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February 22, 2011 - 11:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

Ken and Andrea Mistler have made some big changes to their former coffee and smoothie shop at the corner of Main and Jackson streets.

The former Daily Grind is now Espresso Salads and Subs.

Ken Mistler said it was time to expand what the shop offered. While a prep area has been added for food service, much of the food prep -- including baking fresh sub rolls daily -- takes place at Mistler's other food establishment downtown, South Beach Restaurant.

Andrea manages day-to-day operations for the  sub and salad shop.

Subs and salads are made to order with fresh ingredients.

For the coffee and smoothie crowd, the full selection of the Daily Grind remains on the menu.

Mistler has also added free wi-fi and there are now leather chairs and couches available for customers. In the summer, Ken said, he will add outdoor seating.

February 22, 2011 - 11:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Jackson Street, girl scouts.

The local Girl Scouts have a new home, 5 Jackson St., Batavia.

After the location the Girl Scouts occupied in City Centre was sold, the local office and retail shop was relocated to vacant retail space just about a block away.

It took about a month to get settled in, but the retail shop is now set up and the staff is ready to help local scouts and leaders.

The scouts will host an open house at its new location from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28.

The grand opening will include free drawings, prizes and discounts on scouting items as well as a food drive for the Salvation Army and Batavia Agri-Business Child Development.

The shop is open from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the service center opening at 8:30 a.m.

Pictured above, from left, Stephanie Burgett, customer service, Marlene Worthington, membership manager, Kathie Waika, program manager and Robin Ettinger, membership manager.

February 22, 2011 - 6:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke.

A 29-year-old Pembroke man was arrested today on a sealed grand jury indictment for allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover agent on two separate occasions.

Arraigned before Judge Robert C. Noonan this afternoon was Brandon R. Brade, of Genesee Street, Pembroke.

Brade was taken into custody at his place of employment, where he has worked for two months, he told Noonan.

"I'd kind of like to keep my job," Brade said, asking for a bail lower than the $50,000 requested by Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl.

Noonan set bail at $10,000 and gave Brade a week to hire an attorney (Brade said he could afford to hire his own) before his next court appearance.

Brade is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

According to a Sheriff's Office press release, Brade allegedly sold quantities of cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Zickl asked for the high bail because of Brade's prior record, which includes convictions for DWI (2005), resisting arrest (2002) and stalking (2000).

Noonan said Brade will get another shot at a lower bail after Genesee Justice files a bail evaluation report, which would require Brade's cooperation.

February 22, 2011 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

UPDATED 2:34 p.m.

A former Batavia resident is expected to soon plead guilty in a Milwaukee county court to charges that he impersonated a lawyer and committed forgery.

According to investigators in Wisconsin, Thomas J. Lyon, 28, not only represented several "clients" in legal proceedings, but also forged checks, stole money, assumed the identity of a deceased notary public and operated a prostitution ring.

According to court documents, Lyon reportedly bragged to an associate at one time that he was like Frank Abagnale Jr., the former con artist depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the hit movie, "Catch Me If You Can."

Besides Batavia, a public records search shows that Lyon has also apparently lived in Warsaw, where he was born, Buffalo and Hamburg.

Wisconsin court documents state that Lyon was on probation in New York and had his probation transferred to Wisconsin. According to the documents, he was previously convicted in New York of grand larceny, stalking and false imprisonment.

Lyon was arrested for allegedly issuing a bad check in Genesee County in July 2008, according to the Sheriff's Office. According to the arrest report, Lyon lived on Saltvale Road in Middlebury at the time.

In Milwaukee, Lyon is accused of assuming the legal identity of Thomas J. Lyons, a Minnesota-based attorney -- also licensed to practice law in Wisconsin -- who told investigators he hadn't appeared in a Milwaukee court in years. 

Lyon allegedly used the bar identity number of attorney Lyons to pass himself off as the attorney.

Police searched the office space reportedly rented by Lyon at 5301 W. Hampton Ave., Milwaukee, which reportedly had a sign on it saying it was the offices of "Thomas J. Lyons & Associates, Inc.," and found documents indicating Lyon had at least nine legal clients.

On at least one occasion, Lyon allegedly kept a settlement check for $3,000 that was intended for one of his clients.

Lyon also apparently set up a Web site to advertise his alleged legal services.

