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January 6, 2021 - 5:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, scanner, accidents, batavia.

A car vs. pedestrian accident is reported at 26 Harvester Ave. in the city. Possible minor injuries; the pedestrian is up and walking around. City fire is on scene with police and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: The pedestrian was treated at the scene for a cut on the wrist. The assignment is back in service.

January 5, 2021 - 1:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, accidents, batavia, scanner.

A two-vehicle collision is reported at Main and Court streets. There are four patients -- all sign-offs. Court southbound is blocked by the accident. City fire, Mercy medics and police are on scene.

UPDATE 1:19 p.m.: Three people were signs-off; a fourth is being transported to UMMC with complaints of back, head and shoulder pain.

January 4, 2021 - 6:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, east bethany, Pavilion.

Juan M. Mendez, 20, of Holley, no address provided, is charged with first-degree rape -- sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless. It is alleged that at midnight on Sept. 4 on Batavia Stafford Townline Road, in Batavia, that Mendez had sexual intercourse with a female who was incapable of consent due to her level of intoxication, rendering her helpless. He was put in Genesee County Jail following his arrest and arraignment and his bail was set at $2,500 cash or $10,000 bond. Mendez is due in Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 28. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Office Investigator Joseph Loftus.

William Richard Kapelke, 38, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal obstruction of breathing. On Dec. 31, he was arrested after the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 8 a.m. on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia. It is alleged that Kapelke choked a female durihg a verbal and physical altercation, and that this occurred in the presence of the victim's child, who is under the age of 17. He was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released on his own recognizance. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Tower, assisted by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Dylan S. Pehrson, 18, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal mischief in the fourth degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; grand larceny in the fourth degree; and third-degree robbery. The arrest follows a domestic incident that occurred at 3:06 p.m. Dec. 20 on Franklin Street. It is alleged that the defendant forcibly took items from the victim and broke property at the residence. After arraignment in Batavia City Court, Pehrson was released on their own recognizance and is due back in city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Joanne K. Harper, 56, of Pavilion, no address provided, is charged with: failure to keep right; driving while ability impaired by drugs; and driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. At 3:27 p.m. on Dec. 20, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a two-car head-on collision with injury on Old State Road near Silver Lake Road in the Town of Covington. It was also reported that one of the drivers was trapped and could not get out of the vehicle. Responding deputies observed two vehicles that had collided on the north shoulder of the westbound lane on a blind curve. Deputies freed the entrapped driver and both drivers were medically evaluated by Perry and Monroe ambulance medics. The eastbound vehicle appeared to have swerved into the westbound lane, causing the head-on collision. The driver of the eastbound vehicle, Harper, was given field sobriety testing and arrested. She was taken to Attica Police Department for evaluation by the NYS certified Drug Recognition Expert, who reported that she was allegedly under the influence of multiple drugs and could not operate a vehicle safely. Harper is due in Town of Covington at a later date. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Harding.

Morgan Elizabeth Rector, 21, of Pickthorn Drive, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. She was arrested after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred on Pickthorn Drive at 2:53 p.m on Dec. 27. It is alleged that she damaged property. Following her arrest, she was released on an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Feb. 23. The case was handled by Bataiva Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

Cassandra M. D'arconte, 22, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal contempt in the first degree. She was arrested on Dec. 23 after the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 4:31 p.m. that day on North Street. It is alleged that she violated an order of protection that was issued the same day. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Juctice. D'arconte is due back in city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Taylor M. Peyman, 29, of Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more; unsafe backing; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; and DWI -- common law. On Dec. 19, Peyman was arrested after an investigation into an accident that occurred at 8:20 p.m. in the area of Jackson Square. Peyman was released with appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on March 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman.

Tammy Rene Daigler was arrested at 3:55 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Wiard Street in the City of Batavia for driving while intoxicated -- first offense. She was stopped for a vehicle and traffic law violation and, following an investigation, allegedly found to be impaired by alcohol and to have a suspended driver's license. She is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy James Stack and City of Batavia Police.

