Christopher M. Smith, 21, was arrested May 1 for petit larceny after he allegedly stole 15 packs of Pokemon cards valued at $63 and exited a local store, passing all points of sale; Smith attempted to hide the merchandise underneath a vehicle in the parking lot. He was transported to State Police barracks in Batavia for processing and issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on May 9.

Dawn Viehdeffer, 57 was arrested May 2 for petit larceny from Walmart after taking miscellaneous items totaling more than $45. Viehdeffer was allegedly observed placing items in her purse as she shopped but failed to remove the concealed items upon checkout; Viehdeffer did not scan the items and proceeded to exit the store, passing all points of sale. She was transported to State Police barracks in Batavia for processing and issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on May 17.

May 4, 2016 - 7:37pm

An independent film company today asked to film in and around the old Genesee County Courthouse for a movie titled "Marhsall" about the early legal career of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

A resolution recommending that filming be allowed was approved unanimously by the Ways and Means Committee, which met at Genesee Community College this afternoon. The Legislature will have to approve it first however.

The courthouse will be a stand-in for a courthouse in 1940s Oklahoma, when Marshall was working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). At that time, the great grandson of a slave born in the Congo traveled throughout the United States defending African-Americans in often controversial cases. The case depicted in the film to be partially shot here -- for one day, perhaps slightly over that -- is based on the case of a black chauffeur who was accused of the rape and attempted murder of a white woman, according to the film company's location manager, Michael Nickodem, who attended the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

"I think it's a fairly worthwhile project," said Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg.

It will take of lot of work and planning by a lot of people to create historic realism for the film, and our old courthouse may wind up with only five minutes, or less, of limelight in the finished product.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and another county employee are assisting as need be; the state Department of Transportation will need to sign off on temporary road closures and then a crew of about 80 people will descend on Genesee County and the triangular swath of real estate at Ellicott and Main streets sometime in the first week of June. Law enforcement is also in the loop with the project. Parking, including handicapped-access parking, will be temporarily blocked for the project.

Of these crew members, about 40 to 50 people will be inside for courtroom scenes, and perhaps 10 to 20 outside; Nickodem wasn't sure.

There will be about 50 extras, too, Nickodem guesstimated.

"Everybody get out your SAG cards," quipped County Manager Jay Gsell, referencing the Screen Actors Guild.

It will indeed be a union operation, including Teamsters, too.

"Camperland" will be set up close by. That's what they call the grouping of trailers for the stars, hair and makeup artists, etc.

Most of the film locations for "Marshall" are west of here in Buffalo, other places in Erie County, and Niagara County. Genesee County is affiliated with the greater Rochester-area film commission, although Nickodem acknowleged he should call them "because they probably don't know anything about this."

The old Genesee County Courthouse was found by a production designer who works with Nickodem.

"He's got a great eye," Nickodem said. "The challenge for the entire movie is finding places (where) we can shoot."

The location manager told the Ways and Means Committee that in scouting for the stand-in for a 1940s-era Oklahoma courthouse, once they saw Genesee County's building "It spoke to us...it read as more rural." Although it was built around 1843, it was thought to be a sublime choice for this indie film's purposes.

But that will require "adjustments" -- none at the county's expense of course, and anything done will be undone and put back the way it was once filming wraps up. A crew was at the Old Courthouse today and the list of "adjustments" that will be needed include disguising or covering emergency exit signs and lighting, putting a fake door in front of the elevator doors, and otherwise air-brushing out or working to eliminate evidence that it's 2016 -- the view of Wendy's across the street, ditto the Mexican restaurant on the opposite side.

Gsell promised "no action scenes, no superheroes, nobody jumping out of cupolas."

Also, when asked about the impact on regular work going on inside the facility -- in offices adjacent to the courtroom -- it was emphasized that normal operations will not be impeded by the film project.

Nickodem said the historical film is not considered what it is referred to as "ultra low budget," but it is low budget, though he couldn't provide a budget figure. (For indies, it is standard practice to name the production company -- created specifically for the film -- after the movie. Thus, it is known as Marshall Film LLC in Los Angeles, but since a different name is required for New York, they chose Marshall Movie, Inc.)

