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March 19, 2011 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Batavia resident is in custody tonight after agents of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force allegedly found him in possession of numerous packages of heroin, some marijuana, packaging for narcotics, a gravity knife and $4,000 in cash.

A search warrant was executed Saturday afternoon on the residence and the car of Jarrett James Locicero, 21, of West Main Street.

The warrant was a culmination of an investigation into the sale and distribution of heroin in the Batavia area.

Locicero was located in his car on Clinton Street, Batavia, and stopped by members of the task force and uniformed deputies.

Investigators then searched his residence.

Locicero is charged with possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and misdemeanor counts of criminally possessing drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of a weapon as well as a violation of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Following arraignment in city court, Locicero was jailed without bail.

March 19, 2011 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

For the 38th time, the Batavia Jaycees are hosting its annual Home Show. This year, it is once again at Batavia Downs. 

The show is open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A couple dozen vendors are on hand to help owners explore options for home improvement.

March 19, 2011 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Ramparts, sports, hockey.

The Batavia Ramparts won two games in Portland, Maine, today and will play a semi-final game Sunday in a northeast regional hockey tournament.

If the Ramparts can win Sunday morning, they will play a regional championship game in the afternoon.

The Ramparts beat the Massachusetts team 8-0 on Saturday morning and beat New Hampshire 2-1 in afternoon play.

In game one, Joey Saraceni scored twice as did Will VanAuken. VanAuken had two assists and Saraceni. 

Also scoring were Zack Laird, Richie Francis, Sean Olin, Jack Simpson. Olin, and goalie Tyler Stroud each had an assist.

The Ramparts out shot their opponents 28-18.

In game two, Mason Versage scored first with an assist from Francis, who also knocked in the game-winning goal with an assist from Zach Laird.

March 19, 2011 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul is the Democrats' pick to run in the NY-26 special election.

Hochul was the unanimous pick of seven county Democratic chairs after interviews in Geneseo this afternoon, according to Lorie Longhany, Genesee County chair.

Longhany said Hochul was impressive in the interviews.

"I can’t wait for Genesee County voters and the rest of the district to get a chance to know Kathy," Longhany said. "I think people will be very pleased with Kathy's record."

Longhany praised Hochul for streamlining Department of Motor Vehicle  processes in Erie County during her term as clerk, "saving taxpayers time and money."

"We all decided that she is the candidate who can get things done in Washington," Longhany said.

The Republican candidate is Jane Corwin. Both David Bellevia and Jack Davis are attempting to secure enough signatures to get their names on the ballot.

UPDATE: In the initial post, we included a press release from Corwin's campaign but didn't jump this post. We now have a press release from Hochul's campaign.  Both press releases appear verbatim after the jump.

March 19, 2011 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire.

A fully involved car fire has been reported off the I-490 at the Route 33 off-ramp.

Bergen Fire Department is responding.

March 19, 2011 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries has been reported at Main and Clay streets in the Village of Le Roy.

No word on the seriousness of the injuries.

Le Roy Fire Department and law enforcement are on scene. Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m: Accident has been cleared. Roadway reopened.

Also, Darien Fire Department is working a minor injury accident on Countyline Road.

March 19, 2011 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba.

A pair of men from Holley were jailed after allegedly menacing a woman in Elba using their trucks and a gun.

Charged with criminal mischief, 2nd, which is a felony, menacing, 2nd, and reckless endangerment, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child were William E. Grathouse, 37, of Holley-Byron Road, Holley, and Edwin D. Roniger Jr., 37, of East Lee Road, Holley.

According Deputy Matt Butler, at 7:40 p.m. Thursday, on North Byron Road, Elba, Grathouse and Roniger used their pickup trucks to try and block a car driven by a woman from proceeding north on North Byron Road.

Grathouse then allegedly drove his truck into her car and forced it off the road.

Grathouse also allegedly pointed a pistol at the woman while she was in her car.

Both men were jailed on $10,000 bail.

March 18, 2011 - 10:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Le Roy, Stafford.

I've driven down Munson Street in Le Roy a couple of times. Somehow, I never before noticed these falls right by the BOCES campus.

