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October 19, 2018 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in immigration, news, notify.

The family of Abigail Hernandez, the special-needs former East Rochester High School student accused of making a terroristic threat and now being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, will have to wait at least two more weeks before learning whether she will be deported.

After more than three hours of motions by attorneys and testimony by Hernandez and her step-father yesterday, the case was not completed, and Immigration Judge Steve Connelly had other items on his calendar for the afternoon so scheduled closing arguments for 9 a.m., Nov. 2.

Hernandez was arrested and charged last year after creating a fake Facebook account, under the name Martin Doll, and then posting a threat to shoot fellow students at East Rochester with a shotgun.

The 21-year-old who was brought into the country  without documentation  when she was three old was originally charged with a felony count of making a terroristic threat. She reached a plea deal in the case and her family hoped a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report would save her from deportation but ICE officers were in court the day she entered her guilty plea and took her in to custody with the intent to deport her.

Dressed in the blue uniform of the detention facility that designates her as a low-level offender, Hernandez, or Abi as her family calls her, told Connelly she didn't need a Spanish language interpreter to understand the proceedings. She did struggle at times to comprehend what she heard or the questions asked but not because of any language barrier.  Her step-father testified later in the morning the doctors had told the family she had the cognitive ability of an eight-year-old.

Immigration attorney Hannah Howell has filed a petition for asylum in the U.S., according to her statements in court yesterday, based on her client's intellectual disability. Howell contends that Hernandez has no family in Mexico who can properly care for her, that she has no knowledge of life in Mexico, that Mexico has inadequate community-based services to see to her needs, and that Hernandez would be victimized in Mexico.

Her step-father, Flores Moya, testified  -- in testimony often interrupted by sobbing -- that he feared Mexican gang members would turn his daughter into a prostitute or kill her if she returned to Mexico.

The government's attorney, who refused to give his name to reporters, tried to argue that the asylum application should dismissed out because Hernandez was time-barred from filing for asylum and that she her arrest was for a serious crime.

Connelly ruled against the motion because there is no time limit on an asylum application in a case involving potential torture and while the government can make the case that the underlying events of her guilty plea involved a serious allegation she only admitted to a misdemeanor charge.

The hearing opened with Connelly asking Hernandez if she understood the difference between the truth and a lie. Hernandez sat silent for a long time and then said she didn't understand the question. He tried to rephrase it, and Hernandez said she didn't understand. Then he held up a pad of yellow sticky notes and said asked if she knew her colors. She did she said, and she said, "that's yellow."  

He asked her, "If I told you it was red would I be telling the truth or lying."

"Lying," she said.

Hernandez answered questions from her attorney with Connelly jumping in with questions of his own on occasion.  She said she knew here grandmother brought her from Mexico to NYC when she was three or four but she didn't know how she got there.

Her family moved to Rochester when she was seven.

Both her mother and her father -- actually, step-father -- were in the country legally and she said she had seen her mother's green card.

She didn't know if anybody had filed a petition for her to be in the country legally prior to her DACA application.  She was accepted into the DACA program was her status was revoked once removal proceedings commenced.

Her grandmother returned to Mexico and lives there now, but Hernandez saw her grandmother in November 2017 in Rochester (Moya would later testify that her grandmother visited the U.S. on a 25-day visa in November and December of 2017).

She said she couldn't live with her grandmother because her grandmother, at 85, can't take care of her, that she can barely take care of herself.  She said she doesn't know where her grandmother lives or where her aunt and uncle live in Mexico.

When asked what kind of help she might need if she lived in Mexico, she said she didn't know.

She has never learned to drive and has never had a bank account.

Howell asked her if she knew how to prepare meals herself. She said her mother tried to teach her to make pancakes.

Connelly asked if she knew how to make pancakes. Hernandez said she did not know how to make pancakes.  Connelly asked her if she knew how to make anything. She said she did not.

"Do you know how to make eggs?"

"Yes," Hernandez said.

"What kind of eggs do you know how to make?"

Hernandez, who wore her long dark hair, with blonde streaks, in braids, tried hiding her face.

"Don't be shy," Connelly said.

"Mexican eggs."

"How do you make Mexican eggs?"

After a long silence, Hernandez said, "I don't know."

Hernandez sometimes babysits her three-year-old sister and knows not to let her climb on the table because she might fall and hurt herself.

She's had volunteer jobs in the cafeteria at school and a local hospital washing dishes and taking out the trash but has never earned a paycheck.

After her arrest she was prescribed medicine to help her cope with her anxiety because otherwise, she throws up when she is with her attorney or in front of a judge.

The government attorney asked Hernandez several questions during cross-examination about her interaction with Rochester PD, which led to her arrest. Connelly allowed the line of questioning because the government is trying to establish that while Hernandez convicted merely of a misdemeanor, her actual crime was serious.

He asked if Hernandez created a fake account by herself using the name "Martin Doll." She said she did. She didn't know why she picked that name. She also has a Facebook account under her own name. She testified she knows how to make and accept friend requests, make posts, and send messages.

She couldn't remember being asked certain questions or didn't remember certain answers in her interview with police, which related to possible statements about half the kids in school being mean to her, that she said she understood why the Parkland, Fla., shooter did what he did, and that she wanted to hurt one particular person at school.

She didn't remember telling police she wanted to cause fear among her fellow students at East Rochester.

She said she doesn't know why she wrote, "I'm coming tomorrow. I'm going to shoot all of you bitches."

She was accused of posting that comment on the Martin Doll account under a picture of East Rochester students.

When the attorney switched to questions about Hernandez obtaining her DACA status, Connelly jumped in with his own questions.

He wanted to know if she thought DACA was a good thing for her. She said it was. He asked why? She said, "so I can have a job and go to school or college." He asked if there was any other reason it was good. She said, "I don't know."

Moya, 55, then took the stand. He spoke in Spanish. The court provided an interpreter.

He said he was a legal resident of the U.S. for 30 years and came from the Dominican Republic.  He met his wife, Abigail's mother, while working as a taxi cap driver in New York City. They lived in the Bronx and were only married eight years ago.

He is close to obtaining citizenship, he said.

When he was first with his wife, he learned of Abigail's situation, both her cognitive disability and a problem with an eye that wouldn't open properly.  He had seen pictures of her before he ever met her.

To help his wife, he said he paid for a "coyote" (an immigrant smuggler) to help Abigail and her grandmother cross the border illegally when Abigail was three years old.

He said his wife's mother, besides being elderly, has diabetes.  He's not really sure how she is managing to care for herself.  Her house, he said, is dilapidated and he's been sending her money to repair it.  He said Abigail's uncle is an alcoholic living in Mexico City and her aunt is a single mother with four small children.  He said neither could adequately care for Abigail.

He said besides school and school activities, Abigail rarely leaves the house. She likes to play video games and watch wrestling on TV.  She has friends but never socializes with them. She's afraid to leave the house on her own, even to walk to the store and get her father a soda. 

He would like her to learn to do even these little things "so she can be a normal person," he said, but that he also fears she wouldn't fair well on her own outside the house.

"She will probably never be out alone because she's not like the other girls," Moya said. "She doesn't know what the other girls know or about life on the streets like the other girls."

In Mexico, he said, things are even much worse.

"A lot of criminals turn women into prostitutes," he said. "She would allow it because she doesn't know about these things and many, many, many women are killed daily. She would not really live long in Mexico especially with the problems she has."

Howell asked Moya if he had thought of moving to Mexico if his daughter was deported. This was one of the points where he started to cry. He said he had.

It would be a difficult decision, he said.

"I have a good job with the transportation authority," he said. "I have benefits, a retirement. I own a home."

The government attorney pressed Moya on his own recent arrest. He wanted Moya to admit to an arrest for petit larceny. Moya was more interested in defending his actions.

He said he wasn't arrested but just given an appearnace ticket. He said he had been in a store and took the price tag off of one doll and put it on another, not knowing there was a $1 price difference between the dolls.

"I make $500 a week," he said, "why would I steal one dollar?"

He said he did own a shotgun but that Abigail didn't have access to it.  It was locked in the basement of another resident and he didn't have shotgun shells for it.  He said he bought so his wife could protect herself merely by brandishing it if any bad people came to her door.

Both attorneys expect to make closing arguments Nov. 2 but Connelly left the record open in case either attorney decides in the interim to present other exhibits or call additional witnesses.

