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Law and Order: Driver reportedly involved in accident in Pavilion charged with DWI

By Howard B. Owens

Amirose E. Hume, 35, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and moved from lane unsafely. Hume was charged by Deputy Ryan Mullen following a one-vehicle accident at 1:12 a.m. on April 18 on Roanoke Road, Pavilion. Hume was transported to the jail for processing and released.

Krista Marie Penkszyk, 38, of Batavia Bethany Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and harassment 2nd. Penkszyk allegedly stole an item during a disturbance at a residence on Bethany Townline Road, Batavia, reported at 7:32 p.m. on April 16. She was held for arraignment and arraigned and released on April 17.

Michael Patrick Pullinzi, 64, no street address provided, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. He allegedly violated an order of protection out of Family Court at 6:30 a.m. on April 20. He was arraigned and released.

Daniel John Wright, 61, of Bay Village Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, and driving without an inspection certificate. Wright was stopped by Deputy Jacob Kipler at 1:38 a.m. on April 21 on Lake Street Road, Le Roy. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Daniel R. Larocche, 45, of Buffalo, is charged with felony driving while under the influence of drugs. Laroche was stopped by State Police in the village of Oakfield at 7:38 p.m. on April 22. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Joseph J. Nelson, 38, of Medina, is charged with petit larceny. The incident was reported at 12:40 p.m. on April 11 in the town of Batavia. The State Police did not release further information.

Stephen D. McCarthy, 46, of Walworth, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny. McCarthy is accused of possessing a stolen credit card in the town of Alabama at 12:15 p.m. on March 11. He was arrested on April 19 by State Police. The State Police released no further information.

Pembroke Central Schools to present $27 million budget to voters

By Howard B. Owens

At Monday's board of education meeting, the Pembroke Central School District board approved a $27,289,194 spending plan for the district.

Pembroke Superintendent Matthew Calderon said the state provided the district with no increase in foundation aid.

He said the tax levy will stay within the tax cap limit, with an increase slightly below the cap for the 13th consecutive year.

"We needed to pair down our initial budget draft by $870,000 to get down to the final number," Calderon said. "Thankfully, no current full-time employees were cut."

The proposed budget will be presented at a public hearing at 6 p.m. on May 14 at Pembroke Central School.

The budget vote is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. noon to 8 p.m. on May 21 in the high school auditorium.

Genesee Symphony Orchestra postpones May 5 concert to next season

By Howard B. Owens

Due to scheduling conflicts among musicians, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra's final concert of the season has been rescheduled for the 2024-25 season.

Season ticket and Flex ticket holders can use their current tickets for the rescheduled concert. 

The original date of the concert was May 5, and it was built on the theme "American Pictures."  It was going to feature the works of composers from the United States such as Aaron Copeland, William Grant Still, and Florence Beatrice Price. 

PUBLIC NOTICE: Hearing set for race track on Harloff Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing will be held by the Town of Batavia Planning Board regarding an application for a Special Use Permit by East Coast Speedway (Jason Bonsignore) to open and operate a racing track on property that was the former polar wave at 3500 Harloff Road, Batavia, NY - Tax Map 151.  This is in a Commercial/Recreation District.

Said hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at the Batavia Town Hall at 7:15 p.m. at which time all interested persons will be heard. Written comments will be accepted prior to that date.  You may email the Chairman at or text 219-9190.

by order of the Town of Batavia Planning Board
Kathleen Jasinski, Chairman


Police station project manager explains need for space around construction site

By Howard B. Owens


A graphic released on April 11 by the City of Batavia showed what city officials believed at the time would be the available parking at Bank and Alva during the construction of the new police station.  Late last week, officials revealed that the entire parking lot north of Alva Place will be fenced off during construction.

The local press was not permitted in a meeting on Monday between business owners concerned about impacts on their shops during the construction of a new police station in Batavia, but afterward, the project manager spoke exclusively with The Batavian about what he tried to communicate during the discussion.

Ken Pearl explained the scope of construction, the need for the use of parking space next to the primary construction site, and the coordination and liability issues involved.

With five contractors involved -- there is no lead contractor -- there is a lot of complex work that needs to be coordinated with timelines that need to stay in sync.

The sudden dust-up over parking has contractors nervous about staying on schedule, Pearl indicated.

For this $15 million project, there is a general contract, a site contractor, an electrical contractor, a plumbing contractor, and a heating contractor. They’re all under separate contracts.

