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August 16, 2016 - 7:01pm

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Shade Zajac makes his official debut Sunday as the full-time conductor of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in a special performance being sponsored by the United Way at Mercy Grove in Le Roy.

Zajac previously conducted the orchestra last season as part of an audition process for the musical director's position with the GSO and was appointed by the GSO board earlier this year.

Mercy Grove is Genesee County's newest event facility and will be a beautiful setting for this special performance.

Tickets are $75 per person and proceeds benefit the United Way and the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Party attire is suggested. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. There will be hors d'oeuvres, grazing stations and a cash bar. The GSO performance, "Summer Serenade," begins at 4:45.  

Tickets are available through GSO's website, or at Bank of Castile in Batavia and Le Roy, Roxy's Music, the United Way and GO ART!

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.

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August 16, 2016 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, Batavia HS, batavia.

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It's August, and Batavia High School Coach Brennan Briggs couldn't be happier. He's got his team right where he wants them, preparing for another football season.

“We’re enthused to be playing football again," said the Blue Devil's head coach. “We back on the gridiron and we love it. We’re excited to be out on the practice field at Van Detta."

Typically, this time of year, Briggs is taciturn about his team's chances in the upcoming season. This August, he isn't mincing words. He's raising expectations for his young players, many of whom are replacing starters that helped Batavia win consecutive Section V championships.

"We need to stay the course, keep the expectations high," Briggs said. "Even though we're young, it doesn't mean we can't go out there and compete for our third title in a row. They need to set the bar high. They have the ability to win a section championship. We've just got to make sure we enjoy the journey and make sure we're getting better every week."

The heart of any offense is the quarterback and with Greg Mruczek's graduation, that opens the position for the 2016 season. Senior Jerry Reinhart has the inside track, but he's got some competition for the slot. Junior Chandler Baker has a chance to win the job.

"Baker is a fantastic athlete and he's pushing Jerry," Briggs said. "He's done a great job. It makes for a great, healthy competition for both guys to compete for the spot. Regardless of who gets the spot, both would make fantastic QBs and both are fantastic receivers. Their athleticism will have an impact, one that is notable on Friday nights."

Both have good arms and can run, Briggs said. Reinhart has a little more experience after backing up Mruczek last season.  

The offensive line is young and several guys are competing for starting positions, but it will be anchored by the experience of Anthony "Butchy" Ray.

On defense, Briggs said the Blue Devils will have bulk on the line and athleticism on the outside, led by Eric Davis and Sam Marble. 

"They're athletic on the ends, so we might be able to get creative with those guys out there," Briggs said. "We might be able to unleash them a bit, which is good if they make sure they know what their number one responsibility is and buy totally into the system. It will give us a different look."

Last year's team was notable for the tight-knit, family-like culture of the team. The young guys aren't quite there yet, but Briggs thinks with time they will get there. It will help with the resilience they'll need to call upon on Friday nights.

"We have a positive group of kids and I'm excited about what they can do," Briggs said.

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August 16, 2016 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford.

A multi-vehicle accident with unknown injuries is reported in the area of 6571 Main Road, Stafford.

Stafford Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: A diesel leak is reported. Fire police requested for traffic control. The westbound lane is blocked.

UPDATE 11:09 a.m.: Le Roy requested to the scene.

UPDATE 11:53 a.m.: A woman was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital with chest and left leg pain after the maroon sedan she was driving struck a pickup/dumpster truck that was parked just off the roadway, "over the fog line," on Main Road. The driver of the pickup was outside of his vehicle at the time, possibly picking up roadside trash, according to Deputy Joe Loftus. The sedan's front right section struck the truck's back left section and the impact spun the sedan around and it ended up facing in the opposite direction, Loftus said. The female was westbound and "the next thing she knows, she heard a bang ... I don't know if she blacked out or what." The driver of the pickup was not injured.

August 15, 2016 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

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.
August 15, 2016 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Bethany, elba.

Pedro Vazquez Diaz, 31, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with burglary, 2nd. At 10:21 a.m., Saturday, the Sheriff's Office received a report of a burglary in progress at a residence on Bethany Center Road, Bethany. Deputies and troopers responded, along with Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 Destro. Destro located the suspect in the residence and he was taken into custody. He was jailed without bail.

