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June 30, 2011 - 7:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.

Mercy Flight is being dispatched to 4199 Maltby Road, Elba, for a medical call.

The initial call was to a residence on Mechanic Street.

Elba Fire Department is requesting additional manpower to set up the landing zone at Torrey Farms.


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June 29, 2011 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Le Roy, Chris Charvella, Jay Grasso.

Melissa Cianfrini says, naturally she's disappointed the case was dismissed against Chris Charvella. As assistant DA, she was given the task of prosecuting him on an aggravated harassment, 2nd, charge because Charvella placed a phone call to Legislator Jay Grasso,

"I obviously respect the court and the court's decision, but I respectfully disagree with the reason behind it," Cianfrini said.

Town of Batavia Justice Mike Cleveland wrote in his decision, "Mr. Charvella's call was made to Mr. Grasso on a number not only listed in the public phone book but also listed on the Genesee County Legislature's list of public official contact numbers. It was not an anonymous or random call. It was not 'absent of expression of ideas or thoughts.'

"The factual allegations in this case," Cleveland concluded, "do not constitute a violation of the charge of PL 240.30-2.

The written decision dismissing the case is only two pages long and doesn't directly touch on any of the free speech or First Amendment issues raised by Charvella's defense attorney, E. Robert Fussell.

But Fussell said that just because Cleveland didn't mention the First Amendment doesn't mean that case law based on the First Amendment isn't the foundation of his decision.

Fussell said he believes the case law that led to Cleveland's decision is based on First Amendment protections.

He said prior cases interpret the clause in the law that says for "no legitimate purpose" to mean that a call must be entirely for the purpose of annoying or threatening to constitute harassment.

"Underlying the decision is that you can't charge somebody for just making a phone call," said Fussell. "What the courts are really saying is that the charge must pass First Amendment muster."

Cianfrini said, however, that she still doesn't believe this was a free speech case. It was about a private phone call placed to a private residence.

"This was about somebody saying something in private," Cianfrini said. "It was not something that was said in public, so it's not a free speech issue."

She was not the original ADA on the case, inheriting it after a change of venue from Le Roy to Town of Batavia, so the actual charge against Charvella wasn't a decision she made. During oral arguments, Cianfrini briefly raised the specter of filing a different charge, if necessary, against Charvella. Today, Cianfrini said there are no plans in the DA's officer currently to pursue the case further.

June 29, 2011 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Stafford.

William E. Gratehouse III, is indicted on charges of criminal mischief, 2nd, reckless endangerment, 2nd, menacing, 2nd, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child. Gratehouse is accused of intentionally striking a 1998 Dodge Intrepid owned by another person on March 17. Gratehouse allegedly forced the car off the road after striking it. He also allegedly brandished a semiautomatic pistol during the incident and prevented the alleged victim from leaving the area. There allegedly were children in the car at the time.

John R. Sherman is indicted on charges of felony DWI, aggravated driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and driving with a BAC of .08. Sherman is accused of driving drunk Jan. 7 on Route 5 in Stafford.

Kevin C. Heschke is indicated on charges of felony DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Heschke is accused of driving drunk April 7 on Church Street, Le Roy.

Ricky L. Miller is indicted on a charge of burglary, 2nd. Miller is accused of entering a residence on Jackson Street, Batavia, on June 7, with the intent to commit a crime.

Dana D. Hagen is indicted on charges of felony DWI and aggravated driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Hagan is accused of driving drunk Jan. 12 on Fotch Road, Stafford.

No Bill: The grand jury found insufficient evidence to charge Thomas B. Streamer with assault, 2nd, and assault, 3rd, stemming from an alleged incident in the Town of Le Roy on Jan. 23.

June 29, 2011 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

The night of Tim McGraw concert at Darien Lake, the Batavia PD set up a sobriety check point on Pearl Street and made five arrests.

All five arrested had attended the concert, according to Chief Randy Baker.

Charged were:

  • Matthew Perry, 18, of Batavia, charged with DWI;
  • Geoffrey Howe, 28, of Auburn, charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation;
  • Matthew Malloy, 22, of Batavia, charged with DWI;
  • Christopher Vandusen, 38, of Kendall, charged with DWI;
  • Thomas Boughner, 28, of Spencerport, charged with DWI and open alcohol beverage container in a motor vehicle.

The traffic detail was supported through the Genesee County Stop DWI program.

Baker said the city PD will use check points and DWI patrols on holidays and throughout the summer to help combat drinking and driving.

