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September 4, 2015 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education.


Yesterday, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School hosted its year-opening Pride Day. Principal Tim McArdle sent over these photos and this message:

Today (yesterday) we kicked off our Le Roy PRIDE character education program by hosting our annual school-wide assembly. Our newly named All-State Music performer, Sophie Farnholz, played the national anthem to begin the festivities!

I then reviewed highlights from last year and shared how we want to continue our momentum into this year. We talked about the importance of students honing their own character skills and how they will be vital in being career ready. Our Student Council president Kieran O’Halloran addressed our students encouraging them to rally around each other and fully support all of our teams, clubs and music groups this year.

The assembly was highlighted by national motivational speaker Zach Gowen. Zach is a professional wrestler who has overcome many obstacles in his life, one being losing his left leg when he was 8 years old. He is the first one-legged competitor in professional wrestling. His real life message was well received by our students and teachers. We hope that students really take to heart his story and the many important points he made.

I would like to thank senior Paul Elliott who originally pitched Zach as a potential speaker last spring and also our Emerging Knights Leadership Team who interviewed Zach this summer to confirm he would be a perfect fit for our assembly and, boy, was he! Please ask your child about their impressions from today’s assembly! 





September 4, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama.


There was a point during the off-season where it looked like the tradition of Hornets football might come to an end. The team was struggling to fill its roster and negotiations were under way to merge with Pembroke.

But the coaches and the players rallied, and when Oakfield-Alabama takes its home field tonight against Notre Dame, 26 players will suit up.

"We talked about keeping the football team here and keeping the tradition here and they (players and coaches) really stepped up to the plate and did a nice job of being here and keeping our program going," said Head Coach Brian Palone.

This will be a season where a young team needs to grow, especially on the lines, where this year's starters are last year's second string, or modified player. But it's also a team other GR coaches acknowledge needs to be taken seriously every week with returners Allen Chatt at QB and Sal Schwable and Reice Woodward as wideouts. Those three alone give Palone some weapons he can use to challenge opponents.

"Our goal is to improve every day," Palone said. "I tell the guys how fortunate they are to come out every day and wear the Hornets' uniform and represent their school and their community. We're going to compete and get better every game."







September 4, 2015 - 12:27pm


(Photos from last night's show.) Luke Bryan headlines a second, soldout show, at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center tonight.











September 4, 2015 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Farm to Fork, Le Roy, Stein Farms, agriculture.


Amidst verdant rows of corn in nearby fields, with rays of golden, late afternoon sunshine lighting the sky, and a bounty of locally grown meat and vegetables ready for the guests, Shelly Stein beamed.

"We love this land," Stein said. "We really love this land. What we hope to do tonight is really invite others to have this same experience that we do every day out here, on the land, appreciating all of the food and the good fiber it provides for us, every day."

The Stein family opened their land to the community for a feast called Field to Fork Feast. It was a fundraiser to help support the America's Greatest Communities effort, but it was also a chance to highlight Genesee County's beauty, abundance and goodwill.

"There's a great deal of hard work that goes into what we do, but there's also a deep appreciation and the fact that we don't farm alone," Stein said. "We always farm with God and Mother Nature at our right and left hands, along with our family, and we're just blessed to be able to to support the contest that is America's Best Communities for Le Roy and Bergen and to share our passion. We feel honored."

The locally grown food was prepared by D&R Depot and served by their catering staff.

About 150 people attended and the goal was to raise $5,000 of the $15,000 needed in support of the America's Best Communities contest.

"We call Genesee County the 'Breadbasket of Western New York,' " Stein said. "All across the country, we are known as a county that is highly educated in our agricultural fields and that we adapt technology quick and fast and we are great producers here, so to be able to share that tonight is incredibly important."








September 4, 2015 - 11:48am


Batavia resident, decorated Iraq War veteran, author and former congressional candidate David Bellavia (center) will be the emcee for the annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala at Genesee Community College on Sept. 19.

