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January 10, 2020 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Krista Marie, news, music, arts, entertainment, notify.

As a songwriter herself, it really struck Krista Marie Oswald (nee Robusto) as another artist having a lightbulb moment when Gretchen Wilson told her how she came to write the song "Red Neck Woman."

"She said for her, she didn't understand why anybody would want to listen to her story," Oswald said during a phone interview today. "She's a girl from a tiny park in Illinois and nobody is going to listen to her story. She told me, that isn't the case."

Oswald is cohost of a new syndicated TV show, "The Song: Recorded Live at TGL Farms," which will air for the first time this Saturday in Rochester and Buffalo, that features songwriters and their songs and the stories behind the songs. It's filmed live at a farm she and her husband, producer Marc Oswald, own outside of Nashville. 

In an episode that will air near the end of season one, Wilson told Krista Oswald that her producer her told her that to be successful she needed to be true to who she is. "You've got to be 100 percent authentic to be true." 

It obviously paid off. "Redneck Woman" was the #1 country song in the nation in 2004.

Oswald is known professionally as Krista Marie. She's a singer and songwriter who grew up in Batavia. We last spoke with her in 2013 when the band she was with at the time, The Farm, played at Frostridge in Le Roy.

She's thrilled, she said, to get a chance to sit down and talk with so many great songwriters, such as  Big & Rich, Rick Springfield, Jim Messina, Travis Tritt, and Don McLean.

She's joined on the series by cohost Damien Horne, who interviews CeeLo Green in the first episode (embedded above).

"Obviously, what's exciting to me about the show is personally, and as a songwriter, is getting to speak with these iconic artists and hear their take on what their creations meant and how they put it out there," Oswald said. "It's really interesting. CeeLo Green said in the first episode how it only takes one song to change history, to change music history, and that was a real moment for me."

There are other moments in the series, she said, such as Rick Springfield revealing that he didn't think much of his biggest hit, "Jesse's Girl," when he first wrote it. "It was just a little ditty," he told her.

"Honestly," she said Springfield said, "I feel like I've written better material but that just happened to breakthrough."

Jim Messina shared a similar story about his biggest hit with Loggins and Messina, "Your Mama Don't Dance."

He feels he's written better songs but like Wilson with "Redneck Woman," that song was born of his own conservative upbringing, making it true to life and, counterintuitively, more relatable to a popular audience.

The show also offers Oswald a chance to meet the songwriters who provided "the soundtrack" of her life, such as McLean, whose "American Pie" is perhaps the soundtrack of everybody's life. 

That song, of course, was released in 1971, long before Oswald was born but she said, "It was part of my growing up, part of my childhood."

The new TV series has other Batavia connections. Her mother, Barb Galliford, spent three weeks at TGL Farms helping landscape and paint "The Song Garden," where the interviews are recorded. Genesee County residents Johnny Cummings and Sam Polizzi, who recently opened a recording studio in Rochester called Sound Notions, helped with the production and when Robusto and her husband weren't happy with original theme music for the show, Cummings and Polizzi wrote and recorded a new theme song in 24 hours.

As she spoke with The Batavian, Oswald was at the luggage carousel at the airport in Miami with her husband waiting for their baggage. Marc had given surprised Krista Marie with tickets for tonight's Billy Joel concert in Miami.

Krista Marie, known as a country music artist, said people are sometimes surprised that she loves Billy Joel but she said if you love music, you love all kinds of music (which comes across in the first episode of The Song with soul singer CeeLo talking about his range of influences that include Iggy Pop and The Clash). That's why she is optimistic The Song will be a hit. It's a show about a love for music that covers every taste and every generation of fandom.

"Today, with music being so accessible, with iTunes, iPhones, and YouTube, I'm finding everything is more accessible. My 12-year-old niece loves 'Piano Man' and 'American Pie' and Rick Springfield. There's more good music, more demos, and more generations, and I think that's great." 

And with a little luck, Oswald said, maybe next season she will get to interview Billy Joel.

Episode 1 of "The Song" airs on WNYO in Buffalo at 10 p.m. Saturday. We've not been able to confirm that time of the show on 13 WHAM.

You can find "The Song" on Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the Web at thesong.tv.

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Submitted photo: Damien Horne, Don McLean, and Krista Marie.

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Krista Marie performing with The Farm in 2013 at Frostridge

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Krista Marie and her mother, Barb Galliford, at Frostridge in 2013.

