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September 9, 2011 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford.

Eric Michael Duda, 49, of Main Road, Stafford, and Summer Ogden, 35, of State Street, Batavia, are both charged with criminal contempt. Duda and Odgen were seen walking together on Main Road, Stafford, at 4:15 p.m., Wednesday. There are court orders in place barring Duda and Odgen from being in contact with each other.

Dennis Kaijage Stambuli, 19, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass and unlawful possession of marijuana. Stambuli was allegedly found on College Village property after being banned.

Scott E. Hodgins, 47, of 9394 Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, passing a stop sign, speed in zone and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Hodgins was stopped at 8:40 p.m., Thursday, on Blakely Place, by Officers Jerry Casper and Chris Camp. Hodgins was allegedly observed speeding on South Jackson Street. Hodgins allegedly tried to flee on foot following the traffic stop and was located after an extensive search of the area. New York State Police assisted in the search. Additional charges may be pending. Hodgins was jailed without bail.

September 8, 2011 - 6:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 9/11.

Ken Adams had a job in Brooklyn in 2001 and on Sept. 11, with his wife home sick, it was his turn to pick up their daughter from school. 

He was late getting there, one of the last parents to arrive, and he remembers walking into the class and there was only his daughter and a little girl standing next to the teacher.

"I looked at her and she looked at me and we had the same thought at the same time," Adams recalled. "There will be some children whose parents won't be picking them up today."

Adams, the commissioner of Empire State Development, was in Batavia today for the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony, representing Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

During a brief speech, Adams described what it was like in New York City on 9/11 -- from walking his daughter home on a bright, clear blue-sky day, but with the acrid smell of the fallen twin towers in the air, to the office paper ashes falling in their small Brooklyn back yard.

"I remember getting home, looking at my little girl and thinking, 'No one knows how to tell a 6-year-old girl about evil," Adams said.

The ceremony included remarks by Council President Marianne Clattenburg, Legislator Ed DeJaneiro, State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Sheriff Gary Maha.

On 9/11, Maha, along Deputy Ron Meides and another member of the department traveled to NYC to help with the relief efforts.

Maha described helping with relief efforts and visiting ground zero and seeing the devastation of the terrorist attacks.

"It's heartwarming to see everybody here today paying respect to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11," Maha said.

Adams said it's important that the country, and New York, not forget what happened on 9/11, and that we teach our children about the "brutal facts" of that day.

Remembering, he said, will provide lessons and teach us about unity.

"We are bound together in our grief over the tragedy of Sept. 11," Adams said. "We are bound by our resolve never to let Sept. 11 fade from our memories."

UPDATE: Video from WBTA.

September 8, 2011 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire.

Oakfield Fire Department is responding to a reported tractor fire at Lamb Farms.

The tractor is near a building.

September 8, 2011 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

An Alexander fire chief was the first to call in a personal injury accident in the area of 10543 Brookville Road, Alexander.

Alexander Fire Department and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: Alexander ambulance is transporting a patient to Corfu to meet up with a Mercy EMS ambulance for transport to Buffalo.

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September 8, 2011 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Le Roy.

A Facebook group has been created to support the family of Andrea Lynn Mangefrida, the 3-year-old Le Roy girl who drowned Saturday at a residence in Alexander.

Nearly 120 people have joined the group so far to express their sympathies to the Mangefrida family. There's also a PayPal donation link on the site.

M. Gary Guiste appears to have formed the group and writes, "This group is set up for the sole purpose of assisting the Andrea Lynn Mangefrida family in easing the financial burdens of medical costs and the financial burdens associated with the tragic loss of Andrea Mangefrida."

Guiste's note indicates that Andrea was an autistic child.

In an unfortunate accident that is the #1 cause of death in autistics, Andrea was taken from her family too prematurely. As a group, we want nothing more to have her back safe in her family's arms.

As a community of friends and families of police/law enforcement, EMS and fire professionals we stand ready to help the Mangefrida family with anything we can do.

September 8, 2011 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC.

An investigation into a C. difficile outbreak at UMMC has concluded, a spokesman for the NYS Department of Health announced today.