Tyler D. Price, 23, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Price was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 12:04 p.m. Sunday on Liberty Street, in violation of a protective order. Price was also arrested on a warrant on an alleged failure to appear for a court appearance on an unrelated charge.

Michael J. Difalco, 28, no permanent address, is charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Difalco was arrested following an investigation into a domestic incident. He allegedly became combative while in custody and as his case was being processed. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Cory J. Trybushyn, 28, of Vine Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine on an attempted petit larceny charge. He turned himself in on the warrant and posted $150 bail.

Michael P. McDonald, 32, of East Avenue, is charged with unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. McDonald was allegedly involved in a domestic dispute. He was jailed on $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond.

Nikki L. Stonebraker, 27, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, 2nd. Stonebraker allegedly struck the head of a minor against a wall while in the presence of another minor.

Wayny G. Colon, 24, of Amherst Manor Drive, Buffalo, was arrested on a warrant. Colon posted $500 bail and was released. No further details released.

Isaiah J. Munroe, 26, no permanent address, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, 2nd. Munroe was allegedly involved in a fight with a person on Liberty Street while in the presence of a minor.

Devin P. Hofert, 20, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, disorderly conduct/unreasonable noise, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Hofert was arrested following a police investigation into a disturbance at 6:09 a.m., Aug. 8, at 33 Dellinger Ave., Batavia. Hofert was allegedly found in possession of 16 hypodermic needles, drug paraphernalia and a switchblade knife.

Matthew Joseph Engert, 25, of Geddes Street, Holley, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated harassment charge. He was jailed on $2,000 bail.

Jason M. Saeli, 34, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with suspended registration and unregistered motor vehicle. Saeli was arrested on a warrant. 

Matthew B. Starowitz, 27, of Whitney Mill Road, Elba, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Starowitz was arrested during an investigation into a report of a suspicious vehicle occupied by two males at 624 E. Main St., Batavia at 9:10 p.m. on Aug. 8.

A 17-year-old resident of State Street, Batavia, is charged with public lewdness. The youth allegedly displayed an intimate part of his body while in a vehicle parked in a parking lot at 1:15 p.m. Sunday at a location on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Catherine Rose Bater, 36, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with a violation of a Family Court act. Bater turned herself in on a warrant.

Cody Edward Jarmuz, 24, of 7th Street, Buffalo, is charged with driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol, moved from lane unsafely, unlicensed operation, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Jarmuz was stopped at 3:06 a.m. Saturday on Route 98, Elba, by Deputy Chris Parker after allegedly being observed unable to maintain his lane of traffic.

Edwin Javier Ortiz, 38, of Cobb Street, Tonawanda, is charged with assault, 3rd. Ortiz allegedly struck another person in the face, breaking that person's nose. The alleged disagreement was over a pool chair and was reported at 5:54 p.m. Aug. 6 at Darien Lake.

August 14, 2016 - 11:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway, pembroke, news.

A rollover accident, unknown injuries, is reported on the westbound Thruway near mile marker 404.8.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments along with Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:27 p.m.: Multiple injuries reported. Darien's ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 11:28 p.m.: Transmission is breaking up, but a chief reports "one vehicle off the road, four people involved, three not injured, one minor injuries."  

UPDATE 11:33 p.m.: Another report, two adults, two minors, two with minor injuries, some extrication required, conscious and alert.

UPDATE 11:50 p.m.: All patients extricated.

UPDATE 12:08 a.m.: Responding units back in service.

August 14, 2016 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron, news.

A burned out socket in a bathroom is the likely cause of smoke in the residence at 6732 Byron Holley Road, Bryon.

The building, an apartment complex, is being evacuated.

Byron fire and South Byron, along with Town of Batavia's Fast Team dispatched. Elba to fill in at Byron's hall.

August 13, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, bergen, news.

A caller reports smelling smoke after a possible lightning strike on a residence at 7378 Maple Ave., Bergen.

Bergen fire responding.

August 13, 2016 - 3:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Hogs for Paw, volunteers for animals, pets, animals, batavia, news.