The annual event is a fundraiser organized by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Justice for Children. In its fifth year, organizers expect to cap the initial goal of raising $150,000 for a new CAC center. The CAC is now in quarters on East Main Street and the money may be used for rehabilitation of that facility.

The event is in the Forum starting at 5:30 p.m. and includes live, silent and basket auctions, entertainment and food. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. 

To make a donation, become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit

With Bellavia in the photo, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and CAC supervisor Anne Bezon.

September 4, 2015 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, BARNS.


This shot is actually from a couple of days ago, but I didn't get a chance to post it then.

September 4, 2015 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, corfu, Darien, Stafford.
   Rebecca Santiago

Rebecca L. Santiago, 29, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with possession of stolen property, 4th, and four counts of identity theft, 3rd. Santiago allegedly stole a credit card from a person under her care while working as a health care provider in Livingston County. She allegedly possessed and used the card while in the Village of Le Roy and other jurisdictions multiple times. Santiago turned herself in to Le Roy PD and was issued an appearance ticket. Santiago was also arrested by the Sheriff's Office and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and identify theft, 3rd. She allegedly used the stolen credit card to make purchases at Walmart.

Eric H. Pannell, 44, of Buffalo, is charged with DWI. Pannell was arrested at the Crosby's Gas Station in Corfu. Troopers reportedly observed a vehicle at the station and initiated an interview with one of the passengers. During the interview, another passenger was reportedly seen tossing a beer can out of the car. A trooper allegedly detected the strong odor of alcohol coming from Parnnell, identified as the driver. He was subjected to a field sobriety test and allegedly failed. At SP Batavia's barracks, his BAC was allegedly recorded at .17, more than twice the legal limit. He was jailed on $500 bail. Citations were issued for allegedly consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and for littering.

Nicholas Morath, 26, of Bullis Road, Elma, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, unregistered motor vehicle and speeding (55 in a 35 mph zone). Morath was stopped at 11:15 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Darien, by Sgt. Ron Meides.

Eric J. Merritt, 26, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass. Merritt allegedly forced entry into a dwelling on Bank Street Road at 2 a.m., Wednesday.

Deborah Elizabeth LaMartina, 34, of Ravine Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for first degree aggravated unlicensed operation, DWI and criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. She was arraigned in County Court and ordered held without bail.

Jose Antonion Martinez, 45, of Broadway Road, Alden, is charged with second-degree harassment. Martinez was being held in the Erie County Jail on an unrelated matter and was arrested on a warrant upon his release. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

September 4, 2015 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, darien lake performing arts center.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Luke Bryan concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday. 

Daniel J. Zybezynski, 22, of Toelsin Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with two counts of second-degree harassment after allegedly punching two CSC security officers while they were escorting another patron out of the venue.

Richard A. Anzalone Jr., 26, of Beaver Lane, Grand Island, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Kapry A. Packard, 25, of Mt. Vernon Avenue, West Seneca, is charged with for unlawful dealing with a child after allegedly providing alcohol to a subject under 21.

Rita H. Buettner, 59, of Cedar Street, Akron, is charged with for second-degree harassment after allegedly punched a CSC security officer while being ejected from the concert.

Luke Bryan performs again tonight at Darien Lake. The show is sold out.

September 3, 2015 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, batavia.


Taken today while returning from the accident in Alabama.

September 3, 2015 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be repairing a broken water main today on State Street. State Street will be closed to traffic from Denio Street to the City line until repairs are completed.

There will be a water service interruption for residents from Denio Street to the City line. Other residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: DPW sent us an update 15 minutes ago that said water was restored on State Street after a leak was fixed and now they are working to repair the road.

September 3, 2015 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI.

In an effort to maximize the return on fines paid by drunken drivers, Assistant County Manager Matt Landers is proposing using some of that money to fund the addition of a deputy to the Sheriff's Office with the position being dedicated solely to DWI enforcement.

If a dedicated DWI deputy could make just one more DWI arrest per week over the course of a year above the current arrest rate, the position would be fund itself in future years, Landers said.