See also: Downtown business owners battle for their patients, city considers options

“Now that this has become an issue, I have to speak on behalf of this group because they're aggrieved now, too,” Pearl said. “They’re under contract that go under state and federal government rules. And they're like, ‘Wait a minute, nobody can agree to just be moving this fence around because there's insurance issues, liability, and all kinds of stuff. Plus, we need space to work.’”

In the meeting with business owners, Pearl said he tried to convey the message that “this is our world.” He tried to show them what the contractors are supposed to be doing and why.

“We’ve got to put that fence up all around the parking lot on the city's boundary, and then we will transfer all the liability to the contractors," Pearl said. “They're responsible for everything that happens here. They can't have people in here. They're not trained, they're not wearing safety gear. The first thing the contractor is going to do is come in with expensive equipment, like a Thruway project or something or a road project. They're gonna be grinding up all this asphalt because it's all getting refurbished and pulled up. And we got to access the sewers and infrastructure elements underneath.”

Pearl explained that the need for contractor space next to the job site involves much more than asking workers to walk an extra 40 feet, as some business owners seem to believe.

Once the asphalt is ripped out, a sewer line must be removed. It is buried 15 feet underground on the west end lot.

Then, all the footings for the walls need to be dug out. Digging out the footing space and foundation will create debris that must be moved into the west end of the lot where it can be sorted -- refill, recyclable, and waste. 

The stormwater draining system gets rebuilt.

A mesh of conduits and tubing needs to be installed with contractors needing easy access to supplies.

All-terrain vehicles with forklifts will need to move around the perimeter of the building in space that was seemingly designated as parking before city officials learned those renderings were wrong.

Scaffolding will be erected around the building and will intrude into that same "parking space."

While some workers can show up with their tools in their sedan, Pearl explained that the concrete guys can’t do that. They drive pickups with all their tools in compartments around the bed of a truck.  Concrete workers need to work fast. They have a limited time to complete tasks once the concrete is poured. 

“What they're doing is constantly going back and forth to their trucks,” Pearl said. “You'll actually see them moving their trucks because they're working fast. When heavy concrete comes in, there's a time limit on it for their working procedures. They're not going to allow us to tell them to park across the street. That's insane. From their perspective, they don't even want to park over here (he pointed to the site plan). They want to park here. And then two hours later, they're gonna be here, and three hours later, still here. They'll work not an eight-to-five. They'll stay if the poor require them to stay till 10 o'clock at night.”

Quality control testing needs to take place on the job site, which means equipment needs to be set up and stored close to the new construction.

“They can’t do that across the street because they gotta be where the thing is happening,” he said.

Each contractor needs a trailer for office space, so there are five trailers total, plus one each for state and federal inspectors.

Utilities need to be run to those trailers and the job site.

Moving all of that infrastructure to the other side of Alva would mean double installation of infrastructure.

“That's multiple of everything,” Pearl said. “So technically, my message was, we can do anything you want. But we're going to crucify the budgets."

Workers' safety is also at risk if they have to cross a public roadway from the job site to a staging area.

“If we're having people walking across the public street, we’re putting workers at risk,” Pearl said. “Guys get busy, tired, dirt in their eyes, they're sweaty, they might not be paying attention after the 100th time walking across the street.”

Pearl said the map showing swaths of parking around the construction site went out before it was shown to him. During the Monday meeting, he said Tabelski apologized for the miscommunication.

After Monday's council meeting, Council President Eugene Jankowski expressed frustration that some people seemingly can't except that city management made an honest mistake.

He said that rather than castigating city employees, those affected should understand that a mistake was made and that the city is trying to rectify it.

“There were timelines that had to be met,” Jankowski said. “Rachel had an older drawing. It wasn't an updated drawing, and she thought she would be ahead of the game by getting it out to them.  When  Ken (Pearl) found out about it, he realized that she had sent out the wrong drawing. She apologized to everyone in the meeting earlier today (Monday), explaining that that was her mistake and that it wasn't intentional. However, I've seen affected business owners on Facebook saying the city lied and that the city purposely blindsided us. That's not true. It was an honest mistake. And we're doing our best to correct that.”

Jankowski suggested that small business owners might be more understanding of the fact that everybody is trying to do their best for the community.

“The part that really perplexes me is and it causes me severe disappointment, that we're trying to do something good for the community and our police department and our public safety, which is very valuable in this community. I really take public safety very seriously. And yet, we're meeting all this resistance over a few parking spaces we're trying to accommodate. But that doesn't seem to be good enough.”

