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Batavia police investigating hit-and-run property damage accident in roundabout

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia Police are looking for a blue color SUV that lost its wheel well and has damage to its right front bumper after striking sign posts in the roundabout and driving off.

The car was last seen heading south on Walnut Street.

UPDATE: Sign posts weren't struck down -- light poles were -- three of them coming off of Pearl Street into the roundabout. It looks like the driver never even entered the roundabout, but drove through the median coming off of Pearl and onto the parkway, then off onto Walnut. One of the light poles was dragged a good 80 feet.

Batavia schools plan 1.23-percent tax increase

By Howard B. Owens

At one time, Batavia School District officials spoke of a possible 10-percent tax increase on local property owners, but the final approved budget includes only a 1.23 percent increase.

District Business Manager Scott Rozanski told The Batavian's news partner WBTA, that past years' conservative budgeting -- underestimating revenue and holding a line on expenses -- has made it easier for the district to weather big cuts in state aid.

"There may be a greater impact next year and in future years if the trend continues," Rozanski said.

The 1.23-percent increase works out to 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, so on a home assessed at $80,000, the taxpayer will pay the school district an additional $21.60.

Rozanski said that over the past few months, the district has been able to cut expenses, which contributed to the district's ability to hold down the tax increase.

WBTA has posted a historical chart of tax increases (and decreases) from the district as well as an MP3 of its interview with Rozanski (click here).

Voters will be asked to approve the budget May 18.

Senate approves budget that increases spending, cuts funds to schools

By Howard B. Owens

Senate Democrats have approved a budget proposal that increases state spending by $1 billion, even as it cuts $1.4 billion in school spending, according to the Albany Business Journal.

The Senate budget -- which Republicans say they did not get time to review thoroughly, therefore voted against -- does not include a tax on soft drinks proposed by Gov. David Paterson, nor authorization for grocery stores to sell wine.

The proposed budget, which will need to be reconciled with an as-yet-unannounced Assembly budget, passed the Senate 32-29.

The two houses have until April 1 to agree on a budget.

Democrats say the increase in spending is still below the rate of inflation.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer released the following statement:

The Senate Democrats drafted their final budget resolution in secret, without any input from Republicans. They then released the resolution less than an hour before it was voted on. Only a budget resolution crafted in secret would produce such a bad deal for New Yorkers.

The Budget Resolution increases spending by $1.5 billion, expands welfare programs, and fails to restore the STAR rebate check program for all homeowners. Even worse, the resolution does nothing to help create private sector jobs. Instead, it only adds more government jobs by expanding welfare eligibility and increases public assistance payments again this year.

I will only support a budget which does not increase taxes and spending, delivers property tax relief to homeowners and enables the private sector to create jobs. This is the budget the people want. It’s a budget they deserve and the budget we must achieve.

Grand opening held today for Batavia's Mental Health Court

By Howard B. Owens

Dozens of local officials were on hand for the grand opening ceremony for Batavia's Mental Health Treatment Court, a new program -- one of the first in the state -- of the Batavia City Court.

Judge Robert J. Balbick was the first speaker.

The court is a program for defendants who have serous mental health issues, who need treatment and other services, and who chose to participate in the program instead of having their cases proceed through the regular court process.

The court will accept defendants who, in addition to mental issues, need substance abuse treatment or who have developmental disabilities, or those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Today's ceremonies opened with musicians playing guitar and flute (in separate rooms). Besides Balbick, other speakers included Judy Harris Kluger, chief of policy and planning for the court, Paula Feroleto, chief administrative judge, Augusta Welsh, clinical director of Genesee County Mental Health Services, Ed Minardo, Genesee Justice, Gary Horton, public defender and Robert Zickl, assistant district attorney, among others.

For more information on the court, see our previous story.

Police expand investigation into alleged left of credit cards, building materials

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia Police continue to dig into the activities of a Warsaw man who is accused of running a complicated scheme to use stolen credit card numbers to buy building materials and then bill customers for the materials.

Today, detectives executed a search warrant at a property in Bethany and reportedly recovered thousands of dollars worth of material that was allegedly purchased with stolen credit cards from Armor Building Supply during a three-month period in 2009.

Two more counts of grand larceny have been added to the four already filed against Dustin Hurlburt, of 32, of 21 Elm St., Warsaw.

