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February 21, 2020 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

When the Batavia City School District Board of Education meets Tuesday, they will discuss how to proceed with replacing trustee Zach Korzelius, who resigned recently.

In an email to Board President Pat Burk, Korzelius wrote: "This will serve as my written notice to the board of my resignation to focus more time on work and family. Thank you to all for relationships that have been built and good luck going forward."

Korzelius was initially appointed to the board in 2017 to fill the unexpired term of Leslie Johnson and then elected to the board in 2018. His term was set to expire at the end of June 2021.

His bio has been removed from the district website.

Photo: District photo.

February 21, 2020 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Armory, batavia, news, notify.

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It's been nearly four years since Dave Vascianne purchased the former armory property on State Street in the City of Batavia and according to his consultant, David Carr said it's been a slow but deliberate process to decide what to build on the land.

The decision, on the back of the property, a senior housing complex.

On the front, using the existing buildings?  Vascianne and Carr want to hear from the community.

To that end, they've been working with a group of RIT students to develop a range of possible uses for the buildings and those ideas will be presented to the community from noon to 2 p.m. at City Centre on Saturday, Feb. 29.

"We want to get as much input from the community as possible," Carr said. "Whatever it is, we want to fit with the senior housing and make sure everything fits together. Everything has to be social together because otherwise, it won't work, which is why we want to get input from everybody."

DaVas Enterprises, LLC purchased the parcel Aug. 1, 2016, from the New York State Police for $235,000.

At the time, Vascianne said, he wasn't sure what he would do with the property but he's a developer. It was too good a value to pass up. It's a nice piece of land and the existing buildings are architecturally interesting and in good shape.

He settled on senior housing to anchor the development because of the residential zoning of the area but he hasn't decided yet what to do with the front part of the property.

Carr said the project is being privately financed though there are tax credits available for the senior housing and they may seek out other assistance.

Photo: File photo from 2015

February 20, 2020 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Pandora's Boxxx, Brach Machine, inc., batavia, notify.

Machine shop owners Nancy and Bill Brach passed up the opportunity to buy the building next door to their business in the Town of Batavia nearly 20 years ago and the die was cast.

Nancy said they came to regret that.

Out-of-state businessman Jay W. Tuxford bought it instead, in November of 2000 when escrow closed on the $130,000 sale of 4816 Ellicott Street Road.

Brach's Machine, Inc., a 15,000-square-foot facility at 4814 Ellicott Street Road, soon had new neighbors -- Pandora's Boxxx, an erotica store that sold racy lingerie, adults toys and videos, and exotic gizmos.

"The porno people" as she refers to them, "weren't horrible neighbors" but the Brachs found the operation "unsavory" nonetheless.

"We wanted that place to be closed forever," Nancy said, with some exasperation, adding that the brass at O-AT-KA Milk Products across the street at Cedar Street and Ellicott Street Road, weren't sorry to see the adult business go away either, finding it a rather "unwholesome" sight.

So it was with great delight that they found that Tuxford wanted to unload the property.

He appears to be a South Carolina resident who has, or has had, several businesses, according to information in online databases. These include Panbox Enterprises LTD (Pandora's Boxxx locations) based in Inman, S.C., South Shore Distributing in Long Beach, Mass., The Love Boutique Inc. in Inman, S.C. and in Orlando, the Florida metropolis where he also has two units in a multiplex. He is also listed as owning Florida Video Control Inc.

The Oct. 22, 2010 issue of the Rochester Business Journal lists Tuxford as filing a legal notice to change the name of a business in Genesee County from Granny's Attic of WYN Inc. to Nicholé’s of NY Inc.

The Brachs closed escrow on the 1,700-square-foot property next door on Oct. 18, and the sale price was $160,000.

It was originally owned, according to county records, by Albert Scroger. Genesee Farms bought it in 1990 for $70,000 and Pavlos Panitsidis paid $80,000 for it five years later. Five years after that is when Tuxford bought it.

The Brach's primary interest in it was for "purely selfish reasons" -- to provide much needed additional parking space for their 19 employees and room for their trucks to safely back in and out.

Brach Machine and Design, DBA was founded in 1985, specializing in tool design and custom machine work, focusing on the die casting industry. It incorporated under the name Brach Machine, Inc. in 1993. In 2005, the husband and wife established legal co-ownership under Brachefeller, LLC ("as in Rockefeller," says Nancy) and that entity is the listed property owner of both parcels, according to Bill.

The business continues to serve the die casting industry, producing a wide variety of shot-end components for zinc and aluminum die casting machines.

The Brachs rent the former Pandora's Boxxx to Chuck Bucci, who owns Batavia Bargains, "for a song," Nancy said.

Bucci relocated from 198 Ellicott St. in the city, behind the Qwik Fill, and opened at his new space on Monday. 

Gone are the sun-faded pair of familiar burgundy awnings emblazoned with the words Pandora's Boxxx.

This afternoon, Bucci said the town site offers a bigger, more attractive space to display the goods he culls from estate sales, an occasional auction, etc.

