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September 13, 2019 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Michael S. Colombo, 39, of Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault on an officer/firefighter/EMT. On Sept. 1, Mercy medics were transporting Colombo to Wyoming County Community Hospital when he allegedly became combative in the ambulance. He is accused of punching both EMTs in the face with a closed fist, causing injuries. He was later taken into custody and allegedly found to have an active arrest warrant for two counts of second-degree assault by the Batavia Police Department and the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office. Colombo is accused of head butting a Batavia Police officer during the exchange of custody, but he did not injure the officer. Colombo was arraigned in Warsaw Town Court and put in Wyoming County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. He is due to return to Warsaw Town Court on Sept. 16. The case was handled by WC Deputy Nowack and Deputy Houghton.

Kishonti D. Williams, 27, of Batavia, was arrested at 8:58 a.m. on Sept. 9 following a traffic stop by Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies on Route 246 in the Town of Perry. Deputies stopped him after allegedly observing him attempting to pass another vehicle on the right side as it was heading northbound. He is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree. It is also alleged that he has 10 active suspensions on his driver's license. He is due in Town of Perry Court on Oct. 16. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel J. Kemp.

Sophie McGowan Cegielski, 18, of Pine Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. At 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 12, Cegielski was arrested at Oakfield-Alabama Central School on Lewiston Road in Oakfield. She is accused of stealing property out of another student's bag during after-school hours on Sept. 11. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Oakfield Town Court on Sept. 23. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

September 12, 2019 - 6:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

From Alecia Kaus/Video News Service:

Malik I. Ayala, 27, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was to be sentenced on this afternoon (Sept. 12) in Genesee County Court, but he did not show up.

Public defender Jerry Ader told the court he could not appear today because he was admitted to an inpatient treatment program called Reflections at the Eastern Niagara Health System in Lockport.

The program is a chemical dependency treatment program available to adults ages 18 and over to help them recover from dependence on alcohol or other drugs. The program provides short-term treatment services.

Ader asked Judge Charles Zambito for an adjournment.

Ayala will remain at the inpatient facility until Oct. 2nd.

Ayala has already accepted a plea deal and pled guilty to a charge of third-degree burglary, a class D felony.

He was picked up on Nov. 15 in connection with a string of burglaries in Genesee County after Investigator Chris Parker with the Sheriff’s Office identified a vehicle that was wanted in connection with the burglaries.

The vehicle was being operated by TeeSean T. Ayala, 20, Malik’s brother.

After the vehicle turned into a driveway at 317 Washington Ave., a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol was thrown from the vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office says TeeSean Ayala was in possession of a stolen handgun that had a defaced serial number in the vehicle during the traffic stop.

TeeSean Ayala, 20, of Batavia, was sentenced in Genesee County Court to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision last month. TeeSean pled guilty to one count of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, which satisfies seven other residential burglary charges dating back to 2015.

Due to Malik I. Ayala’s criminal history, First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini opposed the adjournment today.

“We feel he is a second felony offender, prison is mandatory, we are opposed to this adjournment,” Cianfrini said.

Judge Zambito explained that there was no commitment on sentencing and that Ayala was not recommended for the inpatient treatment.

“The fact (is) that he is in treatment; we will adjourn until afterwards,” Zambito said.

The new sentencing schedule is 9:15 a.m. Oct. 3.

September 12, 2019 - 12:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Basom.

Darel D. Tingue, 29, of Main Street, Arcade, is charged with: trespass; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Tingue was arrested on Sept. 10 after allegedly causing a disturbance at UMMC. He was asked to leave and not return, but he allegedly did return and was arrested at 10:01 a.m. for trespass. He was found at the time to allegedly possess a controlled substance and cocaine. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Darryle Streeter.

David Allen Bogue, 52, of Maple Street Road, Basom, is charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to keep right. Bogue was arrested at 2:58 p.m. Sept. 10 on Lewiston Road in Batavia after the investigation of a one-car accident. He was issued an appearance ticket for Oct. 24 in Batavia Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Jason R. Anderson, 38, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- with a previous conviction. Anderson was arrested following a Probation residence check at 12:09 p.m. Sept. 7 at his apartment on South Main Street. He was issued an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia City Court Sept. 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens.

