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December 8, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in Christmas, nostalgia, batavia, news.

Story by Dave Reilly. Photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

( Warning: Christmas spoilers are contained in this article.)

When people reminisce about Christmas when they were little, different remembrances about the holiday come to their minds. The tree, the dinner, the church, and the presents they received are all standouts.

The best thing about Christmas for me is the magicality of it for kids. When I was young I fell hook, line, and Rudolph for the whole thing. Santa Claus, the reindeer, the sleigh - all of it. Then , when I became a dad and had little ones of my own , it brought me back to my own childhood to see the awe and wonder on their faces on Christmas morning.

My Santa-believing years were mostly spent at 26 Thomas Avenue where we lived from when I was 1 to 8 years old. My parents, especially my mom, really stoked the imaginations of my younger brother Dan and me with the fantasy aspect of Christmas.

In the days leading up to Santa's visit we were encouraged to write and mail our toy list to the North Pole, first dictating to mom and later scratching out our own missive complete with misspellings. Then, we would walk holding mom's hand to the nearby mailbox to send them off. I guess now kids would text Santa or maybe the Jolly Old Elf is on Twitter.

Putting up the tree is not a great memory though. Going to pick one out at the tree lot was fun, usually combined with stopping for hot chocolate. But, once we got it home it was my dad's responsibility.

Troublesome Tree Stands

Apparently no one had yet invented an easy to use stand and this task was rife with a lot of yelling and epithets. My dad's favorite was “Judas Kraut”! We knew things were really going badly when we heard , “Oh fall down why don't ya!” Usually we'd retreat to our room to avoid this yearly outburst.

Almost worse than erecting the tree was the putting on of lights. First, the snarled wires, which had somehow become entwined like a ball of snakes up in the attic since last year, had to be untangled. Then, those who lived back in the '50s will remember that if one bulb went out they all did. Consequently, an exhaustive and profane process had to be carried out to find the faulty offender. I was never good at science so I'm not sure of why this was electrically speaking, but it sure caused dad to give off sparks.

Once the tree was up and lit (temporarily until another bulb shorted out the whole string) it was mom's purview to decorate it. As you can see by the accompanying photos, this meant applying mounds of silver tinsel. If the old theory of improving TV reception by putting aluminum foil on the antennas was true, Christmas trees back then were capable of picking up alien signals from distant galaxies. There must have been ornaments under there somewhere but who could tell?

Keeping Score on Outdoor Decor

A week or so before Christmas, we'd all pile into the family car (probably a Pontiac) to drive around Batavia and look at people's outdoor displays. My mom would bring a pen and paper and we'd give scores and vote on whose decorations were the best.

Since it was 65 or more years ago now, I can't recall any streets or houses which stood out except for Redfield Parkway. This street is in the western part of the city by the racetrack and the Veterans Hospital and has a median down the middle. Almost every house would put a tree on their front lawn and light it up in different ways. Individually each house wasn't much to see, but taken as a whole it was impressive.

I haven't been in Batavia at Christmas for a number of years, but I think this neighborhood tradition is still going on.

Christmas Eve Day must have been a real challenge for my (and all) moms. The anticipation of Santa coming was almost too much to bear. Activities had to be found for us so we wouldn't go completely out of control. You know how your puppy gets when it's been in a crate all day waiting for you to get home from work? That was us minus the barking and jumping. Well, the barking anyway.

So the day would be spent baking and decorating cookies and getting Santa and the reindeers' snacks ready. Cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer were placed on the hearth with a note. One year mom apparently thought it would be cute for me (Dan was too young) to write a poem about Santa.

Santa Claus lives way up north,

On Christmas Eve he goes forth,

To bring presents to girls and boys,

Books and balls and lots of toys.

You better watch out,

And you better not cry,

Or Santa right by your house

Will fly.

If you are good,

Do not fear,

Santa will come down the chimney

This year.

OK, it didn't win a Pulitzer Prize, but it was cute, wasn't it?

The Grip of Insomnia

Like many parents ours had to struggle to get us to sleep on the Big Night. The tactic of telling us that Santa wouldn't come if we were awake only seemed to make our eyes bulge wider. My mom told us that if we were really quiet we could hear the bells of the reindeer jingling. I was positive a couple of years that I actually heard them on the roof, but when I got up and looked out the window there was nothing there but the cold dark night.

To make it even harder to drift off into dreamland my mom had a tradition, maybe from Denmark from where my grandparents emigrated, to hang our stocking on the foot of our bed instead of the hearth. Imagine trying to fall asleep when you thought Santa would imminently be standing right there in your bedroom.

