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November 14, 2018 - 7:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, St. James Episcopal Church, news, Announcements.

St. James Episcopal Church in Batavia announced that its first Pie Sale/Basket Raffle will be held this Saturday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the church, 405 E. Main St. Admission is free.

Known for the wonderful desserts served at Lenten Fish Fries, the bakers of the parish have been busy in the church kitchen making apple and pumpkin pies for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Stop in to buy a homemade pie for $8. Hot soup (eat-in or take-out) will also be available for sale.

A variety of gift baskets have been assembled, including a cash treasure chest and a lottery tree. Tickets will be on sale throughout the event and you need not be present to win.

Dorian Ely, one of the organizers, said, “We hope the community will support this beautiful historic church by stopping by on Saturday, purchasing some raffle tickets, a pie, and maybe even grabbing a cup of hot soup to speed them on their way during this busy holiday season.”

The phone number at the church is 343-6802.

November 14, 2018 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, batavia, Alabama, steve hawley, BRIDGE-NY, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced nearly $6 million in funding will be injected into six, much-needed bridge and culvert repairs in Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties as part of the BRIDGE-NY program that was a component of last year’s state budget.

A recent study by CNBC ranked New York’s infrastructure as some of the worst in the nation, with 10.5 percent of bridges ranked as deficient and 60 percent of roads classified as in poor or mediocre condition.

“I am very pleased to see our hard-fought victory for more upstate infrastructure funding is finally yielding tangible results,” Hawley said. “At a time when too many lawmakers set their sights on funneling more and more of our resources to fix downstate calamities like the MTA and LaGuardia Airport, it is more important than ever to focus on addressing upstate’s needs and that starts with our deficient roads, bridges and highways.

"Rest assured, maintaining the longevity of programs like BRIDGE-NY, PAVE-NY and increasing CHIPs funding will be among my top priorities come next year’s session.”

A list of BRIDGE-NY projects in the 139th Assembly District is as follows: 

  • $1.081 million to Genesee County for Sharrick Road over Murder Creek;
  • $907,000 to Genesee County for Tower Hill Road over Spring Creek;
  • $787,000 to the Town of Alabama (Genesee County) for Meadville Road over Canal Creek;
  • $1.082 million to the Town of Batavia (Genesee County) for Upton Road over Bowen Creek;
  • $686,000 to Monroe County for Lake Road W Fork over Sandy Creek;
  • $1.111 million to Orleans County for Transit Road over W Branch Sandy Creek.
November 13, 2018 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, batavia, bergen, elba, Alabama.

Angela Marie Torcello, 35, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with: falsifying business records in the first degree; grand larceny, 4th -- using a credit card; and petit larceny. Following an investigation of an incident that occurred on May 8, Torcello was arrested on these charges. It is alleged that she used a credit card that she stole to purchase products from a traveling vendor. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on Nov. 26. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan.

Rick Austin Drury, 21, of Judge Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI, DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, and moving from lane unsafely. He was arrested following the investigation of a vehicle off the roadway on Ford Road in Elba at 3:55 a.m. on Nov. 10. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Elba Town Court on Dec. 19. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen.

Craig Hobart Sleeman, 38, of Victor, is charged with: DWI; aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 percent or more and no priors; unsafe turn/failure to signal; failure to keep right; and moving from lane unsafely. He was arrested at 1:48 a.m. on Nov. 11 following a traffic stop on Main Street Road in Batavia. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 28. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Susan Michelle Rea, 45, of Sheridan Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, refusal to take a breath test, and stopping/parking on a highway. Rea was arrested at 3:52 p.m. on Nov. 10 on Wortendyke Road near Route 33 in Batavia after she was allegedly found asleep behind the steering wheel of her vehicle. She was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on her own recognizance. She is due in Batavia Town Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein.

November 12, 2018 - 8:40pm

Downtown Batavia's future is not the mall; it's the open areas south of Main Street, suggests Tim Tielman, a preservationist and urban planner with a track record of success in Buffalo.

Jackson Street, Jackson Square, the south side of Main Street, are where we can find what's left of Batavia's vitality, Tielman said, in a recent interview with The Batavian. The mall, he said, is the last place Batavia should invest tax dollars.

"It's a continuing drag on Batavians, their creativity, their dynamism, their energy," Tielman said. "It's this energy sucking death star in the middle of the city, and you shouldn't spend any money making it a better death star."

