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July 24, 2012 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Two homes in the City of Batavia were recently burglarized during the day and Batavia PD is reminding residents to report suspicious activity.

The homes were on Manhattan Avenue and Chase Park and the break-ins were reported Tuesday and Monday.

The homes were unoccupied at the time and jewelry and cash were stolen.

No further details were released.

Batavia PD can be reached at (585) 345-6350.

July 24, 2012 - 5:49pm

In an apparent attempt to intimidate news reporters from covering the activities of her stores, the woman who has identified herself online as the owner of at least four outlets of The 420 Emporium contacted law enforcement on Monday and accused The Batavian's publisher of harassing her.

A police officer with the Greece PD contacted Howard Owens at 9:18 p.m., Monday, and ordered him to not have further contact with Amber Snover.

Snover was the subject of a story on The Batavian on Monday identifying her as the self-proclaimed owner of 420 shops in Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse.  It's unclear if she also owns the Batavia store at 400 Ellicott St.

When contacted via phone on Monday, Snover denied ownership of all five locations and Owens followed up with a text message question and an exchanged ensured in which she accused Owens of harassing her even though it was his first contact with her.

Owens, who had identified himself clearly on the initial call, informed Snover further via text that he was a reporter with legitimate questions.

When Owens told the Greece PD officer the same thing, the officer told Owens he had no right to contact Snover, that she was "alarmed and annoyed" by the contact and that if he contacted her again "we will issue a warrant for your arrest."

The Public Information Officer for the Greece PD, Capt. Steve Chatterton, said today the contact by the officer was a typical courtesy call placed by a police officer at the behest of an individual who wanted to request no further contact.

Chatterton said no police report was taken and no charges are pending. He said if Owens felt obliged as a journalist to seek an interview in the future with Snover, an arrest warrant would not be automatic. He said the circumstances of the case would be reviewed with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office before deciding how to proceed.

July 24, 2012 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.

Two subjects are reportedly fighting in front of a group of spectators on Washington Avenue. City police are responding.

UPDATE 3:14 p.m.: Upon arrival police found nothing. They checked the area and then returned to quarters.

July 24, 2012 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

Someone flagged down a medic at 106 Bank St. in Batavia. A person there has a minor head injury. It is not yet reported what caused the injury.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m.: An 18-year-old male is being taken to UMMC by Mercy medics with a laceration on the back of his head. No word on how this happened.

July 24, 2012 - 12:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A brush fire is reported to be 20 feet away from a residence at 7012 Maple Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding. The location is between Knowlesville and Ledge roads. The fire chief on scene reports it is currently confined to a hedgerow and "as long as the wind is cooperating" it should remain there while they proceed to put it out.

UPDATE 1:07 p.m.: The fire is under control.

UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: The fire is out. Alabama is back in service.

July 24, 2012 - 11:34am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

A car and bicycle accident is reported on East Main Street in front of the Miss Batavia diner. The bicyclist is said to have leg and hip injuries. City police, fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 11:44 a.m.: The patient is a 15-year-old girl who complains of pain in her left hip and her neck. She is being transported to UMMC. She was not hit directly by the vehicle, rather when it turned, the two collided and she fell off her bicycle.

UPDATE 9:49 p.m.: A reader named Amanda asked us to post the following note:

The 15 yr old girl is my daughter. She is doing ok. From what she told me she was trying to go around a car that was not stopping or watching for anyone. the car was pulled out onto the sidewalk up by aldis. My daughter said she thought the driver would have seen her. And if the driver that was trying to pull out of aldis parking lot was paying attention and actually stopped at the stop sign that is there, that my daughter would not have tried to go around. My daughter also said there was a line of cars behind the one that wasn't paying attention. i am not saying my daughter is not at fault here, but that other driver is at fault too. And the driver that hit my daughter is just a victim of peoples stupidity.

I think cars should not be allowed to pull up on sidewalks as pedestrians have to use the sidewalks. The cars should have to wait by the stop signs as most people will not pay attention to pedestrians. I had to pull my kids back from that very spot several times because cars do not stop at that stop sign, they just go to the edge by the road. Today could have been prevented if people follow the driving rules and actually payed attention.

Another thing for that driver who hit my daughter, I would like to let you know that my daughter is doing ok, just sore and bruised. My daughter said you were crying and everything. i do not hold you responsible from what I was told. I am sorry you and my daughter had to go through this today.

July 24, 2012 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Press release:

Today, Senator Charles E. Schumer announced a critical funding commitment for the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), to complete essential infrastructure improvements at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (GVAB) in Batavia.

In March of 2012, Schumer urged the EDA to support the ag park’s water system after the GGLDC applied for a $1 million investment from the EDA Public Works Program, which will go toward infrastructure improvements needed to support Muller-Quaker partners' -- Theo Muller Group and PepsiCo -- new $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility in the ag park.