January 10, 2020 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.
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        Darius Jones

A plea deal is apparently in the works for a Rochester man facing drug and weapon charges.

Darius Lamar Jones, 27, who was listed as a resident of Dewey Avenue in Rochester when arrested in October, but was also listed as an Attica resident when arrested in August, was scheduled to appear in County Court yesterday for an evidentiary hearing in anticipation of a trial on his drug charges. But the hearing was waived after a conference in chambers between the attorneys and Judge Charles Zambito.

Jones was indicted in June by a grand jury on a count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony.  

In December, he was indicted on a count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C armed violent felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 2 in the City of Batavia that they possessed a loaded firearm, an Amadeo Rossi .38-caliber revolver.

On the drug charge, under bail reform, he was eligible for release yesterday. On the weapons charge, his bail will stand at $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond, or $100,000 partially secured bond; however, if Zambito released the bond posted on the drug charge and placed Jones on release on own recognizance for the drug charge, Jones would not have been eligible for time served on any eventual sentence. In that light, Zambito set bail on the drug charge at $1 so Jones retains credit for time served.

The terms of the possible plea arrangement were not discussed in court yesterday.

Jones will appear again at 1:30 p.m., Jan. 30.

January 10, 2020 - 12:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify, pembroke.

Ambrose E. Robinson Jr., of Corwin Avenue, Rochester, is charged with speeding, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a breath test. Robinson was arrested at 1:40 a.m. on Jan. 7 following a traffic stop on West Main Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Brad Lee Ohlson, 42, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with a probation violation. Ohlson was arrested at 5:18  p.m. on Jan. 9 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court for allegedly violating probation (unspecified) on Alleghany Road in Pembroke. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court on the city court warrant. He is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline, assisted by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Brian N. Miles, 24, of Sixth Street, Rochester, was arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Jan. 7 on a bench warrant (unspecified) out of Batavia City Court. He was turned over to the custody of Batavia Police Department and arraigned in Batavia Town Court. He is due to be back in city court on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens.

January 9, 2020 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Melissa Cianfrini, news, notify, District Attorney's Office.

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District Attorney Lawrence Friedman issued a memo to members of the local legal community today announcing the immediate resignation of First District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini.

The Batavian obtained a copy of the memo this evening. It reads:

First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini announced today that she has made the difficult decision to resign her position with the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office effective immediately and that she has other opportunities that she would like to pursue. I thank Melissa for her years of service and wish her well in the future.

Reached via text message, Friedman declined further comment.

We've attempted to make contact with Cianfrini and have yet to reach her.

Cianfrini, an Oakfield resident and wife of County Clerk Michael Cianfrini, joined the DA's office in 2009. She was promoted to first district attorney in 2017. With Friedman planning to retire at the end of his current term, she appeared, before today's resignation, to be his likely heir apparent.

Her resignation comes at a time when the DA's office is adjusting to an increased caseload, with additional staff, because of new, more rigorous, discovery rules in New York. The new rules require the office to turn over more evidence to defense attorneys in a more timely manner.

Photo: File photo.

January 8, 2020 - 11:12am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, darien center.

Alexander Daniel Neu, 18, of Dubonnet Drive, Depew, is charged with third-degree assault. Neu was arrested for allegedly striking a victim in the face at the Wiz Khalifa concert at 7 p.m. on July 21 at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, causing physical injury to the victim. He is due to be arraigned in Darien Town Court at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator/Youth Officer Timothy G. Wescott, assisted by Investigator Howard Carlson.

Joshua C. Pesci, 25, of Broadway Avenue, Alden, is charged with: two counts of driving while intoxicated; failure to use designated lane; driving on the sidewalk; unreasonable speed. Pesci was arrested Jan. 3 on South Main Street in Batavia following a property damage accident at 2:05 a.m. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Nathan E. Hinze, 26, of Clifton Avenue, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI. Hinze was arrested after a property damage accident on East Avenue in Batavia on Jan. 4 wherein he allegedly damaged a telephone pole with his vehicle. Hinze and his vehicle were located at 2:19 a.m. at a residence on Farwell Avenue. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

William J. Haight, 31, no permanent address, is charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. Haight was arrested following a omestic incident at 12:07 a.m. on Jan. 6 on Jackson Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and is there again on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Michael A. Ames, 27, of Le Roy, was arrested by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Nowak on Jan. 3 for failure to pay a fine levied in Wyoming County. Nowak was notified by the Batavia Police Department that Ames was in custody on an active Superior Court Arrest Warrant. Deputies from Wyoming County met with Batavia PD and gained custody of the defendant and he was transported to Wyoming County Jail for commitment. He was due in Wyoming County Court on Jan. 6.