"Marshall" will probably be released by year's end and then be screened at Indie fests like Sundance in the hopes that it will be optioned by a big motion picture studio.

The star is Chadwick Boseman who played legendary baseball great Jackie Robinson in the Warner Bros. movie "42" opposite Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers' General Manager Branch Rickey. Other casting is still under way.

May 4, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, batavia cemetery association, news.

Press release:

The Batavia Cemetery Association will hold a Victorian Home Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 15th. The interior home tour will feature some of Batavia's finest examples of Victorian architecture.

The tour starts at the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at bataviacemetery.com, in person (after April 16th) at Pollyanna & Dot at the Hidden Door, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, or by calling (585) 343-0248. Any remaining tickets may be purchased at the cemetery the day of the tour, however advance purchase is recommended as a limited number will be sold.

No children under the age of 12, please.

All proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the Historic Batavia Cemetery, which was founded in 1823 and was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2002.

May 4, 2016 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Terrence D. Johnson

A Batavia man was arrested Tuesday, May 3, after being indicted by a Grand Jury on a charge of first-degree robbery and 11 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

Terrence D. Johnson, 21, allegedly robbed an employee of the Bahama Bay Salon at 2 School St., Batavia, in January. He is in jail without bail.

He is to appear in Genesee County Court this Friday. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Det. Kevin Czora.

May 4, 2016 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, news.

Kenneth Michael Gray Jr., 24, no permanent address, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass. He was arrested on May 3 after he allegedly entered a second-story window at 3:05 a.m. on Lake Street Road, Le Roy. Gray is in jail on $10,000 bail. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by Deputy John Baiocco.

Justin Allan Putney, 25, of Borden Avenue, Perry, is charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more, and speeding. He was stopped at 12:16 a.m. today for speeding on East Main Street Road in Batavia and was allegedly found to be intoxicated. He is to appear in Town of Batavia Court on May 16. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy John Baiocco, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

May 4, 2016 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, sheldon silver, Albany, politics, news.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) issues statement on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver:

“I am glad to finally see Sheldon Silver meet the fate he deserves. I am extremely dismayed to hear that he will be receiving a near six figure taxpayer-funded pension behind bars. No one who purposely betrays the public for decades and denigrates his/her office like Silver should receive any form of taxpayer-funded pension. The Assembly Majority promised us comprehensive ethics reform months ago. Since then they have ignored the desires of New Yorkers in exchange for protecting one of their own. Corruption in Albany should not be business as usual and I will continue to beat the drum for a return to integrity here in the Capitol.”

May 3, 2016 - 8:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, east pembroke, news.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at the intersection of Hopkins Road and West Main Street Road (Route 5). A person is said to be pinned inside, but conscious and alert. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. A first responder on scene says two people in one vehicle will probably need transport, along with the driver of the other who requires extrication.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: Darien Ambulance is requested to the scene to provide mutual aid.

May 3, 2016 - 5:05pm

Mercy Flight Air Ambulance enjoyed another successful year of aiding people in Genesee County, according to a presentation Monday afternoon before the Human Service Committee.

County Manager Jay Gsell requested contract approval for the provision of air medical transfer service in Genesee County for the 2016-17 fiscal year in the amount of $14,250, the same as it's been since 2011.

At the end of a presentation about the agency from Outreach Coordinator Lynn O'Donnell and Mercy EMS Operations Manager Larry Baumgardt, the committee recommended without discussion that the Legislature approve the status quo funding.

(The county is not involved with funding the ground ambulance services.)

Highlights of Mercy Flight for fiscal 2014-15 include:

  • A total of 179 requests for Air Ambulance (helicopter) from Genesee County; 91 transports completed;
  • Total Mercy Flight transports for 2015 were 1,100;

For Mercy EMS, in operation for six years now:

  • 7,377 requests for services; 4,824 transports completed;
  • In the City of Batavia, there were almost 3,000 calls for Mercy EMS in 2014; that number grew to 3,500 in 2015.

