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January 27, 2016 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Rachel C. Marks, 25, of Heritage Street, Albion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unsafe backing. Marks was allegedly observed by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk at 1:37 a.m. Jan. 23 on West Main Street, Batavia, backing into another vehicle and striking it.

Derek Ernest Dingman, 28, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on a highway. Porter was stopped at 1:17 p.m. Tuesday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Shentelle Christine Gagnon, 25, of East Avenue, Brockport, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Gagnon is accused of bringing drugs and drug paraphernalia into the Genesee County Jail.

Gregory A. Emerson, 33, of Park Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to comply with instructions of Genesee Justice, failure to appear and failure to pay fine. The charges stem from a DWI conviction in 2014. Emerson was released on his own recognizance.

Roseann Cooper, 46, of Pearl Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear and failure to pay a fine. Cooper was originally convicted of petit larceny. She was released on her own recognizance.

Matthew R. Hinze, 25, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and uninspected motor vehicle. Hinze was stopped for an alleged uninspected vehicle violation at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday on Court Street, Batavia, by Officer James DeFreze, who reported seeing drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and subsequently found a quantity of marijuana on the person of Hinze.

January 26, 2016 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Imagination Station, batavia, schools.

Press release from Imagination Station:

Due to the water main break in between the Robert Morris School and Notre Dame School, we are having to close our Batavia facility early today. We request that all students are picked up by 3:30 p.m. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

January 26, 2016 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, ugandan water project.

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Press release:

On Jan. 25, students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School hosted representatives from the Ugandan Water Project, a humanitarian organization headquartered in Bloomfield that works with communities in Africa to provide safe, accessible drinking water.

After learning how precious water is to children and families in Uganda, students took on the challenge to help raise funds to install a rainwater collection system at a school there. The system will serve a community of almost 400 people for up to 35 years. Byron-Bergen students will change lives.

“It is just as important to us to help kids here in Byron-Bergen see how powerful they are; how every one of them is capable of changing the world, as it is to bring safe drinking water to villages in Uganda,” said Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington. “Our purpose is to help kids grow on both continents.

"The connection between Byron-Bergen and Uganda began last year with a chance meeting between Harrington and third-grade teacher Lynnette Gall. Thanks to the elementary school’s Character Education Committee, with help from educational experts at the Ugandan Water Project, teachers school-wide are incorporating the concept of water as a valuable resource into their studies of world culture, geography, and science.

Students will learn how water is used, where water comes from, about the water cycle, and the problems caused by unequal distribution of water around the world.

The Ugandan Water Project presentation began with joyful Ugandan folk music played by Harrington, and a chance for children to try out traditional dance steps. Students then experienced what it is like to try to carry a 40- to 50-pound container of water — a task faced by many Ugandan children who live over an hour from their water source.

Harrington and Ugandan Water Project Communications Lead Megan Busch then spoke about their water projects, over 250 currently, and demonstrated how something as simple as a small filter can make unsanitary water safe to drink.

The nonprofit Ugandan Water Project was founded in 2008, and works with more than 200 communities in Uganda. Their water solutions include rainwater collection systems, well repair and water purification systems. To contribute to Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s campaign visit http://ugandanwaterproject.com/product/byron-bergen/ by Feb. 12.

Top photo: Special water filters can purify otherwise undrinkable water. Byron-Bergen students and their teachers join Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington in sampling clean, safe filtered water.

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Byron-Bergen Elementary School students shake their tail feathers as part of a traditional Ugandan dance.

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Students try to imagine carrying heavy containers of water over long distances. Many Ugandan children their age face this daunting task every day. 

January 26, 2016 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy.
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    Noel Wentworth

A 46-year-old Pringle Avenue resident has been arrested by Le Roy PD, accused of stealing five checks from an acquaintance, forging her name and cashing them at a local bank.

Noel M. Wentworth is charged with five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, one court of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and two counts of petit larceny. 

Wentworth allegedly took the checks in June while staying with the acquaintance.

In July, Wentworth alleged possessed a credit card belonging to the same person and used the card to withdraw money from the bank.

The petit larceny charges stem from the cash Wentworth allegedly received from the bank.

Following arraignment, Wentworth was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

January 26, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame.

Mike Rapone, athletic director for Notre Dame HS, has discovered some holes in the school records on who has won male and female Athlete of the Year awards. The school is planing to rennovate the display in the entrance hallway.