January 7, 2020 - 11:16am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, bergen, notify.

A man who lives on Liberty Street in Batavia was arrested in the early morning hours Monday after a traffic stop in Bergen turned into a pursuit.

Edward George Ruckdeschel (inset photo), 57, was stopped by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies at 5:04 a.m. in the 7900 block of Clinton Street Road (Route 33).

He allegedly stole a vehicle from a residence in Orleans County. According to the Sheriff's Office, he led deputies on a vehicle pursuit, then a foot pursuit, which ended in the Town of Wheatland, Monroe County.

Ruckdeschel is being charged with: criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree -- a motor vehicle; second-degree obstruction of governmental administration; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; unregistered motor vehicle; failure to yield right of way when entering a roadway; no or inadequate head lamp; side windows non-transparent; and unauthorized stickers.

The defendant was issued appearance tickets and is due in Town of Bergen Court at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

The case was handled by Deputy Jordan Alejandro.

January 6, 2020 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economics, economy, news, notify.

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At $821, the average weekly earnings of a Genesee County resident is on the lower end of wages paid in New York and well below the national average of $1,095 and the New York State average of $1,347.

It's also lower than the other GLOW counties: Livingston, $859; Orleans, $891; Wyoming, $885.

Downstate counties and Albany are where the state's highest wage earners are, of course, with New York City workers earning $2,109 per week on average.

Erie County's average is $986. Monroe County is $1,009.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a federal agency), "Forty-two of New York’s 44 counties with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages below the national average of $1,095. Steuben ($1,127) and Schenectady ($1,115) were the exceptions. Yates and Hamilton counties reported the lowest average weekly wages at $690 and $691, respectively."

January 6, 2020 - 11:09am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Stafford.

Leah R.H. Kelly, 35, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with: menacing with a weapon; criminal possession of a weapon; and endangering the welfare of a child. Kelly was arrested following an investigation into a domestic incident which occurred at 1:26 p.m. on Dec. 12 on Jackson Street. The defendant is accused of using a knife unlawfully against another person or persons. Kelly was issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan.

Michael Abdellah Jamil, 35, of Hart Street, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Jamil was arrested after allegedly damaging property at Williams Park on Pearl Street in Batavia at 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 30. He was issued an appearance ticket for Jan. 14 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Sgt. Christopher Camp.

Cheyne A. Hoerner, 35, of Chapel Street, Lockport, is charged with driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more, and DWI. At 12:04 a.m. on Dec. 29 on Clinton Street Road (Route 33) in Stafford, Hoerner was arrested on the charges following a dangerous condition complaint. It was reported that a rim on motor vehicle was creating sparks while the vehicle was being driven. Hoerner was released on appearance tickets and is due in Stafford Town Court on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.

Thomas William McCabe, 42, of East Avenue, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. At 8:27 p.m. on  Jan. 1, deputies responded to Kohl's Department Store on Veterans Memorial Drive following a larceny complaint. Following an investigation, McCabe was arrested. He allegedly stole clothing from the store. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court and is due there on Jan. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon.

January 4, 2020 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Horseshoe Lake, video, news, notify.
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At about 1:30 p.m. today a Stafford resident thought he saw a dog fall through the ice at Horseshoe Lake and after the dog didn't reemerge from the water, he called emergency dispatch.

Stafford fire along with the water rescue team from City of Batavia fire responded but the prospects appeared grim. The dog was nowhere to be seen, there was no motion in the area where the dog reportedly went in, and 15 minutes may have already passed.

Still, the water rescue team went about its task of inflating its boats and slipping into cold water gear.

Then a call came over the radio, "tell them not to go into the water yet."

A second later, a deputy received a phone call, "It's not a dog?" he said to the person who called him.

It turns out, another resident has been aware of what was going on all along but wasn't aware emergency crews had been dispatched. Mike Mullen, a retired City firefighter, had seen the animal out on the frozen lake and spied it through his binoculars. His wife grabbed her camera and a long lens and took pictures. It was an otter eating a fish.

Every once in a while, the otter would dive back in the water with its giant catch of the day and then come back up on the ice to surface to feast some more.

"Without binoculars, it would look like a dog struggling," Mullen said.

When his wife had to leave the house a short time later, she spotted the police and fire response and Mullen came out with the camera, with its LCD screen on the back to show the pictures, and let everybody know, "it's just an otter."