October 19, 2018 - 2:38pm

Haley M. Merrill, 26, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: 10 felony counts of second-degree forgery; 10 felony counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing; and 10 Class A misdemeanor counts of second-degree criminal impersonation. On Oct. 13, Merrill was arrested in the Town of Alexander on charges of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. Upon entering GC Jail, it is alleged that Merrill provided false information -- a false identity -- in an attempt to benefit herself. On Oct. 16, she was arrested and arraigned on charges pertaining to false identification and then jailed without bail. She was due back in Batavia City Court on Oct. 17. The case was investigated by Deputy Ryan M. DeLong and Senior Correction Officer Matthew Burgett, assisted by Deputy M. Lute, Deputy K. McCarthy, Deputy K. Forsyth and Deputy J. McClellan.

Ryan Matthew Norton, 44, of Bloomingdale Road, Alabama, is charged with aggravated DWI, and DWI. At 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 14 on Alleghany Road, Alabama, deputies responded to the report of a motor-vehicle accident in the Town of Alabama. They located a vehicle with heavy front and side damage. Deputy Ryan Young located the operator walking away from the vehicle. Following an investigation, it is alleged that Norton was driving while intoxicated and his blood alcohol level was above .18 percent. It was determined that Norton allegedly struck a parked car in Orleans County before being stopped in Genesee County. He is due in Alabama Town Court on Nov. 14 to answer the charges. Deputy Young was assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen in this case.

Eric Charles Dockstader, 34, of Council House Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. On Oct. 13 at about 2:48 p.m., deputies responded to Meadville Road in the Town of Alabama for a report of a violation of a court order of protection. Dockstader was subsequently arrested. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Alabama Court on Nov. 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

John J. Saddler, 31, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with violating an order of protection. Saddler was arrested at 9 p.m. on Oct. 14 on Watson Street in Batavia and arraigned in Batavia City Court on the charge. He was jailed on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. The defendant is due in court Oct. 23 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Todd J. Pangrazio, 42, of Pleasant View Drive, Lancaster, is charged with failure to appear in court after an appearance ticket was served. He was served with an appearance ticket after failing to go to court after being issued a ticket following a traffic stop in March 4 in the City of Batavia. He was arraigned on Oct. 17 and jailed on $1,000 cash or bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kyle Krtanik, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

October 18, 2018 - 7:57am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, Martin Moore, notify.

martinmooremeetgreet.jpg

Martin D. Moore, Ph.D., the new manager of the City of Batavia, was the center of attention on Wednesday afternoon, but he was quick to mention that it’s the residents who come first.

Moore, speaking at a meet-and-greet session at City Hall Council Chambers, said he advocates an open-door policy that gives citizens an avenue to let their voices be heard.

“I’m here for the people themselves … that’s who I work for,” said Moore, who was joined at the event by his wife, Joanne, and 17-year-old son, Martin Jr. “If they need something, have an issue or a suggestion, I am willing to listen. There are no bad ideas.”

The former city manager of Eunice, N.M. (he served in that capacity for about seven years), Moore said he has a “relaxed style but is very driven toward results at the same time.”

As he prepares for his first City Council meeting next Monday, Moore said his immediate priorities include talking to the management team about how to communicate effectively, building a working relationship with the business community, and meeting with Batavia Development Corporation officials about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

“I really want to see the shovels starting to hit the ground,” he said, referring to the Ellicott Station project.

His hiring as the one to replace Jason Molino, who resigned the position about nine months ago, is homecoming, of sorts, for his family. His wife has two sisters in Le Roy, a brother in Warsaw and another sister in Castile. She also has a brother who resides in Tonawanda.

Moore said he was in the running for similar positions in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, but believes that the Batavia job was meant to be.

“When I came here (during the interview process), everything seemed to click,” he said. “City Council was great; I really enjoyed talking to them and when I went around town, the people were very friendly.

“And if any hurdle came up, it was worked out. Everything just lined up.”

City Council agreed to an initial contract of $110,000 plus benefits for Moore.

His previous executive management experience includes a four-year stint as a consultant, census 2010 crew leader and general manager in Timberon, N.M.; county manager for Otero County, N.M.; executive director of Eastern Arizona Counties, and director of development and community services for Apache County, Ariz.

An Eagle Scout, he was a member of several professional associations and president of the Eunice Rotary Club.

His wife said she was excited when she heard about the Batavia position being open and got “really excited” as her husband made the final cut.

“I haven’t lived in New York since I was 16,” she said, noting that she moved to Hawaii in the mid-1970s and then to the southwestern part of the United States after marrying Moore in 1985.

“He was an Arizona boy, so we settled in New Mexico,” she said.

Joanne, who served as the Chamber of Commerce director in Eunice from 2011-2018, said her husband will be active in the community – appearing at festivals and other events. (They have found a home on Lincoln Avenue, just a short walk from Centennial Park).

“(Martin) likes to be somewhere where he can make a difference,” she said. “He wants to do things to help the community and wants to know what the people think. Sometimes you don’t know unless somebody lets you know.”

Martin Jr. is one of seven children – the others live in New Mexico, Utah, Idaho and Michigan – and is in his senior year at Batavia High School.

He said he's interested in cosmology, the science of the origin and development of universe, and hopes to go to college in Hawaii and earn an internship at the Mauna Kea Observatories.

At least one Batavia resident, James Owen of Redfield Parkway, said he came away with a positive first impression of Moore and his family.

“I think he’s going to be great for Batavia,” Owen said. “He came across as very willing to help the citizens of Batavia. We’re hoping for the best.”

October 17, 2018 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

Rep. Chris Collins says he will clear his good name when his insider trading case goes to trial in February 2020.

But to do that he may need to convince a jury that he didn't tell his son about a failed medical trial for a new drug developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics when Collins called him from the White House lawn June 22, according to an attorney who specializes in insider trading law.

Robert Heim is a former Securities Exchange Commission attorney who now works as a private defense attorney for those accused of violating securities laws.

"Perhaps Mr. Collins might argue that somehow the information was either public or had been leaked out, but on its face, it seems like a very difficult case for him to beat right now," Heim said.

Neither Collins nor his attorneys have shared what his defense might be, but as Heim acknowledged, prosecutors have a lot of evidence related to the number and timing of phone calls, text messages, and trades, which is why Collins will need to offer a convincing explanation for the June 22 phone call.

On June 22, at 6:55 p.m, Collins received an email from Innate's CEO, Simon Wilkinson, informing Collins, who was among the company's largest shareholders and a member of Innate's board of directors, that a critical trial for a new multiple sclerosis drug had failed.

"I have bad news to report," Wilkinson wrote, according to government documents. "The top line analysis of the 'intent to treat' patient population (i.e., every subject who was successfully enrolled in the study) would pretty clearly indicate 'clinical failure.' "

Innate was a single-product company and the trial's failure meant it would not bring that drug to market.

Collins responded at 7:10 p.m., according to prosecutors, "Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???"

According to prosecutors, Collins immediately attempted to contact his son, Cameron Collins. He called Cameron twice. Cameron called back three times. Chris Collins called him back. On their seventh attempt to connect, at 7:16 p.m., father and son finally spoke with each other.

Chris and Cameron spoke for six minutes and eight seconds.

There was no wiretap on the phone call, and prosecutors have not indicated that they have any direct knowledge of what Collins told his son.

Prosecutors will attempt to prove Collins told Cameron of the failed MIS416 trial, disclosing nonpublic information, knowing it was a breach of his duties and anticipating his son would trade on the information and tip others.

Heim said Collins will need to convince a jury that he discussed with Cameron something other than the MIS416 trial, be it the weather, or "wow, I'm at the White House," wedding plans, or some other topic that seemed urgent at the time.

"I've worked on insider trading cases like this for about 20 years now and almost always these are circumstantial cases," Heim said. "People rarely come in and admit to committing insider trading, so a jury is going to really have to look at the various facts in terms of timing the phone calls, the timing of trades, and people's explanations to really come up with a decision as to what's more likely: Was this inside information discussed? Or were they talking about other things and this just happens to be very poor coincidental timing?"

If the failed drug trial was a topic of the June 22 phone call, Heim indicated Collins is going to have a hard time proving his innocence, especially in a Second Circuit court. The Second Circuit, he said, has a "loose standard" on what constitute's "tipper liability."

"If you're passing on information, the inside information, to a family member that satisfies what's called the 'personal benefit test' that is required to be proven for the government to win an insider trading case," Heim said.

Chris and Cameron Collins, along with 66-year-old Stephen Zarsky, father of Cameron's girlfriend, Lauren, are charged with in Federal Court with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents.

Lauren and her mother, Dorothy have already settled with the SEC.

The morning after receiving his father's call, according to the SEC complaint, Cameron started to act on the allegedly non-public information, including selling stock and tipping the Zarsky family.

