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October 18, 2018 - 6:12pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Jerome Foundation is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 36th Annual Health and Humanitarian Award is Dr. Matthew Landfried, who will be recognized at a luncheon next month at Terry Hills Restaurant.

The award is presented by the Foundation to recognize volunteer men and women of Genesee County who have helped promote the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of the area’s residents. Nominees reflect “ordinary people who reach far beyond themselves to the lives of those in need bringing hope, care, and friendship and helping build a stronger, healthier community."

Dr. Landfried is currently the medical director of Surgical Services and chairman of the Department of Surgery at UMMC, as well as serving on multiple committees at UMMC and its partner Rochester Regional Health. He is an adjunct professor at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and D’Youville College and mentors Physician Assistant students, medical students and residents.

Professionally, Dr. Landfried is well respected in his field and has been published in multiple medical journals. Among other professional honors, Dr. Landfried has been named a “Top Doctor” by U.S. News & World Report.

As a member of the Trauma and Critical Care response team of National Disaster Medical System of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, he has volunteered in Haiti, Texas, and other disaster sites supporting the critical medical needs of the communities struck by disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. He assisted at an orphanage in Haiti and remains in contact with them and provides financial help as well.

Dr. Landfried is the medical lead for several area sports programs including Batavia and Notre Dame high schools, as well as assisting with various sports medicine needs at Genesee Community College. You see him on the sidelines at many youth sporting events where he donates his time and often medical assistance outside the office to student athletes in need.

He and his wife Kerry have opened their home to many Muckdog baseball players as well as exchange students.

Batavia has its own version of the Blindside movie, played by Dr. Matt Landfried and his wife. They brought into their home a high school football player who experienced a very troubled homelife. With the Landfried’s caring support and encouragement, the young man graduated from Batavia High School and completed a successful undergraduate and graduate college program and is now an educational professional in Boston.

His compassion is demonstrated in a variety of ways that are often outside of medical care. He has gone to nursing homes or made a home visit to talk with family members about a loved one’s condition or to assist in special treatment. There was a time when a patient with multiple complications needed to be transferred to a Rochester hospital. Because of the complexity of the case, there were many instructions that had to be relayed and special care provided during the transfer. In order to make sure things were done appropriately, Dr. Landfried rode in the ambulance to assure the proper care was provided and treatment would be continued suitably.

Throughout their 28 years in our community, Dr. and Mrs. Landfried have financially supported too many causes to mention. Our community is infinitely enriched by the presence of Dr. Matthew Landfried and The Jerome Foundation is pleased to honor him with the 2018 Health and Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Landfried will be honored by The Jerome Foundation at a luncheon on Friday, Nov. 30, at noon at Terry Hills Restaurant.

The cost of the event is $20 a person and is open to the public.

Reservations are now being accepted by:

  • Mailing a check to The Jerome Foundation, P.O. Box 249, Batavia, NY 14021
  • Or by emailing [email protected]
  • Or online at www.thejeromefoundation.org

For questions or reservations, please call Chris Fix at 585-356-3419.

October 18, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Batavia HS, batavia, veterans.

bhsvetdayplans2018.jpg

Students and staff at Batavia High School are hosting a ceremony honoring Genesee County's veterans at 10 a.m. Friday Nov. 9 at the school.

The ceremony will be held in the auditorium. There will be performances from the high school band and chorus, a student representative speaker, and a keynote speaker, and a reception after the ceremony in the school's library.

The ceremony is open to all local veterans and their families. Veterans who plan to attend should email Jane Haggett, [email protected]. Veterans are invited to include a picture with their response.

Photo: Students Cooper Mattice, Ryan Weaver, Elle Fulton, and Lyndsay Debo. Not pictured, Gyna Gibson, whom Haggett said was the real driving force behind organizing this year's event at the school.

October 18, 2018 - 3:14pm

img_3378halloween.jpg

Press release:

Batavia’s Original Pizzeria and the Kiwanis Club of Batavia are thrilled to announce they have partnered together to bring back the Kids' Halloween Parade.

The parade is going to be held on Sunday, Oct. 28th, starting at 1 p.m. The lineup will begin in front of Dan’s Tire & Auto at City Centre Mall. Kids should arrive a little early to get their place in line.

The parade route will end at Batavia’s Original parking lot where there will be a variety of games and snacks for kids, live music, and prizes given for the best costumes.

The Kiwanis Club and Batavia’s Original are excited to bring back this free family friendly event to the community!  The event is going to take place rain or shine so please dress appropriately.

Call 343-3303 for additional details or questions.

Kids' Halloween Parade Route:

Starting in front of Dan’s Tire & Auto (on the backside of City Centre Mall) the kids will go straight until they reach Washington Avenue, where they will take a right. The parade route will follow along Washington Avenue and then take a left onto Ross Street and a quick right onto East Avenue.  From East Avenue the kids will take a right onto Vine Street, then a left onto Chase Park, followed by a right onto Elm Street.  The route crosses Main Street and takes a left into the Batavia’s Original pizzeria parking lot.

