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April 29, 2019 - 3:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, Oakfield, batavia, Le Roy, byron, pembroke.

A 16 year old was the second person arrested by the Le Roy Police Department relating to a residential burglary in the Village which occurred on March 4. The identity of the 16 year old, who was arrested on April 23, is being withheld as the arrest now falls under the New York State Raise the Age Laws. The 16 year old was charged with one count each of burglary in the second degree and fourth-degree grand larceny, both felonies. It is alleged that the 16 year old unlawfully entered a residence in the Village of Le Roy, while the tenants were away, and stole items worth more than $1,000. The first person arrested for this crime was 19-year-old Sylvan Grayson on March 25. Most of the property was recovered during the investigation. The 16 year old was issued a criminal summons to appear in the Genesee County Court "Youth Part" to face the charges.

Paul Chester Wapniewski, 63, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested after he allegedly entered another tenant's room on East Main Street in Batavia at 9:59 a.m. on April 25 and stole money. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on charges of second-degree burglary and petit larceny and held without bail. He is due back in city court on May 2. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Batavia Police Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Matthew John Norstrand, 34, of Washington Street, Spencerport, is charged with: driving while ability impaired -- combined influence of drugs and alcohol; driving while intoxicated; refusal to take a breath test; operating a motor vehicle with improper plates; and driving with obstructed view. At 3:28 a.m., following a 9-1-1 hang-up call investigation, Norstrand was arrested on West Bergen Road in the Town of Le Roy. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Town of Le Roy Court on June 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Randy Robert Reiner, 24, of Washington Street, Akron, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; unlawful possession of marijuana; unregistered motor vehicle; and no/inadequate muffler.At 10:04 p.m. on April 27, Reiner was stopped on Route 63 in the Town of Oakfield following the alleged observation of vehicle and traffic violation(s). He was given sobriety tests then transported to jail where Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster, a Certified Drug Recognition Expert, administered a Drug Influence Evaluation. He was arrested, processed and released on appearance tickets for Town of Oakfield Court, where he is due on May 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Matthew Alan Olczak, 31, no address specified, of Clarence, is charged with: driving while impaired by drugs; failure to keep right; driving acorss hazard markings; and driving while intoxicated. He was arrested after a traffic stop on Main Road in the Town of Pembroke at 1:50 a.m. on April 24. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Pembroke Court on May 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Heidi L. Harder, 43, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with introducing prison contraband in the second degree. On April 16, Harder was arrested on an unrelated charge and transported to the Genesee County Jail. Upon arrival she was searched by a jail deputy and allegedly found to possess drug paraphernalia. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court on April 23 and jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash or bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Peter M. Glick, 21, of Woodward Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- common law; speeding; and moving from lane unsafely. Glick was allegedly found to be operating his vehicle while intoxicated after a traffic stop on Ellicott Street in Batavia at 8:57 p.m. on April 13. He was processed at Batavia police headquarters and is due in Batavia City Court on May 1. The case was handled by Batavia Police Offier Mitchell Glick, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Donald M. Maskell III, 28, of Cook Road, Byron, is charged with driving while intoxicated -- common law, and no headlights. He was arrested at 2:11 a.m. on April 28 on Jefferson Square, Batavia, after he was stopped for an alleged traffic violation and allegedly was found to be operating his vehicle while intoxicated. He was processed at Batavia police headquarters and is due in Batavia City Court on May 8. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Virginia A. Marks, 40, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 11:33 a.m. on April 26 at the Dollar General store on East Main Street in Batavia following a shoplifting investigation. She was issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on April 30. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

April 29, 2019 - 3:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

A two-car accident with unknown injuries is reported at West Main Street and Dellinger Avenue in the city. City fire and Mercy medics are responding

April 27, 2019 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, batavia, St. Joe's, mammoth sale.
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April 26, 2019 - 9:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

A 43-year-old former correction officer at the Albion Correctional Facility was sentenced this afternoon to six months in Genesee County Jail and 10 years probation after pleading guilty last month to one count of first-degree sexual abuse for a sexual act involving a woman incapable of giving consent.

It is a Class D felony.

Adam H. Brokaw, (inset photo) of Northern Boulevard, Batavia, will also have to register for permanent listing on the Sex Offender Registry, although his (threat) level (for reoffending) won't be determined until midsummer.

The case stems from a party at his house with a theme of "high school reunion" on Friday night, Nov. 10, 2017.