Rapone said he would like to properly recognize the achievements of each year's winner and is asking members of the community to help identify past winners where the records are incomplete. If you have the information for the years below, please e-mail [email protected].

Female Missing Years: 1957 / 1959 / 1961 / 1966 / 1973 / 1975 / 1976 / 1978 / 1980 / 1989 / 1992 / 1993 / 1995

Male Missing Years: 1956 / 1960 / 1961 / 1965 / 1966 / 1968

January 26, 2016 - 11:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

There is a water main break on Union Street in front of Notre Dame High School, a Water Department crew has responded to begin the repairs. Water service on Union Street will be affected in this area, and water discoloration may be noticed in the surrounding areas. Union Street will be closed to traffic between Richmond Avenue and Soccio Street until repairs are complete.

The repair of the water service line on Washington Avenue has been completed.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.: Union Street has reopened. The Break is repaired.

January 26, 2016 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Police Facility, batavia.

Two months ago, members of the City Council were unanimous in their support of proceeding with a study of a potential merger between the city's police force and the Sheriff's Office.

Monday night, support for such a study dwindled to three, Adam Tabelski (who wasn't on the council in November), Brooks Hawley and John Canale.

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian opened the discussion with her change of heart. Christian said she heard from at least 11 of her constituents who support keeping a city police force and she also spoke with officers about how police protection might decline following a merger.

"I want to keep our police department," Christian said. "Crime is going up and there's no doubt drugs are running rampant."

Christian, like several other council members, was also scared off the potential $80,000 to $100,000 cost of a merger feasibility study.

"I don't want a study," Christian said. "It's a waste of money."

Canale tried to argue that most of that expense would be covered by state grants and the city, county and Village of Le Roy, would likely share only 10 percent of that expense.

Canale said he thinks that small expense to the city is a good investment since it could lead to greater cost savings down the road.

Council President Eugene Jankowski pointed out that even if the bulk of the cost is covered by a grant, a grant is still taxpayer money.

For most of 2015, the city was moving toward a proposal to build a new police station, replacing the cramped and dilapidated building the police currently call home, with a police facilities task force making a recommendation for a new station on vacant property on Swan Street.

A new station could cost $10 million.

Once the council received the recommendation, there was board support for the proposal and calls not to "kick the can down the road" any further on the need to provide police with an appropriate and modern facility.

Then at a meeting in November, at least a half dozen members of the local Libertarian Party showed up at a council meeting and blasted the proposal, especially without first studying the idea of eliminating the police department and going to a countywide agency.

Unanimously, the council agreed to explore the idea and instructed a committee to open discussions with the county.

Christian and Kathy Briggs both said they heard after that meeting from their constituents that they didn't want to get rid of the police department.

"In the 5th Ward, when there's a problem, the police are there immediately," Briggs said. "I like that we have a quick police response and I don't want to lose it."

Christian said she feared calling the police only to be told by dispatchers that all of the officers are out on Creek Road dealing with a minor incident and it will take 15 minutes for a patrol to reach her house.

Jankowski pointed out that in a merged department, there are other communities in the county that feel they don't currently have enough police protection and some resources earmarked for the city could wind up in villages and towns.

While at the November meeting Jankowski, a former city police lieutenant, went along with the city request, he also argued for many of the benefits of a local police department and noted many of the cost savings already taking place through multiple shared services.

Monday, he recalled that the last time there was going to be "just a study" of merged services, the city wound up losing its own emergency dispatchers.

The council will take up the issue of a new police facility and how to move forward at its next conference meeting in February.

January 26, 2016 - 7:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, land use, sign ordinance.

Businesses with digital signs should be able to change their message every 10 seconds, City Council President Eugene Jankowski suggested during Monday's council meeting.

He wants the city's Planning Board to review that suggested rule change and come back to the council with a recommendation. His fellow council members unanimously concurred.

The current ordinance is interpreted to prohibit a business from changing the message more than once every 24 hours.

Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver's Candies, raised the issue with the city a couple of months ago after installing a new digital sign outside of his business at Main and Oak streets.

The suggested change, Jankowski said, is an important step toward supporting local businesses.

January 26, 2016 - 7:33am

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Two parcels of property that are part of the city's brownfield opportunity area are advancing in the redevelopment process.

The City Council approved resolutions Monday night that will make it possible for the Batavia Development Corp. to take over ownership in order to prepare the property for sale to a private developer.

The transfer is contingent on a successful tax foreclosure process.