The documents also include quotes from court transcripts where Lyon allegedly referred to himself as an attorney and questioned witnesses as if he were an attorney.

One of Lyon's employees is also quoted in the documents saying that besides being a secretary in his office, she worked as a prostitute for him.

Though not charged with any prostitution-related crimes, the court documents say that Lyon allegedly operated an escort service called "Lacuna Limited," and that it was really a front for prostitution.

According to the documents, Lyon booked rooms at a Comfort Suites Inn in Milwaukee and set rates at $200 to $250 per hour. Lyon also allegedly hired a guard for the prostitutes. 

He allegedly recruited prostitutes by advertising for lingerie models.

Lyon allegedly collected prostitution proceeds in cash and kept computer records of the proceeds.

In all, 11 charges were originally filed against Lyon.

He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of practicing law without a license, a felony count of theft, three felony counts of unauthorized use of personal identifying information or documents, and five felony counts of forgery.

Lyon was jailed on $20,000 bail and apparently remains in custody. His attorney last appeared in court for him Jan. 28 and a court appearance date of March 3 was set for Lyon, when he is expected to plead guilty to at least some of the charges.

The terms of the plea bargain have not been released.

The forgery charges carry a maximum sentence of a $10,000 fine for each charge and six years in jail.

February 21, 2011 - 8:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, republicans, NY-26.

Democrat & Chronicle reporter Jill Terreri, who is covering the NY-26 election, just tweeted that Assemblywoman Jane Corwin has won the GOP endorsement for the anticipated special election to replace Chris Lee.

Terreri's tweet says it's based on information she obtained from Bill Reilich, Monroe County Republican chairman.

For our previous report on the GOP bids for the nomination, click here.

February 21, 2011 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

UPDATED 5:52 p.m.

Members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force reportedly observed a Batavia man selling drugs on Wednesday, and when they moved in on the suspect, he reportedly threw some crack cocaine on the sidewalk.

Task force members then obtained a search warrant for a residence in Batavia where they allegedly found five more bags of crack cocaine.

Taken into custody was Ronnie "Ace" Allen, 23.

The search warrant was executed at 6 Vine St., upper, Batavia. Allen listed his address as 42 Mountbatten St., Henrietta.

He is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Allen was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Assisting in the investigation were the Sheriff's deputies and the District Attorney's Office.

February 21, 2011 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, Republican Party.

Eight congressional hopefuls filed into South Beach restaurant on Sunday to explain to 21 GOP leaders from the 26th Congressional District why he or she should get the endorsement of the Republican Party in any upcoming special election.

Though no election has been called yet by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it's widely anticipated that Cuomo will set a date for a special election to fill the seat vacated by Chris Lee after a shirtless picture of him showed up on Gawker.com.

Don Read, representing Genesee County, said GOP officials will meet tonight in Geneseo to go over the list and decide whom the party should back.

"A lot depends on our discussion," Read said. "We have a good cross section (of candidates). There's certainly a good group of candidates."

Besides Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who is the odds-on favorite of pundits, three-time loser Jack Davis showed up for an interview, as did Genesee County residents David Bellavia and Peter O'Brien.

O'Brien is a frequent commenter on The Batavian.

Also showing an interest in the seat for the GOP are: Dr. Barry Weinstein, a former Town of Amherst councilman; Brian Napoli, from Orleans County; Gary Wehate, of Avon; and Kathy Wepner, a radio talk-show host in Buffalo.

In the weighted vote system the GOP uses to pick candidates for the congressional seat, Erie County candidates have an edge in the selection process. It only takes one Erie County vote and one Niagara County vote to outweigh the votes of Orleans, Wyoming, Genesee and Monroe counties.

Story based on reporting by WBTA's Dan Fischer.

February 21, 2011 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Scott C. Brown, 22, of 11 Wood St., Batavia, John C. Schurr Jr., 26, of 382 Garden Drive, Batavia, and Ashley M. Younke, 31, of 212 Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, are all charged with petit larceny and theft of services. The trio allegedly left Sport of Kings restaurant at 3:30 a.m., Sunday, without paying for food they ordered. They also allegedly left with several pieces of flatware. Officer Frank Klimjack reportedly observed the suspects' vehicle shortly after they left the restaurant. The flatware was recovered.

Ronald J. Scroger, 30, 52 Columbia Ave., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He is accused of stealing clothing from Olympia Sports on Wednesday.