In a short note to media, Jeffrey Hammond said "strictly as a precaution" the DoH monitored UMMC following the start of the outbreak in February.

"DoH is not finding more anymore cases associated with the outbreak," Hammond said.

According to Hammond, there were two cases of "C. Diff " at UMMC in August and none at the hospital by September.

The total number of C. Diff cases from February to August was 35, with 18 attributed to the facility.

September 8, 2011 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

There's no record to confirm, but it's probably been decades since a new barbershop opened in Batavia.

Sure, there have been plenty of hair salons that have opened, but a barbershop, it's almost as if they went out of style with, well, styling.

According to Brandon Armstrong, barbershops remain popular in bigger cities and he decided to bring some of the same flair of the modern barbershop to Batavia.

The Batavia resident has opened City Styles at the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets (before any of us were born, the location of a corner grocery drug store called Gioia's, but more recently, the location of Mother's Chicken & Fish).

"In the bigger cities, there's a bigger barbershop culture," said the 22-year-old Armstrong. "The barbershop is a big part of their daily life."

Besides haircuts, Armstrong also offers hot towel shaves.

There are only three barbershop schools in New York and one of them, Sheer Eagle, is in Rochester, which is where Armstrong studied. He also worked as a barber at Le Roy Manor.

"There's a big demand here for a barbershop that serves a younger crowd," Armstrong said, explaining why he opened a barbershop. "I've always wanted to be my own boss. I used to work for my cousin Brian Kemp at T-Shirts Etc. and I saw that I would like working for myself."

While Armstrong believes his shop will be the only one in town with an expertise in African-American hairstyles, he isn't putting up a barber pole out just to serve one segment of Batavia's population.

"I can cut anybody's hair," Armstrong said. "I'm well-rounded and have lots of experience with all styles."

Pictured with Armstrong is Eric Smith, Armstrong's first paying customer after Armstrong opened Wednesday afternoon.

September 7, 2011 - 9:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Main St. Pizza Company, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

Notes: A few weeks ago, Vic Marchese, owner of Main St. Pizza Company mentioned to me, almost offhand, that he thought it would be fun to sponsor a fantasy football contest for the 2011 NFL season. As it so happened, just of that very day, I had available the tools to make it happen. So here you go, a weekly football challenge sponsored by Main St. Pizza Company.

Each week, you will be asked to pick an NFL player who will lead the league in an offensive or defensive statistical category. All of the entrants who pick the correct player will be entered into a drawing to win that week's prize. This week, for example, is a sheet pizza from Main St. Pizza Company.

Each Tuesday we'll post who won the previous week's contest and the new challenge question.

Click the ad above to enter the contest.

September 7, 2011 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Stafford.

Benjamin Gove Evans, 22, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Evans is accused of shoplifting at Kmart in April.

Kristen L. Brightenfield, 18, of 6559 Main Road, Stafford, is charged with petit larceny. Brightenfield is accused of stealing a box of hair dye from Tops Market during the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Micaheal J. Elmore, 20, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with two counts of petit larceny. Elmore was arrested by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office following an investigation into thefts in Orangeville. Elmore was identified as the suspect with the help of a pawnshop in Batavia. Another piece of stolen property was recovered in the Village of Attica.

Diane E. Winger, 46, of 329 Eva Road, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, is charged with driving while ability impaired and failure to keep right. Winger was stopped at 11:43 p.m., Sunday, on Snipery Road in Darien by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

September 7, 2011 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 9/11.

The City of Batavia's 9/11 ceremony has been moved up to tomorrow, Thursday, at 2 p.m.

It will be held in the mall concourse.

City Council President Marianne Clattenburg, Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha and ESD President Ken Adams will be speaking at the ceremony.

September 7, 2011 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Kiwanis.

The auction and gala to benefit the Child Advocacy Center is just around the corner -- Sept. 17 -- and auction items are rolling in. Above, Anita Strollo shows off a group of cigars in a traveling humidor that will be among the items offered up by auctioneer Seth Kent (white shirt, center), of William Kent, Inc., of Stafford.  From left are: Grace Flannery, CAC; Strollo; Tiffany Szymanek, Genesee Justice; Kent; Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who will emcee the evening's festivities; and, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, president of Batavia Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a "Bidding on a Brighter Future" Gala and Auction at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at Batavia Downs. Donations of items for the auction are still being accepted. Tickets for the gala are $40 per person or $75 per couple. Checks can be mailed to: Justice for Children GLOW Foundation, Inc., 108 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020.