Nicole Lee Woodruff, 39, of South Academy Street, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. At 5:54 p.m. on Sept. 11, Woodruff was arrested for allegedly stealing property from Sally Beauty Supply in the Towne Center at Batavia on Veterans Memorial Drive. She was released on an appearance ticket for Sept. 26 in Batavia Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Keriann Barbaritz, 40, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. At 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 10, Batavia police were requested for a shoplifting incident at a business on West Main Street in the city. Barbaritz was arrested, processed at the scene and released on an appearance ticket. She is due in Batavia City Court on Sept. 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Rae Charlene Cook, 30, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested as a result of an arrest warrant issued by Batavia City Court for this alleged incident which occurred at 3:57 p.m. Aug. 26 on East Main Street in Batavia. She was arraigned in city court on Sept. 11 and jailed in lieu of $250. She was due back in court this morning (Sept. 12). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

September 10, 2019 - 7:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

A 29-year-old resident of Holley and an alleged accomplice are accused of stealing $75 worth of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from the Top's Market in Batavia this morning.

Kay E. Dilker is charged with petit larceny. Also arrested was 37-year-old Joseph Turner (charges not specified in the press release and no address provided).

Batavia PD was dispatched at 11:05 a.m. for a report of a shoplifting in progress at Tops.

When patrols arrived, Dilker and Turner reportedly tried to evade police by jumping over a fence and into the yard of a residence on Redfield Parkway.

Once apprehended, the duo was allegedly found in possession of a large bag of peanut butter cups.

Dilker was jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond. Turner was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

The case was investigated by officers Adam Tucker and Jason Davis.

September 10, 2019 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
wesleythigpenmug2019.jpg
    Wesley Thigpen

A 38-year-old Batavia man who is facing a sexual abuse charge along with two criminal-contempt-related burglary charges has a pending plea offer that would cap his prison term at four years, but Judge Charles Zambito would not bring his bail down as much he requested while he considers the plea offer.

Wesley, who was most recently a resident of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with: sexual abuse in the first degree, stemming from an incident reported in May; two counts of burglary, 2nd; a count of criminal contempt, 2nd; and a count of criminal contempt 1st; as well as criminal mischief, 4th.

Under terms of the plea offer outlined by First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini, Thigpen would agree to a guilty plea on the sexual abuse charge and a criminal contempt charge. He would also admit to being a second-time felony offender.

Besides a shorter prison term, all of the other charges against him, including pending charges in Batavia and Oakfield, would be dropped.

He was in court today to waive a grand jury presentation on the burglary charges because if he was indicted, the mandatory prison terms would probit the district attorney's office from offering a four-year term cap. Also, the judge would be prohibited from a sentence, upon conviction, of anything less than five to 15 years in prison.

Cianfrini said her office was willing to give Thigpen more time to consider the plea offer but in order to get that time, he needed today to waive a grand jury presentation, which he did.

Under the terms of the deal, Thigpen would be able to make the guilty plea on an Alford basis, which means he pleads guilty without admitting to the facts of the underlying charges. 

When Thigpen came into court, he was being held in jail on $15,000 bail, or $30,000 bond.

His attorney, Mark Lewis, said despite his client's criminal history, he's never failed to show up for a court appearance and turned himself in on these pending charges so bail should be reduced to $2,500, the amount it was on his initial arrest on the sexual abuse charge.

Cianfrini objected to reducing the bail because of the significant prison time associated with the burglary charges, as well as the allegation of new crimes while out on bail previously, and the allegations of criminal contempt indicated, she said, that Thigpen has a problem following court orders.

"He is a considerable flight risk," Cianfrini said.

It's unusual for criminal defendants to speak on their own behalf at bail review hearings, but Thigpen asked to speak and Zambito permitted him to address the court.

"I feel the bail amount is excessive," Thigpen said.

Thigpen said he has maintained his innocence since his arrest and is considering the plea deal only because it was laid out for him in considerable detail what the consequences are if he were convicted by a jury of the all the charges against him. 

"I have no reason to run," Thigpen said. "I've shown up in court over and over again. I've shown I'll show up. I'm not a flight risk."

Zambito expressed concern that when Thigpen was out on bail on the sex abuse charges he allegedly committed other crimes, but that he did deserve some consideration for his court appearance record. He set bail at $10,000 or $20,000 bond.

September 9, 2019 - 1:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield, Le Roy, Pavilion, Darien, corfu.

