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November 4, 2010 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.


All of the rumors you heard on Facebook are true -- a man in Oakfield bought a $1 million scratch-off ticket at Wilson's Farms.

Randy Bennett, 64, plans a trip to Alaska and some new landscaping in his back yard, but he will also take care of the people he said helped him in tough times.

randybennett01.jpgHe's also going to keep working at Mizkan's in Lyndonville. He said he loves his job and the people he works with.

"I'm used to working 10 hours a day, six days a week," he said. "I plan to continue working, but my retirement date just moved up a few years."

Bennett seems to be the lucky one with scratchers. Previously he's won $5,000 and $25,000.

There's no secret to his success, he said.

"When I'm feeling lucky and I stop and buy some tickets with the money in pocket," Bennett said. "If I win, I play with that."

He said playing scratches is just something fun to do.

The scratcher he played this time was a $20 ticket for the "$500,000,000 Extravaganza" game.

His pay out will be $33,015, after taxes, per year for the next 20 years.

November 4, 2010 - 8:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Fall colors. Fall flowers. Brighten your home or office. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga, 13 classes, a $36 value, for $18.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Present Tense Books and Gifts, 101 Washington Ave., Batavia, NY: Whether your taste runs to local authors, the finest in fiction or nonfiction or you're looking for a unique and special gift, this charming store in a cozy Victorian house on the edge of downtown is a great place to stop and shop. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.


November 3, 2010 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Sheriff's Office.


K-9 "Finn" has tracked his last criminal and is on the verge of becoming somebody's family pet.

The 6-year-old police dog suffered a parasite infection in his hip about a year ago and his muscles have yet to regain their full strength.

“He’s not going to ever fully recover to the point to be able to do the job of a K-9 police dog,” Sheriff Gary Maha told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

Maha is asking the County Legislature to pass a resolution allowing the Sheriff's Department to donate "Finn" to a person in the community, and then accept -- as a gift from the Niagara Falls PD -- a K-9 about the same age.

Deputy Brian Thompson said he will be sorry to see "Finn" go, but with another police dog about to join his household, there just won't be room for "Finn."

"It's heartbreaking to me," Thompson said.

The new dog, whom Thompson already knows, will be the last K-9 Thompson will work with professionally. After 19 years, going back to his time in the Army, Thompson is stepping aside as a K-9 handler. The Sheriff's Office is already starting the process of finding a new handler.

The new handler will get a "green" dog, at a cost of $6,200 to $6,500, plus the cost of at least 16 weeks of training.

The Niagara Falls dog is available because its current handler was involved in a shooting and has had trouble returning to work. The dog will be donated to Genesee County.

Thompson said the expectation is that the dog will have two or three years of working life left before retirement. Thompson will continue on as a K-9 handler so long as that dog is able to work.

Meanwhile, Thompson continues to work with K-9 "Jay," whom Thompson said is "the best narcotics dog I've ever worked with." 

"Jay" is 13 years old, however, and is no longer physically able to handle chasing suspects or tracking criminals.

"Finn" was only on the job for six months when he was out on a detail assisting Niagara Regional Police Services in Canada.

Thompson had to take him into a wooded area, and it turned out the area was full of ticks. The ticks were treated and the dog seemed fine at first, but parasites apparently weakened the muscles in his hip.

Over the next couple of months, he developed muscle tears while working and training. On one job, it became apparent that "Finn" was in a good deal of pain. He's been out of service for nearly a year.

A friend of County Attorney Charles Zambito raises purebred German shepherds and is interested in taking in Finn, but first the woman needs to ensure "Finn" and her other dogs will get along.

If that person accepts "Finn," Zambito will need to draft a contract relieving the county of any liability.

Both Maha and Thompson, however, said "Finn" would make an excellent family pet.

"He’s not a violent dog," Maha said. "He’s a very friendly dog."

"Finn" just isn't aggressive at all, said Thompson.