Photo provided by WBTA.

October 17, 2018 - 6:30pm


Pudgie’s Class/Event List • 3646 W. Main Street, Batavia • 343-8352
Seasonal Classes 

  • Oct. 17th @ 5 p.m. -- Halloween Fairy Garden
  • Oct. 27th @1 p.m. -- Pumpkin Wood Slice
  • Nov. 3rd @ 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Craft Show
  • Nov. 10th @11a.m. - 2 p.m. -- Fall Centerpiece
  • Nov. 14th @6 p.m. -- Fall Centerpiece
  • Nov. 17 @10 a.m. - 12 p.m. -- Christmas Candy Jar
  • Nov. 19 @5:30 p.m. -- Christmas Candy Jar
  • Nov. [email protected] p.m. -- Fairy Garden Class
  • Dec. 1st @11 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- Decorate Wreath
  • Dec. 5th @ 5:30 p.m. -- Evergreen Centerpiece
  • Dec. 8th @11 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- Evergreen Centerpiece
  • Dec. 10th @ 5:30 p.m. -- Decorate Wreath
  • Dec. 12th @ 5:30 p.m. -- Decorate Wreath
  • Dec. 14th @ 5:30 p.m. -- Evergreen Centerpiece
  • Dec. 15th @ TBA -- Kids’ Christmas Crafts
October 17, 2018 - 5:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in sex offender, news, notify, batavia, Grand Jury.

Levi Spikes Jr. is indicted for the crime of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender, a Class E felony. It is alleged that between November 2017 and January 2018, Spikes failed to register a change of address with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 calendar days after moving from 3 Lewis Place in the City of Batavia. In count two, he is accused of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two, that Spikes knew a written instrument -- a NYS Sex Offender Change of Address Form dated May 8, 2018 -- contained false information. The form contained a statement that the defendant had not moved from 3 Lewis Place, Batavia, until May 8, 2018. He then offered the form to public authorities to be filed for official records. In count three, Spikes is accused of the same crime alleged in count two. In count three, he is accused of knowing the same type of form, dated May 11, 2018, also contained the same false information and yet he offered it to public authorities to be filed for official records. In count four, the defendant is accused of another count of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender. It is alleged in count four that he failed to give the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services a change of address within 10 calendar days when he moved from 421 Ellicott St. in the City of Batavia.

October 17, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, alexander, Le Roy, notify, east bethany, bergen.

Iszon C. Richardson, 18, of Lewis Place, Batavia is charged with: criminal contempt in the first degree -- with physical contact; criminal obstruction of breathing / blood circulation; burglary in the second degree -- illegal entry of a dwelling; resisting arrest; and fourth-degree criminal mischief. Richardson was arrested following an investigation into a domestic violence incidence that was conducted by Officer Lawrence. The defendant is accused of illegally entering the residence of a protected person on Jackson Street in Batavia at 12:34 p.m. on Oct. 14. The victim has a stay-away order of protection against Richardson, who is accused of choking that person and damaging property. Richardson was located in the area by Officer Ivison and Officer DeFelice. Richardson resisted arrest and fled on foot before being apprehended a short time later. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Catherine Mucha.

Michael Lettice, 71, of Lehigh Station Road, Henrietta, is charged with grand larceny, second-degree forgery, and issuing a bad check. On Oct. 12, Lettice was arrested for allegedly fraudulently endorsing two checks on May 21. He was arraigned and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. He was due in City Court on Monday (Oct. 15). The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Catherine Mucha.

Mitchell Merrill, 33, and Haley Merrill, 26, both of East Main Street, Batavia, are charged with: five counts each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree; and four counts each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. They were arrested following an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office following a report of larceny to a vehicle at 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 14 in the Village of Alexander. They were allegedly found in possession of stolen property consisting of five credit cards and other personal property taken from multiple vehicles throughout the village. Mitchell is being held in GC Jail without bail; Haley is held on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 secured bond. Both were due back in Alexander Town Court this afternoon (Oct. 16). The investigating officers were: Sgt. John Baiocco, Deputy James Stack and Deputy Andrew Mullen.

