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May 15, 2010 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Pavilion.

A tree on fire in the Town of Covington, which is the Pavilion Fire District, has been reported at 709 Wyoming Road.

It's unclear how the tree caught on fire.

It's not threatening any structures.

Pavilion Fire is responding.

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May 14, 2010 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, photos.


The location I found to get a shot of the State Police on the Thruway was at the end of Westbrook Road, which is where I also found this small, but nice old barn.

May 14, 2010 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, thruway.


State Police have four people on the ground and in handcuffs on the Thruway just east of the Route 33 overpass.

A witness said he saw multiple law enforcement vehicles heading to the scene at an exceptionally high rate of speed. He also said the State Police helicopter was flying low over the Thruway toward the scene.

When we arrived, there were 11 law enforcement vehicles on scene, with six of them being unmarked. A flatbed truck was hooking up a black sedan that had its trunk open.  

Eastbound traffic in the area slowed quite a bit, though was not significantly backing up.

UPDATE (Billie Owens): I heard the scanner when this call came in. The dispatcher said a black sedan (I forget the make/model) with four asian males was eastbound on the thruway after allegedly driving away from a home-invasion robbery in the Town of Amherst. Either a victim or witness followed the vehicle and alerted law enforcement.

May 14, 2010 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu.

Early morning fog is being blamed for a two-car crash on Route 33 near Fargo Road in Corfu that sent three people to the hospital.

At 5:30 a.m., Myron Chittenden, 81, of 735 Genesee St., Corfu, reportedly backed his truck out onto Route 33 and swung around onto the shoulder. It was very foggy outside. When Chittenden pulled out, Kenneth Warren, 26, of Crittenden, was driving eastbound on Route 33 and could not take evasive action quickly enough to avoid hitting Chittenden's truck.

Warren was driving a Dodge Ram pickup.

Chittenden and his passenger, Martin G. Pacer, 30, were taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Erie County. Warren was taken to ECMC.

Their injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

May 14, 2010 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Wiard Plow.

Batavia Fire is being dispatched to 33 Swan St., the location of Saturday's Wiard Plow fire, after a caller reported seeing smoke coming from the rubble.

A first responder reports a mild scent of smoke.

May 14, 2010 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford.

Christopher W. Fowler, 21, of 3340 W. Main St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, harassment and obscenity, 3rd. Fowler is accused of sending an obscene photo by phone to another person and harassing that person. While investigating the alleged complaint, Sgt. John Peck came into contact with Fowler driving on West Main Street at 6:15 p.m, Thursday. Fowler was allegedly found driving drunk.

A 15-year-old from Bethany is charged with assault, 3rd. The youth was arrested by State Police following an alleged incident at 1:45 p.m., Wednesday. No further details were released.

Janet L. Grossman, 43, of Stafford, is charged with petit larceny. Grossman was arrested by State Police on Tuesday in connection with an alleged incident on May 1 in the Town of Batavia. No further details were released.

Joshua Gonzalez, 19, of Staten Island, is charged with petit larceny. Gonzalez was arrested by State Police on Monday in connection with an alleged incident from May 9 in the Town of Batavia. Gonzalez was jailed without bail. No further details were released.

Accidents from the State Police blotter:

10:03 a.m., May 11, Ellicott Street Road, Bethany, one vehicle; Driver 1: Dale C. Burroughs, 50, of Batavia. No injuries reported.

4:57 p.m., May 11, off road/name not found, Town of Pavilion, one vehicle; Driver 1: Jeffery S. Stebbins, 43, of North Tonawanda. No injuries reported.

9:15 a.m., May 11, Thruway, mile marker 404.7, two vehicles: Driver 1: Toni S. Paul, 57, of Longmont, Colo.; Driver 2: Marvin L. Jacobson, 27, of Pavilion. One injury reported.

10:41 a.m., May 11, Thruway, Le Roy exit, one vehicle; Driver 1: Duane A. Brecke, 53, of Marshfield, Wis. No injuries reported.

May 14, 2010 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, route 33.

A Lancaster woman involved in a single-car crash Thursday in the Town of Batavia said she doesn't remember what happened prior to her car hitting a utility pole.

The woman suffered minor injuries but declined transport to the hospital.

Laura Butler Hughes, 22, of Cloverside Drive, Lancaster, was driving a 2005 Toyota sedan westbound on Route 33 near Sunset Terrace when her car crossed the roadway, went off the shoulder and hit a utility pole.

The accident occurred at 4:41 p.m.

Hughes reportedly told Sgt. Greg Walker that she only remembered seeing the pole as her car struck it.

No citations were issued.


May 14, 2010 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

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.

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.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

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.