Rachel M. Grace, 30, of 638 N. Buckeye St., Wooster, Ohio, and Jeremy R. Triesler, 39, of 9318 Lincoln Way East, Orrville, Ohio, were arrested at Darien Lake Theme Park on Alleghany Road in the Town of Darien on Sept. 7. At 7:20 p.m. deputies responded to a criminal mischief complaint. It is alleged that Grace became angry and threw a bucket of water at a food service employee, causing $594.15 in damages. Triesler allegedly became belligerent and used obscene language, which caused a disturbance at the theme park; then he allegedly shoved a security officer when they attempted to intervene. Grace is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Triesler is charged with second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Cummins, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

James Darrell Hooten Sr., 30, of Sunset Parkway, Oakfield, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct. At 5:35 p.m. on Sept. 7, while attempting to arrest another subject on a warrant on Sunset Parkway in Oakfield, Hooten Sr. was arrested. He allegedly attempted to prevent the arrest of another person. He is also accused of threatening Genesee County Sheriff's deputies and Probation officers and using obscene language in public. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Oakfield Town Court on Oct. 7. The case was handled by Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Nancy M. Storms, 46, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is charged with second-degree harassment -- physical contact. At 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 2, Storms was arrested on North Street in Batavia for allegedly pushing another person during an altercation. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Sept. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Lakeisha A. Gibson, 33, of Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. On Sept. 3 at 6:42 p.m. Batavia police responded to Lewis Place for a complaint of criminal mischief. Gibson was arrested for allegedly damaging a vehicle window. She was issued an appearance ticket for Sept. 17 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Brian E. Freeman, 46, of Genesee Park, Monroe, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; aggravated DWI -- a BAC of .18 or more; and speeding. Freeman was arrested at 12:37 a.m. on Aug. 31 on Oak Street in Batavia following a traffic stop. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Sept. 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Joshua M. Gaudioso, 30, of Albion Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. At 6:42 on Aug. 15, Gaudioso was arrested following a larceny complaint in the Village of Oakfield. He allegedly stole a NYS license plate that did not belong to him. Following his arrest, he was taken to jail then released on an appearance ticket. He is due in Corfu Village Court on Oct. 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

Ebony S. Sanders, 41, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of marijuana in the second degree and speeding. On Sept. 3 at 10:30 a.m., Sanders was stopped on Interstate 490 in the Town of Le Roy following the alleged observation of a vehicle/traffic violation. Upon conducting a roadside interview with Sanders, the odor of burnt marijuana was allegedly detected. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Oct. 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Chad Minuto.

September 7, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, Le Roy, crime, news, notify.

Lorie A. Litolff is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. It is alleged that on March 30 in the Town of Le Roy that Litolff drove a 2003 Chevrolet on Route 19 (Lake Street) while intoxicated. In count two, she is accused of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two that she drove the Chevrolet when an incident occurred that resulted in serious physical injury to a person and she knew this but failed to stop. And when no police officer was in the vicinity when the injury was sustained, she failed to report it as soon as she was able to.

Ronald G. Besemer-McLean is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, a CLass E felony. It is alleged that on March 2 in the Town of Le Roy that Besemer-McClean drove a 2006 Acura on I-490 when he knew his driver's license was suspended or revoked and while he was under to influence of alcohol or a drug. In count two, he is accused of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. In count three, he is accused of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count three that he defied police orders and placed a plastic baggie containing an unknown substance in his mouth and swallowed it. In count four, Besemer-McClean is accused of resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of having been convicted of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Nov. 7, 2012 in City of Rochester Court. The conviction forms the basis for the suspension or revocation referred to in count one of the current indictment.

September 6, 2019 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.
peartmugsept2019.jpg
       Edwin Peart Jr.

A suspected drug dealer from Rochester arrested on Pearl Street in Batavia this week will have a chance to make his $10,000 cash bail (or $20,000 bond) with the help of friends and family, the public defender told Judge Charles Zambito at a bail review hearing this afternoon.

Edwin Peart Jr., 36, of Brookridge Drive, Rochester, was initially held on no bail following his initial arraignment in Batavia City Court because of, by law, his prior felony convictions. Only a county court judge can set bail for a defendant facing a felony charge with prior felony convictions.

Public Defender Jerry Ader argued that soon changes in state law would mean his client would automatically be released without bail since he was held on a nonviolent felony, and given that, he suggested Zambito release Peart under the supervision of Genesee Justice. 

Ader said bail should be set at a reasonable amount -- he asked for that to be $10,000 -- because his client is accused of a nonviolent felony, and if for some undisclosed reason Peart is unable to work and earn money, bail should not be untenable.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell cited Peart's lengthy criminal record and previous failures to appear in court and a parole violation as well as a fleeing police charge as a reason to set a higher bail. He asked for $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond.

