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December 9, 2016 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, Pavilion, news, crime.

Brittani Louise Diaz, 18, of East Shelby Road, Oakfield, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Diaz is accused of stealing from her employer, Walmart. Diaz, with the assistance of another employee, allegedly stole $1,500 from the store while employed as a cashier. 

Dylan James Maychoss, 20, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and inadequate exhaust. Maychoss was stopped at 2:43 a.m. on East Main Street, Corfu, by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Christopher R. Stowell, no age or residence provided, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol, unsafe lane change, unreasonable speed, operating in violation of restrictions and aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st. Stowell was charged in connection with an accident Sept. 6 in Pavilion. Stowell reportedly lost control of his motorcycle. He and a passenger were hospitalized for several days as a result.

Bradley Scott Baldwin, 20, of Peacefield Road, Pine City, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Baldwin's vehicle was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 2:37 a.m. Thursday on Bank Street, Batavia, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Clint Jacob Reed, 19, Peart Avenue, Rochester, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and inadequate headlamps. Reed was stopped at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday on East Saile Drive, Batavia, by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

December 9, 2016 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Salvation Army, wbta, Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, batavia, news.

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The Salvation Army Toy Drive is underway today at Ken Barrett Chevrolet on West Main Street, Batavia.

The event is hosted by Ken Barrett and WBTA and sponsored by several local businesses.

Top photo: Lt. Rachel Moore, Colton Moore, Joan Stevens and firefighters Jerry Yoder and Adam Palumbo.

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Pete Zeliff dropped off a barrel of toys.

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Ken Barrett and Dan Fischer.

December 9, 2016 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, pembroke, alexander.

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Pembroke pulled out a tight 44-42 win Thursday night over Alexander at Alexander.

Ried Miano scored 14 points for the Dragons. Ryan Carsdale scored 12 and Lucas Kohurst added 10.

For Alexander, Eric Scharlau scored eight and Brian George added six.

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December 9, 2016 - 1:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia society of artists, arts, batavia, news.

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The Batavia Society of Artists opened its winter show last night at the Richmond Memorial Library.  

Brian Kemp, above, received the Best of Show award.  

In the photo below, Kevin Feary, of Batavia, explains the technique behind his second-place photo.

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December 9, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in H.E. Turner Funeral Homes, batavia, news.

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H.E. Turner Funeral Homes held its annual Service of Remembrance last night at Grace Baptist Church in Batavia. The candlelight service is a chance for members of the community to come together and reflect on loved ones who have passed in the previous year.

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December 9, 2016 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, accident, pembroke, news.

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The driver of this rig walked away with only a minor injury after it overturned on the Thruway in Pembroke at about 10:40 a.m.

Photo via our news partner 13WHAM, which received it from a viewer.

December 9, 2016 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Don Carroll Toy Drive, batavia, news.

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Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz is collecting toys tomorrow for the Don Carroll Toys for Kids benefit, which will provide toys and goods to more than 60 local families this year.

From 8 to 11 a.m., residents are invited to drop off new, unwrapped toys, appropriate for children age 2 to 15, at his office. Donors will be eligible for a free chiropractic treatment that morning.

His office is located at 184 Washinton Ave., Batavia.

Mazurkiewicz, along with Brian and Beth Kemp, and Grace Baptist Church have continued the toy drive in honor of its founder, Don Carroll, who died in 2013.

Mazurkiewicz is pictured with his little helper, Gavin.

December 9, 2016 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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At Tuesday's meeting, the City Schools Board of Trustees, represented its president Patrick Burk, presented a series of awards.

Above, the girls swim team is recognized for the kindness they showed to a competing team near the end of the season. 

From the presentation:

A cancelled Senior Night Meet at Wilson Magnet was made up at our home pool recently. Our girls, in an act of generosity, included their four seniors from Wilson Magnet within OUR senior night ceremony with gifts of flowers, candy, individualized recognition and a custom towel.  The honor was unexpected by their families, but greatly appreciated.

