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June 14, 2017 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Abdullah H. Shareef, 36, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, unlawful possession of marijuana, and promoting prison contraband, 2nd. Shareef was arrested following a traffic stop by members of the Local Drug Task Force on Tuesday night. Shareef was allegedly found in possession crack cocaine and marijuana during the traffic stop. While being processed into the Genesee County Jail, he was allegedly found to possess on his person more cocaine and marijuana. He was ordered held without bail.

June 14, 2017 - 8:22am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, batavia, Belly Up BBQ, business.

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Tim Petrie, a resident of Pavilion, decided to try something new when he opened his new restaurant, Belly Up BBQ, a month ago.

Located at 4974 Ellicott Street Road in Batavia, Belly Up BBQ serves anything you would find at a backyard barbeque cookout.

“We serve brisket, ribs and turkey,” Petrie said. “We serve pretty much anything I can put through a smoker.”

Petrie said they also serve burgers, fresh haddock and catfish, for those who do not eat barbeque food.

Petrie was a heavy equipment operator for Donald G. Butler Construction Inc. in Perry, before opening the restaurant.

The inspiration for the name came from two options: succeeding as a restaurant or going “belly-up,” Petrie said.

“I figured if I looked at the name ‘Belly Up’ every day, I wouldn’t do it,” Petrie said.

Petrie built all of the grills for the chicken himself. He said he would have liked to built the smokers, but did not have time.  

“I would like to triple in size within three years,” Petrie said. “That’s my three-year plan. I want to make this location bigger.”

The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“We serve great food,” Petrie said. “I do takeout, serving and catering.”

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June 13, 2017 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

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Brandon M. Seppe, a resident of Batavia, has been charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs following a single-vehicle accident on Veterans Memorial Drive at 2:08 p.m., today.

Seppe's passenger, Gregory Seppe, 59, of Batavia, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy EMS.

A Sheriff's press release says Brandon was westbound on Veterans Memorial Drive when he allegedly moved from the lane unsafely. He failed to maintain control of his vehicle and struck a large utility pole, causing a widespread power outage.

The vehicle came to rest on the passenger side.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Andrew Hale, Deputy Matthew Butler, and Deputy Chris Erion. Assisting at the scene were Town of Batavia fire, Mercy EMS, Batavia PD, and State Police.

(Initial report)

June 13, 2017 - 8:35pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, batavia city school district.

John Kennedy Intermediate School is beating the odds when it comes to educating "economically disadvantaged" students.

That was the word from Molly Corey, executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Batavia City School District at the district's board of education meeting Tuesday night at Batavia High School.

Corey reported on a "Beating the Odds" conference last Thursday at SUNY New Paltz that she and JK Principal Paul Kesler attended.

Moreover, Kesler was the speaker in one of the breakout sessions at the conference, which was coordinated by researcher Manya C. Bouteneff, Ed.D..

Bouteneff is the director of Better Outcomes LLC, an organization devoted to creating high-performing environments so that students in traditionally underperforming demographic groups can succeed.

"John Kennedy (School) was selected as a result of (Bouteneff's) research, and placing in the top 10 of her findings," Corey said.

Criteria used by Bouteneff to identify high-achieving schools outside of New York City and not charter schools include the following:

-- 40 percent or more poverty;
-- 25 percent or more of ED students scoring 3 or 4 on the 2016 NYS ELA;
-- 65 percent or more of ED students scoring 2, 3, or 4 on the 2016 NYS ELA;
-- 30 or more ED test-takers;
-- no admissions criteria other than residency;
-- no in-district school choice.

Of 177 schools, just 16 percent of those eligible met these criteria.

Kesler's presentation -- Clear and Loving Structures: How Our “What I Need” (WIN) System Builds School Culture and Ensures Every Student’s Needs Are Met -- focused on how John Kennedy utilized its PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) team to help build its school culture and how JK students (grades 2-4) have benefited from having clear and loving structures. 

He also shared the processes for training JK teachers to become leaders within the school.

In other developments, the board:

-- Approved the cross-country team's trip to the Manhattan Invitational in New York City from Oct. 13-15. Coaches Bill McMullen and Rich Boyce reported that fundraising will take place in anticipation of keeping the per student cost to around $200 for a three-day weekend.