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January 3, 2020 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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   Quinten Edmonds

A trial date has been set for accused murderer Quinten Edmonds, who is accused of stabbing a Batavia man to death on Ross Street after the man tried to help protect a woman whom he apparently believed was being attacked by Edmonds.

The trial could begin May 20 if there is no plea agreement prior to the plea cutoff date of Feb. 19.

No plea offer was discussed in court and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said outside of court that there is no plea offer on the table. He indicated, however, that he would listen to anything the defense might propose.

Edmonds is charged with second-degree murder, a Class A-1 felony. He is accused of killing Good Samaritan Michael R. Paladino outside Paladino's Ross Street home at 12:44 a.m., June 1.

Fred Rarick, appointed attorney, represented Edmonds, who once before refused to show up for court. During today's proceedings in front of Judge Charles Zambito in County Court, Rarick said that his client had requested a change of attorney, that Edmonds wanted to hire his own attorney, and wanted to address the court.

Then after Zambito said OK, Edmonds apparently told Rarick he didn't wish to speak. Rarick and Edmonds and a short, quiet exchange and then Rarick told Zambito that Edmonds didn't want to speak and there was no further discussion of a change of attorneys.

On Dec. 13, Edmonds appeared in court for a hearing on the admissibility of evidence at his trial, specifically the identification in a walk-by of Edmonds as the suspect by witnesses shortly after the stabbing. Zambito ruled against the motion in a written statement delivered to the attorneys prior to today's hearing.

January 2, 2020 - 8:47am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Lisa Marie Fox, 48, of Broadway Road, Alexander, is charged with third-degree menacing. Fox was arrested at 12:08 p.m. on Dec. 24 on Oak Street in Batavia following a road rage incident. It is alleged that she "displayed an object in a way to appear as to have a knife while engaged in a verbal dispute with another person." The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

James F. Perry, 34, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Perry was arrested after a domestic incident. It is alleged that he damaged the front door to a female's apartment at 8:48 p.m. on Dec. 27 on State Street in Batavia "in full violation of an order of protection." Perry was located walking on Washington Avenue. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Randy K. Wilmet, 43, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful  imprisonment. He was arrested at 9:46 p.m. Dec. 26 on Bank Street after allegedly preventing a person from leaving their residence. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court then released on his own recognizance. He is due back in city court on Jan. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Victor Trejo, 32, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; speed not reasonable and prudent; and DWI with a BAC of .18 percent or higher. At 3:07 a.m. on Dec. 19, Trejo was arrested following a property damage accident on Ellicott Street Road in Pavilion. He was given appearance tickets and is due in Pavilion Town Court on Jan. 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline, assisted by Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

Lillian A. Doll, 25, of Buffalo (no address provided), is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration. Doll was arrested at 12:23 a.m. on Dec. 29 after an investigation on Alleghany Road in Pembroke after the vehicle she was driving ran out of fuel. She is issued an appearance ticket and is due in Pembroke Town Court on Jan. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Karen E. Scott, 51, of Thurston Road, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree and speeding. At 2:48 a.m. on Dec. 29, Scott was allegedly observed driving in excess of the posted 30 mph speed limit on Main Street in Batavia. A traffic stop was conducted and it was determined that Scott possessed a revoked non-driver ID, with 10 or more scoffs on 10 or more dates. She was issued an appearance ticket and released on her own recognizance. She is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 15. The case was handled by Batavia City Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Shawn Philip Stevens, 42, of York Road, Le Roy, is charged with disobeying a mandate. At 2:53 a.m. on Dec. 23, Stevens was arrested after the investigation of a suspicious condition. He allegedly violated a court order of protection. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Elba Town Court on Jan. 22. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Thomas James Leonard, 36, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: falsifying business records in the first degree; petit larceny; and sixth-degree conspiracy. He was arrested at 5:08 p.m on Dec. 30 following a larceny complaint at Walmart in Batavia. Leonard was processed at the Genesee County Jail and issued an appearance ticket and is due on Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon. While being processed at the jail, Leonard allegedly introduced contraband at the facility. He is therefore also charged with promoting prison contraband in the second degree. He is due in Batavia City Court to answer that charged on Jan. 7. Deputies Krzemien and Brabon handled that case, too.

Michelle Lynne May, 45, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with sixth-degree conspiracy and petit larceny. On Dec. 30, following a larceny complaint at Walmart in Batavia, May was arrested at 4:57 p.m. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon, assisted by Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

December 30, 2019 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Stafford, batavia.