He stocks a wide array of antiques, collectibles, primitives, all kinds of furniture, artwork, tools, signs, toys, and needful knickknacks and odd treasures.

"It's a nicer building ... there's more visibility and more drive-by traffic," Bucci said. "We were in the other building two years and nobody knew we were there."

Batavia Bargains' hours are the same for now: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday; closed Wednesdays and Sundays. Bucci said he'll probably expand or adjust the hours in the warmer months.

February 20, 2020 - 4:50pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Town of Alabama, notify.

The Alabama Town Board is considering a change in a section of the zoning law that, in effect, would make it more difficult for residents to complain about noise from windmills.

A public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Monday (Feb. 24) at the Town Hall on Judge Road to get feedback concerning the adoption of Proposed Local Law 2-2020 Town of Alabama Zoning Law Article IV Section 622, Part C7 Noise, amendment.

“This was actually started as a request from a citizen, who proposed the wording, and it was sent to the (Town) planning board and then back to the Town Board,” said Town Supervisor Rob Crossen, who took office on Jan. 1.

Crossen said he knew of one windmill in the southeast corner of the town that wasn’t functioning properly and emitted a loud noise that bothered several neighbors, but said that it has been repaired “to my knowledge.”

Windmills (not large wind turbines) are in operation at various locations in the Town of Alabama, including some on Macomber and Townline roads and on farms on Ledge Road and Maple Avenue.

Crossen also made it clear that he has no opinion on the matter at this point.

“I want to hear what the public has to say,” he said.

The current noise regulation states the following:

7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period, when measured at any neighboring property line not owned by the applicant.

If the amendment is passed, a key revision would require residents filing a “legitimate complaint” to bear the cost of “independent third-party professional sound testing.”

The proposed amended ordinance reads as follows:

7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period. An exemption shall be made when the National Weather Service issues a high wind advisory or warning.

Any sound testing shall only be done due to a legitimate complaint and shall be conducted in closest neighboring inhabited dwelling. The cost of this independent third-party professional sound testing shall be borne by the complainant. If the testing at complainant’s inhabited dwelling shows sound level exceeding allowable limits, the wind turbine owner must address and remedy the situation in coordination with the Town of Alabama Zoning Enforcement Officer.

-- A wind advisory is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for an hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph for any duration;
-- A high wind warning is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for any duration.

February 19, 2020 - 5:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Tonya Marie Ficarella, 33, of Lovers Lane Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. On Feb. 13 at 8:45 p.m. Genesee County Sheriff's deputies took a report of a domestic incident that occurred earlier in the day. Following an investigation, Ficarella was arrested. It is alleged that Ficarella struck a male in the face during a physical altercation in front of a 3-year-old child. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on March 5. The case was handled by Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Shaquille Levon Davis, 27, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment. Following a domestic incident at a local motel on West Main Street Road in Batavia, Davis was arrested for allegedly putting a victim in fear of physical injury by placing his hands on the victim. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and is due to return there on March 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon.

February 19, 2020 - 3:26pm

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After more than a dozen years of effort by county officials, the aging bridge over the Tonawanda Creek at South Lyon Street may finally get replaced, perhaps sooner rather than later.

The project has been approved for a $498,400 federal grant.

Yesterday, the Public Service Committee recommended approval of a resolution authorizing the county to spend an additional $124,600 from the county's 1-percent share of sales tax and beginning the design phase of the project.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said under current terms of the grant, administered by the state, construction can't begin until 2023 but the county will push to accelerate the project.

"We are going to design it as quickly as we can and then we're going to press to have it funded in advance of (October 2022)," Hens said. "It depends on what money is available at state level and in the region. If projects get delayed or something comes in under budget, well, there is a possibility there might be money lying around that we could jump on."

Hens said he first submitted the project for Federal funding in 2006. The funds were awarded in 2007 but then the recession of 2008 meant a cut in spending. He resubmitted it in 2011 but Federal authorities determined that as a single-lane bridge, it didn't warrant saving.

"We argued that the traffic counts are higher than you think they are," Hens said. "We had the city, our city, the DPW, help us out on traffic counts. We had the traffic counts of around 2,500 cars a day at the peak."

The bridge is an important link for traffic between the bridges at Oak Street and at River Street, Hens said. 

In 2014, there were more cuts at the Federal level and it was pulled off the docket again. Hens resubmitted the project in 2017 and was denied funding.

The plan is now, with a grant awarded, to start the design phase immediately, because, Hens said, once money is spent on the project it is less likely to suffer another cut in spending.

"It's posted for five tons now," Hens said. "It's been in pretty rough shape. To make it go another three years might be pushing the limits from an engineering standpoint. It might get to the point where the posting drops enough where you can't get a car over it and it's closed."

The current bridge is Army surplus and was set in place in 1982 and a temporary fix for the old bridge it replaced.

The hope is to design a two-lane bridge. That's tough because the abutment of the current bridge is right under the pavement of South Main Street. Hens said the plan is also to design another truss bridge so that the character of the current bridge is maintained.