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The football team, which won a third-straight Section V title, was also honored.

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Jessica Franks and Christopher Bateman – Outstanding Staff awards.

Recently, Jessica and Christopher both stepped up to help a group of students.  They helped to come up with a logical solution to a problem and volunteered their time to see it through during the school day.  Because of their thoughtfulness and student-first thinking, students in 8th grade Algebra were able to stay current and receive quality instruction during their teacher's absence.  We would like to thank Jessica and Christopher for all their hard work and dedication to the students at BMS.

Two teachers were also honored but were not present at Tuesday's meeting:

Tammy Wiedrich – Outstanding Staff Award

Tammy Wiedrich has worked tirelessly to improve the culture at BMS. She has taken a leadership role in our P.B.I.S. system by creating valuable lessons for our students during HERO meetings. Tammy has also taken the lead to coordinate the staff donated basket raffle for the Family and Community Night, which was a huge success. Currently, she is organizing a holiday gathering for the BMS staff. We would like to thank Tammy for all her hard work and dedication to our BMS family.

Kerry McBride – Outstanding Staff Award

Kerry McBride has worked very hard to promote a culture of gratitude with our staff and students. She is an integral part of our P.B.I.S. program. She helps to organize two of our PBIS events -- "Warm The Night” and our "Giving Back" field trip in December where students make gifts during the HERO meetings for our community. Recently, she placed messages and pictures on everyone's door to make them feel appreciated. Kerry works very hard to make sure that all staff and students feel appreciated. We would like to thank Kerry for her hard work and dedication to our P.B.I.S. initiative.

Photos by Howard Owens.

December 9, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Batavia may be in the path of a lake effect snowstorm that will contain bands that drop as much as two inches of snow an hour, according to the National Weather Service.

A special weather statement has been issued for Western New York alerting residents of the potential heavy snow falling on parts of the region.

Snowfall of at least one to two inches per hour is expected.

The weather service advises, "be prepared for rapidly changing travel conditions."

Also mentioned in the statement as potential areas for heavy snowfall: Le Roy, Pavilion and Byron.

December 9, 2016 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, sports, soccer.

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Batavia's Maggie Cecere has been named to the First Team, All-State Class A girls soccer team for 2016.

Of the 11 girls named to the team, only two were from Section V.

Cecere has committed to Kutztown University where she will be a pre-med major and play for the Golden Bears, a team coming off its most successful season in program history, making it to the final four of the Division II NCAA playoffs. The team will be ranked #4 to start the 2017 season.

Her sister, Samantha, just completed her first college season as goalie for Wilkes University. She is a pre-pharmacy major.

Photo courtesy of Steve Ognibene.

December 9, 2016 - 8:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Note: If you were among the first to sign up for Deal of the Day back in August, you might now be eligible to purchase again some of your first gift certificate purchases. Check your account page to see what you are eligible to buy.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
December 8, 2016 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, news.

Assuming the County Legislature passes its proposed 2017 budget next week, it will contain the largest property tax increase in recent memory, taking the rate from $9.86 per thousand to $10.07 per thousand of assessed value.

Nobody likes a tax increase, Ways and Means Chairman Bob Bausch noted after Wednesday's committee meeting where the new proposed tax rate was announced, but a 2-percent increase is far more manageable for most people than a 4- or 5- or 6-percent increase, all of which were on the table at one point during the budget talks over the past couple of months.

To get the rate down to $10.07, from a proposed rate of $10.25 a week ago, the Legislature had to come together on a proposal to withdraw another $500,000 from reserve funds -- a total of $1 million out of reserves --to balance the general fund.

The total property tax levy will be $28,969,114, a 2.13-percent increase over last year, which will require the Legislature to override the state's tax cap on levy increases.

