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May 4, 2019 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, bergen.

A one-vehicle accident with injuries and entrapment is reported in Bergen on West Sweden Road at Evans Road. Bergen Fire Department is responding, along with Mercy medics.

UPDATE 3:36 p.m.: The patient was extricated and is being transported to Strong Memorial Hospital.

May 4, 2019 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, batavia, news, notify.

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A memorial for Sgt. Duane Arthur Downey, who died March 18, was held at Elmwood Cemetery this afternoon.

Downey, a former Batavia resident, was active duty in the Army Airborne from 1968 to 1970 and in Vietnam for six months in 1970. He was awarded Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, M-16 Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.

He earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Photography from Rochester School of Technology and worked for Kodak and most recently lived in Bethlehem, Ga. 

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May 4, 2019 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eat Well Grill, freshLAB, batavia, Eli Fish Brewing, news, notify.

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When Matt Gray and Jon Mager first conceived of FreshLab, the restaurant incubator inside Eli Fish Brewing Company, they envisioned providing a kitchen space for aspiring restaurateurs  who had food service experience, experience in food prep, industry knowledge, and a creative idea they wanted to try on a small scale before moving into launching a restaurant.

That's exactly what FreshLab is getting, Gray told the Batavia Development Corp. board Friday morning, with John and Jill Kratz, who are opening Eat Well Grill in June in the vacant space at FreshLab.

John is the long-time general manager of Bob Evans and Jill works at St. Joseph School but has also been running a food preparation business on the weekends using the kitchen at the YWCA.

Eat Well Grill will provide salads and bowls similar to what Jill has been preparing for her business Commit to Well, with proteins from beef, chicken, and shrimp to go with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.

It's a paleo diet. While it's healthy for everyone, it will be especially good for people with dietary problems, John and Jill deal with in their own family, which is how they got involved with creating the recipes for their dishes in the first place.

"There are a lot of great food options in the community but we think what is missing is something that is nutritionally sustainable," John said. "What we're looking to provide is something in the framework of sustainability."

As much as possible, ingredients will be locally sourced, John said.

Commit to Well has a strong customer base already and the Eat Well Grill will fill a need for those customers by providing meals when they're needed.

"I know a lot of my customers like the meal prep service but sometimes they forget to order and they're calling me at the end of the weekend to see if there is anything left over," Jill said. "They need something at lunch or at the end of the day and they're not thinking ahead because we're all very busy."

A walk-in and order grill is just what those customers need, she said.

John said, and Matt confirmed, demand for meals that fit this nutritional value is a growing trend across the country and in larger urban areas, including Buffalo and Rochester, it's increasingly common.

Examples from the menu: 

  • The Greek, a salad with romaine and kale, quinoa, grilled chicken, cucumber, tomato, olives, and feta cheese;
  • Caveman Cobb, a salad with romaine and arugula, napa cabbage, cucumber, tomato, corn, red onion, steak, and walnuts;
  • Green Goddess, a salad with arugula, spinach, romaine, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, bacon, and grilled chicken;
  • Spicy Shrimp, a bowl with rice, napa cabbage, arugula, carrots, tomato, grilled shrimp, sriracha sauce, and green onion;
  • Happy Garden, a bowl with rice, romaine, carrots, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, beets, and grilled chicken;
  • Good Harvest, a bowl with quinoa, spinach, arugula, beets, red onion, feta cheese, grilled chicken, and walnuts.

Gray said the Eat Well Grill will be a great match at FreshLab with Eden Cafe and provide customers a good alternative to the Eli Fish menu.

The BDC board approved Eat Well Grill for a small business loan for $25,000 from the BDC's revolving loan fund.  

The grill will employ two or three people. John will work at the grill full-time and Jill will continue to work at St. Joe's while running the meal-prep business out of the YWCA kitchen on weekends until the business grows enough to move into a single, larger space.

Photo courtesy FreshLab.

May 3, 2019 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

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A pickup truck went off the road in the area of 10092 Francis Road, Bethany, at 7:14 p.m.  The driver declined medical transport. The Sheriff's Office along with Bethany Fire Department responded.

Photos by Glenn Adams.

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May 3, 2019 - 4:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm bill, agriculture, news, notify, Sen. Jessica Ramos.