Call Types (55 percent were on scene; 45 percent were inter-facility transfers)

  • Adult Trauma -- 38 percent
  • Adult Medical -- 37 percent
  • Adult Cardiac -- 13 percent
  • Pediatric Medical -- 7 percent
  • Pediatric Trauma -- 4 percent
  • Neonatal -- 2 percent

Destination Hospitals:

  • Erie County Medical Center -- 33 percent
  • Buffalo General -- 23 percent
  • Strong Memorial -- 15 percent
  • Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo -- 12 percent
  • Mercy Hospital -- 6 percent
  • Other NY Hospitals -- 5 percent
  • Hamot Medical Center -- 3 percent
  • Other Pennsylvania and Ohio Hospitals -- 3 percent

Funding goes to:

  • Operations/Programs -- 93 percent
  • Development & Fundraising -- 7 percent
  • Misc. -- .5 percent

O'Donnell reported that Mercy Flight continues to upgrade its aircraft. Its Bell 429, the company flagship based in Batavia, recently completed its fourth year of service. Four American Eurocopters have all been refurbished, updated and painted to match the Bell. A Lear 31 twin engine jet is also housed at the Batavia base, in partnership with Thunder Run Aviation. The jet provides advanced life support transports beyond what can be provided by the helicopters.

Due to the new partnership between UMMC and Rochester General Hospital, more transports are being logged to Rochester General.

A good deal of time is spent promoting the agency and working with fire/EMS crews and community organizations, O'Donnell said. For example, Mercy Flight offers first responder ground crew safety training that teaches when and how to request Mercy Flight along with the safety requirements for preparing for a safe landing. There were six trainings in Genesee County in the 2014-15 fiscal year, and 84 first responders attended, a total that is "significantly up" from the previous year.

Another community involvement opportunity that Mercy Flight engages in is prom safety/DWI drills and local high schools. These help students make good decisions, reducing DWI-related accidents. Two were held in 2014-15 -- at Elba and at Byron-Bergen. Funding from the Governor's Traffic Safety Grant makes these possible and they will be offered again this year.

Strong partnerships continue with fire/EMS, law enforcement and UMMC, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

For Mercy Flight, base tours and participation in community events such as the Genesee County Fair, YWCA Penny Carnival, UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic, Pembroke Winterfest, Summer in the City, Brick House Corners Fair and the Oakfield Christmas tree decorating help educate the public and help with fundraising, according to the report. Fundraisers such as the annual Hackers for Helicopters Golf Outing and dinner events at Batavia Downs Gaming and Batavia Country Club are important for these reasons, too.

For Mercy EMS, the ambulance fleet continues to be upgraded, including "graphic schemes that match the helicopters." Three new ambulances will be replacing three old ones. Also, two bases of operations are in place to improve response times for more remote location calls -- one in South Byron, the other in East Pembroke.

Taking part in the UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic and Mash Camps allow preschoolers and pre-teens to learn about EMS. Parades and EMS standbys for community events also provide outreach opportunities, as does allowing local EMT students and UMMC residents-in-training the chance to shadow EMS providers for real-life experience.

Committee Vice Chair Marianne Clattenburg, who represents District 8, asked if recruitment of EMS personnel is difficult.

"Absolutely, this is a nationwide problem," Baumgardt responded.

After a person is already a certified EMT, there's an additional two-year training period required to become a paramedic. That's is a daunting commitment for some and the pay rate in a small market like Genesee County compared to bigger markets does not help any.

"You've served Genesee County for 35 years and we're extremely happy and thankful for that extra level of protection," Committee Chair Rochelle Stein (District 5) said about Mercy Flight.

May 3, 2016 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, batavia society of artists, art.

The Batavia Society of Artists 2016 Spring Art Exhibit will be held at Richmond Memorial Library from May 9 to May 29.

The Opening Reception with artists will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 12. At 7 o'clock that night, the society will present the Virginia Carr Mumford Memorial Scholarship to a student from Genesee Community College.

Carr Mumford was a long-standing member of the society and over the years her family has graciously continued the yearly scholarship.

In addition, at the reception there will be award recognitions for the 2016 show and the drawing of a raffle winner of Brian Kemp's demo painting. It is a collaborative abstract painting titled "#17." Raffle tickets will be availble for sale until 7 p.m. They are $5 each or three for $10.