Bail is intended to ensure a defendent's future court appearance not as a punishment.

Zambito set bail at Ader's requested amount of $10,000 cash (or $20,000 bond).

Peart's criminal record goes back to 2002 when he was convicted of criminal contempt. In 2004, he was arrested from criminal possession of a weapon. In 2015, ID theft, and he had warrants out for his arrest in 2017 (though Ader said Peart turned himself in and the warrants were revoked). In 2017 he was also accused of fleeing a police officer.

September 6, 2019 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lehigh Valley Derailment Site, tce, environment, Le Roy, news, notify.

img_5762lehighsite.jpg

Federal and state environmental agencies are continuing to monitor and work on cleanup of contaminants at the Lehigh Train Derailment Superfund Site off of Gulf Road, according to information obtained by The Batavian.

The elimination of TCE contaminants from groundwater in the four-mile-long plume area, which stretches from Gulf Road to four miles east and southeast of the derailment site, is not likely to occur in most of our lifetimes.

The derailment site cleanup was largely forgotten until 2011 when it became the focus of speculation during the Le Roy tic issue when about a dozen high school girls developed spontaneous tic-like movements.

Bob Bowcock, an environmental scientist brought to Le Roy by environmental activist and lawyer Erin Brockovich, determined then that there was no TCE reaching the school property, and it was unlikely the spill site and the tics were linked (the girls were diagnosed with conversion disorder and no scientific evidence ever emerged to contradict that diagnosis).

Information about the spill site made public by the Environmental Protection Agency since then confirm Bowcock's analysis.

In 2017, the Lehigh Valley Railroad corporation, under the direction of the EPA and the DEC, completed a vapor-extraction program at the spill site.

Michael Basile, regional spokesman for the EPA, said the vapor removal effort, which lasted for two years, did remove some TCE, but vapor extraction cannot remove all of it.

"It has been determined that there is TCE embedded in the rock/gravel at the site that cannot be removed via the SVE system," Basile wrote in an email. "Consultants for the responsible party have recently completed a study that has looked at several remedial measures that may be feasible to address the contamination at the site. It is under review by EPA and New York State. EPA will determine the appropriate next steps."

TCE, or trichloroethylene, according to the EPA website, is "a volatile organic compound." It is a clear, colorless liquid that has a sweet odor and evaporates quickly. TCE is a toxic chemical with human health concerns."

After the Lehigh Valley derailment in 1970, a plume of TCE quickly spread to the east and southeast for about four miles, in a human-foot-shaped pattern and groundwater forces around it have kept it contained to that area. It has become embedded in the bedrock of the plume area making it impossible to completely remove.

Eventually, it will all evaporate as hydraulic action brings more and more of it to the surface, but that process will take five decades or more.

"Considering the railroad derailment occurred in December 1970 -- where it was estimated that 30,000 to 35,000 gallons of TCE were spilled onto the ground contaminating the soil and groundwater -- even with the most sophisticated hydrogeological equipment it is very difficult to estimate how much contamination still exists in the area," Basile said.

The EPA says current vapor levels in the plume area are generally below the levels of human health concerns.

Basile said 13 residences in the plume area have been affected by the spill and have vapor-mitigation systems installed in their homes and the EPA continues to monitor these properties.

The public water supply has been protected from the plume, according to the EPA.

"With the extension of the public water supply to the affected homes and businesses, the installation of the soil-vapor mitigation systems on the affected homes, plus continual monitoring of the groundwater, public health and safety concerns continue to be achieved," Basile said.

Top photo: Vapor removal pipes still in place at the derailment site. The vapor removal effort has ended but the pipes remain in place while the EPA and DEC evaluate what steps to take next.

lehighbarrelsfile.jpg

FIle photo: What the site looked like in 2012. The barrels were removed within weeks after this photo was taken, which was during Bob Bowcock's inspection of the site.

Below is a video produced by the EPA in 2017 about the spill cleanup. It goes into a great amount of detail about the hydraulics of the spill, its history, and how it's being monitored and remediated.

September 6, 2019 - 12:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, elba, notify.

From the New York State Police:

On Sept. 5, State Police arrested Ronald L. Rowcliffe, 55, of Elba, after investigating several reports of sexual abuse.

Rowcliffe, a Boy Scout leader, reportedly had inappropriate sexual contact with several victims ranging in age from 12 to 14 years, who were attending the Massawepie Boy Scout Camp in the Town of Piercefield during the summers of 2017-2019.