Today, the EDA notified the GGLDC that the agency was granting it a $1 million preliminary award pending receipt of final supporting documents.

“This federal investment will mean more jobs and economic activity in Upstate New York, and more demand for our dairy farmers’ product. It is great news for the Genesee County’s Agri-Business Park that further solidifies Upstate New York’s place at the top of the rapidly expanding Greek yogurt production industry,” Schumer said.

“I urged the Economic Development Administration to support this project so that Genesee can pave the way for a major new water system at the Agri-Business Park in Batavia, helping to sprout hundreds of new jobs and Pepsi’s new Greek yogurt plant.

"The Agri-Business Park is going to be a huge driver of jobs and economic growth, and it’s clear that EDA agrees we need to make this investment to create jobs and new markets for our farms and dairies. The EDA made a smart choice and will get real bang for their buck with this investment.”

In March of 2012, Schumer wrote and personally called EDA Acting Assistant Secretary Matthew Erskine to issue his support and noted that this investment would allow the ag park to construct an aquifer-direct water system, which is required for food processing and yogurt-product manufacturing.

The federal award will also help the project leverage millions in private-sector investments and will create approximately 186 jobs at the plant, all while providing a critical boost as Genesee County and Upstate New York work to keep pace with the lucrative and fast-growing yogurt production industry.

The GGLDC will use the $1 million, plus a local match, to construct an aquifer-direct water system required by food processors as municipal water is not optimal for the manufacturing process of yogurt products.

In addition to PepsiCo’s Muller-Quaker plant, the aquifer system will be utilized by other tenants at the park, such as yogurt product producer Alpina Foods. Alpina is in the process of constructing a 40,000-square-foot yogurt processing facility in the ag park and anticipates beginning production late this summer with the hiring of 50 new employees.

Schumer highlighted the fact that multiple economic development projects would be set to utilize this aquifer system once constructed, and noted that the project fits squarely in line with the administration’s focus on developing regional clusters of growth in specialized high-tech manufacturing.

This funding will help Genesee County close an over $1 million funding gap needed to upgrade the park’s road and sewer infrastructure to accommodate forthcoming new tenants like Muller-Quaker, Alpina, and Genesee Valley Mushroom.

In May, Schumer led the effort to secure $105,000 from the USDA to upgrade an essential pump station necessary to increase the park’s wastewater system’s capacity to support the park’s new tenants. To overcome the last of this funding gap, Schumer is also spearheading an effort to secure a $200,000 grant from USDA to construct the required secondary access road into the park. The USDA expects to announce winners of that grant within the next few weeks.

Earlier this year, Schumer urged Muller-Quaker partner PepsiCo, to source as much of the milk for their product as they can from New York’s dairy farmers. The new plant, to be built in Batavia, will create 186 jobs primarily around the manufacturing of various Greek yogurt products. Schumer noted that the plant will be the largest manufacturing operation to locate in Genesee County in the past 50 years.

Dairy processing has significantly increased, thanks to the opening of several new yogurt plants in the state, and the new Muller-Quaker plant represents the latest opportunity to increase demand for New York dairy products, a welcome boost for New York’s long-suffering dairy farmers.

The EDA Public Works Program provides funding for distressed communities to revitalize and upgrade physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, and diversify local economies.

The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program helps address the needs of communities experiencing adverse economic changes that may occur suddenly or over time caused by international trade, long-term economic deterioration, loss of major community employer, or loss of manufacturing jobs. Funding can be used for infrastructure improvements like sewers.

July 24, 2012 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in synthetic drugs, bath salts.

In early 2011, a 17-year-old boy entered a head shop in Salina, Kan., and purchased a package of chemically laced potpourri.

The teen went home, smoked what he apparently believed was synthetic marijuana and suffered a seizure. He was taken to a local hospital where he slipped into a coma.

While the boy survived the experience, the case and related events illustrate a few points about synthetic drugs.

  • The chemists who make them are always trying to stay one step ahead of controlled substance bans.
  • The chemists who make them demonstrate little concern about the safety of the products they produce.
  • Even when a substance used in the manufacture of a synthetic drug isn't specifically banned at either a state or federal level, there are laws on the books to help authorities go after the producers and sellers of these compounds.

The 42-year-old shop owner, Eric Srack (in photos above), was eventually arrested. He was convicted in September 2011 of selling a substance that was an analog to (mimics the effects of) a controlled substance. Later, he entered a guilty plea to a related felony charge for possession with intent to sell an analog to a controlled substance.

According to The Hutchinson News, Srack was suspected in February of 2011 of manufacturing blends of potpourri known as "Bubble Gum Fun" and "Midnight Moon."

According to the story, Srack bragged on his Web site:

I am the only man alive with my recipe. Although all of my blends are lightly fragranced, they remain 99 percent all natural and completely herbal.