Disclosure: As of Thursday, Howard Owens is a member of the Batavia Kiwanis Club.

September 7, 2011 - 3:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, batavia high.

It's a big leap from middle school to high school and for the past four years, to help freshmen students make the transition, Batavia High School has conducted a special orientation day the day before classes officially begin.

For the class of 2015 that was today.

Of the 198 students in the frosh class, all but three students showed up for the orientation that began at 8 a.m. with a dramatic welcome by faculty and administration in the gym -- lights turned down, spotlights turned on and music playing loud, the students are welcomed into the gym like a championship team.

"We tell them up front that there will be some corny stuff," said Joe Hussar, one of the faculty organizers. "It's a little over the top sometimes."

The goal is give the students an introduction to BHS without 800 other students around. 

"It gives them at least one day where they can take their time and figure things out," Hussar said.

Like where their locker is and how to open it, and how to get from history class to English class.

The students also meet some of the upperclassmen who act as mentors during the school year.

More than 100 upperclassmen applied for the program and the 53 selected went through three days of training over the summer. Today, after the initial gym meeting, they led small groups of students in exercises to help them learn each other's names, how to communicate better and just get to know each other so at least on the first day of school there will be a few familiar faces.

Tomorrow, all the mentors will wear bright pink T-shirts so they can be easily identified by any freshmen who can't find a class, have a question or otherwise need help.

"It's awesome that so many of our upperclassmen are taking the lead," Hussar said.

To further assist the freshmen, the upperclassmen leaders have lockers strategically positioned among a group of freshmen lockers -- for about every seven or eight frosh lockers are two mentor lockers. The arrangement will last throughout the year.

After the small group exercises, the freshmen were given a tour of the school, had a break for lunch and then did a modified version of their class schedule -- 10 minutes for each class so they can learn how to get from room to room with less confusion tomorrow.

September 7, 2011 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Ten different businesses have been burglarized 11 different times since June and the Batavia police are looking for the public's help is identifying the suspects.

Det. Charles Dudek released the video posted above in the hope that it might lead to more information about the suspects seen in the video.

The video was taken by surveillance camera at Batavia's Original, 500 E. Main St., Batavia, on Aug. 30. Batavia's Original has been hit twice in the past couple of months.

The same two suspects are believed to have burglarized Ficarella's Pizzeria in late August.

A witness reportedly spotted the suspects at about 4 a.m. leaving Ficarella's without their masks or hoods on.

The suspects are identified as white males in their late teens or early 20s. Both are about 5'8" to 5'9" tall. One suspect is described as stocky with short blond hair and a light complexion. The other suspect is thinner with short dark hair.

The string of burglaries dates back to June 2, when Neptune's Garden was hit.

In four cases, safes were stolen, or the safe was opened at the business and in one case the suspects were unable to either open or take the safe.

Anyone with information that could aid in the investigation should call the confidential tip line at 345-6370 or the Batavia PD at 345-6350.

September 6, 2011 - 11:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

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September 6, 2011 - 8:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Defense attorney Brian Degnan admitted in court today that he was surprised to learn less than an hour before his client was scheduled to be sentenced on a burglary charge, that the client didn't understand one of Judge Robert Noonan's questions when he entered a guilty plea July 15.

The question, one asked of every defendant about to enter a guilty plea: "Have you consumed any drugs or alcohol today?"

Ricky L. Miller said he had not, but today, Miller told Degnan that he was actually on prescribed painkillers when he entered his guilty plea and didn't understand what he was doing.

Miller was an inmate in the Genesee County Jail on July 15 and any medication he received would have been administered by jail staff.

The drugs supposedly taken by Miller on July 15 where Neurontin and Tramadol.

Degnan asked for an adjournment of the scheduled sentencing to give him time to research the veracity of his client's claim and whether the allegedly prescribed painkillers could alter his judgment.