Rowcliffe was charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, and one count each of forcible touching and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

He was arraigned in the Town of Piercefield Court, and put in St. Lawrence County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail, or $20,000 bail bond.

This remains under investigation, and further charges are pending.

If anyone has information regarding this investigation or believes they may be a victim, they are asked to contact the New York State Police at (518) 873-2750.

September 6, 2019 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, news, notify.
smithmug2019.jpg
     Jahmiere Smith

A traffic stop by Rochester police led to the arrest Wednesday of a teenager wanted in Genesee County for allegedly dealing drugs in Bergen.

Jahmiere D. Smith, 18, of Rochester, was the subject of an active arrest warrant out of Genesee County stemming from two alleged drug deals between Smith and an agent of the Local Drug Task Force.

Smith is suspected of dealing in heroin in Bergen and accused of selling heroin to an undercover agent on two separate occasions.

He is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Smith was arraigned in Genesee County Court and ordered held on bail of $1,500.

The Task Force was assisted in the investigation by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies and the District Attorney's Office.

September 5, 2019 - 11:28am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Patricia A. Gibson, 29, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental justice. She was arrested on Aug. 30 after an incident at 8:46 p.m. on Watson Street in Batavia. It is alleged she was observed in a physical fight with another individual. Gibson allegedly ignored officers' commands, but was eventually taken into custody without further incident. She was issued an appearance ticket for Sept. 10 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

Wesley Thigpen, 38, no address provided, is charged with: second-degree burglary; criminal contempt of court in the second degree; and fourth-degree criminal mischief. On Sept. 3, Thigpen turned himself in to the Batavia Police Department on these charges. He is accused of violating an order of protection by entering the protected party's residence and preventing them from calling 9-1-1. He was due is Batavia City Court on Sept. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Jacob L. Hernandez, 25, of McKinley Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief. Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Hernandez on Sept. 3 on an active warrant out of Batavia City Court. The warrant stemmed from an incident at 5:15 a.m. on July 4 on McKinley Avenue. He was arraigned in city court then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due to return to city court on Sept. 19. Officer Post was assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

September 4, 2019 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Veterans Services Office, news, notify.

billjoyceimg_5765.jpg

The other day, William Joyce, director of Veterans Services in Genesee County, assisted yet another veteran from outside the county with a Veterans Administration issue.

The veteran had been to the VA in Erie County and complained to a fellow veteran about his difficulties and that veteran told him, "Go see Bill Joyce in Genesee County."

The word is getting around, Joyce told members of the Genesee County Legislature, that Joyce does something other Veterans Services officers in other counties don't do: His job.

"In some counties the VSO doesn't want to do his job," Joyce said. "They just want to sit in the director's chair. They don't want to run a full-service office."

In the past year, the Genesee County office had 5,917 contacts with veterans and provided 7,324 acts of client service. While most of the veterans who come through the office are from Genesee County, a growing percentage are from neighboring counties.

"I don't care where you come from," Joyce said. "I'm here to serve veterans and their families."

A trained and experienced VSO is an asset to veterans dealing with an overburdened and bureaucratic Veterans Administration and other government agencies. 

In his department review, Joyce reported that his office has sent 1,540 original compensation/pension claims to the regional office for adjudication. The Buffalo Regional Office currently has a backlog of 2,750 claims and there are more than 650,000 nationally.

Of those, 225,000 have been pending for more than 125 days. The average case in Buffalo has been pending for 135 days. The regional goal is to reduce that wait time to 125 days.

Since May, Joyce reported, 75 cases have been resolved that had been pending for more than a year.

Locally, the office also helped 151 Genesee County veterans apply for property tax exemptions.

The office also works with the Department of Social Services on benefits eligibility for veterans and this can sometimes help reduce the county cost for Medicaid benefits. He said of 92 referrals, 63 veterans or widows qualified for federal VA benefits.

A mentorship program is also helping veterans find jobs and stay out of trouble. Since 2009, 43 veterans have gone through the county's Veterans Treatment Court with no repeat offenders.

The local office is also assisting veterans and their families with interment arrangements at the new veterans cemetery in Pembroke. Construction of the cemetery begins this fall.

With all this activity, legislators asked Joyce how he keeps up. He said if given the choice between adding another VSO or keeping his secretary, he would keep his secretary. She does half the work, he said, and when she's gone, it falls on him to answer phones, make appointments, and complete some paperwork.  

"I can't do without a secretary," he said, while acknowledging county funds are tight so he doesn't expect any additional help.