We interviewed Tielman in advance of his talk this Wednesday night at 7 o'clock at GO ART! for The Landmark Society of Genesee County's annual meeting.

The topic: How Batavia gets its mojo back. 

Tielman's basic thesis is that Batavia was at its apex just after the end of the 19th century when the village, soon to become a city, had a robust, densely populated urban center with hundreds of businesses.

If that downtown, which was destroyed by urban renewal, still existed Tielman said, people from Rochester and Buffalo as well as the rest of the GLOW region would flock to Batavia every week for the small city experience.

Niagara on the Lake still has it. Batavia lost it. But, with effort, Batavia can get it back, but it will literally be a ground-up process, not a top-down, consultant-driven, developer-driven effort. Batavians have to do it for themselves. But Batavians are already pointing the way if city leaders will listen.

"There's obviously an innate human need for want of a better term, congenial spaces, in towns, cities, and villages, and even in times where they've been destroyed in war or urban renewal, people find them or build them," Tielman said. "What we see in Batavia is people have happened upon Jackson Square because it's a leftover thing that no one thought about and wasn't destroyed.

"The qualities of the thing as a physical space make it a very interesting case. You enter through a narrow passageway, and suddenly, totally unexpectedly, you come to a larger space, and even though it obviously wasn't designed with gathering in mind it has everything people want as a place to gather."

Jackson Square, Jackson Street, combined with the local businesses that still populate the business district on the south side of Main Street are strengths to build on, Tielman said. Batavia can leverage the density already found there and add to it.

But Tielman isn't an advocate of trying to lure developers with tax dollars to build big projects. He believes, primarily, in a more grassroots approach. 

The "death star," he said, and continuing efforts to deal with it, are part of the "urban renewal industrial complex," as he put it, and that failed approach should be avoided.

"The solutions (of urban renewal) are all the same," Tielman said. "It's like, 'let's put out an RFP, let's get some state money instead of saying', 'well, what do the Batavians need? What are they thirsty for? What are they dying for?' What you'll find is that Batavians are like every other group of homo sapiens on the face of the Earth. If they had their druthers, they'd want something within walking distance.

"They'd want to meet friends. They'd want to do stuff close at hand and in a way that they're not killed by vehicles careening down streets at 30 or 40 miles an hour. They want their kids to be safe. They don't want to worry about them being struck by a tractor-trailer when they're riding their bikes to the candy store."

That means, of course, narrowing Ellicott Street through Downtown, perhaps adding diagonal parking to Main Street, moving auto parking from out of the center of the city, particularly in the triangle between Jackson, Main and Ellicott, which Tielman sees as the most promising area of downtown to increase density first.

Batavians will need to decide for themselves what to do, but what he suggests is that the city makes it possible for the parking lot between Jackson and Court become one big mini-city, filled with tents and temporary structures and no parking.

"The rents for a temporary store or a tent or a stand or a hotdog cart should be low enough to allow a huge segment of the population (of Batavia) to experiment," Tielman said.

Low rents remove one of the biggest impediments to people starting a business and open up the experimental possibilities so that Batavians decide for themselves what they want downtown. 

"This gives Batavia the best chance to see, whether for a very low investment on a provisional basis, (if) this will work," Tielman said. "It's not sitting back for 10 years trying to concoct a real estate investment scheme based on some RFP to lure developers and give them handouts at tremendous public risk. The idea is lower the risk and do things the way successful places have done it for millennia."

That's how it worked for Canalside, one of the projects, besides Larkin Square, Tielman has helped get started in Buffalo. With Canalside, development started with tents and temporary vendors. Now the area is revitalized, and permanent structures are being erected. It's a Buffalo success story.

The idea of starting new business and community centers with tents and temporary structures is something Tielman suggested for Batavia's future when he spoke to the Landmark Society in 2013. He suggested then the major obstacle standing in the way of Batavia's economic vitality wasn't the mall, it is massive amounts of asphalt for parking -- economically unproductive and mostly unused.

While he likes the Ellicott Street project, primarily because of the 55 apartments being added to Downtown's housing stock but also because of the involvement of Sam Savarino who has been part of successful restoration projects in Buffalo, Tielman thinks the project needs to have "connective tissue" with everything on the north side of Ellicott Street.

