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April 13, 2011 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice.

The first formal donation, $1,000 from the Genesee County Bar Association, was made to Genesee Justice today.

Even though the nonprofit corporation for Genesee Justice is not yet approved by the IRS -- it's a lengthy process -- the American Baptist Church, Genesee Region, has agreed to act on behalf of Genesee Justice to accept tax-deductible donations.

Last year, about $100,000 was slashed by the Genesee County Legislature from the Genesee Justice budget. With staff taking cuts in hours and Director Ed Minardo resigning his position, the plan worked out with the legislature and the legal community was for Genesee Justice to become funded in part by new grants and donations.

"Funding is just getting very tough, hence we started this foundation to start looking for alternative means of support for this work," said Jane Schmider, president of the new Genesee Justice Foundation.

When the suggestion was made that the programs of Genesee Justice might be turned over to the Probation Department, judges and attorneys -- both prosecutors and defense -- came out in force to support Genesee Justice.

"It was in November 2010 when our organization passed a resolution overwhelmingly objecting to the merger based on the knowledge of the practitioners," said Bar Association President Durin Rogers. "The donation today continues that support."

Alan Newton, executive minister for the American Baptist Church, Genesee Region, said part of the reason the church board stepped forward to help is because restorative justice and reconciliation are a big part of the regional church's mission.

"Godly justice, respect and reconciliation," Newton said. "Those are common themes through our churches in the Genesee Region."

The Genesee Justice Foundation will need to work quickly to raise sufficient funds to save the pioneering restorative justice program, and Schmider said the board is looking at a variety of ways to raise money, including from big donors and possibly a membership program.

"I have no assurances (for 2012) other than that the plan we came up with last year was temporary," said Tiffany Szymanek, assistant director of Genesee Justice. "We know we have to come up with that money regardless. If some of that does come from the county that would be absolutely beneficial to us, but we still have to be aware that that might not happen."

To donate: Make checks payable to American Baptist Church of the Rochester/Genesee Region, with "Genesee Justice" in the note field. Mail to Genesee Justice, 14 W. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

Photo, from left, Jane Schmider, Alan Newton, Durin Rogers and Tiffany Szymanek.

April 13, 2011 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Stafford, Grand Jury.

Donnie Hendrickson is indicted on charges of grand larceny, 4th, 23 counts of timber trespass, grand larceny, 3rd, and scheme to defraud, 1st. Hendrickson is accused of cutting and stealing timber from property in Le Roy between Jan. 9 and Feb. 14, 2010 with an estimated value in excess of $1,600. The timber trespass charges each stem from alleged removal of specific trees, including sugar maple, red oak trees and hickory trees. He is also accused of removing trees from property in Stafford, specifically swamp white oak and soft maple trees. He is also accused of cutting and removing timber from a property in Stafford with a value in excess of $18,000. He is also accused of fraudulently trying to acquire the trees.

David Isabell is indicted on charged of two counts of grand larceny, 4th, three counts of grand larceny, 3rd, issuing a bad check, 22 counts of timber trespass, petit larceny, theft of services and scheme to defraud, 1st. Isabell is accused of stealing timber from a property in Le Roy with a value in excess of $1,000. He's also accused of stealing $6,250 from a person in Bergen. He's also accused of stealing timber from a property in Le Roy with a value in excess of $3,000. He's accused of writing a bad check to a person in Le Roy with a value of $5,600. He's a accused of removing timber from a property in Stafford with a value in excess of $450. He's accused of removing timber from a property in Le Roy with a value in excess of $1,000 The alleged timber removed from these properties includes sugar maple, red oak, hickory and swamp white oak. The theft of services charge comes from an allegation that Isabell failed to pay for hotel rooms in Batavia. 

Randall W. McKeown is indicted on a felony charge of DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. McKeown is accused of driving drunk on Nov. 7 while in the Town of Batavia.

April 13, 2011 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Nichole L. Rushing, 24, of 113 Jackson St., Apt. #2, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Rushing is accused of allowing a person who was barred from being in the presence children into her residence with out prior court approval.

Francisco Martinez Jr., 37, of 113 Jackons St. Apt. #2, Batavia is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Martinez reportedly walked to Batavia Police headquarters to report an alleged violation of a family court order of protection involving a female acquaintance. While reporting this incident, Martinez reportedly admitted that he was living at the same address and was violating an order of protection by being there. Martinez was reportedly ordered by city court to stay away from the residence and two young children who reside there.