Michael Shane Lytle, 31, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- with a previous conviction, and unlawfully selling fireworks with a value of $500 or more. He was arrested at 12:03 p.m. on Dec. 21 on State Street after an investigation by Genesee County Probation Department and city police. It is alleged that he possessed an illegal metal knuckle knife and more than $500 worth of illegal fireworks. He was arraigned in Genesee County Jail virtually by Batavia City Court and released inder supervision of Genesee Justice. Lytle is due to return to city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges.

Casey Thomas Vaughn, 31, of Prune Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Vaughn was arrested on Dec. 28 after an investigation into a larceny that occurred Dec. 20 at 5:08 p.m. at the Mobile Gas Station on East Main Street in Batavia. It is alleged the defendant stole products from the convenience store. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

Richard J. Burdick, 42, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested on Dec. 26 after allegedly stealing a shipping cart full of goods from Tops Market in Batavia at 10:29 a.m. He was processed on scene and released with an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court on Feb. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen

Robert C. Strollo, 60, of Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, was arrested by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post after Strollo turned himself in on a bench warrant for petit larceny out of Batavia City Court.

January 3, 2021 - 1:59pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in nostalgia, batavia, news, history, urban renewal, downtown, main street.

I always have been a follower of Hallmark movies due to their storyline's simplicity and happy endings. What I think that most intrigued me was when the main characters always seemed to go home to save a part of their town, from historic buildings to Main streets.

These stories always take me back to our Downtown. I've written many articles about urban renewal, its history, why it happened, and how it happened.

But it never illustrates the sadness we endured or the memories we cherish.

Watching a Hallmark movie with its predictable ending always makes me think about going home or being home in Batavia.

Many of these movies take me back to the '60s and the daily ritual of walking home from Notre Dame High School. As my best friend and I would cross Union Street to Main Street, our first stop would always be the Red Barn for a little snack. The next stop would be Oliver's for Molly Pops.

It was a simple time, but the memories of walking down Main Street are as vivid today as they were in the '60s.

The big red brick square building on the corner of Court Street and Main Street always intrigued me.

I knew it must have been a hotel, and standing on our tiptoes, looking at the dusty lobby always made me curious about that building.

Many years later, as I was researching the hotel, I returned to that window scene imprinted in my mind, imagining people dancing and eating in that beautiful Richmond Hotel, named after the famous Dean Richmond family.

I think some of my favorite memories were shopping. I love the clothes of the '60s. Favorite places to shop were Alexander’s Clothing Store and C.L. Carr's department store. It was always so much fun to go into the stores and look at the newest styles.

Being a Notre Dame student, we had to wear the ugliest uniforms.

What were they thinking by having the girls wear a bolero? So, the idea of getting new clothes was a big deal.

 Alexander's on the north side of Main Street had a section in the store called The Barn. It was like walking into a teenager’s fashion dream, showcasing all the newest styles.

When I was a freshman, there was a dance called the Christmas Dance, and I remember buying my dress from The Barn.

It was pink, and since this was my first dance (I was 14), and my dad being a dad, he made me add a big black velvet bow to the neckline of the dress. I always thought that was funny since I weighed about 93 pounds.

I also remember in my senior year buying my formal for our senior prom at Alexander's.

I can't forget my other favorite store on the south side of Main Street, C. L. Carr. It was like entering into many little departments that, together, created a building where you could buy almost anything.

I loved their clothes. Somehow, there was a deal with my parents, or I should say with my mom, that I could take home clothes on approval.

That was always exciting because I could pick out my favorite clothes and take them home and show my mom, and hopefully, I could keep one or two of them.

My mother would say, "Don't show your father today; wait a few days, and the day your father asks 'When did you get that new outfit?' you can say, 'Oh, I’ve had it awhile, Dad.' ”

Since we had to wear such attractive uniforms one year, the store sold mohair sweaters that we could thankfully wear over our school uniform. I didn't care that I was allergic to wool. I would wear that sweater, so did my best friend, Cathy. I think she might've had a blue sweater and I had a pink one. I loved that sweater.

