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December 8, 2019 - 12:38pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (Dec. 8) announced that, following his intense advocacy, Congressional lawmakers are nearing an agreement that would offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees to care for a newborn or adopted child, including the 114,386 workers* throughout New York State, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Under current federal law, federal civilian workers are only eligible for three months of unpaid leave, often leaving them in financially precarious or unsustainable positions.

When passed, the bill would secure paid parental leave for all federal employees for the first time, bringing the federal government’s parental leave laws into the 21st century and on par with the vast majority of developed nations around the world, allowing new parents to give the appropriate support, love and care to their newborn children.

“The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not have paid parental leave," Senator Schumer said. "It’s high time that we caught up. And as the nation’s largest employer, the federal government offering 12 weeks to its millions of employees across our nation and here in New York, is a step in the right direction.

"From one end of the state to the other, no matter if you are a TSA or customs agent at JFK Airport, working on Fort Drum Army Base, or at Buffalo (or Batavia) VA Medical Center, you deserve time to take care of and support your new loved one and family, without worrying how it might impact your ability to put food on the table.

“That’s why during negotiations for this year’s NDAA, I made securing paid parental leave my very top priority, and fought with everything I had to secure it. I’m proud that my efforts, and the efforts of thousands of others, have helped make paid leave for federal employees a reality. I will not stop fighting until this benefit is provided to all workers nationwide.”

*Below is the breakdown of New York federal employees by region, according to New York Department of Labor:

  • NYC: 48,193
  • Long Island: 15,679
  • Hudson Valley: 11,177
  • Western New York: 10,002
  • Capital Region: 7,182
  • Central New York: 5,239
  • Finger Lakes: 5,161
  • North Country: 4,978
  • Mohawk Valley: 2,828
December 8, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in Christmas, nostalgia, batavia, news.

Story by Dave Reilly. Photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

(Warning: Christmas spoilers are contained in this article.)

When people reminisce about Christmas when they were little, different remembrances about the holiday come to their minds. The tree, the dinner, the church, and the presents they received are all standouts.

The best thing about Christmas for me is the magicality of it for kids. When I was young I fell hook, line, and Rudolph for the whole thing. Santa Claus, the reindeer, the sleigh -- all of it. Then, when I became a dad and had little ones of my own, it brought me back to my own childhood to see the awe and wonder on their faces on Christmas morning.

My Santa-believing years were mostly spent at 26 Thomas Avenue where we lived from when I was 1 to 8 years old. My parents, especially my mom, really stoked the imaginations of my younger brother Dan and me with the fantasy aspect of Christmas.

In the days leading up to Santa's visit we were encouraged to write and mail our toy list to the North Pole, first dictating to mom and later scratching out our own missive complete with misspellings. Then, we would walk holding mom's hand to the nearby mailbox to send them off. I guess now kids would text Santa or maybe the Jolly Old Elf is on Twitter.

Putting up the tree is not a great memory though. Going to pick one out at the tree lot was fun, usually combined with stopping for hot chocolate. But, once we got it home it was my dad's responsibility.

Troublesome Tree Stands

Apparently no one had yet invented an easy to use stand and this task was rife with a lot of yelling and epithets. My dad's favorite was “Judas Kraut!” We knew things were really going badly when we heard, “Oh fall down why don't ya!” Usually we'd retreat to our room to avoid this yearly outburst.

Almost worse than erecting the tree was the putting on of lights. First, the snarled wires, which had somehow become entwined like a ball of snakes up in the attic since last year, had to be untangled. Then, those who lived back in the '50s will remember that if one bulb went out they all did. Consequently, an exhaustive and profane process had to be carried out to find the faulty offender. I was never good at science so I'm not sure of why this was electrically speaking, but it sure caused dad to give off sparks.

Once the tree was up and lit (temporarily until another bulb shorted out the whole string) it was mom's purview to decorate it. As you can see by the accompanying photos, this meant applying mounds of silver tinsel. If the old theory of improving TV reception by putting aluminum foil on the antennas was true, Christmas trees back then were capable of picking up alien signals from distant galaxies. There must have been ornaments under there somewhere but who could tell?

Keeping Score on Outdoor Decor

A week or so before Christmas, we'd all pile into the family car (probably a Pontiac) to drive around Batavia and look at people's outdoor displays. My mom would bring a pen and paper and we'd give scores and vote on whose decorations were the best.

