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December 23, 2009 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Alabama.

Brandon C. Dodd, 23, of 128 1/2 State St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Dodd is accused of stealing two video games from his roommate and selling them for cash at a local video game store.

Edwin Morales, 52, of 11293 Ridge Road, Medina, is accused of DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from lane unsafely. Morales was stopped on Route 63 in Alabama after Deputy C.J. Minuto observed Morales's vehicle allegedly cross the center double yellow line.

Kenneth W. Bater, 18, of 7795 Creamery Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, consumption of alcohol in a vehicle and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Bater was arrested after Deputy Frank Bordonaro responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at the side of the road on Creamery Road in Bergen. A passenger in the car, Kenneth E. Hale, 18, of 6101 North Lake Road, Bergen, was also charged with consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

UPDATE The following is additional information on an accident we reported previously, and we just received the information from the State Police:

Steven M. Smith, 21, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI. Smith reportedly hit two parked cars in the area of the old 84 Lumber store on Ellicott Street at 12:58 p.m., Sunday.

December 23, 2009 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander, Stafford.

mug_mark_hamilton.jpgAn Alexander Central School District teacher has been accused of conducting an inappropriate relationship with a student.

He's been charged with three misdemeanor counts, which are official misconduct, endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching.

Sheriff's investigators say they found mobile phone data and phone records linking Mark R. Hamilton, 49, of 8011 Caswell Road, Stafford, with the alleged inappropriate relationship with the student.

Sheriff's Office Youth Officer C.M. Erion obtained data from Verizon Wireless as part of his investigation, which was assisted by Western New York Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Buffalo.

Hamilton, a graduate of Geneseo State College, was hired in 2000 by the Alexander Central School District as an elementary school teacher. While the Sheriff's Office press release lists him as a high school teacher, the district's Web site indicates he was most recently a science teacher in the middle school. He coached Batavia girls basketball from at least 2000 until 2008. WBTA reports he's been on adminisrative leave for a month.

December 23, 2009 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

We should expect at least some more snow today with highs in the mid-20s.  The chance of snow hovers at around 30 percent.

Tomorrow should warm to 34 degrees and we might see some sun.

The prediction of freezing ran on Christmas has been changed to just rain with a high of 38 and a 70-percent chance of precipitation.

December 22, 2009 - 5:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

A house fire has been reported at 6544 Byron-Holley Road, Byron.

UPDATE (6:18 p.m.) The fire captain reports the fire is under control and engines are leaving the scene.


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December 22, 2009 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Christmas, T.F. Brown's.

Yesterday I stopped in Tenney Cleaners and spotted a print out of our story about T.F. Brown's annual community Christmas dinner on the bulletin board -- what a great way to help get the word out about this great event.

The whole community is invited, and Rick Mancuso wants to make sure that everybody knows, especially those members of the community who might otherwise spend Christmas alone or can't afford a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings.

Meal times are Noon and 1 p.m. and reservations are recommended. To make reservations call 343-2091 (ask for Joanne) by 11 a.m. on Dec. 24.

Parents and grand parents bringing children should make a special point to make a reservation. Children 16 and under will receive a Christmas present.

Everything is free and all are welcome.

December 22, 2009 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Batavia Rotary Club, sports.

rotary01.jpg

At it's weekly lunch today, the Batavia Rotary Club kicked off its annual girls basketball tournament. Coaches and team captains from Notre Dame, Batavia, Alexander and Pavilion were on hand for lunch and a visit from Santa (actually, two Santas).

Pictured above are Amie Brooks, Trisha  Pike, Shun-Della Williams and Anna Dominick.

More pictures from the afternoon after the jump:

December 22, 2009 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in safety, travel, megabus.

megabus.jpgEuropean-based Megabus, which a year ago started service in the Northeast U.S., bills itself as the eco-friendly, high-tech, inexpensive and safe way to travel between major cities.

It's that safety part that raises an eyebrow or two recently.

Two Megabus motor coaches have been involved in Thurway crashes in the Gensee County area in the past two weeks.

In both cases, buses tipped over. In one, high winds are a likely factor. In the other, the bus driver is accused of falling asleep.

WBTA spoke Edward Hodgson, president of Megabus, who said Megabus has a good safety record.

A search of Google didn't uncover prominent documentation of ongoing safety issues, either.

Megabus operates passenger service between Toronto and Buffalo to New York City using the New York State Thruway.

December 22, 2009 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Christmas.

December 22, 2009 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in education, taxes.

Are you ready for your property taxes to go up another 7.7 percent?

That's what state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says will happen in two years when $2 billion in federal stimulus money now being used for schools dries up.

The D&C reports:

DiNapoli said in a report Monday that unless the federal aid is renewed or replaced by state aid, schools will be hard-pressed to make up the loss of revenue. DiNapoli said about $2.8 billion in federal stimulus money went to schools this fiscal year, of which $1.6 billion restored proposed education aid cuts.