Lemual Morris Clawson, 28, of Eelpot Road, Naples, is charged with petit larceny. Clawson is accused of stealing video game disks from Kmart.

April 12, 2011 - 10:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, dwyer stadium, Notre Dame.

Last fall, the Batavia Muckdogs had the infield at Dwyer Stadium laser leveled and resodded. The field was finally ready for play today and Notre Dame faced off against Lyndonville.

April 12, 2011 - 10:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

The following is a statement from Fabien Levy, director of communications for Kathy Hochul for Congress:

“Yesterday, Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, challenged her opponents – Republican, Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis – to tell the voters of the 26th District where they stand on Congressman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal that would decimate Medicare. After not responding to last week’s challenge on the budget compromise, it is not surprising to see that neither Corwin nor Davis have responded to Kathy’s challenge this week.

“This is the second week in a row that Kathy Hochul has called on her opponents to take a position on an issue currently facing Congress, but both Assembymember Jane Corwin and Jack Davis seem to be hiding out.  Instead of telling voters how they would vote on a budget that will inevitably be presented to the next Representative from the 26th District, Kathy’s opponents are keeping silent on an issue that will affect all Americans.

“The voters deserve to know if Jane Corwin and Jack Davis support ending Medicare as we know it or will they join Kathy Hochul in rejecting any budget proposal that will hold our seniors responsible for burdensome costs.”

April 12, 2011 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, Stafford.


Photo and article submitted by Charm Robinson:

Jean Ianni, Linda Call and Phyllis Darling, all members of the Stafford Historical Society, gathered at the Stafford Rural Cemetary on Transit Road at 10 am on April 12, 2011 to observe the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  The members stood at the Civil War Monument ringing bells for 150 times to represent the number of years.

The monument is known as the Soldier's Monument and was erected in 1868 to honor the soldiers from Stafford.  The monument is inscribed "Erected by the Town of Stafford in 1868, to the memory of the brave soldiers of our country who fell during the Great Rebellion".

Thirty three names are inscribed on the Soldier's Monument.

Shown in Photo: L to R: Jean Ianni, Linda Call, Phyllis Darling

April 12, 2011 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, fencing.

From Colin Dentino:

Batavia Olympic Sport Fencing Center hosted the first Annual Spring Fling Fencing Tournament Saturday April 9th, 2011. Claire Zickl won gold for the youth bracket trailed by Ben Cook (silver) and Josh Kurtz (bronze). For the teen/adult bracket Michael Rivers took gold 15-11 from Maria Dentino (silver) with Earl Roth winning bronze.

April 12, 2011 - 2:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 16-year-old Batavia High School student is facing seven counts of aggravated harassment for allegedly placing calls to various local women that were either of a sexual nature, or were, in the words of Det. Todd Crossett, "disturbing and alarming."

In all, during the months-long investigation, Crossett said at least 45 women came forward with complaints about unwanted calls from the youth.

The name of the suspect has not been released by police because he's eligible for youthful offender status.

While many of the calls were made to women associated with BHS, Crossett said the alleged victims were spread throughout the community.

"I'm not 100 percent certain why he chose who he chose," Crossett said.

The first complaint came in last July, Crossett said, and at that time, he suggested to the alleged victim that she block her private numbers, but then in the coming months, more and more women came forward, especially as women started talking with each other about getting the calls.

In was in December that Crossett said he decided, "OK, we've got something here," and he started to compile evidence for a criminal case.

The seven charges are related to alleged calls going back to October.

Most of the women chose not to press charged, Crossett said, because they know the boy's family and felt the family could handle the issue.  

However, the seven women who are pressing charges wanted to ensure that an order of protection is put in place, which can only happen if criminal charges are filed.

"Also, the general consensus was that they want him to get help," Crossett said. "That really was the consensus of the women."

The youth was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

April 12, 2011 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release from Kathy Hochul's campaign:

ERIE COUNTY – Today marks the 15th anniversary of Equal Pay Day, which began in 1996 as a way to illustrate the wage gap between men and women.
Once elected, Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, promises to always fight for equal pay.

“When I first began my career as the only new female associate at a law firm, I was very much aware of the challenges women face in the workplace,” said Hochul.  “And as the mother of a young woman soon heading out into the workforce, I, like many fathers and mothers, hope their daughters' gender will not deny them equal pay for equal work.”