February 19, 2020 - 2:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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       Brandon Fogg

A man who threatened a police officer with a BB gun is doing well in drug treatment, according to reports given to Judge Charles Zambito, but that wasn't enough to keep him out of jail for eight months.

Brandon Fogg, 32, pulled out what looked like a handgun while wrestling with a police officer at a location on Cedar Street one night in early June and a citizen intervened and stepped on Fogg's hand.

That intervention may have saved Fogg's life.

A week later, he entered a guilty plea to menacing and since then has been through treatment at Bradford and Atwater and is currently in an outpatient house run by GCASA.

His attorney, Jamie Welch, argued for an intermittent jail sentence given Fogg's success and the potential for disrupting that success with a continuous jail term.

Fogg told Zambito that he's been eight months clean. He thanks Zambito for the chance to go through treatment and giving him his life back.

"Being sober, next to my children, is the most important thing in my life," Fogg said. "I've done everything you've asked of me and I believe I've done well. I stand here another man ready to accept whatever you decide."

Zambito said considering the seriousness of the offense, a jail term that served as a sanction was necessary.

"You mentioned you wanted to commit suicide by cop," Zambito said. "You're lucky that didn't happen because it certainly seems like the officer would have been justified. Even though it was a toy gun you pulled on an officer, only the intervention of a bystander saved you."

Zambito said he didn't believe eight months in jail would disrupt Fogg's path of sobriety.

February 19, 2020 - 1:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in quinten edmonds, crime, murder, news, batavia, notify.

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Michael Paladino, who would have turned 44 years old today had he not been murdered by Quinten J. Edmonds on June 1, 2019, was remembered today in County Court as a loving son, brother, and father, but his aunts and mother, who each asked that Judge Charles Zambito give the lifelong criminal the maximum prison term available.

And so Zambito did, 20-years-to-life.

There was no expression of sympathy from the judge, even in response to an apology from Edmonds -- who didn't just react in the heat of the moment to Paladino's attempt to protect two women Edmonds was attacking: he took the time and effort to go to the apartment of an acquaintance on Ross Street and retrieve a knife.

“For whatever reason, you thought you had a score to settle with him," Zambito said. "You say you didn’t intend to kill him but when you stab somebody that many times with a knife, I don’t see how it can be reasonably viewed that you didn’t know he wouldn’t die from those injuries.”

Edmonds had told Zambito minutes before, "I take full responsibility for what happened and I apologize to the victim’s friends and family and to my family. This isn’t who I was raised to be and I didn’t intend to take anybody’s life that night. I was drinking and I took the situation too far and I’m sincerely sorry."

Family members said they will never recover from the death of Paladino.

"The loss of Michael has hurt our family beyond words," said Carol DiFrancisco, an aunt. "There are no more birthday parties, backyard parties, holidays, or other gatherings that will be the same. Our family is forever broken."

At the close of her statement, she said, "Quinten Edmonds has given Michael’s loving family a life sentence of eternal sadness.”

His aunt Nancy Elmore said, "He was a big man, not just from a physical standpoint but from the kindness of heart. His actions on June 1, 2019, will tell you that. Rendering aid to people he didn’t even know without regard to his own safety shows he was a kind, gentle, caring man."

The sister of Paladino's mother, Barbara Fay, read a statement on her behalf.

She said, "The pain will never go away for any of us. I don’t know how I could survive this if not for my loving family you see here. It helped me survive and pushed me forward."

She called Edmonds a brutal criminal who has no regard for human life.

"He should never walk free again to repeat his actions."

The family vowed to show up at his first parole hearing in about 20 years to oppose his potential release.

Throughout today's hearing, except when he was speaking, Edmonds sat motionless in his chair at the defense table and stared straight ahead. He never looked at any of the other speakers.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman also asked that Edmonds be shown no leniency in sentencing. He questioned Edmonds' claims that he was too intoxicated to know what he was doing and that he didn't intend to kill Paladino.

“He said he got the knife to scare Mike," Friedman said. "He didn’t need to scare Michael Paladino. He was the aggressor in this case and when he got to the corner he could have left. He did not and he got the knife because he intended to kill Michael Paladino."

Edmonds claims he was intoxicated, Friedman explained to Zambito, but he had the presence of mind to know to go to a residence he had been to before. He knew the residence well enough to know where to find a knife in the kitchen. Later, when Edmonds recounted events in his interview with a probation officer, he recalled details that are consistent with what witnesses said and the police investigation showed.  

“There is no indication he was so intoxicated that he was incapable of planning a murder," Friedman said.

Friedman said Zambito's decision was all about how long he wanted to protect society from a person who is committing such a horrible crime.

Defense Attorney Fred Rarick did not request for his client anything other than the sentencing recommendation agreed to at the time of Edmonds' guilty plea in August. He says, however, while acknowledging that his statement would be subject to misinterpretation, that perhaps something good could come from the events of June 1: That rather than first jump into a situation where people are fighting and yelling, people should call 9-1-1 first. If Paladino had done that, Rarick said, perhaps this whole outcome could have been avoided.

That drew a bit of a rebuke from Zambito when he spoke.

