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August 4, 2021 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in criminal justice reform, bail reform, batavia, news, notify.

When reporters for a national publication focused on justice system reform looked for a county to illuminate the changes in jail population due to pandemic-related fluctuations, they settled on Genesee County and an inmate they thought illustrated the shifting priorities of the system.

The selection of Matthew Reed to help tell the story of a person who might have been mistreated by the system drew attention locally.  

Reed's name is familiar to anybody who regularly pays attention to published arrest reports.

In this case, Reed was highlighted for his conviction on a petty larceny charge -- he stole, as the story noted, $63 in bedsheets from Target. His example was perhaps colorful because his sentencing was delayed for months because of the closure of the Town of Batavia court during the pandemic. When he was eventually sentenced by Town Justice Andrew Young in May he was ordered to serve six months in the Genesee County Jail. (With good behavior, he should be out in about a month).

Reed told reporter Beth Schwartzapfel of The Marshal Project he thought the sentence under the circumstances was unfair.

Reed doesn’t understand the point of sending him to jail now, only further destabilizing his life. “They could have at least offered me drug court or some type of rehab or something,” he said in an interview from the Genesee County Jail last week.

While it's true Reed wasn't offered an opportunity for drug court or rehab, in Genesee County -- at least -- it's up to a defendant's attorney to ask the court to consider those options prior to sentencing, something Reed said his attorney didn't do even though he asked him to make that request.  Reed's attorney, Michael Guarino, told The Batavian after a recent court appearance on another matter that he did make that request, and it was rejected by the DA's office.

The Marshall Project story leaves the impression that stealing some bedsheets was Reed's only crime and he was given a harsh sentence after being left in limbo for months while awaiting his sentence.

That isn't the whole story, however.  In October 2020, Reed also admitted to a criminal charge of bail jumping in the third degree.  He was sentenced in May on both charges.  

While Young didn't give a reason for his sentence of six months for Reed, according to a recording of the proceeding obtained by The Batavian from the Town of Batavia Court, Young was made aware of the 38-year-old Batavia resident's prior criminal history, including multiple failures to appear and parole and probation revocations. 

These issues came up because Reed was requesting a delay in his sentencing over concern he wanted to collect one more disability check before going to jail so he could have some money on his books. This fact isn't mentioned in the Marshall Project story.

Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmit objected to the delay out of concern Reed wouldn't make a future court appearance.  She also brought to Young's attention a letter Reed had sent the court earlier asking that his case be expedited.  He was distressed by the COVID-related delay in his sentencing. 

While Reed's criminal history as an adult is lengthy, the prior arrests are all for relatively minor offenses, such as trespassing, harassment, and disorderly conduct.  His sentences over the years have included time in jail, community service, fines and probation. His longest sentence appears to have been 365 days in 2008 on a scheme to defraud conviction. 

Reached via email, Schwartzapfel said none of that -- not even the bail jumping charge included in his May sentence -- was relevant to the story she was writing.

The story's thesis is captured in the article's 28th paragraph:

The pandemic underscored what reform advocates have been saying for years: Cramped and filthy jails are the wrong place for most people who have been arrested.

In an email to The Batavian, Schwartzapfel wrote: 

To answer your questions, yes of course I did a criminal history search on Reed, and I knew he had also been charged with bail jumping, which is a very scary-sounding way of saying, he missed a court date. I could have included that, as well as the list of other priors (almost all years-old petit larcenies), but it wasn't really relevant to the point, which was, he stayed out of jail during the pandemic when he would have otherwise gone to jail; and now, months later, he's serving a delayed sentence.

While ADA Schmit is on leave, The Batavian reached out to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman for background on the case and the policies of his office on cases like this.  Asked about Schwartzapfel's characterization of her story, he said:

“Missed a court date” is a very nice sounding way of saying “bail jumping”.

Regardless of how old his priors are, they still factor in the determination as to what is an appropriate sentence.

Leaving out any other charge that was pending against him certainly misleads the reader about the nature of Reed's sentence, especially bail jumping.

I can’t understand the logic behind the contention that, because he hadn't been sentenced for so long, he shouldn't have been sent to jail.


AUTHOR DISCLOSURE: I first met Matthew Reed years ago while outside of our former downtown office and he asked me for money.  I gave him money then and two or three times in the next couple of weeks when he asked for money, usually with some story about his disability check being late or the funds not being available to pay his rent or needing money for food.  After three or four times of this, I told him I couldn't give him any more money.  Eventually, he stopped asking for money, including in the past year when I would see him almost daily in the area Ellicott Street and Liberty Street.