Since it was 65 or more years ago now, I can't recall any streets or houses which stood out except for Redfield Parkway. This street is in the western part of the city by the racetrack and the Veterans Hospital and has a median down the middle. Almost every house would put a tree on their front lawn and light it up in different ways. Individually each house wasn't much to see, but taken as a whole it was impressive.

I haven't been in Batavia at Christmas for a number of years, but I think this neighborhood tradition is still going on.

Christmas Eve Day must have been a real challenge for my (and all) moms. The anticipation of Santa coming was almost too much to bear. Activities had to be found for us so we wouldn't go completely out of control. You know how your puppy gets when it's been in a crate all day waiting for you to get home from work? That was us minus the barking and jumping. Well, the barking anyway.

So the day would be spent baking and decorating cookies and getting Santa and the reindeers' snacks ready. Cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer were placed on the hearth with a note. One year mom apparently thought it would be cute for me (Dan was too young) to write a poem about Santa.

Santa Claus lives way up north,

On Christmas Eve he goes forth,

To bring presents to girls and boys,

Books and balls and lots of toys.

You better watch out,

And you better not cry,

Or Santa right by your house

Will fly.

If you are good,

Do not fear,

Santa will come down the chimney

This year.

OK, it didn't win a Pulitzer Prize, but it was cute, wasn't it?

The Grip of Insomnia

Like many parents ours had to struggle to get us to sleep on the Big Night. The tactic of telling us that Santa wouldn't come if we were awake only seemed to make our eyes bulge wider. My mom told us that if we were really quiet we could hear the bells of the reindeer jingling. I was positive a couple of years that I actually heard them on the roof, but when I got up and looked out the window there was nothing there but the cold dark night.

To make it even harder to drift off into dreamland my mom had a tradition, maybe from Denmark from where my grandparents emigrated, to hang our stocking on the foot of our bed instead of the hearth. Imagine trying to fall asleep when you thought Santa would imminently be standing right there in your bedroom.

I swore that I never closed my eyes, but all of a sudden at 3 or 4 in the morning I would check my stocking for seemingly the 20th time and it would be full! Talk about magic! Then I had to restrain myself from looking through everything until morning.

One thing I could count on being in there once I learned to read was a Hardy Boys book. I loved them and for my parents' benefit it served the purpose of keeping me busy all day. I would usually have read the whole book by bedtime on Christmas night. Besides the book and maybe a small toy, the rest of the stocking was filled with nuts and tangerines. We weren't wealthy by any means.

Sneaking a Peek

One Christmas Eve, or more accurately early in the morning, I couldn't restrain myself and decided that I just had to see Santa. I tiptoed, probably in my slipper socks, to the stairs and positioned myself where I could see the tree.

I'm not sure how long I sat there, but at some point my dad discovered me and shooed me back to bed. He probably admonished me that if Santa had seen me he would have gone back up the chimney without leaving any presents. Dads are well known to be more blunt than moms about such things.

After all that anticipation, Christmas morning was almost anticlimactic.

The Big Bonanza

Nonetheless, we kids were up at the crack of dawn dragging a half-asleep mom and dad behind us down the stairs. Like in most every other household there ensued a hullabaloo of torn wrapping paper, opened boxes, and Oohs!, Aahs!, and Oh Boys! galore.

Presents for little boys in those days would certainly include cowboy gear, including the dreaded cap pistols with mom's admonishment, “Those are for outdoors only!” Also in the Santa bonanza would be baseball mitts and/or bats and footballs and equipment, including one year my prized red helmet, which I reminisced about in a previous story.

If you look carefully at one of the accompanying photos you can make out a toy gas station. Today it would possibly be an electric charging station for the kids' toy Prius or Tesla.

My parents' gift from me consisted of a construction paper covered packet in the shape of an angel or a bell made at school. Inside I would promise them a bunch of rosaries and prayers (pretty sure I never paid up) with a message that the nun would have us copy from the blackboard: "Dear Mom and Dad, Thank you for all you do for me. Your son, David Reilly.” (Good thing I put my last name so mom and dad wouldn't think some other kid named David made it.)