When authories raided warehouses belonging to Srack, they reportedly found substances containing the chemicals JWH-122 and JWH-210. Authorities charged that the substances were analogs to JWH-018 and JWH-073, which were already banned in Kansas.

The substances JWH-018 and JWH-073 were used in the manufacture of Spice and K2, the most commonly recognized names for synthetic marijuana.

It appears that Srack created his own potpourri with the intention of skirting both federal and Kansas controlled substances laws.

Srack's amateur cannabinoids modification demonstrates how easily somebody with a limited background in chemistry can get into the synthetic drug trade, and how few safety precautions clandestine chemists take before releasing a new substance to consumers.

In the past year, Genesee County has seen a couple of waves of synthetic drug use, first with synthetic cannabinoids and more recently with chemical compounds known as bath salts.

The spike in bath salt use over the past several weeks has led to reports of seizures, extreme body temperatures, odd and even dangerous behavior and people with numerous paranoid delusions.

Eventually, the bath salt craze will fade, but the more than 50-year history of synthetic drugs, often called designer drugs, shows that when one so-called "legal high" is banned, users will seek out a new fix and, increasingly, there are underground chemists willing to try and supply it to them.

The invention and manufacture of synthetic compounds that have mind-altering effects goes back to the early part of the 20th Century. But wasn't until 1979 that authorities first encountered a dangerous drug that didn't show up in urine and blood samples and was designed to mimic a substance that was already illegal to sell and manufacture.

The drug was China White, a synthetic form of heroin created by an anonymous chemist in California.

China White was a knockoff of fentanyl, a powerful painkiller used in clinical settings, usually as an anesthetic in major surgery.

The new drug was 20 to 40 times more powerful than heroin and a druggist with $500 in chemicals could produce product worth $2 million on the street, according to a 1985 article by Jack Scafer in Science magazine. (Read the end of the article for an interesting discussion of the connection between another "new" heroin product and how it helped scientists find a possible connection between environmental pollution and Parkinson's Disease.)

Dozens and dozens of people died as a result using China White in the years immediately after its introduction.

After China White came PCP, GHB, Ecstasy, Special K and Nexus, among others, before the introduction around 2005 of Spice, K2 and the first form of "bath salts."

The ever-changing non-organic drug market is likely continue to befuddle law enforcement and health professionals until the cops and prosecutors catch up with the 21st Century, according to Bruce Talbot. He retired from the Woodridge, Illinois PD after a 26-year career and is a drug-recognition expert who has studied synthetic drugs extensively since the 1980s.

"Our current drug laws are based on the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 when our drugs were based on plants," Talbot said. "It was meant to regulate opium, heroin and cocaine. But that's the 20th Century. Our laws need to catch up with the 21st Century."

In response to the rise of previously unknown drugs that mimic already banned substances, in 1985 Congress passed the Federal Analog Act, which made it a crime to sell and distribute compounds and substances intended to produce the same effect as drugs already declared illegal.

The act requires a two-prong test for prosecution:

  • That the substance has components and effects similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance;
  • And, that the producer intended it to have an intoxicating effect.

That's why products that are sold as "bath salts," "incense," potpourri," "spice" and "plant food" contain the warning, "not for human consumption."

Invariably, that's the only notice on the colorfully decorated packages with fanciful names indicating that the contents might be harmful if consumed.

The warning seems to exist purely as a legal fiction designed -- producers hope -- to protect manufacturers and sellers from possible criminal consequences.

The naming and marketing of the packages often seem intended to attract buyers other than those looking to make their water smell sweet or attract ladybugs to their gardens.

Sample products available online: Mind Candy (sold as a "plant food"), Pink Panther (sold as a "research chemical" out of the UK), Day Lights (which carries the warning "Keep out of Reach of Children. Not for Sale to Minors. Do Not Consume.") and White Water Rapid (which says not for human consumption, but also carries the warning "Enjoy with caution.") (Also check the packaging pictures in this story copied from a Web site that claims to sell legal highs at wholesale prices.)

At the recent anti-bath salts rally outside 420 Emporium on Ellicott Street, one of the protesters found a discarded package of "Party Rocks," a "tie dye" substance, according to the package.

One online site that advertises possible designer drugs describes "Party Rocks" this way:

If you loved the laid back 70's or maybe you are just a New Age Hippie at heart, then you will love these great Tie Dye Capsules. Unlike the ones you find at the local super store, these capsules dont have a bad chemical smell and won't leave your house looking like a dye factory. The pleasant orange aroma and easy to follow instructions will have you ready for a 70's style party in no time. Each pack contains two capsules and is just enough to make even the lamest things look cool. This item is not to be consumed and should only be used on fabric.  

An online discussion forum for apparent drug users gives users a chance to review such substances. It contained this comment:

One such product are Party Rocks Tie Dye Concentrate. Two capsules, filled with reddish pink/white powder (to the brim) that you dissolve in water and squirt on a t-shirt, then let dry for 12 hours. Well I wore my shirt right away, and It was amazing...