Pearl noted that the public part of the police station construction story has always been that this was a three-phase project, with a new police station, new secure parking for the police, and rebuilt public parking.

People seem to have missed the “rebuilt public parking,” he suggested, because that means eliminating all of the existing parking lot.

“When you build a police station, you're talking about doing a 100-year building if you can pull it off,” Pearl said. “If I'm building a warehouse for my business, I might only care that it lasts 20 years. I’m going to invest low in it. A church might want the building to last 200 years. A car dealership, I'm gonna remodel it in five; I don't need certain standards the same all the time on a project. We spent a lot of time working out all this stuff. I think when this is all done for the public. They will get something that boosts that neighborhood. Because somebody's spending money on it, in my experience, that tends to give people comfort if they want to think about investing in something, new or remodeling something, because now somebody did it, values are going up a little bit. If nobody does it, nobody does it, you know”

Placement of construction fence for new police station draws complaints

By Howard B. Owens
police station contruction
Photo by Howard Owens

On Monday morning, workers moved a construction fence off the sidewalk behind a group of office buildings on Washington Avenue, Batavia, that was erected late last week in preparation for the start of construction of the new Batavia police station.

Dr. Tom Mazurkiewicz said he and other businesses in the complex were upset with the placement of the fence and even just moving it off the sidewalk isn't good enough.

He claimed that city officials presented plans to the businesses showing the fence being placed in the parking lot, where space is striped for a second row of cars, keeping the first row open for business parking.

After the fence was erected, he said city officials told him OSHA requirements dictated the location of the fence and "the plan changed."

He doesn't believe there is an OSHA requirement for that particular placement of the fence.

"They're just lying about everything," Mazurkiewicz said. "It's a mess."

Brett J. Frank, the city's director of public works, declined this morning to comment on the situation, citing a meeting planned for Monday evening as the reason.

City officials will meet with representatives of the businesses, which are mostly medical offices, at 5:30 p.m. at the current Batavia police headquarters. Mazurkiewicz said the issue has also been added to the City Council agenda for Monday. That meeting starts at 7 p.m.

On Friday, City Manager Rachel Tabelski put out a statement addressing the parking issues:

“The City of Batavia Police Department will move from their 167-year-old converted mansion, known as the Historic Brisbane Mansion.  There have been no less than five studies conducted since 1991 to determine the future of the police station in Batavia, as well as a citizen task force commissioned to investigate possible site locations.  The location of the new facility was identified by the task force.

“Working with the construction team, the City will continue to provide the community and surrounding businesses, and their patrons with free parking with some restrictions in place.  The safety of the construction workers and those using the Alva lot is the highest priority.  At this time, the West Side of the Alva Parking Lot is available for medical/customer parking; the streets of Washington, State, Bank and Alva have free on-street parking as well.

“Patrons of Washington and State Street businesses without mobility issues are encouraged to park in the City Centre lot, leaving adjacent street parking for individuals who need access.  The City recognizes that parking will be inconvenient, but the goal is to minimize the impact on businesses and residents.  The City looks forward to project completion and appreciates everyone’s assistance and cooperation during the 18-month construction period.

The lack of parking is costing him business, Mazurkiewicz said.  He had seven clients cancel appointments on Thursday and Friday and two on Monday morning. 

He had one 90-year-old client try to walk from the open spaces behind Millenium Computer to his office, which is at least 150 yards across three grass outcroppings that disrupt the sidewalk.

He said city officials told him they would create three on-street handicap spaces, but Mazurkiewicz believes that many elderly patients either can't or won't parallel park if that's required to use those spaces.

"We need at least eight handicapped parking spaces," Mazurkiewicz said.

He said one customer told him, "I can walk 20 feet, but I can't walk 150 yards," and he added, "What about a mom with a baby in a car seat? That's 50 pounds. Is she going to carry it 150 yards?"

When asked what he expected in terms of parking availability once construction is finished, he said he didn't know. "They haven't told us," he said.

The city is building a $15 million, 21,000-square-foot facility at Alva Place and Bank Street. It is partially funded by a $2.5 million USDA grant and low-interest loan from the USDA.