"Even in his job, he doesn’t like the aggression part of it," Thompson said. "It’s just not in him. We tried putting it in him with different training and different work, but it’s just not part of his personality. He’s not the least bit interested in harming anybody."


November 3, 2010 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, accident, roundabout, Oak Street.

mustang_roundabout.jpgThe man who owns a silver Mustang involved in a one-car accident on the edge of the Oak Street roundabout last week says he wasn't driving the car at the time of the accident.

The driver fled the scene.

There were two witnesses of the driver running from the car, according to Officer Ed Mileham, but neither witness could positively identify the driver after looking at photo line ups.

"Right now, it's just an unauthorized use," Mileham said.

The owner of the car reported it stolen the morning after the accident.

The name of vehicle owner has not been released.

November 3, 2010 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Suzanne Corona.

Justin Amend, the 29-year-old Farrall Park paramour of Suzanne Corona, will wait another week at least to find out if he's going to jail.

When Amend entered a guilty plea to public lewdness, it was on the condition that he wouldn't receive jail time, but City Court Judge Robert Balbick said there's now a problem with that plea arrangement.

The former Oakfield resident is now a Florida resident.

"By moving out of state, you've prevented me from placing you on probation," Balbick said.

The Probation Department recommended Amend be given a conditional discharge -- meaning if he stays out of trouble for six months, the public lewdness conviction would be dismissed.

Balbick said considering the offense to the community, that Amend engaged in sexual conduct in a place where parents and children could see the act, he just can't go along with a conditional discharge.

That leaves Amend two obvious options -- withdraw his plea and go to trial, or let Balbick sentence him with the probability he will be given jail time.

Defense Attorney Tom Williams asked for more time to either research a way to get Florida to accept Amend's probation, or see if there is space available with the Genesee County Jail for a weekend work detail sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl predicted that Florida is unlikely to accept a probation case on a misdemeanor charge.

"States feel that their probation departments are overworked as it is and they do not want to accept misdemeanor cases," Zickl said.

Amend moved to Florida, according to Williams, because he's embarrassed by his crime.

"He's humiliated to be seen walking around Genesee County," Williams said. "For him to walk into Tops and be seen is torture for him. It would be like for me to walk into Tops naked. That may seem over the top, but that's how he feels."

When given his turn to speak, Amend said, "I can guarantee you that you will never see me in court again because this has been a total embarrassment."

Williams described Amend as an upstanding citizen who has never been in trouble except for this case.

In fact, Williams said, Amend has been a key witness in criminal cases, including one where he turned in a sexual predator who was victimizing a younger person. That criminal is now in state prison. The man never would have been caught if Amend hadn't contacted the police, Williams said.

November 3, 2010 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion.

Trevor M. Rich, 29, of 8943 Creek Road, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Rich is accused of verbally threatening a woman at 1:38 p.m., Tuesday. He was jailed on $750 bail.

Markeda Daphne Starks, 19, South Lyon, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia Town Court related to a charge of trespass, 3rd.

Maxwell Raymond Pfendler, 18, of Lake Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Pfendler was stopped on an alleged traffic violation at 10 p.m., Tuesday, by Deputy Joseph Graff.

November 3, 2010 - 8:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections.

Statewide, Andrew Cuomo picked up 1.2 million more votes than Carl Paladino in the race for governor, but Genesee County proved to be "Carl Country."

The controversial Republican candidate garnered 60 percent of the vote locally, with his name cast on 9,944 ballots to 6,007.

None of the third-party candidates cracked 200 votes.

It went that way in nearly every other statewide race, with the Republican candidate taking the lion's share of Genesee County votes, but not winning the election.

The exception: Charles Schumer's senate campaign. Schumer beat Republican Jay Townsend in Genesee County 8,287 to 7,644.

In the local State Senate race, incumbent Republican Mike Ranzanhofer won both the 61st District and the local vote. In Genesee County, Ranzanhofer beat Marc Coppola 11,497 to 3,992.

