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January 8, 2016 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, bergen, corfu.
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   Justine McWethy

Justine D. McWethy, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 2nd. McWethy is accused of stealing $80,000 from a business at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. McWethy was arrested on a warrant after being found to be a passenger in a car stopped by a Batavia PD patrol. The alleged theft was reported Nov. 11. McWethy was also arrested by Deputy Joseph Corona on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. On that arrest, she was jailed on $500 bail or $1,000 bond. On the grand larceny charge, she was jailed without bail.

Alfred A. Panepinto, 59, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to stop for stop sign. Panepinto was stopped at 10:48 p.m. Jan. 2 on Ellicott Avenue by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Lonnie J. Ford III, 44, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine stemming from a loitering charge. He was jailed on $125 bail.

Coretta M. Pitts, 47, of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Pitts allegedly entered a residence in violation of a complete stay away order. She was jailed on $1,000 bail. 

Vincent Allen Sanfratello, 49, of Gibson Street, Bergen, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Sanfratello was jailed without bail.

Joshua David Schultz, 32, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and insufficient tail lamps. Schultz was stopped on Drake Street, Oakfield, at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Jonathan Patrick Little, 25, of Boyce Road, Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Little is accused of stealing from Kmart on Wednesday.

January 8, 2016 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A driver was cited for alleged failure to yield Thursday following an afternoon accident on Route 63 at Galloway Road that sent three people to UMMC with minor injuries.

Lisa Marie Wilson, 25, of Springville, who was among those reportedly injured, was cited for allegedly making a right turn from Galloway to Route 63 with another car approaching that had the right of way.

The accident was reported 2:47 p.m. and Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responded.

Also injured were Michele A. Fox, 48, and Brandi L. Baker, 24, both passengers in Wilson's 2013 Hyundai sedan. 

The other driver, Truman W. Johnson, 63, of Medina, wasn't injured.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Eric Meyer.

January 7, 2016 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, corfu, scott doll.
   File Photo: Scott Doll

A single DNA sample obtained at the scene where Joseph Benaquist was found murdered Feb. 19, 2009 does not match the DNA profile of the victim and may not match that of the man convicted by a jury for his murder, Scott F. Doll, according to a recent report produced by the Monroe County Crime Laboratory.

The laboratory, in compliance with a court order issued by Judge Robert C. Noonan in April, examined about two dozen blood samples from the crime scene and determined that the left boot of Benaquist had two possible blood stains. One of the DNA profiles, the lab found, clearly matches the DNA profile of Benaquist, but the other is insufficient to match either Benaquist or Doll.

Appeals attorney Timothy Murphy, in a Dec. 16 letter to Doll at the Elmira Correctional Facility, characterized this finding as promising news. He said the report indicates a third person's DNA was found at the scene.

There is no information available on who the DNA sample might match. Neither Benaquist nor Doll are ruled out as a possible match.

The report reads:

The minor component of the DNA profile is insufficient to support an inclusion or exclusion and is therefore not suitable for comparison. No further conclusions can be reached regarding the minor component mixture.

The lab-tested bloodstains are from the roadway near Benaquist's home at 683 Knapp Road, Pembroke, from the driveway at the residence, from both of Benaquist's boots, from a shirt, a sock and a jacket.

Only the left boot contains a DNA profile that can't be matched to any known person.

The lab report is part of a set of documents provided to The Batavian by Andrew Doll, brother of Scott Doll.

The documents also contain a letter from Monroe County Medical Examiner Caroline Dignan stating that contrary to testimony from Monroe County Deputy Medical Examiner Scott LaPoint in the trial of Doll, no fingernail clippings were collected during the autopsy of Benaquist.

LaPoint testified that such clippings were always collected in a murder investigation and that procedure was followed in this case.

This new evidence, along with additional information, has Andrew Doll feeling even more skeptical about his brother's murder conviction. These include: the unexpected lack of fingernail clippings; his belief that the driveway at 683 Knapp Road was washed down within 24 hours of the murder being discovered; and that a murder weapon has never been recovered.

He's never felt, he said, that his brother has the temperament to become so angry and so out of control that he would bludgeon to death one of his very best friends. There is simply no reason Scott Doll would have killed the 66-year-old Benaquist, Andrew Doll said.

"I just feel there is more to this than what's on the surface," Andrew Doll said. "There seems to be a lot of loose ends that need to be looked at. For the sake of both families, I'm hopeful we can get to some kind of conclusion."

Andrew said his brother asked that the evidence be shared with local media because he wants people to know he's not a murderer.

Scott Doll has maintained his innocence from the beginning and leveraged his life savings along with family money to hire a nationally known attorney from Buffalo, Paul Cambria, to mount his defense at trial. Since his conviction in June 2010, Doll has pursued a couple of appeals. His murder conviction was upheld by the NYS Supreme Court in July 2012.

Last year, Murphy filed a new appeal seeking a reexamination of the DNA evidence used in the case.