Kathy Hochul is the only woman in this race who supports equal pay for equal work.  In 2009 and, once again in 2010, Jane Corwin was part of the vast minority of Assemblymembers who voted against equal pay for women in New York State.

“My Republican opponent thinks she, myself, and all other women deserve to take a back seat to men when it comes to salary, I do not,” Hochul added.  “Once in Congress, I will fight to ensure women are paid equal wages for the same work they do as men.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women currently make 80 cents to every dollar men make for the same job. 

More information about Kathy Hochul can be found at <> .

In 2009 and 2010, Corwin voted against a bill that made it a discriminatory practice to compensate employees of different sexes differently for work that is of comparable worth. [A2351, New York State Assembly, 4/29/09 and 4/19/10]

UPDATE: Press release from the Jane Corwin campaign:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Matthew Harakal, Communications Director for Jane Corwin for Congress, made the following statement today regarding Kathy Hochul’s latest press release: 

“It’s not surprising that career politician Kathy Hochul thinks bureaucrats are in a better position than small businesses to decide how much their workers should get paid. Jane Corwin believes that small businesses know best how to run their companies, not government bureaucrats.

“Maybe Kathy Hochul should stick to sending out promotional press releases about our local hockey team because she clearly knows nothing about running a small business or creating jobs.” 

April 12, 2011 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin.

April 12, 2011 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, hlom.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, there was a bell ringing at the Holland Land Office Museum this morning, at precisely 10.

The bell ringers were, from left, Elijah Monroe, Jeff Donahue, Shannon Guiste, Terry Lee and Ann Marie Starowitz.

April 12, 2011 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

The death of a 6-year-old boy from Le Roy over the weekend remains a mystery, according to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster.

There's no reason to believe the boy was harmed in any way, Brewster said.  

Minutes before he was found unconscious and not breathing, his father had promised to take him down the road to see some horses and had told the boy to wait inside while he finished a chore.

An ambulance was dispatched to the father's house in the area of Route 33 and Old State Road at about 7:30 p.m., Friday. The boy was transported to UMMC while CPR was performed and Mercy Flight was dispatched, stopping along the way to pick up an emergency pediatric team at Women's and Children's Hospital in Buffalo.

An initial autopsy by the Monroe County Medical Examiner found no obvious cause of death, no signs of trauma, no broken bones, no bruises.

"None of the medical personnel suspected anything, and they're trained to spot even the slightest sign of child abuse," Brewster said. "If anyone along the line had seen anything, they would have called us right away"

The Sheriff's Office wasn't notified until after the boy's death at Women's and Children's Hospital at 11:30 a.m., Saturday.

The boy, Casey A. Timothy, is the son of Charlene Maciag Timothy and Kelly E. Timothy.

Brewster said the case reminds him of the death of another 6-year-old boy from Le Roy two years ago. In that case, Brewster said, the medical examiner eventually determined that the boy died of a rare brain condition that is genetic. In that case, too, the boy was outside playing and fine and found a short time later unconscious and not breathing.

Additional tests by the medical examiner's office will take at least two weeks.

There was some swelling to the boy's brain, Brewster said, but it was in no way consistent with shaken baby syndrome. 

(Initial Report)

April 12, 2011 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

There are a number of questions I have for the candidates in the NY-26 special election race, and I'm sure you do as well. Rather than sit back and wait for position statements, I thought I would just start asking questions.

I plan to ask about a question per week until election day.

Today's topic: Foreign policy, particularly as it relates to the use of the U.S. military abroad. Each of the candidates were given four days to formulate a reply. 

Below is the question (which was a bit longer than I imagine most will be). Because of the length, and the length of answers, the question and answers appear after the jump.

The answers are presented in the order received, Ian Murphy, Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin. We got no response from the Jack Davis campaign.

April 12, 2011 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Upstate Medtech Center.

Early evening yesterday, the light was wonderful, the clouds fabulous and I had to go to a meeting at GCEDC. I would rather, honestly, preferred to have headed out into the county and hunted for pictures. On the other hand, I've always loved the view heading into the parking lot of the Upstate MedTech Center, especially with the gnarled old trees along the driveway. As I pulled in, I couldn't resist -- I stopped and snapped a few pictures to see what I could capture.

April 12, 2011 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC.

Amid all of the controversy surrounding the Genesee County Economic Development Center three months ago, Senior VP of Operation Mark Masse suggested an informational meeting where everything about how the GCEDC works and what it is working on could be explained to the public.

