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June 12, 2019 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

In the case of the People v. Antwan Odom, the District Attorney wants the defense attorney to shut up -- at least when it comes talking to reporters -- and the defense attorney wants the DA disqualified from the case.

In other words, the case of the People v. Antwan Odom has been reduced to two attorneys squabbling about what happens outside the courtroom.

The attorney vs. attorney dispute dates back to May 3 when Odom's attorney Frank Housh told reporters that he would defend his client by trying to show jurors that the fellow student Odom allegedly stabbed on Ross Street on Aug. 4.

In court on May 3, Housh said he intended to file a motion to get evidence introduced, in order to mount a self-defense claim, that impeached the character of Ray Leach, the local football star Odom allegedly cut with a knife multiple times, so outside of court, reporters asked him to clarify his motion.

"The fact that Ray Leach is known in the community to be a violent person, to be a confrontational person, who confronted (Odom) -- by the prosecution's own admission -- he was the first aggressor," Housh said outside of court on May 3. "He went to my client's house and called him out and beat him into unconsciousness.

"So, under those circumstances, to say, when the prosecution is admitting that he was the first aggressor, to say that his history of violence and intimidation is irrelevant is simply absurd. We should be able to bring that up because it goes to the circumstance of his justification."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman included the quote in a May 8 filing with the court requesting a gag order on both attorneys in the case.

In court today, Housh also revealed that Friedman filed a grievance against Housh with the state courts for "unprofessional conduct."

"Now I feel there is a parallel prosecution by the elected District Attorney of me and my client," Housh said. 

He said that raises a sufficient conflict of interest that Friedman should be disqualified from continuing as the prosecutor on the case.

That motion was continued until Odom's next court appearance on July 2.

Friedman, according to court discussions today, filed a one-sentence objection to the motion for disqualification.

Today, Friedman complained to Judge Charles Zambito that Housh was trying to get him disqualified from the case for following through on his ethical obligation to file a grievance over what he saw as unprofessional conduct.

Friedman said that as far as he knows nobody is prosecuting Housh and that he is not prosecuting Housh by following his "ethical obligation to report ethical misconduct."

"He says I'm seeking his disbarment," Friedman said. "I'm not seeking his disbarment. I followed through on the ethical obligation I have. All I wish to do is make sure he is able to remain professional and does nothing to violate professional conduct."

In his filing with the court, Friedman asserted that Housh's statements about Leach violated the rules of professional conduct, specifically the rule that prohibits attorneys from making statements could prejudice a jury, including statements relating to the character or credibility of a witness.

In the Order to Show Cause, Zambito ordered Housh and Friedman to show why they shouldn't be barred from "making statements to the media regarding anything involving this case."

The Batavian has filed a memo with Zambito objecting to the order. While judges in criminal cases can restrict what attorneys can say to the media, such orders, according to prior case law, can't be overly broad; can't apply to parties other than the attorneys in the case; and should consider how much time before the trial the statements are made.

In addition, both attorneys can use the jury selection process to identify potential jurors who should be disqualified because media exposure has tainted their view of the case. 

Gag orders can act, courts have found, as a form of prior restraint (the government censoring speech before the speech is made), which violates the First Amendment. 

While cases such as Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada have given courts leeway to restrict speech by attorneys because of their special access to information, in order to issue a gag order, courts have ruled that: a judge must make specific findings; consider less drastic alternatives; and narrowly tailor the order to address identified harm.

(For support of statements about gag orders in this story, see this brief filed by attorneys for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in another criminal case).

Courts have repeatedly found that a free press is essential to ensure fair trials, as in the 1965 case, Sheppard v. Maxwell.

"A responsible press has always been regarded as the handmaiden of effective judicial administration, especially in the criminal field," the Supreme Court said in its ruling. "The press does not simply publish information about trials, but guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting the police, prosecutors, and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny.’’

In CBS Inc. vs. Young, a case that vacated a gag order, the court found that the newsgathering rights of a free press extend beyond the courtroom to include access to sources and court documents.

Asked to comment on the gag order by Zambito, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, Sarah Matthews, provided the following statement:

Although courts may restrict what attorneys can say about a case outside the courtroom, it raises First Amendment concerns when courts issue broad gag orders on attorneys that go beyond what the ethics rules require and actually bar any discussion of a case.

Meanwhile, Housh has shown he's fearful of even being seen nodding in the direction of a member of the press since Zambito issued the Order to Show Cause.