All proceeds will help the society to hold more art demos.

For additional information, contact Terry Weber at 993-0509 or [email protected].

Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

May 3, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, human service committee.

There's every reason to think this summer's fair will be as good as last year's, which had the largest attendance in decades -- about 21,000 -- and plans are afoot to bring in thousands more to the fairgrounds for new events that include a statewide sheep show and Christian music concerts.

That was what the Human Service Committee was told at its Monday afternoon meeting by Norm Pimm, treasurer of the Genesee County Agricultural Society, which oversees the fairgrounds.

"We ran out of parking two nights," Pimm said, noting they found more space somehow, because "if they were going to pay $5 for parking, we were going to find a place for them."

Pimm credited the record-breaking number of fairgoers to lots of positive publicity by local media and the most coverage to date from news outlets in Buffalo, including TV channels 2, 7 and 4, The Buffalo News, and a morning radio showwhich drew more people than ever from the neighboring Erie County.

"We had to get the kids up early so they could be out with the animals," Pimm said about working to get publicity.

Another plus in 2015 was the biggest midway yet, including 18 mechanical rides, and the bonanza that ensued from having a $5 three-hour limitless ride opportunity for children on a Saturday.

"Parents said you couldn't go to another amusement park for that price," Pimm said.

The plan is to expand the three-hour ride bonanza by adding one more day this year -- a Friday AND a Saturday.

"I like the price for the kids' rides," said Committee Member John Deleo, who represents District 7.

The fair officials also want "to try and pick up some pieces" of the shattered good times due to the necessity of fair cancellations by fire departments in Elba and Stafford. To that end, they plan to hire the Syracuse-based band Under the Gun, which regularly played the Stafford gig, to entertain fairgoers.

"They have a huge following," Pimm told the committee, and so does the country band Branded and the Buffalo-based blues trio the Jony James Band, both of which are also going to be on the 2016 roster.

Of Jony James, a Buffalo News writer noted "(Jony’s) slashing, quivering guitar cuts like lightening through the smoke and grit of rough and tumble roadhouses, while his voice carries a touching sort of quiet sadness.”

Also, a magician has just been signed to perform daily at the fair. The price for parking will remain unchanged at $5 per vehicle and admission will remain free to the fair, despite the fact that many others are starting to charge an entrance fee.

The Batavia Speedway will continue its operations.

Beyond the fair, the Empire Sheep Show is a statewide showcase that will bring people to Genesee County for four days. And the largest hitched horse show in New York is in the plans, too, one of two new horse shows planned for the venue.

To accommodate these and upgrade the fairgrounds, a loan was just signed to build a new 60 by 130 foot barn. The old barn will remain standing and can be used when additional show space is needed. Grants are being pursued for electrical improvements at the fairgrounds.

This fall, a brand-new Farm Museum will open at the fairgrounds, and a key goal is to attract youth to agricultural pursuits. Local farmers provided the seed money for a 40 by 130 foot building to house the museum, which will include a classroom, exhibit space and room to expand. Plans call for an animal clinic for youth focusing on both health and showmanship.

"At the end of the day, if we don't get youth involved, there won't be a fair in 10 or 20 years," Pimm said.

Lastly, Pimm said the Ag Society was approached by a couple of local churches wanting to hold Christian music concerts. The estimated number of potential attendees quickly ballooned he said, and is now hovering between 3,000 to 5,000 people.

Ed DeJaneiro Jr., committee member representing District 9, said Pimm's report of the Ag Society underscores its aim to provide educational and entertainment value at affordable prices.

By the by, here's a video of the Jony James Band from 2011's Artpark festival in Lewiston.

May 3, 2016 - 12:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, GCC, poetry, novelist, Louise Wareham Leonard.

Award-winning writer Louise Wareham Leonard will give a reading at Genesee Community College this Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 12:20 - 1:15 p.m. in room T-203 of the Conable Technology Building. The event is free and open to the public. Interested attendees are asked to RSVP with JoNelle Toriseva, GCC director of English, Communications and Media Arts by e-mailing: [email protected].