If Chris Collins can successfully argue that he didn't tell his son about the non-public information, then Cameron may need to prove he obtained it from another source.

It's not illegal to buy or sell stocks on "insider information" if it was legally obtained. For example, if Cameron overheard his father or somebody else talking about the failed trial with a person who was authorized to share the information, he can do as he pleases with the information.

Barry Switzer, former University of Oklahoma football coach, was at a track meet in 1981 when he overheard a company CEO discussing his firm's plans. The next day, Switzer and his friends acted on the non-public information and eventually made $600,000 on the trade. Switzer was charged with insider trading, but a court ruled in Switzer's favor.

"The court said that that's not illegal as long as you're not breaching some sort of duty or someone's not telling you the information in violation of a confidentiality agreement," Heim said. "That a legitimate defense."

Cameron's case hinges entirely, it seems, on how he knew to dump his 1.4 million shares of Innate stock just before news of the failed trial went public.

"In order for that chain to be legally actionable it has to have as the source a breach of a fiduciary duty or some other duty that's owed to the company and its shareholders," Heim said. "And that Cameron received that information separately, not from his father but by perhaps overhearing a conversation. Then if he's successful in that argument then, yes, he's free to tell other people about that information and essentially tip them because he did not breach his duty in the first instance by acquiring that information."

Besides the record of phone calls, texts, and trades, the prosecution may have other evidence that  is not yet publicly disclosed, Heim said. We also don't know how Lauren and Dorothy Zarsky, or others, might cooperate with the prosecution. There could have admissible information that supports the prosecution's theory that Chris Collins tipped Cameron Collins.

Witness testimony gets complicated, Heim said, because of trial rules involving hearsay and spousal privilege but there could be supporting witness testimony that is used at trial.

Without wiretaps, Heim said, "this could come down to a he-said-she-said type of scenario."

Based on the evidence made public so far, Heim said it seems like the government has a pretty solid case.

"It looks like there was a very thorough investigation, Heim said. "They put together the best evidence they could into a circumstantial case. Now I think really falls on Mr. Collins to come forward with some explanation or evidence as to what other topics were discussed in the calls and why they were being made at that particular time."

Photo: File photo.

NOTE: The Batavian has requested multiple of times an interview with Rep. Chris Collins. He has not agreed to an interview so we have been unable to ask him questions related to his insider trading case or even questions relevant to his bid for reelection.

October 17, 2018 - 5:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in sex offender, news, notify, batavia, Grand Jury.

Levi Spikes Jr. is indicted for the crime of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender, a Class E felony. It is alleged that between November 2017 and January 2018, Spikes failed to register a change of address with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 calendar days after moving from 3 Lewis Place in the City of Batavia. In count two, he is accused of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two, that Spikes knew a written instrument -- a NYS Sex Offender Change of Address Form dated May 8, 2018 -- contained false information. The form contained a statement that the defendant had not moved from 3 Lewis Place, Batavia, until May 8, 2018. He then offered the form to public authorities to be filed for official records. In count three, Spikes is accused of the same crime alleged in count two. In count three, he is accused of knowing the same type of form, dated May 11, 2018, also contained the same false information and yet he offered it to public authorities to be filed for official records. In count four, the defendant is accused of another count of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender. It is alleged in count four that he failed to give the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services a change of address within 10 calendar days when he moved from 421 Ellicott St. in the City of Batavia.

October 17, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, alexander, Le Roy, notify, east bethany, bergen.

Iszon C. Richardson, 18, of Lewis Place, Batavia is charged with: criminal contempt in the first degree -- with physical contact; criminal obstruction of breathing / blood circulation; burglary in the second degree -- illegal entry of a dwelling; resisting arrest; and fourth-degree criminal mischief. Richardson was arrested following an investigation into a domestic violence incidence that was conducted by Officer Lawrence. The defendant is accused of illegally entering the residence of a protected person on Jackson Street in Batavia at 12:34 p.m. on Oct. 14. The victim has a stay-away order of protection against Richardson, who is accused of choking that person and damaging property. Richardson was located in the area by Officer Ivison and Officer DeFelice. Richardson resisted arrest and fled on foot before being apprehended a short time later. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Catherine Mucha.

Michael Lettice, 71, of Lehigh Station Road, Henrietta, is charged with grand larceny, second-degree forgery, and issuing a bad check. On Oct. 12, Lettice was arrested for allegedly fraudulently endorsing two checks on May 21. He was arraigned and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. He was due in City Court on Monday (Oct. 15). The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Catherine Mucha.

Mitchell Merrill, 33, and Haley Merrill, 26, both of East Main Street, Batavia, are charged with: five counts each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree; and four counts each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. They were arrested following an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office following a report of larceny to a vehicle at 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 14 in the Village of Alexander. They were allegedly found in possession of stolen property consisting of five credit cards and other personal property taken from multiple vehicles throughout the village. Mitchell is being held in GC Jail without bail; Haley is held on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 secured bond. Both were due back in Alexander Town Court this afternoon (Oct. 16). The investigating officers were: Sgt. John Baiocco, Deputy James Stack and Deputy Andrew Mullen.

Carlos Edward Guevara, 45, of Highland Parkway, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault. It is alleged that at 9:38 p.m. on Oct. 6 that Guevara became combative and began attacking an Emergency Medical Technician who was rendering aid to Guevara. The defendant had been found unresponsive, lying on the sidewalk on Hutchins Street. He is due in City Court on Oct. 23 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Isaiah J.A. Munroe, 28, and Chercal A. Smith, 23, both of Batavia, were arrested on Oct. 13 on Bank Road in the Town of Middlebury in Wyoming County. Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies stopped to check on a vehicle parked in a parking area off of Bank Road. Munroe was the male driver of a 2014 Hyundai Sonata that was found parked with the engine running; Smith of the front-seat passenger. The odor of marijuana was allegedly detected by the deputies as they approached the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the discovery of three OxyContin pills; one tramadol pill, and concentrated cannabis -- all controlled substances. Smith was also allegedly found to have concealed two pill bottles in her bra containing marijuana and marijuana blunts. Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested and the Sonata was towed. They are charged with three counts each of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Smith was additionally charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. They were arraigned in Village of Warsaw Court and both were jailed with bail set at $500 cash or $2,500 bond apiece. They are due in Town of Middlebury Court on Oct. 22. Wyoming County Sheriff's Sgt. Colin Reagan handled the case.

Luis A. Ramos-Mercado, 34, of South Main Street, Batavia, was arrested Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. on a bench warrant out of city court. It was issued after he failed to appear for: having a suspended vehicle registration; operating a motor vehicle while his registration was suspended; and having an unregistered motor vehicle. He was arraigned and jailed on $1,000 bail. He had a second bench warrant, also out of city court, for failure in appear on a charge of second-degree criminal trespass. His bail on that was set at $2,500. Ramos-Mercado had a third bench warrant out of city court and it was for failing to appear on a charge of using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. Bail for this was also set at $2,500. The defendant is due in city court on Oct. 18 on all three cases. Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins handled the cases.

Daniel B. Cochran, 63, of East Bethany, was arrested at 11:38 p.m. on Oct. 9 for: DWI; aggravated DWI; moving from lane unsafely; refusal to take a breath test; and unlawful possession of marijuana. Troopers in Wyoming County arrested him after a traffic stop on Route 20A in the Town of Orangeville. He allegedly failed to maintain his designated lane while driving, prompting the traffic stop. He failed multiple standard field sobriety tests and was transported to State Police Barracks in Warsaw for processing, where he allegedly had a BAC of .18 percent. Cochran was issued traffic tickets for the Town of Orangeville Court and is due there on Oct. 24.

Aaron Lee Klein, 47, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested at 1:40 a.m. on Oct. 15 on Monclair Avenue, Batavia City police responded there for a report of a disturbance and arrested Klein after it was discovered that an order of protection was in place, requiring that Klein stay away from the address. He was arraigned and jailed on $5,000 cash bail or bond and is due in city court on Oct. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Darryle Streeter. He is also charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child less than 17, stemming from an incident on Sept. 9, and that case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Marissa S. Adams, 19, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. She was arrested at 2:50 p.m. on Oct. 15 on State Street in Batavia after she allegedly took a phone out of the hand of a person attempting to contact police and threw it on the ground, causing it to break. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in city court on Oct. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Steven David Smires, 23, of Clay Street, Le Roy, is charged with trespass. At 2:07 p.m. on Oct. 10, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to Route 19 in the Town of Le Roy for a trespass complaint. After an investigation, Smires was arrested. He allegedly entered a house on Warsaw Road in Le Roy and remained unlawfully in the backyard of a residence. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Nov. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

Tiesha Deon Doward, 32, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 4:01 p.m. on Oct. 10 on East Main Street in Batavia following an incident at Dollar General. It is alleged that Doward entered the store, selected two items from shelves in the store then proceeded to the cash register, where she indicated the intent to return those items using a receipt from several days prior. She was issued an appearance ticket by city police and is due in coity court on Oct. 23. The case was handled by Batavia City Police Officer Chad Richards.