It looks like Ray Cianfrini, the chairman of the Legislature, will be the sole dissenting vote on the 2017 budget. He thinks the tax rate can be lower. He thinks the county can afford to withdraw more money from the reserve to help keep the tax rate down.

"The budget being presented is a better budget than we had a week ago, but, again, I'm not going to support it," Cianfrini said.

Over the past dozen years, the county has not calculated into its projected revenue the proceeds of properties sold at the annual tax lien auction.

The count doesn't tally this up as anticipated revenue because it's so unpredictable. One year, the county brought in an extra $400,000 from the auction, but another year it was down to only $7,000 in revenue.

However, Cianfrini said, the average is $142,000. He would like the county to budget for at least some level of revenue from the auction.

Cianfrini is also concerned the county in its budget planning is not giving enough credit for the coming cost savings from the sale of the Genesee County Nursing Home and the boost that will give to the reserve fund balance.

After spending $1 million from the reserve, the county will have a fund balance of $7.7 million. The anticipated net proceeds from the nursing home sale will be more than $6 million, giving the county a fund balance in excess of $14 million.

That's a record amount, Cianfrini said.

"The fund balance is still taxpayer money," Cianfrini said. "It's money we collected from taxpayers and didn't spend. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should give that money back to the taxpayers."

No members of the Ways and Means Committee responded to Cianfrini during the meeting and the resolution to recommend budget approval to the full Legislature passed 4-1.

After the meeting, Bausch said he isn't comfortable counting on any amount of money coming from the sale of Nursing Home until all of the bills related to the sale are paid, which won't happen for another eight or nine months.

"At some point, we will know what those final numbers are," Bausch said. "We have made a significant commitment to our constituents to use that money for roads and bridges. Yes, there is a discussion to be had (about what to do with the money), but we're not anywhere near ready for that discussion."

December 8, 2016 - 7:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, basketball, sports, elba, news.

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In their first meeting of the season, Notre Dame prevailed Wednesday night at home over archrival Elba, 43-34.

Margaret Sutherland led all scorers with 21 points and Calli McCulley added 16 for Notre Dame.

For the Lancers, Emily Reynolds scored eight and Madison Howard scored 6.

It was the first win for new Head Coach Tom McCulley.

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December 8, 2016 - 6:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Note: If you were among the first to sign up for Deal of the Day back in August, you might now be eligible to purchase again some of your first gift certificate purchases. Check your account page to see what you are eligible to buy.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
December 7, 2016 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Jacquetta Simmons made it to court today, and despite a recommendation from her new attorney that she be sent to anger management classes, she was sentenced to 15 days in jail on her misdemeanor harassment conviction.

Previously, Simmons admitted to having physical contact with a 55-year-old woman at a church event in 2014.

City Court Judge Durin Rogers said he didn't think SImmons was a good candidate for counseling given her criminal history and lack of remorse.

According to a pre-sentence report, as discussed in court, Simmons blamed the victim for the altercation in 2014.

A week ago, Simmons failed to appear for her sentencing and her attorney at the time, Ann Nichols, asked to be removed from the case.

Public Defender Jerry Ader represented Simmons in court today.

Simmons made national headlines in 2011 when on Christmas Eve, while shopping at Walmart, she delivered "a roundhouse punch" to an older woman who was working as a cashier that day. The victim had asked to see a receipt from Simmons for prior purchases that Simmons brought with her when she came through a checkout line for a second time. 

The case went to trial and Simmons was convicted by a jury of a felony assault charge. She was sentenced to five years in prison, but an appellate court overruled the sentence and the sentence was reduced to a year in jail.

(Via our news partner, WBTA.)

December 7, 2016 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, news.

A week of wrangling and discussions has helped county legislators come up with a 2017 budget that will increase the property tax rate to $10.07 per thousand dollars of assessed value.

A week ago, it was looking like the rate would be about $10.25 cents.

The rate still represents a jump over the 2016 rate of $9.86 and requires a tax levy override by the County Legislature.