Round Two -- Cedar Street

After mom calmed us down enough to eat some breakfast, we were lucky enough to embark on a second round of gifts at our Aunt Kate and Peg's house. My dad had two sisters who never married and lived together in the family home at 27 Cedar Street (previously mentioned in "The Blizzard of '66") where they grew up. They doted on Dan and I (they embarrassingly referred to us as “Honey Boys”) and somehow persuaded Santa to make a stop at their place, too. So, the ripping and tearing and opening and shouts of “Yippee!” took place all over again.

Later in the afternoon, usually at our house because mom was the only family member who could cook, we'd sit down to Christmas dinner. This was somewhat of an adventure in itself.

Our Uncle George was a plumber and to be blunt, he kind of smelled like it. So Dan and I would jockey for position at the table so as not to sit by him. His wife, Aunt Helen, apparently had a food issue and while we ate turkey with all the trimmings, mom had to fix her what seemed to be a shriveled piece of some kind of meat. When we got a little older Dan and I would joke that we needed to get it analyzed by a laboratory to see what it actually was.

Once every few years my aunts would cajole everyone to have the dinner at their house. This announcement always led to loud protesting and whining including by my dad and they were his sisters.

They were raised in the Irish style of cooking, which meant boiling everything in water. This included the ham. Just the odor would make us gag. I think there were a couple of years when all I actually ate was those little gherkins that came in a jar. At least they weren't boiled.

Finally, as Christmas night arrived, the big day began to wind down. Uncle George and Aunt Helen headed home in the plumbing truck and my dad had to drive aunts Kate and Peg to their house as they both lived to old age without ever learning to drive.

Christmas Concludes

Little brother Dan conked out somewhere and would eventually be carried up to bed. I would be curled up in a quiet spot absorbed in whether Frank and Joe Hardy would solve the case of “The Sinister Sign Post.” I assume that our parents were relaxing, too, and breathing a sigh of relief that it was over for another year.

Between the ages of 8 and 10 we lived for a couple years on Ellicott Avenue and then when I was 10 we moved across town to 122 North Spruce Street. Of course, Christmases continued on with many of the same people and traditions.

But at some point, like all kids, I realized the truth, and the magic of Santa vanished. Thankfully, the enchantment returned in the 1980s when my children were born and I got to again suspend reality for several years through their wide and happy eyes.

December 7, 2019 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music, arts, entertainment.


The Genesee Symphony Orchestra performs its annual holiday concert, "A Nutcracker Holiday," at 4 p.m., Sunday, at Byron-Bergen High School, conducted by S. Shade Zajac.

Performances include "Christmas Concerto" by Corelli, "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson, "Piano Concerto No. 2" by Saint-Saens (featuring Amy Feng, GSO Young Artist Winner), T"he Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky, a holiday selection featuring the Pembroke Elementary Chorus, and Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

Tickets are adults $15, senior $10, and students with ID are free.

Byron-Bergen High School is located at 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen.









December 7, 2019 - 2:52pm

Submitted photo and (most of the) information:

The Pembroke Corfu Darien Kiwanis Club is hosting breakfast with some special friends on Sunday and you're invited.

Santa Claus and his seasonally intermittent chums Cindy Lou and The Grinch (left to right, inset photo) will be there as guests, so bring the kids and cameras! There is a free gift for each child, too!

Breakfast will be served from 9 a.m. to noon in East Pembroke at the St. Maximillian Kolbe Parish Hall, located at 8656 Church St.

There will be pancakes, sausage, applesauce and a beverage.

Cost is $6 for adults; $5 for children age 6 to 12; children 5 and under eat free.

The Kiwanis Club is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and community at a time. For more information about the PCD Kiwanis, call Pat at 762-8429.

FWIW: The Grinch might not be too thrilled about attending, but he said he'd be there, albeit begrudgingly. (Not much of a smiler, that guy.) Miss Cindy Lou Who, of Whoville, on the other hand is perked up by the prospect and the chance to show off her distinctive coiffure with yuletide touches. Santa, of course, is an old pro at these kinds of photo ops and doesn't mind sharing the limelight.

December 7, 2019 - 12:18pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Boy Scouts of America, Iroquois Trail Council, is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of its Volunteer Service and Training Center, located at 102 S. Main St. in the Village of Oakfield on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Doors will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. A commemorative ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. 

The Council secured the location following an exhaustive search of properties in and around the Batavia area, which is central to its five-county service area.

“This location allows us a stand-alone space that can be customized for our unique needs in a much more cost-effective manner than either a new build would cost or continuing to lease space,” said Scout Executive Jim McMullen. 