Louise Wareham Leonard's first novel "Since You Ask" was released in 2004, and was published in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. It received the James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award. Wareham Leonard has also been shortlisted for the Prize in Modern Letters. Her second novel, "Miss Me A Lot Of," was published in 2007 and became a bestseller in New Zealand. Her latest collection, "52 Men," was published by Red Hen Press last fall. She has also published in literary journals, including "Poetry" and "The Rumpus," including the recent "How to Date a Writer" which can be reviewed online at: http://therumpus.net/2015/09/funny-women-132-how-to-date-a-writer/

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Wareham Leonard immigrated to New York City, where she attended Dalton School and the United Nations International School. She graduated from Columbia in New York with a degree in Comparative Literature and Society. At Columbia, she was awarded the Andrew D. Fried Memorial Prize for excellence in critical and creative writing. She represented Columbia in the Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Contest. Along with New York and New Zealand, she has lived and worked in Mississippi, Europe, the Caribbean and the outback in Western Australia.

Living internationally features in her writing, and Wareham Leonard reflects on her unique ancestry and heritage.

She said: "New Zealand has a strong, strong pull for me. We drove all over both islands when I was a girl, staying at motels with hot swimming pools and Maori dances, visiting the pancake rocks and Mt. Cook and Franz Josef Glacier. I have come back from New York several times as an adult to live for extended periods in Wellington, and always ended up in Paekakariki. Turns out I have ancestors there and around Whanganui, and recent revelations around that have made my visceral attachment to New Zealand make more sense. It's something powerful and unexpected, a draw to the intensity and stunning beauty. I have a good mind to come back and live in a campervan in Northland sometime. On the other hand, my education was mostly Northeastern American and that, as well as being turned inside out – from a quiet reserved NZ girl to an outspoken New Yorker – has formed my personality and my sensibilities as a writer. It's an odd mix. I have often felt flung out into the world, but now I realize I actually have ties."

JoNelle Toriseva, director of English, Communications and Media Arts, knows Wareham Leonard through their work on the literary publication, "Tin House," where work is reviewed and considered for inclusion in the magazine.

May 3, 2016 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in liberty pumps, bergen, business.

Liberty Pumps hosted hundreds of visitors for their 2016 Open House held on April 27. The event was planned with two separate segments, one for family and friends of employees and one for the community.

The company welcomed visitors to show the completion of the recent three-phase expansion which nearly doubled the size of the facility. In total, the expansion added over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Bergen. New additions included manufacturing areas, engineering lab and test facilities, as well as a new training center.

Attendees were treated to a tour of the facility, product demonstrations and a presentation and dedication of the new facility by Charlie Cook, president and CEO.

May 3, 2016 - 12:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, YWCA, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

The 2016 Women of Distinction Awards Committee is thrilled to announce this year’s slate of recipients. These community members not only embody YWCA’s mission and vision but they also represent a wide cross section of people working toward the good of others.

They are:

  • Jennifer Nunnery for the military/veteran category;
  • Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program for economic empowerment;
  • Courtney Turcer for racial justice;
  • Tompkins Bank of Castile for corporate social responsibility;
  • Genesee County Mental Health Services for peace;
  • and City of Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze for advocacy/civic engagement.

Although some people may think of these awards as only about honoring women, they are acknowledgments to all of those deserving people, organizations and businesses that contribute to the mission and vision of YWCA.

They embody our ultimate goal to empower women, eliminate racism and encourage economic independence, healthy relationships and a community free from violence, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

“Through their work, these people and organizations have truly created paths of a more hopeful future for area youth, speakers of other languages, people with mental health needs, domestic violence victims and community members at large," Walton said. "These recipients are all excellent choices for our very diverse award categories. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments during the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Gala next month.”

The Gala is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia. An awards ceremony will be at Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by dinner, social time and an art auction in the Forum at 6:30.

Tickets for the Gala are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For tickets or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Jennifer Nunnery, a Batavia native, was nominated for Military/Veteran for her dedication to fellow veterans and willingness to share her own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a way to make her peers more comfortable. After graduating from Batavia High School she joined the Army Military Police Corps where she deployed to Iraq twice in 2003 and 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning home, she attended GCC, obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Brockport State College and pursued law at University at Buffalo Law School. While there, she interned at the Genesee County Public Defender's Office and the Monroe County Public Defender's Office gaining valuable experience and mentorship from some of the most experienced public defenders in Western New York.