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As odd as it might seem to most Western New Yorkers, Sen. Rob Ortt told a group of farmers, farmworkers, and farm supporters gathered for a roundtable discussion at Batavia City Hall on Thursday, stopping the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act from destroying Upstate farms may come down to the reasonableness of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"His signature will have to be on this bill and then it will be his bill," Ortt said. "He will be the one with the legacy of what this bill will do to the largest business sector in the state. I think that will give him pause. I know in the past not many of us have thought of him as the voice of reason in Albany but as unusual as it might be, that might just be the case (with the farm labor bill)."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the idea of Cuomo doing the right thing for Upstate residents isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. He pointed to the recent fight over providing college benefits to Gold Star families. When Assembly Democrats rejected the proposal, Cuomo found a way to shift funds and get it done, Hawley said.

"The guy who is purportedly governor of the entire state and represents all of us could just be the key to all of this," Hawley said.

Ortt convened the roundtable to discuss the farm labor bill, he said, because Western New York farmers are not being heard by members of the Legislature because there are no hearings being held in this part of the state.

The bill, if passed, would give farmworkers the right to join labor unions, establish an eight-hour workday and a 40-hour work week, establish regulations for housing, and establish rules for workers' compensation.

Area farmers say the changes to the law would devastate them. Area farmworkers say the bill would diminish their incomes. Both say a 40-hour work week, in particular, would mean H2A workers, who can work anywhere in the nation, would stop coming to New York.

The Senate sponsor of the bill is Sen. Jessica Ramos, a first-termer from Queens who now chairs the Senate Labor Committee. Ramos visited Genesee County a couple of weeks ago and met with farmers and farmworkers in a meeting room at Genesee Community College and then at a Torrey Farms facility in Elba, where 350 farmworkers were on hand to talk with her. Both events were supposed to be closed to the press but The Batavian was at the event at Torrey Farms (see story and video here).

Sen. Michael Ranzehofer, who hosted the visit, said that while most of the conversations were in Spanish, to an individual, old, young, men, women, there was a consistent theme: the workers don't want to be restricted to only 40 hours a week.

That's a message that didn't seem to sway Ramos, Ranzenhofer indicated.

In a recent article, Ramos (who canceled a scheduled interview with The Batavian and has not rescheduled it) told the Queens Eagle that arguments that New York farmers would not be able to compete in the global market place of commodities if the bill passes are unpersuasive. 

“Farmers understand that there’s merit in treating their workers well, but of course like everything else there are great employers and there are very poor employers,” Ramos told the Eagle. “This bill is really about codifying rights that exist for every other worker in New York.”

Ramos cited her own experience in her parents native country of Colombia for supporting the bill.

“Farming is not foreign to me. When I’d go to Colombia as a little girl, I spent a lot of time picking coffee,” she said, adding that she has long advocated for labor rights. “That’s the reason I’m there. I’m not trying to do this from a perch down in Queens. I really honestly care to understand everyone’s perspective.”

Sen. Chris Jacobs observed that Ramos, "seems very set in her ways."

For local farmers, who represent them, however, Ramos, and Cathy Nolan, who is carrying the bill in the Assembly, are two out-of-touch Downstate legislators who have no farms, farmers, or farmworkers in their districts and have no business crafting agriculture policy.

"We've got to realize that we're less than 1 percent of the population in New York," said Kim Zuber, representing Monroe County Farm Bureau. "People don't really understand what we do and they don't understand the cost of doing business."

A couple of the farmers pointed out that they already comply with some provisions of the bill, especially when it comes to housing. Most farmers provide housing, including paid utilities, for their migrant workers. If their workers have an H2A visa, the Health Department regularly inspects farmworker housing and the farmers are held to pretty high standards.

"I just took my son to his new apartment in Buffalo," said one farmer, "and as I looked at it, I found at least a half dozen violations. I'm not saying it was a bad place, but an H2A worker would never be allowed in that house and I'm not exaggerating."

Sen. Rich Funke was pretty blunt.

"This is the single greatest attack on Upstate New York by Downstate politicians since I’ve been in office," Funke said.