Joanne Beck contributed to this story.

police station construction
One of three grass patches that disrupt the sidewalk along the Washington Office office complex.
Photo by Howard Owens.
police station contruction
A construction worker taps down asphalt in the parking lot of the construction site after digging a hole to inspect something under the asphalt.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Former Batavia resident Terry Anderson, journalist taken hostage by terrorists in 1985 dies at age 76

By Howard B. Owens
terry anderson and jim owen
Terry Anderson, right, autographs a book for the late James Owen at an event at Batavia Downs commemorating the opening of the International Peace Garden in Batavia in February 2011.
File photo by Howard Owens.

Terry Anderson, a journalist and a Batavia High School graduate who gained international attention after being taken hostage by an Iranian-backed terrorist group, has died in Greenwood Lake, in the Hudson Valley.

He was 76 years old.

Anderson was the Beirut bureau chief in 1985 for the Associated Press when he was kidnapped by armed men who dragged him from his car after he dropped off a tennis partner following a match. The pistol-wielding men yanked him from his car and pushed him into a Mercedes-Benz.

The terrorists were reportedly members of Hezbollah, an Islamic Jihad Organization in Lebanon. He was reportedly blindfolded and beaten and kept in chains and moved to 20 different hideaways in Beirut, South Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley.

His release came 2,454 days later following intense lobbying by his sister, Peggy Say.

Anderson and Say were born in Lorain, Ohio, where their father, Glen, was a village police officer. While still children, their parents moved to Batavia, where their father worked as a truck driver and their mother, Lily, was a waitress.

After Anderson was kidnapped, Say didn't feel the case was getting enough attention from the U.S. government and the United States. She launched a national campaign to raise the awareness of people to the plight of her brother and other hostages held by Hezbollah.

Say, who had returned to Batavia after relocating for a time, enlisted fellow journalists, humanitarian groups, world figures, and U.S. citizens in the cause, which led to the nation being festooned with yellow ribbons. 

She also received assistance from many fellow Batavia residents, such as Anne Zickl, who died in 2014.

Say died in 2015 at age 74.

Terry Anderson's daughter Sulome told the New York Times that Anderson died following complications from a recent heart surgery.

Anderson's last public appearance in Batavia was in February 2011 to dedicate the International Peace Garden.

Lockport woman charged with murder in case of body found in Alabama

By Howard B. Owens
henry mugshot
Kathryn Henry

A 33-year-old Lockport woman has been charged with murder by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office for allegedly causing the death of Michael Poole and then attempting to conceal Poole's body in a remote area of the town of Alabama. 

Kathryn A. "Kat" Henry is charged with murder in the second degree, a Class A-1 felony, which carries a potential sentence of 15 years to 25 years in state prison. 

The body of the 59-year-old Poole, from Olcott, was found in Alabama on March 19 during an investigation into a report of a missing person from Niagara County.

Henry is accused of conspiring with another person in the death of Poole. The other suspect is not yet named and has not yet been arrested, but charges are expected. The Sheriff's Office said there is no concern for public safety.  The suspect is already in custody on another matter.

Henry is also charged with:

  • Assault in the first degree, a Class B felony
  • Concealment of a human corpse, a Class E felony
  • Hindering prosecution in the first degree, a Class D felony
  • Tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony
  • Conspiracy in the second degree, a Class B felony
  • Conspiracy in the fourth degree, a Class E felony

Henry was arraigned on Friday and ordered held without bail.

County's outstanding youth and the adults who support them honored at annual banquet

By Howard B. Owens
youth recognition banquet awards
Keegan Fisher receives a round of applause after receiving a Youth Recognition Award on Thursday at Terry Hills.  Keegan is an eighth grader at Batavia Middle School and volunteers at Batavia Muckdogs Games. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Genesee County Youth Board honored some of the community's most dedicated and service-oriented teenagers at the board's annual Youth Recognition Dinner on Thursday at Terry Hills.

The youth were recognized for their accomplishments and their volunteer efforts in their schools and communities.

The Youth Worker of the Year Award went to Ally Terranova Laura Williams. Both Terranova and WIlliams are social workers in the Elba Central School District. They were recognized for creating a supportive environment for students and families and establishing the Helping Hands Food Pantry, which has helped address food insecurity for some district families. 

Bonnie Duthe was named Youth Volunteer of the Year. Duthe is a volunteer at the Batavia Community School's Heart of Kindness Center. 

The board also honored the county's School Resource Officers.

