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July 11, 2011 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Children participating in one of the city's summer recreation programs paid a visit to City of Batavia Fire Department today and got to meet firefighters and learn about their jobs and see the equipment they use.

July 9, 2011 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

Reader Jane Johnson said this pooch appeared in their yard this morning, very friendly, loves being around kids and had a collar and rabies tags.

But she has no idea who owns the dog.

The owner can contact Johns at 739-0378.

July 8, 2011 - 8:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Shortly I'll be on the road to Buffalo to catch a flight to New York City.

While I'm gone, breaking news will be covered by Billie and WBTA.

I return Sunday.

In NYC, I'll be the guest of the New York Times and New York University for an event called the "Hyperlocal Conclave."

"Hyperlocal" is this made-up word that all of the news industry uses now without really understanding what it means to describe news sites like The Batavian. I think what we do is just good, old-fashioned -- the way newspapers used to do it -- local journalism. But it's such a radical concept -- to concentrate coverage on just one community, even though it's very old school, that the industry had to give a name to the business model.

The Batavian is unique among "hyperlocal" news sites in that it actually makes money -- not a lot, but we keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. There's only a handful of other sites in the United States that can make the same claim. So, when these conferences come up, I periodically get invited to talk about how and why we can get sponsorships from, say, more than 100 local businesses.

Obviously, I'm proud what what we've done with The Batavian and continue to be grateful for the support of the community, readers and advertisers. Thank you.

While in NYC, my short stay will be concentrated in the area around NYU, which I think is Greenwich Village/Soho -- an area of the city that I've never seen much of before.

July 8, 2011 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, byron.

William R. Green, 52, of Batavia-Elba Townline Road, Elba, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Green was reportedly involved with a dispute at 10:15 p.m., Thursday and during the dispute, Green allegedly grabbed his neighbor by the neck and punched him. Green was jailed on $200 bail.

James R. Tydelski, 55, of 7800 Hewes Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to stop at a stop sign. Tydelski was stopped at 1:06 a.m. at the intersection of Mill and Lake streets in the Village of Le Roy by a Le Roy Police officer.

Joshua Todd Fullmer, 18, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Fullmer is accused of shoplifting $34.98 worth of merchandise from Kmart.

Warren Walter McClure, 40, of Hamilton Road, Buffalo, is charged with burglary, 3rd. McClure is accused of entering a business in the Town of Batavia while it was closed on Feb. 6 and stealing money, checks and surveillance cameras.

Todd F. James, 48, of School Road, Byron, is charged with disorderly conduct. James allegedly refused to turn down his radio creating "unnecessary noise" in his neighborhood for more than three hours.

Kelsey Marie Davis, 19, of unreleased street address, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Davis was arrested following an investigation into a fight during the Tim McGraw concert at Darien Lake Theme Park on June 25.

Samuel Robert Thompson, 55, of Shady Lane, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Thompson is accused of stealing a bicycle from a parking lot.

July 8, 2011 - 7:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke.

Three children and two adults were injured in a head-on collision that required the response of three Mercy Flight helicopters to the area of Indian Falls Road and Pratt Road on Thursday.

None of the injuries are believed life threatening, though at least one patient remains in intensive care at a hospital.

A Sheriff's Office investigation indicates that a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer driven by Sonya M. Charache, 30, of Gorton Road, Alabama, was southbound on Indian Falls Road when it crossed into the northbound lane for an unknown reason.

The SUV struck a 2004 Chevy Silverado being driven by Donald Sage, 70, of Judge Road, Oakfield.

Sage is in guarded condition (in intensive care) at Strong Memorial Hospital. Sage was transported to Strong by Mercy Flight.

Charache was reportedly unconscious following the accident and taken by Mercy Flight, according to the Sheriff's Office, to Erie County Medical Center. However, this morning, ECMC patient information had no information on Charache's condition.

Riding in Charache's SUV were three children, Jackson K. Gilbert, 2, and Kayda L. Charache, 1, both of Gorton Road, Alabama, and Garrett M. Talbot, 6, of the City of Batavia. 

Garrett was transported to Women & Children's Hospital in Buffalo by Mercy Flight. His condition is not known at this time.

The other two children were transported by the Oakfield volunteer ambulance to UMMC.

Members of the Indian Falls, East Pembroke and Pembroke volunteer fire departments responded to the scene and extricated the patients from the vehicles.