-- Established the Batavia City School District Foundation scholarship, a $250 gift to a graduating senior, commencing with the 2018 graduation ceremony. The foundation accepts tax-deductible donations throughout the year. For more information, send an email to [email protected].

-- Presented Andy Pedro with a "golden ticket" -- free lifetime admission to any Batavia High School home sporting event -- for his nine years of service as a board member.  Tuesday's meeting was the last one for Pedro, who served six years, took a year off, and returned for three more years.

Superintendent Christopher Dailey praised Pedro for his work on the Building & Grounds Committee, pointing out Pedro's "guidance, calm demeanor, common sense, and sense of humor."

-- Thanked Madison Moore, student ex-officio on the board for 2016-17, for going above and beyond expectations. Dailey said her "professionalism and knowledge" contributed greatly to the board's success.

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Community, Teacher Award Recipients: The Batavia City School District presented Certificates of Appreciation to several community members and teachers at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. Starting with photo at top, Board President Patrick Burk recognizes Julie Tryon and Korinne Anderson as outstanding community members for their volunteer service, and the Batavia Middle School Parent-Teacher Group -- from left, Michelle Dillon, Lisa Shell, Jennifer Burke, Michelle Bromsted and Kathy Fulton. In bottom photo are Jackson Primary School teachers Elizabeth Mundell and Anne Marie Koukides.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 13, 2017 - 6:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.

The defense tried to persuade a jury today that Bill Thomas didn't have a knife or he really didn't intend to harm a police officer who showed up at his front door the morning of March 16, 2016, but jurors were unswayed. It took about an hour in deliberations for jurors to find Thomas guilty of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing a police officer.

Thomas faces up to seven years in jail and is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m., July 7, following the one-day trial.

The case against Thomas began around 4 a.m. about 16 months ago when his brother, Rand Thomas, summoned police to their residence at 252 State St. with a 9-1-1 call.

Jurors heard a recording of the call.

During the call, Rand was calm and didn't mention a specific threat against him. He said his relative was giving him trouble, that "he's been doing it a lot of years," and in response to questions from a dispatcher, he said Bill Thomas may have been drinking, and when asked if there were weapons in the house, he said there were a lot of knives in the kitchen.

When Officer Peter Flanagan, Batavia PD, knocked on the door, Rand answered. What happened next occurred in the space of about three seconds, according to Flanagan:

  • Rand told Bill that the police wanted to talk to him;
  • Flanagan started to step into the house, through the partially opened door;
  • The room was dark, except for the light from a TV set;
  • He saw Bill about 12 to 15 feet away across the room;
  • He looked at Bill's hands by his side and saw an eight-inch kitchen knife in his right hand;
  • Instantly, Bill started toward Flanagan, moving quickly;
  • Flanagan said he thought Bill posed a potentially mortal threat and began to draw his service weapon;
  • He yelled, "drop the knife";
  • Rand exclaimed, "Oh, shit!" and stepped between Bill and the officer on his way out the door;
  • Flanagan decided he had no longer had the opportunity for a clear and clean shot at Bill and decided to back out the door;
  • Bill got close enough to Flanagan, he said, that he could have grabbed him or touched him or even cut him, but didn't touch him;
  • When Bill reached the door, he closed it, and Flanagan said he heard the tumbler of the deadbolt lock snap, locking the door.

Flanagan informed dispatch they had a barricaded subject with a knife. He asked Rand if anybody else was in the house and Rand said his mother was upstairs in her bedroom. He instructed Rand to call her on his mobile phone and ask her to lock her door. During the call, Flanagan testified that he overheard Rand tell the person on the other end of the line, "Bill came at us with a knife."

Rand did not testify. In fact, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman only called two witnesses, Flanagan and Sgt. Eric Bolles, who was the second officer on the scene. Defense attorney Jamie Welch, who was assisted by Public Defender Jerry Ader, did not call on anybody to testify. Bill did not testify.

The jury, all white, mostly middle-aged men and women, with a couple older and a couple of younger people in the box, was attentive throughout the trial. Thomas, dressed in a white shirt and dark pants, his long, gray-tinged hair in a ponytail, was also attentive but showed no reactions to anything that was said during testimony and attorney statements.

Wyoming County's Judge Michael Mohun presided. 