Landers is proposing using $60,000 from STOP-DWI cash reserves to fund the $100,000 position for the first year.

The County Legislature must consider whether to budget the balance of the $40,000 cost to get the new position started. The additional $40,000 will cover the cost of fringe benefits for the new deputy.

The STOP-DWI plan was recommended for approval by the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, but not without some concerns and skepticism raised.

Legislators asked whether other deputies not assigned to the STOP-DWI detail might be less inclined to enforce DWI, thinking, "That's the other guy's job," but Landers expressed confidence that the other deputies' professionalism would prevent that mindset.

Legislator Ray Cianfrini, an attorney, raised concerns that a dedicated DWI patrolman might feel the pressure to make quota and engage in practices courts have determined to constitute entrapment, but Landers said he believes there's enough DWI activity that isn't being thwarted now to keep a full-time DWI deputy busy.

In fact, Landers thinks a dedicated patrol might actually arrest more than just one extra drunken driver per week, but his budget numbers remain conservative at one per week.

After the meeting, Landers said DWI arrests have dropped off the past couple of years, either because more deputy hours are being tied up with prisoner transports, or because staffing has been constrained both in the Sheriff's Office and Batavia PD.

"I don't necessarily believe it was due to fewer drunks on the road," Landers said. "I think they're out there. I'm trying to give the resources to the local law enforcement agencies to go after the drunks who are out there."

The Sheriff's Office has typically received STOP-DWI funds to provide overtime pay to deputies to engage in extra anti-DWI enforcement patrols. Under the new plan, that OT amount will be cut from $30,000 to $25,000, so there will still be dedicated part-time patrols in addition to the full-time, dedicated DWI deputy.

Batavia PD and Le Roy PD would receive their usual amount of STOP-DWI funding for overtime pay for dedicated DWI patrols.

"I figure this is a better way to spend STOP-DWI money and a better way and more efficient way to get more drunks off the road," Landers said.

September 2, 2015 - 11:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, austin park.


Unnamed, unknown for months, and whose death is shrouded in mystery, an infant who may never have drawn a breath in this mortal world, was memorialized Wednesday night in a candlelight vigil in Austin Park.

There were words of compassion for Christina M. Colantonio, the 28-year-old Liberty Street woman charged with murder in the second degree even as the District Attorney's Office hedges on its claim of sufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal complaint, and greater compassion expressed for the female infant who may have been stillborn, or may have been killed by her own mother, but either way, whose birth was reportedly kept secret, her body hidden in her mother's apartment for about three months.

"Tonight, we're not just out here to remember a life that really didn't have that chance (to make a decision for Christ)," said Pastor Jason Norton. "We're not going to see her pretty face run and skip in this world, and we're not going to hear her pretty voice, and we're not going to experience her here.

"But people, I tell you, she has been received into the heavenlies. I tell you, if you want to know her, then just accept Jesus and believe in him and one day you also will be there and you'll be able to embrace her."

After Norton spoke -- the last of several speakers -- the 40 or 50 people gathered carried their lit candles over to Norton's church in City Center for a reception.

Norton said their candles represented a light in this world to battle the darkness.

"I believe with all of my heart that what we're doing tonight is just not to remember her precious life, and that's why we're here primarily, but we're also here to make a bold statement to our city. We're here to make a bold statement to this region, to this community, that darkness and evil shall not prevail and have its way in this area. Amen. (Amen.) We are making a bold declaration tonight."

Earlier, Pastor Tim Young called on those assembled to pray for Colantonio and her family.

"We're here today to encourage each other," Young said. "We're here to help the family, to give them comfort in this time of need, to help them in whatever we can, to love them, as Christ loves us.

"I encouage each and every one of you in whatever way you can to reach out to this family, to Christina, also, because this lady, woman, needs lots of prayer," Young added. "She needs lots of prayer. The family needs lots of prayer. We need to help and support them in any way we can."

Tammy Arneth, of All Babies Cherished, expressed concern that an expectant mother in the community might not know of the free resources her agency provides.