Two days ago, Murphy scheduled an interview about the new development in the case for this morning. But then Murphy said he decided he could not comment on the case at this time.

We don't know, therefore, what will happen next with the case, what strategy Murphy will pursue to press forward with an appeal, or if that's even in the cards.

So far we've been unable to reach ADA Will Zickl, who is handling the Doll appeal for the District Attorney's Office.

Doll was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in state prison, the minimum sentence available to Judge Robert C. Noonan on Doll's murder conviction. The way Andrew Doll sees it, he said, the minimum available sentence suggests strongly that even Noonan, who sat through the entire trial and heard all of the evidence, doesn't believe Scott Doll committed the murder.

Noonan stated during the sentencing that he thought Doll deserved a shot at parole before he was too old or would likely die in prison.

Scott Doll became a suspect when he was found by Deputy James Diehl wandering on Lake Street in Pembroke in blood-soaked overalls. During the course of the early part of the investigation, Doll made statements about the situation, including an assertion that the blood was from a deer he had butchered. The blood turned out to be that of the murder victim. For hours, Doll was in police custody but would not discuss where the blood came from or disclose the location of a person who might need medical attention. While in custody, he made statements that were later used against him at trial.

Andrew Doll acknowledged none of that made his brother look good.

"My brother did things that didn’t seem right and weren't right, and to this day, he doesn’t know what he did and why," Andrew Doll said.

January 7, 2016 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Batavia HS, batavia, Notre Dame.

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Norte Dame beat Attica 45-30 and Batavia topped Cal-Mum 50-31 to set the stage for a rematch of last year's exciting final in the annual Batavia Rotary Club Tournament at Genesee Community College.

Perhaps the big news of the night was an injury to Batavia's Madison McCulley (#42), a key part of the Lady Devils' talented starting five. McCulley was honored before the game for just achieving her 1,000th career point. Shortly before the end of the third period, she fell to the floor coming off a layup crying in pain. She was carried to the locker room and came out later with her knee wrapped in an ice pack. She had a medical exam today, but those exam results are not yet available.

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To purchase prints of photos, click here.

January 7, 2016 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gary Maha, Sheriff's Office.
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     Gary Maha

Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha announced this morning that he will not seek reelection for another term.

Maha intends to finish his current term, which expires Dec. 31, and is expected to retire, ending a 27-year run as Genesee County's top cop.

That is the longest tenure for a sheriff in county history, and Maha is currently the longest-serving sheriff in the state.

Maha started his career with the Sheriff's Office in 1967 and moved up through the ranks until his appointment as sheriff in 1988 by then Gov. Mario Cuomo.

 

 

 

January 6, 2016 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Notre Dame, oakfield-alabama, sports, football.

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Batavia's Dom Mogavero has been named first team in Class B to New York's All-State football team as a linebacker.

Fellow Blue Devil Greg Mruczek was named to the second team at QB. Ryan Hogan made second team as an offensive end. 

In Class D, honorable mentions went to Allen Chatt, Oakfield-Alabama, at defensive back and C.J. Suozzi, Notre Dame, at punter.

January 6, 2016 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shoot for a Cure, basketball, sports.

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Press release:

In 2012, The Pembroke Girls Basketball Team decided to use their passion for playing basketball as a platform from which to host a fundraiser for breast cancer research at Roswell Park in support of a community member. As a result, the girls and their coaches organized an annual event, naming it "Shooting For A Cure!" through which they raised over $30,000 in contributions for Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in past four seasons.

On Tuesday, the team played to the buzzer in their fifth annual Shooting For A Cure! game and raised $10,287.16, making their total RPCI donation over $40,000 since the event’s inception. During an emotional halftime ceremony, the team honored 18 cancer survivors, personifying their dedication to this cause.

Coach Ron Funke and his Pembroke Girls Basketball Team will present the full proceeds of their latest fundraiser to RPCI officials in the hospital lobby this Friday at 2:30 p.m. It’s a post-game tradition that Funke acknowledges has great meaning to the program.

“These girls are the driving force behind this fundraiser," Funke said. "What started many years ago in support of my wife’s diagnosis has continued to grow each season. The girls on this team are incredibly compassionate individuals.

"A few weeks ago they volunteered at the Carly’s Club Christmas party and rang bells for the Salvation Army. This group is truly special. Yet I have to say that the most meaningful part of Shooting For A Cure! is always visiting Roswell to donate what’s been raised.

"The girls once again put on their pink jerseys and travel to Roswell to present a check to hospital officials. Being there at the hospital, surrounded by people who are actually fighting their own battle against cancer never fails to inspire the girls. It’s a tangible reminder of how their efforts off the court are saving lives.”

More than a dozen alumni players from the previous Shooting For A Cure! events were in attendance last night, helping to run raffles and contests as well as cheering on the current team. Alumni Cora Erb (Class of 2013) hasn’t missed a game since its commencement.