Bill Thomas has been held in the Genesee County Jail since March 16, 2016. His case has gone on an inordinately long time without a trial, in part because his case took a couple of unique turns.

First, he pled guilty. Then he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea, which was a request that was denied. He changed attorneys at this time. Then a discrepancy was discovered in his prior guilty plea, giving him the opportunity to withdraw his plea, which he did. The case subsequently proceeded on the legal path toward going to trial.

At his pre-trial evidentiary hearing, we learned that police did not recover a knife from the crime scene.

That was a focus of today's cross-examination of Flanagan and Bolles. The defense attorney elicited from both officers that neither looked for a knife nor requested a warrant to look for a knife.

Flanagan testified he was certain that Thomas held an eight-inch kitchen knife with the blade pointed out. He said he saw it even in the dim lighting conditions.

"I looked down immediately at his hands because we're taught that is where the dangers are," Flanagan said.

The close distance between Thomas and Flanagan, the officer said, is a key reason he felt he was in mortal danger. Officers are taught that any subject with a sharp object is a potentially mortal threat if they are standing within 21 feet of the officer because the amount of time it takes a typical adult to traverse 21 feet vs. the amount of time it takes an officer to draw his weapon.

Near the end of that hour that Thomas was in the house with police outside, a family member convinced Thomas to come downstairs. 

By that time, officers had found that the sliding glass doors on the outside of a converted garage were unlocked. They were able to open them and draw the blinds wide open and had the room fully illuminated with external lights by the time Thomas came downstairs.

As more police arrived on scene, including deputies and troopers, Bolles said he set up a perimeter.

"I wanted to slow things down," Bolles said. "I didn't want to encounter the subject and make things worse."

Jurors were not told that the Emergency Response Team, armed with long rifles, had been dispatched to the scene. 

City fire was staged on Douglas Avenue in case there was a need to rescue Bill and Rand's mother from the second floor, and a Mercy EMS was staged on standby.

When Thomas came downstairs, Bolles was in the room with his Taser drawn. There were other officers nearby, he said, "providing lethal cover."

Bolles said Thomas was ordered to show his hands, which he did, then he was ordered to put his hands in the air and turn around.

"He ignored our commands," Bolles said. "He appeared to be looking past the officers and out the window."

Bolles deployed his Taser and Thomas dropped to the floor.

In his closing remarks, Welch argued for reasonable doubt because officers did not look for a knife and if a knife had been present, it would have been easy enough for the prosecution to supply it as evidence for the jury, he said.

He also questioned Flanagan's account of the incident based on the fact that Flanagan had only been a police officer for three years at the time of the incident, that he was five hours into his shift without having slept in 12 hours, the low light, and the speed of events.

"It doesn't make sense that that much could have happened in that short of time," Welch said.

He also suggested that when Thomas moved toward the door, it wasn't the police officer he was advancing toward, but his brother.

Friedman refuted this points in his closing statement.

He argued that the television provided enough light for Flanagan to have seen the knife, that Flanagan was certainly experienced enough for the job and the fact he had been up for 12 hours was irrelevant.

"It should tell you what a severe situation this was when Officer Flanagan mentions the degree of danger he felt that he was ready to shoot Bill Thomas to protect himself," Friedman said.

As for the knife, the jurors heard the 9-1-1 tape where Rand Thomas said there were a lot of knives in the kitchen and that Bill Thomas had close to an hour inside of the residence to return the knife to the kitchen or put it elsewhere in the house.

Even if the officers had produced a knife after a search, what would it have proven? Friedman asked.

"Then the defense's response would have been, 'so what, they had a lot of knives in the kitchen,' " Friedman said. "It would have been meaningless if they had searched the house and found the knife."

June 13, 2017 - 6:30pm

Jam At The Ridge Presents: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives on Friday, June 16th. Five-time Grammy winner Marty Stuart will Jam At The Ridge NY once again this year.

We welcome him back to Le Roy, NY, and are looking forward to a fantastic show featuring his legendary songs mixed with his new sounds.

A fish fry dinner is available starting at 3 p.m. when parking opens and the gates open at 4 p.m. with the show beginning at 4:15 p.m. See Marty Stuart, The Ghost Riders, and Lonesome Crow all in the same night for just $15 pre-sale. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here or visit us on facebook.