“I trust Mr. Rarick is not trying to blame Michael Paladino because that would be an injustice.”

Zambito acknowledged that Edmonds had a difficult childhood. He didn't have a father. His mother struggled to raise him but, Zambito said, Edmonds had a "loving grandmother who tried to raise him right."

Even so, Edmonds' criminal history became when he was 12 years old and he then spent the next 20 years either confined or awaiting confinement.

“You had many opportunities to deal with those issues, issues you had to know you had, and you never did," Zambito said. "That one is on you. It’s one thing to say you come from a difficult background, you were brought up in difficult circumstances. But life isn’t fair and at some point you had to recognize you have a problem. You don’t deserve to live in the community. You’re too much of a risk, too much of a danger to the rest of us and to people like Michael Paladino.”

NOTE: At the end of the proceedings, DA Lawrence Friedman informed the court that during the pretrial sentencing investigation, a records check in Monroe County by the probation department found that the correct spelling of the defendant's first name is "Quinten." He moved to have all court documents corrected. Contrary to previous reports, we've used the spelling "Quinten" in this story.

February 18, 2020 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, news, batavia, notify.

A man accused of taking a teenage girl across state lines was scheduled for sentencing in Genesee County Court today but when his appearance time came, he wasn't in court.

It turns out Guillermo Torres-Acevedo was confused about his sentencing agreement and didn't want to appear until he spoke with the attorney representing him in Federal Court.

He couldn't reach his attorney, Alexander J. Anzalone, a Federal public defender, who was away from his phone because he was in County Court waiting for Torres-Acevedo.

Once the confusion was cleared up, Torres-Acevedo was transported by a deputy from the jail to the courthouse.

Torres-Acevedo was not sentenced today because he has not been sentenced yet in Federal Court, where he's facing from 70 to 96 months in prison.

The 23-year-old Batavia resident, who entered a guilty plea in early December to rape in the second degree, apparently thought he couldn't be sentenced in County Court until after he was sentenced in Federal Court; however, that wasn't the actual plea agreement. His sentencing locally was delayed until after his originally scheduled appearance before a Federal judge but there was no promise that his sentencing would come after that appearance.

His local attorney, Thomas Burns, asked that sentencing for Torres-Acevedo be delayed not just because a locally imposed sentence could affect the upper end of the possible sentence in Federal Court, but also because there are documents he and Anzalone are trying to obtain that could impact the decisions of the judges in both jurisdictions on the defendant's possible sentence.

Burns said both attorneys recently became aware of information that indicated Torres-Acevedo was neglected and abused as a child in Puerto Rico.  Both attorneys are seeking time to obtain documentation from Puerto Rico that would substantiate this claim and that information could have a bearing on sentencing.

Judge Charles Zambito granted the request to delay sentencing to 9 a.m. April 20 but warned Torres-Acevedo that he wouldn't wait indefinitely for the documents to be produced or for a Federal judge to issue a sentence. Zambito said he could very well go ahead with sentencing in April even if the other issues haven't been resolved.

As a precaution, at the request of District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Zambito signed a "drag order," giving deputies permission to bring Torres-Acevedo to court by force if necessary on April 20. Burns didn't oppose the order but said that since today's initial refusal to appear was just a misunderstanding he was certain the drag order would be unnecessary. 

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February 18, 2020 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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     Denzell Johnson        Shafatiah Miller

Two Monroe County residents, Denzell Johnson and Shafatiah Miller, fled police in the area of Ellicott Street and South Swan one night last month following an attempted traffic stop.

They were eventually captured and Johnson was charged with criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, obstruction of governmental administration and unlawful fleeing a police officer.

Both men, under the terms of New York's bail reform initiative, were issued appearance tickets.

Social media wags said it was the last we would see of them in Genesee County.

Today, promptly at 1 p.m., they were both in City Court for their arraignments.

Both entered not guilty pleas and were ordered to return to court on March 12.

Judge Durin Rogers placed them on nonmonetary restrictions, such as a requirement to report to Genesee Justice and to report in as requested by the agency. Miller was given a curfew for 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Both were admonished that failure to comply with the court order could result in additional nonmonetary restrictions.

February 16, 2020 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray, news, notify.

NY-27 resident Michael Caputo, a political strategist with ties to Donald Trump, took to Twitter today to ask why didn't we, in our story about Nate McMurray being put on unpaid leave by his employer, Delaware North, mention that McMurray has said "insulting things" about his company and its owners.

In a statement in the tweet directed at another reporter from Upstate New York, Caputo said, "how long would you last if you tweeted insults about the owners of (the name of the reporter's newspaper)." 

"Do more reporting," Caputo said.

Caputo raised a valid point -- at least insofar as we should have taken a closer look at those tweets, so we did.

In the past 30 days, McMurray has mentioned, either directly or indirectly, Delaware North or the Jacobs family 18 times. 

Sixteen of those tweets were posted since Feb. 8, which would have been after McMurray said he was placed on unpaid leave.

