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Batavia Middle School's Treats for Troops project a success Saturday

By Daniel Crofts

Eighth-grader Steven O'Brien is a pretty good salesman. He displayed his knack for hawking things Saturday at Batavia High School's annual Arts & Crafts Festival.

With a variety of goods draped over his arms, he looked like a walking advertisement for "Treats for Troops," an outreach project for the military which began at Batavia Middle School in 2002.

Steven helped sell such items as necklaces, bracelets, picture frames, scarves, towels and blankets, priced from $1 to $10, along with founder and special education teacher Lucille DiSanto.

The money raised will pay for supplies for an "adopted" military troop in Iraq or Afghanistan that has a soldier from Batavia in it. Each year, a different troop is chosen.

"It's grown a little bit each year," DiSanto said. "We're definitely getting more attention."

The fundraiser for those in combat is the culmination of the efforts of her students, the student council and an organization called SWAT -- Students Working as a Team. They sell the items, some of which they make themselves, others are bought with donations. A McDonald's corporation MAC Grant pays for project costs.

"I felt it was necessary to help kids learn community service,” says DiSanto. “And what better way to do that than to help one of our own in Iraq or Afghanistan?"

The Treats for Troops table fared quite well, taking in $65 within the first 70 minutes Saturday. They received a total of $35 in donations.

"This is the most donations I've ever gotten," said DiSanto excitedly.

Steven took it upon himself to venture out beyond the table, working the crowd with his sense of humor. People bought stuff from him, and vendor Fran Norton donated a dollar.

"Anything for the boys," says Norton, who holds America's soldiers in high esteem. "Any services we can provide to them, they deserve it."

Anyone interested in learning more about the Treats for Troops project should contact DiSanto at Batavia Middle School. If you would like to learn more about Batavia High School's Arts & Crafts Festival, please contact Paul Pedersen, BHS Physical Education teacher and Batavia Ice Devils coach.

Today's Deals: Margarita's, Enchanted Florist, Kravings, T.F. Brown's and more

By Howard B. Owens

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, W. Main Street, Batavia, NY: Recently opened, it offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Brighten up your home or office with flowers! We have a $20 gift certificate for $8.50.

Belladessa's Pizzeria/Jackson St. Grill, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Here's a deal -- half off on a Family Meal Deal from Belladessa's, which is a large 1 topping pizza, 24 wings and 2-liter bottle of soda. It's a $25 value for $12.50.

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.

Total Image Hair Salon/Sarah and Amanda Lowe, 226 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Time to update your style? Try something different or finally get the hair styling you've dreamed of, give Sarah or Amanda at Total Image a try. We have a $22 gift certificate for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $15 gift card for $7.50.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. Dine-in, Take-Out, or Delivery. 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.

Former Batavian and former hostage Terry Anderson files for bankruptcy

By Howard B. Owens

Terry Anderson, the former Hezbollah hostage who grew up in Batavia, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Nov. 3, according to Associated Press.

Now a lecturer at the University of Kentucky, Anderson was an AP correspondent in Lebanon in 1985 when he was abducted by terrorists following a tennis game. He was held hostage for six-and-a-half years.

According to AP, Anderson lists $60,000 in assets and $1.8 million in liabilities in his Chapter 7 filing. The filing lists 17 credit cards, some with debt related to a restaurant in the Virgin Islands.

Anderson filed a lawsuit against Iran over his captivity and received a $26 million settlement in 2002 from the government's frozen assets. With the money, according to Wikipedia, Anderson started charities and a blues bar in Athens, Ohio.

In 2004, Anderson ran for the Senate in Ohio. He was defeated by Republican Joy Padgett, whose campaign commercials suggested Anderson would be soft on terrorism. Anderson garnered 46 percent of the vote.

Pet(s) of the Week: Charle, Toby, Queenie

By Pachuco Owens

This trio is like the Three Musketeers, one for all and all for one. So after much internal debate, I've decided on this threesome as Pet of the Week. I can do that if I want to, because I'm the boss of my column.

Meet Charle, the shih tzu, Toby, a peek-a-poo and Queenie the cat. They all get along smashingly and go bonkers with delight whenever their mom gets home from work or from a five-minute jaunt to the post office or, well, from anywhere.

As mom tells it, they spin around in circles with excitement. Charle grabs a toy and runs around the house in frenetic joy. Toby spins and barks, barks and spins, his way of saying "Yes! I haven't been abandoned after all!" and Queenie rubs against her leg and purrs -- I'm not making this up -- "uncontrollably."