Brokaw and his wife, Ellen, invited several friends, including the victim, who said in court she had been friends with Ellen for about five years and felt safe and comfortable around the Brokaws. When she arrived, she headed downstairs where everyone was at the bar, including some members of law enforcement.

She joined with others in "doing shots." Over the course of the evening, she told police, she drank "an entire bottle" of Goldschläger -- Swiss cinnamon schnapps -- a liqueur that is 87 proof. She got sick and vomited outside over the porch railing. Adam Brokaw, according to court testimony, knew this and knew how incapacitated she was. The victim's children had to be brought over to the Brokaws because their mother was not able at that point to care for them at home.

Later the victim passed out on the couch, unconscious. Before that happened, she was unable to sit up unassisted and she could not keep her eyes open.

Her pants had been unbuttoned by Ellen and Adam "to make her more comfortable" as she slept on the couch, according to statements in the presentencing report.

But her rear end was hanging out and she felt the cold couch, the victim said in court today, as she came in and out of consciousness.

Ellen had gone to bed and Adam, who was himself intoxicated, stayed up to pick up the post-party mess.

At some point in the early morning hours Saturday, she recalls her left leg being swung over the couch and her foot planted on the floor. The victim said she felt a man fondling her breasts and penetrating her vagina with his fingers, then attempting to penetrate her with his penis. She heard the click of a camera and saw a flash. She still hears the heavy breathing.

When she came to, she found her underwear twisted all around. She felt she had been sexually assaulted and woke up Ellen.

"I had to keep your filth on me until I could get to the hospital," the victim said during her victim impact statement before sentencing.

"I sometimes think what if my children had woken up and seen you raping me?"

Ellen Brokaw drove the victim to the hospital.

"There are 20 steps in a rape kit," the victim said ruefully. "Twenty steps."

They poked and prodded and swabbed inside and outside every orafice of her body, gave her tests for sexually transmitted diseases, drew her blood, and bagged her underwear and other clothes for evidence. They scraped under her nails and took a hair sample. They gave her a "Plan B" pill (morning after emergency contraception pill) that made her experience severe uterine cramps.

"I'm still in shock. I am disgusted. You are disgusting," she hissed, adding that once she got home "I couldn't make the shower hot enough or long enough. And afterward, I still felt your filth on me."

"You're a piece-of-shit scumbag who took advantage of me," the victim said, although he took "an oath to protect and serve."

In the aftermath, her life has become a regime of pysch meds for depression and anxiety; a sexless marriage -- for now -- because she has flashbacks and trust issues; the loss of a once-close circle of friends; the loss of her old self, her confidence and sense of self worth; all the anger, the aloneness.

"This stops today," the victim said, vowing to regain her strength and independence.

Before returning to the gallery, she thanked Batavia Police Detective Thad Mart, her therapist, UMMC staff and family members for helping her. She was supported in Genesee County Court by at least 15 people.

Brokaw, who is at least 6'5" and solidly built, with shorn hair, sat at the table and stared frozenly ahead when the victim held forth from the podium. He wore tan pants, black athletic shoes, and a pale persimmon-colored T-shirt. His wife, parents, and one other supporter sat behind him in the gallery.

Next First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini was incredulous that the PSI examiner talks in the report about "the defendant's pain."

She accused Brokaw of attempting to minimize his role in the sexual assault -- by denying he attempted to penetrate her with his penis or that he fondled her breasts, of lying, of portraying himself as a victim, one who has been villified and has become a pariah.

In fact, it was only after DNA tests came back on April 26, 2018 that he admitted to his family that "something happened," Cianfrini said, underscoring her point that by no means did he own up to anything straightaway.

"She was raped and he perpetually lied about it for an extended period of time," Cianfrini said.

At this point, the defense attorney, Matthew Lembke, stood and said it was "improper" for Cianfrini to speak as she was, and that it amounted to her asking that Brokaw be punished for exercising his rights as an American citizen and for adhering to his counsel's advice.

He asked Judge Charles Zambito to strike the First ADA's comments from the record. Zambito declined and said he had no intention of punishing anyone for exercising their rights.

Brokaw shifted in his chair and cupped his chin with one hand and grasped his elbow with the other.

Cianfrini mentioned the glowing letters included in Brokaw's file that speak of his integrity and honor, and reminded the court that this same person ejaculated on the victim: There were seven different areas of the victim's underwear and three areas of her body that tested positive for Brokaw's semen.