A few days after the order was delivered, a reporter ran into Housh at a local restaurant and Housh made it clear he didn't want to be seen talking to the reporter, and today when that reporter entered the courtroom and gave Housh a friendly wave, Housh shook his head as if to say, "don't even wave at me."

June 12, 2019 - 12:22pm

Press release:

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced its investment in the continued growth of Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. located in Batavia, Genesee County.

As part of the industrial plating company’s modernization project, it has installed a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and recycling system at its Apollo Drive location.

The updated system will reduce water usage by as much at 80 percent. The facility upgrade will allow the company to add another shift, resulting in the creation of up to 10 new jobs; 100 jobs will be retained, 30 of which had been at risk.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Tompkins Metal Finishing’s decision to continue its expansion in Genesee County reflects the success of our strategic support for growing and revitalizing the Upstate economy, especially by adding jobs and opportunity.”

To help ensure Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. continued success, ESD is providing the company with up to $150,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for job creation commitments. Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is investing $900,000 in the facility upgrade which they expect to be completed by the end of this year.

Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. President Allen Tompkins said, “Without this tax credit it would have been much more difficult to invest the $900,000 in our state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and water recycling system. This new system and the investment from ESD will allow us to continue our growth in Genesee County and will allow us to recycle our water for years to come.”

Established in 1955, Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is operating in a new state-of-the-art 65,000-square-foot facility. In addition to offering its customers high-quality products, Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. owns a fleet of trucks, allowing them to deliver those products efficiently to customers throughout Western New York. They service clients in the aerospace, communications, transportation, electronics, optical, medical, machine, defense and protype fields.

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, “It is always great to see new jobs being created. The investments that the State is making in our community to grow new manufacturing jobs is crucial. I am appreciative of the commitment that Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is making to Genesee County.”

State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, "Tompkins Metal Finishing has been a hallmark business in our community for many years and I am pleased to witness their further expansion that includes renewed efforts toward improving environmental stewardship.

"The Finger Lakes Region is on the rise, and I commend any company or organization, which creates jobs and contributes to our overall success as Tompkins Metal Finishing has done for many years. I look forward to touring their new state-of-the-art wastewater system and wish them the best of success moving forward.”

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said, “It’s exciting to see a long-established company like Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. continue to grow and invest in Batavia. Not only are they creating new jobs they’re also protecting our fragile environment in the process. I commend Tompkins Metal Finishing for their forward thinking and continued commitment to the community!”

Steven G. Hyde, GCEDC President & CEO, said, “The investment being made by Tompkins Metal Finishing demonstrates their commitment to building high-quality industrial plating products, and high-quality careers in Genesee County. This investment reinforces that Governor Cuomo’s strategy and plan to grow manufacturing jobs and capital investments to the Finger Lakes region is working. We want to thank Tompkins Metal Finishing for their continued investment in our community.”

For more information about Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc., click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing.

Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

June 12, 2019 - 11:58am
posted by Billie Owens in 4-H, Genesee County Fair, news, volunteers, batavia.

Press release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program is seeking volunteer judges for the following events at this year’s Genesee County Fair:

  • Kennedy Building Exhibits: Judging times are Friday, July 12th, 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 13th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Two-hour time slots are available on July 13th. Volunteer judges receive a fair parking pass and meal coupon. No experience is necessary! Exhibits may include: crafts, artwork, photography, sewing, baked goods, horticultural projects and more!
  • 4-H Livestock Costume Contest -- Saturday, July 13 at 6 p.m. 4-H’ers will be dressing their project animals up in fun costumes & accessories; help us decide who is the most creative, most humorous, has the best craftsmanship, the best team, and overall champion!

Interested in helping? Contact the 4-H Office for more details 343-3040, or email [email protected]

June 11, 2019 - 6:49pm

Press release:

Richmond Memorial Library will kick off its summer reading programs for adults and youth on June 24! This year’s theme is “A Universe of Stories” and our programming will highlight outer space, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

We are excited to offer programs for adults, children and the whole family through August!

The library is excited to kick off summer reading in partnership with the Batavia Concert Band.

On Monday, June 24, conductor John Bailey will share a preview of the band’s season at 7 p.m. at Richmond Memorial Library. On Wednesday, June 26, the Batavia Concert Band will kick off its 94thseason with “Sounds from A Universe of Stories,” at 7 p.m. at Centennial Park (or GCC’s Stuart Steiner Theatre in case of rain). For more info about the band, visit bataviaconcertband.net.

Adult Summer Reading - BINGO!

