Skip to main content

The whole community welcome at T.F. Brown's for Christmas

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 4:14pm

Yesterday I stopped in Tenney Cleaners and spotted a print out of our story about T.F. Brown's annual community Christmas dinner on the bulletin board -- what a great way to help get the word out about this great event.

The whole community is invited, and Rick Mancuso wants to make sure that everybody knows, especially those members of the community who might otherwise spend Christmas alone or can't afford a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings.

Meal times are Noon and 1 p.m. and reservations are recommended. To make reservations call 343-2091 (ask for Joanne) by 11 a.m. on Dec. 24.

Parents and grand parents bringing children should make a special point to make a reservation. Children 16 and under will receive a Christmas present.

Everything is free and all are welcome.

Rotary set to kick off annual basketball tournament

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 4:03pm

At it's weekly lunch today, the Batavia Rotary Club kicked off its annual girls basketball tournament. Coaches and team captains from Notre Dame, Batavia, Alexander and Pavilion were on hand for lunch and a visit from Santa (actually, two Santas).

Pictured above are Amie Brooks, Trisha  Pike, Shun-Della Williams and Anna Dominick.

More pictures from the afternoon after the jump:

Pair of Megabus accidents puts company's safety record in spotlight

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 3:28pm

European-based Megabus, which a year ago started service in the Northeast U.S., bills itself as the eco-friendly, high-tech, inexpensive and safe way to travel between major cities.

It's that safety part that raises an eyebrow or two recently.

Two Megabus motor coaches have been involved in Thurway crashes in the Gensee County area in the past two weeks.

In both cases, buses tipped over. In one, high winds are a likely factor. In the other, the bus driver is accused of falling asleep.

WBTA spoke Edward Hodgson, president of Megabus, who said Megabus has a good safety record.

A search of Google didn't uncover prominent documentation of ongoing safety issues, either.

Megabus operates passenger service between Toronto and Buffalo to New York City using the New York State Thruway.

DiNapoli predicts hefty property tax increase to support schools

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 10:13am

Are you ready for your property taxes to go up another 7.7 percent?

That's what state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says will happen in two years when $2 billion in federal stimulus money now being used for schools dries up.

The D&C reports:

DiNapoli said in a report Monday that unless the federal aid is renewed or replaced by state aid, schools will be hard-pressed to make up the loss of revenue. DiNapoli said about $2.8 billion in federal stimulus money went to schools this fiscal year, of which $1.6 billion restored proposed education aid cuts.

Suspect accused of bringing needle into jail

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 9:41am

A Le Roy man jailed for allegedly writing $1,000 in bad checks now faces contraband charges.

Aaron L. Heale, 28, is accused of bringing a hypodermic needle into jail with him.

He is charged with promoting prison contraband in the 1st degree and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Further charges are pending a toxicology report on the needle.

Heale was arrested previously for allegedly using checks from a closed bank account to purchase more than $1,000 worth of items from a Le Roy store.  During the search of his apartment, investigators allegedly found drug paraphernalia.  He faces grand larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance charges.

Weather Watch: Here comes the sun

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 9:30am

The forecast for today: Mostly sunny, but still pretty darn cold. Today's high will be in the lower 20s.

Tomorrow and Thursday, more sun with a slight warming on Thursday.

Christmas Day: The prediction for freezing rain in the morning remains in effect. Rain in the afternoon. Highs in the 40s. 

Saturday is the day they expect snow to return.

Today's Deals: Great Kutz, Matty's, Sallome's, South Main

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 9:10am

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Men, enjoy a $5 haircut again with this offer exclusive to The Batavian. (gift card can be applied toward other services, but not products).

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.

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.

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

Batavia executive admits to skipping taxes for 4 years

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 22, 2009, 8:36am

Joseph P. Ryan, 52, a Batavia resident, admitted in an Albany court yesterday that he failed to file an income tax returns from 2004 through 2008.

The charge of failing to file is a misdemeanor.

Ryan is a vice president of Brighton Securities, which has an office in Batavia, but is headquartered in Brighton, a suburb of Rochester.

Before entering the plea, Ryan paid the state $57,749 in back taxes.

He was sentenced to one-year conditional release and a $5,000 fine.

(Source: Democrat and Chronicle).