Both properties, at 40-52 Ellicott St., the former Dellapenna property, and 56-70 Ellicott St., the former Santy Tire's location, along with other businesses, have been elligible for tax foreclosure for some time, but the city has let the properties sit in limbo to avoid becoming responsible for the expense of environmental cleanup.

City Manager Jason Moliono wouldn't confirm that property title transfer to BDC signals that Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacette has identified a specific private owner for redevelopment of the properties, but the resolutions passed by the council indicate a developer is waiting in the wings.

The resolutions both say, "the BDC has agreed to accept title to said property and work towards executing agreements with a preferred developer for redeveloment of the site consistent with the accept Brownfield Opportunity Area Step 2 Nomination Plan ..."

The BOA covers all of the city's central corridor and is 366 acres. It affords an opportunity to provide developers with assistance in revitalizing abandoned, blighted and underused properties.

The BDC has been working for years to establish the designation, identify properties for redevelopment and market those properties to potential developers.

There's no information available yet on who the developer might be, what is planned for the property, or when the next steps will be announced.

January 26, 2016 - 6:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Ashly Marie Majchrzak, 26, of Pittsford Street, Rochester, is charged with possession or transport for sale of untaxed cigarettes, unlawful possession of marijuana and no seatbelt. Majchrzak was stopped at 11:28 a.m. Monday on Route 77, Alabama, by Deputy Joseph Corona for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt. She was allegedly found in possesion of 1,400 untaxed cigarettes and a quantity of marijuana.

January 25, 2016 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, sports, wrestling.

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Andrea Aldinger provided this picture of alumni of the Alexander High School Wrestling Team on Alexander's Alumni Night.

Front row, from left: Alton Rupp, 2014, Austin Heberlein, 2012, Brian Schaal, 1994, Tyler Aldinger, 2012, Nick Wall, 2010; back row, Todd "Beep" Marzolf, 1993, Rob Smith, 1986, Keith Morton, 1992, Tom Aldinger, 1983, Dan Ognibene, 2012.

January 25, 2016 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be making a repair on a broken water service line on Washington Avenue Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Water service should not be interrupted to make this repair. Please try to avoid the area between Bank Street and Summit Street as travel lanes may be restricted.

January 25, 2016 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, corfu, scott doll.
   File Photo: Scott Doll

The attorney handling the murder conviction appeal of Scott F. Doll is asking for a hearing on why a Monroe County medical examiner testified during Doll's trial that fingernail clippings were taken and retained from the victim, Joseph Benaquist, when they were not.

Timothy Murphy argued his motion today in Superior Court, but presiding judge Michael F. Pieturszka was full of skeptical questions. 

Repeatedly, in various ways, Pieturszka asked Murphy what would be gained by a hearing when it's already known that the evidence doesn't exist. A hearing isn't going to suddenly produce the evidence, the judge noted.

Murphy argued that is presumably in the best interest of the court to find out why the trial judge -- Robert C. Noonan -- was misled about the existence of the fingernail clippings. Murphy also repeatedly stated that he didn't blame the DA's Office for the missing evidence, but he thinks the ME's Office should explain the now clearly false testimony that the evidence was collected.

At the time of trial, neither the DA nor the defense, led by Paul Cambria, requested DNA evidence from the fingernail clippings. The lack of the evidence was only discovered after Judge Robert C. Noonan, now retired, ordered the Monroe County ME's Office produce it.

Scott LaPoint, a deputy ME, testified in Doll's trial that the evidence is routinely collected and that it was collected in this instance.

Pieturszka asked what the pratical result of a hearing might be since a hearing wouldn't make evidence appear that didn't exist.

"The court is entitled to know why an order was not enforced and fully enforced," Murphy said, arguing that it was in the best interest of the court to find out why false testimony was given and why the ME's Office wasn't able to satisfactorily produce evidence Noonan ordered produced.

The fact that there may have been a third person's DNA at the scene of the crime, on Benaquist's left boot, made the inquiry all the more important, Murphy asserted, but Pieturszka asked whether even that fact was relevant without any idea of how the DNA came to be introduced into the crime scene.

It's an incomplete DNA sample, so a third person cannot be identified with it. There's no indication that, if there was a third person present, it was at the time Benaquist was killed, or if it was on Benaquist's boot prior to the attack, or if it accidently came from an investigator after the fact.