The next comment, though, is more direct about how the substance may be used.

Hey bud, would you mind being a just a smidge more clear about what these do? It almost sounds like this stuff is psychedelic. Or is it just another in the long line of stims?

There are legitimate "bath salts" you can buy either online or in many types of retail shops, of course -- the kind of product you dump into warm water before relaxing in the soothing soft liquid as it washes over your body after a long, hard day; but, the products sold up to now as "bath salts" carry no marketing message that would indicate they would be aromatic.

Clearly, the thinly veiled marketing of these products sold by head shops or online herbal stores as a plant food or iPod cleaner suggests they are not really intended for either of those purposes.

Glenn Duncan, executive director of the Hunterdon Drug Awareness Program in Flemington, N.J., has studied synthetic drugs extensively and maintains one of the most informative Web pages available on the constantly changing analog landscape.

At some point, prosecutors, Duncan agrees, will need to work with law enforcement to find creative ways to arrest producers and sellers of these products when existing laws prove inadequate, or until legislation better fits today's illicit drug market.

"Quite obviously, these things are sold for human consumption," Duncan said.

The current scheme of waiting for new drugs to hit the market and then outlawing the substances once they've proven harmful is not working, Duncan said.

For example, MDPV emerged in bath salts in 2005. The first MDPV-related seizure was reported in 2006. It's only been a Schedule I controlled substance in New York for less than a year, and federally since July 9. By the time it was banned, most "bath salt" products being sold no longer contained MDPV.

To become a controlled substance, a chemical compound must first get listed on an emergency schedule and tested by the FDA. Not every substance that goes through this process is later banned as a controlled substance.

The process is slow, cumbersome and doesn't always yield results that keeps dangerous drugs off the streets.

"Chemists will always be five years ahead of the federal government," Duncan said.

The bill that banned MDPV with President Barack Obama's signature on July 9 also banned mephedrone, and Duncan is frustrated that the legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer didn't go far enough.

An earlier version of the bill also would have banned naphyrone, but somewhere along the line for reasons that Duncan said are not entirely clear, naphyrone was dropped from the bill.

Even so, there are a total of 83 substances, as far as Duncan knows, that are used in bath salt and bath salt-like products.

"In his press release Sen. Schumer said this put 'the final nail in the coffin for legal bath salts,' " Duncan said. "It was the most ridiculous statement I ever saw. I was angered by it. If he looked at my Web site, he would see 83 substances listed. He put two nails in a coffin that needs 83 nails."

For example, there are now products appearing in retail outlets containing pentedrone, which hasn't been scheduled yet, but is already sending people to emergency rooms.

Kansas is apparently doing its best to keep abreast of new synthetic cannabinoids, and a law enforcement official in Salina said it appears that fake pot is a bigger problem in the state than bath salts. This week, authorities in Kansas issued an emergency ban on UR-144, which has been marketed under several brand names, including "Halo Zombie Matter."

MORE after the jump (click on headline to read more):

July 24, 2012 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

And they're off ... for the 66th season, there is live harness racing at Batavia Downs.

More than 3,000 racing fans turned out for opening night and they witnessed Shawn Gray, who captured Buffalo's 2012 driving title, notch three wins.

Two other of the nation's top drivers, Dan Noble and Jim Morrill Jr., were also featured on the night.

July 24, 2012 - 8:54am
posted by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alabama Hotel, 1353 Lewiston Road, Basom, NY: A historic and legendary tavern and restaurant. The Alabama Hotel is famous for its fish fries, but also serves a variety of top-quality entrees, featuring Certified Angus Beef. Now with expanded hours. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Delavan's, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently so you can try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kravings offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Palm Island Indoor Water Park, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, NY: The newest family fun center in Genesee County, featuring a hot tub, monsoon lagoon pool and play area, tipping buckets, water slides, arcade with 15 games and birthday party rooms. We have a pair of gift certificates worth $40 in merchandise or services for $20.

Rancho Viejo, 12 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Traditional Mexican cuisine, from tacos and burritos to pollo norteno, Rancho Viejo brings a bit of "south of the border" to Batavia's restaurant scene. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Rosie's Diner, 4974 Ellicott St. Road, Batavia, NY: Serving breakfast and lunches daily. Rosie's features delicious homemade food including Italian and Polish dishes and the freshest homemade soups. "Where good people meet!" We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.


Note: If you've never purchased Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and processclick here.

July 23, 2012 - 9:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, east pembroke.

Route 33 is being shut down at Angling Road for an ATV vs. gas meter accident with a possible gas leak.

East Pembroke Fire Department on scene. Corfu fire police responding for road closure.

UPDATE 10:22 p.m.: All houses from the east of the incident location have been evacuated.

July 23, 2012 - 7:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, synthetic drugs, bath salts.

Two common questions around town about The 420 Emporium at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, are "who owns it?" and "what does 420 mean?"