Justin T. Gladney, 29, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant on Oct. 11 for failing to appear in court. He was arraigned and jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. Gladney was due back in city court on Oct. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Sgt. Dan Coffey, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Mark J. Spath, 48, of Rochester, was arrested by Troopers out of SP Batavia Barracks at 11:55 a.m. on Oct. 10 for criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, no seat belt, and uninspected motor vehicle. Troopers stopped Spath on State Route 19 in the Town of Bergen for no seat belt. While speaking to Spath, the operator, Troopers allegedly detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Spath was placed under arrest after Troopers searched the vehicle and allegedly found Spath to be in possession of approximately 7.76 ounces of marijuana. Spath was transported to SP Batavia where he was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Bergen Court later this month.

Travis L. Bartz, 23, of Buell St., Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. At 8:58 p.m. on Oct. 12 on Trumbull Parkway in Batavia, Bartz was arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana. He is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 6 to answer the charge. Also on Oct. 12, Bartz was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in city court on a charge of unlawful possession of marijuana stemming from August. He was released on his own recognizance until his next court appearance Nov. 6. The cases were handled by Batavia Police Officer Catherine Mucha, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

October 17, 2018 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

Dispatchers are receiving multiple reports of power outages in the City. 

National Grid has not yet reported the extent of the power outage. 

There’s a report of a transformer explosion and fire by Dan’s Tire at City Centre. 

There is also a power line down at Watson and Evans. 

City Fire’s second platoon requested to the station. 

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.: National Grid is reporting at least 13 power outages in the City effecting more than 2,000 customers. The largest area is along Route 5 to the east out past East Pembroke and along Route 98 to the south. ETA for restoration is 3 p.m.

UPDATE (By Billie) 1:25 p.m.: The fourth platoon is called to city fire headquarters. National Grid is on scene at City Centre to repair the transformer.

UPDATE (By Howard) 1:49 p.m.: City PD would like to remind everybody that intersections where signal lights are out should be treated like a four-way stop. The Richmond Memorial Library is closed because of the power outage. It will reopen at 5 p.m. if power is restored.

UPDATE (By Billie) 3:08: Currently no power outages are reported in the city, according to National Grid. There are still two small outages in Alexander, and one in Pavilion.

UPDATE from National Grid 3:16 p.m.:

National Grid spokesman David Bertola replied to The Batavian's email asking what cause the outage: "At around 1:50 p.m. today, an animal came into contact with a feeder line at one of our stations, which caused around 5,000 customers to be without power. Once the site was cleared and repairs made, customers’ power was restored in stages. I was told that everyone’s power (in the city) was restored at around 2:35 p.m."

October 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Kemp, BID, downtown, batavia, business, news, notify.

Beth Kemp, executive director of the Batavia Improvement District, has decided the business she co-owns with her husband Brian, T-Shirts Etc. needs more of her time and attention so she's resigned her position.

"It was an extremely hard decision for me because I love working as director of BID but T-Shirts Etc. continues to grow and I felt it was shortsighted of me to allow my own small business to struggle and continue my role here," Kemp said.

"I was only able to maintain a few hours at T-Shirts Etc. while working for BID, which was definitely not enough to support what we need to do over there."

Kemp has given notice to the board but she didn't share her final work day.

The Batavian reached out to Jennifer Gray, president of the BID Board of Directors, for comment and information about finding a replacement for Kemp but we have not yet received a response.

Kemp became director in November 2016.

"This opportunity has been amazing and I am so thankful to have been able to work with so many amazing people in our community," Kemp said. "In the past two years we have put in a lot of work in.

"We are in a great place with our finances, events, sponsorships, business relationships, community relationships, and mission. I look forward to still volunteering for events and community projects as the BID needs."

File photo.

October 16, 2018 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kmart, Batavia Downs, batavia, news, notify.

For the third time in 13 months, Batavia is losing a big box store -- Office Max; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and now Kmart -- and given the nation's retail trends, it's by no means certain any of these vacant buildings will be filled any time soon.

The last time a big box closed prior to this spate of going-out-of-business sales, it took the landlord only a year to replace Lowe's with Dick's Sporting Goods and Kohl's Department Store but since then e-commerce sales have grown to represent 8 percent of all retail sales (Lowe's announced its closure seven years ago today).

It's also become harder for Industrial Development Agencies in New York, such as Genesee County Economic Development Center, to offer incentives for retail development.

Still, Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, is optimistic none of these big buildings will sit vacant long. He's a Batavia native and has seen a lot of businesses come and go.

"I call it the business circle of life," Turnbull said.

Turnbull remembers when Kmart was located where Aldi is now, and he remembers Twin Fair where the Department of Social Services is now and Valu Home Store in what is now County Building #2. He remembers W.T. Grant at the corner of Harvester and East Main and when Eli Fish Co. was Newberry's.

"It's the ebb and flow of business," Turnbull said. "You never know what is going to happen, especially with these big national retailers. It will fill up again and then it may be empty again."

There have been rumors, which Turnbull has heard, too, that Batavia Downs is interested in the Kmart property.

"It makes a lot of sense for them to have that property," Turnbull said. "It would be good for them and it would be good for us -- it's not unusual for big box stores to sit empty for a long time and become a real eyesore so it would be great for Batavia Downs to come in and swoop it up. It would be good for everybody."

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs, said in a statement this morning that, "While we do not currently have any timeline information on the store’s closing, we would not rule out an interest in this or any adjacent property to Batavia Downs if it were to become available. Regardless of what happens with the property, we will reach out to Kmart management for some job placement opportunities at Batavia Downs for Kmart employees that will be impacted with a layoff."

The Kmart store is 115,554 square feet and sits on 10.3 acres. The total assessment is $4.1 million, according to county records. The store was built in 1994. The listed owner is Wilmington Trust Company.

Wilmington Trust is affiliated with M&T Bank and specializes in, among other things, acting as administrator for properties held in trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds title to a property for the benefit of another person or group of people, such as heirs to an estate.

While Wilmington Trust is listed as the property owner, Wilmington is strictly and administrator of the property for the beneficiary of the trust, said spokesman Kent Wissinger. The beneficiary is the actual owner and has sole discretion on whether to sell or retain the property.

There is no information available on who is the beneficiary of the trust.

How any potential sale of the property might be handled, Wissinger said, is subject to the terms of the trust and he said he didn't have access to that information.

County records seem to indicate the trust has held title to the property since at least 1994.

Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., which declared bankruptcy after years of financial struggles, has not announced a closing date for the store.

October 16, 2018 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, batavia, local drug task force.

A 40-year-old Batavia woman accused of supplying* cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force on two separate occasions was sentenced on reduced charges this afternoon in Genesee County Court.

Denielle Mancuso, who lives on West Main Street Road, will serve three years probation, to run concurrently, on two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

Before sentencing, Mancuso's lawyer, public defender Lisa Kroemer, asked to read the judge's copy of the presentencing report, which she apparently had not seen yet.

She then synopsized the document by saying it states that Mancuso successfully completed a yearlong "judicial diversion program" and "did everything that was expected of her" during the interim probationary period.

So much so in fact that Kroemer said her client was a "nonsubject of discussion" during staff updates. When her name came up, it was "next" -- let's move on -- because Mancuso's reports were "stellar."

Before sentencing, Judge Charles Zambito said he'd read the presentencing report with its laudable notations and said Mancuso had earned the benefit of her good behavior with a judicial diversion contract that, with its successful completion, reduced four felonies to the pair of misdemeanors cited above.

In addition, she would get one year shaved off probation immediately for time already served in the diversion program. And if she continues on the positive path she's on and comes back in a year and asks the judge to terminate her probation, he will most likely grant her wish, Zambito said. Thus, supervision by the Probation Department could potentially end a year from now. Otherwise, Mancuso's probation is set to expire Oct. 16, 2020.

Kroemer asked for a waiver of a six-month suspension of Mancuso's driver's license, per the presentencing recommendations. The attorney said her client doesn't have anyone to chauffeur her around, and she's self-employed and needs to help her husband with his business, which requires her to buy vehicles and go to the DMV Office regularly. Also, she has a son to shuttle to various sports and activities.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell offered no resistance to the request for a waiver, and Judge Zambito agreed to it.