In an interview after the meeting, Ortt expanded on his thoughts about the potential role Cuomo might have in protecting farmers and farmworkers from this legislation. He noted that, whether you support the effort or not, Cuomo has invested heavily in Western New York economic development. He clearly wants economic development in Upstate to be his lasting legacy and this bill, with its potential to devastate the Upstate economy, could undo all of the governor's efforts to bring industry back to Upstate.

"If all of the prognostications are true, this bill will kill the Upstate economy," Ortt said. "Does he want, after all the money and all the press and all the trips Upstate, for that to be his legacy? You know how it goes, everybody remembers the governor. The senators and the assemblymen come and go, but the governor is the one people remember when it comes to these long-term impacts. Does he want people to remember that it was the Cuomo administration and Governor Cuomo who signed this bill into law?

We asked Ortt if Ramos, given her attempts to avoid the media on her trip here and her unwillingness to answer questions about her bill, is really an honest broker with this legislation?

"Well, anytime you say 'no press' on a bill this big, it begs the question, 'why?' " Ortt said. "Why the secrecy? I mean, truthfully, what is she afraid of? To me, that's a red flag right there. Why no press? But I think what's also interesting is that at the first hearing in Morrisville she was there two hours late and left an hour early. So how much is she really listening?

As for the bill itself, we asked about the right for farmworkers to collectively bargain, especially given Ortt's statement earlier in the evening suggesting some sort of compromise could be reached on the bill. The Constitution guarantees the right to assembly, the right to free association, so shouldn't workers have the right to form unions?

"No one actually objects to their right to organize or collectively bargain," Ortt said. "Now that's coming from farmers. They told me that is not their objection, it's (that) we're also setting the conditions that might be negotiable and we're setting them in state law. For the farmer, he's saying, 'Well, not only are you allowing them to collectively bargain but then you're also setting several parameters that might be negotiable and you're taking that off the table because you're putting it in state law."

The main objection farmers have to the bill, Ortt said, is the eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week.

"To be competitive, you can't limit yourself to an eight-hour day," Ortt said. "The overtime really affects your bottom line. So they're saying maybe 60 hours for the hourly, and anything over 60 or 65 then you could do time and a half, and don't set a daily limit. Maybe those are points of negotiation. I don't know and I hate to negotiate against myself.

"If Senator Ramos or Senator Metzger or whomever, if they're willing to make a movement that's great, we can have a conversation," Ortt added later. "I haven't seen as of yet a sign that they're willing to make any move. So, you know, as the old saying goes, you know, 'don't negotiate against yourself.' "

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May 3, 2019 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in GO ART!, news.

GO ART! will showcase three new exhibits starting Thursday, May 9. They will be on display through July 6.

They are:

  • Innovations by Janet Root featuring fabric art; (See example below.)
  • Nature's Selections by Lydia Zwierzyanski and Megan Peters featuring mixed media;
  • Family: In It Together !! sponsored by HIllside Foster Care, featuring amazing pieces by kids currently in foster care, those who have been adopted through care, and those in families who foster/adopt. (See example above.)

​There will be an Artist Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. Come on out to meet these incredible artists, hear their stories, and support bringing awareness to foster care, too!

GO ART! Seymour Place
201 E. Main St.
Batavia, NY 14020
 
Gallery Hours: Thursday and Friday 11a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturdays 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
May 3, 2019 - 3:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

A two-vehicle accident with injuries is reported on Pearl Street Road, near Hartshorn Road, Town of Batavia. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: A second Mercy rig is called to the scene.

May 3, 2019 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, antwan odom, ray leach.

A defense attorney for Antwan Odom, the Batavia High School athlete accused of cutting Ray Leach with a knife during an apparent argument Aug. 4, will file a motion in advance of a trial later this year that will allow him to call into question Leach's character.

Odom today turned down a plea offer that could have meant no jail time, seemingly on the advice of his attorney, Frank Housh, of Buffalo, because Housh didn't feel there was enough of a guarantee from the court that Odom could be adjudicated a youthful offender and avoid a prison term.

Outside of court, Housh said his client didn't commit a crime, that he acted in self-defense, and that as part of a self-defense claim, he should be able to submit evidence that supports his claim, including the character of the alleged victim.