Back by popular demand, Summer Reading BINGO will return for adults from June 24-Aug. 17. The program will feature a BINGO board full of reading and library challenges. Participants will get a weekly prize entry for each square they get stamped and a grand prize entry for each BINGO (five completed squares).

This year’s grand prizes include a chance to attend an Afternoon Tea with the Richmond Reads author Silas House, as well as a Book Lover’s basket! Our seven weekly prizes will include gift cards to local businesses and there will be prizes for participation as well.

As a bonus, the first 20 participants to register will receive a paperback copy of "Southernmost" by Silas House, the Richmond Reads selection for 2019. All prizes are made possible courtesy of the Friends of Richmond Memorial Library.

BINGO square challenges include everything from attending a library program to watching a documentary to reading a book with “sun,” “moon” or “star” in the title (in keeping with our theme!). The goal of the program is to help you get to know the library better as you step out of your “reading comfort zone” -- as one patron said about last year’s program, “I enjoyed that it was at my own pace yet encouraged me to read more…it encouraged me to step out of my normal reading genres.”

We welcome all patrons 17 and older with a valid library card to participate in our Adult Summer Reading program! All information and rules will be provided with registration. Visit the library for a sneak peek at our BINGO Board for 2019.

Our Reel Discussions series over the summer will feature space related films, such as “The Martian” (2015), “First Man” (2018) and “October Sky” (1999).

Children's Summer Reading - A Universe of Stories!

Read and Bead is back! Our Summer Reading program will help kids to fight boredom and discover new worlds! Bring your kids in and sign up! They'll get a necklace with starter beads and their Summer Reading record. For each 15 minutes of reading, they get a new bead. At the end of each week, we reveal a new special bead!

Kids who complete the program will end the summer with prizes including special books.

Start the summer with our Constellation Kick-Off on Friday June 28th with an indoor planetarium! Our Family Fun Fridays continue throughout the summer with visits from the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Buffalo and Brandy, Animals in Space (reptile show), Checkers the Inventor, and a Traveling Farm!

We cap off the summer on Aug. 9th with African Drumming, Dancing and Storytelling! We will also have the classic beauty "Belle" reading stories to kids on July 16th, and two Homeschooler Meet and Greet gatherings on July 19th and Aug. 2 at 1 p.m.

For 8-12 year old kids, we have a Nailed It! program at 3 p.m. each week. With limited supplies and time, they will have to be creative and work fast! On Thursdays at 10, it's STEAM Time! Explore tech gizmos, science gadgets and have fun. Register for each program by calling us or stopping in.

Teens can enjoy some cookies and book discussion in our low-pressure "What are You Reading? Book Club" on Fridays at 10. Come with a book you're reading or one you love! This is a fun, friendship-building group that encourages the love of reading.

Youth Summer Reading Program runs from June 24th to Aug. 10th.

For information about all upcoming events and library services, visit batavialibrary.org

Richmond Memorial Library continually provides access to physical and virtual resources and services that meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its diverse community in a safe and comfortable environment. Learn more at www.batavialibrary.org

June 11, 2019 - 6:09pm

Submitted photo and press release:

SENECE FALLS -- Apache hideaway. Hippodrome. Death drag. Shoulder stand. Back bend. These are some of the daring moves that visitors to the 2019 Empire Farm Days will see demonstrated by 14-year-old, award-winning trick rider Courtney Jean Schum.

The teenager, who lives in Alexander, is known as “Courtney Jean, the Trick Riding Machine” (in photo above) and she will make her first visit to the agricultural and rural living event at Rodman Lott and Son Farms in Seneca Falls on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Her shows will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Runnings Round-Up live horse demonstration ring.

Courtney Jean has thrilled crowds at the International Plowing Match and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and at rodeos in Canada and New York State. Courtney Jean won an Ontario RAM Rodeo Tour Finals Champion Buckle in 2017.

Next January, she will compete in the trick riding competition at the International Professional Rodeo Association Finals in Oklahoma.

Courtney Jean, who is also an accomplished barrel racer, is part of Tanglefoote Stables LLC, operated by her mother Sue Dominesey-Schum at Alexander and in Sheldon.

The Runnings Round-Up live horse demonstrations at Empire Farm Days feature a different presenter each day. (Emma and Jack Minteer and their wild-to-mild American Mustangs will be the featured presenters on Tuesday, Aug. 6. On Thursday, Aug. 8, meet volunteers and equines with Begin Again Horse Rescue (based in Lima)).

June 11, 2019 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, Iraq War, news, notify, video, Medal of Honor.
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Below, selected quotes. For the fuller context of each quote, watch the videos.