The dogs wag their tails during these momentous meetings and they do so with such enthusiasm that their entire bodies shake, too.

When it comes to TV watching, they all manage to somehow fit on mom's lap, or try to as best they can, and enjoy the programs with her. And they crowd around her as she sleeps. They follow her around wherever she goes.

"They are absolutely faithful," said mom, Joanne Qamoos, of Oakfield, "and show their love for me in too many ways to enumerate. They bring a special joy to my life, therefore I could not pick just one to submit for Pet of the Week."

Well, Joanne, based on all this, I can certainly understand why. I was won over as well, hence my unique decision. But they still only get one gift certificate worth $10. Them's the rules!

Send me your Pet of the Week submission -- the story of your pet and a picture -- to pets *at* thebatavian dt com.

Today's Deals: Great Kutz, Adam Miller, O'Lacy's, Margarita's and more

By Howard B. Owens

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).

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St. Batavia, NY: In Irish pubs, it doesn't get more authentic than O'Lacy's. Be sure to try the homemade chips. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding.

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.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, W. Main Street, Batavia, NY: Recently opened, it offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5. (NOTE: Because of people recently doubling up on their Kravings purchases -- transactions we had to cancel and refund money on -- we have FOUR Kravings gift certificates available this morning.)

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

SOLD OUT

Suspected purse snatcher nabbed in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

BATAVIA , NY -- A woman who allegedly tried to steal another woman's pocketbook as she left Wendy's on Main Street in Batavia this afternoon is in custody, charged with robbery in the third degree and petit larceny.

The suspect, Misty Guadagno, 23, of 120 State St., Batavia, was caught with the help of a man who was eating lunch in Wendy's parking lot.

The man reportedly chased Guadagno from the eatery into the Genesee Country Mall parking lot where he grabbed her and held her until police arrived. The victim and her husband also helped keep the suspect at the scene while waiting for police.

While the pocketbook and most of its contents were recovered, the cash disappeared.  Police are asking that anybody who might know what happened to the cash to call the police department at 345-6350.

Guadagno was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail.

Original reports after the jump:

(First report filed by Billie Owens around noon)

A female suspected of purse snatching was apprehended at the Wendy's on Main Street in Batavia about 25 minutes ago.

She reportedly grabbed another woman's purse at the fast-food restaurant and attempted to flee. She was detained by another individual before she could escape and police were quickly on scene to make an arrest.

The suspect's name has not been released and no other information is available at this time.

UPDATE 1:02 p.m. (by Howard): Lt. Gene Jankowski confirms there was an attempted purse snatching. 

An older woman was exiting Wendy's when another woman grabbed her pocketbook and ran. The older woman yelled for help and a man in the parking lot chased the alleged purse snatcher into the Genesee Country Mall parking lot, where he was able to grab and hold the woman. The older woman and her husband also helped keep the suspect in custody until police arrived.

"It's a good thing the guy helped because we probably couldn't have caught up with her," Jankowski said.

Charges are pending and there is an ongoing investigation. The police are withholding the suspect's name until the investigation is completed.

Police Beat: Alleged probation violation in Greece

By Howard B. Owens

Charles Patrick Taylor, 32, of 238 Mason Ave., Greece, was picked up on a warrant for an alleged violation of probation. Taylor was arrested at the Greece Probation Department and arraigned in Stafford Town Court. Taylor was jailed on $200 bail.

A 17-year-old Elba Central School student is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The marijuana was reportedly found in her car.

County planning board rejects plan for drive-thru in Village of Alexander

By Howard B. Owens

A zoning regulation in the Village of Alexander that requires all new commercial buildings to line up along the sidewalk is facing a first-time challenge from an existing business that wants to change locations.

The owners of Country in the Village, a cafe on Route 98, want to build a new drive-thru business on Buffalo Road, but the business would have be set back from the street by 63 feet.

That violates the village plan to have all businesses line up in a block.

Tonight, the Genesee County Planning Board denied Gary and Bea Dominick's request for a special-use permit.

Planning Director Jim Duval said it will be up to the village to decide if it wants to waver from its commercial development plan, not the county planning board.

In other planning news:

The board denied a request for a variance at 3589 Pike Road in the Town of Batavia for a building to stable animals. Duval said the 25-foot set back put the building too close to the roadway.

A temporary-use permit was granted to the Town of Bethany to allow a retail store in its old Town Hall. The town is planning a country store, with a craft shop, grocery items, historical exhibit and learning center. The facility will also offer classes in fly tying and cake decorating, as well as craft classes for children. Multiple vendors will be offered space in the store.