"The fact that Ray Leach is known in the community to be a violent person, to be a confrontational person, who confronted (Odom) -- by the prosecution's own admission -- he was the first aggressor," Housh said. "He went to my client's house and called him out and beat him into unconsciousness.

"So, under those circumstances, to say, when the prosecution is admitting that he was the first aggressor, to say that his history of violence and intimidation is irrelevant is simply absurd. We should be able to bring that up because it goes to the circumstance of his justification."

Housh may also seek a change of venue. Given Leach's status as a star athlete, one of the most recognized athletes in the region, Housh said he isn't sure an impartial jury could be impaneled in Genesee County.

A change of venue motion isn't certain, Housh said. He will need to research it further.

He said a request for a change of venue is unrelated to a bit of a conflict in court today over the terms of a potential plea agreement and what Judge Charles Zambito's role is in guaranteeing any particular sentencing outcome.

Odom is charged with assault in the first degree, a Class B felony with a minimum sentence of five years in prison and up to 25 years in prison. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman's offer was for Odom to plead guilty to second-degree assault, a Class D felony. The plea, Friedman said, would be unconditional and expose Odom to a potential maximum prison term of seven years.

However, Odom would also then be eligible for a probationary sentence and youthful offender status, which would seal his criminal record.

Housh said in court today that in 25 years of practicing criminal law, including 10 working as a prosecutor, he had never come across a court where he couldn't get a promise from a judge on sentencing perimeters. 

His interpretation of his conversation with Friedman was that he couldn't even ask Zambito to promise probation and youth offender adjudication and that even to discuss the possibility with the judge would violate the terms of the plea offer.

"Never have I seen a scenario where the separation of powers has been so different, whereby the prosecutor decides what sentencing perimaters and what protocols the judge will follow," Housh said. 

Friedman rolled his eyes.

He said Housh was mischaracterizing their conversation and that an unconditional plea offer is just that -- there are no preconditions on sentencing. It would be up to the judge to decide on the day of sentencing what the appropriate sentence should be.

If the judge makes promises about sentencing at the time of the plea then it is no longer an unconditional plea, Friedman said.

"If the defendant wants the range of sentencing with a D felony instead of a B, then take the plea," Friedman said. "If not, then don't take the plea."

Zambito told Housh it is his practice to never promise anything less than the statutory limit. He wants to see the presentence report and hear the arguments of the attorneys before reaching a decision on an appropriate sentence.

"This court has been doing it this way for as long as I can remember," Zambito said. "It's not just me and it's not just Mr. Friedman."

The attorneys then met with Zambito in chambers and then Housh met with his client. When the court reconvened the case, Housh informed the court that his client was rejecting the plea offer and he asked for time, before setting a trial date, to file motions and have those motions heard. He has 30 days to file his motions. A hearing on the motions is set for 2 p.m., July 2.

May 3, 2019 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School.

Today, May 3, Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Principal Pat McGee released the third quarter High Honor, Honor, and Effort commendation rolls.

The students named to them are listed in The Batavian's Announcements section.

View them by clicking here or clicking on the Announcements section link at the top of the Home Page.

May 3, 2019 - 7:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.

Voters approved the Richmond Memorial Library budget, with a spending increase of $25,350, by an 82.3 percent margin, Director Bob Conrad announced.

Norm Argulsky, board president, won a second five-year term and Jessica Ecock-Rotondo was elected to her first five-year term.

The libraries total budget for 2019-20 is $1,521,067. 

Under the state's tax cap law, the library could have increased tax revenue by $60,000 but the trustees held the increase to $25,350.

The library tax rate will be .0288 cents per thousand or less than $3 for a home assessed at $100,000.

Full budget details can be found in the library's newsletter (pdf).

May 2, 2019 - 6:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, undocumented immigrants, news.

Press release:

As details emerge about the effort peddled by New York City politicians to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) blasted the proposal.

This measure comes on the heels of the Majority passing tuition assistance for illegal immigrants while initially opposing Hawley’s bill to do the same for Gold Star families.

“Instead of incentivizing legal immigration, Albany is once again creating a magnet for outright lawlessness,” Hawley said. “First they offered undocumented immigrants the right to free college tuition, now they offer the privilege of driving.