That means narrowing Ellicott, adding wider, more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, and slowing down truck traffic flowing through Downtown.

Any such plan would involve the state Department of Transportation but that, he said, is just a matter of the city being willing to stand up to the DOT and paying for its own maintenance of that stretch of Route 63.

"If the Batavia's really serious about fixing (Route 63), it should do it on its own dime," Tielman said.

As part of Tielman's suggestion to concentrate growth strategies on the south side of Main Street, Tielman agrees that the farmer's market, currently at Alva and Bank, should be moved to Jackson Street.

The current location is too far from the existing local businesses, so the tendency is for people to drive to Alva, park, shop and leave. The traffic being drawn downtown isn't staying downtown.

Tielman talked about contiguity, the quality of commercial spaces adjoining each other, being necessary for convenience of users and survival of businesses.

"Connective tissue," a phrase used several times by Tielman, is critical to city centers.

"Contiguity is the lifeblood of settlements of towns and of cities," Tielman said. "If left to their own devices, places will develop like this -- and you'll see this up to World War II -- whether they were European cities, Asian cities or American cities.

"Look at a (1918) map of Batavia, contiguity was everything," Tielman added. "In a town of 18,000 people you had four-story buildings. It's crazy, you would think, but (it was built up that way)  because (of) the distance from the train station to Main Street to the courthouse. That's where you wanted to be. Everyone's walking around."

People are social animals -- Tielman made this point several times -- and Batavians, if given a chance, will support a city center with more density, Tielman said because that's human nature. What exactly that looks like, that's up to Batavians, but creating that environment will give residents a stronger sense of community, more personal connections, and shared life experience. That will foster the community's creativity and vitality, which is better than just accepting decline.

"I mean, if you look at the great John Gardner," his formative years are "when Batavia was still a place where a young John Gardner could walk up the street, buy comic books, get into trouble over there by the railroad tracks, buy something for his mother on the way home, blah, blah, blah. He could have quite a day in town and encounter characters of different stripes that can actually (be worked) into pretty rich novels of American life. You wonder whether Batavia could produce a John Gardner today."

Tim Tielman has a lot more to say about Batavia getting its mojo back (this is condensed from an hour-long conversation). Go to GO ART! at 7 p.m. Wednesday to hear more about it, ask questions, even challenge his ideas.


Top: Use the slider on the map to compare Batavia of 1938 with Batavia of 2016.

November 12, 2018 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Country Farmers' Market, batavia, news, business.

Press release from Mike Bakos, manager, Genesee Country Farmers' Market:

On behalf of the members of the Genesee Country Farmers' Market, I would like to thank everyone that supported this year's Market -- the City of Batavia, the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), our 2018 market sponsors, our market vendors, and of course, our loyal customers.

The Market, located at the Downtown Batavia Public Market, on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place, was, once again, able to sustain a three-day/week market schedule being open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., from mid-June through the end of October.

This year marked the third year of collaboration with the BID. The popular Friday "BIG" Market continues to grow and receive inquiries from new vendors interested in joining the Market.

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people visited the Market each week, bringing 30,000 to 40,000 market customers into the Downtown Batavia Business District over the 20-week market season.

During the off-season, the Market will be pursuing new/prospective vendors with a goal of growing/enhancing the upcoming 2019 Market.

Please know that the Market is committed to our Mission of "providing a family-friendly environment where the residents of the Greater-Batavia area and Genesee County can shop for fresh, locally grown, produce and specialty artisanal items" -- and our Vision of "making the Genesee Country Farmers' Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market a WNY Destination."

Comments/inquiries regarding the Market are welcomed by emailing [email protected].

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season. Hoping to see you next June.

November 12, 2018 - 10:41am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A fire is reported at the Walden Estates Apartments at 337 Bank St., Batavia; uncertain which apartment #480. Smoke is coming from the door and windows of both floors. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 10:42 a.m.: City fire on scene confirms smoke showing; investigating.

UPDATE 10:43 a.m.: Ventilating apartment now.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Food on the stove was the cause of the smoke. The city assignment is back in service.

November 11, 2018 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, veterans, Veterans Day, batavia, news.


Among the Veterans Day ceremonies in Genesee County today there was one at the VA Center in Batavia attended by residents of the VA Hospital.






November 10, 2018 - 10:45am
posted by Billie Owens in airport, news, batavia.