While there were some minor spending adjustments made since last week, much of the change is rate is based on an agreement by the Legislature to take $1 million from reserve funds, rather than $500,000, to balance the budget.

At the Ways and Means Committee meeting tonight, only Legislator Ray Cianfrini voted against sending the budget to the full Legislature for approval. Cianfrini said he didn't think the proposed budget accounted enough for the anticipated sale of the Nursing Home, expected to close before the end of the year, and what that will mean for the county's reserve funds and expenditure savings.

The Batavian will have a more complete county budget story posted sometime tomorrow morning.

December 7, 2016 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm bureau, New York Farm Bureau, agriculture, elba, news.

Elba's Dean Norton has been replaced as president of the New York State Farm Bureau in an election held this evening at the bureau's annual meeting.

Norton, a dairy farmer, has been president and face of the farm bureau for eight years, representing the bureau not just in New York but in Washington, D.C., and around the nation.

The membership instead elected David Fisher, who owns a large dairy farm in St. Lawrence County, as president.

The nominees were Norton, Fisher and Mark Dunau.

(Information via the NY Farm Bureau's Twitter postings.)

UPDATE: Press release:

During the New York Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting in Albany, voting delegates elected David Fisher, a dairy farmer from St. Lawrence County, as the new president of the organization.

Fisher and his family have operated Mapleview Dairy in Madrid, N.Y. for four generations. He has served on the New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors for the past five years and previously was president of St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau. A graduate of Cornell University, Fisher earned a degree in Animal Science.

Fisher replaces Dean Norton who served as president for the past eight years.

“I am humbled that the farmer members of New York Farm Bureau have placed their confidence in me to lead this great organization. My family has a long history with Farm Bureau, and I am excited to work on behalf of our diverse membership to increase the value and visibility of New York agriculture. I would also like to thank Dean Norton for his service and commitment to New York Farm Bureau,” said David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau.

Vice President Eric Ooms, a dairy farmer from Columbia County, was re-elected to his position.

In addition, representatives to the State Board of Directors were elected, too. This concluded the annual two-day long meeting where resolutions were discussed and voted on to set NYFB’s 2017 public policy agenda.

Those elected include Pat McCormick of Wyoming County, re-elected as District 2 Director; Lin Davidson of Tompkins County was elected as District 4 Director; Jacob Schieferstine of Oneida County was re-elected as District 6 Director; Dean Casey of Rensselaer County, re-elected as District 8 Director; Chris Kelder of Ulster County, re-elected as District 10 Director; Kristen Brown of Orange County as the new Young Farmer and Rancher Chair on the State Board and Phyllis Couture of Cattaraugus County was re-elected as the Promotion and Education Chairperson on the State Board.

In addition, New York Farm Bureau handed out the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Awards to two worthy individuals who have made an impact on New York Farm Bureau and agriculture in this state. The awardees were Chris Fesko of Skaneateles, N.Y. and member of Onondaga County Farm Bureau, and Michael DellaRocco of Melrose, N.Y., a member of Rensselaer County Farm Bureau.

Finally, New York Farm Bureau announced two recipients of the James Quinn Award that recognizes extraordinary efforts by individual Farm Bureau members during the course of a given year “to serve and strengthen agriculture”.  The honorees were Joe and June Swyers of Livingston County Farm Bureau and Brad and Carolyn Almeter of Wyoming County Farm Bureau.

December 7, 2016 - 3:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A 31-year-old Batavia resident with multiple prior arrests will be evaluated for his mental capability to understand the charges against him before he's allowed to plead guilty to felonies stemming from an incident in October.

Interim Genesee County Court Judge Micheal Pietruszka wasn't satisfied with the explanation of attorney Lisa Kroemer, of the Public Defender's office, that Matthew D. Derrick could competently understand the legal proceedings today, even though Kroemer needed to rephrase what Pietruszka was telling the defendant.