June 13, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, hunting, outdoors, news.

Press release:

A bill (S5064) continuing the use of rifles for big game hunting in Genesee County indefinitely has passed the State Senate. Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer is the author and sponsor of the measure in the State Senate.

“Use of rifles for big game hunting has proven to be successful throughout the last two years,” Ranzenhofer said. “Many other rural communities across the state have a permanent provision, and this legislation would set it in stone for Genesee County.” 

In 2015, Senator Ranzenhofer spearheaded the effort at the State Capitol to pass a new law (Chapter 68 of the Laws of 2015) that initially allowed the use of rifles in Genesee County. The law expires Oct. 1st of this year. The Genesee County Legislature has requested that the current expiration date be removed.

“Expanding opportunities for sportsmen is important to me. Without legislative action, Genesee County residents would no longer be able to hunt big game with a rifle. I am proud to get the bill approved in the State Senate, and I am hopeful that the State Assembly will follow suit,” Ranzenhofer said.

The bill is currently on the Assembly Agenda. If enacted, the bill would take effect immediately.

In the Fall of 2014, the Genesee County Legislature and Genesee County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs requested the inaugural legislation. Prior to the enactment of the revised statute, environmental conservation law only authorized the use of pistols, shotguns, crossbows, muzzle-loading firearms or long bows when hunting deer from the first Saturday after Nov. 15 through the first Sunday after Dec. 7.

June 13, 2017 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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   Charles Rodriguez

A Batavia man's decision to leave a 1-year-old baby alone in a hot apartment was only discovered, according to police, because officers showed up at his door yesterday evening to arrest him on a warrant.

Charles J. Rodriguez Sr., 40, of 20 N. Spruce St., Apt. 9, was not located at his apartment by police until this morning when he was taken into custody and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

At his arraignment this morning, he pled guilty and was sentenced to six months in the Genesee County Jail.

He was also wanted for petit larceny at the Dollar General on June 4, which he also admitted to this morning, and was given a sentence to run concurrently with the sentence on endangering the welfare of a child.

The incident began with police arriving at the Rodriguez apartment at 9:30 p.m., yesterday, and even though a television could be heard inside the residence, and the lights were on, nobody came to the door. 

A concerned neighbor told officers there was possibly a toddler, believed to be the son of Rodriguez, alone in the residence.

Officers exhausted available resources trying to locate Rodriguez or the child's mother.

City fire was called to the scene to assist an officer in gaining access to the apartment through an unsecured second-floor window. The officer was able to enter the apartment and unlock the front door.

The toddler was located in a room lying a crib.

Police say the temperature inside the apartment at the time was 85 degrees.

Mercy medics responded to evaluate the child and Social Services was notified and caseworkers responded to care for the child.

As a result of further investigation, the mother was located and she was staying the night in Buffalo and had left Rodriguez in charge of the child.

Rodriguez was also wanted by Cheektowaga PD on alleged failure to comply with a drug court order.

June 13, 2017 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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An accident with injuries is reported on Veterans Memorial Drive. A transformer was struck and damaged and there's a power outage in the area. Veterans Memorial Drive was being shut down at Park Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics and law enforcement.

UPDATE (By Howard): One person was injured and transported to an area hospital by Mercy EMS. The driver was detained pending further investigation. The silver SUV was headed west on Veterans Memorial Drive and went off the road striking the power pole. A transformer was taken out of service as a result. The driver reportedly told a deputy that a deer was in the roadway when the accident occurred at about 2 p.m. At one point, as many as 700 customers were without power, but the power outage now seems contained to an isolated area around the accident scene. Repairs are expected to take four or five hours.

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June 13, 2017 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, YWCA, women of distinction awards, batavia.

Press release:

Deanne “Dee” Quinn Miller clearly remembers a time when she helped to fill a special need in her role as program coordinator for the state Veterans Defense Program.

A veteran had just gotten custody of his children for the first time and he needed beds.

“I thought I’m sure I know somebody somewhere who can provide something,” she said. “We got them beds.”

Though assisting a veteran is not so unusual for Miller, those types of specific requests stay with her as examples of the humanity involved. While many issues deal with the legal system in some form, they all involve someone returning to civilian life after having served in the military.

“Their ability to reintegrate is so difficult, and I don’t think that people get that,” she said. “We’re going to serve them no matter where they are and we’re going to make appropriate referrals.”