McMurray is running for the NY-27 seat vacated in September by Rep. Chris Collins, who pled guilty to federal insider trading charges. The family of McMurray's opponent, Chris Jacobs, owns Delaware North, where McMurray, licensed to practice law in New York, is a VP of business development.

Attempts to reach Jacobs or a member of the campaign for comment have been unsuccessful.

In an interview with Caputo this afternoon, Caputo said McMurray's tweets are problematic, and whether they came before or after McMurray was placed on unpaid leave, they should give voters pause about McMurray's judgment.

"This is the only public visibility that Western New Yorkers have to the kind of employee he was," Caputo said. "If he's willing to say those things for all the world to see, you can imagine what kind of teammate he was at Delaware North."

Caputo is not associated with the Jacobs campaign and is not currently working with any other potential candidate in the NY-27, though he did spearhead a "Draft David Bellavia" effort last year.

The Aurora resident said, "I know 100 attorneys who are more qualified than him who would kill for the job he has. From my perspective, if he ever darkens the door of Delaware North again, it would be a shame."

We spoke with McMurray briefly today and he dismissed the accusation that he was put on unpaid leave for his tweets but said he couldn't discuss the issue in detail.

"This wasn't something that happened suddenly," McMurray said. "This happened after mounting pressure."

He wouldn't elaborate on what he meant by "pressure."

As for the content of his tweets, especially those sent since Feb. 8, McMurray said, "My duty is to talk about issues relevant to the people of the 27th District."

From a review of McMurray's tweets over the past 30 days, the first reference we can find to his employers is from Feb. 1.

His next tweet was Feb. 3.

Starting Feb. 8, McMurray sent out 16 tweets that made reference to his job or his employers, including at least one that seemed to hint at his employment situation:

One of McMurray's favorite targets during this tweetstorm is the Jacobs' family ownership of two casinos in Western New York.

In his tweets, McMurray hinted at corrupt motives of the Jacobs' family in promoting Chris Jacobs for Congress:

In one tweet, McMurray accused Jacobs of voting on a bill in the State Senate that affects the family casino businesses. We are unable to substantiate the claim.

One of Caputo's issues with McMurray's tweets is that he is using the Jacobs' family wealth as a wedge issue as part of his seemingly progressive, anti-inequality campaign theme.

"He uses income disparity with a Berniesque (referring to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) spin," Caputo said. "That rhetoric doesn't play well in the NY-27. The vast majority of Republicans in the NY-27 find that kind of rhetoric offensive."

Reminded that this is a populist district that almost went for Jack Davis in the last special election (a special election in 2011 won by Kathy Hochul), Caputo said that may be so, but McMurray's approach to wealth inequality is not the approach that will resonate in the district.

"Looking at the income disparity message, using his employer as an example, he looks like a guy who stabs his employer in the back by using the wealth of a family that has fed him for years as a hammer in the income disparity debate," Caputo said. "The NY-27 is going to find him offensive." 

Caputo is aware that self-funded Republicans handpicked by GOP leadership hasn't worked out too well for the NY-27 in recent years. There was Chris Lee who was caught posting shirtless photos of himself on Craigslist and Chris Collins who is going to prison on insider trading charges.

The other difficulty Chris Jacobs faces in the special election is he does not seem to be the choice of Trump-supporting Republicans. Jacobs is also not Caputo's first choice but Jacobs has his support now.

"I am Republican and I support the Republican nominee," Caputo said. 

Whether Jacobs wins or loses the special election on April 28, both Stefan Mychajliw and Beth Parlato are vying for the title of most Trump-loyal future member of Congress, to the point of attacking Jacobs as a "NeverTrumper," which Caputo acknowledges could dampen GOP turnout in an election timed to coincide with the Democratic presidential primary. If the Democratic turnout is more than 50 percent -- Caputo considers that unlikely -- McMurray could be sent to Washington for at least seven months.

"The real question is how much do you want Nate McMurray as your congressman," Caputo said. "The question Republicans have to answer is, do you want Nate McMurray as your congressman for even five minutes?"

Caputo calls McMurray a socialist. A charge McMurray has repeatedly denied (in our video interview on Thursday, we pressed McMurray on the socialism issue; we'll release the video after Jacobs has participated in a proportional, in-depth interview).

If McMurray does pull out a victory on April 28, Caputo said he's confident he won't stand a chance to in the general election in November.

"It's metaphysically impossible for a Democrat to win in the district when Donald Trump is on the ballot," Caputo said.

UPDATE 9 p.m.: It's been brought to our attention that we have perhaps not explained enough about what Delaware North is. Here's the Wikipedia entry: "Delaware North is a global foodservice and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. The company also operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The company employs over 55,000 people worldwide and has over $3.2 billion in annual revenues." Key people:  Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, and Jerry Jacobs and Louis M. Jacobs are co-CEOs, and Charlie Jacobs is CEO of Boston Holdings. Delaware North operates nine gaming facilities nationally, including Hamburg and Finger Lakes. 