Thank you to Western and New York for love and support
David Bellavia opened the press conference acknowledging all of the Western New Yorkers who have contacted him over the past 72 hours and then discussed how the men who served in Vietnam didn't benefit from a warm homecoming, and that many veterans do not get the recognition they deserve.

"I just wish that more Vietnam veterans, Korean War veterans, everyone guys at V.A. hospitals. can feel half the love that Western York has given to me, and most importantly. the Gold Star families in Western New York and Rochester. These men and women have given up their sons and daughters and there's really, it's not just Memorial Day, it isn't one day a year for these families; it's every single day. And we still live with that and we still think about them. And you know I think about them, too."

The benefits of military enlistment
"If there's anything that can come out of this, hopefully, young people in Western New York will we'll see their country as more worthy than anything else in their life. We are a very special institution, the United States Army, and I encourage as many people to look at that as an opportunity to better themselves but more importantly better their communities and their country."

The call from the president
Bellavia said he was told in August that he would be receiving a call from a top official in the Department of Defense, though he didn't know why. When the call was repeatedly delayed, he admitted to some frustration

"I really didn't know who that could have been. It could've been Secretary of the Army. It could've been Secretary of Defense. But that senior member of the DoD was very difficult to get on the phone. So no offense to Secretary of the Army; I'm sure he's a busy person. But he can't be that busy because there was a very difficult time to get that individual to allocate time. I had no idea that the senior member of the DoD, he was the senior member of the DoD, being the commander in chief.

"It was pretty humbling. It was pretty life altering.

"I lost my dad a year ago and yesterday would've been his 75th birthday. It was pretty crazy that the White House announcement came on his birthday, but my dad was my hero. I loved him. I spent every day talking to him. When I deployed my dad would, he would type up play-by-play of the Buffalo Bills games as if I had no access to get scores in the Army. He would take the time to write me a six-page letter single-spaced (letters) on every play. I would read these no matter where I was, Kosovo, Germany, or Iraq and we just talked about the Bills no matter how bad the day was, it was about the Bills.

"My dad would always tell me something and I always thought he was just uncool because he's my dad but he'd always say, 'way to go.' He'd say, 'way to go, man.' That's what my dad would say. No one else has ever said that to me in my life because it's not something you would expect anyone to say. But as the whole conversation with the president he's going on, I'm not even listening. I'm just kind of...but at the end of it, he said. 'Good job. David. Way to go, man.' That's what the president said and I haven't heard anyone say that to me but my father and it just brought me right back down to Earth."

On being an Iraq War veteran
Bellavia acknowledged that the Iraq War is a controversial war and that many people believe the United States entered the war because of faulty intelligence.

"Listen, you know I'm not going to pretend to write -- the narrative the Iraq war as well established but the Iraq veteran has nothing to apologize for. The Iraq veteran has served with the same, in the finest traditions of any other generation at war. And, you know, there's a whole lot of men and women who -- Yeah, everything's changed. I have to represent those people because that's what we have to do.

"I can't tell you that looking back and seeing how a lot of people tend to look at the valor of a generation and say well are these good wars or bad wars. Iraq veterans are walking around with chips on their shoulder because they're regarded as part of the bad war the war of choice, the war that was based on bad intelligence and you know we're free to think and decide whatever you want. I think the narrative is written on that. But I would just caution us to not make the veteran feel the weight of that. I don't think it's their responsibility. Ninety-nine percent of these men and women served with honor and distinction and we really shouldn't have to apologize for where our nation sends us to fight."

Thoughts on the battle that led to the Medal of Honor
"When you go through a graveyard and you see someone born and died on the same day, you know, I always see that on a tombstone and think, you know, that's got to be horrible and I just imagined how someone could explain to my son why I chose to do this. I wanted someone to be able to articulate to my kid that it's not that I don't love you, it's that I love these guys, too. We're in this together and that's why it's so important to me to tell as many Gold Star families that if the roles were reversed their sons would be talking to my mom, and their sons would be talking to my kids, and their sons would be saying, 'don't forget what your son did.' "

On veterans and being a veteran
"I happen to believe that veterans make the best neighbors you can have. I think we make great employees. I think we make great teachers. I think we make great friends. 

"I'm forever grateful to the United States Army they gave me purpose and direction they gave my life meaning and value. I'm a better human being because of my service. And I think most of the people that I've served with can all tell you the same thing. And I encourage any man or woman that wants to become an individual in their community to serve the United States military."