Carlos Edward Guevara, 45, of Highland Parkway, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault. It is alleged that at 9:38 p.m. on Oct. 6 that Guevara became combative and began attacking an Emergency Medical Technician who was rendering aid to Guevara. The defendant had been found unresponsive, lying on the sidewalk on Hutchins Street. He is due in City Court on Oct. 23 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Isaiah J.A. Munroe, 28, and Chercal A. Smith, 23, both of Batavia, were arrested on Oct. 13 on Bank Road in the Town of Middlebury in Wyoming County. Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies stopped to check on a vehicle parked in a parking area off of Bank Road. Munroe was the male driver of a 2014 Hyundai Sonata that was found parked with the engine running; Smith of the front-seat passenger. The odor of marijuana was allegedly detected by the deputies as they approached the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the discovery of three OxyContin pills; one tramadol pill, and concentrated cannabis -- all controlled substances. Smith was also allegedly found to have concealed two pill bottles in her bra containing marijuana and marijuana blunts. Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested and the Sonata was towed. They are charged with three counts each of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Smith was additionally charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. They were arraigned in Village of Warsaw Court and both were jailed with bail set at $500 cash or $2,500 bond apiece. They are due in Town of Middlebury Court on Oct. 22. Wyoming County Sheriff's Sgt. Colin Reagan handled the case.

Luis A. Ramos-Mercado, 34, of South Main Street, Batavia, was arrested Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. on a bench warrant out of city court. It was issued after he failed to appear for: having a suspended vehicle registration; operating a motor vehicle while his registration was suspended; and having an unregistered motor vehicle. He was arraigned and jailed on $1,000 bail. He had a second bench warrant, also out of city court, for failure in appear on a charge of second-degree criminal trespass. His bail on that was set at $2,500. Ramos-Mercado had a third bench warrant out of city court and it was for failing to appear on a charge of using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. Bail for this was also set at $2,500. The defendant is due in city court on Oct. 18 on all three cases. Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins handled the cases.

Daniel B. Cochran, 63, of East Bethany, was arrested at 11:38 p.m. on Oct. 9 for: DWI; aggravated DWI; moving from lane unsafely; refusal to take a breath test; and unlawful possession of marijuana. Troopers in Wyoming County arrested him after a traffic stop on Route 20A in the Town of Orangeville. He allegedly failed to maintain his designated lane while driving, prompting the traffic stop. He failed multiple standard field sobriety tests and was transported to State Police Barracks in Warsaw for processing, where he allegedly had a BAC of .18 percent. Cochran was issued traffic tickets for the Town of Orangeville Court and is due there on Oct. 24.

Aaron Lee Klein, 47, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested at 1:40 a.m. on Oct. 15 on Monclair Avenue, Batavia City police responded there for a report of a disturbance and arrested Klein after it was discovered that an order of protection was in place, requiring that Klein stay away from the address. He was arraigned and jailed on $5,000 cash bail or bond and is due in city court on Oct. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Darryle Streeter. He is also charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child less than 17, stemming from an incident on Sept. 9, and that case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Marissa S. Adams, 19, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. She was arrested at 2:50 p.m. on Oct. 15 on State Street in Batavia after she allegedly took a phone out of the hand of a person attempting to contact police and threw it on the ground, causing it to break. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in city court on Oct. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Steven David Smires, 23, of Clay Street, Le Roy, is charged with trespass. At 2:07 p.m. on Oct. 10, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to Route 19 in the Town of Le Roy for a trespass complaint. After an investigation, Smires was arrested. He allegedly entered a house on Warsaw Road in Le Roy and remained unlawfully in the backyard of a residence. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Nov. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

Tiesha Deon Doward, 32, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 4:01 p.m. on Oct. 10 on East Main Street in Batavia following an incident at Dollar General. It is alleged that Doward entered the store, selected two items from shelves in the store then proceeded to the cash register, where she indicated the intent to return those items using a receipt from several days prior. She was issued an appearance ticket by city police and is due in coity court on Oct. 23. The case was handled by Batavia City Police Officer Chad Richards.

Justin T. Gladney, 29, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant on Oct. 11 for failing to appear in court. He was arraigned and jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. Gladney was due back in city court on Oct. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Sgt. Dan Coffey, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Mark J. Spath, 48, of Rochester, was arrested by Troopers out of SP Batavia Barracks at 11:55 a.m. on Oct. 10 at 11:55 for criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, no seat belt, and uninspected motor vehicle. Troopers stopped Spath on State Route 19 in the Town of Bergen for no seat belt. While speaking to Spath, the operator, Troopers allegedly detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Spath was placed under arrest after Troopers searched the vehicle and allegedly found Spath to be in possession of approximately 7.76 ounces of marijuana. Spath was transported to SP Batavia where he was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Bergen Court later this month.

Travis L. Bartz, 23, of Buell St., Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. At 8:58 p.m. on Oct. 12 on Trumbull Parkway in Batavia, Bartz was arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana. He is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 6 to answer the charge. Also on Oct. 12, Bartz was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in city court on a charge of unlawful possession of marijuana stemming from August. He was released on his own recognizance until his next court appearance Nov. 6. The cases were handled by Batavia Police Officer Catherine Mucha, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

October 17, 2018 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

Dispatchers are receiving multiple reports of power outages in the City. 