In the story, Schwartzapfel writes:

In the Genesee County Jail in New York, where Reed recently began a six-month sentence for petit larceny, there were, for a time, only 35 people jailed, down from 90 before the pandemic, according to data compiled by the Vera Institute. Defendants had court dates pushed off, and judges went to extra lengths to allow people to wait at home rather than in jail. (New York’s bail reform law also went into effect in early 2020 and reduced jail populations even further.) By March, there were 54 people jailed in the county lockup.

The numbers and actual events in 2019 through June of this year tell a more complex story, however.

It's true that prior to the pandemic, the Genesee County Jail inmate population did hit 90, and even higher at times, but the reduction in the jail population initially had nothing to do with the pandemic and the data doesn't suggest the pandemic had much impact on the inmate population other than delaying inevitable criminal convictions.  

The average number of inmates -- convicted and being held pre-sentence -- rather than "creep up" actually declined from April through June (The Marshall Project story was published in early June).

Long before any local judge had heard the term COVID-19, they were starting to obey a directive from the state court system to begin implementing bail reform.  The Assembly and Senate passed the new limits on bail for criminal defendants in the summer of 2019 and even though the law wouldn't officially take effect until Jan. 1, 2020, judges and town justices were directed to take the new guidelines into consideration when deciding on bail for newly arrested defendants.  Defense attorneys were well aware of this directive and were sure to remind judges of the new guidelines at every opportunity. 

The Genesee County Jail population started dropping around August 2019 when there were 85 inmates in the jail.  By December, that average daily count had dropped to 55.  In February of 2020, when the novel coronavirus was still a distant threat, the local jail population fell to 37 and would remain at or about that level throughout the regional height of the pandemic.

In December 2020, when the total new number of COVID-19 cases in Genesee County peaked on Christmas Eve at 101, the average daily number of inmates hit its highest number since the beginning of the year, 42.  As the number of new cases locally began to drop and more people were out and about, the average daily population of the jail did start to increase, hitting a total of 55 in April. 

March and April were the first months in the previous 10 when more than 300 crimes were reported in Genesee County in a single month.

The drop in crime in 2020 could be a factor -- as some local officials think --  of police reluctance to interact with people unless absolutely necessary.  But, perhaps, a lot of would-be criminals were equally reluctant to interact with other people, meaning fewer victims.  Or with less activity in the community, there were just fewer opportunities to do something wrong.  We'll never know for sure but the fact remains, the lower the number of crimes reported, the fewer people arrested, the fewer people held in jail (with or without bail reform), and the fewer people convicted of crimes.

The other factor was for much of 2020, most courts in the county were closed. That created a backlog of arraignments, plea agreements, trials, and sentencing. 

"We're still pushing to sentence people convicted from more than a year ago," said Friedman. "If you think about what happened here, no courts, no grand jury for four months last year, we're playing catch up."

One tangential result of the delay in court cases, Friedman said, is it is much harder to get defendants to accept a plea.  Why accept a plea, he noted, when you know the court calendar is jammed and you can put off going to jail just waiting for your case to get called before a judge?

Fewer people accepting pleas means fewer people in jail.

It's Schwartzapfel contention that she didn't intend to single out Genesee County as treating convicted criminals more harshly but to use Genesee County as an example of a national trend.

"I intended to use it as a county that was very much in step with how most other counties are handling jail populations post-pandemic," Schwartzapfel said.

This seems to indicate, then, that other counties nationally are not locking away many convicted criminals, which is counter to the narrative of the Marshall Project story, or, as the local data indicates, Genesee doesn't fit the national trend and wasn't a good example to use in the story.

The number of sentenced inmates being held in the Genesee County Jail dropped precipitously in 2020 and has remained relatively low. The highest average daily count of sentenced inmates in the Genesee County Jail in 2021 peaked at 11 in March, not even half of the lowest numbers of 2019.

The delays in sentencing have been the largest contributing factor to the drop in total inmate count locally (Schwartzapfel leaned on total population counts, not the different segments of pre-sentenced and sentenced inmates), so contrary to the impression left by the Marshall Project Story, Genesee County is not rushing to lock up new convicts.

But this isn't the doing of judges, as the Marshall Project Story states, it's the response of defendants that are leading to delayed jail sentences, Friedman said.

"Because of what has happened and we're still very slow in courts, people don't have the same incentive to accept a plea offer," Friedman said. "They think, 'let things go. Time is on my side."