I swore that I never closed my eyes, but all of a sudden at 3 or 4 in the morning I would check my stocking for seemingly the 20th time and it would be full! Talk about magic! Then I had to restrain myself from looking through everything until morning.

One thing I could count on being in there once I learned to read was a Hardy Boys book. I loved them and for my parents' benefit it served the purpose of keeping me busy all day. I would usually have read the whole book by bedtime on Christmas night. Besides the book and maybe a small toy, the rest of the stocking was filled with nuts and tangerines. We weren't wealthy by any means.

Sneaking a Peek

One Christmas Eve, or more accurately early in the morning, I couldn't restrain myself and decided that I just had to see Santa. I tiptoed, probably in my slipper socks, to the stairs and positioned myself where I could see the tree.

I'm not sure how long I sat there, but at some point my dad discovered me and shooed me back to bed. He probably admonished me that if Santa had seen me he would have gone back up the chimney without leaving any presents. Dads are well known to be more blunt than moms about such things.

After all that anticipation, Christmas morning was almost anticlimactic.

The Big Bonanza

Nonetheless, we kids were up at the crack of dawn dragging a half-asleep mom and dad behind us down the stairs. Like in most every other household there ensued a hullabaloo of torn wrapping paper, opened boxes, and Oohs!, Aahs!, and Oh Boys! galore. 

Presents for little boys in those days would certainly include cowboy gear, including the dreaded cap pistols with mom's admonishment, “Those are for outdoors only!” Also in the Santa bonanza would be baseball mitts and/or bats and footballs and equipment, including one year my prized red helmet, which I reminisced about in a previous story.

If you look carefully at one of the accompanying photos you can make out a toy gas station. Today it would possibly be an electric charging station for the kids' toy Prius or Tesla.

My parents' gift from me consisted of a construction paper covered packet in the shape of an angel or a bell made at school. Inside I would promise them a bunch of rosaries and prayers (pretty sure I never paid up) with a message that the nun would have us copy from the blackboard: "Dear Mom and Dad, Thank you for all you do for me. Your son, David Reilly.” (Good thing I put my last name so mom and dad wouldn't think some other kid named David made it).

Round Two -- Cedar Street

After mom calmed us down enough to eat some breakfast, we were lucky enough to embark on a second round of gifts at our Aunt Kate and Peg's house. My dad had two sisters who never married and lived together in the family home at 27 Cedar Street (previously mentioned in "The Blizzard of '66") where they grew up. They doted on Dan and I (they embarrassingly referred to us as “Honey Boys”) and somehow persuaded Santa to make a stop at their place, too. So, the ripping and tearing and opening and shouts of “Yippee!” took place all over again.

Later in the afternoon, usually at our house because mom was the only family member who could cook, we'd sit down to Christmas dinner. This was somewhat of an adventure in itself. 

Our Uncle George was a plumber and to be blunt, he kind of smelled like it. So Dan and I would jockey for position at the table so as not to sit by him. His wife, Aunt Helen, apparently had a food issue and while we ate turkey with all the trimmings, mom had to fix her what seemed to be a shriveled piece of some kind of meat. When we got a little older Dan and I would joke that we needed to get it analyzed by a laboratory to see what it actually was. 

Once every few years my aunts would cajole everyone to have the dinner at their house. This announcement always led to loud protesting and whining including by my dad and they were his sisters.

They were raised in the Irish style of cooking, which meant boiling everything in water. This included the ham. Just the odor would make us gag. I think there were a couple of years when all I actually ate was those little gherkins that came in a jar. At least they weren't boiled.

Finally, as Christmas night arrived, the big day began to wind down. Uncle George and Aunt Helen headed home in the plumbing truck and my dad had to drive aunts Kate and Peg to their house as they both lived to old age without ever learning to drive.

Christmas Concludes

Little Brother Dan conked out somewhere and would eventually be carried up to bed. I would be curled up in a quiet spot absorbed in whether Frank and Joe Hardy would solve the case of “The Sinister Sign Post.” I assume that our parents were relaxing, too, and breathing a sigh of relief that it was over for another year.

Between the ages of 8 and 10 we lived for a couple years on Ellicott Avenue and then when I was 10 we moved across town to 122 North Spruce Street. Of course, Christmases continued on with many of the same people and traditions.

But at some point, like all kids, I realized the truth, and the magic of Santa vanished. Thankfully, the enchantment returned in the 1980s when my children were born and I got to again suspend reality for several years through their wide and happy eyes.