Nunnery, who recently opened her own law office Downtown, believes in giving back to her community. For three years she volunteered as a Veteran Mentor with the Batavia Veterans Treatment Court in Batavia City Court and she also serves as an advisor on the GCC Paralegal Advisory Committee and the Alexander High School’s Mock Trial Team.

Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program not only gives students the experience and hands-on training needed to operate an efficient kitchen, but the program, led by Chef Nathan Koscielski, allows students to compete in culinary events, operate an on-site café and develop all of the necessary skills to enable them to pursue this or a related career field after graduation.

The Batavia-based group was nominated for Economic Empowerment because students learn every facet of the business, from meeting expenses and operating a profitable business to food presentation and farm-to-table concepts.

Courtney Turcer is a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages at Batavia High School. She was nominated for Racial Justice as a passionate teacher who works tirelessly to provide equal opportunity to the Batavia community’s English language learner population. This year she decided to volunteer her time for a free adult ESOL class on Sunday nights for parents in the Batavia area.

Her commitment and drive have enabled parents and students alike to communicate and understand the English language and therefore be able to pursue their educational and career goals. Her efforts garnered Turcer recognition as a Member of the Month by the state’s TESOL organization.

Genesee County Mental Health Services was nominated for Peace as a result of the agency’s impact on the lives of Genesee County residents each and every day. Agency staff has demonstrated a willingness to become more accessible before, during and after hours, which has kept crisis situations from turning into tragedies. The compassion, patience and understanding shown by all staff members, along with their ability to come together with their skills and talents as a team, is what makes the quality of services provided “priceless.” The effects are far reaching and often touch the lives of family members and friends who have been a part of the clients’ healing journey, a nomination letter stated.

Batavia City Police Officer James DeFreze was nominated for Advocacy/Civic Engagement due to his role of being a lifesaver. Not that he hasn’t had other positive encounters with domestic violence victims, but one in particular says she owes him a debt of gratitude for how he so swiftly came to her side with compassion and patience as she began her journey away from horrific abuse.

“It was the most terrifying and demoralizing experience," she says. "I did not have the strength or courage to go forth with any criminal charges on my abuser because he stripped me of having that power. I cannot express my appreciation or gratitude enough to you.”

Tompkins Bank of Castile was nominated for Corporate Social Responsibility for its constant presence out in the community while also being a source of encouragement for company employees. They contribute thousands of hours to various organizations each year, from coaching little league and picking up litter to gardening, painting and helping to renovate a dilapidated house.

Tompkins has record turnouts during Genesee County United Way’s Day of Caring and countless employees have served in leadership roles at Rotary, YWCA and Business Improvement District boards plus many other nonprofits. Marketing Officer Krysia Mager believes that if it hadn’t been for Tompkins’ management supporting her efforts on the city’s Centennial Committee, she would not have been able to be part of that historic effort. That’s just one of many examples of how a business like Tompkins can have that personal connection with its staff and community members, Mager said.

May 3, 2016 - 12:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news batavia, corfu.

Christopher Michael Smith, 21, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. He was arrested at 12:23 a.m. this morning for allegedly trespassing at a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive after being told not to return. He is to appear in Batavia Town Court on May 16.

Marlicia L. Johnson, 29, of Buffalo, was arrested May 3 for unlawful possession of marijuana after a traffic stop on Route 77 at Water Street for allegedly speeding. During the traffic stop, the officer detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Johnson was allegedly found to be in possession of three marijuana cigarettes. Johnson was issued tickets and an appearance ticket returnable to the Village of Corfu on June 6. The case was handled by Corfu Police Officer Michael Petritz.

May 2, 2016 - 3:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.

Richmond Memorial Library's budget vote and trustee election takes place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd. Voting takes place in the library's Gallery Room. Any registered voter residing in the Batavia City School District is eligible to vote.

The library is located at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

May 2, 2016 - 2:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, alexander.