On how he's changed since Fallujah; veterans are anti-war (from the interview)
"You know, I never saw the enemy as people. I think, now, when I have, when you have children, you think you know, obviously, you want your guys, America, the good guys, to be OK. But I also think back to, I don't want the enemy's children to take the road that their dads took. I don't want my kids to be fighting in conflicts with another generation. ... What are the things that we can do, especially when it comes to acknowledging that a lot of people think that war guys, veteran guys are pro-war, that we love this. You know, we're pretty anti-war. I mean, I don't know of any veteran that you've talked to that is like, 'this is the greatest thing in the world.'

"We're violently anti-war but with the goal, the end state is that we won't do this anymore. I mean, if you would've told me that I would join the Army because my son and daughters would also get to have this experience, I never would have done it. It's not worth it. You fight so that it stops here and it doesn't continue. And it would be heartbreaking to know that this is going to go on for another 25 years."

We also asked about his political future and he suggested he will not be a candidate for Congress in 2020. He said he believes the Army will keep him busy for the next 18 months to two years with Medal of Honor appearances.

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June 11, 2019 - 5:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Cassidy Jane Hackett, 21, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree attempted grand larceny. It is alleged that at 1:23 p.m. on May 9 that Hackett attempted to withdraw $1,500 from a person's bank account. She was arraigned, released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on June 24. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Jessica Nicole Weiss, 28, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and endangering the welfare of a child. Weiss was arrested after allegedly stealing merchandise from Walmart at 2:29 p.m. on June 10 while her 8-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter were with her. She was issued an appearance ticket for June 27 in Batavia Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor.

June 11, 2019 - 5:28pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Patnode (inset photo, left) as Training Technician for Genesee County effective July 8, filling the position vacated by James Bouton after seven years of service.

Patnode brings with him more 20 years of experiences as a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Alabama, including 10 years as Alabama fire chief.

Additionally, he serves as a New York State fire instructor, a Certified New York State fire investigator and EMT-basic.

He is HazMat Team leader for the Genesee County Emergency Support Unit (ESU) and the deputy fire coordinator of the West Battalion (GM4) assisting Alabama, Corfu, Darien, East Pembroke, and Pembroke fire departments.

The Office of Emergency Management Services is also pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Coffey (inset photo, right) as the deputy fire coordinator for the Center Battalion (GM3) as this position was also left open upon Bouton’s departure after almost 15 years as serving the Center Battalion.

Coffey brings 18 years of fire service experience to the position. He is currently serving as the fire chief of the Town of Batavia Fire Department, a New York State fire instructor and a member of the Genesee County Emergency Support Unit (ESU) as well as a member of the Genesee County Fire Investigation Team.

He is also a career sergeant for the City of Batavia Police Department.

As deputy fire coordinator of the Center Battalion, Coffey will provide assistant to Alexander, City and Town of Batavia, Bethany, Elba and Oakfield fire departments.

The county Office of Emergency Management Services looks forward to the knowledge, experience and positive impact these two men will bring to their respective positions.

On behalf of the fire and EMS service of Genesee County, we extend our appreciation to Jim Bouton for his years of service and dedication to the citizens of the county, and our best wishes to him in his future endeavors.

June 11, 2019 - 4:29pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, GCC, news, education, Excelsior Scholarship, notify.

Genesee Community College President James Sunser made clear the college’s frustration with the New York State Excelsior Scholarship.

Last Wednesday, the Ways & Means Committee was surprised when Sunser told them, “The Excelsior Scholarship did not help us … It’s a very stringent program. If students don’t make the grade, they lose it forever.”

Sunser spoke about the strings attached to the award. Excelsior recipients must meet minimum grade requirements and plan to reside and work in-state for the length of time they received the scholarship. Otherwise, their awards revert to costly loans.

“The way that the Excelsior program works is that when you hit the income threshold, you get that tuition paid,” Sunser explained.

In other words, students with families earning gross incomes of $125,000 or less can receive full tuition to SUNY two- or four-year colleges.

According to Sunser, “When you tell a family that’s making $125,000 that you can go to any of these institutions that’ll accept you, then that becomes a problem” because students tend to choose four-year schools rather than local community colleges.

The declining population and smaller graduating high school classes in Upstate New York have also reduced GCC enrollment, therefore revenue. Between Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 alone, the undergraduate enrollment at GCC dropped from 5,900 to 5,530 students.

These numbers beg the question of whether the Excelsior Scholarship actually brings in more students to enjoy county and college investments. GCC leaders say the answer is no.