A letter said Adam Brokaw is the kind of man who would get up at 2 a.m. to feed a stray kitten. Cianfrini said, and yet, the same man took advantage of "a helpless victim who couldn't get away" in the wee hours that November morning.

"He knows what prison will be like for him," Cianfrini said. "We should send a message that his conduct is reprehensible."

She asked for six months of jail and 10 years probation for Brokaw.

Lembke tried for the better part of an hour to sway the judge against any incarceration, saying his client is a veteran, with a fine record of service in law enforcement. He added that Brokaw's highly unlikely to ever do such a thing again; his chance of recividism is nill.

Lembke also disputed the prosecutor's contention that he acted as he did because "he thought he could get away with it" and said his client knows he should never have behaved as he did. Lembke said Brokaw has never pretended that he did nothing wrong.

"He never blamed anybody or suggested she made things up," Lembke said.

Then he went on about the philosophical struggle of humankind -- wrestling with the eternal questions such as why bad things happen and why good people endure famine, the loss of a child, sexual assaults and unspeakable acts of cruelty. He concluded by saying the answers are never simple because people are complicated.

Brokaw's actions were an aberration, an opportunity seized in the moment, fueled by alcohol.

"There's no denying what happened here is inexcusable," Lembke said. "(The victim's) feelings are right and there's just no excusing it."

Still, Lembke maintained nothing would be served by jail time, only retribution.

His client struggles with his own depression and anxiety since the high-school-reunion-party-gone-wrong, "self-inflicted or not."

"He regrets every minute of it," Lembke said. "He says 'I can't say how sorry I am. I will regret it for the rest of my life.' "

Lembke reminded the court to remember Scripture and to "love the sinner, but hate the sin."

He sought a sentence of probation only.

Zambito said maybe retribution shouldn't be part of a sentence but it's part of life. The community has to have faith in the judicial system. The court is obliged to fashion a sentence that bolsters that faith, and provides justice to all parties to the best of its ability.

"Otherwise the people would resort to self help," Zambito said.

The judge acknowleged Brokaw's military service, his former career in law enforcement, and his family. He said the letters sent to him pleading for lenience and mercy are "not his job."

This case was difficult.

"Alcohol was a factor," Zambito said. "But you allowed this to proceed. Someone came to your house and she trusted you and felt safe. She had to endure a violation, physically, personally, emotionally.

"I don't think you're a monster, but you committed a monstrous act. But you did this and people need to have confidence that there are consequences."

Zambito said he could have sentenced Brokaw to up to seven years in state prison.

Brokaw was led away to jail immediately after signing paperwork. The judge also granted the prosecution's request for two stay away orders of protection for the victim and her husband, which will remain in effect until April 26, 2029.

In the fall, when school begins, the orders can be modified to allow incidental contact at school-sanctioned activities and sports since the couples' children attend the same school and are on at least one sports team together.

Fees totaling more than $1,900 must also be paid by Brokaw, including: $489.69 for restitution; $1,000 to a victims' fund; $300 felony surcharge; $50 DNA fee; $25 for SORA; etc.

"Nobody wins in this situation," the victim said.

April 26, 2019 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rashaad Santiago, batavia, news, notify.


A piece of Godzilla that came from Batavia landed on the doorstep of a Pennsylvania home leading to a hazardous materials team responding to the residence and the police and fire departments evacuating the entire neighborhood around Seneca Street in Fountain Hill, which is outside Bethlehem.

The homeowner apparently forgot he had contributed to a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Godzilla movie, Godzilla Heritage, produced in Batavia by Tim Schiefer and Greg Graves.

One of the rewards for his contribution was a mock body part from Godzilla that was supposed to look like it was frozen.

When the unexpected package arrived, Michael and Tara Conner opened it.

“We opened it and there was a glass jar with a clear liquid inside,” Tara Conner told Andrew Scott, a reporter with the Morning Call. “There was something black floating in the clear liquid. We didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to touch it.”

The return label on the package included the name Greg Graves, which also just happens to be the same name of a U.S. Postal official, which was the only match they found for the name when the Conners searched online. That made them more suspicious so they called 9-1-1.

“We had no idea what this was or who sent it to us," Tara Conner said. "A police officer came, saw the package and agreed it was suspicious. He told us to pack some things and leave our house. And then Hazmat was called in.”

It took a few hours for officials in Fountain Hill to piece things together and discover the jar contained nothing harmful.