"This latest proposal jeopardizes the safety of our communities throughout the state. NYC lawmakers continue to place the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of law-abiding, middle-class New Yorkers. 

“We are a nation of laws, and these proposals only lead to more giveaways and services for illegal immigrants in our state. In addition, handing out these privileges blurs the lines between law-abiding citizens and those here illegally.

"Rest assured, I will continue to remain steadfast in my commitment to public safety and the rule of law especially in light of the avalanche of proposals endangering New York families in favor of realizing a political agenda."

May 2, 2019 - 6:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, 2019 legislative survey, news.

Press release:

As the final two months of the 2019 Legislative Session begin, Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer is asking for constituents’ opinions on issues affecting New York State and the Western New York community.

“From paper bag fees to driver licenses for undocumented immigrants and legalizing marijuana, your opinions on issues affecting New York State and the Western New York community are very important to me," Ranzenhofer said. "With the new majority in the Senate, there have been many new topics arising this year. With your help, I will continue to represent the views of my constituents."

Residents can complete the 2019 Legislative Questionnaire survey here that's on Senator Ranzenhofer’s website. The 13-question questionnaire covers a wide variety of legislative issues that have been in the forefront this Legislative Session.

May 2, 2019 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law day, GCC, Gary Craig, news, notify.

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While everybody has their own view of what justice looks like, Gary Craig, an investigative reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle recalled a 20-year-old story at Genesee Community College on Wednesday night that illustrated what justice looks like to him.

Craig was the keynote speaker for the Paralegal Honor Society at their second annual Law Day observance.

The theme of Law Day this year is "Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society" and but Craig said he wanted to talk about justice.

He recalled the case of Betty Tyson, who was wrongfully convicted in the 1973 of murder. 

A traveling businessman visiting Rochester had been killed and police investigators decided Tyson did it.

Tyson always maintained that her confusion had been beat out of her. Two witnesses, cross-dressing teens, testified against her and said they witnessed the murder. There was no physical evidence. In fact, tire tracks at the scene did not match Tyson's car.

The investigator was eventually convicted in another case of beating a suspect.

In 1996, a source pointed Craig to one of the young men who had testified against Tyson. Over several months, Craig won the man's trust and the man eventually admitted, for publication, that he lied on the stand.

During his investigation, Craig also found a sworn statement by a visiting nurse that hadn't previously been made public. The nurse had visited Tyson shortly after her arrest and reported that she was covered with cuts and bruises.

An attorney, Jon Getz, read Craig's stories and agreed to represent Tyson at no charge to the family (after, Craig said, several other attorneys had taken advantage of the Tyson family). He filed a motion to overturn the conviction based on new evidence.

During preparation for the case, the District Attorney's office found a previously undisclosed statement from the other teen witness taken immediately after the murder. That teen, who was dead by 1996, said initially, that he saw nothing. In 1973, that statement hadn't even been disclosed to the prosecutor. The teen, of course, later changed his testimony, and apparently because he had been intimidated, as a cross-dressing teen in the 1970s, by the investigator.

This was a high-profile, politically charged case, Craig said. The DA, the judge, all had ample reason to not share the new discovery with the defense. The judge could easily have ruled differently. 

He didn't.

Craig was in court when the judge handed down his decision.

"I get emotional talking because I have such respect for the system," Craig said. "In that moment, in that courtroom, I literally had chills because I felt that I was watching this pure definition of justice, unadulterated justice right in front of me, where everybody was seeking to do what they should do, what you would hope they would do all the time, and most people do.

"But there was this harmonic convergence, to use an old term, in that courtroom where I felt in my heart that, 'wow, you know I'm really beholding something. I'm watching something special right now.' "

Craig is author of the 2017 book "Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink's Heist."

May 2, 2019 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander.

Lisa Lynn Lyons, 42, of Alexander Road, Attica, is charged with two counts of misconduct in relation to petitions, a violation of NYS Election Law (ELN 17-122, #6). It is alleged that the defendant subscribed as a witness to a petition on April 1 for the designation of herself as the Republican candidate for the upcoming Town Clerk of Alexander position. It is alleged that she did not witness all signatures of the filed petition, thereby making a false statement or false affidavit. Lyons, who is the incumbent Town of Alexander Clerk and Tax Collector (her term expires Dec. 31), was issued an appearance ticket for the charges and is due in Batavia City Court at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. James Diehl.