It was that type of dedication and determination that put Miller in the spotlight for this year’s Women of Distinction Military/Veteran Award. She is one of seven recipients to be honored during YWCA’s signature awards gala this week.

It is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. Tickets are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Although Miller is not a veteran herself, family members have provided plenty of red, white and blue spirit. Her grandmother Eunice “was always so incredibly patriotic” while Grandpa Ferris was a World War II vet. Her grandfathers, brothers and uncles all served, including a cousin overseas in Afghanistan and another one having been there. Miller has soaked up all of that selfless service to country and wants to give back through her job.

“If there was a population that I could serve, it would be that population,” she said. “They are underserved.”

Other award recipients include Roula Alkhouri for Racial Justice, Georgann Carrubba for Exceptional Entrepreneur, Western New York Tech Academy for Economic Empowerment, Krysten Schmidt for Advocacy/Civic Engagement, Lewis Tree Service for Corporate Social Responsibility and Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County for Peace.

For Roula Alkhouri, the pastor at Batavia’s First Presbyterian Church, being a native of Syria has most definitely flavored how she sees the world and how other people see her. Having grown up in a different culture and transplanting to the United States has not been without its challenges, she said. Some have assumed that she’s a Muslim because of her middle Eastern accent and homeland. Others have discredited what she says based on preconceived notions of who she is.

Alkhouri believes there is one simple thing that people can do to bridge the divide.

“When you get to know people, it changes your perspective,” she said. “You can find people of all different colors and races who can contribute. The world according to me is not how friends see the world and are being treated. All are created in the image of God, and we need to celebrate that.”

Perhaps the truest form of racial justice ever, award committee members agreed.

Georgann Carrubba’s current mission as CEO of TenCar, Inc. began some time ago when, as a visiting nurse, she saw how many ostomy patients were affected by their illness. With a close family member suffering with Crohn’s disease, she didn’t really have to look far to see those effects. When he was in the hospital he said to her that he’d sooner die before getting fitted with an ostomy device, a pouch kept outside of the body to hold one’s bodily waste.

Up to now, that only option meant potential for odors, leakage, gas build-up and related embarrassment and discomfort. And there are some one million patients with the need for one.

“I think they’re crushed by it,” Carrubba said, noting that her device with a removable cap will make a difference. Dubbed the Choice Cap, it is a lightweight, airtight, molded waterproof cap to be worn with or without the traditional soft inner pouch. This added protective barrier offers greater resilience to motion and activity, giving the wearer protection against leakage and escaped odors that are common in everyday activities. The result is increased confidence, self-esteem, body image and quality of life.

“I think it gives them value, it gives them purpose,” Carrubba said. “We’re to start production this fall.”

When Gail Fenton joined Zonta Club five years ago, it was at the urging of then-member and mentor Patti Riner, who died in August 2016. Riner had promised to help Fenton navigate new club membership and also convinced her to sign up for vice president.

“Not knowing that after two years you become president,” Fenton said. “Since joining the club has almost doubled in size. I’ve tried to get younger members to join while respecting the older members’ experience. I just really enjoy doing it; it’s like our own little sisterhood.”

That sisterhood has been busy over the years, from selling daffodils and distributing health and education booklets to selling hotdogs for the Big Buddy program, hosting health clinics, ringing bells for Salvation Army and many other efforts that resulted in thousands of volunteer hours.

Club members also worked at YWCA’s My Sister’s Closet, a thrift shop for women, and donated $5,000 and many hours of mentoring to the agency’s Power-up Program in 2006. Members also contributed a great deal of peace to domestic violence victims through their assembled care package totes. Filled with toiletries and quilts donated from Museum Quilt Guild, the totes were given to victims as tokens of care, comfort and peace.

Tech Academy courses not only offer students a potential road map to getting a good job, but the lessons include breaking down the “academic silos” that prevent students from connecting how each subject relates to one another. A shipping clerk who has to negotiate contracts with the buyer can use those skills in other areas, such as running a restaurant or an entry-level accountant can end up moving into financial planning.

“I look at STEM very differently; it’s really an integrated process,” Academy Principal Thomas Schulte said. “We’re beginning to eliminate labels that society places on our kids, so they can see all kinds of options instead of just the options presented to them.”