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Rocky got to visit Hogs for Paws today, the annual fundraiser hosted by Stan's Harley Davidson for Volunteers for Animals.

The volunteers were thrilled to see Rocky again and he was thrilled to see them. Then he got microchipped, which he took like a champ.

There were lots of dogs and people there, which was also thrilling for Rocky.

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August 13, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, business.

The Arc of Genesee Orleans is seeking the public's input in a survey on its services.

The agency is the result of a merger between Genesee ARC and Arc of Orleans County.

Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the agency is looking for information that will help it better serve the community. 

"Arc of Genesee Orleans is planning for the future and we are requesting your valuable input," Saskowski said. "As we determine our strategic priorities for the next three to five years, we want to know your thoughts to help us make the best decisions about our future and how we can best support the individuals we serve and our communities in the years to come."

Here is a link to the survey, which will be available until Aug. 19:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ArcGeneseeOrleans

August 13, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in foxprowl collectables, batavia, business.

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For the sixth-anniversary celebration of Foxprowl Collectables, wrestling legend Greg "The Hammer" Valentine made a guest appearance at the store yesterday afternoon.

Pictured with Valentine are Joy and Bill Hume.

Bill Hume said Valentine was really appreciative of his career and "really down to earth."

When Foxprowl opened on Ellicott Street six years ago, it was just one storefront, but has expanded into a back part of its building, and even that space is getting tight, so Bill Hume said he's planning to move the business next month to the former Genesee Bank building at the corner Main Street and Jackson, giving Foxprowl greater visibility and putting it in walking distance of other retail stores Downtown.

Submitted photo.

August 13, 2016 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement, Sponsored Post.

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.
August 12, 2016 - 11:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news.

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Two people fled from a rollover accident on Route 77 near Bloomingdale Road on Friday afternoon, and while the woman was apprehended after a couple of hours, the man -- described as a black male -- continued to elude law enforcement and the volunteer firefighters enlisted to help cordon off the area. 

It was hot -- over 90 degrees -- and humid. After a short, dabbled rain, the sun blazed again on the deputies in their dark uniforms and the firefighters in their turnout gear, and they all continued the search.

Nobody was even sure if the man was still in the area. The woman said a friend had swung down Route 77 and picked him up. But deputies also didn't necessarily believe that tale.

And since he was known to be injured, suffering a facial cut in the accident, and because it was not a good day to be out in the sun losing blood, they searched, unsure why he fled, but certain if he didn't get a ride, he would need help.

The search was called off once, shortly after Erie County's Air One left the area, but then the weather shifted and the State Police helicopter was cleared to fly, so it headed toward Alabama and picked up Deputy Chris Parker (who used to be part of that unit) to continue the search.

By this time, Alabama Chief Gary Patnode was home, resting, as were most of the other firefighters, then Patnode's sister called. She had seen a man walking down Route 77 who matched the description of the man deputies were looking for.

Patnode hopped in his truck and headed south on Alleghany Road. He spotted the man and contacted dispatch, who notified patrols.

Sgt. Jason Saile, who had been part of the search the entire hot afternoon, pulled up behind the man first, got out of his SUV and as the man turned around, hands in the air, Saile put out his own hand, which held a bottle of water.

The man was later identified as Ralph F. Forte, of Rochester. Charges are pending against Forte.

The woman, Sabrina J. Brownell, of Little Genesee, is charged with DWI and is facing other possible charges. 

Brownell suffered minor injuries. Forte suffered cuts on his face from the accident and a possible dislocated arm. He was also suffering from heat exhaustion by the time he was located.

The incident began in Lockport with a report of a rolling domestic on Route 77, with the vehicle heading south. Then Genesee County dispatchers were informed of a rollover accident just north of Bloomingdale Road.

Civilians first on scene uprighted the vehicle and medics saw the two occupants flee, and they provided deputies with a description of the subjects.

When law enforcement arrived, they saw the subjects head into the wooded area just south of Bloomingdale and east of Route 77. A K-9 from Medina joined the search, and Air One from Erie County arrived about 40 minutes later.