“Playing in the first two Shooting For A Cure! games meant so much to me, not only because it’s for a great cause, but also because I lost someone very close to my heart from cancer," Cora said. "When I stepped on that court I played my heart out knowing in some way that I made my father proud.

"I come back every year to show my continued support for these girls and this cause. I know what it’s like to lose someone from cancer and I know I would want their support, just as they have mine.”

Dannielle DellaPenta (Class of 2014), a three-time game alumna, was also in attendance last night.

“The annual Shooting For A Cure! game means a lot to me," Dannielle said. "It brings our community together in support of others, focusing on the bigger picture in life. There is a sense of togetherness in our community.

"It’s about honoring those who have won their fight, supporting those who are still battling and memorializing those who we’ve lost. This event is simply beautiful and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to still be a part of something so amazing.

"You never know if, when or who may be affected by cancer. Seeing so many people come together brings teams, families and communities together. When people come together like this they accomplish great things.”

The hallways surrounding the gymnasium were lined with balloons, decorations, photos and raffle tables. The basket raffle had more than 80 basket items to choose from, including donated items from various merchants and community members. There were three different raffles to choose from, highlighted by an Autographed Jack Eichel jersey, PlayStation 4 gaming system and diamond ring.

In addition to the raffles, the cafeteria was serving up slices of pizza from local area pizzerias, Original Pizza Logs, Perry’s Ice Cream and a variety of beverages donated by Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The cafeteria was uniquely set up and renamed “Mr. Brown’s Snack Shack” for the evening paying homage to its perennial coordinator, Arron Brown.

The list of WNY companies, vendors and individuals who donated to Shooting For A Cure! numbers more than 90, including 26 Shirts, Batavia’s Original, Big Pauly’s Pizza, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Sasbres, Carly’s Club, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Darien Lake Theme Park, Insty-Prints, Kendall’s Impressive Marks, LaPaloma Pizzeria, Mac Tools, Manitoba Corporation, Minute Print, NFL Films, Original Pizza Logs, Party City, Perry’s Ice Cream, Petals to Please, Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More, Target, Tim Horton’s, Tony’s Pizza, Yancey’s Fancy, and YMCA of Batavia.

Additionally, online donations are still being accepted at the team’s online fundraising page: (https://www.crowdrise.com/shooting4acure).

RPCI officially sanctioned the fifth annual Shooting For A Cure! game as an official Team Cure fundraiser and as a valuable example of the way that young people today can make a difference.

“It’s inspirational to have a group of teens who are so passionate about raising critically-needed funds for cancer research at Roswell Park," said Julia Harvey, Team Cure coordinator. "These girls continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of compassion.

"To think in one evening that this group of young women, with the support of Coach Ron Funke, Mike and Jen Wilson as well as their entire community, were able to raise over $10,000 is remarkable!

"This small community has a big heart! They continue to amaze us every year with this event. To think that this small school district has raised over $40,000 in five seasons is extraordinary!”

Submitted photos.

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January 6, 2016 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, brandon c. dodd.

   Brandon Dodd
   2010 photo

When Brandon C. Dodd, who thought he might get a term of probation on a burglary conviction, was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Robert C. Noonan in September, 2010, Dodd mumbled something about pedophiles as he was leaving the courtroom.

Noonan called him back to the defense table and asked him to repeat his statement.

"I hope you continue to let all the pedophiles walk the street and save all of the probation for those people," Dodd said.

Noonan informed Dodd that his on-the-record statement would be something a parole board would likely consider someday in reviewing his status for release from prison.

Dodd was released on parole in August.

Today, he's also back in jail, accused of attacking a woman in an apartment on Lake Street in Le Roy.

Three days ago, police in Le Roy said a 29-year-old parolee had been stabbed and found him wounded on Lake Street.

They've now identified Dodd as the stabbing victim.

It's alleged that Dodd was in an apartment on Lake Street with an acquaintance when an argument ensued. Dodd allegedly grabbed both a metal pot and a vase and started swinging them at the woman. He then allegedly threw her on a bed and held her there. Somehow, the woman grabbed a knife and stabbed him.

The disturbance was heard by a neighbor, who called 9-1-1.

Upon arrival, police reportedly found Dodd hiding under a bed. He was taken into custody on a violation of probation charge and transported to a hospital for treatment of his stab wound and then turned over to the NYS Department of Parole.

Dodd allegedly removed an ankle bracelet he was required to wear and has been charged with criminal mischief, 4th, for damaging that state property. He was charged with petit larceny for allegedly disposing of the bracelet.

He's also charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, for using the pot and vase as weapons while being previously convicted of a crime, criminal mischief, 4th, for allegedly damaging the woman's mobile phone and unlawful imprisonment, 2nd.

He is being held in the Genesee County Jail without bail on the violation of probation charge. 

January 6, 2016 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, welfare fraud, DSS.

A 25-year-old Le Roy resident who admitted to cheating the system out of $10,437 in public assistance and food stamps was sentenced in County Court today to five years probation. 