Kyle Robert Ratulowski (pictured right), 20, of Batavia, was arrested on April 27 and charged with second-degree burglary, a Class C felony. Troopers received a call of a burglary on Clinton Street in the Town of Batavia on that date. The investigation revealed that a fire safe was taken valued at $200 and that Ratulowski was a possible suspect. Ratulowski was located at a address in the City of Batavia. Ratulowski was arrested and transported to SP Batavia for processing. He was arraigned in the Town of Batavia Court and put in Genesee County Jail for $25,000 bail.

Kyle Robert Ratulowski, 20, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested at 9:45 p.m. on April 29 for allegedly being in possession of stolen electronics. He was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on May 10. The goods were reported stolen at 2 p.m. on April 20 from a location of Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. At the same time and date of this arrest, Ratulowski was also charged with petit larceny of tools and personal items and for fourth-degree criminal mischief for allegedly damaging a vehicle. These charges stem from an incident at 10 p.m. on April 12 on Park Road in Batavia wherein items were stolen from an unlocked vehicle and the interior of the vehicle was damaged. He is to appear in Town of Batavia Court, also on May 10, to answer these charges. Both cases were handled by Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer.

Nicholas Benjamin Wall, 25, of Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is charged with reckless endangerment of property. He was charged following a large explosion on April 15. He allegedly shot a large amount of tannerite at 3465 Dodgeson Road, Alexander, which cause an explosion and shook houses throughout the county.

Rochelle V. Tomlin, 40, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and obligation of a parent or guardian. She was arrested at 2 p.m. on April 24 after allegedly allowing her 14-year-old son to violate the city's curfew. At the time the youth was in violation of the curfew, he was "out committing acts that would be considered crimes if performed by an adult," according to the police report. Tomlin is to be in City Court at 1 p.m. on May 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Todd A. Reynolds, 45, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and obstructing governmental administration. He was arrested at 10:23 p.m. on May 1 following a domestic incident on West Main Street. He allegedly was kicking the victim during an altercation. He did not cooperate with police upon their arrival and became combative with them. He was put in jail, with bail (unspecified), and was to appear in City Court this afternoon. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Michael E. Weichman, 21, of Bank Street, Batavia, and Alysha E. Weichman and Tyler L. Warner were arrested at 4 p.m. on April 28 and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fifth-degree conspiracy for allegedly stealing $1,376.97 worth of groceries from Tops Market in Batavia. They were issued appearance tickets and are to be in City Court on May 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Jared Paul Schmidt, 20, of Silver Springs, is charged with disorderly conduct and open container of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle. He was arrested at 1:35 p.m. on April 23 after he was allegedly observed hitting/striking his vehicle, which was parked roadside on Ellicott Street, and obstructing vehicular traffic. He was allegedly found to have an open bottle of beer in the center console of his vehicle. He was ordered to be in City Court on May 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Darryle Streeter.

Patricia A. Poole, 26, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with violation of conditional discharge. She was located on Liberty Street at 4:05 p.m. on April 30 and arrested on a bench warrant issued for a disorderly conduct charge from November 2009. She was released and ordered to appear in Batavia City Court this afternoon. During the handling of this case, responding officers discovered that Poole had an active warrant from 2012. She was subsequently arrested and jailed in lieu of $500 bail. She is also to appear in City Court this afternoon on the 2012 warrant case. The cases were handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot and Officer Peter Flanagan.

James N. DiFalco, 19, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. He was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of stolen game system and selling it to a game store for cash on April 20. He is to return to Batavia City Court on May 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

James R. Sweet, 54, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with conducting an open burn. At 5:50 p.m. on April 28, Sweet was allegedly found to be burning debris in his yard on Walnut Street in violation of the city's municipal code. He is to appear in City Court on May 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Latiqua S. Jackson, 22, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested April 25 after allegedly stealing a Sony PlayStation 3 from a residence on Tracy Avenue on April 18. She is to be in City Court on May 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Marquita Shanee Davis, 28, of Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 3:25 p.m. on May 1 as a result of a shoplifting complaint. It is alleged that she stole $73.57 worth of merchandise from a location on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. She was released with an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court at a later date. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Chante Dominique Davis, 30, of Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 3:25 p.m. on May 1 as a result of a shoplifting complaint. It is alleged that she stole $73.57 worth of merchandise from a location on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. She was released with an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court at a later date. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

