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December 21, 2010 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Robert Morris School.


More than a dozen Robert Morris School teachers withstood subfreezing temperatures and light snow last night in an effort to garner more votes in the Pepsi Challenge. If the school gets enough support, Pepsi will donate $50,000 for a new playground.

Teachers were handing out handbills to passing drivers and car passengers with information on how to vote, plus the school's computer lab was open for anybody who needed help voting.


Santa in the picture is Paul Bernardi, of Pauly's Pizza.

To vote:

1. You can go to, where you can find more information -- including a video made by students, staff and parents -- and vote by clicking the "Vote for this idea" tab (upper right).

2. You can also vote via text messaging. Simply text to 73774 and enter 104607 in the message.

December 21, 2010 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

WHAM 13's Sean Carroll sat down with John Parrinello, the prominent Monroe County attorney and politician arrested recently at GCC and charged with criminal trespass.

Parrinello says he's retained Batavia attorney Lisa Kroemer to represent him. He believes two five-minute videos of the incident posted on YouTube vindicate him.  He indicates he was trying to leave when he was arrested, but wanted to leave by the exit nearest his car rather than the one the trooper wanted him to leave by (don't all exits from the gym lead to one exit to the parking lot -- I mean, does it really matter which gym door he goes out of to be "closer to his car"?)

December 20, 2010 - 10:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Tonawanda Creek.

Michael_Caccamise .jpg

I've looked at this memorial a few times in the past couple of years. It is mounted on the fence behind the courthouse above the Tonawanda Creek.

The sign reads: "Michael Caccamise and two playmates fell through the ice and into the icy waters of the Tonawanda Creek on Feb. 10, 1932. The bodies of Harry Campebello, age 10, and Frank Bezon, age 9, were recovered on Feb. 13th near the dam. However, Michael’s body was not recovered until July 8, 1932.

In Loving Memory of Michael Caccamise
Age 10
Son of
George and Mary Caccamise"

December 20, 2010 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Motel, code enforcement.

There's never a good time to kick somebody out of their home, said Bruce Gerould, Town of Batavia deputy building inspector.

But when raw sewage is seeping under the dwelling units, how much longer do you wait? Until after Christmas, after New Year's, or after somebody gets typhoid?

"If we waited and somebody got sick, then people would be asking why we waited," Gerould said. "It's a no-win situation."

Gerould has been the building inspector responsible for inspecting the Batavia Motel, 3768 W. Main St. Road, since he went to work for the town in 2004. He said there's never been a time when there haven't been code violations at the apartment complex, and since a fire two years ago, the owner has been increasingly less responsive in making repairs.

The owner, Panchal "Sonny" Bhupendrabhai, said he hasn't been eager to make repairs of late, because all he's really wanted to do is sell the property.

He thought he had a buyer until a couple of months ago, but with open code violations, he couldn't complete the deal.

Then the town expressed interest in the property.

"When I heard of the town's interest, I thought there's no reason to spend thousands of dollars for repairs," Bhupendrabhai said.

Bhupendrabhai initiated the call with The Batavian. He said he wanted readers to know that his tenants, with one exception, had plenty of notice that they needed to find new dwellings.

He said he told them weeks ago he intended to shut down the property.

In the case of Eric Duda, he said, Duda fell behind eight weeks in rent and Bhupendrabhai told him just find another place to live, and rather than evict him, gave him time to make other arrangements. He said that days before the condemnation notice, Duda was approved by DSS for $175-per-week rent at Mark Trail. 

Another tenant, he said, stopped paying his rent five weeks ago after learning of the town's interest in buying the property. That tenant, he said, told other residents to stop paying their rent as well.

When Bhupendrabhai confronted the tenant about it, he agreed to stop telling others not to pay their rent. Bhupendrabhai told him he would forgive the five-weeks back rent if he would pay one more week rent and then find another place to live.

A total of seven people lived at the motel at the time of the condemnation.

As for Maken Ithnnascheri, the tenant who moved in just a week ago, he may not have known about Bhupendrabhai's plan to shut down the motel, but he only paid one week's rent and shouldn't have expected to live there longer than that.

He said he covered Ithnnascheri's rent for three days at another motel on Friday, and gave him an extra $50 "to help him out."