In the Town of Darien, the developer of East Bonnie Brae is ready to build the second half of its housing project, filling out the east side of the development. The original plan called for the street that now serves the west side to loop around. But a landowner who would need to sell his land to make a portion of the street continuation possible, no longer wishes to sell. The proposed development addition would have a cul-de-sac. The problem with the proposal, according to Duval, is that 11 parcels do not have the required 100-foot set back. The developer, Duval said, disagrees with how the planning department is calculating the set back. The Town of Darien also advised the applicant that a required recreational area was not included. The board disapproved the preliminary plan for the development.

Sheriff awaiting warrant to seize meth lab found at house on Jackson Street

By Billie Owens

A small methamphetamine lab was allegedly discovered at 135 Jackson St. in Batavia earlier today when law officers went there looking for Kenneth W. Mosholder, whose home in Alabama was the target of a 6 a.m. drug bust.

He was arrested on federal drug charges at the Jackson Street house and so was a female acquaintance who lived there. Her name has not been released because Sheriff Gary Maha is awaiting a federal search warrant from Buffalo in order to seize the lab and press charges.

A Batavia police officer is staked outside the residence to keep the scene secure until the warrant can be exercised.

When Mosholder's dumpy place at 789 Lewiston Road in Alabama was raided, 20-year-old Dustin R. Benham of Darien was arrested. Both men are charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth.

A haz mat team has been on location cleaning up the toxic mess as investigators gathered evidence, including chemicals, paraphenalia and guns.

Mosholder's 17-year-old son was also found there and taken to social services for placement.

Other charges may be pending against Mosholder and Benham, who have been transported to Buffalo for arraignment in federal court. The investigation is ongoing as to whether other individuals were involved in the illegal drug operation.

Two men suspected of manufacturing meth busted at house in Alabama

By Howard B. Owens

Two Genesee County men face federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine after local law enforcement agents raided a house on Lewiston Road in Alabama this morning.

Because of the toxic nature of the chemicals involved, a haz mat team has been on location all morning conducting clean up while investigators sift through the evidence, which includes chemicals, paraphernalia and guns. Two young men found at the location had to be decontaminated at the scene.

Sheriff Gary Maha announced the arrests at the 789 Lewiston Road residence at 10 a.m..

Taken into custody were Dustin R. Benham, 20, of 10472 Alleghany Road, Darien, who was in the house at the time of 6 a.m. raid. The owner of the home, Kenneth W. Mosholder, 44, was not in the dilapidated house this morning. He was arrested a few hours later at a friend's house at 135 Jackson St., Batavia.

Maha said his office sought federal charges in this case because he wants to send a clear message that the manufacture of meth will not be tolerated in Genesee County.  Meth labs are an epidemic in some rural counties around the nation, including some New York counties.

"This is the first methamphetamine lab in Genesee County that we know of," Maha said. "We want to send a clear message that we'll stop this cancer before it spreads. That's another reason for going for Federal prosecution in this case."

Moshholder's 17-year-old son was also in the house at the time of the raid, but he has not been charged with any crimes at this time. He has been turned over to social services, who will find a place for him to stay. Mosholder could face child endangerment charges, according to Maha.

Other charges may be pending against Mosholder and Benham.

Maha said the lab was small and fairly recent, but officials believe Mosholder intended to grow his alleged production facility. The Sheriff said as far as officials know, the drug was being distributed in Batavia. The investigation is ongoing as to whether other individuals were involved in the distribution.

"At this time we feel it's a relatively small operation," Maha said. "We know he's been living out here for about a year-and-a-half, so it's possible he's been dealing for a year-and-a-half. You'll get a look at the materials and you'll see how big of an operation it is. Even though it's a small operation, we think he was growing the operation based on our intelligence."

Mosholder is reportedly originally from the Genesee County area, but moved to Texas before returning to Alabama in 2008.

According to law enforcement officials on scene, the presence of guns in the house -- where meth was allegedly being manufactured -- could add up to 20 years of prison time to any eventual sentence the defendants receive if convicted.

Responding to the scene this morning to deal with the investigation and clean up were DEA chemists, members of the Genesee County Haz Mat Team, Genesee County Emergency Management, Mercy EMS and the Alabama Fire Department.

Participating in the investigation and arrests were the Genesee County Local Law Enforcement Task Force.

Mosholder and Benham will be arraigned in federal court in Buffalo later today.

A Question of Sidewalks

By Jennifer Keys

I'm very curious to know your thoughts on sidewalks.

