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November 9, 2009 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, Le Roy, Stafford.

Gary W. Merritt, 50, of 9570 Bernd Road, Le Roy, is charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree. Merritt allegedly fired shotgun rounds at a neighbor's house. The rounds struck a glass door while the resident was standing near the door. The alleged incident occurred Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and was investigated by Deputy James Diehl. Merritt was released under supervision of Genesee County Justice.

Darryl Stephen Johnston, 34, of 111 Copeland St., is charged with petit larceny. Johnston is accused of stealing five bottles of booze off the bar at the Pizza Pantry in Corfu. The bar was closed at that time of day on Aug. 28. Johnston was arrested at his home in Rochester on Nov. 4.

Paul S. Banach, 22, of 166 Lake Road, Avon, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to stop for a stop sign, speeding and driving left of pavement markings. Banach was stopped Saturday at 2:50 a.m. by Deputy Jason Saile on Route 262 in the Town of Byron.

Arthur W. Hale, Jr., 48, of Foxe Harrow Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and driving left of pavement markings. Hale was allegedly observed crossing a double yellow line once, and a dotted yellow line twice on Route 33 in Stafford by Sgt. Greg Walker at 2:03 a.m. on Saturday. The officer stopped Hale and determined that he was allegedly driving drunk. Hale was also cited for failure to keep right and refusing to take breath test.

David M. Jackson, 32, of Bethany, is charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Jackson was arrested by State Police at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday. No further details available.

November 9, 2009 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

New Today: Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Family photos are more than just photographs. When you need photos for that special occasion, Carlson's is a great choice in Genesee County. We have a $50 gift card for $25.

The Color Salon, 35 Center St., Batavia, NY: Susan Francis, the owner and stylist at The Color Salon reminds women, "your hair is your greatest accessory." Francis has more than 20 years of experience helping women get the best hair color. We have a $50 gift certificate for $25.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, NY: Winter teas, spices and fall colors for your home in stunning floral arrangements and seasonal wreaths are now available at Herbly Wonderful. We have a $25 gift certificate for $11.

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.

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

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November 8, 2009 - 11:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

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The back apartment in a three-unit complex at 6296 W. Main St. (Route 262) in Byron was completely gutted by a late night fire.

The fire was reported just before 10 p.m. and the cause remains under investigation, according to Tim Yaeger, Genesee County emergency management coordinator.

There are no reported injuries at this time, either to residents or firefighters.

As many as eight or nine people were in the back apartment when the fire started.

The fire was under control by 10:38 p.m., Yaeger said.

Red Cross Director Judith Nagel lives next door to the fire and was already providing relief in her home to a woman and her 17-year-old son. She was ready to provide assistance, she said, to the other residents, but they seemed to have dispersed. She indicated a number of people lived in the building.

"We saw smoke and heard people yelling," Nagel said. "This is my house. We looked out, saw smoke and came out to start assisting.

"The only time I've been able to respond quicker," she said, "was when it was in this place." She was pointing to the house on the other side of her home.

UPDATE: This morning, fire officials are saying the fire may have been caused by a spark from a bonfire in the backyard of the residence. When I was at the fire last night, I was taken into the backyard to take pictures, and there was clearly a bonfire still burning. The bonfire was about 40 yards from the house. The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage.

The fire was first discovered in a hallway leading to the back apartment.

Departments responding to the fire: Byron, South Byron, Bergen, Stafford, Bethany, Clarendon, Elba, Oakfield, Town and City of Batavia.

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November 8, 2009 - 9:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

Byron and South Byron Fire have been dispatched to an apartment fire at Route 262, west of Route 237.

A first responder reports the building is across from the Presbyterian Church and is fully engulfed.

The initial caller was reported out of breath and talking excitedly.

All residents are reportedly out of the building.

The fire is now in a second alarm with Elba and Town of Batavia FAST teams responding, Stafford on standby.

UPDATE 10:02 p.m.: There are a number of residents out of the building.