The monster part was made by Rashaad Santiago, who lives in Batavia but is nationally known, especially after winning the reality TV series Face Off, for his monster costumes, makeup, and props. He made Godzilla for Godzilla Heritage.

Santiago was both amused and proud that his monster part caused such a hubbub in Fountain Hill.

"It made me laugh," Santiago said. "The mass hysteria caused by it also made me proud that something I made by hand was mistaken for something that looked real and harmful."

Photo: File photo of Rashaad Santiago and Tim Schiefer.

UPDATE: A photo of the bit of Godzilla's flesh that was shipped to the Conners. Photo courtesy Tim Schiefer.



April 26, 2019 - 2:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, accidents.

A pedestrian was struck and sustained minor injuries at Ellicott and Liberty streets in the city. Mercy medics are on scene. City fire dispatched.

April 26, 2019 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.


Members of the Batavia Rotary Club partied like it was 1919 at Eli Fish last night as part of the club's ongoing commemoration of the civic organization's 100th anniversary but before they did they gathered in Rotary Park in Downtown Batavia for a group photo.

Here is a roster of current members (not all are in the photo):

Andrea L. Aldinger
Lori Aratari
Paul Battaglia
Wade Bianco
Linda Blanchet
Carol Boshart
Justin Calarco-Smith
Timothy Call
Ramon Chaya
Gary Churchill
Christopher Dailey
Richard G. Ensman
Daniel Fischer
Christine Fix
Douglas Forsyth
Vladimar Frias
William Fritts
Steven Grice
Jay Gsell
Barbara Hale
Stephen Hawley
Theodore Hawley
Jonathan Herdlein
Michael Hodgins
Thomas Houseknecht
James Isaac
Kimberly Isaac
Donald Iwanicki
Lalit Jain
John Kirkwood
Robert Knipe
Raja Kolisetti
Michael Kubiniec
Sharon Kubiniec
Edmund Leising
Thomas Lichtenthal
Glen Liucci
Krysia Mager
Rosalie Maguire
Francis Marchese
Paul Marchese
Laurie Mastin
Thomas Mazurkiewicz
Debbie McAllister
Gregg McAllister
John McGowan
James McMullen
Sue Medley
David Metzler
Martin Moore
James Mott
Gilbert Mulcahy
Kimberly Nichols
Robert Noonan
Lisa Ormsbee
Susie Ott
Barbara Pierce
Steven Pies
Mary Raymond
Joseph Rowbottom
Marlin Salmon
Donna Saskowski
Paul Saskowski
John Saville
Samantha Schafer
Susan Schuler
Jane Scott
Robert Shell
Raymond Shirtz
Pamela Sivret
James Smith
Lily Snyder
Mark Snyder
George Spinnegan
David Swartz
Peter Terry
Robert Thompson
Thomas Turnbull
Hollis Upson
Robert Walker
Christopher White
Kenneth Witt
Theresa Yasses
Charles Zambito
Andrea Zucchiatti


April 26, 2019 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Old Courthouse, Upton Monument, batavia, news.


This is the prettiest time of year around the Old Courthouse and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Also, the daffodils in front of City Hall are blooming.






April 25, 2019 - 3:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin M. Waleski Jr., 31, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment for allegedly threatening physical violence toward a person living on South Main Street, Batavia, at 12:47 p.m. on April 14. He is also charged with third-degree criminal trespass for allegedly trespassing and remaining on the same South Main Street property at 2:40 p.m. on April 23 after being told to leave. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on April 23 and jailed in lieu of unspecified bail. He was due to return to city court on April 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Lawrence W. Worsley, 39, of Ridge Road, Albion, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal contempt. Worsley was arrested April 24 after an investigation of a complaint that he contacted the protected party of a stay away order of protection on Vine Street in Batavia on March 12 and again on March 18. He was jailed in lieu of unspecified bail and was due in Batavia City Court today (April 25). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

April 25, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, batavia, first baptist church.

Press release:

The Alden Area Ecumenical Choir is presenting its spring concert this month titled “A Little Talk With Jesus In The Heavenly Sunlight.” Good Christian choral and solo music followed by a refreshment reception will make for a fun time.

The choir always takes a free-will offering to benefit local and global needs. This year’s offering will benefit Rise Against Hunger, supported by the Marilla Methodist Church and Neat Repeats, a clothing ministry supported by the Alden Presbyterian Church.