Next, Kroemer asked for new language in the defendant's sentencing paperwork that states she is to stay away from places where alcohol is served; language should be added to that stipulation "unless otherwise approved by the Probation Officer." That's because, Kroemer said, Mancuso sometimes goes to places like a racetrack for her son's sporting events and alcohol is served there.

Again, the judge agreed to accommodate Mancuso's attorney's request and add the language.

The judge imposed standard fees: $50 for the DNA database; $175 for the misdemeanor convictions; and $25 for the crime victims' assistance fund.

Zambito asked the chestnut-haired Mancuso, dressed in black slacks and a fitted black blazer over a maroon knit top, if she would like to say anything to the court and she quietly declined.

A Grand Jury indictment was originally issued in this case in June 2017. Mancuso faced four felony counts: two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd; one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd; and one count of first-degree criminal nuisance. She was jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond. 

In September of last year, the people offered a plea deal for one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth, with "shock-cap" probation -- six months in jail or four months of intermittent incarceration, followed by five years of probation.

Mancuso's attorney countered by asking that the defendant be evaluated for judicial diversion, which Judge Zambito granted.

Now with Mancuso's judicial diversion contract completed triumphantly, Zambito said he agreed she had done well and he congratulated her for it.

* "Supplying" not necessarily selling.

October 16, 2018 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify, Nate McMurray, Larry Piegza.

A poll released today by Siena gives Rep. Chris Collins a mere 3-percentage-point lead over challenger Nate McMurray in the NY-27 congressional race.

Three percentage points are within the margin of error -- plus or minus 4.7 percent -- making the race a statistical dead heat. 

This matches the results of an internal poll released by McMurray's campaign last week that showed the race tracking as a tie with three weeks left until Election Day.

In response to the release of the poll, McMurray issued the following statement:

“This poll tells us what we already know, that voters are choosing country over party. They’re motivated based on who will help families like theirs rather than simply voting along partisan lines. We always knew this would be a close race, and this poll shows that it’s neck and neck. But our TV ads went on the air yesterday, after this poll was conducted; our grassroots support is strong, and as more voters tune in to the race and learn that they have a real choice, we’re more and more confident.”

The Batavian emailed Natalie Baldassarre, campaign manager for Collins, and asked for a statement from Collins -- not her -- about the poll, his third-quarter fundraising report, which includes a campaign expenditure for the use of a private jet. We have not received a response.

Political reporter Ryan Whalan with Capitol Tonight in Albany said in a tweet this morning that he has made several requests to Collins for an interview and has been rebuffed. Since his arrest on federal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI, Collins has largely avoided contact with the media or answering tough questions.

His only campaign appearances have been at invite-only Republican events. After The Batavian was unable to secure an interview with Collins, we announced we would stop publishing his campaign press releases until he sits down for an interview with The Batavian. The deadline for the interview is this Friday and Collins has yet to agree to an interview.

The Siena Poll results released doesn't break out how Collins is doing vs. McMurray in Genesee County, but it does say McMurray is leading in Erie County 46 to 45 percent. Collins is leading in the rest of the 27th District 46 to 42 percent.

Reform Party Candidate Larry Piegza is favored by 1 percent of the voters.

While Collins has a narrow lead in the race, the indicted congressman has a much higher unfavorable rating than McMurray, 49 to 21 percent. 

In most congressional races throughout the country, women are trending toward supporting the Democratic candidate but not in the NY-27. Collins is supported by 46 percent of the women polled compared to 42 percent for McMurray.

McMurray also seems to be bucking the trend of Democrats picking up younger voters. In the under 55 demographic, Collins leads 49 to 42 percent. McMurray is fairing better with older voters, where Collins' margin is a mere 2 percentage points,  45 to 43.

McMurray leads the race among nonpartisan voters 46-45 percent.

Siena surveyed 490 likely voters in the district between Oct. 6 and 11.

President Donald Trump's approval rating is 56 percent among voters in the district, much higher than his 42 percent approval rating nationally.

Fifty-six percent of those polled want to see the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, since his arrest, Collins has seen donations to his campaign fall off a cliff, according to the Buffalo News.

Collins, who reportedly had more than $1 million in his war chest before his arrest, raised $32,755.74 in the third quarter, and only $2,955 was donated to his campaign after his arrest.

All but $80 of the money donated to Collins in the last round came from residents of the 27th District.

In the quarter, Collins spent $233,369 on advertising, $40,147.33 in legal fees and a $7,895 on a charter flight.

Members of Congress must justify travel expenses as a legitimate campaign activity to spend campaign funds on travel, according to House Rules.

Baldassarre told the Buffalo News that the chartered plane was used to return Collins to Buffalo after his arrest in New York City on Aug. 8. Collins was hours late to a press conference he scheduled and congressional staff at the time (the event was staffed by government employees, not campaign employees) told members of the media that his flight had been delayed. Though Collins called a press conference, he refused to take questions after issuing a statement.

October 15, 2018 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Buffalo Detention Facility, batavia, news, notify.

buffalodetentionfacility2018.jpg

In the middle of the 650-foot main corridor of the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, along a 50-yard section of white concrete block wall, are hand-painted images of flags from all over the world, dozens and dozens of them, one to represent each country for every detainee who has ever been held at the facility.

It's one of the first things a new detainee will see after going through the processing center and being led to the unit where the detainee will be held for the next several weeks, maybe months.

Some visitors who see the wall, said Thomas Feeley, field office director for Immigration and Custom Enforcement, think the flags represent "everybody who has been captured" by ICE, sending a negative message to detainees. But that's not at all how detainees take it, Feeley said. "There's an odd sense of pride" when they see the flag of their home country, knowing a fellow resident had been through the facility before.

"It makes them feel like they're not alone," Feeley said. "They realize nobody hates them because they are here illegally. It's just a process for them to go through."

A multicultural population

On any given day, there are 636 detainees in the facililty from as many as 80 different countries, said Jeff Searls, the facility's officer in charge.

Searls, Feeley, and Public Information Officer Khaalid Walls provided The Batavian with a tour of the facility Monday morning. It's the first time a reporter from a local media outlet toured the facility.

"The only two countries that have never been represented here are North Korea and the Vatican," Searls  said, and he doesn't expect the Pope to enter the country illegally any time soon.

The average stay for detainees -- "detainees" are not "inmates" because the Buffalo Detention Facility is not a place for punitive confinment -- is 65 days. Searls explained that sometimes a detainee might be admitted who won't challenge deportion and they can be sent to their country of origin within days, while others might fight deportation, and depending on the court proceedings, can be held for a year or two.

"We don't want anybody here longer than they need to be," Searls said. "My goal is the shorter the stay the better."

The Bufffalo Detention Facility is one of the county's more significant employers, with 360 staff members in administration, maintenance, detainee supervision, medical and other services. Almost all of the employees come from Genesee County or one of the adjacent counties. Searls is from Genesee County and Feeley lives here as well and volunteers with his local fire department.

It's also the Federal government's most significant presence in Genesee County.

Only four other facilities like it nationwide

There are only four other similar facilities in the nation -- in Miami, Phoenix, and two in Texas -- Port Isabel and El Paso.

The facility's annual budget is somewhere between $30 million and $35 million, excluding medical expenses for detainees (which operates on a separate budget from what Searls administers).

Its two federal immigration courts are technically open to the public like any other courtroom, but the court calendar isn't easy to obtain. There is not a regular flow of information about detainee admissions or deportations.

And, of course, immigration and immigration enforcement is a hot political topic.

Yet, unless there's a protest outside its gates, its operations are nearly opaque to local residents. When it comes to immigration enforcement, even with this big federal presence, we rarely hear about what's going on right in our own backyard.

That is unlikely to change but it's also why The Batavian requested a tour.

We have no pictures from our tour because photography is prohibited inside the facility.

Most of the detainees at the facility have some prior criminal record before they're admitted, anywhere from 65 to 80 percent, with the balance being held purely on an immigration law violation, Searls said.

The process upon arrival

When a detainee arrives, they are held for up to 12 hours in a processing center. They are interviewed and given a medical exam. The process helps determine where best to place them in the population and whether they have any immediate medical concerns that would require them to be segregated or hospitalized.

Detainees being held on just an immigration violation are given a two pairs of blue pants and a blue shirt. Those with a non-violent criminal record (petit larceny, DWI, etc.) are dressed in orange. Those with violent felony convictions wear red.

Orange detainees can intermingle with blue or red detainees but blue and red are never placed in the same unit.