June 29, 2011 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

On June 19, newly minted NY-26 Rep. Kathy Hochul attended the Batavia Muckdogs game at Dwyer Stadium. It's the kind of thing that I'd normally cover with a picture, but it was Father's Day and my birthday so I took my Dad to the game. I didn't take my camera. It was time off. Still, it was nice chatting with Kathy and Bill Hochul. Kathy went to the game to get herself mentally ready to play on the Women's Congressional Softball Team in a match against an inside-the-Beltway media team in a charity game. I asked her press aide Fabien Levy to send along a picture from the game.  

June 29, 2011 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Dennis Dale Holcomb, 44, of West Bergen Road, Le Roy, is charged with assault, 2nd, and criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Holcomb is accused of striking another person on the back of the head with a crowbar. Following arraignment in Le Roy Town Court, Holcomb was committed to the Genesee County Jail without bail.

Christopher C. Say, 20, of 41 Maple St., Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and endangering the welfare of a child. Say is accused of choking a woman during a domestic dispute in front of her children at 9 p.m., Tuesday.

Donald Joseph Pursel, 42, of Upton Place, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant out of Genesee County Court. Pursel is accused of failing to pay a fine. He was arrested by Rochester PD and turned over to the Sheriff's Office. (NOTE: Pursel appeared in court yesterday and after the ADA and his attorney reached an agreement regarding his release, Judge Robert Noonan signed an order authorizing his release.  What was notable is that Pursel's case goes back to a time when Noonan was the District Attorney, so he had to recuse himself from any further proceedings in Pursel's case. Another judge will need to hear the matter.)

Michael William Hall, 24, of Havenwood Drive, Brockport, is charged with DWI, aggravated driving with a BAC .18 or greater and parked on the roadway. Hall was allegedly found sleeping in his car at 12:59 a.m., Tuesday, by Deputy John Weis while it was parked in the westbound lane of Sackett Road, Town of Bergen.

Cassondra Niccole Majors, 18, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with possession of alcohol under age 21. Majors was arrested at 11:47 p.m., Monday, in Burnnell Park on Summit Street, Le Roy.

William Gary Strait, 27, of 2803 Retsof Road, Retsof, is charged with DWI and aggravated driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Strait was stopped at 2:43 a.m., Sunday, by Officer Fox, Le Roy PD, on Main Street in the Village of Le Roy.

June 29, 2011 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

The mother of Baby Andrew, killed by Melissa Engelhardt  in November 2009, was arrested Tuesday, accused of stealing baby items from Walmart.

Kristen Anne Cianfrini, 26, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, was charged with petit larceny.

Cianfrini gave birth to another baby several months after Andrew's death.

Engelhardt was Andrew's stepmother and living in Elimira with Andrew's father when she slipped methanol in a sippy cup and gave it to Andrew and then did nothing as Andrew became ill and eventually succumbed to the poison.

When Engelhardt was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder in a non-jury trial, the community rallied around Cianfrini demanding justice for Baby Andrew. 

Chemung County Judge Peter C. Buckley sentenced Engelhardt, who had a history of substance abuse, to 20 years in prison.


June 28, 2011 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A former Vine Street resident who once seemed to get his life straightened out but then found himself involved with drugs again was told by Judge Robert Noonan today that he will spend four years in state prison.

William J. Butler, 41, of Batavia, previously entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance.

More than half an ounce of crack cocaine was found on Butler when he was arrested by members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force on Aug. 26, 2010. Because of the quantity of drugs involved, the implication of the charge is that Butler was dealing drugs.

Butler acknowledged that he blew his second chance after successfully completing parole on a previous conviction.

"In a time of hardship I made a crucial mistake and I'm resentful that I made it," Butler said. "When I saw my daughter, I apologized to her that let her down and I let down the community I live in. It's one of the worst mistakes I've made in my life, especially considering what I learned. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't resent that."

Related: Batavia woman accused of letting drug dealers operate from her home.

June 28, 2011 - 6:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, Elections, politicis, Dan Jones.

Press release:

Batavia, NY: I will announce my intentions tomorrow regarding the open seat in the Third Ward left by the retirement of Sam Barone, who did an outstanding job representing that ward on city council. I will be announcing that I am entering a Democratic primary and that I have been endorsed by the Conservative Party.  The announcement will be tomorrow, June 29th at 6 p.m. outside of Batavia City Hall. I will be joined by Democratic Councilwomen Rose Mary Christian and Kathy Briggs, whom are supporting my campaign. Any and all are invited to attend.