Jessica Horton was also ordered to pay back the money obtained under false pretenses.

Horton was accused in August of filing documents with the Department of Social Services claiming that her two children were living with her when they were not.

She entered a guilty plea Oct. 29 to one count of offering a false instrument for filing in satisfaction of the counts she was originally arrested on, which included seven counts of offering a false Instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of grand larceny, 3rd.

As a term of the plea deal, Horton is permanently disqualified from receiving financial aid through the Temporary Assistance or SNAP programs.

To report suspected welfare fraud, call DSS's Fraud Investigation Unit at (585) 344-2580, ext. 6417 or 6416. All calls are confidential.

January 6, 2016 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, Alabama, business.

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After the questions, concerns, challenges and outright objections to 1366 Technologies coming to the Town of Alabama to build silicon wafers to capture the energy of the sun, resident Dave Dunn said, "I think we've all forgot one thing here tonight: Thank you for coming here."

That statement drew a round of applause from most of the 75 or so people who attended the public hearing Tuesday night on proposed tax incentives to help Bedford, Mass.-based 1366 Technologies build its $700 million facility on 105 acres of the planned high-tech park known as STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park).

There were only a handful of speakers during the hearing, and only a couple more who raised objections during a follow-up question and answer period, including one man who stormed out during an impassioned speech by Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, on the need for economic development to help keep our children in Western New York.

The state is planning on spending more than $5 million on land acquisition and infrastructure to make STAMP possible, and 1366 could receive another $56 million in incentives from New York along with tax abatements of more than $35 million through GCEDC.

It is those local incentives that the GCEDC Board will be asked to approve in an upcoming vote and last night's public hearing was required in advance of it.

Mark Masse, VP of business development for GCEDC, opened the hearing with an overview of the financing and financial impact of the proposed 1366 project.

The venture is expected to lead to 1,000 jobs at the plant within a few years, with another 1,593 jobs generated by companies that will provide services and support to the new company, and some 2,600 jobs created by local economic growth.

That's more than 6,500 local jobs within 10 years, Masse said.

Entry-level jobs will start at $16 an hour, with production jobs going up to $24 an hour based on duties and experience.

The 1366 payroll is expected to reach nearly $40 million. The indirect payroll could exceed $60 million and induced jobs would add another $30.3 million in payroll, for an anticipated increase in local payroll of $130 million. (CORRECTION: In my notes, I left off some zeros. The payroll numbers have been updated to correct that mistake.)

To help finance the project, GCEDC is proposing a PILOT -- payment in lieu of taxes. That's a break on the property tax. There would be property tax due on the current assessed value of the 105-acre parcel, but there would be no new taxes on the increase in assessed value over the first two years of the project. The taxes would then gradually increase over the next eight years. 

There are also proposed tax abatements on the sales tax on construction materials as well as relief from the mortgage tax.

Masse then turned the floor over to Brian Eller, chief operations officer for 1366, who shared some of his company's plans and an overview of what 1366 will manufacture.

Eller explained that 1366, working with scientists at MIT, have developed a whole new manufacturing process for silicon wafers -- the main component of solar panels, that the company believes will be cheaper to manufacture and produce less waste than the process used by every other company in the world.

Silicon is the second most plentiful mineral on Earth and is usually extracted from sand. For solar wafers, manufacturers receive ingots of silicon that are typically cut and ground into square objects. 

That's an extremely wasteful production process, according to a video Eller played for the audience. Much of the silicon is wasted, as well as the blades and diamond-tipped twine used to cut the wafers.

The process developed at MIT involves melting the silicon and rolling out flat wafers, much like modern glass manufacturing.

The process is a third faster and a third cheaper than current techniques, and no silicon goes to waste, and it uses less energy.

The goal of 1366 is to use its technology to produce wafers that eventually make solar power as cheap to consume as coal energy.

What 1366 isn't doing is making entire solar panels. They are only making the wafers, and they aren't making solar panels.

Elon Musk's Solar City plant, going up in Buffalo, will make rooftop panels, but 1366 isn't producing wafers for rooftop panels, so there isn't currently an opportunity for the two companies to work together directly. The wafers produced by 1366 are intended for industrial solar energy farms, which currently makes up 70 percent of the worldwide solar energy market.

One speaker during the public hearing expressed concern that 1366 would get all of these tax breaks, build this big building, and then pull out like Pepsi did with the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

There are, however, some significant differences between the Quaker Muller operation and 1366's plans. Pepsi and Muller entered a market that we now know was saturated in an industry that is so competitive that profit margins are always squeezed. There was no chance for Muller's imitation Greek yogurt to achieve a dominant market position.

In his best-selling business book, "Zero to One," venture capitalist Peter Thiel says new businesses should be built around innovations that are a 10-times improvement over anything currently in the market. Thiel also advises startups to aim for only a segment of a market and achieve dominance in that segment before growing. Pepsi and Muller appear to have violated both of those guidelines by entering a market that already had dominant manufacturers, such as Chobani, Dannon and Fage, and aiming for a share of the entire market, not just a segment where it might have a chance to dominate. 