I have so many memories of that fantastic store in which you could buy a particular card, vacuum cleaner, a rug, sewing supplies, pots and pans, and have gifts wrapped all year long.

I can remember buying my wedding gown in 1974 with my mom, another memory I will cherish.

It was the way the sales clerk treated you with such kindness and respect that left such a remarkable impression. I picked out our everyday dishes and "good china” at Carr’s.

They also had a travel agency kiosk called Travelore on their first floor where we bought our honeymoon tickets. You really could find everything in that store. 

Years later, I had my first child and couldn't wait to buy baby clothes.

I also would buy gifts for other friends and relatives, and somehow the sales clerks at the store knew if that new baby had already received the gift I had picked out.

When our daughter was in high school, she was one of the Christmas wrappers in the store's basement.  

With their fake snow and predictable storylines, Hallmark movies take me back to my hometown to remember what it was like before it was taken away.

The one thing the wrecking ball couldn't take away are the treasured memories of my hometown Main Street.

PHOTOS:

1) (Top) Demolition of Downtown Batavia in the name of urban renewal, courtesy of Genesee County History Department;

2) Red brick building -- Hotel Richmond, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum;

3) Hotel Richmond lobby, coustesy of the Genesee County History Department;

4) Notre Dame High School class photo of girls wearing boleros, from a ND yearbook;

5) Anne Marie Peca in her Senior Prom formal from Alexander's clothing store, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

6) Anne Marie Peca wedding photo, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

7) C. L. Carr store drawing, Pat Burr;

​8) (Bottom) Main Street Downtown Batavia, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum.

January 2, 2021 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, football, batavia.

Photo and information from Batavia resident Ann Hart:

Fun news -- my daughter Nichole Hart (second from left), a die-hard Bills' fan since birth (Bills' last playoff), moved to Hyannis, Ma., after graduating from pharmacy school to start her career in 2016. She has put up with a lot of sympathy from fans of the New England Patriots since then.

Now the tables have turned and she couldn’t be more excited!

So she and her fellow pharmacy friends from Albany, Rochester and Binghamton found a "once-in-a-lifetime" billboard to celebrate! It's in Foxborough, Mass., a town in the Greater Boston area where Gillette Stadium is located --  home of New England Patriots.

"(Nichole) said it was exhilarating standing there with people beeping as they drove by and other fans were coming and going as well, shouting 'Go Bills!' Ann Hart wrote in an email. "Just thought people could use some uplifting news!"

Nichole Hart is a 2010 graduate of Notre Dame High School.

In the photo from left are: Carolyn Enos, Nichole, Courtney Chapman and Ally Jurik.

December 31, 2020 - 7:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Batavia PD, batavia.

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A Batavia police officer driving a city patrol vehicle was involved in a two-vehicle accident at 3:10 p.m. today, according to Chief Shawn Heubusch.

An ambulance did respond but no information was released on possible, if any, injuries.

The officer was returning to Batavia from training, Heubusch said. 

The accident is being investigated by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the chief said further details will be released once the investigation is completed.

Reader-submitted photo.

December 31, 2020 - 5:39pm
posted by Press Release in Holland Land Office Museum, news, batavia.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum will have adjusted operating hours for the month of January.

The museum will be open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be closed Sunday through Tuesday.

Beginning in February, the museum will reopen on Tuesdays.

For further information or questions please contact the museum at (585) 343-4727 or [email protected]

December 31, 2020 - 5:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Grand Jury, batavia, Le Roy.

Desiree M. Hutchinson 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 Aug. 12 in the City of Batavia that Hutchinson knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, she is accused of the same crime for allegedly possessing fentanyl that day with intent to sell it. In count three, she is accused of criminal possession of a crontrolled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more substanes containing a a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- which had an aggregate weight of one-eighth of an ounce or more.