There may be other suspects in the case and Batavia detectives are asking anyone with information that might be relevant to the case to call them.

Because of the alleged use of credit cards and the amount of money involved, the U.S. Secret Service has joined the investigation.

Det. Kevin Czora is the lead detective on the case.

Upgrading The Batavian's server

By Howard B. Owens

Since about 10:30 this morning, we've been plagued by site slowness (and a server crash).

We've fine tuned our current Web server as much as we can.

The next step -- which we're taking -- is to spend more money and upgrade our server.

The frustrating part is, The Batavian, while popular locally, doesn't require many resources. Our current server should be able to handle the load just fine. The apparent and probable problem is there are a number of black hat Web crawlers (software programs that visit various Web sites sucking in the content). Black hat crawlers don't obey the ethics of how to crawl a site, they won't let a server administrator block them, and they consume a tremendous amount of resources. 

Based on the usage pattern we're seeing, we believe that doubling our server resources will give us a better ability to handle the load and greatly reduce the number of these periodic site slow downs.

The upgrade should be in place in about 20 minutes from now.

Le Roy Police charge 16-year-old with sexual misconduct

By Howard B. Owens

The parents of a 14-year-old girl in Le Roy reportedly found her in bed with a 16-year-old boy from Geneseo.

The parents called Le Roy Police and the boy has been charged with sexual misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

The boy's name was withheld by Le Roy Police. He was issued an appearance ticket and will be arraigned in Le Roy Town Court on an unspecified date.

Weather: Some rain, some cold, some sun over next few days

By Howard B. Owens

The forecast for today -- more drizzle, and rain showers into the night. Then it starts to clear, but temperatures over the next three or four days will range from 22 degrees to 58 degrees. Starting tomorrow, it will be partially cloudy for a few days, clearing to a sunny, but slightly chilly day, on Saturday.

Photo: Taken this morning, a horse on Pearl Road in Oakfield.

Trial moved back for former O-A teacher accused of sex abuse

By Howard B. Owens

Today's scheduled trial of a former Oakfield-Alabama teacher who is accused of sexually abusing a student has been pushed back to May 11.

Oakfield Town Justice Thomas A. Graham confirmed that 27-year-old Kerry Hoffman had until yesterday to accept a plea offer or go to trial, and Hoffman did not accept a plea deal. His case is going to trial.

All seven charges against Hoffman, five counts of sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and a count of official misconduct, are misdemeanors.

The case will be tried in Oakfield Town Court.

Previously, attorney Thomas D. Calandra has proclaimed his client's innocent.

"People will be surprised," said Calandra in January. "We will be bringing up issues that will surprise people."

Le Roy voters asked to approve vehicle purchases today

By Howard B. Owens

The possible purchase of three new school buses and two other vehicles is on the ballot in Le Roy today.

Voting in the LeRoy Central District will take place from 3 until 7 p.m. in the Trigon Building.

There are two propositions:

  • The first would buy three school buses at a cost not to exceed $285,000. Ninety-percent of the cost is covered by state aid.
  • In a second proposition, district voters will be asked to approve $72,000 for the purchase of a truck and tractor for the school district. No state aid is available for the vehicles, however.

(via WBTA)

Police Beat: A pair of alleged DWIs

By Howard B. Owens

David J. Schultz, 27, of 3124 W. Main St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Schultz was stopped at 2:32 a.m. on Tuesday by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

John A. Akok, 30, of Hartford, Conn., is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Akok was stopped by State Police on the Thruway in Stafford at 7:42 a.m., Monday.

Isreal A. Amador, 22, of Rochester, is charged with criminal contempt. Amador was picked up at 11:08 a.m., Monday, by State Police in Le Roy at the Thruway exist for allegedly violating an order of protect. No further details available.

Today's Deals: Enchanted Florist, South Main, Sallome's, Settler's and Matty's

By Howard B. Owens

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Spring colors aren't quite yet here, unless you go to The Enchanted Florist! Brighten up your home or office today. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out. We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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

SOLD OUT

 

Batavia council wants more information on options for local sex offender laws

By Howard B. Owens

Even though local laws regulating where convicted sex offenders can live have been overturned by courts, the Batavia City Council wants more information on what sort of laws it can pass regulating sex-offender residency around daycare centers, parks, schools and churches.

The issue is being pushed hardest by Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, who has received complaints about a Level 3 sex offender in her ward.