On the ownership question: Neither the City of Batavia nor Genesee County require business licenses. The store has not applied for (and apparently doesn't need) any sort of variance to operate nor has it applied for a sign permit. Technically, the store owner should apply for a "doing business as" fictitious name statement, but The 420 Emporium in Batavia has not done that, according to available records.

Amber Snover (inset photo), a Rochester resident, claims ownership on her Facebook page of the Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse outlets. 

This afternoon, The Batavian called Snover and asked if she owned the Batavia store. She claimed she did not. She also denied ownership of the Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse locations. She then hung up the phone.

We followed up with a text message and pointed out that she claimed ownership of the stores on her Facebook profile and she accused The Batavian of harassing her.

We then tried to call Joshua L. Denise, a Rochester resident who reportedly works at The 420 Emporium location in Batavia, and asked if he or Amber Snover owned the store and he immediately hung up the phone.

Snover represented The 420 Emporium at a Village of Brockport meeting in November after apparently running afoul of zoning rules that required a change of use permit for the 420 location at 14 Market St. The location had previously been a tattoo parlor and apparently Brockport's planning department needed to be notified of the change from service to mercantile.

Snover, according to the board minutes, said she was ignorant of the village's ordinance on the matter and apologized for not applying for the change before opening.

According to the minutes, Snover reportedly said she owned the store in Fulton.

Board members expressed concern about the depictions of marijuana in the shop's window and questioned why the store was open until midnight.

She reportedly said "that's when the sales are the highest."

Snover reportedly told board members she was previously employed at Look ah Hookah in Henrietta. That location was recently named in a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's office aimed at curbing bath salt sales.

From the Viilage of Brockport Planning Board minutes:

Member Winner inquired what state agency determines what is appropriate in her store and she replied ATF. He asked if she had had any trouble with them and she said no, as a matter of fact, she just contacted ATF last week to see if it is okay to ID people at the door; they said it is fine. When asked if there had been any complaints filed with state or federal agencies, she said no. She was at her previous store less than one year and did have a fiduciary responsibility in that business.

At the time of the meeting, November 2011, Brockport PD reportedly walked through the store and found no illegal items on sale.

Snover reportedly gave two explanations to the board for the name "420 Emporium." One was that "420" is code for marijuana; the other that it was the date of a former partner's birthday.

The history of 420 as a code for marijuana goes back to 1971 when a group of San Rafael, Calif., high school students who called themselves "The Waldos" used to meet at 4:20 p.m. at a statue of French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur to plan their search for a supposed secret, hidden cannabis crop in the area. By legend, 4:20 is the socially acceptable time to smoke marijuana.

Snover is also listed in domain name records as the owner of, which she registered in February.

We are awaiting delivery of incorporation records from the NYS Division of Corporations, which should list the owner(s).

UPDATE 6:55 a.m., Tuesday:  It turns out the Monroe County Clerk's Web site has a copy of The 420 Emporium's incorporation application available. It lists a Charles D. Fitzgerald as the person who incorporated the company. Fitzgerald is mentioned as the owner of The 420 Emporium in Fulton in a story about his arrest on 42 counts of criminal possession of weapon when police allegedly found 43 brass knuckles in the store.

Fitzgerald, 36, the story notes, had a prior criminal conviction. The police made the arrest following an investigation into a reported theft of "incense" from the store. Fitzgerald was arrested in November. The incorporation application was filed in August. It lists the same address in Rochester that is associated with the domain registration for, which lists Amber Snover as the owner of the domain.

Note that Snover mentioned a "former partner" in the hearing in Brockport, according to the minutes. Further research on the property address associated with the incorporation and the domain registration indicates it's actually in Greece, not Rochester.

July 23, 2012 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, synthetic drugs, bath salts.

There are some communities in Western and Central New York where law enforcement and emergency personnel have reported problems with users on "bath salts," but some communities have been untouched.

In the GLOW region, for example, Le Roy, Albion, Medina and Warsaw, according to law enforcement sources in each place, haven't seen many emergency calls related to bath salts.

In communities such as Batavia, Fulton, Utica, Watertown and Syracuse, however, there has been an explosion of calls for bizarre behavior, people having seizures, people demonstrating extreme paranoia and agitation.

What's the difference between these two sets of communities: In the villages and cities where there are problems, there is at least one retail shop -- usually a head shop -- suspected of selling synthetic drugs. Where no such shop exists, there haven't been many people buying and using the products.

In Batavia, first there was The Laughing Buddha, which was suspected of selling bath salts and other synthetic drugs until it closed around the beginning of May.

At about the time it closed, The 420 Emporium opened at 400 Ellicott St.

There are four other 420 Emporium locations in New York. The first one opened in Fulton in September 2011. A short time later, a second head shop opened in Fulton.