Eller thinks that 1366's lower cost, less wasteful process is that 10-times improvement Thiel recommends (though he hadn't yet read Thiel's book when asked about it) and that 1366 is going after a segment of the market where it can achieve dominance.

Only a portion, less than $100 million, of $700 million required to build the 1366 Technologies plant to full capacity is coming from public investment. There is also a $150 million loan guarantee backed by the Department of Energy. When the project was announced at Genesee Community College in October, company CEO Frank van Mierlo indicated he was investing his own money in the project. The company has reportedly raised $70 million in venture capital from investors such as Hanwha Chemical, a major user of silicon wafers, as well as from Ventizz Capital Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. The company has not discussed any other efforts to raise additional capital or the timing of capital needs. They would not need the entire $700 million in the bank to start construction.

Construction is expected to start in May or June.

The first jobs should be filled in the fall or early winter of this year, with hiring continuing through the middle part of 2017 and then more jobs added as production capacity is increased.

Eller will move to here from Bedford to join the ranks of the locally employed, along with as many as five current 1366 managers and executives, though the company will remain headquartered in Bedford. That's also where the company will continue research and development operations.

There was a bit of discussion between Eller, Masse and meeting attendees about workforce development and who will get hired at the new plant. 

Lorna Klotzbach had several objections to the proposal, among them were questions about whether there were really sufficient potential employees in the region. She also shared with some other speakers a concern that STAMP was converting farmland and wildlife refuge into industrial land.

Al Files, who would later get up in a huff and storm out during Hyde's speech, said he thought it made a lot more sense to build where there's already big buildings and infrastructure.

"In my opinion, I think it's stupid," Files said. "We're wasting all of this property when it could be built in Rochester, Buffalo or Batavia."

Eller said 1366 was attracted to STAMP, out of 300 locations considered, for two primary reasons. First is cheap and clean hydroelectric power, and then there is the regional workforce. Eller said the company hired a consultant who studied a number of variables for several possible plant locations and STAMP scored the highest for workforce potential.

Creating local jobs and reversing two generations of economic decline is what STAMP is all about, Hyde said.

"At the end of the day, what drove us to work so hard to attract a company like 1366 to our community and our region is creating jobs for our kids so they can either stay here or come back home," Hyde said. "All the rest of these questions are good and relevant, but if we take a little look at the big picture, we’ve all been losing tax base and these guys are going to start that trend of turning that around. 

"We can’t guarantee that companies are going to be successful, but even with the situation in Batavia, where Muller Quaker was, we built that ag park, two companies came in and spent over $200 million there. The market didn’t work. They entered the market late. They ended up having to shut down and that’s a disappointment, but the beauty is, one of the best dairy companies in the nation is coming in because that ag park is there and they're filling it back up and probably hiring more people than Muller ever would have. The investment model that we’ve used over the last decade is working. It’s creating good jobs for our people and our community. It’s creating tax base.

"I just wanted to paint a little bit of the bigger picture," Hyde added a few sentences later. "We’re absolutely fortunate to have a company like 1366 be willing to come here and start to build that high-tech, entrepreneurial ecosystem. It will mean a lot of jobs for our kids. … I’ll tell you right now if we get a thousand jobs from this company over the next decade, and that turns around to be about four thousand jobs all over this area, you’re going to see an economic boom around here that we haven’t seen in 50 years."

At which point, Files interjected, "This is an agricultural area. This is not a manufacturing area."

Hyde said projects like 1366 will take the pressure off of ag to support the entire local economy, and that the land the plant will use is less than 3 percent of the available acreage in Genesee County, and it's the least productive land in the county.

"We looked at all of that," Hyde said.

But Files was no longer in the room to hear it.

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I couldn't find online the video Eller showed, but in looking for it, I found this interesting video.

January 6, 2016 - 11:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment.

Press release:

“President Obama’s Executive Action to increase background checks and toughen licensing requirements for firearms sales is misguided, ignores the democratic process and is the wrong approach for many areas of the country, including Western New York. While I agree that gun safety is a salient concern, rushing through new requirements and stipulations is contrary to our country’s principles of democracy and populous support.

“It is a poor reflection on our state’s leadership that Gov. Cuomo has praised Obama for abusing Presidential Powers. Gov. Cuomo has a lackluster record on properly vetting important issues as we saw with the SAFE-Act and minimum wage. No executive should be abusing his authority as a way to sidestep a legislature that, in large part, does not support these initiatives.

“President Obama’s actions place a heavy financial and social burden on law-abiding firearm owners in exchange for pursuit of his ideological agenda. Western New York is filled with legal firearm owners who love to hunt, target shoot and buy, sell and trade firearms. Furthermore, rural citizens use firearms for home protection, especially in places where police are many miles away. The founding of our nation and the 2nd Amendment are inextricably linked and should never be suppressed in exchange for one man’s political pursuits.”

