Skip to main content


Guitar duo delivers 'transitional' musical evening

By Joanne Beck
Tom Torrisi and Ken Luk
Tom Torrisi, left, and Ken Luk, entertain a full room at Richmond Memorial Library Tuesday evening during their guitar concert in Batavia. Janus Guitar Duo was formed in 2015 by Tom Torrisi and Ken Luk while they were both doctoral students at the Eastman School of Music. Their name is inspired by the Roman god Janus: god of gates, doors, and transitions, whose two faces look simultaneously into the past and the future, according to their website material. Likewise, as musicians they look to music of the past, present, and future to create diverse and exciting concert programs, keeping audiences engaged with each stylistic turn. 
Photo by Joanne Beck.
Guitar duo with crowd
Janus Guitar Duo drew many listeners to Richmond Memorial Library Tuesday for a free soothing musical concert. 
Photo by Joanne Beck.


Judge calls convicted arsonist a 'danger to society,' sends him to prison for 10 years

By Howard B. Owens
Matthew Zakrzewski

It was one of the most significant sentences she's ever given out as a judge, Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini told convicted arsonist Matthew Zakrzewski right after telling him he was going to prison for 10 years.

Ten years was the maximum Cianfrini could give to Zakrzewski under terms of a plea agreement.

In August,  Zakrzewski admitted to arson 2nd and arson 3rd.

If a slip of the tongue is any indication of what was on her mind, she would have sent him to prison longer.  

She sentenced him to 10 years on the arson 2nd conviction and then said she was sending him to prison on arson 3rd for 7 1/2 to 15 years.

A couple of minutes later, she caught her mistake and amended the arson 2nd term to five to 10 years.

Cianfrini called Zakrzewski a danger to society.

"The system needs to have you under supervision for as long as possible to ensure society's safety and security," Cianfrini said.

Both sentences will run concurrently.  Zakrzewski also faces five years on parole once he's released.

Part of Cianfrini's reasoning includes Zakrzewski's lengthy criminal record, which she characterized as escalating in severity, including a DWI and an assault, along with his failure to abide in the past with terms of his release.

She acknowledged Zakrzewski's substance abuse and mental health issues but told him he should use his time in prison to rehabilitate himself. 

"Prison can't make you do anything," Cianfrini said. "They can't force you to take classes. They can't force you into counseling.  It's up to you to do those things on your own."

The 42-year-old Batavia resident admitted to starting a fire at Washington Towers on Jan. 16, among other crimes on that date and preceding days.

The fire caused more than $10,000 in damage (Zakrzewski was ordered to pay restitution) but District Attorney Kevin Finnell said it could have been much worse.

"We were moments away from a disaster," Finnell said. "There's no excuse, reason, substance abuse, mental health issues, that can excuse starting that fire in an apartment building filled with older residents who could have lost their lives."

Defense Attorney Fred Rarick pointed to Zakrzewski's long history of mental health issues and a system, he said, that hasn't done much to assist him.  He asked for a five-year prison term.

Zakrzewski apologized for his actions and admitted his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.  He said what he did at Washington Towers wasn't really who he is.

"Thank God, nobody was seriously hurt or killed," Zakrzewski said.

Law and Order: Bank Street residents accused of abandoning an animal in a cage

By Howard B. Owens

Andrew A. Searight, 35, of Batavia, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24, of Batavia, are charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. Searight and Scarbrough are accused of abandoning an animal in a cage for an extended period of time at a residence on Bank Street.  The incident was reported at 9:18 a.m., May 10. They were both issued an appearance ticket.

Angela N. Bennett, 24, of Strathmore Circle, Rochester, and Shamya I. Brown, 22, of Verona Street, Rochester, are charged with grand larceny 4th.  Bennett and Brown are accused of stealing $1,726.28 in merchandise from Dick's Sporting Goods in Batavia at 1:10 p.m., May 23.  Deputies responded to a report of a larceny in progress and later located the suspect vehicle on River Street in the City of Batavia. Both were issued appearance tickets.  The case was handled by Investigator Erik Andre and Deputy Trevor Sherwood.

Brandon Charles Dodd, 35, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, and Trace Garrett Brewer, 21, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny. Dodd and Brewer are accused of stealing air conditioner units from Walmart at 3:38 p.m., May 22. Dodd was also arrested by Batavia PD on petit larceny and conspiracy charges. He is accused of stealing several cans of Red Bull from a business on West Main Street at 10:52 p.m., May 5. Brewer is charged with conspiracy related to the same incident.

Jamian J. "Jay" Edwards, 38, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd.  Edwards is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Drug Task Force in the City of Batavia. He was taken into custody on an arrest warrant while checking in with Monroe County Probation and turned over the Sheriff's Office.

Timothy Robert Nurmi, 30, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and harassment 2nd.  The alleged incident was reported at 11:15 a.m., May 24, at a location on West Main Street, Le Roy. The charges are a misdemeanor and a violation. Nurmi was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court for the purpose of issuing an order of protection and released on his own recognizance.

Alexis Rae Kenyon, 28, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. The alleged incident was reported at 12:59 p.m., May 26, at a location on Church Street, Le Roy. Kenyon was released on her own recognizance.

Anthony Wade Travis, 59, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with bail jumping 2nd. Travis is accused of failing to appear as ordered in County Court on a felony charge. Travis was issued an appearance ticket.

Thomas William McCabe, III, 44, of Scio (no street address provided), is charged with attempt grand larceny 3rd, criminal mischief, aggravated unlicensed operation, and driver's view obstructed.  McCabe is accused of trying to steal Diamond C. equipment trailer in the Town of Darien at 1:15 a.m., May 21. He was arrested by Deputy Austin Heberlein.  He was released on an appearance ticket.

Marie Rachael Brown, 44, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and speeding. Brown was stopped at 2:26 a.m., May 22, on Route 237, Stafford, by Sgt. Mathew Clor. She was released on traffic tickets.

David Carl Stephens, 56, of Prole Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd, obstructing governmental administration, and harassment 2nd.  Stephens is accused of violating an order of protection and of attempting to fight with deputies when they responded to a complaint at a residence at Prole Road, Stafford, at 3:48 p.m., May 23.

Terrence T. Freeman, 31, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Freeman is accused of refusing to leave a residence on Liberty Street at 10:16 p.m., May 14. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Anthony D. Underwood, 22, of Buffalo, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd, unlawful imprisonment 2nd and criminal mischief 4th. Underwood was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation into a disturbance reported at 6 p.m., May 16, on South Main Street, Batavia. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Zoro D. Reisman, 18, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Reisman is accused of stealing sausages from a business on Ellicott Street at 1:37 p.m., May 15. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Garrett L. Strickland, 30, of Medina, criminal contempt 2nd. Strickland was arrested on a warrant.

Crystal A. Mounts, 44, of Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. Mounts was wanted on six warrants out of City Court related to a series of crimes she is accused of committing within the calendar year. Mounts is accused of failing to appear on the charges on April 29. Mounts was arraigned in City Court and released.

Authentically Local