"Ever since that store came to town, well, let me put it this way, we never had a bath salt problem until these stores came to town," said Sgt. Joseph Agigo of the Fulton PD. "It seems to have contributed to the problem. It may not be the only source of the problem, but it has contributed to it."

While bath salts and other synthetic drugs are available online, an online purchase requries a credit card and creates a paper trail. For a person on parole or probation, that could be a problem.

When a retail store allegedly sells synthetic drugs, anybody with cash and knowledge of the location can acquire a product that may or may not have been banned by state or federal law.

Sgt. Steven Hauck, public information officer for the Utica PD, doesn't want to overstate the level of bath salt problems in his city, saying that because his department's policy is to be completely transparent about the issues it deals with, Utica got more media attention than some other municipalities.

However, Hauck said there is certainly a correlation between ease of access to a retail location that seems to be selling synthetic drugs and the problems it creates in a community.

"Part of the thing with any type of drug is a person's ability to obtain that drug," Hauck said.

What Hauck said he doesn't understand is why a business that might otherwise be legitimate would want to get involved in something as ethically questionable as selling synthetic drugs.

"The thing I've always found really odd about the whole bath salt thing is that while I can understand to a certain degree, though I certainly do not condone it, a person on a street corner selling crack or selling marijuana, these are businesses, legitimate business," Hauck said. "Why would you want to get involved in something that you hear every day is killing people?"

The 420 Emporium's Web site lists locations in Rochester, Henrietta, Brockport (top photo), Syracuse, Fulton and Batavia.

The bath salt issues in Batavia are well documented. Fulton's police have dealt with bath salt issues. Media reports confirm numerous bath salt issues in Syracuse, though there are other possible retail outlets allegedly selling the compounds in that city. 

As far as Brockport, its chief of police has not responded to multiple phone calls and emails requesting comment. The Batavian did speak to a lone police officer Saturday who said he wasn't aware of any problems related to 420 in Brockport; however, Jason Lang has told The Batavian previously that he has purchased bath salts in Brockport.

July 23, 2012 - 6:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, accidents.

An accident with unknown injuries is reported on the Thruway in the vicinity of mile marker 375.2. A box truck was westbound then crossed over the center divide and came to rest on the north side of the roadway. Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding.

UPDATE 6:33 p.m.: A responder on scene says the vehicle is in the trees at the side of the Thruway.

UPDATE 6:46 p.m.: Injuries, if any, are very minor.

July 23, 2012 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime.

Shawn Alfred Johnson, 18, of Rochester, is charged with forgery in the first degree, a Class C felony. Johnson is accused of passing fake $20 bills at Darien Lake Theme Park. Johnson was allegedly passed eight counterfeit bills and a total of 32 counterfeit bills were recovered at Darien Lake by staff and police.  The investigation is continuing and more charges are pending. Johnson was held on $15,000 bail.

John A. Cabrera Jr. (photo), 22, of 111 State St., Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and criminal tampering, 3rd. Cabrera is accused of damaging the holding room at the Batavia PD headquarters and tampering with video surveillance cameras. Cabrera is a suspect in a burglary early Sunday morning at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Chance M. Towne, 17, of 106 Ave. A, Apt. E, Lake Park, Iowa, and Anthony J. Spearance, 26, of 107 Washington Ave., Apt. A1, Batavia, are charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and petit larceny. Towne and Spearance are accused of entering property owned by the City of Batavia and stealing scrap metal.

Steven Anthony Masetta, 53, of North Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Masetta is accused of pushing another person during a domestic incident.

Alyssa Jayne Hendrix, 17, of East Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Hendrix allegedly hosted an underage drinking party.

Scott James Hinze, 25, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Hinze was reportedly found in his car parked on the roadway in front of his residence acting suspiciously at 1:47 a.m., Sunday, by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Jon Hoyt Bush, 29, of Oak Orchard, Elba, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Bush is accused of biting a person who was reportedly under the protection of a court order. Bush was jailed on $500 bail.

Milton H. Simmons, 29, currently residing at 14 W. Main St., Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 3rd. Simmons allegedly punched another Genesee County Jail inmate in the face causing the inmate's denture plate to break. The alleged victim also suffered a swollen jaw. Simmons was arraigned in city court and returned to jail without bail.

Brenda A. Richardson, 45, of Basom, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Richardson was stopped at 10:25 p.m., Saturday, in the Town of Shelby, by State Police.

Gilberto Gonzalez, 26, of Albany, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Gonzalez was arrested by State Police at a location on Veterans Memorial Drive for an alleged incident reported at 5 p.m., Saturday. No further details were released.

Jamie Bachorski, 18, of Oakfield, and Mark A. McNutt, 18, of Oakfield, are charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. Bachorski and McNutt were arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 2:54 p.m., Friday. No further details were released.

Melissa L. Coufal, 42, of Bergen, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Coufal was stopped by State Police at 9:29 p.m., Thursday, in Bergen.

July 23, 2012 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu.