December 22, 2009 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

mug_aaron_heale.jpgA Le Roy man jailed for allegedly writing $1,000 in bad checks now faces contraband charges.

Aaron L. Heale, 28, is accused of bringing a hypodermic needle into jail with him.

He is charged with promoting prison contraband in the 1st degree and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Further charges are pending a toxicology report on the needle.

Heale was arrested previously for allegedly using checks from a closed bank account to purchase more than $1,000 worth of items from a Le Roy store.  During the search of his apartment, investigators allegedly found drug paraphernalia.  He faces grand larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance charges.

December 22, 2009 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The forecast for today: Mostly sunny, but still pretty darn cold. Today's high will be in the lower 20s.

Tomorrow and Thursday, more sun with a slight warming on Thursday.

Christmas Day: The prediction for freezing rain in the morning remains in effect. Rain in the afternoon. Highs in the 40s. 

Saturday is the day they expect snow to return.

December 22, 2009 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Men, enjoy a $5 haircut again with this offer exclusive to The Batavian. (gift card can be applied toward other services, but not products).

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.

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

December 22, 2009 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, taxes.

Joseph P. Ryan, 52, a Batavia resident, admitted in an Albany court yesterday that he failed to file an income tax returns from 2004 through 2008.

The charge of failing to file is a misdemeanor.

Ryan is a vice president of Brighton Securities, which has an office in Batavia, but is headquartered in Brighton, a suburb of Rochester.

Before entering the plea, Ryan paid the state $57,749 in back taxes.

He was sentenced to one-year conditional release and a $5,000 fine.

(Source: Democrat and Chronicle).

December 21, 2009 - 11:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Christmas.

naramore03.jpg

Tonight for pictures of Christmas Light houses, I thought I'd drive through the North Avenue/Narramore neighborhood.   I wound up with really only one photo worth posting.

December 21, 2009 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Trey Filbert.

Trey Filbert, a freshman at Batavia High, is battling brain cancer and is undergoing multiple treatments to help battle his illness.

Classmates have organized a concert tonight at the school's auditorium. The 7 p.m. show will feature the school's band.

Funds raised will help the family with medical costs. Donations are accepted at the door. The high school is located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

December 21, 2009 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Dietrich Williams.

A Batavia man accused of shaking a baby and hitting the infant's head on a hard surface, pled guilty this afternoon to one count of attempted assault in the 1st degree.

Dietrich Williams faces a sentence of three-and-a-half  to 15 years in prison, said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, as part of a plea agreement.

Williams was charged with assault in the 1st degree and reckless endangerment of a child.

"Rather than take a chance on the more serious charge, we decided to get a plea on the Class C violent felony and give the judge the latitude to sentence him up to 15 years," Friedman said.

The higher class felony carried a maximum sentence of 25 years.

The baby is doing much better, according to the mother, who recently e-mailed The Batavian about the child's condition.

December 21, 2009 - 3:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, elba robbery.

mug-Abrams-Dennis.jpgJudge Robert Noonan said he still doesn't understand why Dennis M. Abrams decided to rob a bank in Elba on June 18, but even with the defendant's "Boy Scout" background, the violent nature of the crime compelled the judge to impose a serious prison sentence.

Abarams can expect to be separated from his wife and newborn baby in state prison for up to 13-and-a-half years.

When Noonan imposed sentence, a young woman sitting in the fourth row of the courtroom burst into tears, moaned, "thirteen and a half years," jumped from her seat and rushed toward the hallway doors.

As with the sentencing of accomplice Michael J. Wells 11 days ago, two former M&T employees spoke in court about the trauma of the bank robbery and how the events changed their lives.

"I would like Mr. Abrams to close his eyes and imagine what it would be like if his wife or his mother were on the floor with a gun to her head," said Patty Hackett, who was working as a teller the day of the robbery.

Both Hackett and former branch manager Theresa Claybourn read statements similar to their Dec. 10 testimony at the Wells sentencing (for audio of those statements, click here). And both had messages directly addressing Abarams and co-defendant Damone Dillon, who was also sentenced today.

Dillon, who acted as a lookout for Abrams and Wells, received the maximum term under his plea agreement, 10 years.

mug-Dillon-Demone.jpgWhile Dillon had a prior criminal convection for dealing drugs, Abrams entered the Elba bank branch in June with a spotless record. According to his attorney, Daniel M. Killelea, Abrams was literally a Boy Scout, even while growing up in Buffalo's rough East Side.

"For lack of a better term," Killelea said, "he was a nerd."

"Dennis should not have come anywhere near anything like this in his life," Killelea said. "This was not a person heading down the road of committing a violent criminal offense. This is somebody who was held out as a person of achievement in his community."