He booked a room that could seat 150 people and was worried it might not be enough space.

On Monday night GCEDC hosted its first public information meeting in a conference room at the Upstate MedTech Center.  

Twelve people showed up.  

None of the attendees were people who have publicly criticized GCEDC. No one asked pointed questions or raised any substantial concerns about how GCEDC operates.

Masse made a straightforward presentation about why GCEDC exists, what it is up against in New York, how tax abatements work and what projects are in the pipeline.

GCEDC exists because other jurisdictions are also competing for business development, and the competition isn't necessarily in states that have an image problem.

"Companies think New York is closed for business," said Masse. "When they think of New York, they think of taxes, regulations and unions."

The challenge for GCEDC is to break through that image and present Genesee County and Western New York's benefits, which includes median home prices of $85,000, about two million qualified workers, major universities nearby such as RIT, U of R and UB and attractive lifestyle amenities.

While GCEDC doesn't always win the location competition, once the case is made, the decision by the company to take a pass, if it does, usually comes down to factors out of GCEDC's control, Masse said, such as the business climate changing for the business (and expansion being put on hold) or change in leadership in the relocation team that changes the company's agenda.

Masse said part of his presentation was also designed to address the myth that GCEDC is giving away taxpayer money to companies. In truth, the tax breaks companies get is on taxes that would never be paid if the company didn't expand or relocate, Masse said.

In the example Masse gave, if a company does locate to a facility in Genesee County, local tax revenue actually increases at the same time the company saves a substantial amount of money.

The example: Acme Corp. will build a $15.5 million facility with a promise to create 50 new jobs in the first two years. It will purchase 10 acres of land and build a 30,000 square-foot factory. 

GCEDC will likely offer a sales tax exemption on manufacturing materials for construction of the factory, a mortgage tax exemption and a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) contract over the first 10 years of the increased assessment on the property.

The PILOT only covers the value of increased assessment. Property taxes remain the same on the original assessment (also, any fire district taxes cannot be abated, even on the increased assessment). 

So, if the new assessed value is $3.5 million, the company would still pay the $6,130 in taxes on the original assessed value, but in the first two years, pay no taxes on the increase in assessed value. 

In the third and fourth year, the company pays 20 percent of the new taxes, or $21,826 in each of the years.  

The amount of taxes graduates from there every two years.

By the 10th and final year of the PILOT, the company is paying 80 percent of the increased assessment, or $87,304.

If the company had been paying full assessed value each of those 10 years, it would have been paying $109,130 in taxes annually.

Over the course of the 10 years, at full value, it would have paid $1,091,300 in property taxes. Under the PILOT, the property taxes paid over 10 years are $436,520 on the increased assessed value, while paying $61,300 on the original value.

If the company hadn't built the project, the property would have generated only $61,300 in taxes instead of more than $500,000 in taxes.

At the same time, the company has saved more than $500,000 in taxes over the full assessed value rate.

Masse also shared GCEDC's financial results from 2010 (previously reported here).

He then explained the purpose and progress of each of GCEDC's major projects, which are Gateway I, Gateway II, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East Tech Park, WNY STAMP, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Upstate MedTech Park and Oatka Hills I and II.

April 11, 2011 - 6:48pm

There are four to five more companies that are in either early stage or mid-stage study of the Gensee Valley Agri-Business Park, and Columbia-based Alpina Products decision to set up shop in Batavia is going to help the cause, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"Any time you get your frist tenant in one of these shovel ready sites, it really helps create momentum, much like the rising tide lifts all sail boats," said Hyde. "So, this is something we're most excited about."

The financial details are not available for public release yet because Alpina is still completing paperwork and then the application for tax abatements and grants most be approved the by GCEDC board.  The package is expected to be presented at the board's May meeting.

The deal is contingent on approval of a set of incentives as well as some 900-feet of new roadway being completed to the 10-acre lot Alpina intends to buy.

The purchase price is $50,000 per acre, Hyde said.

"That's the sweet spot," said Hyde. "You spend that much between buying the land and putting in the infrastructure. It really is a cost recovery model."

In a meeting with the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, Hyde mentioned that a mid-level Department of Transportation staff member was holding up a grant for a rail line into the agri-business park, and Hyde said he is hopeful this announcement will help unfreeze those funds.