“Our Council’s Board of Directors felt this was in keeping with the 'Thrifty' point of the Scout Law.

“We are excited to work on creating a dedicated space that can be used for the many programs and volunteer leadership training that our Council offers, and support our many member families, all while lowering annual operating expenses,” McMullen said. 

The property also provides ample grounds for an outdoor training area where leaders can learn the basics of outdoor teaching methods.

Although a significant lead gift helped to make the Service Center purchase possible, the Council is seeking contributions to help make the space fully functional.

For information about named gifts and other giving opportunities, please contact McMullen at 585-409-5828.

December 6, 2019 - 4:14pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The story of the nativity, with all of its simplicity and grace, is featured in the Dec. 13 and 15 Christmas concerts of the Genesee Chorale.

Director Ric Jones has selected Ottorino Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity,” and several old favorites with new arrangements he believes will delight the audience.

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia, and at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at The Grove UMC, 11004 W. Center Street Ext., Medina. Tickets are $10 and are available through the Chorale website genesee.chorale.com, or at the door.

The Respighi work, Jones said, is a master choral work that hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

“Respighi uses elements of Renaissance music throughout the work, with dance-like madrigals and Italian carols,” Jones said. “The accompaniment of the work was unique with him using a chamber sextet as accompaniment.

"Lastly, the theme of the work was great. It uses the poetry of 13th century Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todi. The text focuses on the angel, the shepherds, and Mary.”

The story is told through three soloists – a soprano representing the angel, a mezzo-soprano representing Mary and a tenor representing a shepherd – and full chorus, with instrumental accompaniment by a sextet drawing from talented local players, and Chorale’s pianist Douglas Hanson.

Mary Wojciechowski (inset photo, right) sings the soprano (angel) part. Wojciechowski has experience in musical theater, opera, jazz and classical voice, and has produced and starred in several jazz concerts.

She has been featured with the Brockport Symphony Orchestra, the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, the Gateswingers Big Band and the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.

On stage, she’s performed such roles as Adele in "Die Feldermaus," Sister Angelica in "Sister Angelica" and the Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro."

Mezzo-soprano Mariami Bekauri (below left inset photo) sings the role of Mary in “Laud to the Nativity.” She has been praised for her “warm” and “handsome” tone, and last month made her debut in the titular role of Rossini’s "La Cenerentola" with Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

She is appearing as mezzo-soprano soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s holiday concerts this month.

She is a graduate of Fredonia School of Music and currently teaches in the music department at Buffalo State College, Houghton College Buffalo and the Fredonia School of Music.

Tenor John Clayton (bottom left inset photo) performs the role of the shepherd in the Respighi piece.

He has been described as a gallant singer with the ability to “put the audience in standstill” and was designated “one of Buffalo’s top vocalists” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. His is a familiar face on the Buffalo stage, with appearances in more than a dozen operas with Nickel City Opera, Opera Sacra and Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

Clayton often appears as a recitalist or concert soloist with choruses, including Orff’s "Carmina Burana" with the Genesee Chorale a few seasons ago. He recently returned from Italy where he debuted as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni."

“This piece has challenged the Chorale in the sense of style,” Jones said. “The piece uses so many different elements and styles that fold in to one another, and that is challenging.”

It is also a challenge to put the music of chorus and instrumentalists together.

“The Chorale has risen to these challenges and I think they will present a moving musical work that depicts the Christmas season,” Jones said.

“Laud to the Nativity” is sung in English translation and constitutes the first half of the program.

The remaining pieces include a new arrangement of "Silent Night" by Dan Forrest, using the traditional text and melody wrapped in what Jones describes as a “beautifully unique harmonic setting.” "Rise Up Shepherd" gets gospel-style treatment, and remaining selections feature new harmonies.

December 6, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in snow removal, city public work department, batavia, news.

From the city department of Public Works:

With the arrival of significant winter weather, the City of Batavia Department of Public Works would like to ask for the public’s cooperation as we all try and navigate these storms.

Private plowing contractors should be aware that plowing snow into the street or onto the sidewalk is not allowed and creates dangerous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.

Property owners are ultimately responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City supplements sidewalk plowing as crews become available and as need dictates, however, this can only be completed after streets and municipal parking lots are plowed. School routes and main road sidewalks are then given priority.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts managing these snow events.