Unexpected Blessings

By Robin Walters
Dec 22, 2009, 7:09am

Care-A-Van had gotten a call from Pastor Charlie Piscitello yesterday of a family that could really use some Christmas cheer and blessings from our Lord.  The husband had a stroke about a year ago and they could really use a blessing.

When we arrived, the husband was in the kitchen in his wheelchair. As we were visiting with them, there was a knock on the door. Dave Kendall and his son Kyle were standing there. He said his son wanted to know if he could see the bus. I pulled on my boots and headed out with them.

As little Kyle was touring the bus, he spotted the nativity scene. He said "there is baby Jesus"!  Kyle and his dad enjoyed the homemade treats and hot chocolate. Before leaving, the father told Kyle that he could go ahead and share his gift. Kyle handed me a gift that he wanted to give to another little boy that did not have anything.  With tears swellling in my eyes, I graciously accepted the gift on behalf of God.

How awesome it was to see that this little guy wanted to be a blessing to another little boy.  Pastor Charlie and his wife Judy came onto the bus after Christmas gifts and Christmas dinner were given to the other family. As Pastor Charlie sat there, his voice began to quiver and tears were in his eyes. He said " I just got the best Christmas gift,, we all got to bless others and share the love of Jesus with them."

It was great meeting Dave and Kyle. Thank  you Kyle for helping Care-A-Van and the Lord be a  blessing to others!

Tonight's Christmas Lights picture

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 11:25pm

Tonight for pictures of Christmas Light houses, I thought I'd drive through the North Avenue/Narramore neighborhood.   I wound up with really only one photo worth posting.

Fundraiser tonight for Batavia High student battling brain cancer

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 5:34pm

Trey Filbert, a freshman at Batavia High, is battling brain cancer and is undergoing multiple treatments to help battle his illness.

Classmates have organized a concert tonight at the school's auditorium. The 7 p.m. show will feature the school's band.

Funds raised will help the family with medical costs. Donations are accepted at the door. The high school is located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

'Shaken baby' defendant pleads guilty to attempted assault

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 5:03pm

A Batavia man accused of shaking a baby and hitting the infant's head on a hard surface, pled guilty this afternoon to one count of attempted assault in the 1st degree.

Dietrich Williams faces a sentence of three-and-a-half  to 15 years in prison, said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, as part of a plea agreement.

Williams was charged with assault in the 1st degree and reckless endangerment of a child.

"Rather than take a chance on the more serious charge, we decided to get a plea on the Class C violent felony and give the judge the latitude to sentence him up to 15 years," Friedman said.

The higher class felony carried a maximum sentence of 25 years.

The baby is doing much better, according to the mother, who recently e-mailed The Batavian about the child's condition.

Two Elba bank robbers sent to state prison for their violent crime

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 3:13pm

Judge Robert Noonan said he still doesn't understand why Dennis M. Abrams decided to rob a bank in Elba on June 18, but even with the defendant's "Boy Scout" background, the violent nature of the crime compelled the judge to impose a serious prison sentence.

Abarams can expect to be separated from his wife and newborn baby in state prison for up to 13-and-a-half years.

When Noonan imposed sentence, a young woman sitting in the fourth row of the courtroom burst into tears, moaned, "thirteen and a half years," jumped from her seat and rushed toward the hallway doors.

As with the sentencing of accomplice Michael J. Wells 11 days ago, two former M&T employees spoke in court about the trauma of the bank robbery and how the events changed their lives.

"I would like Mr. Abrams to close his eyes and imagine what it would be like if his wife or his mother were on the floor with a gun to her head," said Patty Hackett, who was working as a teller the day of the robbery.

Both Hackett and former branch manager Theresa Claybourn read statements similar to their Dec. 10 testimony at the Wells sentencing (for audio of those statements, click here). And both had messages directly addressing Abarams and co-defendant Damone Dillon, who was also sentenced today.

Dillon, who acted as a lookout for Abrams and Wells, received the maximum term under his plea agreement, 10 years.

While Dillon had a prior criminal convection for dealing drugs, Abrams entered the Elba bank branch in June with a spotless record. According to his attorney, Daniel M. Killelea, Abrams was literally a Boy Scout, even while growing up in Buffalo's rough East Side.

"For lack of a better term," Killelea said, "he was a nerd."

"Dennis should not have come anywhere near anything like this in his life," Killelea said. "This was not a person heading down the road of committing a violent criminal offense. This is somebody who was held out as a person of achievement in his community."