A 41-year-old Corfu resident who rolled a sedan in a single-vehicle accident on Wilkinson Road on Sunday evening is in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital this morning.

Raymond Pfalzer, a resident of Brown Road, reportedly suffered a serious head injury in the accident and was transported to Strong by Mercy Flight.

The accident was reported at 8:20 p.m.

Pfalzer was reportedly southbound on Wilkinson Road and failed to negotiate a turn onto Brown Road. His 1976 Chevy two-door sedan began to fishtail and the car went off the west shoulder, striking a utility pole and making a complete rotation before coming to rest on its wheels.

Charges may be pending against Pfalzer.

According to protocol at Strong Memorial Hospital, when a patient is listed in guarded condition it means he's in the intensive care unit.

The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy EMS assisted at the scene.

(Initial Report)

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July 23, 2012 - 7:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following four people were arrested by Sheriff's Office in connection with the Allman Brothers / Santana concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday evening.

Christine L. Guiher, 40, of Sheridan Park, Tonawanda, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after allegedly causing a disturbance while being ejected from the concert venue and then physically resisting arrest, Guiher was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed on $500 bail.

Connor B. Holly, 24, of Gradiner Park, Rochester, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater after allegedly being found operating a motor vehicle in the parking lot while intoxicated.

John D. Romero, 20, of Reddick Lane, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and possession of alcohol under 21.

Megan E. Wells, 19, of Honeoye Falls Road, Honeoye Falls, is charged with unlawful possession, of marijuana and possession of alcohol under 21.

There were 21 citations issued for alleged possession or consumption of alcohol under age 21.

Karl V. Langrek, 19, of Middle Road, East Concord
Tyler R. Johnson, 19, of Tonawanda Creek Road, North Tonawanda
Benjamin R. Rupert, 19, of Robinson Road, Lockport
Justin E. Mast, 20, of Creek View Drive, Clarence Center
Austin B. Renz, 18, of Swamp Road, Auburn
Maxwell G. Johnson, 17, of East Lake Road, Skaneateles
James S. Mills, 18, of West Lake Road, Skaneateles
Bridget A. Field, 18, of Bishop Hill Road, Skaneateles
Matthew M. Hurley, 19, of Clardon Drive, Williamsville
Kaitlyn M. Hayes, 18, of Lake Street, Perry
Dylan M. Fox, 20, of Division Street, Pike
Alan J. Warren, 20, of Crotty Road, Fillmore
Steven C. Trubia, 18, of Windmill Trail, Rochester
Kevin Q. Widzinski, 18 Hubbard Street, North Chili
Samuel K. Knapton, 19, of Dewey Street, Churchville
Jessica B. Emick, 20, of Whitehouse Road, Portville
David L. Rubach, 19, of Lincoln Road, Snyder
John S. W. Yanity, 20, of Koster Row, Amherst
Eoghan L. Connors, 20, of Autobon Drive, Snyder
Michael P. Lempko, 20, of Berryman Drive, Amherst
Kyle C. Dains, 20, of Chateau Terrace, Amherst

July 23, 2012 - 7:33am
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, Canada, black bears, bear hunting, Quebec.

The photo above depicts a Canadian sunset over a placid and serene Lac Remigny. The photo was provided courtesy of Batavians Larry Smith and Paul Barrett, two longtime outdoorsmen who head to the North Country in pursuit of black bears.

It turns out the pair had themselves an adventure, one they chose to share with The Batavian. And as you will see from their photos, in addition to their pursuit of black bears, the pair took time to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife and the hospitality.

Their trip began in early June with an eight-hour drive to Remigny, Quebec, Canada, where Barrett and Smith renewed acquaintances with Mark Kepka and his wife, Gosia, the owner/operators of Camps Ronoda. 

Barrett and Smith arrived at Remigny on Saturday, June 9th and the next evening ventured to their assigned hunting locations for the first time. Hunting 16 miles from camp and posted three miles from one another, both Batavians saw bears that first evening on stand. Photo above shows the roads and terrain they traveled through to get to their stands.

"I saw my first bear in the wild that Sunday evening," said Larry Smith, who was hunting from a ladder stand.

Heeding the camp owner's words, he passed on the opportunity to shoot even though the bear was within 20 yards of him.

"The bigger bears will tend to show up later in the week. Because you are a 'strange' odor in the area, the big bears will keep their distance until they get accustomed to your scent," Smith said, echoing his host's advice. "During that time you tend to see smaller bears. Mark told us to be patient, wait until midweek if we want to see bigger bears."

Instead of shooting, Larry put his camcorder to use and got some footage of his first bruin encounter.

That same evening Paul Barrett also had an encounter with a black bear, though a bit more confrontational than this marauding raccoon he photographed as it raided the bait bucket.

Unlike his companion, Barrett was not in a ladder stand, but instead situated on a rock outcropping overlooking the bait pail.