Lewis Tree Service may be the second largest provider of vegetation management in the country, but the company, much like the Tech Academy, isn’t always well known by the public in Genesee County. Its Giving Tree Committee is steadfast in providing contributions of money, equipment and/or volunteers to many area agencies, including YWCA of Genesee County.

Committee member Sue Howard fondly recalled her role as a cuddler in the NICU and when she made dolls that were sent to children overseas. Other efforts have included donating boxes of food for Thanksgiving meals and more than 70 new coats for local shelters, helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity, collecting toys, money and food for various charities and many other initiatives.

Howard discovered that, soon after joining, she benefited as much as she gave.

“I was going through a pretty hard time in my own life,” she said. “It filled a void. I’ve had some wonderful experiences ... when you can go out there and see the little things you do that make a difference in someone’s life, that’s incredible.”

Krysten Schmidt is passionate about her profession and loves what she does. She cares for women of all ages- from young teens to seniors. Although she cannot provide obstetric care or perform surgeries, she is there for all of the other vital needs for women across their life span. From wellness exams and STD screenings to family planning and menopausal issues, Schmidt wants to be there for her patients through all of it.

“I just love helping women,” she said.

June 13, 2017 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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The Batavia High School Drama Club is staging a showcase concert featuring songs from the musical "Les Miserables" at 7 p.m., Thursday, at John Kennedy School on Vine Street. Free-will donations will be accepted at the door.

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June 13, 2017 - 8:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, Le Roy, Stafford.

Joshua John Dibble, 35, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Dibble was allegedly caught going through vehicles and stealing property on Union Street at 2:37 a.m., Monday.

A 16-year-old resident of Linwood Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The youth was arrested in connection with an unspecified incident reported at 3:50 p.m., Saturday.

Danny D. Williams Sr., 28, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Williams was charged following a report of multiple people fighting on Holland Avenue at 7:40 p.m., Thursday. Williams is accused of making violent and aggressive actions toward police and was arrested on the disorderly conduct charge without further issues.

Gary D. Burney, 36, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and burglary, 2nd. Burney allegedly violated a stay-away order by entering a residence on North Spruce Street at 4:22 p.m., Thursday. He was also charged with criminal contempt and harassment second stemming for a reported incident July 11, 2016. He was also charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal contempt, 1st, burglary, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child stemming from an incident reported Nov. 12.

Devon D. Rogers, 30, of Langfield Drive, Buffalo, was charged with burglary, 1st, criminal mischief, 3rd, assault, 3rd, and criminal contempt stemming from an incident reported at 3 a.m., Saturday. He was also arrested on a warrant. Rogers was allegedly at a residence on Pearl Street, Batavia, in violation of a stay-away order. He allegedly became involved in a fight and injured another person. He was ordered held without bail.

Qumane J. Santiago, 18, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Santiago was arrested after police responded to a report of a disturbance on Central Avenue at 8:45 p.m., Friday. Also arrested, Brandon C. Smart, 39, of Huchins Street, Batavia. He was charged with disorderly conduct. He is accused of trying to start a fight with people walking in the area while in the presence of police officers. Richard G. Hafford, 39, of Liberty Street, Batavia, was also charged with disorderly conduct for also allegedly trying to start a fight.

Tiffany A. Kent, 28, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, 2nd. Kent allegedly tried to hide her roommate from police when they arrived with a warrant for the roommate's arrest moments after the roommate had been seen entering the residence. Kent allegedly refused to cooperate with police even after several warnings.

Alex J. Ianita, 23, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Ianita was allegedly found in possession of brass knuckles at 3:38 p.m., Friday. He was jailed without bail.

Joseph J. Mazzarella, 64, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Mazzarella was allegedly involved in an incident where he prevented the other person from contacting emergency dispatchers and pushed the person to the ground. He was jailed on $250 bail. He was also arrested on a warrant.

Charles E. Schmidt, 46, of Alexander Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Schmidt allegedly hit another person while at the Genesee County Fairgrounds at 11 p.m., Saturday.

William Alexander Gruschow II, 37, of Union Street, Spencerport, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Gruschow allegedly passed a note to an employee at Batavia Downs causing the employee to become alarmed.