Montell L. Cunningham is indicted for the crime of first-degree burglary, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 13 in an upper apartment on Tracy Avenue in the City of Bataiva that he unlawfully entered a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime and while there caused physical injury to a female victim. In count two, his is accused of second-degree strangulation, a Class D violent felony, for allegedly applying pressure to her neck or throat, with the deliberate intention of impeding normal breathing or blood circulation, and thereby caused stupor, loss of consciousness or physical injury or impairment. In count three, Cunningham is accused of second-degree harassment, a violation. It is alleged in count three that on that day, with intent to annoy or alarm a person, that he struck, shoved, kicked or otherwise subjected the female victim to physical contact.

Anthony J. Welch is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on May 22 in the City of Batavia that Welch possessed cocaine with intent to sell it. In count two Welch is accused of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two that on May 22 that he acted with intention to conceal evidence -- upon being confronted by a uniformed police officer, he hid a quantity of cocaine between his buttocks. In count three, Welch is accused of the crime of promoting prison contraband in the frist degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged in count three that on that day he knowingly and unlawfully introduced cocaine into a detention facility -- the Genesee County Jail. In count four, Welch is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count four that on that day he knowingly had scales used to weigh or measure controlled substances and that he intended to use them for unlawfully packaging or dispensing a narcotic drug or stimulant.

David P. Grossman is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 4 that Grossman entered and remained unlawfully in a dwelling on Highland Park in the City of Batavia with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, he is accused of third-degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two that one that day he damaged property belonging to another person in an amount exceeding $250 -- a City of Batavia police patrol vehicle. In count three, he is accused of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor, for damaging property belonging to another person -- a door and the face of a clock. In count four, he is accused of resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor, for preventing or attempting to prevent a police officer from arresting him. In count five, Grossman is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for impairing or attempting to impair a public servant from performing an official function by means of intimidation, force or unlawful act. In count six, the defendant is accused of third-degree coercion, a Class A misdemeanor, for making a demand of an officer and instilling fear that if the demand was not complied with, the defendant would cause physical harm to the officer. In counts seven and eight, respectively, Grossman is accused of endangering the welfare of two children, a Class A misdemeanor, for knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of children less than 17 years old.

Jennifer D. Abrams and Tarus O. Fluitt are indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 16 at the Crosby's store on Clinton Street Road in the Town of Batavia that these defendants committed the crime of second-degree criminal mischieg, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 16 they intentionally damaged property belonging to another person in an amount exceeding $1,500 -- mutiple doors, a kitchen sink and merchandise at that Crosby's location. In count three, they are accused of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony, for allegedly stealing porperty having a value of more than $3,000 -- cigarettes worth $3,500. In count four, they are accused of fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally engaging in conduct that constituted a felony and they agreed and engaged in such conduct.

Aurelio A. Figueroa is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that between July 2014 and July 2019 that Figueroa stole property valued at greater than $3,000 --- a total of $9,321 in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. 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 on July 5, 2017 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count three, he is accused of the same crime for filing another written instrument -- a Landlord Statement -- allegedly knowing it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count four, it is alleged that on Jan. 19, 2018 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count five it is alleged that on Jan. 19, 2018 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a Shelter Verification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count six, it is alleged that on June 19, 2017 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count seven, it is alleged that on June 19, 2018 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a Shelter Verification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count eight, it is alleged that that on Jan. 14, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count nine, it is alleged that on Jan. 11, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a Shelter Verification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count 10, it is alleged that on July 9, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count 11, it is alleged that on July 9, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a Shelter Verification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In count 12, it is alleged that on July 16, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that Figueroa offered a written instrument -- a SNAP application/recertification, knowing that it contained false information and presented it with the intent to defraud a public authority. In counts 13 and 14, Figueroa is accused of falsifying business records in the first degree, a Class E felony, for allegedly making a false entries into business records by submitting Shelter Verification forms which had information crossed out on Jan. 19, 2018 and Jan. 14, 2019, respectively.