National Grid has not yet reported the extent of the power outage. 

There’s a report of a transformer explosion and fire by Dan’s Tire at City Centre. 

There is also a power line down at Watson and Evans. 

City Fire’s second platoon requested to the station. 

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.: National Grid is reporting at least 13 power outages in the City effecting more than 2,000 customers. The largest area is along Route 5 to the east out past East Pembroke and along Route 98 to the south. ETA for restoration is 3 p.m.

UPDATE (By Billie) 1:25 p.m.: The fourth platoon is called to city fire headquarters. National Grid is on scene at City Centre to repair the transformer.

UPDATE (By Howard) 1:49 p.m.: City PD would like to remind everybody that intersections where signal lights are out should be treated like a four-way stop. The Richmond Memorial Library is closed because of the power outage. It will reopen at 5 p.m. if power is restored.

UPDATE (By Billie) 3:08: Currently no power outages are reported in the city, according to National Grid. There are still two small outages in Alexander, and one in Pavilion.

UPDATE from National Grid 3:16 p.m.:

National Grid spokesman David Bertola replied to The Batavian's email asking what cause the outage: "At around 1:50 p.m. today, an animal came into contact with a feeder line at one of our stations, which caused around 5,000 customers to be without power. Once the site was cleared and repairs made, customers’ power was restored in stages. I was told that everyone’s power (in the city) was restored at around 2:35 p.m."

October 17, 2018 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported in the of 8087 Kelsey Road, just north of the Thruway, Town of Batavia.

Unknown injuries.

The vehicle struck a tree and is now in the woods.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:48 a.m.: Mercy Flight on ground standby.

UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: Deputy on location reporting extrication will be required. No word yet on seriousness of injuries.

UPDATE 11:53 a.m.: The patient is out of the vehicle. Extrication not required. There are fluids leaking around the vehicle.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: Mercy Flight can stand down.

UPDATE 12:17 p.m.: Town of Batavia back in service.

October 16, 2018 - 6:30pm


6800 Junction Road, Pavilion. Super solid move in ready raised ranch home on quiet 1/2 acre country lot! Move in and enjoy no honey do lists on this 3 bedroom 2 full bath home. Downstairs features large family room with gas fireplace pretty ceramic floors, brand new full bath-perfect hang out room or an awesome large master bedroom suite! Upstairs features hardwood floors large open kitchen/dining/living space ideal for entertaining! 3 bedrooms with full closets and another brand new bath-not a lot to do here but decorate!! Outside is nicely landscaped and lot backs up to fields with pretty views--very easy to see! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today or click here for more information on this listing.

8009 Bank Street Road, Batavia. Owner says SELL this solid 5 bedroom 3 full bath home in move in condition! You can't find to many like this!! This well laid out spacious home has something for everybody -- a newly redone and pretty kitchen with granite countertops, large dining area for friends & family, 5 good-sized bedrooms, well spaced out to give everyone privacy and 3 FULL baths-you can never have enough seats! When you walk in you are welcomed into awesome foyer/sitting room with beautiful wet bar and fireplace with vaulted ceiling leading to 2 loft style bedrooms-perfect for guests or his and her offices! All mechanical updates are in good working order and all appliances included! Located in the town with 1.5 acres and minutes from thruway for easy commutes to everywhere! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today or click here for more information on this listing.

October 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Kemp, BID, downtown, batavia, business, news, notify.

Beth Kemp, executive director of the Batavia Improvement District, has decided the business she co-owns with her husband Brian, T-Shirts Etc. needs more of her time and attention so she's resigned her position.

"It was an extremely hard decision for me because I love working as director of BID but T-Shirts Etc. continues to grow and I felt it was shortsighted of me to allow my own small business to struggle and continue my role here," Kemp said.

"I was only able to maintain a few hours at T-Shirts Etc. while working for BID, which was definitely not enough to support what we need to do over there."

Kemp has given notice to the board but she didn't share her final work day.

The Batavian reached out to Jennifer Gray, president of the BID Board of Directors, for comment and information about finding a replacement for Kemp but we have not yet received a response.

Kemp became director in November 2016.

"This opportunity has been amazing and I am so thankful to have been able to work with so many amazing people in our community," Kemp said. "In the past two years we have put in a lot of work in.

"We are in a great place with our finances, events, sponsorships, business relationships, community relationships, and mission. I look forward to still volunteering for events and community projects as the BID needs."

File photo.

October 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, hydrant flushing, batavia, Batavia FIre Department.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing hydrants from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, in the area north of Main Street and east of Bank Street.

Homes and businesses will be affected. These test may result in temporary discoloration of water in the area.

Please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water is discolored. If you experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for five minutes or until clear.

October 16, 2018 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kmart, Batavia Downs, batavia, news, notify.