The agency can help new mothers with emotional support as well as material needs, all for free, but new parents are expected to take some classes through the program.

"It breaks my heart that maybe Christina didn't know to come to see us," Arneth said, adding later, "We had more than 900 visits last year alone and obviously that wasn't enough, because if somebody in this community doesn't know to come to us for services, then we're not doing the job."



The donated stuffed toys will be given to Batavia PD so officers can hand them out to children who might need the tender care they represent in times of crisis.


Attendees had a chance to sign cards for the baby's family.


Pastor Tim Young


Pastor Jason Norton


Tammy Arneth speaking.



Stephanie Armstrong with a closing song.


September 2, 2015 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Officials continue to refuse media requests for an explanation of why Christina M. Colantonio was charged with murder before all of the evidence was available to law enforcement.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has not acknowledged a request for an interview e-mailed to him last night and Colantonio's attorney, Public Defender Jerry Ader, refused to accept a phone call from a reporter this morning. Calls to Batavia PD are being referred to the District Attorney's Office.

Meanwhile, Colantonio has been scheduled to appear in court at 10:30 a.m., Sept. 23, for what's known as a "call" appearance. A call appearance is a chance for the judge to be updated on the status of the case.

The 28-year-old Liberty Street resident was charged with murder in the second degree Saturday following the grisly discovery of an infant's body in an ice cooler in her home.  

She was released from custody yesterday after the DA's office admitted there wasn't sufficient evidence to hold her.

Friedman stated in a press conference Saturday, and reiterated in a press release yesterday, that Colantonio was arrested and charged based on evidence he wouldn't discuss and witness interviews. The charging document filed with City Court indicated Colantonio made statements that were used as evidence for the arrest.

It was only after Colantonio's arrest that the infant's body was sent to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. The autopsy revealed that it was impossible to determine if Colantonio, who apparently gave birth at home, delivered a live baby or if the baby was stillborn.

Without that critical piece of evidence, Friedman said, his office was unable to proceed with a grand jury presentation within the constitutionally mandated timeframe, so Colantonio was released from custody. The murder charge is still pending, however.  

In yesterday's statement, the DA's office said, "Due to the fact that this case is still being investigated, the legal principle that the Defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the necessity to preserve the integrity of this matter, we will not be granting interviews or responding to questions regarding this matter. Once the next step is taken regarding this case, more information will be provided."

Friedman is an elected official and Ader is appointed to his position by the County Legislature.

September 2, 2015 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, lost pets, batavia.


This orange tabby kept trying to get into the MedTech Center on R. Steven Hawley Drive (across from GCC) this morning. Workers there think it's a house cat who is lost. It's being kept at the nursing office. Call (585) 343-0055, ext. 6355.

September 2, 2015 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion.

Friends of a Pavilion resident who was displaced when a truck rammed into her house Friday are trying to raise money to assist her.

JoAnn Dumbleton has been staying with family since the accident, according to Mary Conway-Doody.  

Dumbleton is a child-care worker in the before and after school program at Pavilion.

The fundraiser is intended to help Dumbleton, who was renting the house, find a new place to live and replace damaged items.

To donate, visit this page.

September 2, 2015 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, elba, Bethany.

Terrance Lee Falk, 17, of Woodsmeadow Lane, Brighton, is charged with third-degree assault and second-degree obstructing governmental administration. Falk allegedly engaged in a physical struggle with a corrections officer at the Genesee County Jail leading to an injury to the officer.

William John Velky, 34, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, following too closely, passing on right and moving from lane unsafely. Velky was stopped at 5:08 p.m. Monday on Chapel Street, Elba, by Deputy James Diehl following a complaint of an erratic driver.

Cassandra Y. Dauber, 32, of Lock Haven, PA, Cindy L. Dauber, 58, and David T. Suzenski, 57, both from Phoenixville, Pa., are charged with trespass for allegedly entering Rolling Hills Asylum on Bethany Center Road without permission.