September 3, 2019 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy.

Andrew J. Rock, 33, of Judge Road, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree harassment; second-degree strangulation; petit larceny; and second-degree criminal trespass. Rock was arrested following an alleged domestic incident at 3 a.m. on Sept. 2 at an apartment on North Spruce Street in the City of Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He is due in city court at 1:30 p.m today (Sept. 3). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Cowen Mitchell.

Justin R. Swift, 40, of Le Roy, was arrested Aug. 29 following a traffic stop by Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies on Route 20A in the Town of Orangeville. Swift was pulled over at 11:38 p.m. for allegedly speeding and failing to signal for lane changes. Swift also allegedly continued driving for a distance when police were attempting to pull him over. Swift was found to have an open container of alcohol in his vehicle along with a 7-year-old child. Swift allegedly failed roadside standardized field sobriety testing and was taken into custody. The child was transported to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where she was later released to a family member. Swift was also taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where he refused to submit to a breath chemical test. Swift was charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated – child in vehicle; DWI; refusal of pre-screen breath test; consumption of alcohol in motor vehicle; failure to yield right of way to emergency vehicle; no signal; and speed over 55 mph. He was arraigned in the Town of Warsaw Court where his license was suspended pending a DMV Refusal Hearing. He was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond, and he is scheduled to return to the Town of Orangeville Court on Oct. 2 for further proceedings. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Bliss, assisted by Sgt. Colin Reagan.

Minnie M. Henry, 31, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. She was located and arrested after an investigation into an alleged domestic incident at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 22 at an apartment on Hutchins Street in Batavia. She is due in Batavia City Court this afternoon (Sept. 3). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Jenna L. Josephite, 30, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested after a larceny investigation at a local business. She was transported to Genesee County Jail for processing and given an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Tonya M. Weber-Jackson, 35, of Highland Park, Batavia, was arrested on two warrants out of Batavia City Court. On Sept. 1 she was delivered by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies to the Batavia Police Department headquarters on the warrants. She was arraigned at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 2 and jailed on $1,000 bail. She is due back in court on Sept. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Patrick B. Shores, 32, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with failure to appear. Shores turned himself in at Batavia Police Department headquarters at 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 25 on an arrest warrant out of Batavia City Court. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in city court on Sept. 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

September 2, 2019 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Stafford, batavia, Le Roy, Darien, pembroke.

Ryan Matthew Sharlow, 49, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault, second-degree menacing with a weapon, and fourth-degree criminal mischief. At 10:42 p.m. on Aug. 28, deputies were dispatched to a residence on School Road in the Town of Stafford for a reported disturbance. Sharlow allegedly struck a victim with a blunt object, which caused physical injury, and he allegedly threatened another victim. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. He is due in Stafford Town Court at 1 p.m. on Sept. 10. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Shannon Gene Draper, 45, of Transit Road, Pavilion, was arrested after allegedly damaging another person's property following a domestic incident at 10 p.m. on Aug. 29 on Transit Road, Pavilion. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and released on his own recognizance after temporary orders of protection were issued for the victims. He is due in Pavilion Town Court at 3 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 3). The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jordan Alejandro, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Michael E. George, 56, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child under age 16 as passenger -- with a prior conviction within 10 years; DWI with previous convictions; and moving from lane unsafely. At 12:03 a.m. on Sept. 1, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore conducted a traffic stop on Route 63 in the Town of Batavia. George was subsequently arrested, arraigned in Town of Batavia Court, and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash or $2,500 bond. He is due in Town of Batavia Court at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23.

Jordan Lee Hull, 25, of Alpine Lane, Caledonia, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI; moving from lane unsafely; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle; and unsafe tire. He was arrested following the investigation of a motor-vehicle accident at 10:03 p.m. Aug. 31 on Circular Hill Road in Le Roy. He is due in Town of Le Roy Court on Sept. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Jenna Lynn Josephite, 30, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree and promoting prison contraband in the second degree. At 8:35 a.m. on Aug. 29, Genesee County correctional officers were processing Josephite after her arrest in the City of Batavia for petit larceny. It is alleged that she knowingly and unlawfully entered the Genesee County Jail while in possession of contraband -- drug paraphernalia. This was a metal smoking pipe commonly used for narcotics. She is currently under supervision of NYS Parole for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Parole was notified and a parole detainer was issued. Josephite was transported to Batavia City Court and arraigned, then jailed in lieu of $500 cash bail or $1,000 bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Correctional Officer D. Stone and Correctional Officer Philip Mangefrida.