The choir offers two concerts, Friday evening, April 26, at 7 o'clock and late Saturday afternoon, April 27, at 4 o'clock. The Friday concert will be at the Alden Presbyterian Church, 13298 Broadway in Alden, at the corner of Crittenden. The Saturday concert is held at the First Baptist Church, 306 E. Main St., Batavia, between Summit and Swan streets.

April 25, 2019 - 7:40am
posted by Steve Ognibene in softball, sports, batavia, girls softball, steve ognibene's blog.


The Batavia varsity softball team bounced back from their previous game and defeated Monroe County Division 4 opponent Greece Odyssey by a score of 9-6 in a game played yesterday afternoon at Genesee Community College. 

Alyssa Ognibene, in her first ever varsity start, picked up her first varsity victory as she spun a complete game with five strikeouts and scattering six hits. 

Maiya Reinhart went 4-4 at the plate, hitting for the cycle, including a solo home run, towering fly ball over the left corner fence (photo celebrated above with teammates). Reinhart drove in three runs for the Lady Devils. 

Jenae Colkey collected three singles and an RBI for the Lady Devils, while Ryann Stefaniak, Bryn Wormley, Mackenzie Reigle, Sonji Warner, Dallas Lama, Irelyn Curry, and Natalie Rogers also hit safely. Rhorri Fix put down a perfect bunt for a base hit, while Julia Clark played very well defensively. 

With the win, Batavia moves to 1-0 in league play and 2-1 overall.

To view or purchase photos, click here.








April 25, 2019 - 7:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bontrager's Auction, batavia, hlom, history, news.


A property deed from 1813 and signed by Joseph Ellicott was purchased at auction yesterday by the Holland Land Office Museum for $1,900.

The deed was acquired last year by Dale Vargason, from Wayland, who found it in a box of 18th century documents he acquired and then decided to bring it to Bontrager's Auctions.

Auctioneer Todd Jantzi started bidding off at $1,000 and when there were no initial bids, dropped it down to $800. Two people then jumped into the bidding, including Gary Harkness, representing HLOM, and the bids quickly rose to the $1,900 mark.

Previously: Rare historical document, a deed signed by Joseph Ellicott, to be featured in upcoming auction at Bontrager's



April 25, 2019 - 7:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, sports.


Several student-athletes at Batavia High School signed letters of intent with area colleges and universities on Wednesday, including Sam Sallome, above, who signed with Tompkins-Cortland Community College to play baseball.

Sallome is joined by Jaime Sallome, Emma Sallome, Sam Sallome Sr., Coach Rick Saunders, and Asst. Coach James Patric.


Taiyo Iburi-Bethel signed with the University at Buffalo to play football.  Iburi-Bethel is joined by Mekhi Fortes (brother), Kinu Fortes (mother), Edwin Bethel (father), Lila Forte (sister), Darazian Williams (brother), Coach Brennen Briggs, Brenda Iburi (grandmother), Terri Ernst (grandmother), Shin Iburi (uncle), and Akari Iburi (aunt).


Joe Martinucci signed with St. John Fischer to play football. He is joined by Aimee Martinucci, Joseph Martinucci, Michelle Martinucci, and Coach Brennan Briggs.


Ryann Stefaniak signed with Nazareth to play basketball. She is joined by Anne Stefaniak, Rich Stefaniak, and Coach Marty Hein.


John Bruggman signed with Daemen to run cross-country and track. He is joined by Courtney Bruggman, Michael Bruggman, and coaches Dan Geiger, Rich Boyce, and Bill Buckenmeyer.


Elizabeth Cohen signed with Geneseo to run cross-country and track. She is joined by Coach Dan Geiger, Jeanne Cohen, Coach Bill Buckenmeyer, and Coach Rich Boyce.


Zak Jantzi signed with Roberts Wesleyan to run cross-country and track. He is joined by Coach Dan Geiger, Todd Jantzi, Coach Bill Buckenmeyer, and Coach Rich Boyce.

Ray Leach, the Blue Devils star running back who set several state records on his way to leading the Batavia to a state championship appearance, did not attend Wednesday's signing ceremony. He is expected to attend SUNY Cortland.

April 24, 2019 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
    Michael Piasta

A pair of jeans with a hole, a pair of shoes, and a jacket that were all consistent with images of a robber in a surveillance video were key to getting felony convictions in a jury trial for Michael J. Piasta, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

"This is a case where we definitely needed that surveillance video to provide the corroboration that we needed," Friedman said.

Piasta took $10,000 from the Arby's, 212 W. Main St., Batavia, on March 25, 2018. 