Meanwhile, if your concern is bail reform, something Schwartzapfel said was not a focus of her story but does matter if your goal is to reduce the number of people held in jails, the local crime data offers little assistance to either side of the debate.

Crime dropped dramatically in 2020, the first full year of bail reform, but that almost certainly has more to do with the pandemic than anything else and the pandemic may have masked bail reform's full effect on crime.  On the other hand, crime rates in four of the first six months of 2021 exceed the rate of 2019 but dropped below both 2019 and 2020 in June. So it's a mixed bag with too little data -- and the available data is tainted by other factors -- to lead to any meaningful conclusions.

The headline-grabbing unintended consequence of bail reform is anecdotal, not statistical, such as the repeated arrests of Devon Wright and the frustration of County Court Judge Charles Zambito at his inability to hold him, legally, in jail.

One clear result of bail reform, Friedman said, is, again, people are less likely to accept a plea offer.

"If I'm out on the street, why should I go in and plead guilty and go to jail," Friedman said. "When people are already in jail, they're more likely to say, 'Let's get this done.'"

The other downside of bail reform, according to Kevin Finnell, Friedman's first assistant, is that when defendants don't show up for court, judges can't issue warrants like they used to. They first have to reschedule the hearing and give the defendant up to another month to appear.

Since judges started implementing bail reform, the number of people held in jail before sentencing has been cut roughly in half, if not less.  There are still 30 to 40 people a month held in jail who have yet to be convicted of the crime that led to their confinement.  Bail reform isn't benefiting as many defendants as the public seems to believe.

Friedman has a sense that there are at least some defendants who, because of bail reform, have used the opportunity to re-offend, and that concerns him.

"Anecdotally, we all know of cases involving people who have been on the street who wouldn't have been otherwise and they continue to commit criminal offenses," Friedman said. "I can’t give you statistics or how many would have been locked up before bail reform. But I don't think you can say, 'Well, people who have been released, they're not committing crimes anymore because obviously, that's not the case."


 

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August 4, 2021 - 12:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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A tractor-trailer turning left from Oak Street onto Main Street tonight had its entire rear wheel assembly detach from the trailer.

An officer explained that to keep a trailer from becoming a runaway vehicle if it detaches from the truck, the rear wheels are supposed to lock up. Tonight, the rear wheels on this brand new trailer locked up for no apparent reason.

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August 3, 2021 - 8:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release from Sen. Edward Rath:

The findings of the Attorney General’s report are extremely concerning and downright disgusting.  The upsetting details of this report speak for themselves.  If the Governor does not resign, the State Legislature must act immediately.  Out of respect for the victims, further inaction regarding this matter is simply unacceptable.

August 3, 2021 - 8:01pm
posted by Press Release in Andrew Cuomo, Erica O'Donnell, news, batavia.

Press release from Erica O'Donnell:

For too long, women working under and alongside men in power have had to silently endure harassment, abuse, and worse. Those days are over. No one, even those who hold some of the most powerful positions in the country, are above the law. It is long past time for Governor Cuomo to be held accountable for his behavior. He should save taxpayers the time and money involved in impeachment proceedings and resign immediately. If he refuses, I encourage my friends in the NYS Senate and Assembly to begin those proceedings without delay.

August 3, 2021 - 3:00pm


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! You have the right to a safe workplace. Federal laws state that your employer must provide a work area with no known health or safety hazards. You also have the right to: 

  • Be protected from toxic chemicals;
  • Request an OSHA inspection, and talk with the inspector;
  • Be trained in a language you understand;
  • Work on machines that meet safety regulations;
  • See copies of the workplace injury and illness log;
  • Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace;
  • Be provided required safety gear, including but not limited to: hard hat, gloves and harness;
  • Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records If you or someone you know has been injured or fallen ill due to unsafe work conditions. 

Call Dolce Panepinto at (716) 852-1888 immediately. We understand how life altering a work injury can be, and we are here to help. Click here to visit us online.

 

August 3, 2021 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hock, Andrew Cuomo, news.

Press release from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul:

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward.

No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.

Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.

August 3, 2021 - 2:28pm
posted by Press Release in Steve Hawley, Andrew Cuomo, news, 139th assembly district.

Press release from Assemblyman Steven Hawley:

“What we heard today should sicken everyone at a human level, and we cannot allow the governor to continue as our executive knowing our worst fears about his actions are true,” said Hawley. “He must resign now, and if not, we must reject his leadership resoundingly to send a message that conduct of this nature will never be acceptable, by anyone. He has abused his power in the most horrific of ways, and the time has now come for the legislative branch to assert itself and do what is right in this critical moment.”