At one time, Abrams was on track to become a cop in Atlanta, until a hiring freeze derailed his plans. Meanwhile, he took a job in a collections agency, which is where he met his wife. Together, they earned more than $150,000 a year. At the time he entered the Elba M&T Bank branch, Abrams had $2,000 in cash in his pocket.

Yet, Abrams conceived of the robbery, convinced his buddies to join him, carried his own registered handgun, drove his car from Buffalo to Elba, switched license plates on the car and drove himself , Wells and Dillon to the bank. After the robbery, he drove during the getaway attempt. At best, for his part in the actual robbery, he came in waving his loaded gun "Rambo style" (as Patty Hackett put it) and at worst, he held that same gun to Hackett's head (Killelea suggested that it was Wells who held a pellet gun to Hackett's head, not Abrams).

"Judge," said Killelea, "this is somebody who was so naïve of the process, so unsophisticated, that I've asked and I know we've discussed (motioning toward District Attorney Lawrence Friedman), why, if he needed money, didn't he simply just embezzle from his employer, a collection agency?

"The simplest explanation I can think of is that there is no movie or TV show about somebody embezzling from an office like that. He must have gotten the idea from movies or television, and he didn't associate with people doing that sort of thing."

Before imposing sentence, Judge Noonan spoke at some length about how puzzled he remains about this case.

"This case reaches out to hyperbole to say that this may go down as the most puzzling case I've ever heard," Noonan said. "I can't find anything about you that wouldn't say that you would not have been voted in high school the person least likely to rob a bank."

Noonan said he will probably wonder for years about why Abrams decided to violently rob a bank.

For their part, both Abrams and Dillon turned to Hackett and Claybourn and said they apologized.

Dillon, sentenced first without Abrams in the room, made near a full turn toward the first row of the courtroom and seemed to look both Hacket and Claybourn in the eyes when he spoke.

"I did wrong," Dillon said. "I apologize. I'm sorry that happened to you all. I wish I could take it all back. I can't, so all I can say is I'm sorry."

His contrite body language, however, turned to visible agitation when Noonan pronounced his maximum available sentence. Dillon immediately folded his arms tightly and his facial expression was tense.

When Abrams was asked to speak, he never fully turned toward the first row, and would look away occasionally.

"I'm sorry. I honestly had no intention of hurting anyone," Abrams said. "I'm sorry once again for causing this stressful...I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I didn't mean to put you through anything like that."

After court, his uncle, John Abrams, who works in law enforcement in the City of Buffalo, said the entire Abrams family feels remorseful for what the bank employees went through that day.

"Our family is very remorseful," John Abrams said. "We hope they can get on with their lives. As a family, we are very remorseful that it happened."

Abrams added that Dennis is also remorseful and has fully cooperated with law enforcement since his arrest.

"We still support him as we always have as a family," Abrams said. "And we want to thank the judge for giving him a chance to express his remorse."

Claybourn and Hackett left the courtroom through another exit and were not available for comment following the sentencing.

December 21, 2009 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

The driver who crossed into the U.S. from Canada on Saturday morning simply did not stop at the border crossing, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said today.

Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement agencies in the border region were immediately notified of the 6:30 a.m. border crossing and a description of the car was transmitted to patrols. 

"We made an attempt to locate (the car)," said Kevin Corsaro. "She took a road we didn't take."

It wasn't until 7:45 a.m., when a Genesee County Sheriff's deputy clocked a car allegedly speeding at 90 mph on Route 5 in Le Roy, that U.S. law enforcement found the possible suspect vehicle.

That interception started a high-speed chase that involved a half-dozen law enforcement agencies and passed through Downtown Batavia and the Village of Albion before the driver lost control of her car on Route 18.

It wasn't until after the crash, according to Sheriff Gary Maha, that his office became aware of the alleged illegal border crossing and that the car his deputies just spent 15 minutes chasing, matched the description of the suspect vehicle.

Deputy J.L. Baiocco didn't know, according to Maha, that a car had zipped through the border without stopping or that the car he observed allegedly driving erratically on Route 5 might be driven by a suspect who allegedly entered the country illegally.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski of the Batavia Police Department also told us Saturday morning that the police department received no notification of an alleged illegal border crossing and that a suspect was on the loose somewhere in Western New York.

Corsaro was adamant, however, that standard procedures were followed and that all law enforcement agencies in the region were duly notified and that a description of the suspect vehicle was distributed to area law enforcement.

Corsaro was also careful to note that the woman who was eventually arrested at the end of a chase that exceeded 100 mph at times may not be the same driver who crashed through the border.

"We have not had a chance to interview her yet," Corsaro said. "She's still in the hospital."

In fact, Crystal Pinnock, 23, of Ontario, Canada, the suspect driver, is listed in satisfactory condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

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

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