On Cole Road.

Route 5 near Nelesville Nilesville Road, Stafford.

Morganville Road, Stafford.

March 18, 2011 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Stafford.

So I hear, a lot of people were slowing down and taking a second look at a house on Morganville Road in Stafford today, wondering why all of the homeowner's Christmas blow-up decorations were out. Apparently, it's an annual spring rite -- drying out the inflatable lawn ornaments.

March 18, 2011 - 7:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Ramparts, sports, hockey.

The Batavia Ramparts won their first round game this afternoon against the host Maine Huskies in a championship tournament under way at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

The Ramparts, who out shot the Huskies 30-9, won 4-2.

The Huskies scored a late goal, according to John Zola.

Richie Francis notched a hat trick and Joey Saraceni added another goal and had an assist. Will VanAuken had two assists.

Tomorrow, the Ramparts play two games -- one each against the teams for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. If they make it into the top two seeds of their bracket, they'll play a semi-final game Sunday morning. The championship game is Sunday afternoon.

March 18, 2011 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

WILLIAMSVILLE - Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy issued the following statement after learning that Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul is running for Congress in New York’s 26th Congressional District: 

“Statewide Democrats aren’t the only ones concerned about Kathy Hochul running for Congress; Western New York taxpayers are too because she has spent her long political career raising taxes and fees. While Jane Corwin has spent 36 years in the private sector helping to create jobs, career politician Kathy Hochul has spent her life doing everything she can to advance her own political career.

“We welcome Kathy Hochul to the race and look forward to hearing her explain why she’s repeatedly voted to grow government and raise taxes and fees on hard working Western New Yorkers.”

Hochul has yet to declare her candidacy for the special election to replace Chris Lee, the married, former Republican representative who quit his seat after apparently being caught trolling Craigslist for dates.

The Democrats' county chairs from the NY-26 meet tomorrow in Geneseo to interview several potential candidates. The Democrats are expected to name their candidate within the following week.

Hochul, county clerk in Erie County, took out papers this week in order to legally accept campaign donations.

Recently, Hochul made headlines leading opposition to a proposed statewide license fee on bicycles. Eventually, Queens Assemblyman Michael DenDekker withdrew the proposal.

UPDATE: WGRZ is reporting that it's a done deal, that the seven Democratic County chairs will announce on Sunday their endorsement of Hochul and that Hochul will officially announce her candidacy on Monday.

Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy says the Democratic party has been playing a game with its nomination process, knowing all along that Hochul was going to be its candidate if she wanted to run for the seat.

Nick Langworthy: "This is a charade, it's a machination, they've known from the beginning that she's their candidate if she wants to run, but they're using this quirk in the law allowing her to take double the amount of special interest money that she normally would."

According to WGRZ, that by waiting until 12 days after the governor called the election, she will be able to accept as much as $5,000 (two separate maximum $2,500 donations) from the same individual.

March 18, 2011 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

A 26-year-old Le Roy resident is accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident in Rochester, the Democrat & Chronicle reports.

Matthew Norstrand is facing a felony charge charged of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.

Norstrand is accused of striking and killing Richard Strapp, 41, of Rochester, at the intersection of Alexander and East Main streets at 10:45 p.m., Saturday.

Strapp, who was walking in a crosswalk, died at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Later that night, Norstrand allegedly flagged down a police officer outside Johnny's Pub on Culver Road and claimed his car was stolen.

The car was later found on Stunz Street.

Norstrand was jailed on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Rochester City Court on March 23.

March 18, 2011 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Three Erie County residents who worked at the Federal Detention Facility on Federal Drive in Batavia are being accused of selling anabolic steroids in violation of federal law.

It's not clear if the men were allegedly selling steroids at the facility or elsewhere.

UPDATE: The men are not accused of selling to prisoners.

Charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute anabolic steroids, and two counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of anabolic steroids were Richard Eldridge, 35, of West Seneca, and Michael Trautmann, 48, of Cheektowaga.

Richard Lazzaro, 39, of Cheektowaga, is charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribuiton of anabolic steroids.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison or a fine of $500,000 or both.