The lower enrollment factored into the 2019–20 GCC annual budget, which will increase slightly, .01 percent ($4,000) to approximately $40.2 million.

This year, the college is seeking additional local support, which has remained flat since 2015-16:

  • A $50,000 increase in annual county support to GCC;

  • A one-time $100,000 allocation for the college's Criminal Justice and Veterinary Tech surgical labs.

The Ways & Means Committee voted in favor of setting up and conducting the required public hearing on the college's budget request, at a date to be announced later.

At its next meeting at 4:30 p.m. on June 19, the two-part funding request will be discussed by the Ways & Means Committee.

Sunser said GCC will raise its full-time tuition by $100 per semester, totaling $4,350. Students should also be aware that there will be a $10 increase per credit hour for part-time student tuition, which totals $180 per credit hour.

He said he hopes the fact that GCC is one of the most affordable options among area community colleges is enough to counter the downfalls of the Excelsior Scholarship and draw students back to higher education in Genesee County.

June 11, 2019 - 4:13pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, crime, news, notify.

Daryl Leach agreed to a plea deal this afternoon in Genesee County Court after being charged with the Feb. 26 robbery of the Speedway at Oak and Main streets, Batavia.

The 38-year-old Batavia resident entered a guilty plea to robbery, 3rd, and faces two to four years in prison.

Leach was found by investigators at a location on Swamp Road after the alleged robbery and was taken into custody.

Leach will be sentenced as a second-felony offender due to previous conviction and incarceration.

Judge Charles Zambito scheduled sentencing for 9:15 a.m., July 16, in Genesee County Court.

June 11, 2019 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia Downs, Ground Force Fights, mma, batavia.

Press release:

Representatives from Batavia Downs and Ground Force Fights today announced they will be holding a spot in Saturday’s MMA card at Batavia Downs for the Canadian pop star and American movie star to settle their differences in the cage.

On June 9th, Justin Bieber Tweeted; “I wanna challenge Tom Cruise to fight in the octagon. Tom if you dont take this fight you're scared and you will never live it down. Who is willing to put on the fight?”

Richard Mitchell, owner of Ground Force Fights, responds by saying: “We would welcome both Justin and Tom to compete at Throwdown at the Downs 2.0. Fights begin at 6 p.m. and we’d be happy to fit them onto the card whenever it’s convenient for them, given their busy schedules.”

It is unknown at this time why the 25-year-old Bieber decided to challenge the 56-year-old Cruise to the bout.

“Mr. Bieber hails from London, Ontario, while Mr. Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs. “Batavia is a perfect place for them to meet in the middle to settle whatever this beef is about.

"Batavia has an airport where both celebrities and any entourages can fly in. If they call ahead we can even send our Batavia Downs Shuttle Bus to pick them up.”

Regardless of whether Bieber and Cruise make an appearance, tickets are on sale now for Throwdown at the Downs 2.0 atbataviaconcerts.com.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 for General Admission and $55 for VIP seats closer to the cage.

Lawn chairs (which are normally permitted for other Batavia Downs events) are NOT permitted for this event. There will be limited chairs and bleacher seating available.

Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the event for $15 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 17 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

About Ground Force Fights

Ground Force Fights is an amateur mixed martial arts organization based in Western New York. We aim to give the public some of the most exciting talent and amateur mixed martial arts shows. They strive to be the best for not only fighters, but fans as well.

June 11, 2019 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, ATHLETES EDGE, 13U travel baseball, news, batavia.

Above, photo from May 27 game.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Batavia boys 13U baseball travel team has competed in weekly baseball tournaments in Rochester. The last two weeks they won both tournaments, on May 27 and on June 10, winning four games to reach the winner's circle.

The travel team is called Athletes Edge and they have two age groups: 10-year-olds and 13-year-olds.

Below, photo from June 10 game.

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June 11, 2019 - 2:34pm

Proceeds from an upcoming Rummage Sale will be donated to Northgate’s "Connected Community" School in Gahanda, Rwanda, Africa, shown above, as well as Batavia's All Babies Cherished.

Submitted photos and press release:

A few months ago, the pastors at Northgate Free Methodist Church gave a series of messages based on a book by Rick Warren titled, “40 Days of Community.”

The book outlines five purposes for people to fulfill in community with other people -- people within your church family, small groups and in the world around you.

Warren calls the readers to "reach out" and "serve together." So, in response to that call, some of the people who attend Northgate felt led to organize and facilitate a Rummage Sale that will be hosted at Northgate’s South Campus, located at 350 Bank St., Batavia.