UPDATE 10:09 p.m.: Town of Batavia FAST team is being reassigned to a task at the fire and City of Batavia FAST team is being brought in.  

UPDATE 10:19 p.m.: The Red Cross is responding to the scene. It has been ordered that the roof of the apartment building be opened up. A team of four firefighters is inside the building.

UPDATE 10:26 p.m.: For at least five minutes, water has been pumped into the fire scene. Just heavy smoke at this point. The roof has been opened up to the attic and firefighters are still working on the second story.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: All available units from Elba have been requested.

UPDATE 10:40 p.m.: Presumably, the Red Cross is the entity seeking to provide refreshments to the onlooking apartment dwellers.

UPDATE 10:47: All power has been cut off at the apartment building. One person at the apartment building reportedly can provide an eyewitness account of what happened, but the fire personnel will need an interpreter to communicate with him.

UPDATE 10:51: A code enforcement officer has been called to the scene. The eyewitness subject is being transported to a fire station to be interviewed.


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November 8, 2009 - 9:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, North Spruce Street.

Engine 12 and Ladder 15 are responding to a reported car fire at 20 N. Spruce St., Batavia.

The car is reportedly close to a structure.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m.: Engine 12 on scene. "Smoke showing."


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November 8, 2009 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in afghanistan, foreign policy.

One man's opinion is neither more nor less valuable than another man's, and one letter of resignation does not in itself prove any particular point, but this is a very powerful letter.

November 8, 2009 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road.

A police official has confirmed that a body found near the Blockbuster location on Lewiston Road was an apparent suicide (see update below).

The victim was identified as James Maher, 27, a VA Home resident.

His family, from Mechanicville, was notified.

The official could answer no further questions and said the police department is planning a press release for Monday morning.

His body was apparently found in some shrubs near the business.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: Det. Pat Corona of the Batavia Police Department called a little while ago to emphasize that the police have not yet determined the cause of Mr. Maher's death. While suicide has not been ruled out, a "by the numbers" investigation has yet to arrive at a conclusive determination. There was no obvious signs of trauma, Det. Corona said. Within days, some initial facts will be available from the medical examiner, but it will take weeks (as usual) for toxicology reports to come back.


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November 8, 2009 - 6:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road.

We've learned from multiple sources -- though there is yet no official confirmation -- that a body was found about 10:15 p.m. outside the Blockbuster store on Lewiston Road in Batavia.

The City of Batavia Police Department has not yet released a statement about the discovery and there is no information available at this time about the condition of the body or exactly where it was located.

Our news partner WBTA has attempted to learn more information about the discovery.

Here's one e-mail account we received at 11: 52 p.m. about the situation:

I was just at Sportos and was told that there was a body found behind  Blockbuster. There was police going to the scene at about 10:15. A news van  is present right now with about 3 police cars. This was confirmed by a  Trooper going into the restaurant. He could tell us no more.

November 7, 2009 - 11:22am

Genesee County will soon be home to the first shovel-ready agri-business industrial park in New York, according to Chad Zambito, spokesman for the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

GCEDC breaks ground on the project Tuesday and expects the first tenant to start building a $15 million food-processing facility in the spring.

"These are expensive ventures and private developers aren't willing to do it because of the cost that’s needed up front and the long-term return, so it’s something we have to do and we need everybody’s participation to make it happen," Zambito told WBTA.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Kennedy Building of the Genesee County Fair Grounds.

The 200-acre park is located between state routes 5 and 63 in Batavia and sits in close proximity to O-AT-KA Milk Products. 

At full build-out, the park is expected to provide 1,200 jobs in Genesee County and generate $2 billion in revenue over 25 years.

The first tenant, a Canadian-based food processor, will hire 100 people to work at its facility.

When the infrastructure installation is complete, the site will contain nearly 200 acres  serviced by industrial-class electric, gas and rail. The park is dedicated to agri-business applications including food and bio-fuels processing and is owned by a unique public/private partnership.