Ana M. Uribe is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that between August and November 2019 in the Town of Batavia that she stole property with a value exceeding $3,000 -- a total of $3,218 in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and public assistance. In count two, Uribe is accused of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degreem a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two that on Sept. 4, 2019 in the Town of Batavia that she submitted a SNAP/Public Assistance Recertification to public authorities knowing that is contained false information and did so with the intent to defraud them.

Robert A. Bell Jr. is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on March 13 of this year that Bell, in the City of Batavia, knowingly possessed stolen property with the intent to benefit himself and its value exceeded $3,000 -- a 2008 Hummer H2.

Craig L. Fien is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on July 22 on Lake Street in the Village of Le Roy that Fien possessed a dangerous instrument -- a bat -- with intent to use it unlawfully against another person. In count two, he is accused of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that on that day he intentionally placed a person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by means of displaying a dangerous instrument -- a bat. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Fien is accused of having been convicted of: petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, on Oct. 22, 2014 in Monroe Couny Court, and the same crime on Nov. 15, 2016, in Town of Batavia Court; criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, on Aug. 14, 2019 in Genesee County Court; and these convictions form the basis for count one in the current indictment.

December 30, 2020 - 12:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, accidents, batavia, scanner.

A personal injury accident -- car vs. sign -- is reported in the parking lot of House O' Laundry, 427 W. Main St., Batavia. A person has a head injury; but is up walking and talking. There was air bag deployment. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

December 28, 2020 - 1:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, alexander, batavia.

Brodes J. Gibson, 59, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. Gibson was arrested on an unrelated incident by Medina PD and later turned over to Batavia PD on a City of Batavia Court arrest warrant. The local charges stem from a domestic incident at 3 a.m. Oct. 20 at a lower apartment on Bank Street in the city. Gibson allegedly stabbed a person with a knife. Following arraignment, he was jailed without bail. He was due back in court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Christopher A. Sewar, 34, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested Dec. 19 after an investigation into an incident at 3:38 p.m. Dec. 19 at an upper apartment on Maple Street in Batavia. It is alleged that he violated a court order and burglarized a residence. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail. Bail status not provided. He is due back in court on Jan. 25. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Aaron Michael Hatt, 24, of Broadway Road, Alexander, is charged with: operating a motor vehile while impaired by drugs; driving while impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; vehicle at a standstill on a public highway. Hatt was arrested at 9:22 a.m. on Dec. 24 on Old Creek Road in Alexander after an investigation of a vehicle parked in the roadway with a male slumped over the wheel. He was issued tickets and is due in Alexander Town Court on Feb. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob, assisted by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Jason W. Wolf, 44, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with: insufficient turn signal; consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle; refusal to take a breath test; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree; and unlicensed operator. Wolf was arrested at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 on Elm Street in Batavia. The arrest was made after a complaint about an allegedly intoxicated driver on East Main Street. The vehicle was located and a traffic violation was allegedly observed. Wolf was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail. Bail status not provided. He was due to return to city court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

December 27, 2020 - 4:32pm
posted by James Burns in news, batavia, winter, sledding.

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All day long sledders of all ages enjoyed being out in Centennial Park. The winter fun and tradition continues. 

Photos by Jim Burns.

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December 27, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by David Reilly in batavia, history, nostalgia, wintertime, news.

Growing up in Batavia in the 1950s provided kids with a lots of opportunities for winter outdoor fun. There were a couple reasons for this: first, there was a lot more snow to play in.

The average temperature in this area has risen almost a degree and a half in the last 50 years and the average low temperature has gone up double that amount. Even though we receive more winter precipitation, a lot of it falls as rain. You can't really build a rainman or have a rainball war.

Secondly, there are a lot more indoor electronic entertainment options now. I'm not gonna go all grumpy old guy (although I sometimes am him) and criticize kids for phones, video games, etc.. It's just a different time.

All Bundled Up

Back then in order to make it through a snowy cold outdoors day, kids had to dress warmly. This involved a lot of bulky clothes and some help from your mother. I have mentioned the movie “A Christmas Story" in my reminiscences before, but if you picture Ralphie's little brother Randy having so many clothes on that his arms wouldn't stay down, that describes us perfectly.