Eugene C. Rose, 36, of 230 Keystone St., Buffalo, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Rose was taken into custody by Buffalo PD on a warrant issued by Batavia City Court for allegedly violating an order of protection. Buffalo PD turned Rose over to Batavia PD and Rose was jailed without bail. Rose reportedly has prior felony convictions.

Loralyn L. Bateman, 34, 5 Edwards St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Bateman was stopped on Union Street at 1:50 a.m., Friday, by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Marsha Jones, 56, of Wade Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with disorderly conduct. Jones was allegedly involved in an altercation at 7 p.m., Thursday, in the Genesee Community College cafeteria with the assistant manager an employee there. Jones is accused of swearing at the assistant manager employee and then pushing a cart, causing items to fall off the cart and break.

Anthony C. Timberlake, 22, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Timberlake is accused of being involved in an argument with a customer at the college cafe at 7 p.m., Thursday. Timberlake allegedly was swearing at the customer in front of witnesses.

February 21, 2011 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A car reportedly crashed into some trees on West Bergen Road just south of the Thruway.

There are unconfirmed injuries.

Le Roy Fire and Ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: No injuries. A fire hydrant was struck. Monroe County water being notified.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: Le Roy units back in service.

February 21, 2011 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Calvin Pangrazio, an employee of Sloat Tires, changes a tire on a Rent-A-Center truck in the Valu Plaza.

At least two vehicles had their tires slashed in the parking lot overnight, and there are also reports of tires slashed in the parking lots of City Centre, Walmart and  Batavia Downs as well as one report on a residential street. In all, as many as 10 cars appear to have been vandalized overnight.

Officer Jay Andrews said the two Rent-a-Center trucks each had two tires slashed, making the value of the damage more than $250 on each truck. That makes the alleged crimes Class E felonies, criminal mischief, 3rd.

Anybody with information about these incidents should call either Deputy Kevin McCarthy at 345-3000, ext. 3237 or the Batavia PD at 345-6359.

UPDATE 12:38 p.m.: A Sheriff's deputy dispatched to the Target parking lot for the report of another tire slashing.

UPDATE 3:38 p.m.: An officer is sent to Bank Street Road to interview another person whose tires were slashed.

February 21, 2011 - 1:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

City police were dispatched about five minutes ago to the rear parking area of Blockbuster on Lewiston Road for a report of an employee's tire slashed.

Now a Sheriff's deputy is being sent to the same area (city limit is at Park Road) for more reports of slashed tires. It isn't clear from what we picked up off the scanner which parking lot this additional vandalism took place in.

UPDATE 1:49 a.m.: Apparently, the Sheriff's Office has jurisdiction on the customer parking lot on Lewiston. That is where all of the tires were slashed, including the one initially reported behind the building in employee parking.

UPDATE 1:59 a.m.: If I heard this right, now there's a report of a Jeep outside Sunny's (in the City Centre) with its tires slashed.

UPDATE 7:52 a.m.: The Sheriff's Office put out a news release confirming that the tires were slashed on three cars in the Batavia Downs parking lot on Park Road some time between 9 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. Anybody with information is asked to contact Deputy Kevin McCarthy at 345-3000, ext. 3237.

UPDATE 8:04 a.m.: An officer handling another similar incident inquired with dispatch about other reports overnight. There was another car vandalized in the city that was reported early this morning and a car break-in on Park Road.

UPDATE 9:25 a.m.: Batavia PD dispatched to Batavia Commons and Valu Plaza for more tires slashed.

February 20, 2011 - 11:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts.
February 20, 2011 - 9:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, margarita's.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant on Jackson Street has closed.

Owner Carlos Hernandez was not available for comment today.

NOTE: If you bought a Margarita's gift certificate from The Batavian within the past 30 days, return it to us for a refund. No refunds will be issued without return of the physical gift certificate and the purchase must have been made in the past 30 days.

February 20, 2011 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron.

A car has hit a tree and injuries are reported in the area of 6481 Byron-Holley Road, Byron.

Byron and South Byron Fire and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Byron chief reports minor injuries.

UPDATE 9:44 p.m.: All units back in service.


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February 20, 2011 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, weather.

From 3 to 6 inches of snow is expected to hit Genesee County overnight.