August 3, 2021 - 11:52am
posted by Press Release in liberty pumps, GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider final resolutions for six projects at a capital investment of approximately $41.7 million at its August 5, 2021 board meeting.

The GCEDC Board will consider a final application for incentives for Gateway GS LLC.  Gallina Development of Rochester is proposing to build out a third 27,000 square-foot building at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the town of Batavia. Gateway GS LLC will invest approximately $2.36 million. The proposed facility is anticipated to be completed in 2022 and will create 21 new jobs with an average salary of $42,000 annually plus benefits.

Gateway GS LLC is seeking mortgage, sales, and property tax exemptions of approximately $386,000, and is estimated to produce $28 of investment into the local economy for every $1 of incentives. A public hearing on the proposed agreement was held on July 23.        

The GCEDC Board of Directors also will consider the approval of final applications for incentives for four community solar projects with a combined generation of 15.65 megawatts.

Trousdale Solar, LLC and Trousdale Solar II, LLC are proposing two projects totaling $14.8 million of investment on Ellicott Street Road in the town of Batavia. The projects would generate 5 MW and 4 MW of electricity and over $930,000 in future revenues to Genesee County and the Batavia City School District over 15 years. The proposed project agreement is estimated to provide approximately $2.5 million in property and sales tax incentives between the two projects. A public hearing on the proposed agreements was held on July 23.

Batavia Solar, LLC (YSG Solar) is proposing a $3.5 million project at the Upstate MedTech Park in the town of Batavia.  The project would generate 1.65 MW of electricity and over $150,000 in future revenues to Genesee County and the Byron-Bergen School District. The proposed project agreement is estimated to provide approximately $500,000 in property and sales tax incentives. A public hearing on the proposed agreement was held in September 2020.

NY CDG Genesee 1 LLC is proposing a $7.3 million project on Oak Orchard Road in the town of Elba. The project would generate 5 MW of electricity and over $518,000 in future revenues to Genesee County, the town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District. The proposed project agreement is estimated to provide approximately $1.2 million in property and sales tax incentives. A public hearing on the proposed agreement was held on May 17.

Finally, the Board also will consider accepting an application for consideration of incentives from Liberty Pumps.  If the proposal’s application is accepted, a public hearing will be conducted on the proposed agreement.

Liberty Pumps is proposing to make a $13.7 million capital investment to expand its manufacturing operations at the Apple Tree Acres business park in the town of Bergen.

The family- and employee-owned company is proposing to build approximately 107,000 square feet of new warehouse and manufacturing space to accommodate the continued growth of the business.  The project is expected to create approximately 30 jobs over 3 years while retaining its current employment of approximately 280.

The project has requested a $911,273 property tax exemption and a $578,160 sales tax abatement. The project is estimated to produce $29 of investment into the local economy for every $1 of incentives.

August 5, 2021, the GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 3 p.m. at 99 Med-Tech Drive.  The meeting also will be available online at www.gcedc.com.

August 3, 2021 - 11:27am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Mercy Grove, Le Roy Country Club.

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Cold hard facts about a stormwater retention plan apparently will determine the fate of a Batavia businessman’s proposal to build a 60-unit senior residential complex off East Avenue in the Village of Le Roy.

“I’m looking for scientific information – I don’t want anybody’s opinion – that can tell me that the project is going to have no impact upon groundwater or, actually, will improve the situation that the residents are feeling now, including the (Le Roy) golf course,” said Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers this morning.

“I still believe there is a need for that type of housing in the community … but the main thing is that the water issue has to be a non-issue.”

Rogers presided over a meeting on Monday night that was attended by about 50 village residents at the Town of Le Roy courtroom. The purpose of the meeting was for the board to conduct the State Environmental Quality Review for the project.

After the first two sections of the long form were completed, the SEQR then was put on hold, Rogers said.

When asked if the water issue was the reason for tabling it, he said “it had more to do with the overall project.”

When asked if the site plan submitted by Eric Biscaro, owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, was in jeopardy, Rogers said, “I wouldn’t say that, it’s just that we’re in the information gathering process.”

“I’ve always contended that the stormwater part of it – the stormwater plan -- was the deal breaker on the whole thing. If any of the properties get more stormwater than they’re getting now, that’s a deal breaker. Right now, for me, it’s all about the water.”