During that part of the search, the woman appeared, apparently of her own accord, on a gravel road (a snowmobile trail when there's snow) and Patnode and Saile drove to her location. She was questioned and then provided medical treatment before being transported by Mercy EMS to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Then the search continued, including a time about 20 minutes later when the Air One pilot thought he had spotted the missing black male.

Some 30 minutes later, he still hadn't been located and Air One need to return to Erie County.

Just before a quarter to six, the State Police helicopter arrived on scene. At 6:10 p.m., the subject of the search was spotted on Route 77.

Saile handed him a bottle of water and then the man was allowed to sit in the shade of Saile's patrol vehicle. Medics arrived and provided first aid until a Mercy EMS ambulance arrived. The man was placed on a stretcher and put in the ambulance and transported to Strong.

Also assisting in the case are Deputy Andrew Hale, Deputy Michael Lute and Lt. Todd Draper, and the K-9 patrol with Medina PD.

(Initial report.)

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August 12, 2016 - 1:43pm

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Police chiefs from throughout Western New York are in Batavia today for a golf tournament at Terry Hills.

The gathering of the Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police is a social event and networking opportunity, said Batavia PD's Chief Shawn Heubusch, who helped organize the tournament.

Pictured are Doug Richardson, Rob Ruffner, John Applebee, Bobby Lapidus, playing as a foursome, along with organizers Pete Hoffmeister, left, chief in Warsaw, Heubusch, second from right, and Pete Hoffmeister, far right, chief of Arcade.

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August 12, 2016 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, accident, news.

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A 67-year-old Holley man apparently suffered a medical emergency while driving through Le Roy at 4 a.m., Thursday, causing a series of accidents that led to a utility pole being knocked down and heavy damage to construction trailers at Wolcott Street School.

Douglas M. Howe was reportedly eastbound on East Main Street when he attempted a three-point turn in a 10-wheeler in the area of 57 E. Main St.

Le Roy PD reports that Howe drove the truck over the curb and broke some large branches off a tree in front of that residence.

He then proceeded west for a short distance and his truck went up over the curb in front of 44 E. Main St. The truck struck and snapped a utility pole and crashed into a cobblestone wall.

Howe then apparently backed the truck up and proceeded west on East Main Street. He then drove the truck up over the curb in front of Wolcott Street School. The truck continued south where it struck two construction trailers near the main entrance to the school. The trailers suffered heavy damage and were pushed into the school building, which suffered minor damage.

Howe was transported to UMMC by Le Roy Ambulance for treatment of minor injuries and medical evaluation.

No charges are anticipated at this time. 

Assisting at the scene was the Sheriff's Office and State Police and Le Roy Volunteer Fire Department.

Photos provided by Le Roy PD.

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August 12, 2016 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

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.
August 11, 2016 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

UPDATED at 5:50 p.m.

While the cause of death has yet to be determined, two people who were found dead in the Batavia Cemetery (not St. Joe's as previously reported) were stuck by lightning, a medical examiner has determined.

The deceased are identified as Richard Garlock, 34, and Jenna Macleod, 32.

Batavia PD was dispatched to the cemetery at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, to check on two people who were found deceased in the cemetery.

Both Garlock and Macleod are people who are familiar to police, but investigators are not really sure why they might have been in a back corner of the Batavia Cemetery at 2:30 a.m. during a lightning storm.

"(They could have been there) to watch the storm roll in and they got hit by lightning," Det. Todd Crossett said. "It's probably that simple. It really could be. It was a spectacular storm. The lightning was just incredible."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has technology that 95 percent of the time can detect a lightning strike within 600 feet of the exact location where it contacted the ground. 

NOAA has confirmed a lightning strike in the area of the Batavia Cemetery during Wednesday morning's storm.

The Erie County ME determined Garlock and Macleod had injuries consistent with being struck by lightning. 

They were found under a large tree.

"A fence wasn’t too far away," Crossett said. "I’ve seen where fence gets struck, but there’s a root underground. It will travel through the root and pop up someplace else.  Underneath the tree, there are lots of roots that come to the surface, so the tree could have got struck, traveled down the tree, came up through a root and they got the electricity that way. It could have been that, or they could have taken a direct hit. With all that, I don’t think we’ll know how it actually happened. All we can say is, they did get hit with lightning."