Youth Recognition Award winners:

  • Hannah Baldwin 
  • Chase Banser 
  • Anayiah Bautista 
  • Liam Campbell 
  • Leah Childs 
  • Sydney Dundon
  • Keegan Fisher
  • Finn Halpin 
  • Paige Harding 
  • Lauryn Hawkins 
  • Lucas Hoisington 
  • Grace Nickerson
  • Paige O’Brien
  • Stephanie Onderdonk 
  • Emily Pietrzykowski 
  • Makenzie Rich 
  • Kate Ricupito
  • Lilly Senko 
  • Jessica Sosnowski

School Resource Officers honored:

  • Jordon Alejandro 
  • Sean Ancker 
  • Connor Borchert
  • Joshua Brabon
  • Eric Meyer
  • Patrick Reeves
  • Trevor Sherwood
  • Miah Stevens 
  • Kyle Tower 
  • Ryan Young
youth recognition banquet awards
Liam Campbell, Pavilion High School.
Photo by Howard Owens.
youth recognition banquet awards
'Go Dragons': Deputy Patrick Reeves, SRO in Pembroke, is true to his school, so gives a fist pump when 'Go Dragons' is uttered during his award presentation.
Photo by Howard Owens.
youth recognition banquet awards
Deputy Ryan Young, the SRO in Elba, receives his recognition award from Elba Central Schools Superintendent Gretchen Rosales.
Photo by Howard Owens.
youth recognition banquet awards
The Youth Recognition Award Winners who were able to attend the dinner.
Photo by Steven Falitico, for Genesee County
youth recognition banquet awards
School Resource Officers in Genesee County.
Photo by Steven Falitico, for Genesee County.
youth recognition banquet awards
Laura Williams, Ally Terranova, and Bonnie Duthe
Photo by Steven Falitico, for Genesee County.

Photo: My Cut Barbershop named Downtown Business of the Year

By Howard B. Owens
my cut barbershop BID award business of the year
The team at My Cut Barbershop -- Terry Smith, Connor Hyde Hamilton, Victor Thomas, Ray Williams, Zach Watts, owner, and Josh Johnson.
Photo by Howard Owens.

At Thursday's annual meeting of the Business Improvement District at Center Street Smokehouse in Batavia, My Cut Barbershop was honored as business of the year and Sara Tenney was named the BID's volunteer of the year.

My Cut is located on the first floor of the Masonic Temple building, 200 E. Main St., Batavia.

bid award
Sara Tenney, volunteer of the year, with BID director Shannon Maute.
Photo by Howard Owens
my cut footwear
The My Cut crew and BID director Shannon Maute show off their footwear for the evening's event.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Vehicle reportedly hits building on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
truck into building accident

Minor injuries are reported after a vehicle struck a building at 4814 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

The location is Brach Machine.

The vehicle is reportedly elevated on a bollard.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE:  A 28-year-old man may have suffered a medical issue while driving on Ellicott Street Road when he lost control of his pickup truck, according to Deputy Jeremy McClellan. He sustained an apparent shoulder injury and was transported to UMMC for evaluation and treatment. McClellan said a code enforcement officer responded to the scene and determined the building remains structurally sound.

truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of stealing tip jar from store as well as credit cards from cars

By Howard B. Owens
Jennifer Shaffer
Matthew Bader

Matthew O'Neal Bader, 41, of Batavia, and Jennifer M. Shaffer, 41, of Batavia, are each facing several charges. Bader is charged with two counts of petit larceny, burglary, and identity theft, two counts of grand larceny, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of personal identification, and conspiracy. Shaffer is charged with identity theft, criminal possession of stolen property, and conspiracy. Bader is accused of stealing the tip jar from Southside Deli (no time or date provided). He is accused of stealing credit cards from vehicles in two separate incidents (no locations, dates, or times provided) and using the cards at several local businesses.  Shafer has been charged with one of the incidents. Bader also had a warrant for his arrest out of South Carolina.  He was arraigned as a fugitive justice and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail. Shafer's release status is unknown. Bader was also arrested by the Sheriff's Office and charged with identity theft 3rd and criminal possession of stolen property 4th. Bader is accused of using a stolen credit card in the Town of Batavia.

Cody Bush

Cody A. Bush, 38, of Batavia, is charged with attempted assault 2nd, aggravated family offense, unlawful imprisonment 1st, assault 3rd, and obstructing governmental administration 2nd. Bush was arrested April 1 following an investigation into an incident reported on Feb. 25. He is accused of hitting another person numerous times during a disturbance at a residence on Columbia Avenue. He is accused of refusing to let the victim leave a second-floor room, causing the victim to jump out of the window to get away from him, resulting in a serious physical injury. Bush was arraigned in City Court and jailed.