"Our preliminary investigation shows a strong leaning in the courts -- because there is such an extensive body of state statute dealing with this matter -- there is a strong feeling in the courts that this is an area that the state legislature has preempted," said City Attorney George Van Nest. "It would be beyond the ability of local municipalities to create a whole other body of regulations."

A Web page maintained by David Hess, pastor of the West Henrietta Baptist Church in West Henrietta, tracks local sex-offender laws and writes that such laws have been thrown out in Schuyler, Albany and Rensselaer counties.

"We need to do something to protect our children," Christian insists.

Council President Marianne Clattenburg suggested the city ask the New York Conference of Mayors if any local laws have been upheld. Those might be the model for Batavia, she suggested. Then the council can better direct Van Nest on any draft laws or other action.

Three residents spoke in favor of creating tighter local regulations on where sex offenders can live, including Tara Pariso, a mother of three children who is also executive director of CASA, an agency that acts as advocates for children caught up in the legal system.

Pariso discovered while searching for daycare for her own children that one daycare center in Batavia is operated by the wife of a Level 2 sex offender who lives in the house next door to the facility.

"I have no trust left in our state that they’re protecting our children," Pariso told local media after the meeting. "They have no licensing requirement that there are no sex offenders in their neighborhood. I would not trust the state to tell me who is safe and who is not, and the licensing really means nothing to me at this point. I have to do my own background investigation to figure out who I can trust my children with."

The home Pariso is concerned about is Teddy Bear Day Care, at 25 Pearl St., Batavia. 

The New York Office of Children and Family Services lists Marsha Coy as the operator of Teddy Bear Day Care.

Ronnie Coy, a Level 2 sex offender, lives at 27 Pearl St. He was convicted in 2002 of promoting sexual performances by a child and served more than a year in prison. According to local law enforcement officials, Coy has not been in any trouble since his release from prison.

A Genesee County database indicates Ronnie and Marsh Coy purchased 27 Pearl in March, 1983.

The owner of 25 Pearl is another Batavia resident, so Marsha Coy apparently rents the location of Teddy Bear Day Care.

According to the state site, the daycare business was first licensed in June, 2003. It's current license runs through June 2011. It was last inspected on Jan. 25. There have been no state enforcement actions against Teddy Bear since it opened in 2003. There are no pending complaints against the facility, which is licensed to handle 10 children ages 6 months to 12 years old, and two additional school-aged children.

Teddy Bear's only signage on the house is hand-painted and hanging from a window by the front door.

In researching this article, we found Hess's Web site, mentioned above, and he asserts that local laws restricting where sex offenders can live are counterproductive.

The common view is that the recidivism rate is high among sex offenders. It is not. New York regularly publishes 3-year follow-ups of all those released from state prisons. Between 1985 and 2002 a total of 12,863 sex offenders were released. Only 272 of these (2.1%) were returned to prison for new sex crimes within three years of their release.  (2002 Releases: Three Year Post Release Follow-up, State of New York Department of Correctional Services, p.16) 

This corresponds with an Associated Press story from 2003 that states that only 5.3 percent of sex offenders are arrested for the same offense after their release. Wikipedia also has a good summary of studies and stats about the very low recidivism rates among convicted sex offenders.

Dancer reported on State Street

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia Police are being dispatched to State Street in the area of Batavia High School where a man has been observed dancing in the rain.

The subject was "last seen sashaying south on State," a dispatcher said.

The caller also reports that the man allegedly took a bottle from his pocket, took a swig and returned it to his pocket.

Batavia student produces tribute to Blue Devils boys basketball

By Howard B. Owens

Josh Stendts, a 17-year-old senior at Batavia High, is pretty impressed with the slide shows ESPN creates for its Web site, so a while back he tried his hand at creating one about the Buffalo Bills losing season. Friends and family liked it and started encouraging him to do one about the Blue Devils boys basketball team.

At first, he resisted the idea, but when Batavia beat Sutherland and went to 8-1, he got excited about the team's prospects for the season.

In past seasons, Batavia vs. Sutherland games "have had a lot of tension and produced exciting games," Josh said in an e-mail today. "When I heard the Blue Devils had won in Sutherland, I knew it was going to be a special season. No one, including myself, thought this team was going to be as successful as they ended up being. I stopped doubting the team when the Blue Devils defeated Sutherland."