It also has access to 6 million gallons of aquifer water daily, ideal for food production applications, and sits in an Empire Zone.
 
The GCEDC, along with its real estate affiliate the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation and an affiliate of Farm Credit of WNY share ownership of the park.

It was largely made possible by a state grant recently approved by Empire State Development and a matching grant from Genesee County. The GCEDC, Town of Batavia, National Grid and National Fuel are also providing funding. 

Phase 1 construction, being completed by Zoladz Construction Company Inc. of Alden, NY, will include water, sewer and roadway base installation. 

November 6, 2009 - 9:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, State Street.

Dispatcher: "You're going to love this one: At State Street and Washington, a couple pulled up to the intersection and stopped at the stop sign. A dog ran out and run under the car and now refuses to come out."

I'm not making this up.

November 6, 2009 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, roundabout, John Gardner, Oak Street.

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Work crews were planting plants in the middle of the Oak Street Roundabout today, which reminded me of a few conversations I've had around town recently -- what to put in the middle of the roundabout? Mere plants won't do.

There should be something important and meaningful there.

And in thinking about it -- it's Batavia, it's Oak Street -- what would be more meaningful and appropriate than a statue of John Gardner, and perhaps the word "LOVE"?

So there's a suggestion: Let's get a committee together, raise some money and make it a little shrine to Batavia's most famous literary figure.

November 6, 2009 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

National Fuel is being asked to respond to 232 State St., Batavia, for a ruptured gas line.

Fire crews were originally dispatched because of a report of natural gas in the area.

The pipe is outside the house, right by the basement.

Officials have been unable to contact the residents.

UPDATE 6:36 p.m.: Batavia Fire has managed to shut off the gas, awaiting National Fuel.

UPDATE 6:49 p.m.: Batavia Fire going back in service, National Fuel on scene.


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November 6, 2009 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

mug-wisniski.jpgAn Oneida County man who allegedly stole a car from a residence on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation is in the Genesee County jail today following his arrest by the Lancaster Police Department.

Jeffery M. Wisinski, 38, of 7484 Lake St., Vienna, was stopped by Lancaster Police for alleged traffic violations. By that time, the car he was allegedly driving had already been reported stolen.

Before turning Wisinski over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Lancaster charged him with criminal possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, unlawful use of a vehicle, obstruction of governmental administration as well as numerous traffic violations.

Wisinski reportedly tried to flee from police, who gave a brief chase, in the 2007 Dodge Charger that was reportedly stolen.

The case started on Sept. 11, 2:10 a.m., when Sheriff's deputy responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Rez Smokeshop. Upon arriving, deputies found a neighboring garage had been burglarized and the car was missing.

Yesterday, Wisinski was turned over to the Sheriff's Office and he was taken to Town of Alabama Court, where he was arraigned on charges of burglary in the third degree and grand larceny in the third degree. He was jailed on $500 bail.

The investigation was conducted by Deputy Kevin McCarthy, Investigator Timothy Weis, with assistance from deputies Parker and Diehl, as well as State Police.

November 6, 2009 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Paul R. Tenney will spend tonight in jail, even though he was not sentenced today for admitting he stole more than $106,000 from Elcon, Inc..

Judge Robert Noonan agreed to postpone sentencing Tenney until he gets proof that Tenney attended an in-patient treatment program for substance abuse.

But there's no reason to let him go free since he apparently violated the terms of his pre-sentencing release. Plus, Tenney has purportedly trained his replacement at Elcon on its finance system, so his freedom is no longer warranted in that regard.

Elcon owner Edmend Leising told District Attorney Lawrence Friedman that Tenney wasn't all that cooperative. But the issue seems to be resolved.

"(Leising) is not asking for anything further at this point," Friedman said.

Attorney Gary Horton said he didn't understand Friedman's statement.