Some of the businesses might want to locate in the park need rail and won't consider the park "shovel ready" without a rail line in place.

Even though Alpina won't need rail in its early years in the park, Hyde is hopeful Aplina's signing will shift the conversation about the grant.

"Hopefully, it will enable a different conversation," Hyde said. "I'm hopeful it will show this site is real."

Hyde said the GCEDC had four meetings with either staff of Alpina or the company's site selection consultant and the final meeting occurred with the company's entire board of directors, who all flew from Columbia to Batavia to visit the area and hear why this was the right site for them.

The full court press included a meeting attended not just by GCEDC staff, but staff from Buffalo-Niagara Enterprise, Greater Rochester Enterprise, Cornell, RIT and Town of Batavia. Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy was on a speaker phone for key parts of the presentation and really tried to sell the executives on what a great area Western New York is, Hyde said.

GCEDC officials then gave the executives a tour of the county, showing off its amenities and areas of growth and revitalization, and then showed off some of the amenities of the region.  The tour concluded with a dinner at the Wine and Culinary Institute in Canandaigua.

Chefs there made a cheese cake in front of the dignitaries using an Alpina product for the topping.

But in the end, Hyde said, it's all really about the jobs.

"We're delighted that this came through because more than anything, it's going to create 50 jobs for 50 families," Hyde said. "And you know what, in this time, in this economy, every job our business community creates helps."

April 11, 2011 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, county legislature, Hollis Upson.

After 10 years on the Genesee County Legislature, Hollis Upson has announced that he will not seek re-election for a sixth term.

Upson said his decision to finish out this term and call it quits is just a matter of time. His business needs his attention and the legislature takes up a lot of time.

"We're very well represented and the current group works well together," Upson said. "We're well positioned for a good future."

Chad Bachorski, the GOP's Second Ward chairman, said local Republicans are soliciting possible candidates to replace Upson on the ballot in the November election. (Information on applying is at the bottom of this post.)

Part of Upson's tasks with the legislature include: representing the county on the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board; being a liaison to the county's planning board; and serving on the board for Holland Land Office Museum; as well as chairing the Ways and Means Committee and serving on the Public Service Committee.

When asked about what he is proudest during his time with the legislature, Upson said it would probably be the growth of the GCEDC from a sleepy little, reactive IDA to one that is more aggressive.

A more aggressive IDA has meant more public scrutiny, Upson admitted, but news such as the announcement that Alpina Products plans to open operations in Batavia's new Agri-Business Park is a good sign the GCEDC is on the right track.

"Alpina is exactly the result of the forethought we had four years ago when we decided to build an ag park," Upson said. "It's the ballpark that we thought, 'if we build it, they will come,' and they did. Steve Hyde was right."

To apply to run for the District 8 seat, e-mails or faxes must be received by April 16, in order to be contacted for an interview. Please e-mail or fax your resume, letter of intent and include at least three character references to the following:

Attn. Brooks Hawley
e-mail: [email protected]
Fax # 585-245-5347

April 11, 2011 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Press release:

ERIE COUNTY – Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, today called on Congress to reject Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2012 budget proposal that would end Medicare as we know it and challenged her opponents – Republican, Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis – to join her in rejecting the proposal. 

“There is no question that we must get our fiscal house in order by making substantial cuts to our budget. It’s time we start working towards reducing our national debt, but the House leadership’s plan to decimate Medicare cannot be the solution. Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), both of whom are coming to Western New York to fund raise for Jane Corwin, have lauded this proposal calling it, ‘The Path to Prosperity;’ noting that it ‘paves the way to a brighter future for all Americans.’ Well, if this budget were to be passed, I could only see a dismal future paved for millions of our seniors. Adding burdensome costs onto the backs of our elderly population cannot be the way we revive the financial health of this country. 

“Representative Ryan’s plan also makes across-the-board cuts in medical research, high-tech research, and education – making it more difficult for businesses to innovate, create jobs, and compete in the global market.  Instead of investing in America’s growing competitive edge, the Budget Committee Chairman wants to give tax breaks to corporations and the highest wage earners.

“Once elected, I will work to cut wasteful spending, without breaking the promises made to our seniors or making it more difficult for American families to hold onto their jobs.

“While neither Jane Corwin nor Jack Davis took a position on Congress’s budget compromise last week, I call on them to join me in letting the voters know how they would vote on this Draconian measure. The voters of the 26th District deserve to know the key differences between the candidates for this position.” 




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