Local Matters

Community Sponsors


August 22, 2009 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, Daily News.

Congratulations to Scott DeSmit, Tom Rivers and Joanne Beck of the Batavia Daily News for their Associated Press writing awards.

DeSmit won a first place award for three of his columns.

Rivers won three awards. He will receive a second-place award for his columns, a second place for beat reporting, and an honorable mention for his series on farm labor.

Beck receives a second-place award for columns and a third-place for continuing coverage of the city ambulance service issue.

The awards will be presented Sept. 23 in Syracuse.

August 22, 2009 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A "general alarm of fire" has been sounded at 5 City Centre, the Girl Scouts of America. City fire crews are responding.

A person at the office tells dispatch that there is nothing showing. Dispatch also reports other alarms sounding in the building.

View Larger Map
August 21, 2009 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Summer in the City.


It's a beautiful evening and the vendors are getting all set up, so come on out for Summer in the City in Downtown Batavia.

August 21, 2009 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, GCEDC, med-tech.

An organization that specializes in helping under-served rural communities improve medical care has agreed to open offices in the new med-tech center under construction on Steven Hawley Drive, accross the street from GCC.

The Batavia-based Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center (R-AHEC) is a non-profit independent organization that creates community partnerships to educate and place health care professionals in under-served rural areas.

Additionally, UMMC has received a "certificate of need," allowing it to sign a long-term lease at the new facility.

As a not-for-profit community hospital, UMMC is regulated by the state and is required to seek approval for projects involving expansion of services or renovations to its facilities.

The approval will allow UMMC to move its two physical therapy operations into a single, more modern and high-tech space with improved handicapped accessibility.

August 21, 2009 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Overnight, a witness observed somebody entering parked cars along Cedar Street and called police.

Police officers E.E. Bolles and Frank Klimjack located the suspect on East Avenue and allegedly found him with the fruits of his crime -- items taken from a parked vehicle, including a bottle of prescription medicine.

Charged with petit larceny and possession of a controlled substance was Benjamin Evans, 20, of 11 S. Main St., Batavia.

Evans was arraigned before City Court Judge Michael Del Plato and bound over on $3,000 bail.

August 21, 2009 - 12:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, thebatavian, elba, elba robbery.

mug-Wells-Michael_front.jpgA "rural justice attitude" will prevent at least one of the defendants in the June 18 Elba bank robbery from getting a fair trial in Genesee County, according to Batavia defense attorney Thomas Burns.

Burns is defending Matthew J. Wells, who is accused, along with two other men from Buffalo, of robbing the M&T Bank branch in Elba, making off with at least $10,000 in cash, and then leading local law enforcement on a five-hour manhunt (with Wells being the final suspect caught).

In papers filed Thursday, Burns cites extensive media coverage of the robbery and manhunt, with special attention on The Batavian, as part of his change of venue motion.

Comments made by readers on The Batavian, as well as quotes from local law enforcement officials cited in coverage on The Batavian, indicate, according to Burns, that local jurors would be prejudiced against his big city client.

Among the five reader comments Burns includes in his brief is this one by Jeff Allen left the day after the robbery:

"Let's give major kudos to our local law enforcement agencies. The fact is these thugs thought that driving out to a hick town near a Thruway exit would be an easy knock off and escape back to the city. They got a quick introduction to rural justice. The only question that loomed yesterday was who would get them first, the police or a ticked off land owner with a shotgun! Great work everybody (Howard included), you did our area proud!"

Burns also cites quotes from Chief Jerome Brewster of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman in The Batavian suggesting the suspects thought a rural bank might make an easy target.

His change of venue motion rests on three key points:

  • Intense media saturation coverage in a small, rural community with "sensationalized reports" combined with instantaneous and interactive technologies.
  • Lack of racial diversity in Genesee County (only 2.6 percent of the population is African-American).
  • The fact that some 30 to 35 percent of the people living in Genesee County were directly impacted by events that day, primarily because of the BOCES-imposed school lock down.

But it's the news coverage of The Batavian, and the comments on posts, that take up the bulk of the motion by Burns.