Besides criminal threat level, staff processing detinees must also consider country of origin and religious belief when deciding where to house a detainee. Typically, people from the same country enjoy sharing the same detainee unit but two people from the same country might belong to opposing tribes and two people who share a common religion might come from competing traditions (shch as Shia and Sunni Muslims), so it might be best to keep those individuals segregated from each other.

It can get complicated.

"We have somebody who has been doing that job for a long time," Searls said. "He's very professional."

The detention facility was built in 1998 and originally housed 425 detainees and prisonors for the U.S. Marshall's Office. It was expanded in 2013 and is now strictly an ICE facility.

Inside the walls

There are three diamond-shaped units on the west side of the facility, each with two wings. One wing is almost exclusively detainees in red uniforms with a common area ringed by locking cells with two beds each (except for the handicapped cells, which each contain one bed). Detainees are generally given unlimited access during the day to the common area for socializing and exercise. They are locked in their cells by 11:20 p.m.

In the other wing, there are two bays with common areas on the first floor and then bunk beds with lockers, no cells, on the first and second floors.

Both wings have TVs and a bank of phones that are accessible to detainees any time they want to make a phone call. Searls said there is one phone per six or seven detainees.

The detainees can also play ping-pong.

During designated hours, they can go outside where they can play soccer (the facilities most popular sport by far, Searls said), basketball or handball.

There is also an indoor basketball court, an entertainment library, where detainees can also take art classes, and across the hall from that library is a law library where detainess can research laws and legal cases. Some detainees choose to represent themselves. Others just want to double check their own attorneys.

There are also computers available in their holding areas available for legal research.

Detainees also have access to tablet computers that they can use to rent movies, TV shows, or books, through a private service, or make video calls to loved ones.

For female detainees, there is now a knitting class available.

Detainees can also study for the GED while held at the facility.

"These accomodations keeps them busy and keeps them happy," Searls said, noting that detainees who are busy and happy cause fewer problems.

Handling complaints and suggested improvements

But there are complaints, Searls said. If there is a complaint, it is fully investigated, even complaints against guards.

And staff is open to suggestions for improvements from detainees.

"A lot of the changes we've made over the past 20 years have come from suggestions by detainees," Searls said.

All communications, except for communications with attorneys are monitored.

The facility also has a medical facility that might best be described as an urgent care clinic. Detainees with any medical complaint have instant access. They can even report a medical problem from the tablets available to them in their cells.

Commander Charles McGee, an Air Force veteran, is in charge of the medical staff.

The staff includes a doctor, physician's assistance, nurses, a dentist and two psychologists. 

Anything that requires hospitalization means the patient is transported, with guards, to UMMC or ECMC. If the detainee has surgery or needs other post-medical care, there are rooms in the unit available for recovery.

There are also isolation rooms for detainees with communicable diseases. While this might include flus and diseases like Ebola, the biggest concern is tuberculosis. Detainees are not transferred to their holding area until they've been cleared for TB. If the detainee won't allow a blood test, they are held in the processing area until a chest X-ray can be completed, which can take up to another 24 hours.

Receiving visitors and preparing meals

Once officially a detainee, detainees can receive vistors. There is a visitor area with a dozen private booths (the ones for detainees and their attorenys are slightly larger). In general, detainees can visit with family members for up to an hour, but when family members have made a long, special trip to visit a detainee, they might be able to visit for the full two hours in the morning, and the full two hours in the afternoon, and then again in the evening.

"They've come a long way, so we try to accommodate that as much as possible," Searls said.  

As you might imagine, with a population of several hundred men and women from 80 different countries, some with medical conditions and a variety of religious beliefs or dietary habits, keeping them all properly fed can be a challenge.

The kitchen staff -- which includes trusted detainees -- prepares three meals a day -- for a total of 2,500 to 2,800 calories per day -- that are delivered to cells and dorms that accommodate those detainees' concerns. Though no meal ever contains any pork so that those with religious prohibitions against eating pork need not worry that their meals were prepared in a kitchen that also prepared pork.

"We do have turkey bacon," Searls said.

There is a religious advisor on staff and the facility does its best to accommodate every religious faith.

When trouble crops up

No facility with more than 600 people of various backgrounds, beliefs, and life experiences will always be peaceful. There are no gangs in the facility, Searls said, but that doesn't mean there are not gang members in the population. For the most part, the detainees are focused on dealing with their immigration cases and aren't house there long enough to form affiliations.

But when there are fights, the individuals are separated and taken to a section of the facility with isolation cells. The incident is investigated, which could lead to one participant or the other being held in isolation longer than the other. Searls said it's really just a cooling-off period. It's not like, he said, Attica or Pelican Bay, where inmates might be kept in solitary confinement for 60 days or longer. At most, a detainee is held in isolation for 10 days. While in isolation, they get one hour a day for outside their cell for exercise (Searls is only required to provide one hour every five days) and receive a daily visit from a staff psychologist.

Detainees can also request protective custody. That request is always granted without question, Searls said. Even if staff might suspect paranoia, the request for protective custody in an isolation cell is always granted.

"If someone has an issue, even if it's just in their own mind, if they feel it's necessary, I don't tell them they don't," Searls said.

By no means a vacation spot, but scores high on accreditation

If anything about our story makes it sound like the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility is a country club, it's not. With nearly uniformly white walls and gray doors, thick, concrete block, windowless walls, constant monitoring, hours of confinement to a limited space, meals and snacks only on schedule, some limits on contact with the outside world, being locked up with people you didn't choose to hang out with, and very few opportunities to see the sun, this is no Miami Beach vacation. It's serious business.

And it's a business Searls and Feeley are clearly proud to lead. Of the five ICE detention facilities in the United States, they think the best one is in Batavia. The facility scored a 99.4, out of a possible score of 100, in a recent accreditation by the American Correctional Association.

The facility has in fact scored well in every accreditation and review it has received. It was important to Searls and Feeley that readers know how well it does on its audits and inspections, which Searls said is a credit to the staff and Feeley said the facility has good staff because of the strong, blue-collar work ethic of Western New Yorkers.

The facility has always drawn its staff from the region and in its 20th year it boasts of having little turnover; many of the new staff members are relatives, even sons and daughters, of current or former staff members.

"You're usually not going to have family seek employment at some place that isn't a good place to work," Searls said.

aerialbfdf.jpg

Screen capture from the Genesee County GIS Mapping Service.

October 11, 2018 - 6:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, Oakfield, news, notify, crime, Grand Jury.

John M. Grabowski is indicted for the crime of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 16, 2016, in the Town of Oakfield that Grabowski commited first-degree rape -- he being age 18 or older and the victim with whom he is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse was less than 13 years old. In counts two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10, the defendant is accused of second-degree rape, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged in those counts that the adult defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with a person less that 15 in the Town of Oakfield, respectively, on: May 22, 2016; July 4, 2016; Feb. 27, 2017; May 22, 2017; July 4, 2017; Thanksgiving Day (November) 2017; Christmas Day (December) 2017; and Feb. 27, 2018. In counts 10, 11 and 12, Grabowski is accused of third-degree rape, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse as an adult male with three other persons less than 17 on these respective dates in the Town of Oakfield: May 22, 2018; July 4, 2018; and July 23, 2018. In count 13, he is accused of criminal sexual act in the third degree, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct without the person's consent, and that was due to some reason other than incapacity to consent. In count 14, Grabowski is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count 14 that the defendant knowingly acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 and did so between Oct. 1, 2016 and July 24, 2018, in the Town of Oakfield.

Trametrias L. Scott is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 27, 2018 in the Town of Bergen, that she drove a 2005 GMC on Route 33 in the Town of Bergen while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, Scott is accused of aggravated DWI, per se, as a Class E felony. It is alleged in count two, that she had a BAC of .18 percent or more at the time. In count three, the defendant is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count three that Scott knew, or had reason to know, that her driver's license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by authorities at the time and that she was under the influence of alcohol or a drug at the time. In count four, she is accused of circumventing an ignition interlock device, a Class A misdemeanor, for driving the GMC which was not equipped with this device she was required to have. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney's Office, Scott is accused of having been convicted of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Aug. 5, 2016, in the City of Rochester Court, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

October 11, 2018 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, alexander, corfu, crime.