Christopher D. Bisig, 37, of Batavia, is charged with sex offender failure to report internet identifiers within 10 days. Bisig, a Level 3 sex offender, is accused of failing to register two internet identifiers on social media sites. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held.

Robert L. Drennen, Sr., 42, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant on April 5. Drennen was initially charged on Sept. 6 with driving while ability impaired by alcohol and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. He was issued appearance tickets and released. He allegedly failed to appear in court. He was arraigned in  City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Marcus A. King, 22, of Webster, was arrested on March 27 on a warrant. King was initially arrested on Nov. 6 on a charge of harassment 2nd after allegedly striking another person in the face during a fight on Pearl Street. The warrant was issued after he allegedly failed to appear in court. King was arraigned in City Court and released. 

Evan J. Vanskiver, 32, of Hamlin, was arrested on March 27 and charged with bail jumping 2nd. Vanskiver is accused of failing to appear in court on a prior charge. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail without bail.

Jennifer L. Elmore, 52, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Elmore is accused of repeatedly standing outside a person's house, yelling at the person, and writing profanities on the sidewalk in front of the person's residence with the intention to alarm or seriously annoy the person. She was issued an appearance ticket. Elmore was arrested on March 26 and issued an appearance ticket.

Jennifer K. Freeman, 40, of Batavia, was arrested on April 6 on three bench warrants. Freeman is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered. She was arraigned and released.

Kathryn Lorrayne Reinard, 29, of Whitetail Run Drive, Pensacola, Fla., is charged with criminal trespass 2nd. Reinard is accused of entering and remaining in a dwelling without permission in Pembroke at 3:30 p.m. on April 5. Reinard was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Matthew Glenn Raffel, 20, of Selden Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, no tail lamps, and no headlamps. Raffel was stopped at 11:37 p.m. on March 22 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Carlos Ortiz Speed. Raffel was issued an appearance ticket.

Terrance Lee Falk, 25, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Falk is accused of fighting with another person at the Genesee County Jail at 6:55 p.m. on April 6. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Donald John Cecere, Jr., 66, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, and speeding. Cecere was stopped at 11:53 p.m. on April 4 on West Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jacob Kipler.

David B. Eck Jr., 31, of Bunnel Street, Attica, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Ashley J. Rzemek, 29, of Cambridge Court, Lancaster, is charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th.  On April 2, deputies were dispatched to the Target parking lot to investigate a report of two people slumped over in a vehicle. Eck is accused of possessing cocaine, fentanyl and suboxone. Rzemek are accused of possessing cocaine. Eck is accused of swallowing a suspected narcotic in an attempt to conceal it. Both suspects were released on appearance tickets.

Donald Ryan, 40, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, and failure to signal; Brandi Hough, 28, of Bank Street Road, is charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, Elba; and, Eddie Miles, 52, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. A vehicle reportedly driven by Ryan on Park Road, Batavia, was stopped by a deputy for an alleged traffic violation on April 5. They were allegedly found in possession of narcotics. Ryan and Hough allegedly tried to conceal drug paraphernalia.

Jose Antonio Morales, 46, of Marrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, moving from lane unsafely, and driving left of pavement markings. Morales was reportedly involved in a motor vehicle accident on Perry Road, Pavilion, at 5:49 p.m. on April 8. Morales was charged following an investigation by Deputy Alexander Hadsall. He was arraigned and released.

Joel Morales-Cruz, 49, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .8 or greater, circumventing an interlock device, aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to stop at a stop sign.  Morales-Cruz was stopped at 2:36 a.m. on April 7 on Park Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell. He is accused of driving drunk with a prior DWI conviction. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Joseph Jonathan Kuzma, 44, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation, speeding, unlicensed driver, and no inspection certificate. Kuzma was stopped at 7:51 p.m. on April 9 on Buffalo Road, Bergen, by Deputy Zachary Hoy. Kuzma was released on an appearance ticket.

Jon Hoyt Bush, Sr., 64, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal trespass 3rd, driving while impaired by drugs, controlled substance not in original container, and unsafe turn. Bush was stopped at 4:05 p.m. on Feb. 25 on Beaver Meadow Road, Bryon. He was arrested on April 13 following an investigation by Deputy Zachary Hoy.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jessica Jane Warning, 27, of Boston State Road, Boston, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, running a red light, unsafe lane change, and drinking alcohol or using cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway. Warning was stopped at 1:30 a.m. on April 14 on Main Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jacob Kiplar. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Four friends, multiple stories, in Four the Record at Main St. 56 Theater this weekend

By Howard B. Owens
batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill
Photo by Howard Owens

Four friends who have a lot to say, and they say it through song -- sharing their stories, their ups and their downs, and their secrets -- is the motif that makes Four the Record, a cabaret show, an entertaining show at Main St. 56 Theater this weekend.