December 7, 2019 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, basketball, sports, batavia.

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Batavia couldn't quite close the gap at the end Friday night in their home opener against Honeoye Falls-Lima, falling 59-57.

Zach Bilebarto had a big game for the Blue Devils, scoring 25 points while hitting seven three-point shots. Caden White hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points. Camden White scored 10 points and had eight rebounds.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

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December 6, 2019 - 4:14pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The story of the nativity, with all of its simplicity and grace, is featured in the Dec. 13 and 15 Christmas concerts of the Genesee Chorale.

Director Ric Jones has selected Ottorino Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity,” and several old favorites with new arrangements he believes will delight the audience.

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia, and at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at The Grove UMC, 11004 W. Center Street Ext., Medina. Tickets are $10 and are available through the Chorale website genesee.chorale.com, or at the door.

The Respighi work, Jones said, is a master choral work that hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

“Respighi uses elements of Renaissance music throughout the work, with dance-like madrigals and Italian carols,” Jones said. “The accompaniment of the work was unique with him using a chamber sextet as accompaniment.

"Lastly, the theme of the work was great. It uses the poetry of 13th century Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todi. The text focuses on the angel, the shepherds, and Mary.”

The story is told through three soloists – a soprano representing the angel, a mezzo-soprano representing Mary and a tenor representing a shepherd – and full chorus, with instrumental accompaniment by a sextet drawing from talented local players, and Chorale’s pianist Douglas Hanson.

Mary Wojciechowski (inset photo, right) sings the soprano (angel) part. Wojciechowski has experience in musical theater, opera, jazz and classical voice, and has produced and starred in several jazz concerts.

She has been featured with the Brockport Symphony Orchestra, the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, the Gateswingers Big Band and the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.

On stage, she’s performed such roles as Adele in "Die Feldermaus," Sister Angelica in "Sister Angelica" and the Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro."

Mezzo-soprano Mariami Bekauri (below left inset photo) sings the role of Mary in “Laud to the Nativity.” She has been praised for her “warm” and “handsome” tone, and last month made her debut in the titular role of Rossini’s "La Cenerentola" with Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

She is appearing as mezzo-soprano soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s holiday concerts this month.

She is a graduate of Fredonia School of Music and currently teaches in the music department at Buffalo State College, Houghton College Buffalo and the Fredonia School of Music.

Tenor John Clayton (bottom left inset photo) performs the role of the shepherd in the Respighi piece.

He has been described as a gallant singer with the ability to “put the audience in standstill” and was designated “one of Buffalo’s top vocalists” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. His is a familiar face on the Buffalo stage, with appearances in more than a dozen operas with Nickel City Opera, Opera Sacra and Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

Clayton often appears as a recitalist or concert soloist with choruses, including Orff’s "Carmina Burana" with the Genesee Chorale a few seasons ago. He recently returned from Italy where he debuted as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni."

“This piece has challenged the Chorale in the sense of style,” Jones said. “The piece uses so many different elements and styles that fold in to one another, and that is challenging.”

It is also a challenge to put the music of chorus and instrumentalists together.

“The Chorale has risen to these challenges and I think they will present a moving musical work that depicts the Christmas season,” Jones said.

“Laud to the Nativity” is sung in English translation and constitutes the first half of the program.

The remaining pieces include a new arrangement of "Silent Night" by Dan Forrest, using the traditional text and melody wrapped in what Jones describes as a “beautifully unique harmonic setting.” "Rise Up Shepherd" gets gospel-style treatment, and remaining selections feature new harmonies.

December 6, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in snow removal, city public work department, batavia, news.

From the city department of Public Works:

With the arrival of significant winter weather, the City of Batavia Department of Public Works would like to ask for the public’s cooperation as we all try and navigate these storms.

Private plowing contractors should be aware that plowing snow into the street or onto the sidewalk is not allowed and creates dangerous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.

Property owners are ultimately responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City supplements sidewalk plowing as crews become available and as need dictates, however, this can only be completed after streets and municipal parking lots are plowed. School routes and main road sidewalks are then given priority.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts managing these snow events.

December 6, 2019 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, New, notify, batavia, bergen, Amber Alert.

Guillermo Torres-Acevedo, 23, of Batavia, pled guilty today in Genesee County Court to one count of second-degree rape. Other charges against him were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

He admitted to being a person over the age of 18 and having sexual intercourse with a person under age 15 in the Town of Batavia sometime between Nov. 15th and the 26th in 2018.