As for selling the property to the town, Bhupendrabhai said he essentially has an agreement in place to sell the 2.9-acre parcel adjacent to Kiwanis Park, but nothing is in writing yet.

Gerould said there is no connection between the town's enforcement action and the plan to buy the hotel.

While he feels bad for the residents, he also felt troubled by the conditions they were living it.

Besides the broken septic system, the roof leaked, there were no fire extinguishers and no smoke detectors.

"The place is deplorable," Gerould said. "It's filthy and much of it is not up to standards of the health department or the New York State building code."

He said he told Duda in September that a condemnation order was coming if the problems were not corrected by Bhupendrabhai.

December 20, 2010 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba.

A driver says he swerved to avoid a deer on North Byron Road this morning, which caused his car to go of the road and strike a tree.

The driver suffered minor facial cuts and did not require transport to a hospital.

Deputy Chris Parker, however, writes in his report, that he couldn't find evidence of a deer in the area.

"Investigating officer was unable to observe any fresh tracks near the roadway at the scene," Parker writes in his report. "No evasive maneuvers able to be observed prior to vehicle exiting the roadway. Appeared as driver may have fallen asleep as the tire tracks indicated a linear exit from the paved surface."

The driver, Joseph T. Bortle, 39, of Knowlesville Road, was not cited.

The accident occurred at 7:11 a.m. in the area of 5335 North Byron Road, Elba.

(Initial Report)


December 20, 2010 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

Two cars attempting to make left-hand turns at Lewiston Road and Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road collided head on at 11:55 a.m., Saturday.

Both drivers were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

The first driver, Carol M. Beeby, 67, of Lyndonville, was cited for alleged failure to yield.

The other driver was Michael L. Kickes, 46, of Broadway Street, Oakfield.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.

(Initial Report)

December 20, 2010 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A man arrested in Genesee County with warrants in San Francisco and Ithaca entered a guilty plea today to criminal possession of stolen property.

Thomas E. Dodson, 24, admitted to possessing a stolen benefits card belonging to another person.

There was some discussion about his admission because at first Dodson would only say that he possessed the card knowing it wasn't his, but in order for him to admit to the charge, he had to admit that he knew the card was stolen, not that it just didn't belong to him.

As part of his plea deal, the other charges against him are dropped and his sentence will be served concurrently with time he is already doing in state prison on a Tompkins County conviction for robbery, 3rd.

Dodson will be sentenced on the Genesee County conviction at 3 p.m., Feb. 23.

December 20, 2010 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, fire.

Fire departments from Genesee County are being dispatched to the Village of Attica for a structure fire at 209 Exchange Street.

The building is a commercial structure.

Alexander, Darien, Bethany and Town of Batavia are either being dispatched to the scene or being called in for back up of dispatched departments.

December 20, 2010 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

One of Batavia's most persistent criminals never had a chance to be a productive citizen, his attorney argued this morning, just before Judge Robert C. Noonan sentenced Michael J. Piasta to three-and-a-half to seven years in state prison on a burglary, 3rd, conviction.

Piasta's mother was an alcoholic and his father a heroin addict who died only recently of an overdose, said attorney William Teford. As a toddler, Tedford said, Piasta found some LSD in his house and swallowed it, nearly killing him.

"There's no denying his lengthy criminal record, no denying this sentence comes from many other criminal charges," Tedford said. "But as I read his family and social history, from a personal standpoint, I found it disturbing and difficult to believe."

Tedford asked that Noonan consider the circumstances of Piasta's life and give him the minimum term, two to four years in prison.

Noonan said he read the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation department, and given Piasta's lengthy criminal history, it was important, Noonan said, that Piasta be kept from society for "as long as possible."

On Nov. 5, Piasta entered a guilty plea to burglary, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Piasta admitted that in October he broke into a business at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, and stole a credit card -- running up more than $500 in charges -- and checks. He attempted to forge the checks at two local banks.

Over the summer, Piasta was also accused of stealing DVDs from Pandora's Boxx and shoplifting from Wilson Farms.

In court today, Piasta told Noonan that for a period of time when he was released from jail, he did work toward turning his life around, even getting a job.