Also responding was the Corfu Volunteer Fire Department along with Mercy EMS, Genesee Emergency Services and the Sheriff's Office.

The accident investigation is being handled by Deputy Kevin McCarthy, Sgt. Greg Walker, Investigator Kris Kautz and Sgt. William Scott of the Crash Management Team.

( Initial report and more photos)

July 7, 2011 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NY-26, kathy hochul, pakistan, foreign affairs.

When Kathy Hochul made a campaign appearance in Batavia at the YWCA, I asked her about Genesee County's deteriorating infrastructure and what could be done about it at a federal level.

Hochul started by expressing concern about a problem that she sees across Western New York, with pot-holed roads and rusting bridges. As she spoke, it was almost as if the thought occurred to her on the fly -- why are we spending billions building roads in Pakistan when we have so needs here at home.

She picked up the theme in subsequent debates and appearances.

Today, Hochul's congressional office announced that she's kept her campaign promise, voting to reduce aid to Pakistan.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul voted in favor of Republican Congressman Ted Poe’s (TX-2) amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which would cut funding to Pakistan by $1 billion. 

“Today’s votes were about priorities,” said Congresswoman Hochul.  “Would we rather spend a billion dollars in Pakistan or spend that money right here at home? I know the people of the 26th District would much rather have that money invested in infrastructure, education, and job creation right here in the United States, rather than in the country that hid Osama bin Laden.”

Since being sworn in last month, one of Congresswoman Hochul’s top priorities has been cutting spending and reducing our deficit. In addition to cutting funding to Pakistan, Congresswoman Hochul today voted to cut $675 million from infrastructure in Afghanistan, citing the need to improve infrastructure in our own communities.

July 7, 2011 - 9:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, farmers market, public market.

First goal after leaving the court house around noon -- getting a pulled pork sandwich from Alston's at the Downtown Public Market. Second goal, photos at the market.

Both goals accomplished.

And I also learned that Alston's now participates in the Genesee Country Farmers Market at Batavia Downs. That market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, but Alston's is only there on Fridays.

The downtown market appears to be doing very well this year. There was certainly a great selection New York fruits and vegetables to "heart."

July 7, 2011 - 9:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Batavia PD is responding to Main and Oak to check on reports of a traffic light malfunction.

One caller states she's been stuck at a light for 12 minutes.

Another caller says traffic is "backing up pretty good."

July 7, 2011 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Ronald A. Smith, a Level 3 sex offender facing three new felony charges, has been given a plea offer that would reduce his time in prison to five years.

Or he could take his case to trial, risk conviction, and a maximum sentence of 21 years in jail.

He has until Aug. 8 to decide.

Last month, Smith was convicted in a jury trial of failing to register his proper address as a sex offender.

He will be sentenced on Aug. 8 on that charge, with a possible sentence of up to three and a half years in prison.

If he pleads guilty to one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, he would receive a concurrent sentence of five years max.

The three sexual abuse counts carry a maximum possible sentence of seven years each, and the sentences could be imposed consecutively.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman explained the plea offer in Genesee County Court this morning when Smith appeared so a trial date could be set on the sexual abuse charges.

Jury selection will begin Oct. 24 if Smith doesn't accept a plea deal on or before Aug. 8.

UPDATE: To clarify the sentencing options on the failure to register conviction. Smith can receive one of two possible indeterminate sentences, either one and a half to three years in state prison, or two to four years. So, on that charge he could likely serve from one and a half to two years, with credit for time already served. If he accepts the plea offer on just one count of sexual abuse, he would receive a determinate sentence of five years.  

Previously:

July 7, 2011 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

A 48-year-old Le Roy resident who stole $6,172 from her employer will spend five years on probation and serve 60 days in jail on an intermittent basis.

Doris M. Castle, of 8325 Vallance Road, was employed by the YWCA in a daycare program. She expressed remorse for her theft in a letter she wrote to her former boss and read in Genesee County Court this morning.

"Words canot begin to convey how truly sorry I am," Castle said. "I loved my job. I loved the kids. You're the best boss I've ever had and you were my friend. I never planned to steal anything, but I was so desperate for money and every time I thought I could put the money back, something else would happen and I would end up  needing more.

"...I know I made restitution, but I know I can't repair what you think of me or what you might think of other employees in the future and whether you can really trust them. As for the children, I know I let them down. Everything I tried to teach them about being a good citizen, I ruined by my actions."