"A big bear came in from right to left, 12 feet below and 20 yards away," he said. "It sniffed the air then ran off into thick brush. Ten minutes later I heard his teeth snapping -- definitely not a good sign. The bear was by that time behind me, over my left shoulder about 20 feet away. Now above and behind me, the bear lumbered back and forth, trying to get me to move," he continued.

With his Remington model 700 338/06 custom-built rifle in his lap, Paul opted for his camcorder and, as his companion had done, got several minutes of footage, albeit in dense brush. The bear eventually walked off.

On Tuesday, June 12th, Larry Smith was once again seated in his ladder stand when, at about 8 p.m. he noticed movement on the ground below and to his left.

"She came in on the same path I had used to walk in four hours earlier," he said. "She stopped briefly at the base of my ladder and looked up at me before moving on. She went straight to the bait pail, situated 6 feet off the ground and full of ground up cookies and meat scraps." It was noted that the bait pails are placed at the 6-foot height to give the hunter an indication of the bear's size. 

"She reared up on her hind legs facing away from me and began removing meat scraps from the pail, at which time I decided to harvest this bear." A single 180-grain bullet from Smith's Remington 700 30-06 did the trick. "She fell backward, then ran about 25 yards before she collapsed," he concluded.   

By then it was getting dark in the dense woods and, having previously heard reports of wolves -- or even larger bears -- that will come in to a kill, Larry thought it a good idea to get the outfitter on his way.

"He needed to travel 16 miles and offload his ATV so let's get him started in this direction," he thought to himself. When Mark Kepka arrived the first words out of his mouth -- before spotting the bear -- were, "Is it dead?" His concern was tracking a wounded bear in the the bush, nighttime or otherwise. I was also informed Kepka carries no gun in such a situation, only a flashlight and a knife. The task of finishing off a wounded bear is left to the hunter.

Paul Barrett was also at the scene by the time Mark Kepka had arrived. And he had some news of his own.

"I was sitting on the same rock outcropping when I heard Larry's shot. I immediately texted him and learned of his kill. I then texted my wife, Kathleen, back home in Batavia to her inform her of Larry's kill." 

No sooner had Paul done that when he had a visitor.

"Approximately seven minutes after texting my wife, a bear approached from behind and over my right shoulder. It then wandered off to my right for a couple of minutes before circling around me and heading directly for the bait. It stood on its hind legs and I put one shot right between the shoulder blades."     

Meanwhile, Larry is back at his stand, not having heard the report of his companion's gun and waiting for Mark to arrive. At this time he, too, decided to text his wife, Julie, and daughter, Melissa. Like Kathleen, their reaction was one of excitement, delight and enthusiasm.

Paul's big boar weighed in at 400 pounds, while Larry's tipped the scale at 200. The bears were 5 and 9 years of age and by their calculations, they were taken 11 minutes apart.

"The morning after the bear harvest we had a photo shoot before Mark and his dad, Henry, skinned and quartered both bears before freezing them. We each brought back four quarters of bear meat plus the pelts," said Paul, who plans on having a rug made from his bear hide while Larry opted for a full standup mount. 

Both Paul Barrett and Larry Smith pointed out that when they began the search process for an outfitter, the Kepkas came highly recommended and they actually met with them three times prior to their hunt.

"I would classify the Kepka's operation at Camps Ronoda as remarkable -- accommodations, meals, hospitality, amenities, all of it," Larry Smith said.

His sentiments were echoed by Paul Barrett who also lauded the culinary skills of Gosia Kepka.

"Truly remarkable. She cooked two meals a day, breakfast and dinner," he said. When I asked about lunch, he quickly added, "you don't need lunch -- the portions at breakfast and dinner are huge."

Camps Ronoda has been outfitting sportsmen since 1948. In addition to bear hunters, they serve fishermen, duck and goose hunters and offer grouse, woodcock and small game hunts. 

They can be contacted at:

1337 Rue de L' Eglise

Remigny, Quebec, JOZ 3110


July 23, 2012 - 7:22am
posted by Rick Franclemont in batavia, sports, Le Roy, softball, Byron Bergen, crossroads house.

On Saturday the Tonawanda Valley Youth Ladies Fastpitch Softball League (TVYLFSL) hosted a Junior Division small ball softball tournament to benefit Crossroads House.

Four teams of 10-12-year-old girls participated, representing Batavia, Le Roy and Byron-Bergen.

Participants and their families were asked to bring donations from the Crossroad House wish list.

"Crossroads House is a comfort care home for those who have a terminal illness and have been medically determined to be in the last three months of life. Crossroads House is an alternative to a hospital or nursing home when care can no longer be provided in the patient's own home."

Le Roy 2 coached by Micky Hyde won the tournament. Tied in points going into the last game with Le Roy 1, Hyde's team scored a run in the last inning to pull off the win.

More pictures from the games can be found here.




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