AR-Rahmaan M. Jones, 36, of East Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana. Jones was arrested by members of the Local Drug Task Force following a stop Friday on Ellicott Street. He also had a warrant for his arrest out of the City of Batavia. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

June 12, 2017 - 8:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, austin park.

More police presence at Austin Park and less parking on Thorpe Street.

Those are the hopes of two Batavia residents who let their feelings be known at Monday night's City Council meeting at City Centre Council Chambers.

Sandy Merkle, of 6 Thorpe St., a narrow small street on the city's Southside, said all she wants is a sign put up prohibiting parking near the corner of the street to enable her to safely enter and exit her driveway.

"I've talked to the neighbors about it, but they're renters ... and they say, 'we pay our rent,' " Merkle said.

Council members readily responded to her request, with Kathleen Briggs stating that "something has to be done" and Rose Mary Christian adding that "there should be signs for no parking near the corner and also for no parking on one side of the street, and tickets should be given to violators."

Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is "responsible" for handling this matter and has the "authority" to correct the situation without City Council action.

As far as Austin Park is concerned, Sonya Alwardt, of 335 Bank St. said she was extremely disappointed in the response she received from City Police when she called on them to break up a fight there around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Alwardt said she saw a group of 10 to 20 people fighting when she took her 6-year-old child there to play. She said she called the police but was dismayed that it took a long time for them to respond and that the crowd wasn't disbursed promptly.

"I told officers that I didn't feel safe, but was told that they had a lot of pending calls to take care of," Alwardt said. "How is protecting children not a priority?"

At the end of her comments, Alwardt said she would not go to Austin Park anymore.

"It's a shame that you can't bring your children there," Christian said, before asking Heubusch to increase patrols there.

Jankowski said the matter "could have been resolved by Alwardt speaking to the (police) supervisor" on duty that night, and not having to come before City Council.

Councilman Robert Bialkowski agreed with Jankowski and added that Council "needs to set an example."

"If it happens again, there should be arrests," he said. "This is not tolerable."

Following the meeting, Heubusch could be seen speaking with Alwardt.

In other action, Council:

-- Approved a resolution to extend the current sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County -- a pact that is set to expire next February -- through Dec. 31, 2018 in order to buy more time as negotiations between the city and county continue.

"The only reason we're extending it is that part of the process will require 16 or 17 small municipalities to renegotiate their water contracts (with the county)," Jankowski said. "That could be a major holdup. Just to be safe, we're extending it so we don't run out of time."

Calling it a "complicated process," Jankowski said the city is at the "fact-finding stage" and can't go further until the municipalities reach their agreements. He said the Genesee County is on board with the extension and likely will be passing a similar resolution.

Currently, the terms of the sales tax agreement provide the city with 16 percent of the sales tax generated in Genesee County, with the towns and villages splitting 34 percent (based on assessed valuation) and the county receiving 50 percent.

The contract is tied in to the city/county water treatment agreements as well, which leads to the complications cited by Jankowski.

-- Approved a resolution to transfer $35,000 from reserve funds to replace the message board at Dwyer Stadium, hopefully prior to the start of the New York-Penn League season later this month.

Originally, that money was earmarked to replace seats at the Denio Street ballpark, but Council deemed that the scoreboard was a more immediate need.

-- Commended Doug Cecere for his exemplary performance as a city firefighter for 24 years. Cecere recently retired.

June 12, 2017 - 8:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city council.

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City Council Recognition: Proclamations were the order of the day (or night) Monday as City Council honored several Batavians with City Recognition Awards.

From top photo to bottom, Councilman John Canale recognizes Jennifer Reardon as Homeowner of the Year for her "little library" and outstanding flower gardens at her Washington Avenue home; Councilman Robert Bialkowski congratulates Anthony Condello as Community Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Farmer's Market, Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District and Holland Land Office; Bialkowski honors Mike Barrett of Batavia Marine & Sporting Supplies as owner of the Business of the Year; and Councilwoman Kathleen Briggs reads a proclamation extolling the achievements of Eagle Scout Christopher James Neal.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 12, 2017 - 6:30pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, batavia, St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

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Members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Batavia are putting their faith into action through a “Blessing Box,” outside the church.

The box is a small pantry for people to come and take what they need, and leave something behind, if they can.