Josh's dad was also pushing him to do a video about the Blue Devils.

There was problem, Josh had a song idea, but not enough pictures. When Batavia reached Sectionals, however, The Batavian started going to games and shooting and posting lots and lots of photos.

The song was Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," because, Josh said, it was fast and he could pack a lot of information about the team into the lyrics.

When he first uploaded the slide show, he didn't have all the pictures he would eventually include, but as more and more friends and fans saw the video, it began to become popular around the campus.

He continued to polish the effort.

"On March 12th, I put together a slide show with a few pictures," Josh wrote. "I finished a rough copy and posted it on YouTube. When I returned to school on Monday the 14th everyone, including the teachers, congratulated me on such a great video. My last class of the day on Monday was GYM and my teacher is Coach Brasky. As I entered the gym to check in, he immediately pointed at me and told me 'Great Job, unbelievable.'"

Buddy Brasky and Principle Chris Daily wanted to show the video at a pep rally on Friday, before the team left for the state championship games in Glens Falls.

"I was absolutely shocked and incredibly thankful for the opportunity," Josh said.

He did one more edit on the video and then handed it over to school officials to play at the rally.

"On Friday, the video was played in front of the entire school," according to Josh. "I was nervous about what everyone would think. As the video came to a close, I received a standing ovation from the entire auditorium, including the basketball team. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life."

Josh is definitely thinking about the idea of going into media production, but he's also interested in sports medicine. He says he has plenty to think about when he starts classed at GCC in the fall.

"I would like to sincerely thank everyone who was involved in making this video a success, Mr. Dailey and Mr. Mullen for allowing me to show the video at the assembly," Josh said at the close of his e-mail. "Mr. Bromley (Sports director) who e-mailed the video to all the teachers. All my family and friends who viewed the video, and a special thanks to The Batavian for giving me permission to use their pictures for the slide show."

The Batavian would like to thank Josh for using our pictures. That's a great honor. We did ask Josh to add credit to The Batavian in his video, and we are grateful that he readily agreed to so. Congratulations to Josh on such a great tribute to the Blue Devils. It's definitely a great piece of quality work.

Bond refinancing will save county taxpayers more than $1 million

By Howard B. Owens

County taxpayers will save more than $1 million in interest payments, thanks to an effort by County Treasurer Scott D. German to refinance four old bond issues.

German got permission from the County Legislature in January to try to refinance the bonds, and closed on all four issues -- from 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001 -- on March 16.

The total savings turned out to be $1,113,632.50 over the next six years.

"We did better in the market place than we anticipated, we did about 10% better than expected,” German said in a press release today. "I couldn’t be happier to help provide these savings to the taxpayers.

The $10.7 million in bonds helped build the court facility, make improvements to the county building and old courthouse, build the GCC technology center and renovate the county nursing home.

From the press release:

Since we are experiencing low rates of interest in the bond market, German asked Fiscal Advisors, the county’s financial advisor, to take a look at refinancing  to see if it was worth while, “as it turned out it was a gigantic savings to the taxpayers,” German said.  “It is not often that I can save taxpayers over a million dollars, I am so glad I asked the question,” German said. “Bottom line, this is a great savings to Genesee County taxpayers."

Top Items on Batavia's List

TAKE NOTICE THAT The Town of Elba is requesting Bids for the 2024 Cemetery Mowing season, with extra clean-up and trimming of trees/bushes. This will include three (3) cemeteries, Pine Hill Cemetery on Chapel Street, Maple Lawn Cemetery on Maple Avenue and Springvale Cemetery on Edgerton Road. Bids are for a 1-year contract and the successful bidder must provide their own $500,000.00 Liability Insurance certificate. A complete list of specifications/properties can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk’s Office at (585)757-2762, ext. 10. Sealed bids should be clearly marked “Elba Cemetery Mowing Bids” and submitted no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Town Clerk’s Office, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14058. Bids will be opened at 1:00 p.m. at the Town of Elba Town Hall on Monday, March 11, 2024. The Town Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids that do not comply with their specifications. By Order of the Town Board, Trisha Werth Town Clerk
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Part -Time Children's Library Clerk Position available at the Haxton Memorial Public Library Application is available on the library website: haxtonlibrary.org Or apply at 3 North Pearl Street , Oakfield. Any questions please call 948-9900
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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