Donations will be collected, sorted, and priced accordingly, all by a volunteer group out of Northgate.

The sale will take place Friday, June 21st from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 22nd from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. There will be refreshments available at the sale.

ALL proceeds from this Rummage Sale will be donated to Northgate’s "Connected Community" School in Gahanda, Rwanda, Africa, a school which aids 1,200 children within the area, as well as the Batavia-based charity All Babies Cherished.

Please consider joining Northgate for this sale and contributing to the important work that these charities do.

For further information, please visit northgatefmc.com, contact the Northgate office at (585) 343-4011 or email [email protected].

Below: Smiling faces of children at Northgate’s "Connected Community" School in Gahanda, Rwanda, Africa.

June 11, 2019 - 2:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, City Court Judge, Durin Rogers, news.

Submitted video clip and press release:

Batavia City Council President, retired Batavia Police Lieutenant, and competitive shooter Eugene Jankowski Jr. recently announced his strong endorsement of Durin Rogers for Batavia City Court judge.

In an endorsement video filmed at a local shooting range that was released Monday, Jankowski said, “I’m a retired police officer as well as a sponsored competitive shooter. Public safety as well as the U.S. Constitution are very important to me.

"I’ve known Judge Durin Rogers for many years and he’s always been very thorough and very judicious when it comes to the rule of law. I fully endorse him for City of Batavia Court Judge.”

Jankowski has been a lifelong local public servant, retiring as a lieutenant from the Batavia City Police Department after 34 years of service to the community. Jankowski continues his dedication to Batavia currently serving as the City Council president.

Rogers, who currently serves as part-time Batavia City Court judge, has already earned the endorsements of: the current and former County Social Services commissioners; the current and former County Sheriff; the current program coordinator and former director of Genesee Justice; the City of Batavia Republican Committee; the Genesee County Conservative Committee; and many other citizens and businesses.  

June 11, 2019 - 12:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in classic cars, Bergen Park Festival, bergen, video.
Video Sponsor

There were dozens of vehicles on display Saturday for the Bergen Park Festival Classic Car Show. Our video features Batavia resident Darell Mase and his 1957 Ford Fairlane.

June 10, 2019 - 11:33pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, GO ART!, GO OUT!.

City Council gave its blessing to a GO OUT! parade and picnic on June 28th in conjunction with Pride Month 2019, challenging the views of a Batavia resident who addressed the board during tonight's (Monday) Business meeting at City Hall Council chambers.

“I request that you deny the license for the permit,” said the Rev. Henry Pokrywa, pastor of Faith Community Chapel on Rose Road. “I don’t feel that public streets should be used to display anyone’s sexuality, whatever that may be.”

Gregory Hallock, executive director of Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) and leader of the GO OUT! group that promotes LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) causes, filed the application for the event, which will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

The parade is set to begin at Austin Park and proceed on Washington, Ellicott and Richmond avenues before ending on Bank Street, near the GO ART! building.

Following the parade, activities will take place on Bank Street near Alva Place. A DJ will provide music and there will be games. Alcoholic beverages will be available, but only on GO ART! premises, according to the application.

Hallock thanked City Council for approving the festival and then listened as Pokrywa questioned its validity.

“The gentleman (Hallock) said that this (local Pride movement) has grown,” Pokrywa said, noting that the parade will include floats. “I don’t know the standards, but I’m pretty sure there should be public decency and morality standards. There will be children there.”

Pokrywa said he was “not against anybody” but when it comes to “public morality, we have to decide where we draw that line.”

Lauren Berger, of Mount Morris, a training coordinator for RESTORE sexual assault services, followed Pokrywa to the podium, reporting statistics that indicate an increase in sexual violence and harassment against those who identify as LGBTQ+ and calling for Batavia to assist in getting the word out to help these people.

“Batavia can be the answer to the LGBT desert,” she said.

After that, four Council members spoke in favor of the parade and picnic.

“I don’t want to deny any group,” Rose Mary Christian said. “Thousands of people (enlisted men and women) have died for us to have this freedom.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski said “we know what (gay pride parades) look like, and we’re going to be better than that (and not discriminate),” adding that any violence would be addressed.

“We’re not going to single out people,” Kathleen Briggs said. “We always give our approval.”

And Patti Pacino advised that “you don’t have to be part of the LGBT community to be part of the parade.”

“I will be in the parade, and I’m very straight.”

The GO OUT! event was one of several items discussed by Council, preceding the board’s passage of seven resolutions on the meeting’s agenda.