The four-person cast features four Harvie Award winners: Deacon Smith, Jocelyn Coburn (not available for photos), Sarah Hill and Sophie Houseman.

The show opens on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with performances on Saturday at 7:30 and on Sunday at 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, click HERE.

batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill and Deacon Smith.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill 
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Deacon Smith
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens

Retiring optician looking to get Batavians framed before closing up shop

By Howard B. Owens
classic optical closeout

Even as he heads off into retirement after 40 years in business, Bob Chiarmonte wants to ensure that many of the 1,500 backstock of eyeglass frames he has go to his former customers and other local residents before sending them to auction.

Chiarmonte is offering the remainder of his inventory of eyeglass frames for $10 to $25 per frame, which can be filled with prescription lenses by any optometrist shop. That's a good bit less costly than the typical retail price of $100 to $150, Chiarmonte said.

Chiarmonte is keeping the shop open into sometime next week in order to sell as many frames as possible. He's also selling all of his store fixtures -- and if there's an  optometrist looking for examination gear, he's got that, too.

Classic Optical is located at 44 Batavia City Centre, Batavia. 

Previously: Optician sets his sights on family, travel in retirement after nearly 40 years

Photos by Howard Owens

classic optical closeout

Le Roy Central School set to present $31M budget to voters

By Howard B. Owens

The Le Roy Central School District is planning to ask voters to approve a $31 million spending plan that won't increase the tax levy.

The total budget is 2.7 percent, or $821,312, more than the 2023/24 budget.

The plan to not increase the total tax levy is based on anticipated state aid for the fiscal year.

The budget will create 5.4 new full-time equivalent positions, including a part-time physical therapist (currently contracted at 0.6 FTE through BOCES), a new full-time speech therapist, and three new teacher assistants.

There is an anticipated 0.6 FTE reduction in a teacher for "language other than English." 

Other factors driving increased spending are higher health insurance premiums and an increase in state-mandated retirement and contractual obligations.

Last week, the school board approved the proposed budget on a 6-0 vote (with one member absent).

Total spending for 2024-25 is projected to be $31,048,820, an increase from the 2023/24 budget of $30,227,508.

There will be a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. on May 14 in the Memorial Auditorium.

The budget vote for district residents will be on May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. in the Wolcott Street School Library Media Center.

Notre Dame beats Alexander 4-1 in softball

By Howard B. Owens

Notre Dame pulled out the close league matchup over Alexander behind the pitching of senior Loretta Sorochty.  

Sorochty pitched a complete game, giving up just 3 hits, no earned runs and striking out 18 batters.  

Emily Pietrzykowski pitched a strong game for Alexander as well, going the distance and only giving up 4 runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 batters.

Offensively for ND, Sorochty helped her cause with two hits and two RBIs. Katie Landers added two hits and a run scored. Mia Treleaven (double), Anna Panepento and Amelia Sorochty each contributed a hit, with Treleaven and A. Sorochty each adding a run scored. Sofia Falleti added a sac fly RBI, while Clairissa Milliman added a run scored.

"Tonight was a good test against a very strong Alexander squad," said Coach Otis Thomas. "I'm proud of the way the girls battled the entire game and can't say enough about our ace Loretta.  Our bats were a little cold, but Loretta kept us in the game until we could score a few insurance runs.  We have to put this one behind us and prepare for a tough league game vs Lyndonville on Friday." 

Submitted by Matt Landers, ND scorekeeper.

Pembroke town board rolls back assessment increases in wake of community outcry

By Howard B. Owens
pembroke town board meeting
Thursday's town of Pembroke board meeting.
Photo by Rachel Doktor.

Two days after more than 100 local residents turned up at a town of Pembroke board meeting to protest increased property assessments, the board voted in an emergency session on Saturday to roll back the increase for 2024.

Assessments will remain at the 2023 levels for 2024, said Supervisor Thomas C. Schneider Jr. 

Property owners will receive written notice of the rollback to the 2023 assessments.

All scheduled meetings with the town's assessor have been canceled. A taxpayer information session scheduled for Wednesday was also canceled.