For the third time in 13 months, Batavia is losing a big box store -- Office Max; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and now Kmart -- and given the nation's retail trends, it's by no means certain any of these vacant buildings will be filled any time soon.

The last time a big box closed prior to this spate of going-out-of-business sales, it took the landlord only a year to replace Lowe's with Dick's Sporting Goods and Kohl's Department Store but since then e-commerce sales have grown to represent 8 percent of all retail sales (Lowe's announced its closure seven years ago today).

It's also become harder for Industrial Development Agencies in New York, such as Genesee County Economic Development Center, to offer incentives for retail development.

Still, Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, is optimistic none of these big buildings will sit vacant long. He's a Batavia native and has seen a lot of businesses come and go.

"I call it the business circle of life," Turnbull said.

Turnbull remembers when Kmart was located where Aldi is now, and he remembers Twin Fair where the Department of Social Services is now and Valu Home Store in what is now County Building #2. He remembers W.T. Grant at the corner of Harvester and East Main and when Eli Fish Co. was Newberry's.

"It's the ebb and flow of business," Turnbull said. "You never know what is going to happen, especially with these big national retailers. It will fill up again and then it may be empty again."

There have been rumors, which Turnbull has heard, too, that Batavia Downs is interested in the Kmart property.

"It makes a lot of sense for them to have that property," Turnbull said. "It would be good for them and it would be good for us -- it's not unusual for big box stores to sit empty for a long time and become a real eyesore so it would be great for Batavia Downs to come in and swoop it up. It would be good for everybody."

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs, said in a statement this morning that, "While we do not currently have any timeline information on the store’s closing, we would not rule out an interest in this or any adjacent property to Batavia Downs if it were to become available. Regardless of what happens with the property, we will reach out to Kmart management for some job placement opportunities at Batavia Downs for Kmart employees that will be impacted with a layoff."

The Kmart store is 115,554 square feet and sits on 10.3 acres. The total assessment is $4.1 million, according to county records. The store was built in 1994. The listed owner is Wilmington Trust Company.

Wilmington Trust is affiliated with M&T Bank and specializes in, among other things, acting as administrator for properties held in trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds title to a property for the benefit of another person or group of people, such as heirs to an estate.

While Wilmington Trust is listed as the property owner, Wilmington is strictly and administrator of the property for the beneficiary of the trust, said spokesman Kent Wissinger. The beneficiary is the actual owner and has sole discretion on whether to sell or retain the property.

There is no information available on who is the beneficiary of the trust.

How any potential sale of the property might be handled, Wissinger said, is subject to the terms of the trust and he said he didn't have access to that information.

County records seem to indicate the trust has held title to the property since at least 1994.

Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., which declared bankruptcy after years of financial struggles, has not announced a closing date for the store.

October 16, 2018 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, batavia, local drug task force.

A 40-year-old Batavia woman accused of supplying* cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force on two separate occasions was sentenced on reduced charges this afternoon in Genesee County Court.

Denielle Mancuso, who lives on West Main Street Road, will serve three years probation, to run concurrently, on two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

Before sentencing, Mancuso's lawyer, public defender Lisa Kroemer, asked to read the judge's copy of the presentencing report, which she apparently had not seen yet.

She then synopsized the document by saying it states that Mancuso successfully completed a yearlong "judicial diversion program" and "did everything that was expected of her" during the interim probationary period.

So much so in fact that Kroemer said her client was a "nonsubject of discussion" during staff updates. When her name came up, it was "next" -- let's move on -- because Mancuso's reports were "stellar."

Before sentencing, Judge Charles Zambito said he'd read the presentencing report with its laudable notations and said Mancuso had earned the benefit of her good behavior with a judicial diversion contract that, with its successful completion, reduced four felonies to the pair of misdemeanors cited above.

In addition, she would get one year shaved off probation immediately for time already served in the diversion program. And if she continues on the positive path she's on and comes back in a year and asks the judge to terminate her probation, he will most likely grant her wish, Zambito said. Thus, supervision by the Probation Department could potentially end a year from now. Otherwise, Mancuso's probation is set to expire Oct. 16, 2020.

Kroemer asked for a waiver of a six-month suspension of Mancuso's driver's license, per the presentencing recommendations. The attorney said her client doesn't have anyone to chauffeur her around, and she's self-employed and needs to help her husband with his business, which requires her to buy vehicles and go to the DMV Office regularly. Also, she has a son to shuttle to various sports and activities.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell offered no resistance to the request for a waiver, and Judge Zambito agreed to it.

Next, Kroemer asked for new language in the defendant's sentencing paperwork that states she is to stay away from places where alcohol is served; language should be added to that stipulation "unless otherwise approved by the Probation Officer." That's because, Kroemer said, Mancuso sometimes goes to places like a racetrack for her son's sporting events and alcohol is served there.