The jury took two hours to decide Piasta was guilty of robbery, 2nd, grand larceny, 3rd, and criminal possession of a weapon.

Friedman said Piasta carried an imitation handgun and wore a mask when he robbed Arby's.

Photo from Arby's surveillance that helped lead to the arrest and conviction of Michael Piasta.

On April 13, 2018, Piasta, who had already been identified as a suspect, was located in a pickup truck with three other individuals stopped by a Batavia police officer on West Main Street. Friedman said the pants he wore that day had a hole in one leg consistent with a hole in the leg shown in the surveillance video.

He also wore shoes Friedman said he thought were unique and consistent with the shows shown in the Arby's video.

The jacket Piasta wore during the robbery was located at his mother's house following his arrest. His mother said the jacket was hers but she had loaned it to her son a few days before the robbery and it was returned shortly after the robbery, according to Friedman.

"We had a witness who testified that defendant came to his residence right after the crime wearing clothes consistent with the clothes worn during the robbery and that he had several thousand dollars with him and he stated that he had, quote 'done dirt', which apparently means he committed a robbery," Friedman said.

Piasta has three prior stints in state prison and is eligible for sentencing for persistent felony offender status, which means a minimum of five years in prison. The maximum term for a Class C felony is 15 years.

When Piasta was sentenced in 2010 on a burglary charge, he told Judge Robert C. Noonan, "At this point, I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta told Noonan before receiving a maximum state prison term of seven years for burglary. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."


Photo from April 13, 2018, of the scene on West Main Street, Batavia, when Michael Piasta was taken into custody as a suspect in the Arby's robbery.

April 24, 2019 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Darien.
     Robert Gerety

Robert Richard Gerety (right photo), 45, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt in the first degree and criminal obstruction of breathing. He was arrested following an investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 9:28 p.m. on April 18 on Chestnut Street in Batavia. He allegedly grabbed a female acquaintance by the neck in violation of an order of protection. He was subsequently found to have an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in Batavia City Court. After arraignment, he was processed at the jail and allegedly found to possess a crack pipe, according to the police report. So he was charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia. He was held without bail and is due in Batavia City Court on May 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

      Latoya Jackson

Latoya Denise Jackson (right photo), 33, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. At 10:20 p.m. on April 20, Batavia police responded to a Vine Street residence for a physical disturbance call. After investigation, Jackson was arrested for allegedly cutting a male with a knife. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. She was due back in city court on April 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Kishonti D. Williams, 28, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs -- first offense; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; operating a motor vehicle while using a portable device; and unlawful possession of marijuana. On April 22 at 11:22 a.m. Williams was stopped on Route 5 in the City of Batavia for a vehicle and traffic violation. Following a roadside investigation, Williams was arrested. At the jail, GC Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer, a Drug Recognition Expert, administered a Drug Influence Evaluation and concluded Williams was impaired by drugs. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on May 16. The investigation was handled by Deputy Ryan Delong, assisted by Deputy Meyer.

John Roderick Benton, 61, of Colby Road, Darien, is charged with: Felony DWI -- operation of a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more, with a prior conviction within 10 years; felony DWI with a previous conviction; and failure to keep right. It is alleged that at 1:39 p.m. on April 21 on Tinkham Road in Darien that Benton drove up to a GC Sheriff's deputy and made an inquiry then immediately drove off. The deputy observed Benton unable to maintain his lane of travel and a traffic stop was conducted. Benton was subsequently arrested and issued appearance tickets for Town of Darien Court, where he is due to appear on May 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwater, assisted by Kevin McCarthy.

Patrick J. Michael, 38, of Batavia, was arrested by the City of Batavia Police Department on April 14 on an active Warrant of Arrest issued by the Wyoming County Family Court. Michael was wanted for failure to pay child support. Michael was turned over to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where he was arraigned in the Village of Warsaw Court and put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or bond.

Robert R. Richmond, 55, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with trespass. At 4:43 p.m. on April 20, Richmond was arrested on North Street in Batavia after he allegedly entered a building to use the restroom after previously being avvised that he is not welcome on the property. He was processed and released on an appearance ticket. He is due in Batavia City Court on April 30. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

April 24, 2019 - 3:15pm

Press release:

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Genesee County law enforcement agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.  