The maximum possible sentence the Puerto Rico native could receive is six years in prison, with 10 years of parole afterward.

Torres-Acevedo will be sentenced on Feb. 18 in Genesee County Court, after he is first sentenced in Federal Court in Buffalo on Feb. 13.

On Wednesday, Torres-Acevedo pled guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to enticing a minor, a 14-year-old Bergen girl, to travel across state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity. 

There is no promise of concurrency in county court with the federal sentence, which ranges from six and a half to up to 20 years in prison. The federal penalty could also include a fine of up to $250,000.

The defendant was arrested on Nov. 26, 2018 in Genesee County and charged locally with: four counts of second-degree rape, a Class D violent felony; four counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree, also a Class D violent felony; second-degree kidnapping, a Class B violent felony; and second-degree criminal contempt.

Following his arrest, the defendant persuaded the victim to travel with him out of state to continue their relationship. On Nov. 29, 2018, Torres-Acevedo picked up the girl from school in Genesee County and drove her to Pennsylvania, where they had sexual intercourse. Under Pennsylvania law, that constituted the crime of statutory sexual assault.

December 6, 2019 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.
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          Riley Mayer

A 21-year-old Batavia resident entered a guilty plea in Genesee County Court on Thursday to a single count of assault in the second degree for his part in an attack on a victim on Highland Parkway in October.

Riley B. Mayer, of South Main Street, was initially charged with gang assault since two other people were also suspected of participating in the assault. One other person has been charged and charges are pending against a third suspect, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said.

The plea came with no conditions on a possible sentence, and under statute Mayer faces up to seven years in prison.

The victim in the attack allegedly suffered serious injuries in the Oct. 4 attack.

Mayer will be sentenced at a later date.

December 5, 2019 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify.

Robert D. Griffin, 41, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with: two counts of first-degree criminal contempt; second-degree burglary; and endangering the welfare of a child less that 17 years old. Griffin was arrested and arraigned Tuesday morning (Dec. 3) after an arrest warrant was issued for him by Batavia City Court. It stems from a domestic incident reported at 7:54 p.m. on Nov. 11 on Manhattan Avenue in Batavia. He was jailed without bail and was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Shane H. Zimblis, 48, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt, fourth-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. At 11:43 p.m. on Dec. 2, Batavia police responded to a South Swan Street residence for a possible physical domestic incident. Zimblis was arrested on the charges after allegedly violating an order of protection during a physical altercation. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Christopher P. Thomas, 35, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant on Tuesday (Dec. 3) after failing to appear in Batavia City Court on Nov. 22 for an unspecified matter. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 1:40 p.m. and released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

December 5, 2019 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Center Street Smokehouse, business, batavia.

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Restaurants come and go. It's a tough business. But some endure and among those is Center Street Smokehouse, which has been a staple of the downtown dining scene in Batavia for 20 years.

In 2000, Paul, his brother Scott and friend Tommy Freeman bought at auction an old newspaper building that had been vacant for years and was in a sad, dilapidated state and renovated it, turning it into a Southern-hospitality, retro-themed eatery.

"It's been an interesting trip," Paul said. "We've got a loyal fan base and we've been improving things year after year after year so people keep coming back."

As downtown's business base has slowly grown over the past two decades, Center Street has been in the thick of it.

"It's nice to be right in the middle of the city," Paul said. "People can move around downtown and get more of a city experience."

The restaurant opened 20 years ago on Dec. 7 and to celebrate, on Sunday (Dec. 8), draft beers are $1, beef ribs, $6, half chicken, $4, and a hamburger is just $1.

"These prices are not a misprint," Paul notes in a flier he made for the event, and the prices only last on Sunday while supplies last. The hours are from 4 to 8 p.m.

The celebration will last all of 2020, Paul said, with monthly specials throughout the year.

December 4, 2019 - 6:30pm


The City Church invites you as we celebrate the Christmas Season. You and your family are welcome to any or all of these services. From Special Music Nights to Candlelight Services we want to celebrate this special season with you.

The City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia. / St. Anthony's, 114 Liberty St, Batavia. Visit us online: www.thecitychurch.com or call 585-343-6895.

December 4, 2019 - 2:18pm

Press releases:

The Batavia Muckdogs today praised the newly created Save Minor League Baseball Task Force that has been organized by members of Congress to prevent Major League Baseball (MLB) from eliminating 42 minor league franchises, nearly one quarter of all minor league teams around the country.