Again, the judge agreed to accommodate Mancuso's attorney's request and add the language.

The judge imposed standard fees: $50 for the DNA database; $175 for the misdemeanor convictions; and $25 for the crime victims' assistance fund.

Zambito asked the chestnut-haired Mancuso, dressed in black slacks and a fitted black blazer over a maroon knit top, if she would like to say anything to the court and she quietly declined.

A Grand Jury indictment was originally issued in this case in June 2017. Mancuso faced four felony counts: two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd; one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd; and one count of first-degree criminal nuisance. She was jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond. 

In September of last year, the people offered a plea deal for one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth, with "shock-cap" probation -- six months in jail or four months of intermittent incarceration, followed by five years of probation.

Mancuso's attorney countered by asking that the defendant be evaluated for judicial diversion, which Judge Zambito granted.

Now with Mancuso's judicial diversion contract completed triumphantly, Zambito said he agreed she had done well and he congratulated her for it.

* "Supplying" not necessarily selling.

October 16, 2018 - 1:03pm

Arc of Genesee Orleans annual Chili & Chowder Fest & Bake Sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Arc Community Center.

It is located at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia.

There will also be grilled cheese sandwiches for purchase in addtion to the hearty, homemade chili and chowder. Take-outs available.

Early tickets will be available only from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

Tickets, both presale Friday and day-of-the-event Saturday, are available only at the Arc Community Center on Woodrow Road.

All proceeds benefit people with disabilities.

There will be 100 theme baskets raffled off. Need not be present to win. Drawings will be at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 17.

Want to donate a basket or get more information? Call Arc of Genesee Orleans at 343-4203.

October 16, 2018 - 12:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, batavia, Halloween, STOP-DWI Crackdown, news.

Press release:

In conjunction with Halloween festivities, local law enforcement will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving from Oct. 26 until Nov. 1.

Genesee County STOP-DWI coordinator Matt Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in the crackdown.

Halloween is meant to be scary, but not when it comes to driving. When it comes to drunk driving Halloween can turn the roads into a horror fest. While we spend time trick or treating and hosting parties with our loved ones, law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives.

New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem. 

The STOP-DWI Halloween Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Throughout the remainder of the year the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target Thanksgiving and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.  

You can help to make a difference by Having a Sober Plan! Download our mobile app – “Have a Plan” and you will always be able to find a safe ride home: www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp

Impaired driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning. Have a safe and happy Halloween Weekend!

October 15, 2018 - 6:49pm

Beginning on Tuesday, Oct 16th, a company called Accent Striping will be installing pavement markings for the New York State Department of Transportation on State highways in the Batavia area.

These are expected to be complete within two weeks and the work is weather dependent.

All motorists should expect delays while this work is being performed.

Routes within the City of Batavia that are impacted are as follows:

  • NY 5 – East Main Street
  • NY 5/33 – East Main Street and Main Street NY 5/33/63 – West Main Street
  • NY 5/63 – West Main Street
  • NY 33/98 – Oak Street Extension
  • NY 33 – Pearl Street
  • NY 63 – Ellicott Street
  • NY 98 -- Oak Street

Notice from the city Bureau of Maintenance, 147 Walnut St., Batavia NY 14020

Phone: 345-6400, Opt. 1

October 15, 2018 - 6:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in road work, batavia, Clinton Street, news.

Press release:

Travel advisory in the City of Batavia for Oct. 17-26

Clinton Street/ Route 33 – Between East Main Street and the City line (north), will undergo road work to include the milling of the road surface, pavement repairs, traffic signal loops, pavement markings and signage over the next week to two weeks.

Traffic delays are to be expected -- plan accordingly.

Traffic will be controlled around operations using flaggers. All motorists should expect delays. 

All thru traffic should seek out alternate routing.

The City of Batavia Department of Public Works (585) 345-6400, option 1

Erdman Anthony (Project Engineers) Field Office is located at 216 Main St., Suite 27, Batavia, NY 14020

The contractor for the project is:

D&H Excavating

11939 Route 98 South

Arcade NY 14009

Phone (716) 492-4956 
October 15, 2018 - 6:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in City Fire, hydrant flushing, news, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the areas south of Main Street and east of Jackson Street.

Homes and businesses will be affected. These tests may result in temporary discoloration of water in the area. Please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water is discolored. If you experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear. 

October 15, 2018 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Buffalo Detention Facility, batavia, news, notify.

buffalodetentionfacility2018.jpg

In the middle of the 650-foot main corridor of the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, along a 50-yard section of white concrete block wall, are hand-painted images of flags from all over the world, dozens and dozens of them, one to represent each country for every detainee who has ever been held at the facility.

It's one of the first things a new detainee will see after going through the processing center and being led to the unit where the detainee will be held for the next several weeks, maybe months.