"At this point I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta said. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."

After the sentencing, Noonan told Piasta that he didn't believe the 30-year-old Batavia native is hopeless either, but that he needs to take advantage of whatever substance abuse programs he can while in prison.

December 20, 2010 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Oakfield, alexander.

Dorsie M. McGill Jr., 26, of 21 Buell St., Batavia, is charged with theft of services and resisting arrest. McGill allegedly got into an argument with a taxi driver over the amount of fare due, then struggled with police officers Frank Klimjack and James DeFreze when they attempted to take him into custody. McGill was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Vincent D. Henning, 33, of 610 Ellicott St., Batavia, is charged with two counts of petit larceny. Henning is accused of renting two laptop computers at two different rent-to-own stores and then selling the laptops to a pawn shop.

Veronica Garcia, 30, of 2414 Walker Road, Alexander, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and speeding. Garcia was stopped at 10:59 p.m., Friday, on Pearl Street Road by Officer Dan Coffey.

Melissa Courtney Kent, 19, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and consumption of alcohol inside a motor vehicle. Kent was charged following a call at 1:56 a.m., Saturday, of a car off the road on Route 5 in Pembroke.

Ricky Dean Newbould, 52, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to keep right and improper right turn. Newbould was arrested following the investigation of a motor-vehicle accident at 5:01 a.m., Sunday, on Hundredmark Road, Elba.

Troy Damien Schimley, 17, of Clifton Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and operating a vehicle in violation of a restricted license. Schimley was stopped at 2:39 a.m., Sunday, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy on Wortendyke Road, Batavia.

Vidis E. Malejs, 73, of Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to yield right-of-way. Malejs was charged following a report of a property damage accident at 6:20 p.m., Saturday, on Park Road.

Tammy J. Green, 40, of Attica, is charged with DWI, aggravated driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, unsafe start. Green was reportedly involved in a property damage accident at 9 p.m., Saturday, in the parking lot of Alabama Tee Off, on Route 77 in Alabama.

Adam Lee Leaton, 20, of Caswell Road, Byron, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Leaton is accused of hosting an underage drinking party.

Jamie L. Broadbent, 27, of 60 Swan St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Broadbent is accused of shoplifting a six-pack of soft drinks and over-the-counter medication from Tops Market.

Tyler P. Schroeder, 18, of Oak Street, Oakfield, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Schroeder is accused of allowing a 14-year-old to drive the car of another person. A 17-year-old was also in the vehicle. The car was stopped by Deputy James Diehl at 6:36 p.m., Saturday, at the intersection of Pratt and Kelsey roads, Batavia. The 14-year-old was referred to Genesee County Family Court.

December 20, 2010 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A car accident with injuries has been reported at the intersection of West Main Street and Gilbert Street in the Village of Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire and ambulance are being dispatched.

View Larger Map

December 20, 2010 - 7:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for Fall or start your Christmas shopping. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga or Tai Chi, 3 classes, a $36 value, for $18.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: What better way to brighten your home or office for the holidays than with flowers? We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: What better way to brighten your home or office for the holidays than with flowers? We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

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

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.


December 20, 2010 - 7:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car has gone off the road and down an embankment in the area of Lockport and Lewiston roads in Alabama.

A minor injury is reported.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 7:31 a.m.: Thus far, first responders have been unable to locate the accident.  The 9-1-1 call did not provide automatic GPS data. A chief notes that there is also a Lockport Road and Lewiston Road intersection in Niagara County. It sounds like first responders have searched the area a good deal on Lockport and Lewiston on both sides of the road. The caller did state her car was "well down" the embankment.

UPDATE 7:35 a.m.: Another call has come in for an accident off of North Byron Road, and dispatchers think it may be the same accident with a more accurate location.

UPDATE 7:40 a.m.: The accident appears to be in the area of 7335 N. Byron Road. Note: Lockport Road becomes North Byron somewhere west of Route 98. Elba ambulance requested to the scene to check minor cuts on the driver's face.

View Larger Map

December 20, 2010 - 6:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

A car has struck and deer and is now smoking at the intersection of Peachey and North Lake roads, Bergen.

The driver was not injured.