An airplane with malfunctioning front landing gear will attempt to land at the Genesee County Airport shortly. No ETA yet. The Town of Batavia Fire Department is being dispatched and Mercy medics are on scene. The airport is located at 4701 E. Saile Drive, Batavia.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: The plane already landed safely; no need for fire or EMS. The assignment is back in service.

November 10, 2018 - 2:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.


Flames are visible coming out of the top of a corn dryer at 2775 Pratt Road, Batavia.

There is a semi-truck parked next to the structure.

A deputy on scene reports, "the flames are picking up."

East Pembroke fire is dispatched.

UPDATE 2:35 a.m.: Town of Batavia, Oakfield, and the City's Fast team requested to the scene. Corfu to stand by at East Pembroke.

UPDATE 2:38 a.m.: A rep on scene has shut off the propane going to the structure.

UPDATE 2:48 a.m.: Town of Batavia's ladder truck requested to the scene and fire police to shut down Pratt Road.

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Adding pictures. Fire crews are still on scene.






November 9, 2018 - 11:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, news.

An electrical fire is reported in the canopy of the Kwik Fill at 99 Jackson St., Batavia.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 11:47 p.m.: Fire is out. Power was cut before City fire's arrival. The assignment is back in service.

November 9, 2018 - 4:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy, business.

Press release:

For the second straight year, Empire Access has been named Best Internet Service Provider in the Best of the Best Southern Tier Readers’ Choice Awards presented by GateHouse Media. These awards recognize industry leading businesses in the Southern Tier region of New York State.

In Genesee County, Empire Access has locations in Batavia and Le Roy.

The Best of the Best contest allows for community members to vote in over 100 categories for their favorite business. Categories range from Best Real Estate Company to Best New Car Dealer. One winner is awarded from each category.

“We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued patronage,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “Receiving this award for two consecutive years truly shows the high level of customer satisfaction, not only with our Fiber Optic Internet but with our customer service and support”

Empire Access is a locally owned and operated Fiber Optic telecommunications service provider, offering state-of-the-art high-speed Internet, Television, Phone and Security services to homes and businesses – all enabled by Fiber Optic technology – to more than 25 communities in Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Empire Fiber Optic residential Internet speeds start at 100 Mbps (Megabits per second) download and go up to a lightning fast 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) download. Fiber Optics are far more reliable and not prone to slow downs due to issues caused by weather and congestion, each customer has their own dedicated connection.

Along with Fiber Optic-based Internet service, Empire offers a complete array of communications and Security services –

·       Television – delivering 100 percent digital picture quality, Free HD channels, Whole Home DVR capabilities and additional features through a variety of plan choices

·       Home and business phone service – including various plans with business options including toll-free numbers, phone systems, voice mail and more

·       Security and home automation – such as 24/7 video monitoring and in-home or business-based automation, the ability to remotely manage security, lock and unlock doors, control appliances, adjust heating/cooling and more from a smartphone, tablet, or computer

·       Advanced business services – enterprise Wi-Fi, business email, audio and video conferencing, dark fiber and metro Ethernet

For more information or to speak with an Empire Access Fiber Optic expert, please call 800-338-3300 or visit www.empireaccess.com.

About Empire Access

After starting in 1896 with one telephone line in Prattsburgh, NY, Empire Access has grown significantly as a family-owned, locally based communications provider serving large areas of Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Today’s Empire offers a wide range of products and services from basic phone service to customized phone solutions, scalable high-speed Fiber Optic Internet, basic to enhanced digital TV service and advanced security solutions.

Responding to a variety of business and consumer needs, Empire continues to expand into new areas while retaining a strong focus on local, personalized customer service. Empire Access offers Fiber Optic service in Arkport, Batavia, Bath, Big Flats, Burdett, Canandaigua, Canisteo, Corning, Dansville, Elmira, Elmira Heights, Geneseo, Geneva, Hammondsport, Hornell, Le Roy, Montour Falls, Mount Morris, Naples, North Hornell, Odessa, Prattsburgh, Penn Yan, Victor, Warsaw, Watkins Glen, and Waverly in New York and Sayre, Athens, South Waverly and Troy in Pennsylvania. The company’s Website can be found at www.empireaccess.com.