Some visitors who see the wall, said Thomas Feeley, field office director for Immigration and Custom Enforcement, think the flags represent "everybody who has been captured" by ICE, sending a negative message to detainees. But that's not at all how detainees take it, Feeley said. "There's an odd sense of pride" when they see the flag of their home country, knowing a fellow resident had been through the facility before.

"It makes them feel like they're not alone," Feeley said. "They realize nobody hates them because they are here illegally. It's just a process for them to go through."

A multicultural population

On any given day, there are 636 detainees in the facililty from as many as 80 different countries, said Jeff Searls, the facility's officer in charge.

Searls, Feeley, and Public Information Officer Khaalid Walls provided The Batavian with a tour of the facility Monday morning. It's the first time a reporter from a local media outlet toured the facility.

"The only two countries that have never been represented here are North Korea and the Vatican," Searls  said, and he doesn't expect the Pope to enter the country illegally any time soon.

The average stay for detainees -- "detainees" are not "inmates" because the Buffalo Detention Facility is not a place for punitive confinment -- is 65 days. Searls explained that sometimes a detainee might be admitted who won't challenge deportion and they can be sent to their country of origin within days, while others might fight deportation, and depending on the court proceedings, can be held for a year or two.

"We don't want anybody here longer than they need to be," Searls said. "My goal is the shorter the stay the better."

The Bufffalo Detention Facility is one of the county's more significant employers, with 360 staff members in administration, maintenance, detainee supervision, medical and other services. Almost all of the employees come from Genesee County or one of the adjacent counties. Searls is from Genesee County and Feeley lives here as well and volunteers with his local fire department.

It's also the Federal government's most significant presence in Genesee County.

Only four other facilities like it nationwide

There are only four other similar facilities in the nation -- in Miami, Phoenix, and two in Texas -- Port Isabel and El Paso.

The facility's annual budget is somewhere between $30 million and $35 million, excluding medical expenses for detainees (which operates on a separate budget from what Searls administers).

Its two federal immigration courts are technically open to the public like any other courtroom, but the court calendar isn't easy to obtain. There is not a regular flow of information about detainee admissions or deportations.

And, of course, immigration and immigration enforcement is a hot political topic.

Yet, unless there's a protest outside its gates, its operations are nearly opaque to local residents. When it comes to immigration enforcement, even with this big federal presence, we rarely hear about what's going on right in our own backyard.

That is unlikely to change but it's also why The Batavian requested a tour.

We have no pictures from our tour because photography is prohibited inside the facility.

Most of the detainees at the facility have some prior criminal record before they're admitted, anywhere from 65 to 80 percent, with the balance being held purely on an immigration law violation, Searls said.

The process upon arrival

When a detainee arrives, they are held for up to 12 hours in a processing center. They are interviewed and given a medical exam. The process helps determine where best to place them in the population and whether they have any immediate medical concerns that would require them to be segregated or hospitalized.

Detainees being held on just an immigration violation are given a two pairs of blue pants and a blue shirt. Those with a non-violent criminal record (petit larceny, DWI, etc.) are dressed in orange. Those with violent felony convictions wear red.

Orange detainees can intermingle with blue or red detainees but blue and red are never placed in the same unit.

Besides criminal threat level, staff processing detinees must also consider country of origin and religious belief when deciding where to house a detainee. Typically, people from the same country enjoy sharing the same detainee unit but two people from the same country might belong to opposing tribes and two people who share a common religion might come from competing traditions (shch as Shia and Sunni Muslims), so it might be best to keep those individuals segregated from each other.

It can get complicated.

"We have somebody who has been doing that job for a long time," Searls said. "He's very professional."

The detention facility was built in 1998 and originally housed 425 detainees and prisonors for the U.S. Marshall's Office. It was expanded in 2013 and is now strictly an ICE facility.

Inside the walls

There are three diamond-shaped units on the west side of the facility, each with two wings. One wing is almost exclusively detainees in red uniforms with a common area ringed by locking cells with two beds each (except for the handicapped cells, which each contain one bed). Detainees are generally given unlimited access during the day to the common area for socializing and exercise. They are locked in their cells by 11:20 p.m.

In the other wing, there are two bays with common areas on the first floor and then bunk beds with lockers, no cells, on the first and second floors.

Both wings have TVs and a bank of phones that are accessible to detainees any time they want to make a phone call. Searls said there is one phone per six or seven detainees.

The detainees can also play ping-pong.

During designated hours, they can go outside where they can play soccer (the facilities most popular sport by far, Searls said), basketball or handball.

There is also an indoor basketball court, an entertainment library, where detainees can also take art classes, and across the hall from that library is a law library where detainess can research laws and legal cases. Some detainees choose to represent themselves. Others just want to double check their own attorneys.

There are also computers available in their holding areas available for legal research.