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

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. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

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



May 13, 2010 - 8:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, landlords.

It's a civil matter, say local prosecutors, after looking at a recent case of alleged damage done to an apartment at 122 Summit St.

The Batavian reported on May 4 that landlord Willard Preston called in police after viewing holes in walls, broken window frames and piles and piles of trash allegedly left by a tenant recently evicted.

Batavia Police Officer Ed Mileham said this evening, following his investigation into the matter and reviewing the evidence with an assistant district attorney, that there is insufficient proof for a criminal mischief charge.

Mileham said he has successfully brought a case to the district attorney's office involving tenant damage to an apartment. But in that case, there was clear evidence that the damage was done in a short amount of time and after the tenant expressed a desire to break a lease.

In this case, the tenant was in the apartment for a year and a half and there's no evidence that the damage wasn't anything more than carelessness carried out over the entire span of the tenant's residency.

May 13, 2010 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A woman was reportedly spotted riding a red bike in the area of North and State streets holding up a lighter as she peddled along.

A few minutes after the initial call, she was reported in the area of Wendy's on Main Street.

Callers report she appears intoxicated.

Batavia Police has been notified.

UPDATE: An officer on scene reports several red bikes outside the door of Wendy's.

May 13, 2010 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, corfu, scott doll.

BATAVIA, NY -- There is blood spatter on Scott Doll's coveralls and blood spatter on the Ford Windstar he reportedly drove the day that Joseph Benaquist was found dead in the driveway of his Pembroke home, a bloodstain pattern expert testified today.

The spatter -- which is Benaquist's blood -- was caused by an impact of some kind on a source of blood, said Paul Kisch, whose expertise in the field was well established at the start of his testimony.

Kisch stopped short of saying the spatter was caused by an impact to any part of Benaquist's body.

The 66-year-old former corrections officer was found dead on Feb. 16, 2009, laying on his back in a large, dark pool of his own blood.

The spatter marks -- none shown in photos were bigger than a heavy pen mark -- were described as being over most parts of the front of Doll's camouflage coveralls, as well as the driver's side of the Ford Windstar.

"The spatter is consistent with impact spatter in close proximity to an impact event," Kisch said. "It is consistent with an impact event associated with Joseph Benaquist's blood."

Kisch made similar statements about both the spatter on the coveralls and the Windstar.

Doll was found just before 9 p.m. on Feb. 16 walking north on North Lake Road, toward Benaquist's home, carrying a jack and lug wrench, while the Windstar was parked at a garage on North Lake and Main Road in Pembroke.

A pair of bloody gloves were found on the hood of a car next to the Windstar.

Kisch also testified that there were what he called "transfer stains" (meaning blood got on one object and was transferred to another surface by touch it) on the pavement (likely from tennis shoes, he said), under a Nissan Altima parked in the driveway, and a Pontiac G6 parked near Benaquist's body.

Under cross examination for Doll's attorney Paul Cambria, Kisch could not say if the blood on the G6 revealed anything about the direction of struggle that might have taken place during the confrontation that cost Benquist his life.

As for the transfer under the Nissan, Kisch testified that he couldn't say whether that blood came from Benaquist touching that spot during a struggle or from Scott Doll touch that spot with a bloody glove at some point.

In the middle of Cambria's cross examination, it was time for the trial to break for lunch.

Prior to Kisch taking the stand, Investigator Ronald Welker testified about his examination of a phone belonging to Benaquist and of call records associated with Scott Doll's phone.

In the week before his death, Benaquist's phone was used to make four calls to Doll's phone, the last being at 4:46 p.m., Feb. 14.

On Feb 15, Benaquist's phone received a call from Scott Doll's phone, and again at 3:06 p.m. on the day of the murder.

On that day, at 4:16 p.m. and again at 4:31 p.m., two additional calls came into Benaquist's phone -- one from his girlfriend's mobile phone and another from her house phone.

As for Scott Doll's phone, he made an outbound call at 4:01 p.m. to the Adesa auto auction house, and then his phone received a phone call a few minutes later from the National Debt Resolution Center.

A short time later, his mother Audrey Doll called, and then in rapid succession, Scott Doll's son Josh placed four calls to the number -- all of which went to phone mail, we learned in yesterday's testimony. Josh called a fifth time that night.

May 13, 2010 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Wiard Plow.

Don't call it "arson" just yet.

Batavia Police Detective Kevin Czora said this afternoon that just because the state's fire dog, "Shadow," detected the scent of chemicals in the old Wiard Plow building on Tuesday doesn't mean an accelerant was used to ignite Saturday's big fire.

"You're talking about the floor of an old business that used many different kinds of chemicals," Czora said.