The attorney argues that the nature of media has changed, making the case for venue change even more compelling. The last change of venue granted was made by a local appellate court in a 1983 murder case. The trial was moved from Livingston County to Monroe County out of concern for "rural justice" attitudes and local media coverage.

"It is submitted that widespread use of internet news services will require courts to carefully assess the impact of instantaneous news reporting from on-line news services upon small rural counties reacting to high-profile crimes," Burns writes.

"It is reasonable to conclude that the Fourth Department Justices grappling with the Acomb, supra, decision in 1983 would have found the extent of localized publicity significantly increased had that decision been made after 1992, when the internet became widely accessible to the public, and even more so today where internet news sources saturate homes and businesses with instantaneous news of local concern and provide interactive content with subscribers and readers. Of the news services cited herein only the traditional print media and Time Warner services require reader/viewers to pay a fee. 'The Batavian' cited at length in this affirmation is available 24 hours per day without fee. In contrast, in Acomb, it is believed that media resources were exceedingly limited when compared to today's media outlets."

Burns also cites "extensive negative press" following bail review hearings for co-defendants Demone Dillon and Dennis Abrams as the reason he didn't seek bail for his client. Both Dillon and Abrams were offered bail of $250,000 and bond of $500,000 following hearings in which both defense attorneys and the prosecution discussed details of the cases at length. Following both hearings, written and verbal confessions were made available in the public case files. The Batavian reported details of the June 18 events from these sources.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he doesn't believe Burns will win his motion and that it's premature for a change of venue motion because jury selection hasn't even started yet.

"Normally, you wait until you select a jury and then document the difficulty in doing so because of pre-trial exposure," Friedman said.

Friedman, who said he regularly follows local law enforcement cases on The Batavian, said it's rare for media coverage to impact the ability of attorneys to impanel an impartial jury and that it's too soon to say if new media is going to make that job harder.

Burns agreed that it may seem early to file a change of venue motion, but he said court rules compel him to file all of his motions within a certain time frame. In order to preserve the rights of his client, he said, he had to file the motion before today.

On behalf of Wells, Burns filed several other motions Thursday, including one to suppress any statements Wells made after his arrest.

Burns contends that Wells was not read his rights for more than two hours after his arrest. During that time, Burns states, Wells expressed a desire to remain silent and to speak to an attorney, but investigators kept pressing Wells to talk. Wells was arrested at 2:51 p.m., but it wasn't until 5:35 p.m., when a written confession was placed before Wells to sign, that he was read his Miranda rights.

Burns also claims there is a lack of reliable eyewitness testimony to place Wells at the Elba bank. The witnesses can only describe the robbers as black, Burns contends, and cannot positively identify Wells as one of the men inside the bank.

These facts call into question the evidence provided to the Grand Jury that led to the indictment of Wells on the bank robbery charges.

Burns also tipped his hand on a possible defense. Wells, in his defense, will assert "lack of knowledge and understanding of the criminal activity as a result of duress or improper influence by one or both of the co-defendants."

The change of venue motion was filed with the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. The other motions were filed with Judge Robert Noonan in Genesee County. Noonan will hear arguments for the motion at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 8. There's no word on when the appellate division might issue its ruling.


August 20, 2009 - 7:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

One person suffered a minor injury in an accident Wednesday at 6:43 p.m. when the driver of one car reportedly tried to make a left-hand turn on to Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road from Route 63.

Lisa M. Pursel, 39, complained of neck pain following the accident and was transported to UMMC.

Pursel, of 222 Liberty St., Batavia,  was driving a 2006 Toyota sedan northbound on Route 63 when she attempted to go around an uninvolved southbound vehicle that was also making a left-hand turn.

It appears Pursel did not observe the oncoming, southbound car of Jason Siverling, 35, of 57 Redfield Parkway, Batavia.

Siverling had his three children, ages 2 to 6, with him in his car at the time of the accident. Neither Siverling nor any of the children reported any injuries.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.