The idea came from one of the church members who saw The Little Free Pantry Pilot Project on Facebook. The project began in May 2016 and is about neighbors helping neighbors.

St. Paul's Lutheran Pastor Allen Werk said it is not like a food pantry, with many varieties to choose from.

“If they need a few things, they can stop and pick it up,” Werk said. “If they have something extra they can drop it off and leave it for somebody else.”

Werk said it is just a small box to help others through a meal or through a day, and there are no plans to expand the box.

When school starts up in the fall, they will fill the blessings box with school supplies, Werk said.

“We envision pens, pencils, notebooks and snacks that kids can pick up on their way to school or their way home,” Werk said. “This box can have anything. It can be food items, school items, Kleenex, toilet paper or even sunscreen.”

Werk said they plan on checking the box every day to see what is coming and going, and to make sure that things aren’t expired or broken.

“Our thoughts were that during the school year, our fourth- and fifth-graders would come out and check it every day,” Werk said.

The congregation has been gathering food for a while, so Werk is prepared to restock the box if it gets empty.

"We just wanted to provide some extra help and care," Werk said. "We wanted to show our love for neighbors here in the neighborhood and share with them Jesus's love and let them know that He's thinking about them and wants to see them through each day."

The church is located at 31 Washington Ave. in Batavia.

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June 12, 2017 - 6:30pm

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June 12, 2017 - 5:22pm
Press release:
 
Terrific prizes, top-notch judges, excellent footing and a wide array of classes await exhibitors at the horse shows being held at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia this summer. It is located at 5056 E. Main Street Road (Route 5).
 
A series of three shows will be held on June 18th, July 1-2. The series will culminate with the awarding of four Grand Champion belt buckles and a very special Super Horse Award.
 
Start time is 9 a.m. Office opens at 8 a.m.
 
Organizers have a great show planned for exhibitors at an affordable price.
 
Ranch Riding will be offered in addition to a full selection of English and Western classes.  Sweepstakes classes, with 100-percent payback, will be offered as well. Full divisions are being offered for both English and Western exhibitors, with both youth and open divisions. In addition, there are separate divisions for both youth and open walk jog/trot exhibitors. Sweepstakes classes will be held for Showmanship, Hunter Under Saddle, Trail, and Pleasure.
 
The Genesee County Fairgrounds, conveniently located on Route 5, in Batavia, is a little-known location with big opportunities for the horse community. It is easy to access and has lots of nearby restaurants, hotels, and shopping (including horse supplies right next door).
 
Ample and convenient parking, camper hookups, box stalls, and a spacious, well-maintained outdoor arena await exhibitors. The Genesee County Agricultural Society just completed the building of a new horse barn that is 66 x 135 and will house 48 brand NEW  stalls and a second arena to accommodate the increasing amount of horse events that will be held at the fairgrounds.  
 
Highlights of the show:
 
Event:  Summer Kickoff Classic Horse Show
 
Classes:  Sweepstakes, English, Western, Ranch Riding
 
Prizes:  Eight championships at each show, four Grand Champion belt buckles, Super Horse Award
 
Dates:  June 18, July 1, July 2
 
Judges:  Bill Skellet, Melissa Shetler, Jeff Steer
 
 
On the Web:  www.gcfair.com
June 12, 2017 - 4:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release from the city's Department of Public Works:

East Avenue will be closed at Elm Street on Wednesday, June 14th, due to the sewer project beginning on Elm Street.

It is expected that the closure will be in place at 7:30 a.m. and continue until midafternoon. Motorists are encouraged to avoid this intersection by using East Main Street and North Street during construction.

June 12, 2017 - 4:47pm

The Stafford Firemen's second annual Father's Day Retro Jam & Musicians' Reunion will be held on Sunday, June 18, behind the Stafford Fire Department.

It is located at 6153 Main Road (Route 5).

BBQ starts at 11 and live music starts at 1 p.m. and lasts until 7 o'clock.

There will be hots, burgers and fries available along with soda pop and water.

BYO lawn chair and/or cooler.

Bands scheduled to appear include:

  • SkyCats
  • Ghost Riders
  • TONK! Bros.
  • Ryan & Scott
  • Bake & The Boys
  • Front Porch Pickers
  • KW Does Country
  • plus Friends & Guests!

Good fans, good families, good food, good music, good friends, good times!

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