Dan has sent along word that Assemblyman Mark J.F. Schroeder, his former boss and a candidate for comptroller in Erie County, will be joining the press conference.

June 28, 2011 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba.

Sometime within the past three or four days, somebody painted two swastikas on the asphalt in the area of Pekin Road and Batavia Elba Townline Road.

One of them, pictured above, on Pekin Road, was creatively obliterated by the Town of Elba Highway Department, which turned the swastika into meaningless geometrical shapes.

The other swastika is on a county road and highway Superintendent Tim Hens, who wasn't aware of the vandalism when we spoke late this afternoon, said his crews might need to get equally creative.

The Sheriff's Office has taken a report on the incident and Deputy Chris Parker is conducting interviews with residents in the area, but Chief Gordon Dibble said, "at this point, their purpose is known."

Dibble said unless there's a witness, this sort of crime can be difficult to solve.

Anybody with information can contact the Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000.

June 28, 2011 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

A Le Roy man, who was himself badly burned in a fire June 13 at 3 Orchard Drive in the Village of Le Roy, was arrested on a charge of arson, 2nd, today.

Paul F. Atkinson, 42, was released from Strong Memorial Hospital and immediately arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court. He was sent to the Genesee County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Atkinson suffered 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns on several parts of his body and has been hospitalized since the fire.

The residence is owned by his father and Atkinson reportedly told police he started the fire following a dispute with his dad.

Several hours before the fire, Atkinson appears to have left a status update on his Facebook page that reads, "everyone can go to hell, tired of this life."

His Facebook profile has apparently since been deleted.

Le Roy Police accuse Atkinson of intentionally setting the fire "while knowing or should have known that two persons were sleeping inside the residence."

Atkinson's sister had to be helped down from a second-floor deck by a Le Roy Police officer and her husband reportedly jumped from a second-floor window, injuring his ankle.

June 28, 2011 - 5:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Chris Charvella, Jay Grasso.

Late this afternoon, Chris Charvella received word from his attorney that Town of Batavia Justice Mike Cleveland has dismissed the aggravated harassment, 2nd, charge he was arrested on in November.

E. Robert Fussell, Charvella's attorney, could not be reached for further information on the dismissal and the town court is closed at this hour, so we can't retrieve a copy of the decision.

Fussell told his client the charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence to support the charge.

"It shows that politicians at any level can't have a person arrested for saying something they don't like, especially, 'thank you,'" Charvella said. 

He added, "I knew since I was arrested on November 11th that I had not committed a crime. I placed my trust in the justice system and I'm glad the system worked."

State Troopers arrested Charvella after Legislator Jay Grasso filed a complaint against Charvella claiming harassment.

Charvella was charged under a provision of the statute that prohibits telephone calls for "no legitimate purpose."

The call Charvella made was to Grasso's home phone, and he left a message that said, "thanks for reading my blog."

The message was in response to somebody leaving a political sign on Charvella's front lawn that made reference to an item Charvella posted on her personal blog. The sign contained the words, "Sharome Glasshole," a reference to one of Charvella's blog posts.

Following the phone call, Charvella posted another item on his blog that showed a picture of an Ewok and read, "prepare your anus."

Assistent District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini argued against Fussell's motion for dismissal on June 10.

Part of Fussell's position was that based on previous case law, the conduct of Charvella didn't rise to the level of aggravated harassment, 2nd, as intended by the statute since there wasn't an ongoing pattern of harassment. He characterized Charvella's speech as protected by the First Amendment.

Today, Charvella called the dismissal a victory for free speech.

Charvella has said previously that he spent $7,000 on his own defense in the case.

Neither Cianfrini nor Grasso were immediately available for comment.

June 28, 2011 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, corfu.

Investigators are still trying to identify one youth believed to have been involved in vandalism at Corfu Intermediate School overnight Thursday.

The damage was discovered by school officials Friday morning, which included damaged ceiling tiles and a broken bulletin board.

It's possible at least three youths were involved, with two juveniles already identified as possible suspects.

Besides the damage, the suspects allegedly stole a bicycle and candy.

The bicycle has been recovered.

Youth Officer John Dehm and Investigator Tim Weis are handling the case.

Anybody with information can call the Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000.

June 28, 2011 - 12:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Jack Davis, corfu.