“We appreciate the support of Rep. Lori Trahan (D.-Massachusetts), David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and the members of the task force in standing up for Minor League Baseball and speaking out against MLB’s effort cast off thousands of jobs, reduce affordable, family-friendly entertainment and undermine grassroots support for our great game,” said Muckdogs General Manager Brendan Kelly.

The Batavia Muckdogs have been identified as one of the 42 franchises facing elimination under the MLB proposal.

Minor league teams are vital to the social and economic lives of millions of Americans; they support scores of local businesses and jobs, provide accessible entertainment, help promote tourism spending and donate tens of millions of dollars in charitable contributions.

“With this proposal, MLB is willing to break the hearts of dozens of communities across the country,” Kelly said. “We are going to resist this plan and are gratified that so many in Congress are willing to join with us.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Dec. 3 Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA), David McKinley (R-WV), Max Rose (D- NY), and Mike Simpson (R-ID) announced the official formation of the bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force.

At the group’s inaugural meeting, interested Members heard from Minor League Baseball (MiLB) President Pat O’Conner and several Minor League team owners. The group discussed strategy to continue the momentum on this urgent issue.

The Save Minor League Baseball Task Force will advocate on behalf of the communities that stand to be mostharmed by MLB’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league franchises. They will closely monitor ongoing negotiationsbetween MLB and MiLB as well as discuss potential legislative action if and when such a remedy becomes necessary.

“I am proud to launch this important Task Force with my co-chairs; Representatives McKinley, Rose, and Simpson," said Congresswoman Trahan. "Together along with our colleagues we will make perfectly clear that Congress is ready to defend ourcommunities, which stand to lose out in MLB’s proposal to slash the number of Minor League teams. The Lowell Spinners and other minor league teams across the United States provide critical economic and cultural benefits to the communities they call home, and Congress must have a voice in this conversation,”

"Baseball is America’s pastime, and minor league teams have a major impact on small communities across our country,” said Congressman McKinley. “While we understand the MLB has concerns: the idea that doingaway with 42 teams is the only solution is not reasonable. We look forward to working with MiLB and MLB tofind a compromise that will preserve affiliated baseball in these cities.”

“Major League Baseball can look at all the ‘sabermetrics’ it wants, but what they don’t understand is the serious impact that losing these baseball teams will have on our communities,” said Congressman Rose. “You won’t see it in any formula, but my colleagues and I have all seen the impact teams like the Staten IslandYankees can have on the faces of the children who show up at the ballpark every year. I’m proud to join this effort to urge the MLB to reconsider.”

“Baseball is America’s pastime and that pastime should not be exclusive to a select number of cities," said Congressman Simpson. "Minor League Baseball is at the heart of many small and rural cities in our country. To deprive those communities of baseball would not only deny them access to our national heritage, but it would also harm local economies that depend on minor league baseball organizations. I am proud to join my colleagues in starting this task force toensure baseball stays vibrant in communities like Idaho Falls and Boise."

A statement from MiLB: "Minor League Baseball values the support of Representatives Trahan, McKinley, Rose and Simpson and the entire Task Force for America’s pastime and for recognizing our positive contributions to their communities andlocal economies as well as dozens of others across the country. While it is our hope to negotiate a fair agreement with MLB, the overwhelming support from elected officials on both sides of the aisle, at all levels ofgovernment, has been tremendous and shows that baseball helps to unite our nation."

The formation of this task force follows a Trahan-McKinley led bipartisan effort along with 104 of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to urge MLB to abandon its plan to eliminate 42 Minor League teams.

December 3, 2019 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify, corfu, bergen, Le Roy.

Jerrol Paul Newell, 50, of East Main Street, Corfu, (photo above) is charged with: three counts of second-degree strangulation (Class D felonies); unlawful imprisonment in the first degree (Class E felony); and two Class A misdemeanors -- second-degree menacing -- displaying a weapon or dangerous instrument, and third-degree assault. At 7:50 a.m. on Nov. 29, Newell was arrested after the Genesee County Sheriff's Office investigated a domestic incident that occurred on East Main Street in the Village of Corfu. He was arraigned in Pembroke Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail with bail set at $50,000 cash. The case is still under investigation and additional charges are pending. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline, assisted by Deputy Ryan DeLong. The Sheriff's Office was assisted by members of the Corfu Police Department, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police.