In the 139 Assembly District race, incumbant Republican Steve Hawley beat Chris Barons 10,328 to 2,446 on local ballots.

Daniel D.Mangino won the race for town supervisor in Alabama.

Joseph M. Higley won for Alexander town councilman.

Mark Yungfleisch won a tightly contested highway supervisor race in Elba over John F. Pflaumer.

(FULL LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS: Genesee County's election page has the results with a very annoying automatic scroll. I've reproduced the page here without the scroll.)

November 2, 2010 - 9:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, Elections.


Party faithful have started filtering into the respective headquarters of the Republicans (above) and Democrats as they await tonight's election returns.

Meanwhile, The New York Daily News is reporting that Andrew Cuomo has won.


UPDATE: Word is there are problems with the voting machines in Genesee County and election results will not be available for hours.

Meanwhile, the GOP continues to congregate at its headquarters on Jackson Street (below) and the Democrats have decamped to Larry's Steakhouse to watch results from around the nation come in on TV.


November 2, 2010 - 5:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Main St. Pizza Company.


Felicia Pfalzer parleyed two large pizza's into a 42-inch plasma TV this week.

The Darien resident was the lucky winner of a drawing offered by Main St. Pizza Company to celebrate National Pizza Month (October).

Above, Main St. owner Vic Marchese with Pfalzer after presenting the prize this afternoon.

November 2, 2010 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Alabama, Grand Jury.

We only recently received the October indictments from the Genesee County Grand Jury:

Charles J. Porreca is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, criminal possession of marijuana, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. On May 6, Porreca is accused of possessing marijuana while in a vehicle at 8123 Prole Road Extension. On the same date, he is accused of possessing psilocin and psilocybin contained in mushrooms with the intent to sell in a room at College Village. At the same address, he is accused of possessing more than two ounces of marijuana along with hydrocodone.

Robert Thigpen III, is charged with burglary, 1st, menacing, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Thigpen is accused of entering and remaining unlawfully in a dwelling at 111 State St., Apt. 3, Batavia, on Aug. 30, with intent to commit a crime. Allegedly, Thigpen used a knife to threaten another person. He is also accused of damaging a lock.

Amy L. Brown is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and eight counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st. Brown is accused of stealing from the Department of Labor from Sept. 21 through Nov. 16, 2008. She is accused of filing false records with the Department of Labor.

Robert J. Van Pelt is charged with vehicular assault, 1st, DWI and aggravated DWI. Van Pelt is accused of driving a motor vehicle on May 2, Sandhill Road, Town of Alabama, and causing another person to be injured. His BAC was allegedly above .18.

Christopher J. Matusak is charged with DWI as a felony, aggravated DWI, three counts of criminal mischief, 3rd, and three counts of reckless endangerment, 2nd. Matusak is accused of driving drunk on May 31 with a BAC of .18 or greater, and in Town of Le Roy damaging the property of another person. The property is described as a 2007 Hyundai, a 1998 Lincoln and a 1996 Cadillac. He is accused of intentionally striking the Cadillac, which allegedly had three passengers at the time.

Shannon V. Albano is charged with a felony count of DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Albano is accused of driving drunk on April 19 in the Town of Darien.

Autumn M. Connolly is charged with grand larceny third. Connolly is accused of stealing about $4,200 from a family member between March 27 and April 13.

November 2, 2010 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sex offenders.

Three of the level-2 sex offenders who were displaced by the Oct. 11 fire at 433 E. Main St., Batavia, have relocated, according to Det. Rich Schauf.

The offenders had 10 days to notify authorities of their new addresses.

Schuaf said that by law he can't disclose the new addresses of level-2 offenders. The website that originally listed the level-2 offenders should not have made the addresses publicly accessible.

The three level-2 sex offenders who have relocated are still within the 14020 zip code, Schauf said and appear to have settled in their new residences.

"The perception would be that these are places where they will permanently live," Schauf said.

There were four level-2 offenders living at 433. E. Main St. at the time of the fire. All are accounted for. One of the four died, but not as a result of the fire.