Thomas Dale Young, 38, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal sex act in the third degree -- being age 21 or more with a victim less than 17; criminal sexual act in the first degree -- by forcible compulsion; and sex abuse in the first degree -- contact by forcible compulsion. Young was arrested at 4:58 a.m. on Oct. 9 after allegedly committing the crimes for which he is charged. Batavia police were called to a residence on Ellicott Street for an incident that had recently occurred. After an investigation, Young was arrested, arraigned and put in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond. He was due in City Court on Wednesday. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Felicity DeGroot, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Susan Ann Samanka, 55, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with a sex offender registry violation. She was arrested at 10 a.m. on Oct. 10 at 4054 W. Main Street Road, Room #7, in Batavia following an investigation for allegedly failing to register her change of address. The registered sex offender was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court and is scheduled to appear there on Nov. 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Jamie L. Edenholm, 31, of Gabbey Road, Corfu. She was arrested at 4:13 p.m. on Oct. 5 on Richmond Avenue in Batavia and charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; possession of a hypodermic needle; criminal use of drug paraphernalia; and failure to keep right. The arrest was made after a car vs. telephone pole accident. She was issued appearance tickets and is due in City Court on Nov. 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Katty L. Jackson, 22, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass. She was arrested at 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 8 on Central Avenue in Batavia after previously being told she was not welcome at her ex-boyfriend's residence. She allegedly entered the residence and knocked at the interior door for an extended period of time. She was released on an appearance ticket. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Elena E. Vega-Vazquez, 36, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: aggravated DWI -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more; common law DWI; and failure to keep right. She was arrested at 12:17 a.m. Oct. 5 on Harvester Avenue after a traffic stop for allegedly failing to keep right. She is due in City Court again on Oct. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Joshua D. Sumeriski, 33, of Buffalo Road, Alexander, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was arrested after allegedly operating a motor vehicle at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 on West Main Street in Batavia without the owner's consent. He was arraigned on Oct. 8 in City Court and put in jail in lieu of $1,000 bail. He was due back in City Court on Oct. 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Janeen A. Young, 21, of William Street, East Randolph, is charged with petit larceny in connection with an incident which occurred at 11:20 a.m. on Jan. 3 at an apartment on Jackson Street in Batavia. Young was arrested on Oct. 5 on an outstanding City Court warrant. She was arraigned and released on her own recognizance. She is due in City Court again on Nov. 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Catherine Mucha.

Christopher J. Wiegman, 30, no permanent address, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested on a warrant out of City Court for failure to appear on Sept. 27 in court. He was due in City Court on Oct. 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Brian P. Suttell, 41, of Lake Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree. He was arrested at 9:20 p.m. on Oct. 6 on East Main Street in Batavia after police allegedly witnessed him smoking marijuana in a public parking lot in the city. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court and is due there Oct. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

October 10, 2018 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry Sharpe, news, notify.

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Republicans in New York have been totally ineffective in protecting the Second Amendment rights of the state's citizens, Larry Sharpe, Libertarian candidate for governor, told members of Genesee County SCOPE at the regular monthly meeting at Calvary Baptist Church in Batavia on Tuesday night.

He is the only candidate on the ballot, he said, who can and will get the SAFE Act repealed, and he laid out a plan for getting it done even though he would be the only elected Libertarian in the state.

First, Sharpe said, within 90 days of taking office he would pardon every person in the state who has been convicted of a SAFE Act felony. Next, he would encourage local law enforcement to stop enforcing the SAFE Act.

At that point, Sharpe said, he will be attacked by the media. But rather than cowering, he would use the attacks to educate the public about how bad the SAFE Act is for all New Yorkers.

"When I talk with people who support the SAFE Act, they say the SAFE Act is great and that is as far as they think about it," Sharpe said. "They say the SAFE Act has the word 'safe' in it so it must be good. 'We haven't had a school shooting since 2013, therefore the SAFE Act works.' "

He said the problem with the Republican argument against this shallow line of thinking has been, "but it's unconstitutional," which is totally unpersuasive to a supporter of the SAFE Act.

His line of argument gets their attention, he said.

"The SAFE Act has made millions of New Yorkers overnight criminals," Sharpe said. "They purchased a firearm legally and then the next day they were violent felons in the eye of the law. And they go, 'oh, really? I thought the SAFE Act just outlawed machine guns.'

"That's not what it did. No, literally, it made millions of New Yorkers violent felons overnight. It made all medical personnel part of the the state secret police. They must now literally report on people (who they might suspect of mental illness)."

Sharpe used an example of a person seriously injured who tells a doctor, "I'm in so much pain I want to die." That person, Sharpe said, gets labeled "suicidal" and now can't possess a firearm.

He also said the SAFE Act also disapportinately affects veterans, who are both more likely to own a firearm and more like to suffer from PTSD.

"When you tell people this, watch all the people who were pro SAFE Act start to say, 'oh, that's bad,' " Sharpe said.

Once he's pardoned those convicted under the SAFE Act, and once it's not routinely enforced, and once he's made the public case why the SAFE Act is an unfair law, then he can go to the Legislature and tell them, "repeal it."

He thinks that by then the political pressure will be on the Democrats in the Assembly to repeal it and he will be able to get the votes in the Senate because at least five members will have decided it's politically expedient to be on the side of the governor and will have switched their party registration to Libertarian.

He promised to have the SAFE Act repealed in 2020.

Sharpe said he will win the governor's race because he has a movement going. He compared it to Donald Trump's campaign. People didn't see Trump coming because he used Twitter to build support.

"I use Facebook and video," Sharpe said.

He said his campaign appeals not just to Republicans but also Democrats and independents.

"I am the most pro Second Amendment candidate ever and I draw Democrats all the time," Sharpe said. "You want to win the election? You want to make this a pro Second Amendment state? You've got to get Democrats. You've got to get independents. Republicans are not enough."

October 8, 2018 - 2:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, elba, notify, Le Roy.

Joseph Michael Dispenza Sr., 45, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing with a dangerous instrument. At 7:09 p.m. on Oct. 5 on Oak Orchard Road in Elba, Dispenza was arrested following a report and police investigation of a person threatening people in the woods with a knife. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Elba Town Court at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Austin Heberlein.

David Michael Pierleoni, 32, of Whittier Road, Rochester, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny. At 5:34 p.m. on Sept. 24, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to Kohl's department store for a larceny complaint. Pierleoni was arrested for allegedly stealing $1,097 in merchandise from the store. He was issued an appearance ticket for 1 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

Jon T. Magliocco, 41, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is a registered Level 3 sex offender charged with failure to report a change, in this case, to register an Internet account; first offense. He is required by law to register any change in Internet accounts with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Service. He was jailed without bail and is due in City Court on Nov. 1. He is currently an inmate of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision -- Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora -- and will remain in their custody. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Investigator Eric Hill.

Gary L. Williams, 26, and Matthew Reed, no age provided, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, are charged with disorderly conduct / using obscene language in public. They were arrested at 3:15 p.m. on Oct. 2 on Hutchins Place after allegedly repeatedly screaming obscenities, racial slurs and threats to harm / murder another person -- all while outside in a public place in the presence of neighbors and a gathering of young children. The men continued screaming obscenities despite being warned by police to stop, according to the police report. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Kyle-Jacob T. Fitzpatrick, 29, of Smyrna, was arrested on Oct. 5 by the Le Roy Police Department and charged with: one count of driving a commercial vehicle while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor; one count of driving a commercial vehicle while ability impaired by drugs, a Class A misdemeanor; one count of failure to maintain lane, a violation; and one count of failure to keep right, a violation. At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, patrols received a complaint of erratic operation of a tractor-trailer in the Village of Le Roy. Patrols were able to locate the vehicle and while observing it, the vehicle allegedly failed to maintain its designated lane; this caused oncoming traffic to leave their lane to avoid a collision. After a brief investigation, it is believed that Fitzpatrick was operating the vehicle in an intoxicated state. Fitzpatrick was taken into custody without incident evaluated by a drug recognizant expert. He was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $500 bail. Fitzpatrick's driver’s license is suspended pending outcome of the charges. Fitzpatrick is to return to the Le Roy Town Court on Nov. 5.

Alecia K. Urban, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting an incident. She allegedly reported a motor-vehicle accident to a police officer, alleging it occurred at a particular location, time and under different circumstances than what actually occurred. She was arrested at 12:20 p.m. on Oct. 1 and was issued an appearance ticket. Urban is due in city court on Oct. 9. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Dylan M. Conte, 25, of Bacon Street, Le Roy, was arrested on Oct. 5 by the Le Roy Police Department and charged with: one count of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony; one count of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, a Class A misdemeanor; and one count of petit larceny, also a Class A misdemeanor. In the early morning of Oct. 5, the Le Roy Police Department responded to a complaint of a subject breaking windows on a building located in the Village of Le Roy. Upon arrival, patrols located Conte in the area. After a brief investigation, it is believed Conte allegedly entered the building and took an item that was located inside. Conte also damaged a window located on the building. He was arraigned in the Le Roy Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. Conte is to return to the Le Roy Town Court on Nov. 5.