August 20, 2009 - 5:05pm

There's something about throwing a pie in somebody's face that's just funny. Always has been, always will be. Same can be said of watching someone full grown and fully dressed suddenly drop into a tank of cold water against his will.

The latter is but one bit of fun in store for people who go to the fifth annual Summer in the City festival this Friday and Saturday. Food, drink, rides, music, crafts and more will be plentiful.

Now this business about dunking isn't free, although the festival is, of course. You must pay to get a chance to hit the thingamajig that, successfully done, pulls the whatnot and plunks politicians and the like into the aquasphere.

This mildly twisted amusement takes place in front of the Girl Scout Building on Main Street from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday. The fine, upstanding stooges have volunteered their time for specific half-hours, so if you've got a grudge or a sense of mischief you might want to consider this option. You may not get another chance.

Plus, the money will go to buy supplies to build wood cook stoves for mountain folk in the Domincan Republic. They could sure use the stoves, according to Tim Rimmer, who along with Jon Rimmer is getting creative in ways to raise money for their cause as part of service to the Peace Corps.

Here are the dunkables:
3:00 – Bill Cox
3:30 – Mike Rimmer
4:00 – Steve Carr
4:30 – Cory Richenberg
5:00 – Ted Hawley
5:30 – Jay Gsell
6:00 – Hollis Upson
6:30 – Owen Gould
7:00 – Steve Hawley

Friday's festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from noon 'til 9 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by: McMahon Irish School of Dance; The Double Image Band; Ghost Riders; and Joey T & The Formula.

Children's activities include “I’ve Got Rhythm” KidsZone in Jackson Square. Plus, “Fun For Everyone Shows” will be returning with carnival rides and games in Jackson Street Parking Lot.

On Saturday, the Super Car Cruise is scheduled with over 450 vehicles of all types.

This event is sponsored by the Batavia Business Improvement District Summer in the City Committee.

For more information about “Summer in the City” Festival visit the B.I.D. website at www.downtownbataviany.com or call the following: B.I.D. at 585-344-0900 or Jeffrey Gillard at 737-3484 for more details.

August 20, 2009 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, train.

Apparently, the arms are down and the lights are flashing at the train crossing on Wortendyke Road in Batavia, but there's no sign of any train.

View Larger Map
August 20, 2009 - 12:39pm
posted by chris johnson in batavia, mayhem riders, east bethany, dice run.

Benefit Fund Raiser for Patsy Rapone

Saturday August 22nd 2009 @ 2:00

East Bethany Firehall

10440 Bethany Center Rd

East Bethany NY 14054


Mr. Rapone is the Father of one of our club member’s. He is a devoted, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend. He was diagnosed with small cell cancer, along with this battle he has heart problems, we are joining in an effort with other clubs, businesses, friends, & family member’s to help out the family with expenses.

Dice Run, Food, Drinks, Live Music, Chinese Auction, 50/50, Raffles

Dice run will start at Stans Harley Shop 4425 W. Saile Drive Batavia, NY

Sign up will be from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. we will make 5 stops and end at the East Bethany Fire Hall 10440 Bethany Center Rd

Highest and Lowest will win prizes

$25 Rider $10 passenger (includes benefit donation)

Tickets for this benefit will be sold prior and the day of for a $15 donation and Under 12 $5 donation

Call (585) 356-0889 or (585) 813-9730 for tickets or ask one of us for tickets



August 19, 2009 - 6:04pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in batavia, Batavia Players, Announcements, Summer Youth Theatre.


This weekend, fans of Oz can see local children and teens sing and dance their way through the Batavia Players Summer Youth Theatre production of The Wiz.

The show, which tells the well-known story of Dorothy and her adventures in the magical land of Oz, features familiar characters such as the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda and the Tin Man.

However, The Wiz is a far cry from the original Wizard of Oz. There are several twists, such as Dorothy's magical shoes being silver instead of red, and an extra witch named Addaperle (played by Katelyn Rogers, above left). But the main difference is that the music and dialogue are in an African-American style.

"It's a much more lively show," says Maureen Edwards (above right), who has the role of Dorothy. "You just want to get up and dance. It's like the funky motown version of the Wizard of Oz."