A bittersweet memory for me is that in 1997 my mother had a heart attack. The doctor told us that it was fatal and she only had a short time to live. As I sat trying to comfort her, I asked, “Mom, what's your favorite memory from when we were kids?” She replied, “ I think it has to be you guys (I had two younger brothers) going out to play in the snow.”

Sledding And Skating

Until age 10 I lived on Thomas and Ellicott avenues, so sledding at the State (Street) Park (now known as Centennial Park) was one of our winter activities. It was a pretty short walk there with our wooden Flexible Flyer sleds and we'd stay there all afternoon until our hands were frozen into our mittens.

I recall that over toward the west end of the park hill there was a tree that for some reason had a raised earthen circle around its base. It wasn't that high, but everyone tried to start from it to get a little extra boost in speed.

In 1957 we moved to North Spruce Street and had a lot more yard room to make snow forts and have snowball wars. Also, in the late '50s and through the '60s we got a LOT of snow.

Like most kids then, we did get ice skates for a Christmas present one year. I never did enough skating to be any good at it, but I do remember going to a rink at Williams Park on Pearl Street. One time my friend Charlie's older teenage sister who could drive dropped us off and agreed to be back at a certain time. Well, she was a teenager so she was late. Very late. By the time she got there we were on the verge of crying because our feet were so cold. I think Charlie blistered her ears pretty good as we drove home to thaw out.

On Jan. 15th 1994 I went to the coldest game in Buffalo Bills' history, a playoff game against the (then) Los Angeles Raiders with a wind chill of -32 degrees. My feet did not get as cold as that day skating in Batavia. Mostly because I was prepared with three pairs of socks and felt-lined boots. Also, because a teenage girl didn't go necking with her boyfriend and leave me there.

When we moved to North Spruce we were the last house on the east side of the street. A couple years later someone began constructing a house on the lot to our north.

Something got delayed and the basement walls were poured, but then it was left open and water got in there. We discovered by climbing down a wooden ladder that there was a sheet of ice there when the water froze. So one winter before it was closed in, we'd go down there and play hockey. Well, hockey as played by several kids who really couldn't skate on a rink about 25-yards long.

Snowball Shenanigans

Snowball wars were usually fun unless you caught one in the face. When we lived on North Spruce Street we used to go to East Main Street and bombard semi-trucks. On the north side of Main between North Spruce and Eastown Plaza there was a hill with apartment buildings on top (I'm not sure how long the hill has been gone, but I only noticed it recently). We'd go up there at night and launch our icy missles at the rear part of the trucks as they lumbered by.

While living on Thomas or Ellicott avenues my younger brother Dan and I used to take hikes out State Street Road to the airport and back. In the cold weather Mom would pack us some sandwiches and a thermos of chicken noodle soup to fortify us on our journey.

One time though snowballs got us in trouble. We got the less-than-brilliant idea to throw them at cars on the New York State Thruway from the State Street Bridge. A State Trooper saw us, turned on his flashing lights, pulled over, and came up the embankment after us. We were too terrified to run (we were probably 9 and 6 years old) and appropriately froze to the spot.

The trooper gave us a good chewing out and told us if he caught us endangering drivers like that again he'd put us in his car and take us to our house. He ordered us to be sure to tell our parents what we had done, but I can't remember if we actually did or not. That might have been one of those cases like climbing the water tower when you told them years later -- when there was no chance of punishment.

Getting the Boot

Another memorable winter incident happened on Cedar Street. My aunts Kate and Peg lived by the sand wash (now DeWitt Recreation Area) and one snowy day my brother and I had been playing somewhere past there by either the Peanut or Lehigh Valley railroad tracks.

On the way home I decided to take us on a shortcut by skirting the icy edge of one of the ponds. Suddenly, my boot sank into the snow and water started coming up around it. I was overcome by fear since us kids had heard that those ponds were hundreds of feet deep. I pulled and tugged, but my booted foot was stuck solidly.