A winter weather advisory has been issue for 7 p.m. through 11 a.m. The heaviest snow fall is expected from between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Winds are expected to come from the northeast at 10 to 20 mph.

Photo: A dormant cornfield off South Main Street Road, Batavia, just before noon today.

February 20, 2011 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, fire.

An old barn -- the owner believes it was the oldest on Swamp Road -- was destroyed in a fire of undetermined origin this afternoon.

The barn was owned by Howard and Sandra Lee Brew, of 7557 Swamp Road, Bergen. Brew said he has lived on the farm, once owned by his father, his entire life. He's 67.

Bergen Fire Department along with mutual aid from several other departments (we don't have the complete list yet, but we believe it included Byron, South Byron, City of Batavia (Fast Team), Town of Batavia, Le Roy, Brockport, Churchville, Holley, Pavilion and York, which had a crew on standby in its hall.  The Sheriff's Office and Emergency Services were also on scene.

The initial call came in at about 12:50 p.m.

(Initial Report)

More pictures after the jump:

February 20, 2011 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Oak Street.

A police officer has been dispatched to the Oak Street roundabout to check on a report of a tan sedan going in circles through the roundabout, repeatedly, at a high rate of speed.

February 19, 2011 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Oak Street, code enforcement.

An Oak Street man with a fondness for waterfowl will get to keep his ducks and continue some of his hobbies in his yard, but with new restrictions.

As part of a plea bargain, Ron Graziaplena, of 172 Oak St., admitted to keeping debris in his back yard, a violation of city code, and agreed to a number of conditions on his continued ability to keep 10 mallard ducks as pets and grow tomatoes and build waterfowl-related projects.

The deal was worked out Friday afternoon over three and a half hours, at a time when his trial on numerous alleged code violations was scheduled. Almost all the negotiations were held in open court with Batavia City Court Judge Robert Balbick presiding.

Balbick told Graziaplena that he would be fair with him if Graziaplena made substantial progress toward complying with the plea agreement between now and his sentencing on April 15.

The main agreement regarding the ducks is that Graziaplena can keep only 10, except when there are hatchlings, which must be released in an Elba swamp owned by Graziaplena's family before Oct. 1 of each year.

A neutral, non-governmental, qualified inspector will visit the property twice a year -- on or about July 1 and on or about Oct. -- to ensure Graziaplena is maintaining only a 10-duck population and they are kept in sanitary, humane conditions.

Graziaplena will be required to build a six-foot-high stockade-type fence along his south property line from the garage to the back corner of the lot and for some distance along the back property line. 

He must also install a stockade-style gate across his driveway from the southeast corner of his house to his property line on the south.

The gate is intended to create a visual barrier for anything on his driveway, from construction materials for his projects and his tomato boxes.

Graziaplena prefers to work on his projects in the front yard. He can continue to do so during the day, but come nightfall, he will be required to put all construction materials behind the gate.

He must also keep his BBQ grill behind the gate rather than in the yard.

In recent months, Graziaplena has mounted a number of duck decoys atop 10-foot-high poles along his south property line, and more recently added waterfowl-themed wind vanes that he said he made.

He acknowledged that some of his neighbors are aggravated by the poles, but said the decoys are left over from his hunting days and just a symbol of his hobby. He said he plans to start selling the wind vanes.

"I've gotten many compliments on them, your honor," Graziaplena said. "Several of my friends want them for themselves. Perhaps you would like one?"

Balbick said he couldn't accept the offer.

The judge ordered that all of the pole structures be taken down before sentencing and that they remain down for at least the duration of Graziaplena's conditional discharge (a six-month period after his sentence in which Graziaplena must remain violation free to avoid having the original charges reinstated).

Graziaplena also keeps a boat on the north side of his house. He must either put a driveway on the north side to set the boat on or start keeping the boat on his south side driveway.

About a half dozen of Graziaplena's supporters were at the courthouse Friday, many of them planning to testify in the trial. One neighbor who is unhappy with the situation on Graziaplena's property attended the hearing.

"I want to see that property code compliant," Balbick told Graziaplena after accepting his guilty plea. "I'm not going to punish you just for the purpose of punishing you, but I do have an obligation to the people of this city to see that the yard is safe and there isn't debris strewn about throughout the yard and that the yard is sanitary."

Photos: Take at Graziaplena's residence on Friday.

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

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