Edwards, who is 12, is one of the 85 cast members that range in age from 3 to 22. This is her third Summer Youth Theatre production and her ninth production overall.

"Everyone is super supportive," she says. "I've been really lucky because in every show I've been in, I've been treated with a lot of respect. But I do think that with the younger cast, the friends I've made are a lot closer."

Director Patrick Burk says that he tries to give the cast members experience not only onstage, but behind the scenes as well:

"I want them to have a full experience. So they learn about acting, singing, choreography, etc., but they also help with props and sets and cleaning up. It's very important to teach them about tech roles, too."

Burk, who has directed the past 14 summer shows as well as numerous other local community theater productions, says that the cast began rehearsals in mid-May.

"Mr. Burk has a great vision for the show," Edwards says. "He yells sometimes but it's because he loves us and wants us to be the best that we can be. He's a lot of fun to work with."

The original Broadway stage production of The Wiz debuted in 1975, winning seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It has had revivals in New York, London, San Diego and the Netherlands, and a film adaptation starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Nipsey Russell was released in 1978.

"Everyone should come see it," says Edwards.  "It's going to be a great show."

Performances are Aug. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 22  at 2 p.m.. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at www.bataviaplayers.org link to www.showtix4u.com or at Batavia High School, 260 State St., during evening rehearsals and prior to each performance. For more information call 585-343-9721.

August 19, 2009 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

mug-nicholas-mckague.jpgYesterday, a woman who's bike was apparently stolen overnight saw a man riding her bike on East Avenue and called Batavia police.

When police responded, they reportedly found Nicholas McKague, 18, of 1 Colorado Ave., riding the bike.

According to a Batavia Police Department press release, McKague admitted to stealing the bike from 4 Elm St.. Upon further questioning, he also allegedly admitted to breaking into several unlocked cars and taking items in the area of Union, Oak and Allen streets Monday night/Tuesday morning.

The property taken has not been recovered.

Tuesday morning, several people reported their cars on Redfield, Kingsbury and North Lyon streets were broken into overnight. Bikes were also reported stolen on North Lyons Street.

The investigation is continuing and other suspects have been implicated.

The Batavia Police are asking residents to continue to be vigilant in locking cars and securing bikes and other property in garages or on porches.

August 19, 2009 - 8:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

Another car apparently rear ended a car stopped to make a left hand turn from Clinton St. Road onto Stringham Drive in the Town of Batavia yesterday, causing an accident that injured both drivers and shutdown the roadway for a short time.

Frank N. Spiotta, 44, of 8484 Stringham Drive, reportedly stopped to turn when his 2008 Nissan sedan was reportedly struck from behind by a 2007 Cadillac driven by William J. Henry, Jr., 68, of 7 College View Drive, Batavia.

Spiotta was transported to UMMC complaining of back pain.

Henry reportedly had minor bleeding from his neck and was treated at the scene, but not transported to a hospital.

The accident is under investigation by Deputy Chris Parker.

Previously: Traffic accident reported at Clinton Street Road and Stringham Drive, Batavia

August 18, 2009 - 11:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

William John Riley may be one of the luckiest accused criminals in New York.

Riley-William John-mug.jpgRiley, who was arrested in Batavia on May 19, is wanted in Illinois on a home repair fraud case, but because the proper paperwork for his extradition has not reach the Genesee County District Attorney's office, he may soon go free.

If he does, he need never worry about about extradition from New York.

But it isn't like Illinois hasn't tried to bring Riley to justice. The Daily Leader in Pontiac, Ill., reports that the Illinois governor's office there did in fact request extradition from Gov. David Paterson's office.

Livingston County Sheriff’s Police Chief Ken White said this morning that sheriff’s police had received a letter on Aug. 6 from Gov. Pat Quinn’s extradition office saying a letter of request for extradition of Riley had been sent to the governor of New York.

“That was really the last informational update we have received on this case,” said White.

“This morning, we have talked to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department and they have informed us that Mr. Riley, in May, posted $2,500 bond on the Livingston County charges and does not have to reappear in court until the extradition hearing.