Shortly after this story was published, Nate McMurray (we had asked him to substantiate his tweet quoted above) provided links to three senate bills that are related to the casino business in New York that Jacobs cast votes on. They are:

  • Senate Bill S6669: Authorizes regional off-track betting corporations to allocate up to $500,000 from their capital acquisition funds for employee salaries and benefits;
  • Senate Bill S6675: Provides that consent to simulcast at off-track betting branches, horse races run at a regional track, shall not be unreasonably withheld;
  • Assembly Bill A5059A: Authorizes the sale of cider, mead, braggot and wine at games of chance.
February 15, 2020 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news, Chris Jacobs, notify.

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When Nate McMurray ran against Chris Collins in 2018 for the NY-27 congressional seat, there was no apparent problem with his employer, Buffalo-based Delaware North.

He kept his job. He kept his salary.

During his tenure as supervisor in Grand Island, he kept his job. He kept his pay.

Two weeks ago, Delaware North informed McMurray he was being placed on leave without pay. He wasn't given an explanation. 

Delaware North is owned by the family of Chris Jacobs, McMurray's opponent in the April 28 special election for the NY-27.

McMurray said he and his family are presently getting by on vacation pay and an earned bonus.

"I worked hard for the company," McMurray said. "I love many people there. But this is unquestionably difficult. I’ve expressed that to them."

Despite the loss of a regular paycheck, McMurray said he's committed to staying in the race.

McMurray made reference to his loss of wages today on Twitter and The Batavian reached out to him for clarification. He said he was limited in what he could say about the situation but confirmed that he had been put on leave without pay.

An attorney licensed to practice law in New York, McMurray is part of Delaware North's legal team.

Multiple attempts to reach the Jacobs campaign today for comment were unsuccessful. We also tried reaching out to Delaware North for comment and were unsuccessful. Messages were left in both cases.

Photo: Still from a video interview The Batavian conducted with Nate McMurray on Thursday evening at the Richmond Memorial Library. We intended to release the full nearly 50-minute interview once we've secured a similar and proportional interview with Chris Jacobs.

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February 14, 2020 - 1:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Thomas J. Leonard, 36, no permanent address, is charged with falsifying business records in the first degree, petit larceny, and conspiracy in the sixth degree. Leonard was arrested at 6 p.m. on Feb. 13 on an arrest warrant out of Town of Batavia Court. The warrant stems from an investigation into a larceny that occurred at Walmart. It is alleged that Leonard stole property from Walmart, then attempted to pawn the property at Pawn King Pawn Shop and falsified business records in the process. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court, then released on his own recognizance. He is due to return to court on March 17. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien. The arrest was made by Deputy Erik Andre with the assistance of Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Christopher Michael Sims, 31, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated, with a prior conviction within 10 years; parking on a highway; having an uninspected motor vehicle; and refusing to take a breath test. Sims was arrested at 5:46 a.m. this morning (Feb. 14) on Dubline Road in Bethany after a traffic complaint. It is alleged that Sims was driving a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol after being found unresponsive parked in the roadway. He was processed at the jail and released on appearance tickets. He is due in Bethany Town Court on Feb. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Jordan Alejandro.

Kyle Christopher Madden, 26, of Lake Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Madden was arrested at 12:18 p.m. on Feb. 13 at an apartment on Lake Street Road in Le Roy during an investigation of an unrelated matter. He was released with an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Feb. 20. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

February 12, 2020 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, alexander, batavia, Darien, Oakfield.

Adrian R. Laird, 18, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree rape. Laird's arrest stems from an alleged incident on Hutchins Street in Batavia at 8 p.m. on Jan. 10. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on Feb. 10 and is to return there at 9 a.m. on Feb. 13. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Detective Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Gregory Seppe (inset photo, left), 61, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree burglary. He was arrested at 11:39 a.m. on Feb. 8 in the 100 block of State Street by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post after he allegedly pushed his way into a local residence while attempting to sell drugs. Seppe allegedly refused to leave after being asked to do so multiple times by the tenants. Seppe was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 13. Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider assisted in the case.

Alexis V. Finnin, 31, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was arrested after an investigation of an incident on East Main Street in Batavia at 8:38 p.m. on Sept. 14. It is alleged that at that time she was intoxicated/impaired to the point of not being able to adequately supervise a 5-year-old child, thereby subjecting the child to risk of physical, mental and moral harm. She was released on an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Tanya Lee Captain, 32, of Darien, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated -- a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; criminal mischief -- intentionally damaging property; and failure to stop at a stop sign. She was arrested at 11:57 p.m. Feb. 11 in Alexander after an incident was investigated that occurred on Pike Road in the Town of Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Alexander Town Court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein, assisted by Deputy John Baiocco.

Michelle L. Sahr, 52, of North Main Street, Albion, is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court after she was located by Albion PD on an unrelated matter. She was processed at Batavia PD and released on an appearance ticket for Feb. 13 in city court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Debra Lynn Mattoon, 40, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Oakfield, was arrested and charged with petit larceny at 4 p.m. Feb. 7. It is alleged that she stole merchandise from Tops Friendly Market in Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

February 12, 2020 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

suggsmugfeb2020.jpg

An Oakfield man is accused of fleeing from police after a deputy attempted a traffic stop for an alleged expired registration early yesterday morning in the Town of Batavia.