Eldridge and Trautmann allegedly engaged in the sales and distribution from Oct. 13 to Nov. 30, 2010.

According to the indictment, they are suspected of distributing nandrolone deconoate, oxymetholone and oxandrolone.

Lazzaro is accused of distributing testosterone enathate, boldenone undecylenate, testosterone propionate and methandrostanolone in January.

Eldridge is an immigration enforcement agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations. Trautmann and Lazzaro were detention officers working as federal contract employees.

The indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory Null.

March 18, 2011 - 12:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Center Street Smokehouse, O'Lacy's Irish Pub.

Good times once again in Downtown Batavia for St. Patrick's Day. I stopped by Center Street Smoke House -- where McMahon Dance School students performed traditional Irish dances -- and O'Lacy's, and then one more quick stop at Center Street on the way back to the office.

Prints of these pictures available for purchase by clicking here.

More pictures after the jump:

March 17, 2011 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 25-year-old Batavia resident accused of biting a police sergeant will take his case to a jury.

Donald F. Stillwagon II, of 142 Pearl St., charged with a assault in the second degree, appeared in Genesee County Court today to either accept or reject a plea offer from District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

The offer, six months "shock probation" -- a short time in jail followed by a term of probation. The alternative, if convicted by a jury, is a possible seven-year stint in state prison.

Judge Robert C. Noonan made it clear that after today there will be no chance for Stillwagon to accept a negotiated plea. Stillwagon said he understood that.

Stillwagon is accused of biting Sgt. John Peck, Batavia PD, in the arm after Peck arrived at his house in response to a domestic disturbance.

Reportedly, a male there was choking another person, which prompted the police response. The alleged incident occurred Oct. 1.

Peck sustained a minor injury and was treated and released at UMMC.

The trial date is April 18.

March 17, 2011 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Joshua A. Harris, 21, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, criminal trespass, 2nd, harassment, 2nd, and two counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Harris was wanted on several accusations of criminal contempt for allegedly failing to obey an order of protection. Harris was taken into custody by Officer Chris Camp at 5:50 p.m., Wednesday. Harris was reportedly found hiding in a basement at a residence on Oak Street.

Christopher W. Cummings, 31, of 21 Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Cummings is accused of having physical contact with another person in a parking lot at 419 West Main St., at 12:35 p.m., Tuesday.

March 17, 2011 - 9:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A deputy called into dispatch this morning saying he was behind an erratic driver and was attempting to pull her over (I missed the location).

She wasn't stopping, so he flipped on his siren.

"She's continuing at a low rate of speed, but not stopping," he told dispatch.

Another unit started toward the area.

She finally pulled over.

After the traffic stop, one deputy told the other: "Apparently, you interfered with her routine. She was getting dressed and putting her make up on."

No word on what citation(s) might have been issued.

UPDATE 9:26 a.m.: At least one citation is being issued for an alleged violation of vehicle and traffic law section 1226: "No person shall operate a motor vehicle without having at least one hand or, in the case of a physically handicapped  person, at least one prosthetic device or aid, on the steering mechanism at all times when the motor vehicle is in motion."

March 16, 2011 - 10:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in education, law.

Students from 10 regional schools -- including five from Genesee County -- were in the Genesee County Court House this evening competing in a series of mock trials.

The winners will move up to competitions that could eventually lead to placement in a statewide tournament.

Mock trials provide students with a scenario to test their trial skills and knowledge of the law. Each team consists of six people -- three attorneys and three witnesses.

In this case, the scenario involved a dispute between a village board (a fictional place called Empirevllle) and a high school. The mayor pushed through parking restrictions around the school, and one student, who received a parking ticket, is challenging the legality of the ordinance.

Local schools participating Wednesday night where Alexander, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Pavilion and Notre Dame.

These pictures come from the session between Alexander and Batavia.

The Alexander team is Jeff Elleman, Chris Snyder, Jimmy Moore, Cory Henderson, Christa Bestehorn and Lacy Moore.

The Batavia team is Pat Flynn, Evan Sutherland, Maura Chmielowiec, Eva Reda-Kendrick, Nate Kabel and McKenzie Stevens.