December 6, 2019 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news, NY 61st Senate District, notify.

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer issued the following statement this afternoon (Dec. 6):

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection and will retire from the NYS Senate at the end of next year," Ranzenhofer said. "It has been the highest privilege to represent the many communities of WNY and I am proud of what we have accomplished together on behalf of residents.

Despite my decision to retire, I will continue to fight for the residents of the 61st Senate District throughout the remainder of my term. After many years of serving the community, I look forward to spending more time with my family.”

In addition to being a legislator, the senator is a partner with the law firm Friedman and Ranzenhofer.

Submitted file photo of Honorable Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the State of New York, administering the oath of office to Ranzenhofer on the floor of the State Senate for the 2017-18 term.

December 6, 2019 - 12:08pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Genesee County Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan P. Hendershott (below) and Christina M. Marinaccio (above) as New York State Fire Instructors (SFI) assigned to Genesee County.

Marinaccio has served as a County Fire Instructor since 2017. She is an active member of the Le Roy Fire Department, the Genesee County Emergency Support Unit and the Genesee County Fire Investigation Team. She is employed as a firefighter for the City of Batavia Fire Department.   

Hendershott has served as a County Fire Instructor since 2013. He is an active member of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department and the Genesee County Fire Investigation Team. He is employed as a firefighter in the Henrietta Fire District. 

In this new role as SFIs, they will work closely with the Genesee County Fire Coordinator and County Training Technician assessing needs and delivering NYS training programs to fire personnel.

Anyone interested in learning more about opportunities in the volunteer fire services are encouraged to contact your local fire department or Emergency Management Office.

December 6, 2019 - 11:51am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Conservative Party, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today (Dec. 6) that he earned a 92-percent rating from the Conservative Party based on his legislative voting record in 2019, placing him in the upper echelon of all New York State legislators.

The Conservative Party ranked legislators based on 25 bills that passed the Assembly and Senate, and evaluated lawmakers’ votes on crucial pieces of legislation.  

“Being Conservative isn’t about a party or a label, it’s about standing by the principles of smaller government, less taxes and economic freedom, no matter the cost,” Hawley said. “Here in Western New York, we know what’s best for us, our families and our businesses, and some bureaucrat or politician who has never stepped foot on a farm or been on a thrilling hunt has no right to tell us how to live.”

Among the bills at question were allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, sweeping subsidized housing protections, early voting, farm unionization and expansion of abortion deep into the third trimester – all of which Hawley voted against.

“Conservatism is about an individual’s right to govern themselves above all else and those principles guide me each day,” Hawley continued. “Thank you to the Conservative Party and its leadership for issuing these evaluations and holding all lawmakers accountable to liberty and freedom.”

(Photo submitted this summer of Hawley celebrating Dairy Day in Albany on June 5.)

December 6, 2019 - 11:31am

Press release:

Visiting with relatives over the holidays may raise questions about the physical and cognitive health of family members.

Although some change in cognitive ability can occur with age, serious memory problems are not a part of normal aging. Recognizing the difference between normal aging and cognitive impairment can help identify when it may be time to see a doctor.  

The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter expects to see a rise in calls to its 24-hour helpline (800-272-3900) during and after the holiday season when people visit with friends and family whom they may not see as frequently during the year.

“The 10 Warning Signs are a good place to start when trying to decide if you should talk to your doctor about the changes you are noticing in yourself or a loved one,” says Chapter Program Director Rachel Rotach.

There can be other explanations for cognitive impairments, so it is always best to see a physician if any of these 10 warning signs is apparent:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting recently learned information; forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; or relying on memory aids;
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems: changes in the ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers, or trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills;
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks: driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game;
  • Confusion with time or place: people with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time or forget where they are or how they got there.
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing: trouble following or joining a conversation or stopping in the middle of a conversation and not being able to continue; repetitive comments; struggles with vocabulary;
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: putting things in unusual places, such as ice cream in the medicine cabinet or being unable to trace steps to find a misplaced object and accusing someone of taking it;
  • Decreased or poor judgment: changes in judgment or decision-making, especially when dealing with money; inattention to personal care and grooming;
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities: refraining from favorite hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports;
  • Changes in mood and personality: confusion, suspicion, depression, fear, anxiety or irritability may occur without apparent cause. 

The WNY Chapter offers a free "Know the 10 Warning Signs" education program several times every month across the region.