The owner of a red Corvette involved in a single-car rollover accident at 1 a.m., June 20, has been cited for allegedly leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, according to State Police.

The driver is allegedly Robert R. Davis, 50, of 1355 Main Road, Corfu. Davis is the son of Jack Davis, four-time candidate for Congress in the 26th District and president of I Squared R Element Co., in Akron.

After the accident in the area of 871 Gabbey Road, Pembroke, local law enforcement conducted a search for Robert Davis in the area and on South Lake Road, Pembroke, speaking with residents about his possible location. At one point, an investigator noted that at least one homeowner he spoke with had "honesty issues."

Davis was reportedly with his girlfriend. 

According to Sgt. Kurt Schmitt, the female passenger was eventually treated at Suburban Hospital in Erie County, supposedly taken there by a friend.

The Corvette was impounded at Jim and Bob's Service in Pembroke until Robert Davis surfaced. The car was released to Davis yesterday morning and Davis was issued citations for leaving the scene of a personal injury accident among other alleged infractions.

Jack Davis said he had heard his son was involved in an accident and tried finding out more about it last week, being concerned about his welfare, but hadn't gotten much information.

"He's not gotten back to me," Davis said. "I'm sure he's disappointed in what he's done. It's embarrassing, but all families deal with situations like this."

This isn't the younger Davis' first run-in with the law. In 2009, he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th for allegedly possessing a switchblade knife. Information is not immediately available on the disposition of that case.

Photos submitted anonymously by a reader.

June 27, 2011 - 11:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Rather than pass a law banning smoking in city parks, the Batavia City Council is considering a resolution that will say, in essence, "please don't smoke."

If passed, signs will be posted in city parks saying the parks are no smoking areas, but police will not have the power to arrest a person who refuses to stop smoking.

"If it’s just a resolution, we’re probably going to ask for voluntary compliance," said Chief of Police Randy Baker. 

He also explained, "The police department acts as an agent of the community and we ask people to comply with what the community cannot tolerate. It's up to their (the council's) discretion to provide us the direction they want us to take."

The resolution proposal was discussed at Monday's council meeting as part of a comprehensive approach to cutting down on substance abuse in city parks.

The city will get tougher with alcohol consumption in parks by voting in July on a fast-track ordinance change that would ban alcohol consumption in parks without a permit.

The current law prohibits drinking beer and other adult beverages in the park, but allows drinking in certain designated areas, such as pavilions.

A one-word change in the ordinance would make it illegal to have an open container in the pavilions.

Councilwoman Patti Pacino, for one, welcome the proposed change.

"I do a summer program for kids," Pacino "We serve lunch. And every single day we see the same people sitting in the same pavilions drinking beer. There is nothing I can do about it."

People who want to have picnics and parties in the pavilions can apply for a $25 permit and then serve alcohol, but once the law is amended, police will be able to deal with residents who reportedly gather in the pavilions on a routine basis and just sit and drink day-after-day.

As for the smoking resolution, only Councilwoman Rosemary Christian raised concerns about about a blanket restriction on smoking in parks.

She said she wants to see designated areas for smokers.

Smokers pay for parks, too, she said, and she finds it ironic that one of the community groups pushing to end smoking in parks is GCASA.

"Go down there (to the East Main GCASA location)," Christian said. "It’s all in front of the property, city property, there are butts all over. And these are the people that want us to stop? I don’t think so."

June 27, 2011 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, corfu.

A Chestnut Street resident is facing a petit larceny charge all because he reportedly didn't want to see some woodchucks that had been living in his yard taken away.

To Dale Edward Banfield, 50, of Batavia, the woodchucks were like pets.

To his landlord, they were pests who were destroying his property.

So the landlord hired a nuisance wildlife company to set traps and capture the little critters.

After they were captured and removed Saturday, Banfield drove out to the company's location in Corfu and asked for the woodchucks back.

The owner declined to return the woodchucks, so before leaving, Banfield allegedly grabbed the traps containing the woodchucks and left.

The traps were recovered, according to the Sheriff's Office, but the woodchucks are presumably off some where chucking wood.

No word on where the woodchucks might be, nor how many were trapped.

Banfield was charged with petit larceny and must appear in Town of Pembroke Court on July 12.

Deputy Ron Meides investigated the case of the woodchuck caper.

June 27, 2011 - 10:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Late this evening, spotted this sign -- "Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant" -- on the old Ponderosa building on Ellicott Street. So, I guess we're free to speculate that a new Mexican restaurant is coming to Batavia.




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