January 6, 2016 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, corfu, Pavilion.
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   Joseph Platten
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   James Soccio
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   Joseph Gaudio
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   Jennifer Maychoss
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   Nicholas Patterson
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   Edward White

The Sheriff's Office announced the following arrests as a result of investigations conducted by the Local Drug Task Force.

Joseph M. Platten, 32, of Warren Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Platten allegedly sold a quantity of a controlled substance to an agent of the Drug Task Force while in the City of Batavia. Platten was jailed without bail.

James R. Soccio, 34, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Soccio allegedly sold a quantity of methadone to an agent of the Drug Task force while in the City of Batavia. He was jailed without bail.

Joseph C. Gaudio, 35, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd. Gaudio allegedly sold a quantity of cocaine to an agent of the Drug Task Force. He was jailed without bail.

Jennifer S. Maychoss, 41, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th.  Maychoss allegedly sold cocaine and pills containing a controlled substance to agents of the Drug Task Force in the Town of Batavia and in Pembroke. She was arraigned in Pembroke Town Court and released on her own recognizance and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed on $5,000 bail.

Nicholas E. Patterson, 21, of Kilian Road, Pembroke, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Patterson allegedly sold a quantity of pills containing a controlled substance to agents of the Drug Task Force in the Town of Batavia and in Pembroke. He was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Edward Jordan White, 20, of Michigan Street, Lockport, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. White's vehicle was stopped Dec. 30 by members of the Local Drug Task Force for allegedly operating on a suspended license. White was accused of possessing crack cocaine and marijuana. He is also accused of aggravated unlicensed operation. He was also arrested on a warrant out of Genesee County Court for alleged violation of probation. White is alleged to have sold a quantity of heroin and crack cocaine to an agent of the Drug Task Force on another date while in the City of Batavia. White was jailed without bail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 5, 2016 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, rotary tournament, basketball, sports.

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Batavia High School will face some tough challengers for its Rotary Tournament crown when the annual event tips off tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Genesee Community College.

Always tough Notre Dame, defending Class C champs Cal-Mum and a rapidly improving Attica team will all vie for the crown.

Both Cal-Mum and Attica haven't participated in more than a decade.

Notre Dame's Dave Pero said he anticipates a fun and competitive tournament.

"This tournament brings together some very, very good teams," Pero said. "I’ve seen Cal-Mum and Attica. The competition doesn’t stop. It’s really a great tournament for the middle of the season where it’s almost like a sectional atmosphere. To me, the team to beat is Batavia. This is still their trophy until somebody can beat them. They’re playing very, very well right now. I’m looking for some strong competition and hopefully someone else can walk off with it this year. We’ll see what happens. I know Batavia will be ready."

Game times are 6 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday for the consolation game and the championship game.

Pictured are team captains Kierra Perl, Attica, Madison McCulley, Batavia, Rebecca Krenzer, Notre Dame, Adrianna Molisani, Cal-Mum. Back row is Corinne Jones, head coach of the SUNY Brockport women's basketball team, who delivered a few remarks about basketball and life during this afternoon's Rotary luncheon.

January 5, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

idsuspectjan52015_01.jpg

idsuspectjan52015_02.pngBatavia PD is requesting the public's assistance in identifying a man accused of stealing money from the Plaza Spirits Liquor Store, 563 E. Main St., Batavia, at about 5 p.m., Sept. 21.

The suspect is described as a black male, 50 to 60 years old, 5'10" or 5'11" and 250 to 300 lbs.

Police believe the man created a distraction and then while the store clerk wasn't looking, removed cash from the register. He then left in the red SUV shown in the picture below.

The suspect may be involved in similar larcenies outside of Genesee County. 

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation are asked to call Det. Eric Hill at (585) 345-6373.

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January 5, 2016 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after President Obama issued executive actions which circumvent the Constitution and deny Western New Yorkers their Second Amendment rights.

“A new year and the same dictatorial actions from President Obama,” Congressman Collins said. “President Obama has made it clear that he will not let legal documents like the Constitution stand in his way. Only this president would circumvent the Constitution to punish tens of thousands of law-abiding gun owners across Western New York and millions more throughout the country.

"The president needs to be reminded that it is Congress’s job to write laws. His proposed executive actions will significantly increase burdensome government regulations and infringe on the Second Amendment rights Americans have fought to protect. I have strongly signaled my opposition to these measures and have signed onto legislation to stop these actions in their tracks.”

January 5, 2016 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council.

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Newly appointed City Council Member Adam Tabliski said a vote Monday night to change council leadership was something no other council member warned him was coming, and even Eugene Jankowski, who replaced Brooks Hawley as council president on a 5-4 vote, said he wasn't sure he would even be nominated for the position until it happened.

Jankowski said he doesn't believe the unexpected move signals a power shift toward a new council coalition with its own agenda.