In Genesee County, you can attend this class on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at The Manor House, located at 427 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia. The class begins at 4:30 p.m. but just prior at 4:15 p.m. a free, light meal of soup is available for attendees.

To attend, please register by calling the Alzheimer's Association Western New York Chapter, toll free at 1-800-272-3900 or (716) 626-0600.


Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.

The Alzheimer’s Association website lists resources for those with dementia, their families, and their caregivers (alz.org/WNY) and help is always available via the toll-free Helpline phone number: 800-272-3900. That number is available 24/7 to answer questions and provide information about local resources for those living with dementia and their care partners.

About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

About the Western New York Chapter
The local Chapter provides programs, services and other resources for those living with dementia, their care partners, healthcare professionals and others across eight counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming. You can learn more by calling (716) 626-0600 during traditional business hours, or 24/7 at 800-272-3900 or alz.org/WNY.

December 6, 2019 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Pavilion, notify.

A 22-year-old North Chili man who was found sleeping in a car in Pavilion in May, along with a woman and a with a cache of apparently stolen items, is being released from jail under terms of the state's new bail reform law while awaiting sentencing after his guilty plea in Genesee County Court on Thursday.

Daniel Lewis entered a guilty plea to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree as a second felony offender and faces a minimum prison sentence of one and a half to 3 years and a maximum sentence of two to four years.

He admitted to possession of a stolen debit card.

After his guilty plea, his assigned attorney, Fred Rarick, asked Judge Charles Zambito to consider releasing Lewis under supervision of Genesee Justice since he will become eligible for such a release Jan. 1 under terms of New York's new bail reform law. 

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman made sure Zambito was aware that Lewis has a prior probation violation and a prior parole revocation. 

After confirming that Lewis has a place to live if released -- his father's house -- and instructing Lewis to submit to a substance abuse evaluation and abide by any recommendations for treatment, Zambito agreed to release him under supervision.

Lewis is eligible for parole supervision at sentencing and Zambito told Lewis his ability -- or inability -- to follow instructions regarding evaluation and treatment will be a factor in his decision at sentencing.

Lewis was arrested May 27 when Deputy Ryan Young was dispatched to Peoria Road in Pavilion for a report of a disabled or abandoned vehicle. Young found Lewis and Stormy Watts, 21, of Stafford, sleeping in the back seat. They told Young they were waiting for a time to call somebody to come and bring them gas.

Upon further investigation, Young found numerous items that appeared to have been stolen from vehicles inside the car with Lewis and Watts.

Both were arrested.

According to Friedman, Watts took a plea on Tuesday (Dec. 3) to criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Young also reportedly found a firearm in the vehicle and Lewis was charged with criminal possession of a weapon as a convicted felon. That charge was subsequently dropped in connection with the plea agreement, Friedman confirmed for Zambito yesterday.

December 6, 2019 - 10:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A vehicle is off the road and into the woods in the area of 7682 Clinton Street Road, Bergen.

Unknown injuries.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: The operator of the vehicle is at the Dunkin' donuts store at 8073 Clinton Street Road. A medic is going there to evaluate the driver's condition.

December 6, 2019 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.
          Riley Mayer

A 21-year-old Batavia resident entered a guilty plea in Genesee County Court on Thursday to a single count of assault in the second degree for his part in an attack on a victim on Highland Parkway in October.

Riley B. Mayer, of South Main Street, was initially charged with gang assault since two other people were also suspected of participating in the assault. One other person has been charged and charges are pending against a third suspect, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said.

The plea came with no conditions on a possible sentence, and under statute Mayer faces up to seven years in prison.

The victim in the attack allegedly suffered serious injuries in the Oct. 4 attack.

Mayer will be sentenced at a later date.

December 6, 2019 - 8:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, news, accident.

A car has struck a poll at Byron Road and Byron Elba Road, Byron.

Unknown injuries. Traffic is not blocked.

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: Traffic control is being set up to reduce travel flow to one lane.

UPDATE 8:16 a.m.: A response by Mercy EMS has been canceled.

UPDATE 8:18 a.m.: No serious damage to the pole. It's still standing.

December 6, 2019 - 8:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, pembroke.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in the area of 1439 Phelps Road, Pembroke.

The vehicle is on its side. Unknown injuries though dispatchers have spoken with the driver.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire along with Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 8:04 a.m.: The driver is out of the vehicle. Minor complaint of pain.