November 9, 2018 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Players, fundraiser, theater, batavia, news.
Press release:
Tomorrow, Nov. 10, from 3-6 p.m., the Batavia Players are hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at St. James Episcopal Church (405 E. Main St., Batavia).
Dinner is open to the public and includes pasta with homemade sauce, salad and bread for $10. Take out is available. At 4:30 p.m., the “orphans” from the upcoming musical "Annie" will be performing excerpts from the show.
"Annie" will be on stage at the Harvester 56 Theater Dec. 14,15,16 and 21, 22, 23.
With a cast of 40 actors, "Annie" is one of the largest productions the Batavia Players have performed at the Harvester 56 Theater. Actors come from seven counties in Western New York to participate in this show.
The Batavia Players also expect "Annie" to be the most popular show of the season. Tickets for the show are on sale now; one-third of all available tickets were sold in the first 24 hours.
November 9, 2018 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A chimney fire is reported at 7887 Kelsey Road. There is smoke in the residence, which is being evacuated. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

November 9, 2018 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, JJ Newberry, Newberry Place--freshLAB, batavia.

Submitted photos and press release:

On Thursday, Matt Gray (in photo above) accepted the Robert Macon Award with an honorable mention from the Community Design Center of Rochester -- Reshaping Rochester awards on behalf of the Newberry Project.

The award was established to honor the late architect Robert Macon’s contributions in the Rochester area. A gifted designer and leader in the architectural community, Macon is remembered for his civic contributions and transformative projects that spanned a 30-year career in the city that he loved.

Nominations for this award recognize projects that demonstrate Design Excellence and contribute to enriching the public realm. Nominations were judged according to the following criteria:

  • Excellence in a building or structure that has solved a design problem in a distinctive way;
  • Extent to which the completed project demonstrates enduring and notable design;
  • Ability to integrate that undertaking into a community’s context and extent to which it contributes to or benefits the public realm.

109-111 Main St., Batavia, location of Newberry Place – freshLAB

Project Award Nomination 

Newberry Place--freshLAB is a locally led $2.8 million three-story downtown mixed-use building renovation to deliver a 10,000-square-foot, ground-floor restaurant incubator housing three start-up eateries and upper floor apartments.

The Main Street food hall project has overcome design and infrastructure challenges, warranted State and Federal historic designation along with significant investment and grant partners to underwrite success.

Guided by Preservation Studios and TRM Architecture, the project was thoughtfully approached to preserve the building’s historic character in which the first national retailer, JJ Newberry, settled in Batavia. JJ Newberry wall medallions, Art Deco aluminum counter trim, office doors, hallways, beadboard and chain-link milk glass dome fixtures have been incorporated into the new design.

As expected, modifications also ensued when the century-old walls and floors revealed structural challenges. Relocation of bathrooms, kitchen ventilation hoods and floorplans were flipped to accommodate.

Meanwhile, the intended use as a foodhall with a micro-brewery anchor tenant took perseverance to advance. A simple farm brewery concept evolved into a restaurant incubator intended to keep millions of dining and entertainment dollars local to reduce spending leakage from Genesee County each year.

Local leadership coalesced an infrastructure for restaurateurs to advance a concept, write a business plan and open a new restaurant in this shared space under supervision of industry experts.

However, New York State Liquor Authority does not allow multi-tenants to occupy one space. After months of inquiries and legal fees, learning of “concessionaire” was key to authorizing Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co. the primary license to brew and sell alcohol on premise.

Two additional “concessionaires” are allowed to share seating, an indoor bocce court and tasting room whereby all alcohol must be purchased at the anchor tenant. The food-hall incubator is anticipated to launch five new businesses in five years, create 30 jobs and generate thousands of tax dollars.

While bumping into walls was expected, the floor integrity, lack of power in downtown and limited capacity gas lines had to be doggedly overcome.

The heavyweight brewing equipment was placed onto the basement floor, a hole was cut through the first floor to allow the tanks to peek through serving as a foodhall feature. A tasting room was fashioned above to overlook the tank farm.

Even though the City of Batavia underwent a substantial Main Street reconstruction less than a decade earlier, adequate electric power was not available and low pressure gas lines were underground. Fortunately, the property boundary extended eight feet to the rear of the building, which enabled a new transformer pole installation.

Yet, that triggered a NYS building code exception request since the outdoor space would no longer allow the fire stair descent; other fire safety measures were emphasized.