The problem started as soon as Pietruszka asked Derrick if he was ready to plead guilty to the document in front of him, called a Superior Court Information (or SCI).

Kroemer turned to Derrick, pointed to the document and told Derrick, "this is what we discussed earlier."

Pietruszka stopped the proceedings immediately and wanted to know what was going on.

Kroemer tried to explain how she was helping her client and Pietruszka wondered why there was a problem. Kroemer tried to explain there was a language barrier and Pietruszka wanted to know if Derrick spoke English. He does, and Kroemer tried to explain that he needed help understanding what he was being told, so Pietruszka wondered if a there should be a forensic evaluation. 

When it looked like Pietruszka wasn't going to continue with the proceeding, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked if the attorneys could approach the bench.

The attorneys and judge then held a conversation audible in the courtroom about Derrick's ability to understand the legal process. 

Kroemer told Pietruszka that her client couldn't process the judge's spoken words quickly and that he needed to be shown the documents in front of him to make the connection between what Pietruszka was asking and what she had explained to him just an hour before his appearance in court.

She tried to explain that Derrick did understand the legal system and could process the information, he just needed help with the language of the system.

"You're the judge and if you don't feel comfortable with that, well, we've got to find a different way," Kroemer said.

"The questions are as simple as I can get them," Pietruszka said.

The Batavian reported on arrests of Derrick in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Kroemer told Pietruszka she has represented him previously and that he could understand what was going on in court.

She told Pietruszka, "he understands the legal process," and Pietruszka replied, "I'm not seeing that."

The attorneys returned to their tables and Pietruszka again asked Derrick if he understood the SCI (a SCI is much like a grand jury indictment, but is used when a defendant has waived a grand jury hearing and agreed to plead guilty as part of a plea agreement).

Derrick nodded his head yes and Pietruszka told him he needed to provide an audible answer. Derrick didn't move.

Kroemer asked him if he needed Pietruszka to repeat the question and Derrick said, "No, your honor."

At that point, Pietruszka ordered Derrick to undergo a forensic evaluation to determine his competency to understand the proceedings.

Derrick was arrested in October on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree menacing,endangering the welfare of a child, and second-degree harassment. 

On Oct. 8 at 10:30 a.m., Batavia Police responded to 335 Bank St. for the report of a male with a knife threatening to harm other people. Upon arrival, Derrick was taken into custody. Further investigation revealed that Derrick allegedly possessed a corkscrew and threatened a 14-year-old male with the corkscrew. 

December 7, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, schools, education, batavia, news.

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The College and Career Center at Batavia HS, now led by Anita Strollo, has launched a new program called, "Lunch with the Pros," where students can sit down with local professionals and business leaders to learn about what it takes to pursue and succeed in various career fields.

Today, a group of students talked about law enforcement with Officers Matthew Wojtaszczyk and Marc Lawrence to learn about becoming a police officer.

Coincidently, Batavia PD is about to launch a new Explorer program and will host a meeting for potential Explorer Post members at 7 p.m., Jan. 10 and BPD headquarters, 10 West Main Street.  High school interested in joining the program are welcome to attend. RSVP to either officer at [email protected] or [email protected].

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December 7, 2016 - 3:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in emergency communications, genesee county, Le Roy, news.

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A new 165-foot communications tower is being installed today on Town of Le Roy property off of Asbury Road (the site at one time of an airport).

The tower is part of the county's upgraded 800 megahertz digital communications system and will help fill in some dead spots in the town and village of Le Roy. It will also help in spots in Le Roy where communication was harder inside of buildings.

Steven Sharpe, director of emergency communications for Genesee County said the tower will also help complete the phase of building interoperable capabilities with Monroe County's emergency dispatch center, which will then also create a bridge for communications with Ontario County.

"Our goal is to improve interoperable capabilities throughout the region," said Sharpe (in the bottom photo, taking a video of the shelter for communications equipment being lowered into place.

The tower is funded with a $3 million grant from the state.

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