Bring your pills for disposal to:

Pembroke Town Hall, Route 5 at Route 77 in Pembroke

  • received by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies

Batavia Police Department Headquarters, 10 W. Main St. (rear parking lot) -- Batavia

  • received by Batavia Police Officers

Le Roy Police Department Headquarters, 3 W. Main St. -- Le Roy

  • received by Le Roy Police Officers

Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.

In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

April 24, 2019 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in BCSD, batavia, Musicians Of Note Award, news.

Press release:

Four alumni, one retired teacher, and one posthumous Batavia teacher will receive the Batavia City School District's first Musicians Of Note Award on Tuesday, May 14, at Batavia High School.

The alumni to be honored are: Robert Sullivan, Class of 1950, George Whittier, Class of 1951, Derek Reiss, Class of 1971, and Joey Pero, Class of 1999.

Former Batavia teachers honored are: Frank E. Owen, BCSD first director of Music for 37 years; and Kenneth Hay, BHS Band director and BCSD Music Department chairperson for 21 years. Ken Hay will defer his award until the Spring of 2020 and we will celebrate his success at that time.

They will be honored on the Wall of Fame for making an impact in their field.

From 5 to 5:30 p.m., there will be appetizers for guests and recipients in the cafeteria, with dinner to follow. The awards ceremony/concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Dinner and awards concert will be $25 per person. You may attend just the 7 p.m. concert/awards ceremony for only $10, either in advance or at the door.

To reserve tickets for the event, please call Batavia High School (585-343-2480, ext. 2000) and ask for Lisa Brown. She will either reserve or mail them once they have been paid.

Please pay either cash or check, made payable to Batavia Music Boosters. Ticket reservations must be made by May 1st.  

The awards ceremony/performance will feature Joey Pero and Derek Reiss performing with the BHS Jazz Ensemble and BHS Brass Ensemble. Robert Sullivan will conduct a musical number performed by Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corp.

Donations for the Batavia High School Musicians Of Note can be made through the Batavia City School Foundation Inc.

April 24, 2019 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, news, batavia.


Driving down Walnut Street in Batavia you may notice several trees have been removed and the logs are piled up on the east side of the Tonawanda Creek.

The tree removal is part of the Ellicott Trail project.

The trail will cross the creek in this area and in July, according to Matt Worth, Batavia's director of Public Works, a bridge will be placed across the creek at this location.

The 4.6 mile, $1.7 million trail -- a cooperative effort between the City, the Town, the County, and the State, should open sometime in the fall.

The trail is designed for recreational use by pedestrians and bicyclists.




April 23, 2019 - 7:08pm

Above, mugshots of Brandon Joseph Welch after his arrest in October.

A former Batavia resident is being held accountable starting today for the "horrific" treatment of a tortured and starving puppy after City Court Judge Robert Balbick sentenced Brandon Joseph Welch to immediately begin serving two months in Genesee County Jail, and a total of three years probation.

Welch made his sixth court appearance this afternoon, flying in from his parents' house in Florida, accompanied by his mother. His attorney is Rochester-based Frank Ciardi.

The native of Suffolk County pled guilty earlier this year on the misdemeanor charges of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (for claiming he found the starving puppy); torturing/injuring/not feeding an animal. The charge of owning/harboring an unlicensed dog was not mentioned, so apparently it was dropped.

Welch was arrested Oct. 18 after a warrant was served at his apartment at 679 E. Main St., following a tip from a witness.

"Opal" -- so named by Volunteers For Animals at the shelter -- is a fawn and white colored pitbull mix who was a few months old and weighed only 9.2 pounds when rescued on Oct. 4 after she was found by a Good Samaritan in Stafford. The dog was not able to stand on her own and was covered in urine and feces, and was severely dehydrated and malnourished.

Opal subsequently received nourishment, medical treatment, grooming and exercise while in foster care and was later adopted.

A Class D felony charge of making a terroristic threat, for Welch's alleged threat to shoot the first cop who came to his residence, was dropped because the cooperation of two witnesses, who live in another part of the state, proved problematic.

Today Ciardi articulated all that his client is going through to get his life together. He noted the lengthy pretrial period and that his client always showed up for court appearances. He noted that he has found suitable employment as a diesel mechanic trainee in Florida.

Welch moved to the Sunshine State after initially staying with his grandparents, who live on South Fairview Avenue, in the Village of Montauk, Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County -- on the Long Island Peninsula.

Ciardi said his client has availed himself of mental health treatment and is making progress all around after changing his lifestyle.

"He lacked the mental health to have a life that's fulfilling," Ciardi said.