Commercial kitchens and upper-floor apartments were reequipped due to lack of available gas. The gas company is now considering infrastructure upgrades due to the existing demand and recognizing more than 40,000 square feet of vacant space remains on the City block.

Committed to transform downtown, Matthew Gray exudes patience as the concept leader, building investor and volunteer mentor drawing from his decades of restaurant ownership.

Upon purchasing the building, the first floor was divided into three different areas, each with their own cobbled, inefficient and potentially unsafe HVAC systems. These systems were completely removed to allow installation of new energy efficient heating and cooling equipment suited specifically for the new use of the building.

Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia completely designed, sourced and installed the HVAC and mechanical systems in the building. The brewery received three 10-ton rooftop heating and cooling units. This equipment was designed and selected with the brewery and restaurant in mind. They can operate independently, each unit with two-stage heating and cooling. This allows for energy savings by using partial capacity of the equipment as heating and cooling requirements constantly change. 

The HVAC system was also designed to work in conjunction with the multiple kitchen exhaust systems. By balancing the airflow between the six exhaust fans, two tempered makeup air units and the HVAC units, comfort levels and energy efficiency will be at their peak performance.

The brewery’s chiller is also placed on the roof, allowing the chiller to remove the heat from the brewery process and discharge it outside the building. This design kept the HVAC systems from being overloaded or oversized if the heat were to be discharged indoors, again using energy efficiency wherever possible.

Project Participants:

  • Matthew Gray, building owner, lead investor, co-owner Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co. and freshLAB restaurant mentor, Batavia
  • Jon Mager, co-owner Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co., Batavia
  • TRM Architecture, Matthew Moscati, Buffalo
  • Preservation Studios, Mike Puma, Buffalo
  • Thomson Builds, Paul Thompson general contractor, Churchville
  • Batavia Development Corporation, freshLAB partner and project grant coordinator, Batavia
  • City of Batavia, micro-enterprise grant and real property tax abatement, Batavia
  • NYS Homes & Community Renewal, NY Main Street Anchor Project & Micro-enterprise Program Funds, Albany
  • USDA Rural Development, Equipment Grant, Batavia
  • National Grid, Main Street Revitalization Grant, Buffalo
  • Empire State Development, startup micro-brewery incentive, Buffalo

BEFORE: Single tenant space represents half of the ground floor, center wall later removed to use10,000 square feet on ground floor as open, shared dining food hall.

Center wall removed to open entire 10,000-square-foot ground floor space, looking south.

AFTER: Concessionaire walk-up service with dedicated cold and dry storage for each startup restaurant.

JJ Newberry wall medallions preserved and incorporated in new design.

Art Deco aluminum trim to peek through drywall.

“Brew Hole” to set heavy brewing equipment on the basement floor, tanks will rise above the first-floor level.

Tasting room hovers over “Brew Hole.”

Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia completely designed, sourced and installed the HVAC and mechanical systems in the building.

November 9, 2018 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

A man who drunkenly broke into a home on Swan Street in Batavia and picked up a child in that residence said in County Court this morning that he knew he terrified the people living there and he felt horrible about it. He said he knew he deserved to go to jail.

Judge Charles Zambito sentenced Sath Paul Dhanda, 39, of Clapsaddle Road, Bethany, to eight months in jail on a conviction, based on a prior guilty plea, to charges of criminal trespass and endangering the welfare of a child.

"I don't know these people," Dhanda said. "I have never seen them. I wouldn't know them if I saw them. I feel awful about what I did. I do believe I deserve time in jail to make sure it doesn't happen again."

First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini blamed Dhanda's conduct on his drinking. Dhanda's criminal history goes back to at least 2007, the year after he reportedly suffered a head injury, when he was charged with assault at a residence on Ellicott Street. He's been arrested numerous times since then.  

By his own account and the word of others, Dhanda once had a promising golf career, and after being released from prison on a 2011 conviction for criminal contempt, Dhanda worked as a pro at a golf course in the region.

Today's court appearance today echoed Dhanda's sentencing in 2011 when he told then Judge Robert C. Noonan, "Alcoholism has destroyed my once promising life."

Cianfrini said today, "Everytime Mr. Dhanda drinks, almost every time he drinks, it seems he winds up in legal difficulty. He needs to come to the realization that he's a person who can't consume even one drop of alcohol."