There are no burn marks on the tree or other objects. There are also no signs of trauma, though the victims did have some injuries investigators came to believe were consistent with a lightning strike.

There is also no visible evidence, such as paraphernalia in the area, of drug use, though early in the investigation detectives did look into that possibility.

“Why else would you be in the back corner of the cemetery?" Crossett said. "Why is that? I can tell you the detectives who were there and the lead investigator who was there, we were completely open (to any possibility). We didn't rule anything out and we didn't rule anything in."

The cause of death is pending while the Erie County M.E. completes a toxicology report, which could take up to two months.

August 11, 2016 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, bowling, Mike Pettinella, thebatavian, news, business.

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For nearly a decade, local journalist and bowling expert Mike Pettinella has produced a bi-weekly bowling column for the local print newspaper, but on Sept. 1, Pettinella’s column moves into the 21st Century, going all digital.

Pettinella has agreed to move the column, Pin Points, to the region’s most popular source for online news, The Batavian.

With the reach of The Batavian, the Wyoming County Free Press and promotional help from WBTA AM/FM and the online-only news sites in Orleans and Livingston counties, Pettinella’s Pin Points will reach a bigger audience than ever.

“We’re honored that Mike has chosen The Batavian for his column’s new home,” said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian. “Mike has a large and loyal following of bowling enthusiasts, so combine that with the popularity of The Batavian and it’s a move that is great for bowlers in the area and the sponsors who have long supported Pin Points.”

Pettinella is a Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame bowler and writer who has written professionally about the sport of bowling continuously since 1977, when he began employment as Sports Editor of The Batavia Daily News.

Bowling has been a major part of Pettinella’s career since 1992, when he took the managerial position at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. After an 11-year stint there, he was hired by the Empire State USBC Association as its manager in 2010, and continues to serve as association manager of the New York State USBC, a position he has held since 2011.

Earlier this month, Pettinella accepted the position as association manager of the Genesee Region USBC, which services league and tournament bowlers in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. He also covers local government in Genesee County and other local news for The Batavian.

His bowling columns have appeared in the Daily News and the Genesee Valley PennySaver, and he has also had articles published in several bowling publications, including Spares & Strikes and the CNY Striker. For the past nine years, his Pin Points column on The Bowling Page was a regular feature of The Batavia Daily News.

Pettinella has been involved in bowling since the late 1960s, and rolled a certified 300 game as a high school junior in 1971.

A former collegiate standout bowler, he has a high series of 816, has four Batavia Bowling Association/GRUSBC Senior Masters titles, and anchored the Turnbull Heating team to the NYS Open Championships title in 2010. Last season, he rolled two 300 games at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Mike and his wife, Wendy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren.

August 11, 2016 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Police are investigating the discovery yesterday afternoon of two bodies in the St. Joseph Batavia Cemetery in Batavia.

Sources say the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the cemetery and they had apparently died of a drug overdose.

The police are expected to release more details later today.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: While the investigation is ongoing, a lightning strike has not been ruled out as the cause of death. There was evidence at the scene to suggest that as a possibility. Investigators are waiting for more information from the medical examiner. 

UPDATE: Batavia has released information. New story here.

August 11, 2016 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Diana Kastenbaum, chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

In a rally yesterday in Wilmington, N.C., Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump insinuated that “Second Amendment people,” take violent action against Hillary Clinton if they disliked her Supreme Court nomination. This remark came after Trump made claims that Clinton believes in abolishing the Second Amendment and would nominate a judge who would do so.

This isn’t the only time Trump and his supporters have advocated violence against Secretary Clinton as chants of “lock her up” pervade at all of his rallies.

Diana Kastenbaum, the Democratic candidate for NY­27, says, “The amount of violence Mr. Trump incites seems to know no bounds. Trump’s remarks were not only hateful, but insulting as he reduced gun owners to no better than murderers.

"I'm sure Chris Collins is waiting in the wings for his next appearance on the networks and cable today to tell us how the liberal media and Democrats have once again misconstrued Mr. Trump’s statements. However, this is no joking matter and blatant threats, such as this, should be taken seriously.”

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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