Jeremiah D. Welchruth, 18, of Lockport, is charged with: operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more; driving while intoxicated; and speeding. At 11:08 p.m. on Aug. 29, Welchruth was arrested on Main Road in Pembroke following a traffic stop. He was issued an appearance ticket for Sept. 19 in Pembroke Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

Christine Marie Hulme, 53, of Kensington Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; DWI -- operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more; driving left of pavement markings; and operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile phone. Hulme was arrested at 10:18 p.m. on Aug. 30 on Sumner Road in Darien. She was issued an appearance ticket for Sept. 17 in Darien Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor.

Bobby James Mulder, 40, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more, and driving while intoxicated. He was arrested at 3:48 a.m. on Aug. 31 on Lake Street in Le Roy after an investigation into a complaint of an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Mulder was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Sept. 12. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

September 1, 2019 - 11:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, accident, news, notify.

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A 28-year-old driver from Rochester is suspected of running a stop sign on eastbound Lockport Road where it intersects with Route 98 in Elba, causing a two-car crash that led to serious injuries for his female passenger.

Nikitha Ganeshmurthy, 27, of Edison, N.J., is listed in stable condition at Strong Memorial Hospital after being transported there by Mercy Flight following the crash, reported at 6:17 p.m.

Tickets were issued to the driver of the car she was in, a 2017 Subaru WRX, Ashwin Mallikarjunaswamy, 28. Mallikarjunaswamy was cited for alleged failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to yield right of way.  

The couple was in route to Niagara Falls, according to Sgt. Andrew Hale.

The intersection is a frequent accident location with westbound cars often missing the stop sign at Lockport Road.

"It tends to be people from out of town who tend to miss that stop," Hale said.

Mallikarjunaswamy's sedan was struck on the passenger side by a 2009 Chevy Silverado driven by Edward M. Buczek, 65, of Elba.

Buczek suffered minor injuries and self-extricated from his pickup truck.

Investigators do not believe either driver was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

Mallikarjunaswamy suffered minor injuries as well. 

The crash investigation is being handled by Sgt. Andrew Hale, Sgt. James Deihl, Investigator Christopher Parker, Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Deputy Mathew Clor, Deputy Erik Andre, Deputy Brock Cummins, and Deputy Jordan Alejandro. Assisting at the scene were volunteers from the Elba Fire Department, Barre Fire Department and personnel from Mercy EMS and National Grid.

(Initial Post)

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August 28, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, news, notify.

A man who suffered serious burns Monday night after a kitchen fire broke out in Apartment #44 at Walden Estates on Bank Street in Batavia is now listed as being in satisfactory condition at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Batavia Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano has not officially released his name.

Firefighters were on scene in under four minutes from the time they were dispatched at 9:13 p.m. Aug. 26.

They encountered heavy smoke and fire conditions on the first and second floor of the apartment in the five-unit building. Crews were able to bring the fire under control within 20 minutes.

Two occupants inside of the apartment both escaped, but one was seriously burned and was taken via Mercy ambulance to Strong. 

Two cats perished in the blaze.

Residents of the two adjoining units were temporarily relocated due to light smoke conditions within their residence. A total of four persons were assisted by the American Red Cross with food and sheltering.

The city fire investigation continues but officials say it does not appear to be incendiary in nature.

For the fire department's press release about the fire, click here.

For the initial post, click here.

Photo courtesy of Frank Capuano.

August 28, 2019 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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Richard D. Hanes, the 37-year-old parolee who beat Raymond Lee Morgan to death with a hammer on July 24, 2018, at 111 Liberty St., in the City of Batavia, had nothing to say for himself before Judge Charles Zambito sent him to prison for 25 years to life this morning.

It was the most severe sentence available to Zambito for the savage murder under state law.

Zambito described the murder of Morgan as brutal; any man who could deliver 20 to 25 blows to another human being with a hammer and then try to evade capture and show no remorse is a danger to society.

State law will permit Hanes to become eligible for parole someday and a parole board will ask Zambito for his opinion and Zambito said he will oppose Hanes ever being released from prison.

Zambito noted that Hanes, whose career as a criminal began in 1996, has been released on parole four times and probation twice, and each and every time Hanes violated the terms of release.

"A person with that personality doesn't belong in civil society," Zambito said.