She said he was lucky he hadn't seriously injured himself or somebody else given his lack of self-control when he's drinking. For his own safety and the safety of others, she asked Zambito to give him the longest possible sentence allowed by his plea agreement."

"Ms. Cianfrini is right," Dhanda said. "Alcohol is my problem but it's not every time I drink that I get into trouble but every time I get into trouble it's because I've been drinking."

He said prior to his arrest in July he had trouble with his health insurance and had trouble getting prescription medication. He mentioned going to UMMC and getting his medication and then taking it with alcohol. He said a friend was supposed to pick him up but instead of waiting he decided to walk. He said he blacked out and didn't remember entering the residence on Swan Street.

Dhanda is a good-looking man. Tall with the athletic build of a golfer, he is the son of a once-prominent urologist in Batavia. He is also well spoken and well mannered in court.

Zambito said the probation officer who prepared his pre-sentencing report said Dhanda was his "own worst enemy."

"It's clear," Zambito said reading from the report, "the defendant could do great things with his life if he would stop drinking and doing drugs."

November 9, 2018 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
       Jaequele Tomlin

A trial date has been set for two men accused of running a scam on Craigslist, but there may also be a plea deal in the works for one or both of the suspects.

Jaequele M. Tomlin, 23, of Central Avenue, Batavia, and Quamane J. Santiago, 19, of Main Road, Stafford, appeared in County Court today on what was scheduled to be their plea cutoff date but with the agreement of District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and Judge Charles Zambito the plea cutoff date was extended to Nov. 19.

Tomlin's attorney, Arthur A. Duncan, said he needed more time in light of a decision on a motion handed down by Zambito.

The nature of the motion or the content of Zambito's decision was not discussed in open court.

Tomlin and Santiago are charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree.

They are accused of posting car-for-sale ads on Craigslist with the intent of robbing anybody who showed up to buy the car.

At the time of their arrest, they were allegedly found in possession of fake guns.

Tomlin faces an additional charge of criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, for allegedly possessing a blunt-force weapon with the intention to use it against a person.

Fred Rarick, attorney for Santiago, did not indicate whether his client is considering a plea offer but Rarick agreed to the extension of the plea-cutoff date.

If no plea agreement is reached in either case, jury selection for a trial is scheduled for March 25.

"The snow should have melted by then," Zambito joked.

November 9, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

One of the two men arrested in connection to thefts from local liquor stores, where one man would distract the store clerk and another would enter the back room to steal cash or credit cards, admitted to his crimes today in front of County Court Judge Charles Zambito.

Edward F. Perdue, 57, walked into court dressed in a tan state prison jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled. He seemed confused and wandered in front of the defense table at which point a state prison guard, one of his escorts, pointed to a chair on the other side of the table and told him where to sit.

Perdue was soft-spoken throughout the hearing and when Zambito asked him how he was feeling, he said, "a little depressed and down."

When Zambito asked him if he understood the proceedings, Perdue fought back tears before saying he did.

Perdue, who said he was born in Rochester, is already being held at the Mohawk Correctional Facility since his conviction in April in Monroe County on counts of third-degree burglary, criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, grand larceny, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th. He was sentenced to three and a half to seven years in prison.

With his guilty plea today to grand larceny, 4th, for the theft of a credit card, the maximum term is two to four years.  

A year ago, Perdue participated with another suspect in a burglary of Plaza Spirits and Mr. Wine and Liquor. A cash box was stolen from the backroom of Plaza Spirts and a credit card was stolen from a purse at Mr. Wine and Liquor.

At one point, when Zambito was questioning about him about his status as a second felony offender, Perdue got a little more animated and exclaimed that he didn't steal $500 cash from Mr. Wine and Liquor.

Perdue's accomplice, Willie Dozier, previously entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, 3rd, as a second felony offender. He was sentenced in September to two to four years in state prison, to run concurrent with his sentence in Monroe County on charges stemming from similar crimes. Dozier was also ordered to pay restitution of $672.

November 8, 2018 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
Jennifer K. Urvizu-Hanlon

Whether certain statements Jennifer K. Urvizu-Hanlon made while in custody May 18, during the police investigation into a homicide and shooting the day before on Central Avenue in the city, can be used against her in court will be decided by Judge Charles Zambito by Jan. 4.