Ryan David Shumway, 39, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. He was arrested at 2:10 a.m. on Oct. 2 on Jackson Street and issued an appearance ticket for city court on Oct. 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kyle Krtanik.

Kevin W. Howard, 18, of Chili Avenue, Chili, is charged with failure to appear. On the afternoon of Oct. 2, Howard turned himself in on an active bench warrant for failing to appear in court. He was arraigned in city court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kyle Krtanik, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

October 7, 2018 - 7:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, news, notify.
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     Amanda  Havens    Thomas Williamee

Two Le Roy residents were arrested early Friday morning after police received a complaint that two children had been given them medication to make them sleep and then left alone at a residence in the village.

Amanda E. Havens, 36, and Thomas C. Williamee, 48, both of Munson Street, Le Roy, were charged with counts of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

The couple is accused of leaving the two children unsupervised.

After receiving the complaint early Friday morning, Le Roy PD responded to the residence and tried to contact anybody who might be inside the residence. After their was no response and considering the nature of the complaint, police officers made forced entry into the residence.

Both children were located alone inside but otherwise unharmed.

The age of the children was not released.

After further investigation, Havens and Williamee were located at another location and taken into custody.

Havens was jailed on $3,000 bail and Williamee was jailed on $2,500 bail.

October 7, 2018 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Ellicott Station, batavia, news, notify.

State officials are looking for a more robust commitment from the community before signing off on a low-interest loan to help finance the Ellicott Station project in Batavia; developer Sam Savarino told members of the GCEDC board at their Thursday meeting.

As a result, the GCEDC board will consider an expanded PILOT for the project to match the 30-year loan from Homes and Community Renewal and also take into account the increased cost of the project, from $17.6 million to $21.75 million, as well as the expanded size from 73,100 square feet to 99,111 square feet, and the increase in apartment units from 51 to 55.

The loan is the last piece of the financing puzzle for the project, which has already been delayed by a year because of the complex financing, that includes a $3.5 million investment from Savarino, tax incentives by GCEDC of at least $1.5 million, state grants, and more than $10 million in private investment through a program called the New Market Tax Credits, which allows investors to purchase federal tax credits to help finance projects in distressed urban areas.

As the cost of the project has gone up, so has the cost of financing and transaction costs, which could top $2.5 million.

This is the first project to combine New Market Tax Credits and HCR financing, according to Savarino Companies CFO Milissa Acquard.

The incentives already approved include $897,293 in sales tax savings, $128,232 mortgage tax savings and GCEDC will consider increasing the and $537,398 in property tax savings for the project.

Half of the PILOT payments will be returned to the developer through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program with half going to the relevant taxing jurisdictions (typically, half of the PILOT in a BP2 project area goes into a pool to provide future assistance to to other projects).

Savarino said he thinks their proposal with HCR has gotten past a concern about the planned rental rates for the apartments.

HCR wants to ensure the apartments will be occupied and setting rents plus utilities at 90 percent of the city's median income seemed high to HCR officials, even though that formula is typically acceptable under HCR regulations. Officials asked Savarino to consider setting rents based on 80 or 85 percent of the median income.

Changing the rental rate creates a domino effect for the rest of the financial package, Savarino said, that makes the project much harder to pull off.

Savarino and Acquard said they both think they've reached an agreement with HRC on rents and the financing package but that includes an expanded PILOT approved by the GCEDC board.

"One of the issues that have kept coming up, in some cases with the New Market investors, but also with HCR, is the local buy-in," Savarino said. "It's been deemed not to have enough investment from the community for the benefit the community is getting. We've effectively checked that box by discussing a possible change to the PILOT."

A public hearing will be scheduled on a revised PILOT once the details are worked out.

October 7, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in opioids, GCASA, batavia, news, notify.

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To deal with the opioid crisis in New York, the state needs to an embrace an "all of the above" approach to find a way to keep people alive, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a visit to Batavia on Thursday.

Hochul was in town for a ribbon cutting at the new methodone clinic at GCASA. During her remarks Hochul talked about how the opioid crisis has led to tragedy in her own family, with a dose of heroin laced with fentanyl claiming the life of her nephew.

In an short interview after her remarks, Hochul said an "all of the above" approach could include consideration of safe injection sites. She was a little more vague about whether the state would consider following Portugal's lead, which decriminalized drug possession 18 years ago and established a program to help addicts find meaningful work, and as a result cut addiction rates in half and reduced overdose deaths to 30 to 50 a year, about 1/50th the rate of the United States. Prior to 2001, Portugal was known as the heroin capital of Europe.

"I don’t know we’re prepared to say anything about following a particular model," Hochul said. "We are considering all options is all I can say. If people have ideas, please bring them forward."

During her remarks, Hochul talked about her role, along with other state officials, of crisscrossing the state, meeting with residents and people on the frontlines of the opioid crisis. The result was legislation that not only led to the $850,000 grant to build the methodone clinic at GCASA but was recently amended to allow for medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. The legislation also attempts to eliminate the waiting time for an addict to get into treatment.

"We’re trying to figure out how do we stop people from dying literally in the streets and in their homes," Hochul told The Batavian.

Besides the methadone clinic, guests at the ribbon cutting were able to tour a new mobile treatement clinic that will allow GCASA staff to travel throughout the region and meet with addicts where they live, eliminating the need for them to travel to Batavia. It is important to note, the mobile clinic will not include a methadone dispensary, which by law must be at the approved facility in Batavia.

"That is why this is such a hopeful day for me," Hochul said while discussing the changes at GCASA. "To see what we can bring here, a new facility, an expansion, a mobile unit, which may look like an RV, recreational vehicle, but to me that’s a recovery vehicle."

Thursday, the governor's office also announced $900,000 in funding for 17 detox beds at GCASA. Director John Bennett showed off floor plans for a new detox facility on the East Main Street property.

"We often talk about going to treatment but we forget that before you can go into treatment, you have to go through detox," said Arlene González-Sánchez, commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. "Detox is really critical. Detrox is not treatment. It is the beginning of treatment and we’re so happy that we’re able to say that we will be able to have some detox beds in this whole region."

Brian Paris, president of the GCASA board, praised Bennett and the rest of the GCASA staff for their hard work in helping to establish the methadone clinic, the mobile unit, and soon the detox facility.

"We live in a changing world and GCASA is changing to support that changing world," Paris said.

Hochul's nephew, she said, started on his path to addiction after being prescribed painkillers when he cut his hand on a meat slicing machine in a delicatessen where he was working.

"That led to addiction, led to the streets, led to a decade of putting his mother and our family through hell as he tried to find a path forward," Hochul said.

The family thought he was past his addiction and on the right path. He was a graduate student at University of Buffalo  and a mentor to others trying to kick the habit. After he broke up with a girlfriend he slipped and tried one dose and died as a result.

"Be proud that your state has not run from this problem," Hochul said. "We have leaned into this problem."

NOTE: I took pictures of the ribbon cutting. I thought I imported those pictures in PhotoShop (Lightroom). I reformatted the card for another assignment and discovered later I hadn't imported the pictures. They are lost. My apologies to those involved.

October 7, 2018 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany, notify.

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Investigators have yet to determine why a 2015 BMW driven by 61-year-old Syed L. Rahman, of Williamsville, crossed the center line and crashed into an ambulance from the Bethany Fire Department on Route 63 just before midnight Saturday.

Rahman was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Don Coleman.

A heavy rainstorm was passing through the area at the time of the crash. There's a slight curve in the road near the area of the crash scene.

Rahman was northbound on Ellicott Street Road. The ambulance, driven by volunteer medic James L. Duval, 65, of Bethany, was southbound. The ambulance and three-person crew were returning to the Bethany station after handling an earlier EMS call. Since the crew wasn't on a call, the ambulance was not in emergency mode, no lights or siren, and was not carrying a patient.

Duval and crew members Christopher Page and Melody Davis, all volunteers, were not seriously injured but were transported to UMMC for evaluation and treatment.

Duval, is the former Genesee County planning director. He retired in 2012 after 36 years as a county employee.

The accident investigation is being handled by Deputy Andrew Mullen. Assisting at the scene were Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, Investigator Chad Minuto, Sgt. John Baiocco, Sgt. Jason Saile, the Bethany Fire Department, Stafford Fire Department, Town of Batavia Fire Department, and Mercy EMS.

(Initial Report)

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