At one time, Abrams was on track to become a cop in Atlanta, until a hiring freeze derailed his plans. Meanwhile, he took a job in a collections agency, which is where he met his wife. Together, they earned more than $150,000 a year. At the time he entered the Elba M&T Bank branch, Abrams had $2,000 in cash in his pocket.

Yet, Abrams conceived of the robbery, convinced his buddies to join him, carried his own registered handgun, drove his car from Buffalo to Elba, switched license plates on the car and drove himself , Wells and Dillon to the bank. After the robbery, he drove during the getaway attempt. At best, for his part in the actual robbery, he came in waving his loaded gun "Rambo style" (as Patty Hackett put it) and at worst, he held that same gun to Hackett's head (Killelea suggested that it was Wells who held a pellet gun to Hackett's head, not Abrams).

"Judge," said Killelea, "this is somebody who was so naïve of the process, so unsophisticated, that I've asked and I know we've discussed (motioning toward District Attorney Lawrence Friedman), why, if he needed money, didn't he simply just embezzle from his employer, a collection agency?

"The simplest explanation I can think of is that there is no movie or TV show about somebody embezzling from an office like that. He must have gotten the idea from movies or television, and he didn't associate with people doing that sort of thing."

Before imposing sentence, Judge Noonan spoke at some length about how puzzled he remains about this case.

"This case reaches out to hyperbole to say that this may go down as the most puzzling case I've ever heard," Noonan said. "I can't find anything about you that wouldn't say that you would not have been voted in high school the person least likely to rob a bank."

Noonan said he will probably wonder for years about why Abrams decided to violently rob a bank.

For their part, both Abrams and Dillon turned to Hackett and Claybourn and said they apologized.

Dillon, sentenced first without Abrams in the room, made near a full turn toward the first row of the courtroom and seemed to look both Hacket and Claybourn in the eyes when he spoke.

"I did wrong," Dillon said. "I apologize. I'm sorry that happened to you all. I wish I could take it all back. I can't, so all I can say is I'm sorry."

His contrite body language, however, turned to visible agitation when Noonan pronounced his maximum available sentence. Dillon immediately folded his arms tightly and his facial expression was tense.

When Abrams was asked to speak, he never fully turned toward the first row, and would look away occasionally.

"I'm sorry. I honestly had no intention of hurting anyone," Abrams said. "I'm sorry once again for causing this stressful...I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I didn't mean to put you through anything like that."

After court, his uncle, John Abrams, who works in law enforcement in the City of Buffalo, said the entire Abrams family feels remorseful for what the bank employees went through that day.

"Our family is very remorseful," John Abrams said. "We hope they can get on with their lives. As a family, we are very remorseful that it happened."

Abrams added that Dennis is also remorseful and has fully cooperated with law enforcement since his arrest.

"We still support him as we always have as a family," Abrams said. "And we want to thank the judge for giving him a chance to express his remorse."

Claybourn and Hackett left the courtroom through another exit and were not available for comment following the sentencing.

Toys for Kids brought joy and more on Sunday

By Amy Weidner
Dec 21, 2009, 1:51pm

Families arrived yesterday at the Batavia YMCA around noon to kick things off at the annual Toys for Kids Christmas event. The children played together in the gym while parents snuck away to receive some secret extra gifts. Up on the third floor, a room was filled with large, black garbage bags discretely holding toys for Christmas morning.

Pictured above are five children with Don Carroll and Santa Claus. From left to right, Luvena Wagner, age 3, Giovanni Smart, 5, Bianca Jackson, 9, and Blayke Jackson. In front is Lillian Smart, age 3.

Luvena's mother, Christina Wagner, especially appreciates the event in these tough financial times.

"One of my friends was telling me about it," she said. "Her mom was helping with it and she knows that I don't have a job right now. She knew I didn't have much money, so they invited me."

Saturday's shopping spree played out just as event coordinator, Don Carroll, had planned. This year, Carroll raised money and purchased over $7,000 worth of gifts for 120 lucky children. When I asked him what makes this charity event so successful, he gave credit to the fact that it is something he puts effort into all year long.

"What separates what I do from a lot of other places is that they wait until it's time for the holidays," he said. "That's probably why they don't raise as much money. I'm going to be collecting donations again in a couple weeks and it's going to be all the way until this time next year."

Volunteer Lori Wendt says clear organization is also key to event's success.