Hanes sat motionless, staring straight ahead, throughout today's proceedings, and he declined an invitation by Zambito to make a statement before sentencing. But members of Morgan's family had plenty to tell Zambito and they took the demeanor of Hanes as a sign that he didn't regret taking the life of the father of two living daughters and seven grandchildren.

"You get to live and breathe while my father is in an urn," one of Morgan's daughters said (Raelee and Faith Morgan stood at the podium together while making their statements).  

"Life in prison isn't good enough for the pain and suffering you've caused our family," she added.

Morgan's sister Nancy Raymond said, "You made the decision to take Ray's life, making it necessary for us to serve a life sentence without his smile, his laugh and his love."

Sister Natalie Urbansky said she got to spend 41 years with her brother. Because of Hanes, that opportunity is denied to Morgan's grandchildren.

"I don't want Richard to feel bad for me," she said. "I want him to feel bad for (Morgan's) kids and his grandkids, who won't have the years with him that we had."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said Batavia PD detectives who investigated the case described a grisly crime scene. They gathered the DNA evidence on the hammer and a hat, and processed the bloody mess resulting from the mayhem inside of Morgan's apartment. Given the lurid details and the eloquent statements of Morgan's family, there wasn't much more Friedman could add in arguing for the maximum available sentence.

"The detectives, experienced detectives, said this was the most brutal crime scene they had ever seen," Friedman said. "They talked about the evil of what this defendant did, and they believe he deserves the maximum sentence available in this case."

Friedman said he agreed with the family's assessment that Hanes showed no remorse for his murder of Morgan.

Defense attorney Fred Rarick argued for the 20-year prison term Hanes was initially offered in a plea bargain that Hanes (inset photo, right) turned down, noting that both the judge and the DA were aware of the brutality of the crime at the time of the offer. He also said his client disagreed with the jury's verdict.

When Zambito pronounced his verdict, the more than 20 family members and friends in the court, and at least one juror who voted to convict Hanes, applauded. 

After the sentence was handed down, and as Hanes was led out of the courtroom by deputies, a member of Morgan's family yelled "You monster! I hope you never walk the streets again."

Top photo: Family photo of Ray Morgan.

August 28, 2019 - 11:29am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Brittany Smith, 27, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia (inset photo, left) is charged with second-degree assault and second-degree menacing. She was arrested after an altercation at 4:30 p.m. on Hutchins Street Aug. 23. Smith is alleged to have cut a victim with a knife. Smith was jailed without bail and was due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Miah Davis.

Lizbet D. Cramer, 42, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was arrested after an investigation found she was allegedly not providing adequate supervision for a child in her care who was on declared by Family Court as a "Person In Need of Supervision" -- PINS (a child under the age of 18 who does not attend school, or behaves in a way that is dangerous or out of control, or often disobeys his or her parents, guardians or other authorities). Cramer was arrested and issued an appearance ticket for Sept. 10 in Batavia City Court. The case was investigated by Det. Eric Hill.

Jennifer Reed, 45, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. It is alleged that at 11:43 a.m. on Aug. 24 that she stole a bottle of Vitamin C from the Dollar General Store on East Main Street in Batavia. She is accused of concealing the item then exiting the store without paying for it. She was arrested and issued an appearance ticket for Aug. 27 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Miah Davis.

August 27, 2019 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Le Roy.

Junior D. Benedict, 40, of West Bay Street, Englewood, Fla., is a registered sex offender charged with failure to report a change of address within 10 days -- a felony, and falsifying business records in the first degree, also a felony. At 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 25, Benedict was arrested following an investigation. He allegedly failed to register his change of address within 10 days to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Sex Offender Registry. It is also alleged that he falsified a sex offender address change form at the Genesee County Jail, which is in the City of Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and put in jail without bail. He was due to return to Batavia Town Court on Aug. 25. He is scheduled to appear in the City of Batavia Court to answer the falsifying business records charge on Sept. 10. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

Carlos Daniel Dejesus, 20, of Clifford Avenue, Rochester, is charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance; unlawful possession of marijuana; plate display violation; and operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license. At 10:22 p.m. on Aug. 23, Dejesus was stopped on Route 490, mile marker 0.1 in Le Roy for allegedly not having a distinctive rear license plates displayed on his vehicle. It is alleged that he was subsequently found to be operating without a license. "Criminal indicators" were observed and the vehicle was searched. Dejesus's passenger, and Angelle L. Dreier, no age or address provided, was also charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. Both were allegedly found to possess cocaine and marijuana. They were issued appearance tickets for Town of Le Roy Court on Sept. 12. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

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