Mark T. Helm, 38, of State Street, Batavia, (inset photo left) is charged with second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Helm was arrested at 9:41 p.m. on Nov. 24 on State Street after allegedly striking a person, causing serious physical injury, all while in front of four children. Helm was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He was due back in city court on Nov. 26. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Kiha S. McNear, 22, of Lake Street, Le Roy, (inset photo right) is charged with: criminal mischief -- intentionally damaging property; second-degree criminal contempt; aggravated criminal contempt -- previous conviction; and second-degree burglary -- illegally entering a dwelling. McNear was arrested at 9:35 p.m. on Nov. 25 at a resident on Walnut Street in the City of Batavia. He allegedly entered the residence of a person who has an order of protection against him and damaged some of the person's property. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on Nov. 26 and is due back in court on Dec. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Above photo taken after the arrest of Colby J. Swain, courtesy of NYS Police -Troop A, Batavia.

Colby J. Swain, 34, of Amherst, was arrested Nov. 30 by New York State Police and charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree ("loaded firearm other than a person’s home"), a Class C felony, and criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree, a Class E felony. Swain was stopped at 1:45 p.m. on I-90 in the Town of Batavia for a vehicle and traffic violation. During the interview, troopers determined there was "probable cause to search the vehicle." A duffle bag which was locked with a combination lock was located inside the vehicle. Swain allegedly refused to cooperate with the investigation, which result in the troopers obtaining a search warrant for the bag. "Inside the bag that Swain claimed ownership of, was over 11 ounces of marijuana and a loaded Smith and Wesson M&P .45-caliber pistol with an 8-round magazine" (in photo above). Swain did not possess a pistol permit. Swain was arraigned before the Town of Batavia Court and released under the supervision of Genesee County Probation. No return court date is available at this time.

Justin P. Mcgirr, 37, of Ross Street, Batavia, and Jeremiah T. Jones, age and address not provided, are charged with disorderly conduct by way of fighting/violent behavior. They were arrested on Ross Street after they were allegedly observed in a physical fight by police at 1:07 p.m. on Nov. 23. They were issued appearance tickets and were due in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. today (Dec. 3). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Jonathan Brice White, 27, of Buffalo Street, Bergen, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. White was arrested at 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 13 after he allegedly repeatedly violated a full stay away order of protection by contacting the protected party. After his arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was jailed on $1,000 bail, cash or bond. He was due back in city court Nov. 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Raylynne M. Santiago, 20, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment and obstruction of governmental administration. Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Santiago following a domestic incident reported at 12:50 a.m. on Nov. 24 in the vicinity of Jackson and Maple streets in the city. She was due in Batavia City Court at 1:30 p.m. today (Dec. 3). Post was assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Daniel S. Kuczka, 75, of Walden Creek Drive, Batavia, is charged with trespassing. He was arrested after a trespass complaint was made at 11:35 a.m. on Nov. 20 at the Richmond Memorial Library on Ross Street in the city. He was due in Batavia City Court this afternoon (Dec. 3) to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Ross D. Rahn, 24, of Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with: stopping on a highway; moving from lane unsafely; and driving while ability impaired. At 1:28 a.m. on Dec. 2, Batavia police responded to a call of a vehicle parked crossways across the roadway on West Main Street near Vernon Avenue in the city. Rahn was subesquently arrested, issued appearance tickets, and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Zachary J. Marrow, 28, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated -- a BAC of .18 percent of more, and DWI -- first offense. Marrow was arrested at 12:31 a.m. on Nov. 16 on East Main Street in Batavia. He is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 11. The case was handled by Bataiva Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Gregory F. Frieday, 34, of Osterhout Avenue, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. On Nov. 17, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to a complaint of criminal mischief for a broken exterior window at Batavia Downs. Following an investigation, it is alleged that Frieday broke an exterior window on the south side of the building. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on Dec. 19. The case was handled by Deputy Brock Cummins, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Melynda M. Gayhart, 31, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on Nov. 25 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. This stems from a larceny incident which occurred on Feb. 17 on East Main Street in Batavia. After her arraignment in city court, she was released and is due back in court on Dec. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis.

December 3, 2019 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, batavia, news.

Press release:

This morning at approximately 6:45 City of Batavia Police officers were dispatched to a report of a burglary alarm at a business in the Eastown Plaza. Two officers, in separate marked patrol cars, responded to the alarm and were traveling eastbound on East Main Street.

As the patrol car in the lead approached the intersection of East Main and Liberty Street, it entered the intersection with lights and sirens activated and had a steady green light. A vehicle traveling north on Liberty Street failed to stop for a steady red light and entered the intersection.