"A few weeks ago, parents were asked to submit a list of items their kids wanted for Christmas," Wendt said. "That way, Don and the other volunteers would know what to get them. It was so organized.

"We all got our lists with a couple families, and my husband and I went around picking up the gifts. It was fun, and it was fun to know that kids would get what they want."

After playing in the gym, all of the children came up to the room on the third floor where they were served a lunch of pizza, soda pop and holiday cookies.

Good old Saint Nick made an appearance at 1 o'clock when he made his way around the room to have a word with each and every child. The kids were excited to see him and couldn't wait for their moment to talk with him.

After having a turn speaking with each of the children, it was time for Santa Claus to hand out some gifts. (But first, he helped this little girl with her boot laces.)

Each child received one gift at the event. Four lucky kids received iPods as a special gift from the Sheriff's Department.

Look for donation jars and other events throughout the year that sponsor the Toys for Kids charity to support the cause next year.

Border Patrol says it notified local law enforcement of alleged illegal border crossing

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 12:47pm

The driver who crossed into the U.S. from Canada on Saturday morning simply did not stop at the border crossing, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said today.

Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement agencies in the border region were immediately notified of the 6:30 a.m. border crossing and a description of the car was transmitted to patrols. 

"We made an attempt to locate (the car)," said Kevin Corsaro. "She took a road we didn't take."

It wasn't until 7:45 a.m., when a Genesee County Sheriff's deputy clocked a car allegedly speeding at 90 mph on Route 5 in Le Roy, that U.S. law enforcement found the possible suspect vehicle.

That interception started a high-speed chase that involved a half-dozen law enforcement agencies and passed through Downtown Batavia and the Village of Albion before the driver lost control of her car on Route 18.

It wasn't until after the crash, according to Sheriff Gary Maha, that his office became aware of the alleged illegal border crossing and that the car his deputies just spent 15 minutes chasing, matched the description of the suspect vehicle.

Deputy J.L. Baiocco didn't know, according to Maha, that a car had zipped through the border without stopping or that the car he observed allegedly driving erratically on Route 5 might be driven by a suspect who allegedly entered the country illegally.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski of the Batavia Police Department also told us Saturday morning that the police department received no notification of an alleged illegal border crossing and that a suspect was on the loose somewhere in Western New York.

Corsaro was adamant, however, that standard procedures were followed and that all law enforcement agencies in the region were duly notified and that a description of the suspect vehicle was distributed to area law enforcement.

Corsaro was also careful to note that the woman who was eventually arrested at the end of a chase that exceeded 100 mph at times may not be the same driver who crashed through the border.

"We have not had a chance to interview her yet," Corsaro said. "She's still in the hospital."

In fact, Crystal Pinnock, 23, of Ontario, Canada, the suspect driver, is listed in satisfactory condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.


Sentencing in Elba Robbery

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 11:16am

Demone Dillon, who acted as a look out in a robbery of the M&T Bank in Elba, received a 10-year sentence this morning, the maximum sentence available to Judge Robert Noonan under terms of a plea deal made earlier.

Dennis Abrams, who planned the robbery, is entering the court now for sentencing.

UPDATE: Abrams receives 13-and-a-half years in state prison.

UPDATE: Full coverage posted here.

Police Beat: Le Roy man accused of writing $1K in checks on closed account

By Howard B. Owens
Dec 21, 2009, 11:12am

Aaron L. Heale, 28, of 8 School St., south apartment, is charged with grand larceny in the 4th degree and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Heale is accused of purchasing more than $1,000 in merchandise from a local store using checks from a bank account that had been closed for years. The investigation by Le Roy Police Detective John Condidorio began in November 2009. On Dec. 16, Det. Condidorio -- along with members of the Le Roy Police Department, the Genesee County Sheriff's office and the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force -- executed a search warrant on Heale's apartment. Heale was not present at the time. Condidorio reports that during the search, evidence of the alleged grand larceny was found along with drug paraphernalia. Heale was located on Dec. 20 at a residence in the village and arrested. He was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Linda L. Snyder, 27, of 6 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a child; Paula A. Kingsley, 34, of 8 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Snyder and Kingsley were allegedly involved in a neighbor dispute at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday. Snyder is also accused of grabbing a 15-year-old girl and fighting with her. Both were jailed on $1,000 bail.