Detainees also have access to tablet computers that they can use to rent movies, TV shows, or books, through a private service, or make video calls to loved ones.

For female detainees, there is now a knitting class available.

Detainees can also study for the GED while held at the facility.

"These accomodations keeps them busy and keeps them happy," Searls said, noting that detainees who are busy and happy cause fewer problems.

Handling complaints and suggested improvements

But there are complaints, Searls said. If there is a complaint, it is fully investigated, even complaints against guards.

And staff is open to suggestions for improvements from detainees.

"A lot of the changes we've made over the past 20 years have come from suggestions by detainees," Searls said.

All communications, except for communications with attorneys are monitored.

The facility also has a medical facility that might best be described as an urgent care clinic. Detainees with any medical complaint have instant access. They can even report a medical problem from the tablets available to them in their cells.

Commander Charles McGee, an Air Force veteran, is in charge of the medical staff.

The staff includes a doctor, physician's assistance, nurses, a dentist and two psychologists. 

Anything that requires hospitalization means the patient is transported, with guards, to UMMC or ECMC. If the detainee has surgery or needs other post-medical care, there are rooms in the unit available for recovery.

There are also isolation rooms for detainees with communicable diseases. While this might include flus and diseases like Ebola, the biggest concern is tuberculosis. Detainees are not transferred to their holding area until they've been cleared for TB. If the detainee won't allow a blood test, they are held in the processing area until a chest X-ray can be completed, which can take up to another 24 hours.

Receiving visitors and preparing meals

Once officially a detainee, detainees can receive vistors. There is a visitor area with a dozen private booths (the ones for detainees and their attorenys are slightly larger). In general, detainees can visit with family members for up to an hour, but when family members have made a long, special trip to visit a detainee, they might be able to visit for the full two hours in the morning, and the full two hours in the afternoon, and then again in the evening.

"They've come a long way, so we try to accommodate that as much as possible," Searls said.  

As you might imagine, with a population of several hundred men and women from 80 different countries, some with medical conditions and a variety of religious beliefs or dietary habits, keeping them all properly fed can be a challenge.

The kitchen staff -- which includes trusted detainees -- prepares three meals a day -- for a total of 2,500 to 2,800 calories per day -- that are delivered to cells and dorms that accommodate those detainees' concerns. Though no meal ever contains any pork so that those with religious prohibitions against eating pork need not worry that their meals were prepared in a kitchen that also prepared pork.

"We do have turkey bacon," Searls said.

There is a religious advisor on staff and the facility does its best to accommodate every religious faith.

When trouble crops up

No facility with more than 600 people of various backgrounds, beliefs, and life experiences will always be peaceful. There are no gangs in the facility, Searls said, but that doesn't mean there are not gang members in the population. For the most part, the detainees are focused on dealing with their immigration cases and aren't house there long enough to form affiliations.

But when there are fights, the individuals are separated and taken to a section of the facility with isolation cells. The incident is investigated, which could lead to one participant or the other being held in isolation longer than the other. Searls said it's really just a cooling-off period. It's not like, he said, Attica or Pelican Bay, where inmates might be kept in solitary confinement for 60 days or longer. At most, a detainee is held in isolation for 10 days. While in isolation, they get one hour a day for outside their cell for exercise (Searls is only required to provide one hour every five days) and receive a daily visit from a staff psychologist.

Detainees can also request protective custody. That request is always granted without question, Searls said. Even if staff might suspect paranoia, the request for protective custody in an isolation cell is always granted.

"If someone has an issue, even if it's just in their own mind, if they feel it's necessary, I don't tell them they don't," Searls said.

By no means a vacation spot, but scores high on accreditation

If anything about our story makes it sound like the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility is a country club, it's not. With nearly uniformly white walls and gray doors, thick, concrete block, windowless walls, constant monitoring, hours of confinement to a limited space, meals and snacks only on schedule, some limits on contact with the outside world, being locked up with people you didn't choose to hang out with, and very few opportunities to see the sun, this is no Miami Beach vacation. It's serious business.

And it's a business Searls and Feeley are clearly proud to lead. Of the five ICE detention facilities in the United States, they think the best one is in Batavia. The facility scored a 99.4, out of a possible score of 100, in a recent accreditation by the American Correctional Association.

The facility has in fact scored well in every accreditation and review it has received. It was important to Searls and Feeley that readers know how well it does on its audits and inspections, which Searls said is a credit to the staff and Feeley said the facility has good staff because of the strong, blue-collar work ethic of Western New Yorkers.

The facility has always drawn its staff from the region and in its 20th year it boasts of having little turnover; many of the new staff members are relatives, even sons and daughters, of current or former staff members.

"You're usually not going to have family seek employment at some place that isn't a good place to work," Searls said.

aerialbfdf.jpg

Screen capture from the Genesee County GIS Mapping Service.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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