Her supervisor, Patricia McAllister, read a statement emphasizing the trust Castle broke by stealing money and the strain it put on the YWCA to meet its financial obligations.

"She was trusted to provide the children with security, guidance and a role model they can look up to," McAllister said. "I question that role model at this time. I think it was one of the 7-year-old boys who came to me one day and said, 'I don't get it. I don't get it. What was Dory thinking. It wasn't her money.' I had no response whatsoever."

Judge Robert C. Noonan said he believed Castle was sincerely contrite, but added that maintaining public trust in the judicial system was important in embezzlement cases.

"When the public sees somebody who stole a candy bar, or more commonly a DVD or CD, from Walmart going to jail on a petit larceny charge for something that is less than $25 in value, and then they see somebody facing a much more serious charge in a case involving a lot more money getting a community-based sentence, the public has trouble figuring that out," Noonan said.

Noonan went on to explain that the main difference in the cases are the individuals involved. With the typical shoplifting case, the defendant is somebody in-and-out of the legal system, while most embezzlement cases, such as this one, involve somebody who has never been in trouble before.

"I don't fear somebody like you, especially with five years probation, will return to the criminal justice system," Noonan said, "but I do feel there is an importance to protect the credibility of the criminal justice system."

For that reason, Noonan said, he was imposing the maximum sentence available under what he characterized as a favorable plea agreement negotiated by Castle's attorney, William Harper.

July 7, 2011 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, methamphetamine.

A former Le Roy resident who was first involved with a meth lab and later found in possession of forged currency had his forgery case resolved in Genesee County Court today in an unusual manner.

Because Christopher J. Elmore is already in Georgia serving a 10-year federal sentence on the meth lab charges, Elmore was allowed to plead guilty by affidavit to criminal possession of a forged instrument, 3rd, a Class A misdemeanor.

Without Elmore in the court -- and because of the expense of bringing Elmore back to Genesee County for both a plea and sentencing -- Judge Robert C. Noonan, in accordance with the plea agreement, granted an unconditional discharge of the case.

July 6, 2011 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

UPDATED 11:20 p.m.

A Batavia High School student has been arrested, accused of giving an unknown type of pill to minors at Farrall Park on May 28, reportedly making the minors ill.

Charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child is Ryan F. DiMartino, 16, of 8821 Rollin Circle, Batavia.

DiMartino was arrested by Batavia PD Officer James DeFreze, who said in a news release that DiMartino was arrested following a  "lengthy investigation."

While police can't release the age of the alleged victims, DeFreze said in an interview that the minors were younger than DiMartino.

Though the alleged victims became ill, they did not require medical treatment, DeFreze said.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, DiMartino was released and scheduled to reappear on July 12.

July 6, 2011 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A Bergen man was reportedly the victim of a gun shot during a fireworks display in Rochester on Monday evening.

Daniel MacKey, 40, checked himself into UMMC after returning from the fireworks in Rochester and medical staff found a bullet in his leg.

MacKey was apparently sitting on his truck with his daughter during the show when he felt a sharp pain in his leg just above the knee. He noticed blood and walked over to Rochester firefighters who where nearby and the firefighters bandaged up his leg.

He then returned to Batavia to have his leg examined locally.

The wound was reportedly caused by a small caliber bullet.

Investigators do not believe MacKey was targeted, but there are no suspects at this time. The shooting remains under investigation.

July 6, 2011 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A car has hit a pole on Cedar Street near the Sandwash.

Mercy EMS and City Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE: No to very minor injuries.

July 6, 2011 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter-sized hail and 60 mph winds is moving into Genesee County from the west and may reach Oakfield and Batavia.

The storm is currently located near Akron and is moving east at 25 mph.

The warning is in effect until 4:30 p.m.

July 5, 2011 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A bicyclist from Erie County was injured late Monday morning when a car reportedly turned in front of him at the intersection of Alleghany and Sumner roads, Darien.

Mercy Flight was initially dispatched to the scene, but was canceled before arrival.

Transported by ground ambulance to ECMC was Albert W. Weber, 49, of Heise Road, Clarence Center. He was treated and released.

Cited for allegedly failing to use a turn signal was Lynn A. Pilc, 38, of Schoellkopf Road, Cowlesville.

Pilc was driving a 2008 Ford SUV northbound on Route 77 when she reportedly decided to make a right-hand turn onto Sumner Road.

Pilc allegedly turned in front of Weber's bike and he was apparently unable to avoid a collision.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Nathan Balduf.

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