The officer attempted to avoid the vehicle but was unsuccessful.

The northbound vehicle struck the patrol car causing it to travel across the westbound lane and over the curb, striking a tree and coming to rest on the parkway and sidewalk area. The other vehicle then struck another uninvolved vehicle.

The officer operating the marked patrol car was taken to UMMC’s Emergency Room to be evaluated and was released with a minor injury. There were no other injuries reported as a result of the collision.

The accident is currently under investigation and we will advise of any charges.

December 3, 2019 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, batavia, Upton Monument, Old Courthouse, news, weather.

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It was a beautiful morning in Genesee County, with temperatures in the teens so trees stayed flocked even though the sun was out and the sky was blue.

Top photo, from Court Street, looking toward the Old Courthouse.

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The snow-covered eagle atop the Upton Monument taken through the window on the third floor of the Old Courthouse.

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The Rowell Mansion.

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Centennial Park (in black and white).

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Centennial Park (in black and white).

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The Barber Conable Post Office Building in Batavia.

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The flag pole outside the Old Courthouse.

December 3, 2019 - 8:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

Currently, the City of Batavia's phone system is down for all City locations. In case of an emergency please remember to call 9-1-1. City Police and Fire will be notified about any emergency situations directly from dispatch and will operate as normal.

City offices will be open normal business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today (Dec. 3) for walk-in business.

Please continue to contact members of the City of Batavia staff via email or through the City’s website contact form to reach out with any questions or correspondence https://www.batavianewyork.com/home/webforms/contact-form

Thank you in advance for your patience, and we will keep you up to date with information as we work to get our phones back online.

December 2, 2019 - 6:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Grand Jury, batavia, bergen, Oakfield, Alabama, Le Roy.

Donald J. Frisby is indicted for the crime of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on July 14 on Clay Street in the Town of Le Roy that Frisby subjected another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion.

Morgan L. Cox Jr. is indicted for the crime of menacing a police officer, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 28 in the City of Batavia that Cox intentionally place or attempted to place a police officer in reasonable fear of physical injury or serious physical injury or death by displaying a knife while the officer was performing his duties. In count two, Cox is accused of first-degree menacing, a Class E felony, for allegedly intentionally placing another person in fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a dangerous instrument -- a knife. In count three, Cox is accused of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony, for allegedly intentionally using a dangerous instrument -- a knife -- against another person. In count four, Cox is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count four that Cox intentionally obstructed, impaired or prevented a public servant from performing his duties, or tried to do so, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference or an unlawful act. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Cox is accused of having been convicted of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, in the City of Batavia (date not provided) and that conviction forms the basis of counts two and three in the current indictment.

Steven M. Lindner is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 18 in the City of Batavia that Lindner knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, also a Class B felony. It is alleged in count two that the defendant possessed a narcotic drug -- fentanyl -- with intent to sell it. In count three, Lindner is accsued of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, for allegedly possessing cocaine in an amount weighing 500 milligrams or more. In counts four and five, respectively, the defendant is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly possessing controlled substances unlawfully -- fentanyl and alprazolam. In count six, he is accused of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation.

Carey Culverhouse is indicted for the crime of first-degree assault, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 2, 2017 in the City of Batavia that Culverhouse intentionally seriously injured another person by means of a dangerous instrument -- a knife.

Dalton C. Kelly is indicted for the crime of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 18 on Chase Park in the City of Batavia that Kelly intentionally caused physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument (not specified). In count two, Kelly is accused of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally placing a person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death, or attempting to do so, by displaying a dangerous instrument (unspecified).

Kevin J. Weber is indicted for the crime of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 19 on Judge Road in Alabama that Weber intentionally caused serious physical injury to another person. In count two, he is accused of third-degree menacing, a Class B misdemeanor, for allegedly placing, or attempting to place, a person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury by means by physical menace.

Shonje K. Jefferson is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 27 in the City of Batavia that Jeffereson knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, Jefferson is accused of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation.

Darius L. Jones and Trevon L. Armstrong are indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C armed violent felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 2 in the City of Batavia that they possessed a loaded firearm, an Amadeo Rossi .38-caliber revolver. In count two Jones and Armstrong are accused of second-degree criminal contempt, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that on Oct. 2 they intentionally disobeyed or resisted the lawful process or mandate of a court. In count three, they are accused of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly knowingly acting in manner likely to be injuious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years old. In count four, they are accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly possessing acetaminophen / oxycodone hydrochloride. In count five, they are accused of unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation. In count six, Jones is accused of exposure of a person, a violation, for allegedly appearing in a public place in a manner that exposed his body's private parts.