Ernest D. Lane, 61, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal obstruction of breathing; unlawful imprisonment; aggravated family offense; and first-degree criminal contempt -- physical contact. Lane was arrested at 8:21 p.m. on Dec. 25 following a domestic incident on East Main Street. It is alleged that he prevented a person from leaving an apartment and had physical contact with that person, in violation of a stay away order of protection. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on the morning of Dec. 26 and is to appear in court at later date (unspecified). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Zachary N. Knapp, 22, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 percent or higher. Knapp was arrested at 2:53 p.m. on Dec. 23 on East Avenue after allegedly operating a vehicle that had a flat tire. He was transported to Batavia Police Headquarters and issued appearance tickets. He is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Stormy Marie Watts, 22, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property -- a credit card. At 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 27, Watts was arrested following an investigation. It is alleged that Watts possessed and attempted to use a stolen Walmart credit card at 7:02 p.m. on Dec. 22 at the Batavia Walmart. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on Jan. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jordan Alejandro.

Brittney N. Rodriguez, 31, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She is accused of stealing fake nails from the Dollar General store on East Main Street in Batavia at 9:43 a.m. on Dec. 12. She was arrested and released on an appearance ticket. She is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Daniel William Mosholder, 27, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested after a shoplifting incident was reported at Dollar General on East Main Street in Batavia at 8:22 p.m. on Dec. 23. He was processed on scene and released with an appearance ticket for Jan. 14 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

December 27, 2019 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Stafford.

The 36-year-old Lodi man who was shot in early November following an alleged home-invasion robbery in Stafford has been released from the hospital and was arraigned on charges Thursday afternoon.

Charles Elias Cooper (inset photo left), 36, of West Seneca Street, Lodi, is charged with: first-degree burglary -- the use or threatened use of a dangerous instrument, a Class D felony; first-degree robbery -- forcible theft with use of a dangerous instrument, a Class B felony; third-degree grand larceny -- of property value that exceeds $3,000, a Class D felony.

The charges stem from an alleged home-invasion robbery at 8:45 p.m. on Nov. 5 on Clinton Street Road.

Cooper is accused of forcing his way into a residence with a Crosman SNR357C02 dual ammo full-metal revolver pellet gun, a dangerous instrument. It is alleged that Cooper verbally threatened the lives of the homeowners with the dangerous instrument and then stole more than $3,000 in cash from them.

It is believed that Cooper was familiar with the residence and specifically targeted it.

Cooper was arraigned in Stafford Town Court at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 26 and then jailed on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear again in Stafford Town Court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 7.

At 9:05 p.m. on the day of the incident, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a call from a resident on Clinton Street Road in Stafford who reported that an unknown male suspect, later identified as Charles Elias Cooper, had forcibly entered their home with what appeared to be a pistol. The suspect threatened the homeowners and demanded money.

According to the preliminary investigation, the homeowner was able to retrieve his own long gun during the confrontation and he fired one round, which struck and incapacitated the suspect.

Shortly thereafter, Sheriff's deputies arrived and took the suspect into custody without further incident.

The suspect was treated at the scene and then transported via Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for further treatment. He was subsequently listed in critical condition.

The two occupants of the home were not injured.

Because the investigation indicates this was not a random act and that the residence was specifically targeted, investigators believe there is no reason to have further concern for the public safety of residents in the vicinity. It is believed the suspect acted alone.

The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Joseph Loftus.

December 26, 2019 - 2:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Ahdeosun R. Aiken Jr., (inset photo, left) 21, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: criminal contempt in the first degree -- a Class E felony; first-degree burglary -- a Class B felony; fourth-degree criminal mischief -- a Class A misdemenor; third-degree assault -- also a Class A misdemeanor; and second-degree robbery -- a Class C felony. Aiken was arrested on Dec. 21 following a disturbance that occurred at 1:35 a.m. on South Main Street in Batavia. He was allegedly located hiding in an upstairs bedroom. Following his arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was jailed on $10,000 cash bail, or $20,000 bond, or $30,000 secured bond with a 10-percent deposit. He was due back in city court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Wesley Rissinger.