Jonathan F. Suggs, 37, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, faces multiple charges in three towns after leading police on a chase through Batavia, Oakfield, and Alabama, where Suggs eventually stopped, according to a Sheriff's Office press release.

The suspect was released on an appearance ticket.

Deputy James Stack attempted to stop a 2016 Jeep Cherokee at 1:30 a.m. yesterday. Suggs was later identified as the driver. Once he stopped, he was taken into custody without further incident.

He is charged with: unlawfully fleeing a police officer; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; failure to yield right of way to an emergency vehicle; speeding; and other vehicle and traffic violations.

He is scheduled to appear in: Town of Batavia Court at 1 p.m., March 12; Oakfield Town Court at 6 p.m., March 2; Alabama Town Court at 6 p.m., March 11.

February 10, 2020 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy, bergen, alexander, corfu, crime, news, notify.

Alexander Edward Seegar, 30, of East Main Street, Corfu, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. He was arrested at 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 6 following the investigation of a domestic incident that occured at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. It is alleged that Seegar acted in a manner likely to be injurious to a child under age 17 and that he prevented a person from being able to leave the incident by restraining tham. Seegar was arraigned in Village of Corfu Court and released. He is due back there on March 2. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Thomas J. Wolcott, 35, of Buffalo Street, Bergen, is charged with second-degree harassment and obstruction. He was arrested after a disturbance at 7:10 a.m. Feb. 5 on Bank Street in Batavia. He was processed at Batavia Police Headquarters and arraigned in Batavia City Court. He was then released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Feb. 11. The case was handled by Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Alec Roberts.

Anthony Wade Travis, 56, of South Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle without the owner's consent, and grand larceny in the third degree -- a Class D felony. He was arrested and arraigned in Le Roy Town Court on Feb. 7 for allegedly using a vehicle without permission at 7:07 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the 9300 block of South Street Road in Le Roy. Travis is due to return to Le Roy Town Court on Feb. 20. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Cummins, assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen.

John Patrick Cummings, 39, Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is charged with: operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more -- first offense; driving while intoxicated -- first offense; failure to use designated lane; failure to keep right (on a two-lane road); and failure to stop at a stop sign. Cummings was arrested at 1:37 a.m. on Feb. 5 on Ross Street in Batavia. Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis noticed a vehicle that was driving erratically and she stopped it. After an investigation, Cummings was arrested on the charges. He was issued multiple tickets and is due to be arraigned in Batavia City Court on Feb. 19. McGinnis was assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

Jacob M. Paige, 19, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt in the second degree. Paige was arrested after allegedly being found in the presence of a protected party at 8:11 a.m. on Feb. 4 on Bank Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Alec Roberts, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

February 9, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Stafford.
mugshotdaniellewis2020.jpg
         Daniel Lewis

A 23-year-old man who was released from custody in December after entering a guilty plea to stolen property charges and went on an apparent crime spree starting New Year's Day is facing new charges.

Daniel Jon Lewis, sometimes of Lima, sometimes of North Chili, also listed in arrest reports with no permanent address, has been charged with five counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 5th.

The property was allegedly stolen from vehicles in Stafford prior to Jan. 28 when the Sheriff's Office received complaints about items being stolen.

Lewis was arrested in Pavilion on Memorial Day after he and another person were found sleeping in a car that was filled with stolen property. In December, Lewis entered a guilty plea to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree as a second felony offender and as a result, he faces a minimum prison sentence of one and a half to three years and a maximum sentence of two to four years.

However, citing the bail reform law that would be implemented in New York before sentencing, Judge Charles Zambito released Lewis from custody. Lewis would have been released from custody on Jan. 1 under terms of the bail reform law.

New accusations against Lewis for alleged crimes that took place in January:

The Stafford crimes were investigated by Investigator Chad Minuto, Deputy Austin Heberlein, Deputy Ryan DeLong, Deputy Brook Cummins, Deputy James Stack, Deputy Chris Erion, and Trooper Hersee (first name not provided).

February 8, 2020 - 3:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Stafford, notify.
Video Sponsor

A possible structure fire is reported in Stafford at 8538 Route 237. A snowmobile is ablaze inside a barn where a lot of hay is stored. Stafford Fire Department is responding. The location is between Barthof and Morganville roads.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: Working structure fire. Byron Fire Department and ambulance are called for mutual aid, along with South Byron, Bergen, Le Roy, Bethany, Pavilion and city fire's Fast Team. The city's second platoon is called to headquarters on Evans Street. Town of Batavia Fire Department is asked to stand by in their own quarters.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Alexander Fire Department is asked to stand by in Stafford's fire hall.

UPDATE 3:58 p.m.: Fire police are told to shut down Route 237 between Bartof and Morganville roads. Oakfield fire is requested to stand by in their hall for Town of Batavia fire. Elba asked to stand by in their hall for Stafford.

UPDATE 4:38 p.m.: Donny Branton told us his parents bought the property in the 1940s. The main barn was built around 1900, he says, and the barn on the south side of the property was built with wood Donny Branton's father cut into timber from trees on the land that he cut down himself. The property now belongs to Donny's son, Chad and his family.