Dan started toward me to help, but I yelled at him to get back fearing the extra weight. I yanked my leg one more time and my leg came free but the boot stayed entrenched in the slush.

I scrambled up the bank onto solid ground (under the snow), but momentarily debated in my mind whether to try to get the boot. I had seriously pictured the ice giving way and me sinking underneath so it wasn't much of a choice. I was getting the heck out of there.

I began running as fast as I could with only a wet sock on my foot through the cold and snow to our aunts' with little brother tagging behind.

As I was running, already my devious kid mind, while glad to be alive, was thinking of a way to get out of trouble. We had been warned many times to stay away from those ponds.

Aunt Kate's face turned white as I came bursting through the door possibly crying (although mostly fake I think) and blurting out a story about how I made a mistake and my boot got stuck in some water and I had to run miles (maybe a quarter of a mile) through the snow in my sock and that I'd never go near there in the winter again, and so on.

I don't think I ever saw Aunt Kate wear anything but what she called a “house dress” and she was certainly not an “outdoorsy” person, but she took Dan and went and retrieved my boot. I don't think I ever asked how, but she lectured me at length about going near the water. I don't think she ratted me out to my parents though.

Driveway Duties

At some point in the late '50s, not too long after we moved to North Spruce Street, my dad had to have surgery, so at age 11 or 12 I became responsible for shoveling the driveway. As I mentioned earlier, we got a lot of snow those winters and it was a constant battle for a kid to keep that passage cleaned out.

We had not added a garage onto the house yet, so fortunately for me my mom would park close to the street so I wouldn't have to shovel too far. I remember that she would give me the keys to start the car up and I would take breaks in there. We probably had something like a 1956 Pontiac and I'd listen to The Tommy Shannon show on WKBW radio with The Rebels playing “Wild Weekend."

Drifting Away

In the rear of our ranch-style house on North Spruce Street we had a picture window in the living room. I can recall several winters where my brother and I were sent out to shovel the windblown snow away from it so we could see out. Also, I remember drifts in the front that went up almost to the level of the rain gutters.

I would be remiss if I wrote about memories of snow in Batavia without mentioning the blizzards of 1966 (one of my previous stories was about my adventures during that epic event) and 1977. So many Batavians recall being stranded for days, getting groceries by snowmobile, and cars being buried in the piles of snow until spring.

Judging by the large number of former Batavians who have moved to Florida and other Southern environs, not everyone shares my fondness for winter nostalgia. However, I still enjoy the change of seasons in Upstate New York, but will admit that I wouldn't complain if it only snowed on Christmas Eve and Day (which it rarely does). Nonetheless, sometimes in the winter I'll “drift” off to sleep thinking of my kid days in snowy Batavia, New York.

Top photo: Dave Reilly (left) with brothers Jim and Dan 1960.

Middle two color images: Before and after photos of little Dave when a sled ride went bad.

Bottom two photos: Two views of the back of 122 N. Spruce St., Batavia, circa early 1960s.

Photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

December 26, 2020 - 5:44pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #734 of Attica, has been busy with this year’s holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."  

With the generous donations of the organizations of the Harder O’Donnell Post #734; American Legion Auxiliary, A.V.M.A., American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the assistance of local Attica business owner, Robert Cusmano of Mugs and More, the project quickly came together.  

A donation of 76 zip-up hooded sweatshirts were given to every patient of the Batavia V.A. Medical Center in their gift bags on Christmas morning. 

Also donated by the Auxiliary, was a 55” television for the Veterans Recreation Room. This donation was made in memory of Auxiliary Past President Leilani Spring, who passed away earlier this year.

We would like to thank Volunteer Services Personnel Cindy Baker and Nicholas LaMarca of the Batavia V.A.M.C. for their assistance with our holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."

A few members of each organization met on Dec. 8th at the V.A.M.C. to deliver the sweatshirts and television.

The vets were delighted and surprised!