Bergen Fire is being dispatched.

View Larger Map

December 19, 2010 - 11:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia Police are investigating three burglaries that occurred over the weekend.

Two of the burglaries may be related.

The first break-in was reported at the Batavia Industrial Center, 56 Harvester Ave. A suspect or suspects entered a business and stole musical instruments and other equipment.

There was also a break-in at the Sherwin-Williams paint store, 16 Liberty St. Some merchandise along with a small mount of cash was stolen. Store employees are conducting an inventory to determine exactly what was stolen.

The third burglary occurred at the UPS Store, 8351 Lewiston Road, where some cash and a small safe was stolen.

The burglaries occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning.

December 19, 2010 - 9:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

A resident on Broadway in Darien says that a person walked into his basement, and when confronted the intruder fled on foot.

He's described as a white male with facial hair and wire-rimmed glasses.

He was last seen walking south on Route 238.

Law enforcement in route.

UPDATE 9:44 p.m.: A subject has been detained. He's being taken back to the complainant's house.

December 19, 2010 - 6:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Brandi Bruggman.


When a friend of Brandi Bruggman's looked down at his Converse one day, he thought they looked like a dirty mess.

He didn't want to throw out an otherwise fine pair of shoes though, so he asked Bruggman if she could paint some art work on the shoes -- they were made out of canvass, after all.

An intriguing challenge, and Brandi gave it a try.

He loved the "new" shoes, and so did his friends.

brandiart01.jpg"Somebody saw the shoes and wanted them, and then somebody saw those shoes and wanted them, and now I have a business," Bruggman said.

The 20-year-old Alexander native sells "Bruggies," as well as hats and other wearable items at Glass Roots, 12 Center St., Batavia, as well as through her Facebook account.

Each item is hand painted, coated to make it waterproof, and inspired by the individual buying it. She said she often talks with the customer, finds out that they like, asks them to provide some adjectives, and then "goes with that vibe."

Ironically, Bruggman said, before she started selling wearable art, she was having a hard time finding a market for the kind of art that hangs on walls. Now, she's selling a lot more wall art.

Often, the people who buy her shoes, or other items, realize how good she is and they commission a painting for a room in their homes.

In all, Bruggman said that since she started creating "Bruggies" in June 2009, she's sold about 200 hand-painted items.

A theater design technician major at Niagara University, with a minor in fine arts, Bruggman would love it if her fledgling business became her full income.

"If I could paint every day, that would be awesome," said Brandi.

Though, the business can't get too big, she cautioned, because she won't let anybody else paint shoes for her. She does it all herself.

Painting clothing has expanded her as an artist, she said, both from working with different materials and techniques. She's learned to use an airbrush to paint T-shirts -- but since each item is custom created, she's often painting subjects she might not otherwise.

"It's cool that I get to draw into new things," Bruggman said. "I draw things I never would have drawn before. The other day I drew a boat. I never drew a boat before.

"It's been opening new avenues of art for me," she added.

Examples of Bruggman's shoes and hats -- as well as a mural she painted -- are on display at Glass Roots, and an order for shoes, or other items, can be placed at the store. Prices for hand-painted Converse start at $85 (other shoes can go for as little as $65). A tote ranges from $20 to $50, hats from $35 to $45.


December 19, 2010 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animal shelter, animals, pets, Bethany.


Kiera Gross, above, got just what she wanted for her 11th birthday. She was surrounded by friends and dogs and cats.

Gross wanted her birthday party to be something that would help support the animal shelter and pet adoption. Volunteers for Animals helped out by bringing some dogs and kittens to the Bethany Fire Hall today.

Guests were asked to bring a donation to the party. More than a dozen of Kiera's friends joined in the party, which included games with the pets, a chance to make a pet bed and lots and lots of petting and cuddling the animals.


Clockwise -- Kim Davis, Sarah Stefan, Loy Gross (Kiera's mom) and Taylor Heineman, work on making pet beds.


Alannah Gross.


Meet "Buddy." If I were more impulsive, I would have taken Buddy home immediately.  He's a super-good natured dog, very friendly -- a real "people person" -- and eager for a new master. The shelter is looking for a home for him very, very soon, so go adopt him.





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