A 17-year-old from Pavilion is charged with petit larceny. The suspect was arrested April 30 in connection with a shoplifting incident wherein several articles of clothing were stolen from a local store. The youth was issued an appearance ticket for May 9 in Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Pierre A. Triplett Jr., 20, no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested following an investigation of shoplifting at Tops Market in Batavia at 10:46 a.m. on April 28. He is to be in City Court on May 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Brad L. Ohlson, 39, of Union Street, Batavia, was arrested on April 25 on a bench warrant issued out of Batavia City Court after his alleged failure to comply with the conditions of his release under supervision. He was held on bail and was to appear in City Court April 25. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Mariah R. Hagen, 20, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. She was arrested on the charge following a traffic stop at 9:24 p.m. on April 21 on State Street, Batavia. She is due in City Court on May 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Thad Mart, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

April 30, 2016 - 5:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A small house, and the woods around it, are reportedly on fire in Alabama at 6985 Meadville Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from Pembroke and Indian Falls.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: Fire command requests law enforcement to the scene. Five gasoline containers and 40 paint cans are said to be on the property.

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.: "We've got it knocked down pretty good," reports command, noting smoke is visible "over the hill." Corfu is also responding, along with Akron.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: The fire is mostly knocked down but smoke is still pouring from a crawl space over the rear wall, which is proving hard to access.

UPDATE 7:12 p.m.: National Grid requested to the scene.

April 30, 2016 - 7:13am
posted by Billie Owens in Pavilion.

Law enforcement is responding to Route 19 and Junction Road in Pavilion for two goats reported to be in the roadway.

UPDATE 7:23 a.m.: "Out with two goats," says an officer to dispatch.

April 30, 2016 - 5:34am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia.

A working fire is reported at 8056 Oak Orchard Road at an apartment building. Unknown if the structure is occupied, "it's possibly occupied." Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding along with Alexander's Fast team.

UPDATE 5:35 a.m.: "This is an occupied structure." Fire police are called to assist with traffic control at Route 98 and the Thruway. "Flames are through the roof."

UPDATE 5:38 a.m.: A Mercy unit is responding. Stafford fire is asked to report to the Town of Batavia Station #2 and East Pembroke to Station #1.

UPDATE 5:42 a.m.: Elba Fire Police are called to control traffic at Route 98 and West Saile Drive.

UPDATE 5:54 a.m.: An Elba engine is called to the scene.

UPDATE 5:57 a.m.: Mercy medic #3 is the second ambulance into the scene.

UPDATE 5:59 a.m.: The natural gas line has been shut off to the residence. The rescue unit with a cascade system is called in from Elba instead of an engine.

UPDATE 6 a.m.: The city's fast team is also working to extinguish the fire. The city's third platoon is called to fire headquarters.

UPDATE 6:02 a.m.: National Grid is called to the scene.

UPDATE 6:07 a.m.: Byron is requested to have one engine stand by in Elba Fire Hall.

UPDATE 6:05 a.m.: Elba Fire Police are also to control traffic at Route 98 and Park Road, and Route 63 and Veterans Memorial Drive.

UPDATE 6:25 a.m.: The fire scene is north of the Thruway, just north of Call Parkway. Le Roy is asked to stand by in Stafford's fire hall.

UPDATE 6:39 a.m.: Town command reports fire is under control; overhauling structure now. Power to the structure has been turned off.

UPDATE 6:41 a.m.: Instead of Le Roy, Bethany is asked to fill in at Stafford's fire hall.

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: The Salvation Army is called to the scene.

UPDATE 7:22 a.m.: A third Mercy rig is called to come in non-emergency mode. Salvation Army has an ETA of about 45 minutes. An ambulance just arrived at UMMC with a patient who sustained a head injury at the fire scene.

UPDATE 7:32 a.m.: One person died in this fire. Some family notifications have been made. A code enforcement officer from Town of Batavia is called to the scene. 

UPDATE 8:54 a.m.: Route 98 has been reopened.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: State Police have confirmed that Roger Saile, 90, the lone resident of the house, died as a result of the fire.

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