Devin A. Hill, 18, of Rochester, is the alleged driver a pickup truck that was seen leaving the Batavia Cycle Center, located at 4988 E. Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia, hauling a trailer at 2:15 a.m. this morning (May 2). His passenger was Angel I. Carrasquillo, 43, of Rochester, who was later located walking in the area of Route 33 and Warner Road. The men were arrested after the Genesee County Sheriff's deputies were called to a suspicious condition at the cycle center. The pickup truck and trailer were stopped a short time later on Route 33 in the area of Coward Road after a call by deputies. Two go-karts and one three-wheeler were on the trailer being towed and they were determined to be stolen from Batavia Cycle Center. Both men are charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree burglary, and fourth degree criminal mischief. Following their arraignments in Town of Batavia Court, Hill was jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail and Carrasquillo was jailed without bail. The case is being investigated by GC Sheriff's Deputy Mullen, Deputy Andre, Sgt. Biaocco, Sgt. Sanfratello, Investigator Parker and Investigator Minuto. Also assisting were members of the Batavia PD, NYSP, and Environmental Conservation Officer Fay Fuerch.

Jacob John Sponaugle, 20, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with: introduction of prison contraband into prison in the frist degree; fourth-degree criminal facilitation; fifth-degree conspiracy; and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. It is alleged that Sponaugle conspired with others to smuggle contraband items into the jail. Following an investigation of contraband smuggling in the GC Jail on Jan. 19, Sponaugle was arrested on April 30. After arraignment in Batavia City Court, the defendant was jailed on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. He was due back in city court May 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan.

Mark Daniel Caufield, 25, of Fisher Road, Rochester, is charged with: criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree -- more than 25 grams; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree; operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs -- first offense; and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. At 4:07 p.m. on April 21, Caufield was arrested on Clinton Street Road in Batavia following a traffic offense complaint. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and is due there again on May 20. He was jailed on $2,500 cash or bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan, assisted by Deputy Travis DeMuth.

May 2, 2019 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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     Rashawn Gosier

A 40-year-old Batavia resident who was originally accused of attempted murder for stabbing somebody at a home on Ellicott Street accepted a plea agreement today that will likely mean a five-year prison term.

Rashawn L. Gosier, formerly of Shady Lane, attempted to assault, 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th.

Gosier was arrested in December after an incident at 337 Ellicott St. that led to a brief manhunt before Gosier was apprehended crawling out of the basement of that residence.

One person was transported to an area hospital that night but was apparently not seriously injured.

At the time of his arrest, Gosier was found in possession of 500 milligrams or more of cocaine.

Gosier is being held without bail pending his sentencing at 10:30 a.m., May 29.

Photo: File photo of Gosier's arrest.

May 2, 2019 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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A 23-year-old man who is accused of setting his girlfriend and her apartment on Maple Street in Batavia on fire last June is mentally incapable of assisting in his own defense, Judge Charles Zambito ruled this afternoon.

Plush Dozier will be remanded to the Commissioner of Mental Health for treatment and then be reevaluated, Zambito ruled.

Dozier is charged with arson, 1st, and attempted murder.

Three psychiatrists examined Dozier and two of them found him capable of understanding the charges against him and recognizing the roles of the judge and attorneys in a court proceeding, but all three said he suffers from schizoaffective disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and is prone to paranoia and hallucinations.

Zambito noted that all three doctors described his disorders as fluid. In other words, he can slip from lucid to psychotic at any time. And while his disorders can be managed with treatment and medication, there is no record, Zambito said, that he is receiving or has received proper and appropriate treatment.

"Dr. Mitchell described his condition as a moving target," Zambito said. "All three doctors who evaluated him said he could snap at any time. This is consistent with the representations by his attorneys that at times he was lucid and could cope and at times he was not."

He added later, "All of them (the doctors) indicated or represented concerns that if not treated, his symptoms could very well become active and interfere with his ability to effectively assist in his own defense."

Zambito also noted that Dozier's disorders go back to his childhood.

"There is no indication that he is feigning anything or that he is a malingerer," Zambito said.