Local attorney Tom Burns served as judge for this session.

Students and parents who wish to purchase prints of these pictures can click here.

More pictures after the jump:

March 16, 2011 - 9:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, foreign trade zone.

If we're going to keep businesses in New York, they need ways to save money, and that's the chief reason the Genesee County Legislature should get behind creating a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in the county, according to Charles Giunta, port director for U.S. Customs in Rochester.

Giunta (pictured above) was brought to the Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon by staff of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"I’m a different kind of port director," Giunta said. "I go out four or five times a month and make presentations to companies on foreign trade zones. Why? Because foreign trade zones mean we're going to keep the business here. They're not going to go overseas. If I can save these companies money, then it’s a no-brainer."

A foreign trade zone allows a business to import products and materials duty-free that will be used to manufacture items. It's as if the FTZ is outside the United States. There is only a duty if the item is "imported" (sold) into the U.S.

For example -- as used in the meeting -- if you built motorcycles and bought some of the parts overseas, you would pay duty, say $20 each, on the handlebars, headlamp, starter and seat. But the duty on a completed motorcycle is only $10.  So the company saves money on buying all the parts and pays duty on only the finished product when it becomes a consumed item in the United States.

GCEDC is putting together an application for an FTZ and needs the support of the legislature. A resolution will be presented to the Ways and Means Committee at its next meeting. The GCEDC is also gathering data and support material to sway the FTZ board in Washington, D.C., that there is a need and desire for an FTZ in Genesee County.

If a general FTZ is granted to Genesee County, companies that want to take advantage of the FTZ would need to apply for a subzone. A subzone must be fenced off or otherwise segregated from non-FTZ factory operations.

There is a $5,000 annual fee companies must pay.

The fee would be paid, in this case, to GCEDC, and Mark Masse, senior VP of operations, said the fee would be reinvested in GCEDC's parks and programs.

The idea of applying for an FTZ came up when a local manufacturer made a request for an FTZ. The Genesee County-based company has a plant in Georgia and an FTZ locally would save the company more than $15,000 a month.

"So there is an urgency because every month that goes by, we’re missing out and they’re out that money," said Chris Suozzi, vice president of business development for GCEDC.

Roberta Jordans, with the law firm Harris-Beach, said that with the importance President Barack Obama is putting on increasing American exports, the FTZ board in Washington is trying to expedite applications. The normal 18-month process has been shorted, she said.

Legislators pumped Giunta and Jordans with questions.

Edward DeJaneiro wanted to know that if FTZs aren't technically part of the United States, what happens if a crime is committed.

It turns out, if a person steals from within an FTZ, it's a federal crime.

Inventory control is one of the most closely watched aspects of an FTZ by U.S. Customs, Giunta. While small thefts are usually handled internally, and require notification to customs, Giunta said, big thefts will trigger a customs investigation.

After the meeting, Jordans said that companies within a FTZ must still comply with all state and federal environmental regulations, for example, as well as local zoning ordinances.

Mary Pat Hancock wondered if a FTZ would create local companies that stop buying locally grown crops.

Giunta said there just isn't as much money to be saved on importing food to make it financially worthwhile for a food processor to be part of an FTZ. The duty even on sugar has come down substantially, said Giunta, and many food items have almost no duty.

Jay Grasso wanted to know why, with it being such a seemingly great thing, there aren't more counties setting up free trade zones (the program is 76 years old).

Giunta said there simply aren't many officials with U.S. Customs out marketing the program. A lot of companies don't understand it or think it's too difficult of a process.

Masse (pictured below) said it hasn't necessarily been easy so far to convince local manufacturers to apply for subzones. Many times, businesses haven't sent decision makers to attend FTZ presentations, so something may be lost in translation when it gets back to the decision makers.

"Once somebody gets in and becomes successful, then it will become easier to sell to everybody else," Masse said.

Suozzi said the FTZ will help support other GCEDC projects, such at the STAMP project in Alabama.

"This is a tool to retain business here and it's a tool to attract business," Suozzi said. "This is a huge opportunity."




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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