If photos provided by LeRoyan Tom Frew are any indication, standing water in yards in the Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive area as well as nearby Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club is a major concern that needs to be addressed.

Frew, a Poplar Lane resident, has been outspoken in his opposition to the project, claiming that the 30 duplex patio home rentals on a 20-acre parcel that runs east of East Avenue are not compatible with the neighborhood. He also is against the village spending money to improve East Avenue and is concerned about the increase in traffic.

Biscaro’s plan, estimated to cost around $9 million, also calls for the development and sale of eight single-family home building lots along an extension of that street.

Contacted this morning, Frew said that a heavy rainfall two weeks ago caused a foot and a half to two feet of standing water behind a neighbor’s home near the intersection of Poplar and Orchard (see photo above).

“That that took a few days to flow out through a buried pipe that goes down parallel with Orchard Drive and dumps into a creek which flows over to Mercy Grove and the golf course,’ he said. “The golf course had two holes under water.”

Frew said turbidity is another issue.

“You could only see about six inches down in the two feet of water, and (Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club owner) Jim Gomborone said that when the water recedes on the golf course, he has suspended solids all along the lower shore line that came from that water,” he added.

Frew agreed with Rogers that water “seems to be the tiebreaker.”

“He (Biscaro) will have to build a retention pond to hold and contain it, and then slowly release the water,” he said. “That was where the rubber met the road at the meeting last night.”

Rogers said the developer is on board with village officials when it comes to providing necessary and accurate information relating to water runoff.

“His engineer had sent the water remediation plan to CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) for review, but CPL didn’t feel that they had enough information at that point and time,” Roger said. “So, we’re going to do our due diligence among Biscaro, Clark Patterson and the DEC (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation) to get accurate information on the water remediation plan.”

The mayor said the next step is a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park in the village. The public hearing originally was to be held at Le Roy High School but the school is not available, Rogers said.

“After that and if all the information is in regarding the water, then we can go back and adopt Section 3 -- if that’s where it leads us,” he said.

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Photo at top: Poplar Lane resident Gerry Robinson in standing water behind his home. Photos at bottom: Standing water at Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club following a recent steady rainfall. Submitted photos.

August 3, 2021 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Stafford, elba, news, notify.

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A Batavia resident figures he missed being involved in a serious accident by one second with a car "easily going 100 mph" on Bank Street Road yesterday.

"(The car) had to swerve towards college road," David Austin told The Batavian in an email. "I thought for sure he was going to wipe out but he corrected and I could hear him accelerate. Scared me more than I have ever been. If I would have made that turn 1 second later I probably wouldn't be here."

The alleged driver of that car was James Matthew Lepore, 23, of Rio Grande Drive, North Chili.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Lepore failed to stop for a deputy who spotted his car exceeding the 55 mph speed limit on Route 33 in Stafford.  The deputy pursued and the car continued into the Town of Batavia and then into the city before heading north on Route 98.  There law enforcement successfully deployed a spike strip and the car was forced to a halt.

According to the arrest report, Lepore "recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death by unlawfully fleeing a deputy in a motor vehicle and intentionally went into the opposite lane of travel causing other motorists to swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on collision, all while traveling at speeds in excess of 90 to 100 mph."

After the stop, Lepore was allegedly found in possession of an unregistered firearm and a controlled substance. 

Lepore is charged with:

  • Reckless endangerment in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of a firearm
  • Unlawful fleeing a police officer in the third degree
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th
  • Speed in excess of 55 mph
  • Plus, 21 traffic offenses.

Lepore was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and under terms of bail reform released on his own recognizance.

The lead investigators in the case are Deputy Travis DeMuth and Investigator Kevin Forsyth.  Assisting in the incident were Sgt. Andrew Hale, Investigator Howard Carlson, Investigator Joseph Loftus, Investigator Ryan DeLong, Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Deputy Josh Brabon, Deputy Kyle Tower, Deputy Andrew Mullen with K-9 "Frankie," members of Batavia PD and the State Police.

August 3, 2021 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Center Street, batavia, news.

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Lynn Bezon said she was driving on Center Street yesterday when she spotted the reflection of the mural at Glass Roots reflected in the window of Center Street Smoke House and had to stop and snap a picture.

August 3, 2021 - 7:36am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

Press release:

The New York Sire Stakes will make their final visit to Batavia Downs for 2021 on Wednesday (Aug. 4) and will feature 2-year-old trotting colts competing for a total of $101,700 in purses. There will be a total of 13 going postward in two divisions and trotters from the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Linda Toscano are favored in each. 