UPDATE 4:57 p.m.: Le Roy Fire Department's Women's Auxillary requested to the scene to provide refreshments for the firefighters.

February 7, 2020 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Le Roy, notify.

The Village of Le Roy has adopted a resolution asking the state Legislature to reform its reform on how and when evidence is turned over to a criminal defendant.

The resolution, introduced by Trustee Ray Yacuzzo, was passed unanimously.

It argues in the "whereas" clauses that criminal justice reform is placing an unfair economic burden on small municipalities while acknowledging that reform was needed.

"It is widely recognized that several of the drastic changes in the laws pertaining to discovery are overly broad and vague and are having unintended consequences at the municipal level," the resolution reads.

It opposes the shortened time frame prosecutors and local law enforcement agencies have to disclose evidence and the broad expansion of information that must now be disclosed.

The changes "will have a significant cost, tax, and justice implications for cities and villages with police departments, local justice courts or code/parking enforcement departments," the resolution reads.

Not only do the changes give prosecutors only 15 days to gather and review evidence, but the law greatly expands the amount of evidence that must be turned over to the defense.

The 20-day mandate for court appearances is also an undue burden on local justice courts that are only in session once a month.

Local municipal governments are expected to bear the burden of the reforms without any assistance from the state, yet they are unable to increase revenue enough to shoulder the new expenses because of the 2-percent tax cap.

  • The resolution asks for the following changes to the law:
  • Ensure cities and villages are provided with financial assistance;
  • Allow 60 days for prosecutors to disclose evidence;
  • Exclude from accelerated discovery any charges that are not a misdemeanor or felony;
  • Extend the arraignment requirement to 45 days;
  • Allow prosecutors to withhold sensitive information from disclosure such as victim contact information.
February 7, 2020 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, news, notify, chamber of commerce.

img_1906raponetournism.jpg

First, it was the trade war, now it's novel coronavirus knocking down tourism dollars just a bit in Genesee County.

It's not a huge impact, but Chinese tourists passing through the area as they travel between New York City and Niagara Falls have helped fill up hotel rooms and generate local dining and shopping revenue. 

In 2019, that changed as the trade war meant fewer travel visas were issued to Chinese citizens. In April, there were 5.4 percent fewer rooms booked in local hotels. In May, there was a 7.4 percent drop, 12.3 percent in June, and a little less than 2 percent in July and August. In September, there were 14.1 percent fewer rooms booked.

Many tour companies consider Batavia an attractive location for an overnight stay because the room rates are lower than closer to Niagara Falls, said Kelly Rapone, director of tourism for the Chamber of Commerce.

With fewer visas issued, there were a lot fewer buses stopping outside the Chinese restaurants in Valu Plaza and the BJ's plaza.  

There was also a drop in guests at the visitors center on Park Road.

"We did not see as many Chinese taking pictures in our yard," Rapone told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday during a department review.

In February, hotel bookings are already projected to be down 20 percent as tour cancellations mount because of the outbreak of coronavirus in China.

"It's funny how something on the other side of the world, such as this coronavirus, could affect us in little old Genesee County," said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.

It's too soon to say how much revenue from the bed tax will drop for 2019, but Rapone said today it could be from 1 to 3 percent.

One wild card is hotel and cabin stays at Darien Lake, which accounts for a third of the county's bed tax. But Darien Lake isn't part of the national industry reporting system the Chamber uses to track hotel occupancy (which is a leading indicator for projected bed tax because that revenue won't be collected and tabulated for a couple of months yet).

"(2018) was so high that a small drop (in 2019) isn't going to seem that bad," Rapone said.

Only once in the past 20 years, Turnbull said, has the county failed to hit its bed tax target.

The drop in Chinese tourists could have an even bigger economic impact throughout the state. Chinese tourists tend to say longer and spend more than many other international travelers. Turnbull noted that the Chinese are only allowed to bring $10,000 in U.S. currency and they are intent on spending every last penny of that money during their visit.

April's hotel occupancy rate was also hurt when a weekend soccer tournament was rained out.

In other tourism developments:

  • The state is reducing "I Love New York" grants to local tourism bureaus by $500,000, which will mean about $9,000 less for Genesee County. 
  • The restoration of the Thompson Rocket Car is nearing completion. The Chamber continues to work on trying to find a temporary and a permanent home for it once the work is done. Rapone expects it to be a tourist attraction for auto enthusiasts. There are plans in the works to take it to an auto show in Syracuse this summer.
  • The chamber's golf package continues to sell well, with Canadians buying more than 90 percent of the golf packages. The new hotel at Batavia Downs has become popular with golfers. Batavia Downs offers free shuttles to golfers to all of their golf courses. It's a good deal for Batavia Downs, Turnbull said. "Think about it -- the sun has to go down sometime and they have the restaurants, the racing, and the casino right there."

Photo: Kelly Rapone shows members of the County Legislature a mock-up of the next edition of the tourism guide.

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