So many people turned out at Thursday's board meeting that the session was relocated from the board's chambers on Main Road to the Town Hall in the village of Corfu.

Rachel Doktor attended the meeting and provided The Batavian with photos of the full house. She said people are reporting the same experience she's had -- an astronomical assessment increase.

"Ours was raised over $100,000 just last year, and now they want another $84,000," Doktor said on Friday.  "Basically, they're raising our assessments like crazy, and they're doing it again ... everyone is pissed about the assessment."

Doktor said she thinks property values have been going up because people are moving to the area from Buffalo and Rochester and "overpaying" for their new homes.

"All of these city people, they buy a huge home for $250,000 that in Rochester could cost a million dollars," Doktor said. currently lists one house for sale in Pembroke, a three-bedroom, one-bath, 2,208-square-foot residence on South Lake Road for $249,500.  A newer but smaller home sold in March for nearly $370,000, but other home sales in the area have been below that price.

Schneider said his own assessment has gone up $350,000. He said the factors driving up home prices include the desirability of the Pembroke Central School District, Pembroke's proximity to Erie County, and easy access to the Thruway.

Pembroke has been a hotbed of growth the past couple of years, with new apartment buildings going up, a new mixed-use development opening, a new distribution center by the interchange, and a planned new travel plaza.  

Property by the interchange, Schneider said, is going for $30,000 an acre.  He expressed concern that those high commercial property values may have played too big of a role in determining residential property assessments. That was why he suggested on Friday, before the emergency meeting on Saturday, that a rollback to 2023 assessments might be in order.

"That needs to be looked at as part of the increase in her calculations," Schneider said.

The assessor is appointed for a seven-year term, and outside of hiring the assessor, the town board has no role in assessments, Schneider said.

"The board should remain independent of the assessor," Schneider said. "We don't want politicians assigning values to properties in my opinion and in the state's opinion, too."

The rollback, Schneider said, will allow a reassessment of the assessments.

"We need to dig into the data and see if there are structural deficiencies (in the calculations)," Schneider said. "We will roll it back for a year and talk with the assessor about where things might have gone awry."

Alexander resident wins Wings Over Batavia VIP tickets from The Batavian at the Home Show

By Howard B. Owens
air show tickets winner
Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, and Sandra Wolfley, winner of the Wings Over Batavia prize drawing, at the Genesee County Home Show.
Photo by Lisa Ace.

Alexander resident Sandra Wolfley won The Batavian's prize drawing Sunday at the Genesee County Home Show, which was on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena in Batavia.

Wolfley won a pair of VIP Pilot's Lounge Tickets for the Wings Over Batavia Air Show, set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at the Genesee County Airport.

There were more than 160 people in the contest, which required home show attendees to fill out an entry form and stamp it with The Batavian's logo.

Thanks to Wings Over Batavia for partnering with us on this promotion.

Stafford Fire recognizes top responders in 2023, installs 2024 officers at annual dinner

By Howard B. Owens
stafford fire dinner 2024

For 2023, the Firefighter of the Year in the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department was a collective award, going to the Top 10 responders (11 members, counting a tie) for the year.

The Firefighters of the Year are Brian Breemes, Randal Henning, Tim Eckdahl, Chris Penkszyk, Mark Dougherty, Ashley Swartzenberg, Jason Smith, Ken Collins, Brian Pocock, Don Hall, and Ben Pocock.

The firematic officers installed for 2024 are:

  • Timothy Eckdahl, chief
  • Brian Pocock, 1st assistant chief
  • Brian Breemes, 2nd assistant chief
  • Kari Breemes, 3rd assistant chief
  • Jason Smith, 4th assistant chief
  • Randal Henning, rescue squad captain
  • Chad Rambach, rescue squad lietuenent 
  • Donald Hall, fire police captain
  • Ben Fox, fire police lieutenant
  • Brian Pocock, master mechanic
  • Brian Breemes and Matt Hendershott, training officers
  • Julie Bobo and Ashley Swartzenberg, chief's secretary

The administrative officers: 

  • James Call, president
  • Kari Breemes, vice president
  • Bonnie Logsdon, secretary
  • Stephanie Call, treasurer
  • Trustees: Stanley Gere, Jason Smith, Ashley Swartzenberg, Chad Rambach, Stephanie Call
  • Auditors: Ben Fox and Kenneth Collins.

The dinner was held on Saturday at the Batavia Country Club.

Photos by Howard Owens

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