Urvizu-Hanlon appeared in court today for a hearing on the admissibility of those statements, called a Huntley Hearing (or a suppression hearing), and her attorney tried to use his time in court to also press for statements and notes from police that he believes his client has been wrongfully denied as he prepares to take her case to trial.

Whether Hanlon's statements can be used may come down to how Zambito views, within the scope of prior case law, two things Hanlon said during her interview with Det. Thad Mart, Batavia PD, that may indicate she had doubts about talking with police.

During the interview, she apparently said, "If I'm guilty of something I should have somebody here, I guess," and "I guess I should have somebody here" followed by "I don't have a lawyer."

A short time later she specifically asked for an attorney, at which point Mart terminated the interview and, apparently with enough evidence at that point, placed her under arrest.

Urvizu-Hanlon, the former owner of La Mexicana store on East Main Street in Batavia, is charged with criminal liability for conduct of another/criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd. She is accused of giving a handgun, which she was permitted to carry, to Samuel R. Blackshear, a 17-year-old accused of shooting Nathaniel D. Wilson Jr., who murdered Terry J. Toote with a knife on Central Avenue on May 17.

In a discussion after the hearing, with a reporter present, between defense attorney Christian Kennedy and First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini, Kennedy said he doesn't dispute that the statements were equivocal.

Prior case law makes it clear, and Kennedy said he knew he would lose a motion on this point, because saying "I guess" or "maybe" is equivocal, whereas a statement like, "I want to speak to an attorney," or even, "I want to speak to my dad," or "I want to speak to my friend" is unequivocal and any statements made after that point to police might not be admissible at trial.

Kennedy said he will base his written motion, to be filed later, on other grounds but did not disclose what his argument will be.

Det. Kevin Czora testified today followed by Det. Mart.

Czora said police obtained a warrant to search Urvizu-Hanlon's car as part of their investigation into the crimes on Central Avenue and that her car was located and stopped in the parking lot of Valu Plaza at about 2:25 p.m., May 18. 

Urvizu-Hanlon was taken into custody for questioning and placed in the back of a police cruiser. At that point, she volunteered to an officer that there was a handgun in her car, as well as ammunition and that the gun was either on the passenger side next to the center console or in the trunk in a bag.

Czora then read her Miranda warnings (the right to an attorney, to remain silent, etc.) and she waived her rights. He then questioned her about the gun and its location.

At that point, Urvizu-Hanlon was transported to the police station where Mart questioned her.

The interview was videotaped and a DVD of that interview was placed into evidence.

Mart said Urvizu-Hanlon acknowledged that she had been read her rights and had waived those rights, agreeing to speak with him.

He said the interview started at 2:45 p.m. and terminated at 3:04 p.m. when she asked for an attorney.  

The substance of the interview, other than her two statements about maybe she should talk with somebody, was not discussed during today's hearing.

When Kennedy questioned both Czora and Mart, he tried to ask questions about their involvement in the investigation on May 17 but Cianfrini objected to that being outside the scope of a Huntley Hearing and Zambito sustained the objection.

Kennedy said he had been denied "Rosario material," which refers to material in possession of the prosecution that may have a bearing on the case.  

Zambito said Kennedy was entitled to Rosario material relevant to the Huntley Hearing (no such material was in dispute today) but statements, documents, and notes, won't become subject of a Rosario motion until trial, if there is a trial.

In 18 years of practicing law in other courts, Kennedy said, he had never been denied this material at this stage. This is a long-standing common complaint of defense attorneys in criminal cases in Genesee County Court.

The Batavian reported in September that Kennedy may be preparing a justification defense based on the idea that Blackshear and Hanlon had just witnessed Wilson murder Toote. Zambito has apparently issued a ruling limiting Kennedy's ability to use this defense. But based on today's discussion, Kennedy will present another motion and try to make the point that there is no case law that addresses this particular situation -- where the gun used was licensed and legally carried by the person who handed it over to a third party who used it.

As for the Huntley Hearing, there will be an additional written motion and argument filed by Kennedy and an opportunity for the people to answer. Zambito must also view the video of the interview. The case was put on the calendar for Jan. 4 with a written ruling from Zambito expected before that appearance.

November 8, 2018 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A car-deer accident with injuries and airbag deployment is reported at  3429 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 6:01 p.m.: An officer on scene reports very minor injuries.


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