American Legion Auxiliary Unit #734

Harder O’Donnell Post

83 Market St., Attica

Top photo from left: Auxiliary members -- Tammy Soemann, Barbara Eddy, Kathy Roberts, Kate Kellner; Commander Robert Wood; Adjutant Keith Almeter; and S.A.L. members Ralph Eddy and Mike Almeter.

December 26, 2020 - 9:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, weather.

img_2208birds.jpg

A pair of birds managed to make it to the seed in suet cake in the Batavia backyard of Jason Smith this morning despite several inches of snow overnight.

Send your snow-related photos to [email protected].

December 25, 2020 - 1:06pm
posted by Press Release in NYS Veterans Home, batavia, news, painting.

Submitted photo and information from reader Joe Caruso:

My Dad was a resident at the NYS Veterans Home in Batavia and passed in 2017. I have an 11-year-old Granddaughter (top photo left) who donated 20 canvas paintings she spent endless hours painting.

She felt the residents would appreciate having them to display or hang in rooms. Her name is Sofia Falleti and she is a sixth-grade student at Saint Joseph Regional School in Batavia.

December 23, 2020 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tonawanda Creek, South Main Street, batavia, news.

20201221205128_img_5548.jpg

Amanda Coggiola submitted these photos of a bald eagle at the Tonawanda Creek off South Main Street Road, Batavia.

She said, "My kids and I saw this eagle at our house this morning. They asked if I could send the pictures to you because we know sometimes you post the pics on your website. Merry Christmas: Amanda, Ben, Lilly, and Jake Coggiola"

20201221205129_img_5549.jpg

20201221205131_img_5550.jpg

December 23, 2020 - 9:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tomaszewski, crime, news, batavia, notify.
tomaszewskimugjuly2020.jpg
     Michael Tomaszewski

Funeral home owner Michael S. Tomaszewski, arrested in July after an investigation that uncovered multiple incidences of potential fraud, was arraigned in Genesee County Court today on more than 200 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument in filing, scheme to defraud, and failure to deposit.

As he did when first arrested and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court, Tomaszewski entered a not guilty plea.

Tomaszewski waived his right to have a grand jury review the evidence against him and potentially issue indictments against him. He was arraigned on what's known as Superior Court Information (SCI) that lays out all the charges in the same form as a grand jury indictment.

It is 101 pages long.

Tomaszewski is accused of taking money people used to prepay for funerals and instead of depositing the money in appreciate bank accounts then using the money for other purposes.

The SCI indicates the majority of customers lost from more than $2,000 up to $15,500 each.

The charges include: 67 counts of third-degree grand larceny; 28 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; four counts of falsifying business records; 93 counts of failure to deposit; seven counts of petit larceny; and counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree; and scheme to defraud.

During the virtual arraignment today, the attorneys discussed the possibility of reaching a plea deal within the next six weeks.

Tomaszewski remains released from custody on his own recognizance. His next scheduled court appearance, which will also be virtual, is 1:30 p.m., Feb. 2.

Alecia Kaus/Video News Service contributed to this report.

Previously:

December 23, 2020 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

A 52-year-old Batavia man already previously convicted on child pornography charges has been indicted once again in Federal Court.

Matthew Barber is charged with receipt and possession of child pornography, which carries a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office of Western New York was previously convicted in 2007 and was sentenced in 2007 to 74 months in federal prison. He was given five years of supervised release but he failed a sex offender treatment program.

Barber reportedly had a job in Batavia. He was dismissed after allegedly placing a USB flash drive into a work computer. He May, he was charged locally with unauthorized use of a computer.

As a condition of his parole, Barber was required to notify NYS Parole if he was terminated from employment. That day, U.S. Probation and NYS Parole searched his residence and seized a cellular phone and a flash drive.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, investigators found 1,100 images and 40 videos of child pornography on the drive. Several hundred other images and 200 videos were allegedly found on the phone.

Barber was arraigned today in Federal Court. 

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Sliwinski; and the Batavia Police Department, under the direction of Chief Shawn Heubusch.

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