Ralph G. Depema, 33, of 854 Whitier Road, Spencerport, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation and unsafe turn. Depema was reportedly stopped by Officer Chris Camp Ellicott Street at 11:35 a.m. on Sunday. After the stop, it was discovered that Depema was driving despite his license reportedly being suspended 16 times. Depema was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Joshua P. Garcia, 26, of 14 Marchall Ave., Akron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. Deputy Kevin McCarthy responded to a report from the T/A Travel Plaza of a person who reportedly passed out in the dining area and then refused to leave. Upon interviewing Garcia, McCarthy determined that he allegedly drove to the location.

Brian L. Smith, 48, 4128 Colonial Blvd., Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment in the 2nd degree. Smith allegedly made repeated contacts via online communication with a woman in Florida after she had repeatedly asked him to stop. Investigator Kristopher Kautz characterized the communications as "harassing and alarming in nature."

Philip Anthony Caccamise, 27, of 65 South St., Le Roy, is charged with harassment. Caccamise allegedly grabbed a friend and threw him to the ground.

Glenn W. Viehdeffer, Jr., 59, of 7628 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely and inadequate/no muffler. Viehdeffer was stopped for an alleged traffic violation by Deputy Jason Saile on South Pearl Street Road in Oakfield at 1:42 a.m. on Saturday.

Eric W. Kubik, 23, of 2160 Phelps Road, Basom, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving left of pavement markings. Kubik was stopped by Deputy Howard Carlson on Route 5 in the Town of Le Roy at 2:40 a.m. on Saturday.

John C. Bertini, 51, of 2419 Pratt Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bertini was stopped by Deputy Kevin R. McCarthy on Indian Falls Road for an alleged improper headlight at 2:08 a.m. on Sunday.

A 17-year-old from Batavia is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputy Kevin McCarthy investigated a car parked partially on the pavement on Gabby Road in Pembroke at 4:54 a.m. on Saturday. He found the youth allegedly in possession of marijuana.

Ricky N. Porter, Jr., 19, of 1 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with assault in the 3rd degree and criminal contempt in the 1st. Porter allegedly violated a court order of protection by pulling the hair of a girlfriend and then hitting her numerous times in the head and face. Porter was jailed without bail.

Joshua G. Bachorski, 26, of 11 Pringle Ave., lower, Batavia, is charged petit larceny. Bachorski allegedly stole a bottle of liquor from Mr. Wine and Liquor.

Amanda M. Elliott, 25, of 18 1/2 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Elliott allegedly shoplifted items from Tops.

Julia R. Sallade, 18, of 9845 Roanoke Road, Pavilion, is charged with petit larceny. Sallade allegedly attempted to steal $368 worth of clothing and jewelry from JCPenney.

Top Items on Batavia's List

Licensed Dental Hygienist Position Available Robert S. Marchese, DDS Batavia, New York We are looking for a licensed dental hygienist to add to our team! Private practice with a wonderful team, a kind doctor and awesome patients! Full or part time position, 20 - 35 hours per week, no nights or weekends, paid holidays and time off, any experience considered, new graduates welcome to apply, willing to hire different hygienist for different days. Call us today - (585)343-8675 Or email your information to [email protected]
Tags: Jobs offered
Crossroads House is looking for a compassionate RN or LPN to provide dignified End-of-Life (EOL) Comfort Care to individuals who have received a three month or less prognosis. The Per-diem staff nurse must be able to work a minimum of one (24) hour shift per week. A shift consists of (5) hours in-house, (7:15 am to 12:15 pm), with the remaining (19) hours as on-call hours, working in-house as needed. Each per-diem staff nurse is required to work one (24) hour shift, one weekend day per month. This shift is split between being in-house and on-call, with the hours varying as needed. Must have a minimum of (1) year work experience, EOL experience preferred, training provided. If interested, please apply on-line at
Tags: Jobs offered
Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying, located in Batavia NY, and is looking for a compassionate caregiver to provide personal care and emotional support to our dying residents, consistent with Comfort Care Philosophy. Must have prior caregiving experience. Licenses or certifications are not required. Must be able to work weekends, overnight shift is required. (11pm-8AM) Day and evening shifts are also available on weekdays and weekends. Must be able to work as a team member and independently. If interested, or have any questions, apply online at or email [email protected]
Tags: Jobs offered
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 to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email [email protected]
Tags: Jobs offered

Authentically Local