Andrew Charles Webster, 22, no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. Webster is accused of shoplifting from Walmart. He was jailed on $500 bail.

September 1, 2015 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia.

City fire responded to a kitchen fire at 27 Tracy Ave., Batavia, this afternoon that caused an estimated $1,000 in damage.

The fire was reported at 4:38 p.m. and was deemed accidental, according to a press release.

Engine 11 arrived three minutes after the alarm and reported smoke showing. The residents evacuated.

Once inside, firefighters found a pot of grease on fire on the stove with flames extending into other combustibles nearby. The crew smothered the fire by putting a lid on the pot and used a fire extinguisher to knock down the remaining fire on a cabinet and wall paneling.

Crews were also able to locate and remove a pet rabbit from the home.

City fire remained on scene for about an hour checking for extension and ventilating the structure.

The estimated building damage is $200 and contents damage is put at $800.

September 1, 2015 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, byron-bergen, football, sports.


Some key starters from the 2014 edition of the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers have graduated and moved on, but Head Coach Mike Cintorino is confident in the squad he will put on the field in 2015.

"This is the most veteran group we've ever had," Cintorino said. "We have a lot of guys who played with us as freshman and sophomores and we've got 15 seniors returning, mostly starters, so we lost some names such as (Steele) Truax, (Mike) Shanley and (Garrett) Chapell, and guys like that, but in all reality, we had guys with us last year already ready to fill those roles who have been with us for a couple of years."

John Hockmuth, a standout at tight end last season, has been waiting his turn to lead the offense and is ready to step in as QB-1, Cintorino said. Richard Flores, perhaps the fastest running back in the Genesee Region, returns as half-back and there are younger guys ready to contribute at receiver and tight end.

Size and experience will benefit the offensive and defensive lines.

"They've been playing together actually since they were in seventh or eighth grade, so this line is probably the most experienced line that we've ever had in terms of them playing together and having that continuity," Cintorino said.

There are no pushovers in the GR this year, Cintorino said, so preperation for each game is going to be a key to a successful 2015 for the Lancers.

"It's that old cliche, one week at a time," Cintorino said. "We don't want to look ahead. Right now, our number-one focus is Pembroke. In a league like this, you can't take any team for granted."












September 1, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime.

State Police authorities are asking the public to be on the lookout for a person or persons stealing from unlocked cars in Genesee County.

An investigator said there have been recent thefts in Darien, Alexander and Pembroke that may be related.

Members of the public are asked to take two actions: Lock up their valuables and report suspicious activity to police.

The perpetrators may be driving around looking for opportune targets.

For reports of suspicious activity, dispatchers can be reached at (585) 343-5000.

September 1, 2015 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

The Batavia woman accused of murdering her own newborn baby and storing it in an ice chest for three months has been released from jail after the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office was unable to determine whether a live birth occurred.

A charge of murder in the second degree is still pending against Christina M. Colantonio, 28, of Liberty Street, Batavia, but in a statement the office of District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said without being able to prove live birth, the prosecution is unable to make a presentation to a grand jury within the prescribed amount of time and so Colantonio is being released from custody.

"Circumstances present when the body was discovered are very indicative of the intentional homicide," Friedman's statement says. "However, in order to establish a homicide, we have to prove that a live birth occurred. Yesterday, we learned from the Monroe County Medial Examiner that, based upon their examination of the body, they were unable to conclude that a live birth occurred. This apparently is due in large part to the lengthy passage of time between delivery and discovery of the body."

In the charging document on file with Batavia City Court, some portion of the underlying evidence to sustain the charge of second-degree murder was based on statements made by Colantonio. None of those possible statements have been made public either through court documents or statements by authorities.

The DA's statement today says that Colantonio was arrested and charged after a "thorough investigation by the Batavia Police Department and included interviews with multiple witnesses."

Friedman's statement said neither he nor anyone in his office would answer media questions about the case given the fact that the murder charge is still pending and the investigation is continuing.

Colantonio was arrested Saturday and held without bail until her release today.

No date was provided for any possible future court appearance.





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