"He said he’s been at Elcon every day and trained the person hired to replace him," Horton said.

November 6, 2009 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Court officers this morning talked about two men -- the Paul G. Grazioplene who is a local businessman, involved in youth sports and various community activities and a friend to many community leaders, and the Paul G. Grazioplene who was allegedly abusive to police officers the night of his arrest on a DWI charge.

Judge Robert Noonan took both descriptions into account this morning when he sentenced Grazioplene, owner of Extreme Sports, to four months in jail and five years probation.

The 43-year-old Batavia resident will serve an initial 15-day stretch and then serve the remainder of his term intermittently, from 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Wednesday every week until the four-month obligation is met.

He also was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

"I've sentence dozens of felony DWI cases every year," Noonan said. "Only a small portion of people are as good as you are, and only a small portion of people are as bad as you are. You are entirely two different people. We have letters from important people, leaders in the community. Community leaders think you're an entirely different person than you were on the night of this incident and at other times prior in your life."

Always prior to sentencing, defendants are offered a chance to make a statement, but many times defendants either decline to make a statement or say a few quick words about how sorry they are. But Mr. Grazioplene spoke for several minutes of his embarrassment and regret for the burden he's placed on people who rely on him.

"These people depend on me and I can do this (reform his conduct)," Grazioplene said. "Now I'm backed up against a wall and it's like fourth down and forever for me. Give me a chance to prove to that I can do this, and I will."

Noonan expressed some skepticism that Grazioplene can get past his bad behavior, but thought he deserved enough of a chance not to be locked up for six-straight months as District Attorney Lawrence Friedman requested.

"I'm going to give you enough taste of jail that you've got time to think about it," Noonan said. "You've got a hurdle ahead of you and it's a high one. You just told me you’re sure you can make it over that hurdle. I’m not so sure."

November 6, 2009 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

Following a tearful morning in court, a Caledonia woman is in jail after allegedly failing to abide by the terms of her release under supervision while awaiting sentencing for burglary in the second degree.

Nicole L. Green, 23, cried before Judge Robert Noonan entered the courtroom, weeped during a brief hearing, and cried while hugging a companion before being led away by a bailiff.

Green pled guilty Aug. 31 to burglary after being accused of stealing jewelry and guns from a friend's house in Le Roy. She also reportedly refused to return a borrowed car.

This morning, Green was not sentenced on that conviction.

Green, whom her attorney said is pregnant, reportedly missed appointments with Genesee Justice and failed to pass substance-use tests.

Attorney Ann Connor told Judge Noonan that because of her pregnancy, Green should be allowed to remain free, but Noonan flatly rejected the suggestion.

"The pregnancy would be at higher risk at liberty than in custody," Noonan said.

November 6, 2009 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford, Alabama.

Kyle R. Thill, 20, of 1469 Lewiston Road, Alabama, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, speeding (going 53 in a 40 mph zone) and unlawful possession of marijuana. Thill was reportedly stopped by Deputy Patrick Reeves at 1:16 a.m. on Nov. 1 on Knowlesville Road in Alabama.

Michael Willard Mairrose, 20, of 4111 S. Main St. Road, Batavia, was picked up on a DWI warrant from Town of Stafford Court. He was jailed on $500 bail.

James Valentino Brown, 20, of 162 Peck St., Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Brown was allegedly found in possession of marijuana while at College Village. He was jailed on $250 bail.

Jeremy Scott Yantz, 29, of 214 Ellicott St., upper, Batavia, is charged with DWI. Yantz was taken into custody on a warrant stemming from a previous arrest.

November 6, 2009 - 8:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, NY: Winter teas, spices and fall colors for your home in stunning floral arrangements and seasonal wreaths are now available at Herbly Wonderful. We have a $25 gift certificate for $11.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Fall colors are here, and with Pudgie's you an cozy-fy your home with a range of decoration ideas. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Brighten up your home or office with flowers! We have a $20 gift certificate for $8.50.

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