Dozier is currently represented by Thomas Burns, his third attorney. He is being held in Attica, and reportedly in solitary confinement despite his lack of a conviction in this case, because the Genesee County Jail and its staff is ill-equipped to deal with a person with Dozier's multiple disorders.

He was accused of menacing a police officer after an alleged violent incident while in local custody two months after his arrest.

At the start of today's hearing, Burns said he had met with his client and his client had asked to speak with the judge about his treatment, or alleged mistreatment, in Attica. He has raised this issue before and, as Burns noted, has been told by Zambito that the county court judge lacks jurisdiction to change where he is being held or affect the status of his custody. Still, Burns said, Dozier wished to raise the issue.

Zambito suggested that the court hear the testimony of Dr. Virginia Wohltmann, who examined Dozier in December, and that the court then take a recess so Burns could discuss the specifics of the situation at Attica with his client.

After Zambito heard two other cases, Burns and Dozier returned to the courtroom and Burns said his client had decided against putting anything on the record today about his treatment in Attica. At that point Zambito informed Burns and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman that he had finished reviewing the witnesses' testimony in the hearing (which was held in parts over different days) and was ready to render a decision.

Zambito then reviewed the testimony of the three doctors before stating that he found that while Dozier might be able to understand the proceedings, his fluid mental state would make it difficult for him to assist in his defense.

"This is not the end of the matter," Zambito said. "This is not the final verdict but based on the credible evidence presented in this court, I find the defendant at this time is an incapacitated person and remand him to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health for care and treatment for up to one year and then he will be reevaluated and brought back."

May 2, 2019 - 3:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, news.

Above, honoree Henry Valerych, front center holding "Arc Spirit Award," and his beloved family of "advocates."

Submitted photos and press release:

Arc of Genesee Orleans Board of Directors paid tribute to an agency founding father at Wednesday’s Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet held at Park Place at Batavia Downs.

Henry Valerych was presented the "Arc Spirit Award," in a touching ceremony that included a military color guard by local veterans and music from St. Joe’s of Batavia Brass Ensemble.

“We are honored to present the Arc Spirit Award to a man whose life is a reflection of his dedication to his family, the community and his country,” said Arc Board Member Kevin Fisher.

Valerych is a veteran of the Navy where he served four years and then fulfilled a lifetime of service in the Army, retiring as a Master Sergeant.

“As a Genesee County agency founding father, Henry and his wife, Anne, helped create and grow our agency over the last half century,” Fisher said.

Earlier this year, Henry stepped down from his leadership position with the Arc Board and has been granted Board Member Emeritus status.

In the early years, Henry Valerych wore many hats. When it came to public relations, he helped spread the word by typing a newsletter in his basement and delivering it door-to-door. He also served as Membership Chairman since the agency was founded and has helped raise more than half a million dollars to help grow our agency. 

The Valerych family has spent more than 50 years advocating for their loved ones, and the sons, daughters, sisters and brothers of hundreds of local families. In an interview on the history of our organization, Valerych was asked “What can the community do to help people with disabilities?” His answer was simple…“treat people with disabilities, like you treat everyone else.”

Business Partner of the Year honors went to Intergrow Greenhouses of Albion. Director of Community Employment Services, Melissa Cotter told banquet attendeesthat Intergrow’s David Purvee and his team exemplify our mission to “Be a partner for people with disabilities, and a gateway to opportunities for each person to experience their desired potential.”

“The individuals we serve who work at Intergrow have been given the opportunity to earn money, work in an integrated setting, make new friends, and be a part of a growing compan,” Cotter said. "Our job coaches report that all the employees at Intergrow make sure to make the people we serve who work there feel welcome and a part of their team.”

Friends of Arc Awards were presented to:

  • Child Welfare Association of Orleans County for being an active supporter of the Arc of Genesee Orleans and Camp Rainbow for more than 20 years;
  • United Way of Genesee County for its ongoing commitment to raise and designate funds in support of Arc programs and services and for the volunteer service opportunities for the individuals Arc serves through the United Way backpack program;
  • Batavia Community Garden for welcoming Arc’s Batavia based Community Pre-vocational program, cultivating new interests, friendships and community connections.