ADA Will Zickl argued that even if Murphy's request had merit, it wasn't related to the motion presently before the court. Zickl said Murphy could bring a new motion to uncover the information he seeks, but the fact that the evidence doesn't exist and can't be produced ends the original motion that prompted the discovery of the mistake.

Murphy also wants hair samples from Benaquist subjected to DNA testing to see if any third-party DNA might be found. But Zickl argued that it was such a bloody crime scene and the hair was covered so thoroughly with Benaquist's blood, there is nothing to be gained by another round of tests.

"The pulled hair samples are not worth the trouble it would take the lab to test it in light of the circumstances," Zickl said.

Pieturszka is reserving his decision until a later date. He gave Murphy two weeks to file a memo supporting his position, and Zickl two weeks after that to produce an answering memo.

Previously: DNA sample can't be matched to 2009 murder victim, nor the man convicted of killing him

Forl all previous coverage of the Scott Doll case, click here.

January 25, 2016 - 6:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, pembroke, bergen.

Philip Michael Molina Sr., 30, of Slade Road, Medina, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, 2nd. Molina was arrested following an investigation into a shoplifting complaint at Walmart involving a female companion. Molina was allegedly found in possession of metal knuckles and driving on a suspended driver's license. He was jailed on $15,000 bail or $30,000 bond.

Thomas C. Williamee, 45, of Clay St, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Williamee is accused of shoplifting from Tops Market in Le Roy. He allegedly stole $8.11 in merchandise.

William A. Andrews III, 36, no permanent address, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged aggravated criminal contempt. Andrews allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection. He is accused of punching the protected party in the face at 1:55 a.m. Aug. 23 while on West Main Street, Batavia.  Andrews charged with another count of aggravated criminal contempt for allegedly being with the protected party at the time of his arrest at 11:23 a.m. Friday. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Justin T. Pahl, 31, of Perry Road, Le Roy, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Pahl allegedly punched out a window during an incident reported at 8:30 a.m. Friday at a location on Thomas Avenue, Batavia, causing shards of glass to scatter in a room where there were two children, ages 2 and 6.

Amanda R. McDonald, 34, of Pearl Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay restitution stemming from a December 2013 incident. McDonald was arraigned and released on her own recognizance with the balance due on her restitution by her next court appearance, March 24.

J'Shon K. Naegely, 19, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Naegely is accused of possessing and selling a video game console and video games that did not belong to him.

Allison Josephine Minnick, 22, of Maple Ridge Road, Medina, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, speed not reasonable and prudent. Minnick was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Chad Cummings into a motor-vehicle accident reported at 5:16 a.m. Saturday on Route 262, Byron.

A 17-year-old resident of Judge Road, Alabama, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. The teen allegedly sent threatening text messages to a female victim causing annoyance and alarm. 

Cheryl A. Baker, 32, of Rochester, is charged with forgery, 2nd, falsifying business records, offering for file a false instrument, criminal impersonation, 2nd, and driving on a suspended registration. Baker was arrested by State Police for alleged criminal activity in the Town of Pembroke. She was jailed on $15,000 bail. No further information available at this time.

Matthew D. Chojnacki, 80, of Akron, is charged with DWI. Chojnacki was stopped at 1:23 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Bergen, by State Police.

January 24, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Veterans Cemetery, pembroke.

These are renderings of the planned veterans cemetery at Route 77 and Indian Falls Road in Pembroke. We just received digital copies and wanted to share them.  Keep in mind, these are not the final architectural plans, but proposed layout of the property.

Click on the first photo to view the slide show.

Previously: New national cemetery in Pembroke could open for first burials within three years

January 24, 2016 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported in the area of 9468 Alleghany Road, Darien.

That's near the Pizza Pantry, just outside the Village of Corfu.

There are two vehicles involved. One is out of the intersection, but the other is disabled and blocking.

Darien fire and ambulance dispatched.

January 23, 2016 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron.

A single-vehicle rollover accident is reported on Swamp Road in the area of Log City Road. 

Unknown injuries.

Byron and South Byron fire along with Stafford are dispatched. 

UPDATE 9:48 p.m.: Driver got himself out of the vehicle. Stafford and South Byron can go back in service.

January 23, 2016 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thomas Rocket Car, batavia.

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The Thomas Rocket Car has been sandblasted down to bare metal as it continues through the process of restoration by a group of local antique car buffs who will donate the fully restored vehicle to the City of Batavia.