Louis C. Restivo is indicted for the crime of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on July 13 in the Town of Bergen that Restivo intentionally caused physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument (unspecified).

Jon N. Roblee is indicted for the crime of menacing in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 29 in the City of Batavia that Roblee intentionally placed another person in fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a dangerous instrument -- a metal pipe. In count two, Roblee is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that he intentionally obstructed, impaired or prevented a public servant from performing his duties, or tried to do so, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference or an unlawful act. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Roblee is accused of having been convicted of the crime of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, on Nov. 7, 2011 and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Ernest D. Lane is indicted for the crime of aggravated family offense, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on April 8 at an apartment on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia that Lane that intentionally disobeyed or resisted the lawful process or mandate of a court -- a valid stay away order of protection issued March 28 in Batavia City Court. He did so by allegedly being at the home of the protected party. In count two, Lane is accused of criminal contempt in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly being at the home of the protected party that day. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Lane is accused of having been convicted of the crime of third-degree menacing against members of the same household and a special offense because the conviction was within the last five years -- on Jan. 18, 2018.

Katrina L. Gerace is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on June 3 in the Town of Elba that Gerace drove a 2012 Mini Cooper on Route 262 while intoxicated. In count two, Gerace is accused for aggravated DWI per se, also a Class D felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 percent or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Gerace is accused of having been convicted of driving under the influence or alcohol or a controlled substance, as a misdemeanor, "Highest Rate of Alcohol .16 percent BAC or higher," on Dec. 8, 2014 in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pa., and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Jay W. Schafer is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a firearm, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on June 19 in the City of Batavia that Schafer possessed a Smith and Wesson, Model 10, .38-caliber Special revolver.

Adam M. Kreutz is indicted for the crime of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that at an address on Fisher Road in Oakfield on June 22 that Keutz presented a supporting deposition to a public servant, knowing that the document contained a false statement or false information and that it would become part of the official records. In count two, he is accused of falsifying business records in the first degree, also a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two that on June 22 at an address on Fisher Road in the Town of Oakfield that he intentionally tried to defraud or make a false entry in the business records of an enterprise. This was allegedly done by providing a supporting deposition that attempted to conceal the commission of reckless driving.

December 2, 2019 - 3:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Service of Prayer & Remembrance.

Submitted photo and press release:

The H.E. Turner & Co., Bohm-Calarco-Smith and Burdett & Sanford Funeral Homes are proud to present their 24th annual Service of Prayer & Remembrance at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11. All are invited.

Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for the service at Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia.

A candle in memory of your loved ones will be lit prior to the start of the service and remain that way throughout.

The ecumenical service is a combination of music, congregation unison reading, prayer, Scripture reading, a message of hope, reading of the names of your loved ones and tolling of the bell in remembrance.

“We hear from families how the service helps them through their grief, especially during this time of year," said Joshua Smith, of H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home. "For some of these families it will be their first year participating in the service, which means it is their first Christmas without their loved one, and for others, they come back year after year.” 

Immediately following the service, a time of fellowship and refreshments will be offered at the church.

To register the name or names for your candle please call the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home at (585) 343-8868 or register online at www.bataviafuneralhomes.com by Dec. 9.

Photo: Joshua J. Smith, of the H.E. Turner & Co., Bohm-Calarco-Smith and Burdett & Sanford Funeral Homes, is seated with Pastor Marsha Rivers, pastor of Congregational Care & Discipleship at Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia.

December 2, 2019 - 1:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.

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Jason Smith shared with us this picture of a dove in the morning snow.

If you have a snow picture you would like to share, send it to [email protected].

November 30, 2019 - 6:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, Small business Saturday, downtown, batavia, news.

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For Small Business Saturday, Iris Bodine, 8, went shopping with her aunt Margie Everett at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

We didn't get a chance to visit local businesses until the afternoon, but several business owners said their shops were full in the morning and that it seems like more people seemed to be out shopping local on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving than previous years.

Dave Howe, Charles Men's Shop, said at least a half-dozen people mentioned the annual Shop Local promotion is what motivated them to visit local businesses today.  

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Stephen Valle and Carrie Lawrence, Valle Jewelers. 

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Chris Crocker and Leslie Moma, The Yngodess Shop.

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Don Brown and Dave Howe, Charles Men's Shop.

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