Four of the five votes for Jankowski -- Jankowski, with new council members Paul Viele and Al McGinnis, and incumbent Kathy Briggs -- came from members observers have said want to replace Jason Molino as city manager.

Rose Mary Christian also supported Jankowski for council president.

After the meeting, Jankowski, Viele and McGinnis all denied they were part of any such movement and said they support Molino continuing as the city's top administrator.

"I can only speak for myself and I don't feel that way," Jankowski said. "I don't see that as an issue. I plan to carry on with the regular weekly meetings just like Councilman Hawley did and disseminate that information to council like it was done in the past and keep things public."

Ask if he anticipated a movement to change city managers, Viele said he didn't see that happening.

McGinnis said, "Not from me, there won't be." 

Viele said his priorities are the mall issue, the deer issue and what to do with the police department.

McGinnis put the police issue at the top of his agenda, followed by the mall.

"I'm pro having a police department," McGinnis said. "I want to have a police department."

As one of the task force members who recommended the Swan Street location for the new police headquarters, he said he still favors constructing a new facility on that vacant lot.

Tabelski, selected by the City GOP to replace John Deleo, who was elected to the County Legislature, was confirmed as the new appointed by the City Council in a unanimous vote at the start of Monday's meeting. 

There are a number of big issues facing the city, Tabelski noted.  The council must dive right into a new budget; there's the law enforcement issue, the mall, the comprehensive plan and brownfield redevelopment.

"I'm eager to be part of the discussion," Tabelski said.

Given the sudden change in leadership, and despite the denials from other council members, Tabelski acknowledged some concern that there might be an effort among some on the council to change city managers.

"I have a concern that that might be a direction some would want to go in. That's not my direction," said Tabelski, whose experience includes a term as mayor in Medina. "I have a lot of confidence in the current manager and the very professional team he has assembled."

It would take five votes to replace the city manager.

Tabelski, like other council members, said he does believe that the 5-4 vote does not signal a potential inability for council members to work together. Jankowski said the council has a history of not always agreeing on their votes, but continuing to work together in a congenial manner.

"This is not a split on the council," Jankowski said. "There are new people on the council and they want to take it in a different direction and I think we're all going to work together, so I don't think it's a problem either way."

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The City Council: Brooks Hawley, front row, left, Eugene Jankowski, Paul Viele; Kathy Briggs, back left, Patti Pacino, Al McGinnis, John Canale, Adam Tabelski and Rose Mary Christian.

January 4, 2016 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

Dale Breitwieser, who served with the Darien Volunteer Fire Department for 42 years and is a past chief, has passed away.

There will be calling hours Thursday and Friday at the Darien Center Fire Hall, 5 to 9 p.m., and a funeral service at 10 a.m. Saturday at the fire hall.

January 4, 2016 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Insurance, batavia, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation has announced the acquisition of Shepard, Maxwell & Hale Insurance by Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., an affiliate of the financial corporation. The acquisition was effective Jan. 1.

“We are happy to continue to grow our business in Batavia and serve our neighbors through this expansion,” said David S. Boyce, president and CEO of Tompkins Insurance. 

The change is a win-win for customers, Boyce said.

“In addition to continuing to receive personal attention from local insurance professionals who place a high value on customer service, customers will have 'one-stop shopping' access to the comprehensive array of financial solutions offered by our affiliation with Tompkins Bank of Castile and Tompkins Financial Advisors,” Boyce said.

According to Boyce, Daniel G. Hale and Stephen S. Maxwell, will remain with the agency. Most current employees will be retained in the merger and will continue to service accounts. The Batavia location of Shepard, Maxwell & Hale will close and move operations to the Tompkins Financial Center at 90 Main St. on or about Feb. 1. The Hamlin office will continue to operate at its current location for the time being.

Effective Feb. 1, clients of Shepard, Maxell & Hale may receive service at any of the 28 locations throughout New York and Pennsylvania, including the 16 locations in Western New York. 

Tompkins Insurance serves 30,000 personal insurance customers and 7,600 commercial insurance customers, making it the third largest commercial insurance firm in the Rochester area and the 82nd largest agency in the country. The acquisition will add the approximately 4,000 Shepard, Maxwell and Hale accounts to its customer base. 

Established in 1957, Shepard, Maxwell & Hale has a long history of serving western New York through its two offices in Batavia and Hamlin. The merger with Tompkins Insurance makes sense for customers, according to Hale.

“Along with continuing to receive top-notch service, our customers will see additional benefits like access to 24/7 claims service 365 days a year, and more price and product options offered through Tompkins’ relationship with 50+ leading insurance companies,“ Hale said. 

Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., operates 16 offices in Western New York, six offices in Central New York and six offices in Southeast Pennsylvania. A part of Tompkins Financial Corporation, (trading as TMP on the NYSE - MKT), the agency is affiliated with Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins VIST Bank and Tompkins Financial Advisors. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 different companies. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com

January 4, 2016 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Darien, Oakfield, corfu, Le Roy, pembroke, byron.