What do you think about sidewalks? What do sidewalks say about a community? Are some sidewalks more important than others? What is your favorite kind of a sidewalk (slate, brick, cement, dirt path...)?

Adopt-A-Pet: Lee and Einstein

By Billie Owens

Hi, I'm Lee -- look at me! What funny ears I have, what piercing blue eyes I have -- and see how eager I seem to frolic and pal.

I'm an adult, male Siberian Husky mix who is good with other dogs and seemly on a leash. For inexcusable and unfathomable reasons, my pack abandoned me and another dog, too.

We were left in an apartment with nothing or no one to care for us. As a result, I'm a little on the thin side and could use some beefy stew or other vittles to help me get back to a healthy weight.

People say I'm nice, I'm playful and I love romping around with other dogs in the backyard, all so true. Come and shake a paw, Kennel 37.

My name is Einstein. Yea, I'm a cat and I'm Einstein. If that ain't a hoot and holler. Don't even start with the 3-equals-m-c-squared jokes. Been there, heard that.

Let me tell you one reason I am special. Ask yourself, have you ever seen a cat with short hair yet a big fluffy tail? Isn't that hilarious! I'm a "tiger and white," young, neutured male.

I am affectionate because I paw at you to give me affection and then I let you give me affection, that's how affectionate I am. Let's explore the universe together. I'm not as smart as the real Einstein, but I am pretty smart for a cat. Check out Cage 87.

P.S.: Both Phoebe (the pit-bull terrier) and Gypsy (the one-eyed malnourished kitten) were scooped up last week and sent to loving homes. The animals lovers all say Thanks! 

Iraq vet who died outside Blockbuster honored in memorial service

By Howard B. Owens

James Maher, the 27-year-old Iraq War veteran who died from a head wound after falling outside the Blockbuster location on Lewiston, was honored by a group of fellow veterans this evening in a memorial service on the spot where he died.

Popular spaghetti dinner raises funds for Genesee Cancer Assistance

By Howard B. Owens

Our dinner tonight was some of Joe Gerace's famous spaghetti and meatballs at Holy Name of Mary Church in East Pembroke. The popular dinner is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance. Friends told us to get their early because it's not unusual for them to run out of sauce.

Besides the great services provided by Genesee Cancer Assistance, one of the great things about the charity is that it has no overhead and all the money donated stays in Genesee County.

Gerace is pictured below on the right.

Hawley calls for eliminating plan to require new license plates

By Billie Owens

This week in Albany, Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been busy lobbying the governor and other lawmakers to rescind a plan requiring all residents to get new vehicle license plates next spring.

Opponents of the DMV plan, like Hawley, say it's a blatant money-grab by a budget-challenged state at taxpayers' expense. Firstly, they argue, we do not need new license plates. Secondly, this plan is, basically, a tax, something New York has plenty of already.

In a press release, Hawley said "In rural areas, like in Western New York, it is a necessity to drive: to buy food, to get to work. This license plate plan is just another tax on residents in communities like ours. This plan does not impact New York City residents, it affects us."

He asked that it be repealed immediately as a "sign of good faith" that those in Albany are listening to the residents of Western New York and other upstate regions.

"It is not enough for the Governor and legislative leaders to 'rein in spending' by making last minute budget cuts," according to Hawley. "They must cut the excessive burden they have placed on the backs of taxpayers..."

Man accused of assaulting Batavia police officer surrenders

By Howard B. Owens

A man who allegedly assaulted a Batavia police officer yesterday Friday has surrendered.

Paul F. Daly, 28, of 29 Waverly St., Cattaraugus, was at large since being released from a facility where he was taken for a mental-health evaluation. Before police could arrest him on criminal charges, Daly was let go and the police were not notified.

Daly, who was a patient at the VA Medical Center, surrendered to State Police in Amity.

Batavia PD Warrant Officer Dennis Rider negotiated with Daly to convince him to turn himself in.

"Basically, I started with family members, because they didn't want to say where he was, but I convinced them that the safest thing was for him to turn himself in," Rider said. "I wanted to avoid a confrontation if at all possible."

Daly is being transported by State Police to Batavia.

UPDATE: We've also learned that Chris Camp, the officer who was reportedly attacked, did try to deploy his Taser. The Taser was ineffective. Det. Schauf said, "it did not have its intended effect," though why it didn't work as it should is unknown.  As we reported previously, a passing citizen helped Camp subdue the suspect.

UPDATE 6:52 p.m.: Daly was delivered back into Batavia police custody this evening. He was arraigned and jailed without bail.

Previously:

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