In the first $51,300 division, Grand Spa has been tabbed the 2-1 favorite by the track handicapper and starts from post two. 

Grand Spa (E L Titan-Day At The Spa) has raced exclusively in the NYSS this year and has a win and two seconds to show for his efforts. The win was a lifetime mark of 1:57 taken at Vernon Downs where he won by 1-1/2 lengths. Last week at Tioga over a wet track he made a break off the gate and although he salvaged a second-place finish from the rough start, he futilely chased a runaway winner in Cool Papa Bell who was off by 7-1/4 lengths. He’s spotted well in here with the inside draw and looks like the one to beat. 

Scotty Zeron will be aboard Grand Spa once again this week. 

Quincy Market (E L Titan-Dance To Market) could possibly be the horse to beat Grand Spa because he did it on June 28 when he won an NYSS event at Yonkers in 2:00. Since then he has a second and third in series action but has also been trotting faster in those subsequent starts, albeit over larger tracks. Quincy Market has gate speed and likes the front and that should bode well for him here. The question that remains is can he close it out?

Corey Callahan leaves from post six with Quincy Market for trainer John Butenschoen and they have been made 3-1 morning line. 

The second division is worth $50,400 and the Toscano/Zeron tandem has Molotov Cocktail, which will start from post five and is listed as the favorite at 2-1 morning line. 

Molotov Cocktail (Chapter Seven-Moonlight Cocktail) copied his stablemate Grand Spa by taking an identical 1:57 lifetime mark at Vernon Downs on the same night but found himself up against a buzz-saw named Justice at Tioga last week who won in 1:55.4 there, which was the fastest of three splits. Molotov Cocktail raced well in that event and in fact, was race timed in an identical best 1:57, but finished fourth beaten six lengths. This field looks a bit more equal speed-wise so he should be very effective. 

The very close second choice at 5-2 is Velvet Style (Credit winner-Velvet’s Katie Bug) who tripped out behind that same Justice mile last week but couldn’t catch him either. However, Velvet Style did finish second and was race timed in 1:56.4, which was the fastest he has trotted all year. And Velvet Style is the only two-time winner in 2021 of the 13 entered in Wednesday’s stake. The horse can leave and this looks like a spot where he might. 

Jason Bartlett will drive Velvet Style from post six for trainer Mark Ford, who reached a milestone 4,000th training win on Sunday (Aug. 1). 

There are also two $15,000 Excel A races and one $6,500 Excel B race on the card Wednesday. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.

August 2, 2021 - 6:23pm
posted by Press Release in Sheriff's Office, news.

Press release:

The administrative phone line, 585-345-3000, at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is currently experiencing an outage.  For any non-emergency calls, please dial

585-343-5000, and your call will be transferred to an internal extension.  Another option available is to utilize e-mail.  This issue is not affecting 9-1-1 calls. 

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that this issue is resolved shortly.

August 2, 2021 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, Peace Garden.

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Peace Garden committee members spent numerous hours over two months painting and decorating 100 stones and seashells as an art project for the garden only to have it destroy in one night vandals.

Paula Savage, the founder and director of the Peace Garden, said the final installation of the stones and shells was completed on July 20. That was a Tuesday.  By Wednesday evening, every single painted stone and shell was missing, she said.

"Needless to say, we are saddened and disappointed that someone would vandalize the garden in this manner not to mention the time, effort, and expense that was put forth to acquire all of the materials and design this lovely artwork," Savage said.

Savage did not report the crime to Batavia PD.

"The reason I did not file with the police is that I assumed with the stones all being missing there would be none remaining for them to guard and we were not planning to replace them," she said. "Now I realize I was wrong to assume that."

Photos submitted by Paula Savage.

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August 2, 2021 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alexander.

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The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate a single-vehicle rollover accident that occurred at 7:15 p.m., Sunday, in the area of 9822 Alexander Road, Alexander.

The preliminary investigation indicates that Timothy D. Johnson, 27, of Attica, was driving a 2014 black Jeep Cherokee southbound on Route 98 when the vehicle crossed the fog line and continued off the west shoulder of the roadway and hit a drainage ditch and a culvert causing it to become airborne. The airborne Jeep struck a utility pole, breaking the pole in half. Once the Jeep landed, it rolled over several times.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. 

Johnson was transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC with non-life-threatening injuries.