The car was designed by former Batavia resident Charles Thomas as a prototype of a car he was hoping Detroit would build in the late 1930s, but the car was considered too far ahead of its time and then the war came, so the Thomas Rocket Car is truly one of a kind.

It was built in Batavia.

The sandblasting was completed by Hillcrest Coating in Attica. 

Old World owner Dick McClurg said next he will fabricate a new front, driver's side fender.

"I always do the hardest part first," he said.

The bottom photo is of a print made by Pete Whyman from a glass plate negative of a photo taken by his father, Walter Whyman, sometime around 1941. The photo was taken in Williams Park. Pete Whyman showed up at McClurg's shop recently with the photos. Until then, nobody knew the color photos existed. The car must have been repainted shortly after Thomas completed it in 1938, because the vehicle was originally maroon and in the photos it's red.

For previous rocket car coverage, click here.

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January 23, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement.

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Deputy Jason Saile, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, was named Officer of the Year by Sheriff Gary Maha during the department's annual awards luncheon yesterday at the Sheriff's Office on Park Road.

Dispatcher Jason W. Holman received the Distinguished Service Award.

The top longevity awards went to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster and Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble, at 40 years each. Also awarded was Youth Officer John Dehm, who has been with the office for 35 years.

Commendations were awarded to Sgt. Eric Seppala, deputies Chad Cummings, Joseph Loftus Michael Lute, Andrew Hale, dispatchers Peggy Richardson, Steve Robinson, Michale Sheflin, corrections officers Kevin Thomas, Michale Cox, Peter Hoy and investigators Tim Weis and Kris Kautz.

Meritorious Service awards: Correction Officer Michael E. Glow, Sgt. Brian M. Frieday, Sgt. Jon R. Szumigala, Genesee Justice Case Manager Cathy T. Uhly, Sgt. James M. Meier, Sgt. Ronald E. Meides.

Weis and Szumigala were at the luncheon on their final days of duty before retirement.

Certificates of Appreciation were handed out to Julie A. Walsh, Mental Health clinical therapist for the JFCAC, Volunteer for Animals,Le Roy Officer Ryan W. Young (now a deputy),Szumigala, Weis and confidential secretary Carolyn A. Della Penna.

Here are the narratives for the awards to Saile and Holman:

OFFICER OF THE YEAR – DEPUTY SHERIFF JASON E. SAILE
Deputy Jason E. Saile has distinguished himself as a proactive, dedicated and enthusiastic Deputy Sheriff leading the “A” line shift for many years in DWI enforcement. During 2015, his 10th year with the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Saile had his best all-around year, not solely because he continued to be proactive in his enforcement, but because he emerged as a well-rounded, knowledgeable officer who is able to look beyond the laws and regulations to find answers and relief for the citizens and victims he encounters.  Deputy Saile made himself available for extra duty at a time when patrol strength was seriously depleted. He has used his certifications as a Crash Manager and Field Training Officer to enhance the services of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Saile commands respect with his knowledge, physical presence and his ability to empathize with the victims he encounters. His work has been exceptional. Deputy Jason E. Saile has brought great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and most deserves to be named Officer of the Year.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDSENIOR EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCHER JASON W. HOLMAN
Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason W. Holman has distinguished himself as a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. For several years, Senior Dispatcher Holman has provided critical insight and assistance with upgrades, maintenance, and operational configurations of the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center computer-aided dispatch program, phone systems, and radio consoles. Senior Dispatcher Holman worked closely with the Genesee County Mutual Aid Fire Advisory Board to develop new policies and procedures to enhance and improve communications. His work handling concerns and working with the fire and emergency medical services to find workable solutions has been instrumental in the implementation of new technologies. Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher

Jason W. Holman reflects great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

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Jason Holman

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Hale, Loftus and Seppala receiving their awards for their conduct on the scene of the alleged murder and arson on Selden Road the morning of Dec. 1.

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Robison and Sheflin receiving their awards for their conduct as dispatchers the morning of Dec. 1.

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Cummings and Lute receiving their awards for rescuing a man from the storm drains under the Batavia Town Square parking lot in November.

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Weis receiving his retirement badge and ID.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

January 23, 2016 - 5:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron.

A pickup truck is off the road on Route 262 at Bank Street Road, Byron.

Unknown injuries.

Byron and South Byron fire departments dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 5:23 a.m.: Assignment being held to South Byron.

UPDATE 5:28 a.m.: Chief says, "If you can get the heaters going in that pretty good, we're going to have a couple of people sitting in it for awhile."

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