"We should not be adjourning a sentencing every time a defendant has a change of heart," said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

Friedman characterized Miller's new statements as "an incredible claim that he lied under oath about being on drugs."

Degnan tried to argue that perhaps his client didn't understand the question because he only has an eighth-grade education, but Noonan wasn't buying it.

When Noonan asked if Miller had taken the prescribed medications today, Miller said he had.

"So he has enough of an education to understand what I'm asking him while on drugs today, but not when he entered his guilty plea?" Noonan asked.

He ordered a short recess so Friedman could contact the jail and get information on what drugs Miller may have consumed the day he entered his guilty plea.

About 30 minutes later, Miller's case was recalled and Friedman informed Noonan that on July 15, Miller had not yet been prescribed Neurontin, and about two weeks before the hearing, Miller's dosage of Tramadol had been reduced.

"He was taking it for knee pain," Friedman said. "I'm told it's no more powerful than Motrin tablets and it's not a controlled substance."

Noonan denied Degnan's motion for an adjournment and proceeded with sentencing.

On one count of burglary, 2nd, Miller was given five years in prison, and on one count of possession of a forged instrument, Miller was given three and a half to seven years in prison, to be served concurrently.

"Sir, you have, for a 29-year-old man, you have a horrible record," Noonan said. "You don't seem to have any respect for anybody's else's property. It's important that you be removed from society for a long period of time."

September 6, 2011 - 7:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield.

A Massachusetts man will serve two consecutive six-year prison terms for having sex with two 14-year-old girls, one of whom he originally met while she was traveling with her mother in Florida.

Raymond E. Allard, 27, who admitted to two counts of second-degree rape on July 15, told Judge Robert C. Noonan today that he wasn't the kind of person who had sex with children. While Allard has convictions in Florida for burglary and grand larceny, he's never faced sex-crime accusations before.

"I was foolish and I'm willing to face whatever penalty is coming to me for my behavior," Allard said. "I'm sorry to the girls. I'm sorry to the families. I'm sorry to the court. I'm sorry to myself."

Noonan wasn't sympathetic.

"You are a child rapist, a serial child rapist," Noonan said. "For you to stand here and say you're not that kind of person -- you are exactly that kind of person. You are the kind of person who can't be trusted to be in the presence of another child ever again and it's my job to put you away for as long as I can."

Allard was originally indicted on 64 charges of rape, 2nd, and criminal sexual act, 2nd, and agreed to a plea guilty on two counts in exchange for capping his sentence at 12-years maximum.

He'll be on probation for 10 years when he's released from prison.

Allard was indicted in May, accused of having sex with two 14-year-old girls in November and December of 2010.

According to reports at the time, Allard met the mother of one of the girls while in Florida and followed her and her daughter back to Oakfield.

"The circumstances of this case clearly indicated that Mr. Allard is a predator of young girls," Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl said. "His relationsip with one of the victims began outside of New York State as the result of a chance meeting and was continued when Mr. Allard decided to come to this area and continue his grooming of this child for his own sexual purposes."

Zickl said Allard's statements in the pre-sentence investigation further implicated Allard as depraved.

Allard allegedly described one of the victims as "sexually aggressive" and an "overwhelming sexual creature."

"This is Mr. Allard's feeble and feckless attempt to put himself in the best possible light," Zickl said. "I would submit that it puts him in an even worse light because he's blaming a 14-year-old girl for his predation on her."

The mother of one of the girls spoke and said that Allard's actions caused a lot of damage to her relationship with her daughter and they've never really talked about what happened. She said all she knew was what she read in her journals before her daughter was placed in a foster home.

"I'm very angry, very hurt and very distraught about what happened to my daughter," the woman said. "He's done a lot of damage to my family. I don't think he should ever be around children again."

September 6, 2011 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

Remember the wayward snake on State Street Road on Saturday? Through diligent investigative journalism, we acquired a picture of it.

The snake, believed to be a ball python, is holed up at a secret, undisclosed location (well, at least, I don't know where it is) awaiting possible recovery by its rightful owner.

The python is described as a little over 3-feet long.




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