Assisting and the scene was the Alexander Fire and Mercy EMS.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

Previously: Rollover accident reported on Alexander Road, Alexander

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August 2, 2021 - 2:20pm
posted by Press Release in Bowling, sports.

Press release:

The Genesee Region USBC Board of Directors has scheduled meetings for league secretaries to pick up supplies for the 2021-22 season for Tuesday, Aug. 10 at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen and Thursday, Aug. 12 at Mount Morris Lanes. Both meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting in Bergen is set up for secretaries at the following bowling centers: Medina Lanes, Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, Legion Lanes in Le Roy and Rose Garden Bowl.

The meeting in Mount Morris is set up for secretaries from Mount Morris Lanes, Perry Bowling Center, Livingston Lanes in Geneseo and Letchworth Pines in Portageville.

Association Manager Mike Pettinella will have kits prepared for the secretaries and will go over different areas of the GRUSBC program, including changes for the coming season.  New President Mike Johnson also plans to be at the meetings.

League secretaries of record will be notified by telephone later this week.

August 2, 2021 - 2:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Darien, pemboke, Oakfield, notify.

Kristin Renee Forte, 33, Alandale Avenue, Rochester, is charged with grand larceny 3rd, eight counts of offering a false instrument for filing 1st, and five counts of forgery 2nd. Forte is accused of omitting wages she earned while working when filing for SNAP benefits.  She allegedly received $3,767 in SNAP benefits she was no eligible to receive.   The case was investigated by Social Services Officer Robert Riggi.  Forte was arraigned and released on her own recognizance. 

Jay Daniel Lucas Schutt, 33, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment 2nd. At 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Schutt allegedly tackled and wrestled with another person on the ground at a location on South Pearl Street, Oakfield. Schutt was issued an appearance ticket.

Hannah Lee Varshay, 24, of Cayuga Creek Road, Alden, is charged with evidence tampering, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance, driving while impaired by drugs, and speed not reasonable and prudent.  Varshay was arrested following an investigation into a single-vehicle accident at 5:36 a.m., March 1, on County Line Road, Darien.  Varshay was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance and a semi-automatic handgun.  Varshay was released on an appearance ticket.

Andrea Elizabeth Tucker, 23, of Payne Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with harassment 2nd. Tucker is accused of making threats and hitting another person while at Darien Lake at 4:11 p.m., July 27.  She was issued an appearance ticket.

Dandre Bud Browning, 27, of Stevens Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .80 or greater, and speeding. Browning was stopped at 12:03 a.m., July 25, by Deputy Zachary Hoy on Pearl Street Road, Batavia.

Angela Flowers, 50, no residence provided, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd for allegedly disobeying a subpoena by failing to appear in court. Flowers was issued an appearance ticket.

Kim Mobley, 58, no residence provided, is charged with petit larceny. Mobley allegedly stole multiple items from Save-A-Lot. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Antonio Goodson, no age provided, no residence provided, is charged with petit larceny. Goodson allegedly stole items from a local business on East Main Street, Batavia.  Goodson was issued an appearance ticket.

Jacqueline Hale, 33, no residence provided, is charged with assault 3rd.  Hale allegedly punched another person multiple times in the facing causing injury.  Hale was issued an appearance ticket.

Russell Blummer, 48, no residence provided, is charged with harassment 2nd. Blummer was arrested following a disturbance complaint on Thorpe Street at 9:58 p.m., Sunday.  Blummer allegedly punched a victim.  He was released on an appearance ticket.

Patrick Waite, 53, no residence provided, is charged with DWI and refusal to take a breath test. Waite was stopped at 6:05 p.m. at an undisclosed location in the City of Batavia by a police officer. Prior to the stop, police received a traffic offense complaint.  Waite was released following his arrest.

Nathan Royse, 29, no residence provided, is charged with menacing 2nd and criminal possession of a weapon. On Saturday, while on Willow Street, Batavia, Royce allegedly menaced another person with a real or imitation pistol.  Batavia PD was assisted by NYS Parole in the investigation. Royce was also charged with speed not reasonable, reckless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, not wearing a helmet, and an uninspected motor vehicle.  Only 23, Royce was arraigned in Batavia City Court following an investigation into events that occurred July 19.  Royce allegedly fled from police in that incident. 

Ronnie Allen, 34, no residence provided, is charged with criminal mischief 4th and endangering the welfare of a child.  Allen was allegedly involved in a neighbor dispute at a location on South Main Street, Batavia. Allen is accused of breaking the door of a neighbor's residence.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Matthew Olcott, 42, no residence provided, was arrested on a City Court warrant and held in County Jail on an unrelated warrant from the Sheriff's Office.