Edward Jordan White, 20, of Michigan Street, Lockport, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. White was stopped by members of the Local Drug Task Force on Dec. 30 for allegedly driving on a suspended driver's license. White was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of marijuana and cocaine. White was also allegedly in violation of probation.

William Guadalupe Potter, 62, of North Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Potter allegedly pushed a woman into a wall causing her to fall over.

Brian Eric Dagger, 30, of Batavia Street, Holley, is charged with petit larceny. Dagger allegedly stole a bottle of Robitussin tablets from Kmart. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Seth Ryan Doster, 24, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with petit larceny. Doster allegedly stole $102.20 in merchandise from Walmart. Also charged, Sarah Dianne Lazarus, 24, of Alleghany Road, Darien.

Kim Marie Spencer, 56, of Chick Road, Darien, is charged with DWI. Spencer was arrested by Deputy Michael Lute in connection into an investigation into an incident reported at 6:49 p.m. Thursday on Chick Road, Darien. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.

Jeffrey Lynn Shultz, 21, of Walkers Corner Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Shultz allegedly engaged in an unsupervised visit in violation of a court order.

Kenneth Fred McGiveron, 25, of Route 78, South Wales, is charged with no stop lights, open container, DWAI drugs and alcohol combined and DWAI drugs. McGiveron was stopped at 12:58 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Lonnie Nati.

Leonard Alfred Johnson, 23, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Johnson was a passenger in a car stopped by Officer Chad Richards at 5:23 p.m. in the parking lot of Horizon Health Services, 31 Ellicott St., Batavia. Johnson allegedly fled on foot following the traffic stop, but returned on his own a short time later. Police allegedly found a bag containing a dozen smaller bags of cocaine, which Johnson indicated belonged to him. Johnson was jailed without bail.

Coretta M. Pitts, 47, of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Pitts allegedly scratched the face of another person during an argument reported at 4:50 a.m., Saturday. Pitts was jailed on $400 bail.

Jason A. Armstrong Sr., 43, of Main Road, East Pembroke, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual act and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. Armstrong allegedly choked and had unwanted sexual contact with another person during an alleged domestic incident reported at 10 p.m. Nov. 6 on South Main Street, Batavia. Armstrong was jailed without bail. Armstrong was also charged with strangulation, 2nd, and assault, 2nd, for an alleged incident reported at 6 a.m. Dec. 22 at a location on South Main Street, Batavia.

Robert W. Blankenberg, 31, of Union Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant. Blankenberg was stopped for an alleged traffic violation and arrested on the warrant.

Robert D. Kendall, 55, of Jamaica Lane, Cheektowaga, is charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, moving from lane unsafely, driving a motor vehicle on sidewalk, driving through safety zone and unlawful possession of marijuana. Kendall was charged after an investigation into an accident reported at 12:03 p.m. Dec. 29 on Oak Street, Batavia. Kendall was located by police in the parking lot of a business on West Main Street following a tip from a witness.

Michael J. Henry, 48, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Henry is accused of continuously using obscene language outside his home on State Street while police officers were there investigating a complaint.

Michael J. Antonucci, 33, of Alexander Road, Attica, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Antonucci allegedly violated a complete stay away order by sending a text to the protected party.

Jason W. Wolf, 39, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and driving without interlock device. Wolf was stopped at 5:04 p.m. Dec. 29 on Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Kenneth J. Wolter, 45, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with unreasonable noise. Wolter was allegedly playing music an unreasonable level at 10:37 p.m. Dec. 30 and he refused repeated requests to turn it down.

Robert Ernest Saari, 34, of Meiser Road, Corfu, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Saari allegedly failed to appear in City Court on a traffic violation. Saari posted cash bail and was released.

Melvin J. Swanson, 60, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to obey traffic control device and open container. Swanson was stopped at 1:58 a.m. Friday on South Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

January 4, 2016 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, first baby.

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Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center is pleased to congratulate Gregory and Odilia Rebeca Coffta on the birth of their daughter, Emilia Noemi, the first baby to be born in Genesee County in 2016. Emilia was born at 8:03 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 1. She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches in length. Emilia is the couple’s first child. She was delivered by certified midwife, Kim Danser, CNM, of the Women’s Care Center at United Memorial.

Emilia’s parents recently purchased a new family home in the City of Batavia where they are residing. Mr. Coffta is a teacher of English as a New Language (ESL) in the Williamsville Central School District. Mrs. Coffta is the statewide data coordinator for Migrant Education.

Emilia is the first grandchild for Jim and Christine Coffta. of Oakfield, and the first granddaughter for Hector and Lety Recinos, of Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The happy parents stated that their birth experience at United Memorial was, “Just fantastic. We want to thank the nurses Bonnie, Natalie, Janet, -- really everyone. We received so much support throughout everything, especially with breastfeeding.”

“As a new mother, it’s nice to know we can trust our care providers,” continued Mrs. Coffta.

As the New Year’s baby, Emilia and her parents received a $200 gift card from United Memorial.

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