The defense attorney reminded Balbick that Welch's offenses are misdemeanors. He argued against any incarceration, which Genesee County Probation recommended, and was against his client serving probation in Genesee County since he has no ties here.

"Jail would serve no purpose; it would bring him back down," Ciardi said, and put the brakes on the diesel mechanic career path Welch is pursuing.

The defense attorney even suggested that sentencing be postponed altogether until a course of mental health treatment was completed. He said it would be good if his client could continue his employment as a novice truck mechanic in Florida and have probation oversight transferred there.

Barring that, at least have it transferred to Suffolk County -- Welch could move back to his grandparents' place or make other living arrangements there where he was born and raised and has extended family.

Ciardi questioned whether Genesee County Probation actually read the two-page addendum to his client's presentencing report from Suffolk County, which recommends no incarceration and positively notes the good measures Welch is taking to get his life in order.

He strongly disputed Genesee County Probation Department's assertion that Welch took no responsibility for his actions.

"He took full responsibility -- for lying to police, for his poor choices, for putting his family through this," Ciardi said. "He has no prior record."

Balbick outright dismissed the notion of adjourning sentencing. The judge said the allegations against Welch were serious and he agreed that some incarceration was warranted.

But the game changer was Welch's decision to up and move to Florida before his case was adjudicated, essentially removing himself from Balbick's jurisdiction. This did not sit well with the judge at all even though he broke no law in doing so.

The prospect of getting a probation department in Florida to make room for the oversight of a misdemeanor New York case is not a given. It would be a complicated, lengthy and uncertain landscape to navigate.

By removing himself from New York State, it "exponentially complicated" his case and thereby put the terms of his probation on "shaky ground," Balbick said.

"That move to Florida really put the court in a bind," Balbick said.

When asked if he had anything to say on his behalf, a tearful Welch -- dressed in a long-sleeved red, white and navy plaid shirt, with navy pants and black dress shoes -- told Balbick that he's making progress in his life and that his "dream job" of becoming a diesel mechanic means everything to him. He would be devastated, he said, if he lost the opportunity he currently has in Florida.

The judge called a recess in order to contact the GC Probation Department to be sure they had read the addendum in the presentencing report from Suffolk County.

Welch walked from the podium that's in front of the judge to the gallery and sat next to his mother and cried and sniffled for 30 solid minutes.

When the case was recalled at 3 p.m., Ciardi and Welch stood at the podium and the judge told them that GC Probation confirmed they had read the addendum but still recommended a period of incarceration and he agreed with them.

Welch stood with his shoulders hunched and his arms crossed tightly across his chest.

"Your move to Florida complicated this matter tremendously," Balbick told the defendant. "What you did to (that animal) was horrific. There has to be accountability for the injuries and mistreatment. That's why you find yourself here in this situation."

Balbick proceeded to sentence Welch to "shock probation" of 60 days in jail starting right then and there. He said while he's incarcerated, he has no problem with getting probation transferred to Suffolk County, NY -- Florida is out of the question. Welch's probation will end on April 22, 2022.

Other stipulations:

  • He must notify his probation officer of any change in address, employment, treatment, education;
  • Get job training or a job;
  • Pay a $200 surcharge as required for falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement;
  • Pay a $50 DNA database fee;
  • Two orders of protection were renewed for two witnesses;
  • Allow courts/law enforcement/authoriites to access treatment and mental health records;
  • Avoid disreputable people and places;
  • Do not use mood-altering drugs or substances;
  • Undergo testing as need be;
  • Own/harbor NO PETS;
  • Get a substance-abuse evaluation from an OASIS-licensed clinician;
  • Within four weeks, get a mental-health evaluation;
  • Do not possess any firearms.

Welch, looking dejected and sniffling still, asked if he could hand his mother his wallet and mobile phone before being taken into custody. The Sheriff's deputy at hand said no and took the items from him and gave them to his mother in the gallery.

Welch asked if he could step outside the courtroom and speak briefly with his mother and tell her goodbye. The judge said "if it's all right with the deputy." "No" replied the deputy, "we usually don't allow it once you're taken into custody."

With that, the mother cried and mouthed "I love you" and her 23-year-old son, pouting, arms clenched across his chest, eyes downcast, was led away to jail by another deputy to begin his "shock probation."

Below, photo of Opal when she was first brought to the GC Animal Shelter.

Below, Opal after being nursed back to health and ready for adoption, which was successful.

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