Francisco Martinez, 48, no residence provided, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear.  Martinez was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.  He is scheduled to appear on July 28 for sentencing.

Tommy Crawford, 32, no residence provided, is charged with criminal trespass 3rd and criminal impersonation.  Crawford is accused of entering and remaining unlawfully in a residence on Jackson St., Batavia, at 1:26 p.m., July 3, and he then provided police with a false name during the investigation.  Crawford was issued an appearance ticket.

Rosemary Waters, 35, no residence provided, is charged with criminal trespass and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.  Waters is accused of remaining unlawfully in a condemned residence on Jackson Street on July 3.  She was issued an appearance ticket.

August 2, 2021 - 1:17pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

As a result of the heady drive by Shawn McDonough, Mugshots Bro made quick work of his competition and won the $11,200 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 1). 

Mugshots Bro started widest in the scratch-shortened field of five and darted off the car and got the lead with no opposition at all. After scooting to the quarter in :28.3, McDonough grabbed leather and stifled the second panel to :30.3 as no one was mounting an attack. The four followers continued to do so around turn three and up the backstretch to the three-quarters where Mike Caprio finally pulled right line on All About Thechase from third and tried to advance, but Mugshots Bro had a 2-1/4 length lead at that point and maintained it around the last turn. As they headed down the lane All About Thechase and CR Blazin Beauty (Kevin Cummings) trotted sharply and did cut into the margin, but Mugshots Bro had the jump and wouldn’t be caught, crossing on top by 3/4’s of a length in 1:57.1. 

It was the first Open class victory of the year at Batavia Downs for Mugshots Bro ($3.80) and fifth Open of the year overall. With this win the 9-year-old gelded son of Jailhouse Jesse-Photo Emmy broke the quarter-million dollar mark and now boasts $252,046 in earnings for owners Herman Niedhammer Jr. and Herman Niedhammer. Shawn McDonough also trains the winner. 

McDonough ended the day with a training/driving double after winning with Best Ears (1:58, $3.00) in the 10th race. 

In the $10,000 Open II trot, Lunar Credit pulled off the upset after being a loose leader in a wire to wire win timed in 1:58.4. Trained by Jim McNeight, Lunar Credit is owned and driven by Jim McNeight Jr. and paid $14.40 to win. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and there are several events of note for that session. 

The New York Sire Stakes will be in town with the 2-year-old trotting colts division going for a total purse of $101,700. 

And there is a $1,516 carryover in the Pick-5 wager that starts in the first race. Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed $5,000 pool for that wager in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. That means free program pages for the first five races will be available starting Monday at ustrotting.com under the handicapping tab and at bataviadownsgaming.com under the live racing tab. 

And don’t forget that free full card past performance programs are always available for download for every live racing night at Batavia Downs at bataviadownsgaming.com under the live racing tab.

August 2, 2021 - 1:09pm
posted by Press Release in Announcements, Le Roy, Blood Drive.

Press release:

The entire community is invited to join the family and friends of Buddy Oderkirk to help save lives by donating blood through the American Red Cross on August 19, 2021, from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. at The American Legion 53 West Main Street Le Roy, NY 14482 in his memory.

A 2014 graduate of Pavilion High School where he graduated 4th from his class, Buddy was a member of National Honor Society. He loved traveling and following his high school graduation he took an eleven day European vacation where he fell in love with the country of Switzerland. An accomplished wrestler throughout high school, Buddy began wrestling at the age of 6. He served as a mentor to many younger wrestlers and volunteered much of his time to ensure their success. He was a student at Genesee Community College with the aspirations to transfer to Monroe Community College to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. A member of Genesee County 4-H and the NIOGA Holstein Club. He enjoyed trading sports cards, playing fantasy football, and loved listening to music. 

Through out all of his treatment he never once complained and was always the epitome of grace, hope and most of all kindness. 

To know Buddy was to understand what it meant to be the bigger person and to always remain true to 

who you are regardless of the circumstances. Buddy was diagnosed with 4th stage Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in May 2015 just before his 18th birthday he was determined to beat it and went into a 54 week treatment  plan with a tenacity that left many in admiration. Buddy, unfortunately, lost his battle on November 15, 2016.  As his Mom I am so proud of the young man he was and I always say the he made me a better person. This blood drive is to honor the strength and memory of a truly amazing young man who touched so many lives in his short lifetime. 

According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. All blood types are needed.

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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