The four listed on the site were Dean Jaroszek, Jeremy Eaton, John Sissel and John Robinson.

November 2, 2010 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, thebatavian, sports.

We've reduced the prices on the pictures from our 2010 high school football coverage.

For the month of November, football prints can be purchased for as much as 75 percent off the suggested retail price.

Click Here to view the galleries.

November 2, 2010 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Pavilion.

Five Genesee County residents have been arrested on various drug charges over the past several weeks, the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force announced.

One person is suspected of dealing drugs, a husband and wife as well as another man are accused of growing marijuana. Another woman is accused of possessing marijuana.

The following arrests were announced:

mug_anthony_nigro.jpgAnthony Nigro (pictured), 59, of Alexander Road, Alexander. Nigro is charged with criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell, 3rd, and criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd. Nigro was arrested in September and released on his own recognizance.

Michael D. Myers, 49, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 2nd, and unlawfully growing marijuana. Myers is accused of possessing more than 16 ounces of marijuana at the time a search warrant was executed on Sept. 13. Myers was released on his own recognizance.

Robie A. Dersham, 41, of Creek Road, Pavilion and Kimberly A. Dersham, 41, of Creek Road, Pavilion, are charged with criminal possesion of marijuana, 4th, and unlawfully growing marijuana. The Dershams were allegedly found in possesion of two ounces of marijuana in September.

Laura L. Pacer, 25, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Pacer was allegedly found in possession of two ounces of marijuana following the execution of a search warrant on Oct. 12.

November 2, 2010 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau.

The kids will be alright, according to Debbie Kerr-Rosenbeck, youth bureau director for Genesee County.

If a proposed shared-services agreement is approved by both the city and county elected bodies, Kerr-Rosenbeck doesn't anticipate any loss of programs currently offered to the youngsters of Batavia.

"If anything, I think (services) will expand and increase, not be less," Kerr-Rosenbeck said after a meeting of the county's Human Services Committee, where she briefed legislators on the proposal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kerr-Rosenbeck would become director of the city's program as well as maintain her position with the county.

The city hopes to save at least $15,000 by eliminating its director position -- which with salary and benefits cost the city more than $80,000 per year -- and adding a coordinator position.

As part of the agreement, the city would reimburse the county $21,000, covering part of Kerr-Rosenbeck's current salary (but not increasing her salary) and five hours of clerical time per week.

"What the children see will not change significantly," Kerr-Rosenbeck said. "They may see some new faces when staffing is short. I'll put my staff there to help out evenings and weekends, but they won't see any changes in the programs at all."

Kerr-Rosenbeck said she's already started working on the transition and anticipates putting in more than the weekly eight-hours called for in the agreement in the beginning to help ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Both the Legislature and the City Council are expected to vote on the proposed shared-services agreement in December, so Kerr-Rosenbeck can officially take over the city's program in January.

The city has been without a youth director since the previous director retired about six months ago.

November 2, 2010 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway, pembroke.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries has been reported on the Thruway, eastbound lane between mile markers 402 and 404.

Pembroke and Indian Falls Fire  with Mercy EMS being dispatched.

The Pembroke chief warns that responders should be aware that the Route 77 bridge over the Thruway is very slick.

On scene, the chief reports three vehicles involved. No word yet on injuries.

UPDATE 9:04 a.m.: Everybody is out of the cars and walking around. One person may have an eye injury.

UPDATE 9:14 a.m.: A second ambulance is requested to the scene.

November 2, 2010 - 6:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics.

The New York Times has a picture of Carl Paladino in Batavia, at the old courthouse yesterday. Nobody notified us of his appearance.

November 1, 2010 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Pavilion.

A garage fire was called in several minutes ago at a residence on Route 19 near Cole Road in the Pavilion/Le Roy area.

It sounds like both Pavilion and Le Roy fire departments have responded.

UPDATE 9:35 p.m.: Le Roy Fire back in service.

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