December 5, 2019 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, New York taxes.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued the following statement this afternoon regarding Bronx Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s comments that “For us in the Assembly, we always believe in raising revenue.”

“Speaker Heastie is dead wrong – maybe his Downstate allies support raising taxes but millions of residents and small businesses across our state do not. In fact, it seems like only the Speaker and his New York City colleagues are the ones intent on making New York less affordable and exiling more of our neighbors to less expensive states. 

“Albany’s fiscal woes can be summed up very easily – a lack of revenue isn’t the problem, reckless spending is. I’ve said for years that the state welfare program is out of control and it is unfortunate that Assembly leadership let the program balloon, to the tune of $6 billion over budget, instead of addressing the issue years ago. 

“Bottom line, Speaker Heastie along with Gov. Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Stewart Cousins are directly responsible for growing our budget beyond control.

“Taxpayer money is just that – the taxpayer’s money, not a mechanism to right Albany’s runaway fiscal ship and certainly not something the Speaker should be taking lightly. Families are still struggling to pay the bills as expenses continue to rise, and I will fight to prevent any further tax increases on our residents.”

December 5, 2019 - 5:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, crime, news, notify.

File photo and press release:

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced Wednesday (Dec. 4) that Guillermo Torres-Acevedo, 23, of Batavia, pled guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that on Nov. 25, 2018, the defendant, then a 22-year-old man, had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. Torres-Acevedo was arrested the following day for, among other charges, rape in violation of New York Penal Law.

Following his arrest, the defendant persuaded the victim to travel with him out of state to continue their relationship. On Nov. 29, 2018, Torres-Acevedo picked up the girl from school in Genesee County and drove her to Pennsylvania, where they had sexual intercourse. Under Pennsylvania law, that constituted the crime of statutory sexual assault.

The plea is the result of an investigation by: the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eric Laughton; the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 13 before Judge Geraci.

 Editor's Note: Torres-Acevedo also faces charges in Genesee County Court and a plea deal is expected in the case, which is on the court calendar for 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (Dec. 6). Torres-Acevedo is charged locally with: four counts of second-degree rape, a Class D violent felony; four counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree, also a Class D violent felony; second-degree kidnapping, a Class B violent felony; and second-degree criminal contempt.

December 5, 2019 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify.

Robert D. Griffin, 41, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with: two counts of first-degree criminal contempt; second-degree burglary; and endangering the welfare of a child less that 17 years old. Griffin was arrested and arraigned Tuesday morning (Dec. 3) after an arrest warrant was issued for him by Batavia City Court. It stems from a domestic incident reported at 7:54 p.m. on Nov. 11 on Manhattan Avenue in Batavia. He was jailed without bail and was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Shane H. Zimblis, 48, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt, fourth-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. At 11:43 p.m. on Dec. 2, Batavia police responded to a South Swan Street residence for a possible physical domestic incident. Zimblis was arrested on the charges after allegedly violating an order of protection during a physical altercation. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Christopher P. Thomas, 35, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant on Tuesday (Dec. 3) after failing to appear in Batavia City Court on Nov. 22 for an unspecified matter. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 1:40 p.m. and released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

December 5, 2019 - 2:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Public Financing Commission, news.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley on the Public Financing Commission’s recommendations issued last week:

“We have the highest taxes in the nation and now Albany insiders have stacked the deck even further against taxpayers, handing out another $100 million of your money to political candidates so they buy loads of robocalls, billboards and television commercials – an absolute disgrace.

“It’s truly cowardice of Albany leadership to kick such a controversial topic to an outside commission instead of allowing a full debate and vote where lawmakers actually had to take responsibility for creating such a wasteful and unnecessary system.

“Replacing ‘big money’ in politics with taxpayer money does not solve the problem, it only exacerbates a corrupt Albany culture.

“Furthermore, the commission has put minor parties on life support, forcing residents into two camps, Republican or Democrat, and further dividing our state. Gov. Cuomo’s personal war with the Working Families Party robs voters of choice and will certainly disenfranchise those who want a third-party candidate.

“Once again, special interests in Albany have gone too far by overhauling a system behind closed doors, out of public view. I am calling on Gov. Cuomo to bring us back to Albany for a special session before Jan. 1 to fix these disastrous new regulations.”

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