The investigation continues, Czora said, and detectives continue to question various individuals in an attempt to figure out if the fire was deliberately set, and if so by whom, or if not, exactly what caused the fire.

A key to answer the questions will be what the state's fire lab determines were the chemicals that caught the nose of "Shadow."

May 13, 2010 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A patient was extricated from a vehicle involved in a two-car crash on Route 77 near Meadville Road in Alabama.

Mercy Flight was initially put on standby, but has been released.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS responded.

May 13, 2010 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, steve hawley, Chris Barons.

Chris Barons, known to readers of The Batavian, as C.M. Barons, and a frequent critic of Assemblyman Steve Hawley, is exploring a possible run against Hawley this fall.

Barons, a Bergen resident and registered Green, met with the Genesee County Democrat Committee this week in Corfu -- a presentation that went well, according to Chairwoman Lorie Longhany.

For his part, Barons said his possible candidacy springs from the fact that people have been asking him to run, but he's not sure how viable a run would be with out Democratic support.

"Let’s just say anybody who was going to make a serious run for that office is going to have to be in one of two conduits and apparently there’s only one available," Barons said.

Barons has yet to meet with Democrats from Orleans County. He said he has also not yet been in contact with Greens.

Longhany said Barons made an impressive showing when he spoke with the Democratic Committee, giving thoughtful answers on a broad range of issues, but whether he will get the backing of the committee is unclear at this time.

He may have to switch parties to gain the backing of Democrats, but Barons said that at least in his first meeting with local Democrats, the subject didn't come up.

Longhany described Barons as a liberal libertarian with a sense of localism.

Barons, who has frequently referred to the incumbent assemblyman as "Hypocrite Hawley" for not doing more to address the serious issues in New York, said it would be a big step for him to enter a political race.

"I work and function as an average citizen and to do anything else obviously is a radical change," Barons said this morning. "But if there is an interest demonstrated in my candidacy I have made the decision to embrace that."

May 13, 2010 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Batavia man jailed on an alleged probation violation is accused of punching a Genesee County Jail guard in the face with a closed fist.

Thomas Kevin Lee, 46, a Jackson Street resident, was taken into custody after probation officers found him allegedly intoxicated, in violation of his probation terms.

At about 5:45 p.m., Wednesday, while in custody at the jail, Lee allegedly hit the guard.

The Sheriff's Office did not release information on any possible injuries to the guard.

Lee is charged with assault, 2nd, and criminal contempt.

May 13, 2010 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Give yourself the gift of flowers, or give to a friend. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Weddings, new babies, family portraits, pet portraits and group events -- preserve those memories with professional photographs. We have a $130 gift card for $65 (+$2 PayPal Service fee).

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Get started on your spring gardening projects. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card 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. We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

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.

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


May 12, 2010 - 9:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, new york, farm labor.

Sen. George Onorato, a Democrat from Queens, represents no farmers and probably no farm workers, but he has reintroduced legislation that New Yorker's farmers have spent close to two years fighting and thought they had defended.

The farm labor bill is now S.7787 and Watertown-area Democratic Senator Dean Aurbertine, who successfully lobbied Senate leadership to have the previous farm labor bill moved into his agriculture committee, where it died last month, said the new bill makes only cosmetic changes to the previously defeated legislation.

In a news release, Aubertine said:

“It’s disheartening that advocates for this legislation after suffering a defeat refuse to accept the fact that this bill went through an open process, was considered and defeated by a majority of senators. Up to now a majority of Senators who have voted on this bill, voted against this bill. The process was set up by the Senate to deal with these bills and the process worked. There really is no substantive change between this legislation and the legislation that went down to defeat.”

The bill allows farm workers to form unions, receive workers compensation and unemployment benefits and provides for 24-consecutive hours of off time each week and mandates an eight-hour work day.

Farmers say the provisions would drive up farm labor costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and put many of New York's farms out of business.

May 12, 2010 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kirsten gillibrand.

Banks that are pushing customers into paperless statements shouldn't charge higher fees to customers that don't want to or can't do business electronically, says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Thousands of seniors and families in this area do not have adequate access to the Internet or thousands more are simply not comfortable reviewing their finances electronically,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement.

“These New Yorkers shouldn’t be punished for wanting to receive their bank statements in the mail. My legislation will make sure that financial institutions cannot take advantage of seniors or struggling families by imposing more fees.”

Gillibrand has introduced an amendment to a banking bill that would ban fees for paper statements.

Out of the 22,700 households in Genesee County, 7,203 don't have internet access, according to Gillibrand.

In her press release, Gillibrand also cites national survey figures that say two-thirds of Americans prefer paper bank statements and writing checks for bills.




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

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