City Manager Martin Moore reported that, after meeting with Police Chief Shawn Heubusch and department heads, that he is forming a crime task force to tackle the recent spate of violence.

“Our goal is that we don’t want these types of individuals (criminal element from outside the area) in our city and decisive actions will be taken,” Moore said. “The bottom line is that it is unacceptable for our citizens to not feel safe to walk out of their front doors.”

Residents have been on edge in recent weeks as a result of several incidents, including the fatal stabbing of a man outside his home on Ross Street after he went to the aid of a woman who was in a physical altercation with a man.

Moore said that the task force will get started within the next couple and is expected to include leadership from Genesee County, including the district attorney’s office.

“There is going to be a lot of work. We don’t have a committee just to do committees,” he said, adding that he will keep City Council informed throughout the process.

In a related development, Heubusch informed Council members that he is hoping to fill a void in his department by hiring three new police officers by early July.

He said he has a substantial list of candidates who scored well on the Civil Service exam, with an eye of sending the top three – after an extensive interview and background check process – to the police academy in Erie County on Aug. 5.

“Still, even if we hired three officers today, it would be about a year until we could put them on the street,” he said, noting that the academy runs for five months and is followed by four months of field training.

Currently the department lists 33 officers, including the chief and assistant chief.

Moore also reported that a request by Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to provide a social gathering place for recovering addicts at the former North Pole Restaurant at 241-243 S. Swan St. “does not fit within an R-2 (Residential) zone.”

Moore said a letter stating as such was sent to GCASA Executive Director John Bennett, but he has not received a response.

Several Council members (as well as residents in that area) went on record last month against GCASA’s proposal, and Council Member Rose Mary Christian reiterated her opposition tonight, applauding the Code Enforcement office’s conclusion.

Council also heard from North Spruce Street resident Anita Tolejko, who urged the board to do something about motorists who drive the wrong way on the one-way street, primarily from Chase Park to East Main.

She called for a “traffic study, big signs and flashing lights” to put an end to this illegal practice.

“I really don’t know, but I would like something done” (before a head-on collision takes place),” she said.

In other action, Council:

-- Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. June 24 (the date of the next City Council meeting) on a resolution that would relax the residency requirements for new municipal employees per the Batavia Municipal Code.

Jankowski said the amendments focus on expanding the geographical area around the city where new employees may live to include any adjacent town to Genesee County within six months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City. The employee also would be required to live within these areas for the duration of his or her employment.

-- Entered into a contract with a company called three+one, of Pittsford, for cash liquidity and treasury analyses that would lead to increased returns on investments and bank accounts for the City.

The City’s cost to enter the program is $9,900, but that would be returned by three+one if the company fails to find at least $50,000 in additional savings.

The Pittsford firm previously teamed up with the Town of Batavia and Genesee County, with the county reporting significant additional income.

-- Approved agreements with the Batavia City School District that calls for the school to provide transportation of students to the new Teen City site at the former St. Anthony’s School on Liberty Street and to maintain the former City Youth Bureau at 12 MacArthur Drive.

Teen City is partnering with City Church, which owns the Liberty Street property, and the Genesee Area YMCA to offer an after-school youth program. It is expected to begin operation during the week of Aug. 19.

-- Authorized the appointment of City residents Nicholas Harris, Marc Staley and David Leone and Council members Robert Bialkowski and Paul Viele to the Audit Advisory Board.

June 10, 2019 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Le Roy.

A motor-vehicle accident, a car into a tree, with unknown injuries, is reported in the area of 8251 W. Bergen Road, between Randall Road and Selden Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 11:33 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports the driver is out of the vehicle and walking. Responding units can come in non-emergency.

June 10, 2019 - 8:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, video, Bergen Park Festival.
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Part-time summer help wanted

HELP WANTED Dave's ice cream is now hiring for summer part time help. Looking for an outgoing, friendly person. Apply in person at 3872 West Main Street in Batavia.

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1 BEDROOM UPPER APT. CITY OF BATAVIA STEPS FROM ARC, AVAILABLE 7/1/19

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Temporary Full-Time reporter position with The Batavian

Temporary Full-Time reporter position with The Batavian: The Batavian may be in a position later this summer to hire a full-time news reporter. This position will be grant funded for six months, if the grant is awarded. The goal of the position is to give publisher Howard Owens more time to work on revenue initiatives. If those initiatives are successful, this could become a permanent position. We are accepting applications now in case the position is funded. We will not interview candidates until and unless the position is funded.

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