“Apparently the paperwork is hung up in the New York governor’s office and when it is received in the Genesee County courts Riley’s lawyer will be notified and a hearing date will be set.”

But once 90 days have passed from the time of Riley's initial arraignment -- Riley was arrested on the May 19, but it's not clear yet when he was arraigned, but most likely no later than May 20 or 21, which means 90 days holding time expired today or tomorrow --  he can no loner be held by New York.

Once he's freed, he cannot be detained on the same charges.  So long as Riley remains in New York -- he better like high taxes and cold winters -- he cannot be extradited.

The wrinkle is that Riley is out on bail, so maybe the 90 days doesn't apply.  Judge Robert Noonan is expected to rule on that technicality soon.

August 18, 2009 - 7:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, margarita's.

Apparently a fajita skillet at Margarita's got a little hot and set off the fire alarm. 

City fire units were dispatched, but a first responder sounded the "all clear" pretty quickly.

"Dispatch, you can disregard," was the first responder's message. "They had a fajita flare up."

Dispatch: "Copy. Fajita flare up."

If you don't eat much Mexican food and are unfamiliar with "fajita," this from Wikipedia:

In many restaurants, the fajita meat is brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments served on the side.

Additionally, some restaurants keep a flame burning under the skillet.

True fajita is beef skirt steak, but most restaurants also serve chicken and shrimp fajitas.

August 18, 2009 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A pedestrian has apparently been hit by a car and suffered a leg injury near the entrance to the parking lot of Tops, 390 W. Main St.

View Larger Map
August 18, 2009 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

Traffic is currently blocked at Cinton Street Road and Stringham Drive by a two-car accident.

There are possibily two injuries.

View Larger Map
August 18, 2009 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia FIre Department, IAFF Local 896.

With Monday's hot weather, city of Batavia Firefighters took to the water yesterday, according to a press release from the firefighters' union.

Firefighters conducted training at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street, where they deployed a 16-foot aluminum boat with a 6 hp engine and also rolled out Engine 12, which comes equipped with Coast Guard-approved life vests, rescue ring and several hundred feet of rope.

There are 58 acres of water (ponds and lakes) within the city's first-response area, and 2.75 miles of Tonawanda Creek, plus numerous pools.

"The rapid deployment craft is the most versatile piece of water rescue equipment in service with the City of Batavia," wrote Robert Fix II. "It is quickly inflated and can be used in many situations including open water (DeWitt Recreation Area),  swift water (Tonawanda Creek)  and ice rescues. It is particularly well suited for rescues at low head dams like the one located behind the county courthouse."

August 18, 2009 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports, UFC, Matt Hamill.

hamill.jpgMatt "The Hammer" Hamill, a UFC fighter with Western New York ties, will appear at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday when the Batavia Muckdogs take on the State College Spikes.

Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Hamill will be on hand to sign autographs for an hour before game time, and for an hour after he throws out the first pitch.

The popular UFC fighter attended RIT and while a student there, he was was a three-time NCAA Division III National Champion in wrestling.

Matt, who is deaf, also has a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling and a gold medal in freestyle wrestling from the 2001 Summer Deaflympics.

He was a contestant on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter reality television show, training under Tito Ortiz in the 205 lb weight class. He is currently 7-2 in his 9 professional Mixed Martial Arts fights.

August 18, 2009 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, The Mane Attraction.


Last night was Ladies' Night at The Mane Attraction on E. Main Street, downtown Batavia.

The monthly event brings together members of the community along with more than a dozen local businesses. It's a chance to learn more about the local businesses, as well as receive educational material related to a topic important to women.

Last night's theme was "Domestic Violence Awareness."

There was a raffle, Chinese auction and "awareness pins" handed out.

The event raised $180 for YWCA.

Picture provided by Byron Ariyaratnam, co-owner of The Mane Attraction.

The next Ladies' Night is Sept. 21 at The Mane Attraction, from 5 to 8 p.m. The theme will be "Ovarian Cancer Awareness."

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button