Persons of the Year Awards were given to: Joshua Tiede, Self-Advocate; Katie Acomb, Supported Employment; Nick Fuller, Pre-Vocational; Alice Torres, Residential; Francine Caltagirone, Day Habilitation; and Kurt Hoffman, Community Services.

Arc Executive Director Donna Saskowski presented Staff Recognition Awards to: Maryja Andrews, bus driver; Paula Knaak Sr., production manager/community PV; Carole Mitchell, senior QA technician; Kristie Rada, assistant director of Medical Services; Karen Stymus, residential administrative specialist; Kimberly Travale, coordinator of Day Hab Services; and Bethany Willis Sr., support broker.

During the annual meeting portion of the event, the following were elected officers for the coming year: President, Debrah Fischer; Vice President, Jane Scott; Treasurer, Marlene Hill and Secretary, Deborah Riggi.

Board members receiving three-year terms were Debrah Fischer, Kevin Fisher, Susan Maha and Michelle Mahler, and the following were elected to Arc’s nominations committee: Kevin Fisher, Carolyn Laney, Susan Maha, Michelle Mahler, Jim McMullen and Carl Tuohey.

The Master of Ceremonies for the Arc Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony was Paul Figlow.

"Arc Spirit Award" recipient Henry Valerych at the podium.

"Arc Spirit Award" recipient Henry Valerych shaking hands with members of the color guard.

Arc Persons of the Year: Francine and Alice in front; Josh, Katie and Nick in back.

Arc Staff Recognition Award recipients: Bethany Willis, Karen Stymus, Carole Mitchell, Kim Travale, Paula Knaak and Maryja Andrews. Award recipient Kristie Rada was unable to attend.

Eileen Corcoran, far left, of Arc of Genesee Orleans, presented the Batavia Community Garden with a Friend of Arc Award. Accepting were: RaeAnn Engler, Leslie Moma, Bob Gray, Jocelyn Sikorski and Debra Rosenbeck.

Arc Board President Deb Fischer, left, presented a Friend of Arc Award to Genesee County United Way’s Tammy Hathaway and Melissa Stein.

May 2, 2019 - 2:43pm

Press releaase:

The Mancuso Business Development Group is happy to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Harvester Center with the inaugural Harvester Crawl, today from 5 to 6:30 p.m., May 2. It will feature a poker run!

Food and beverages provided.

The event will begin promptly at 5 o'clock, with entry to the event through Sarah’s Studio, 56 Harvester Ave.

Please RSVP to [email protected]

Featured sites include:

  • Old Bear Recording Studio featuring "Brothers McClurg" Christian Rock Band
  • Rashaad Santiago, SFX Artist. Winner of Season 6 of the Syfy Channel's “FACE OFF" Reality Show
  • John Canale Drum Studio -- offers variety of drum lessons *Sarah’s Studio – craft beer and wine purveyor
  • Smart Design Architecture -- A full-service Architecture & Design Firm
  • Motoclectic -- Magazine printing headquarters for a new Free Motorcycle Magazine
  • Co-work space at Mancuso Management Group
May 2, 2019 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, youth court.

Press release:

Calling all eighth- to 11th-graders in Genesee County and any other individuals interested in Youth Court! On May 7, Genesee County Youth Court will be celebrating Law Day from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Old Courthouse (7 Main St., Batavia) to show the community how our court operates.

Applications and brochures will be available along with program staff to answer questions for anyone who is interested in joining.

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement.

Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. There are three youth judges who listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition. The goal of Youth Court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement, group decision making; develop their public speaking skills; participate in a great leadership opportunity; and learn and participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense, and bailiff.

Eighth- to 11th-graders who are interested can attend Law Day on May 7th or go online to access an application form on the Genesee County website here.

Print the application, fill it out and:

  • Mail it to: Chelsea Elliott, Youth Court, Genesee County Youth Bureau, 2 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020
  • Or scan it electronically and email it to:  [email protected]us
  • Or fax it to: (585) 345-3063

Applications are due by July 26. Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August with the training to begin in October.

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Elliott at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

May 1, 2019 - 6:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, accidents.

A second ambulance is called to the scene of a car vs. pole accident at 3962 Batavia Elba Townline Road. Unknown injuries. Town of Batavia Fire Department is on scene.

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