John Joseph Sadler Jr., 32, no permanent address, of Batavia, is charged with second-degree burglary of a dwelling and first-degree criminal contempt -- with a prior conviction of aggravated criminal contempt with the last five years. Saddler was arrested after police were called to Washington Avenue for a disturbance at 2:02 p.m.on Dec. 20. After an investigation, police found Saddler on location in violation of a stay away order of protection. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed. He was due to return to court on Dec. 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Matthew J. Reed, 35, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, 35, is charged with trespass. He was arrested after allegedly committing the violation at 10:22 p.m. on Dec. 14 at an address on Park Avenue in Batavia. Reed was arrested and arraigned in Batavia City Court on Dec. 24. He was released on an appearance ticket and was due back in court on Dec. 24. The case was handled by Bataiva Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

December 24, 2019 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia, notify.
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Flames are shooting from the second floor of a house at 16 Highland Park. Children reported on the second floor; there is entrapment. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 2:22 p.m.: Alexander's Fast Team is called to the scene along with Le Roy's rescue unit. Town of Batavia fire is asked to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m.: A second-alarm has activated. This is a working structure fire.

UPDATE 2:26 p.m.: "We have a report that everyone is out; we're doing a primary search," says fire command.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: "Heavy, heavy fire on the second floor," says fire command. "We have one (fire hose) line open. Heavy smoke and flames from B/C sides."

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Responders are told to access the scene via the Wood Street side.

UPDATE 3:43 p.m.: Video added. There's no interview in the video. The scene commander isn't likely to be available for at least another hour. The fire seems mostly contained though firefighters are working to get to hotspots in the walls and attic. We will seek an update from City fire later tonight.

December 23, 2019 - 12:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, byron, notify, Bethany.

Jeremy M. Fairbanks, 41, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree strangulation. Fairbanks was arrested following an investigation into a domestic dispute that occurred at 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 13 on Jackson Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 3:03 p.m. on Dec. 18 and jailed without bail. He was due to return to court on Dec. 19. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan.

Edward G. Ruckdeschel, 57, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with: unauthorized use of a vehicle in the second degree; grand larceny in the fourth degree; and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. Ruckdeschel was arrested following an investigation into a stolen vehicle complaint made at 4:47 a.m. on Dec. 7. It is alleged that the defendant stole a vehicle from a parking lot of a business in the city. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and jailed without bail. He will return to court at a later date (unspecified). The case was investigated by Batavia Police Sgt. Matthew Lutey, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

David Michael Martin, 59, of Scott Crescent Drive, Scottsville, is charged with third-degree grand larceny. At 4:10 p.m. on Dec. 22, Martin was arrested following an investigation into a larceny complaint (unspecified). Martin was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 7:30 p.m. the same day, then released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on Jan. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jared Swimline.

Matthew Jacob Reid, 25, of Main Street, Warsaw, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; and unable to maintain lane. Reid was arrested following an investigation of a possible medical complaint reported at 12:27 a.m. on Oct. 12 on March Road in Bethany. He was released on appearance tickets and is due in Bethany Town Court on Jan. 7. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Jamie Valerie Hart, 21, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; unlawful possession of marijuana; and speed exceeding 55 mph. On Dec. 21 at 3:57 p.m. Hart was arrested on Clinton Street Road in Byron. The defendant was released on appearance tickets and is due in Byron Town Court on Jan. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

December 20, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify.

Melody J. McMaster, 48, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. McMaster was arrested on Dec. 9 on Chestnut Street in Batavia after allegedly violating an order of protection by being inside the protected party's residence at 11:17 a.m. that day. She was issued an appearance ticket for Dec. 24 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Jose Fuentes, 39, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. On Dec. 17, Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Fuentes in connection with an incident that occurred at 9 p.m. Dec. 13 on Bank Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket for Dec. 24 in Batavia City Court.

Kyle Schroeder, 23, of Telephone Road, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 9:09 a.m. on Dec. 8 on East Main Street in Batavia after he allegedly took an item out of the packaging while in a local business and then attempted to conceal the item. He is accused of placing the empty packaging on the shelf and continuing through the store. He was due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

December 19, 2019 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economic development, news, notify.

Today, the governor's office announced $761 million in economic development grants statewide, including $1.4 million for projects in Genesee County.

The local projects:

City of Batavia Advancing Batavia Opportunities The City of Batavia will advance the redevelopment of City Centre and Harvester Center BOA strategic sites within the Batavia Opportunity Area by undertaking pre-development activities including preliminary engineering and architectural studies, legal services, real estate services, zoning updates, and marketing. $193,500
City of Batavia Revitalize Downtown Batavia The City will assist in the renovation of mixed-use buildings in the City's Business Improvement District. $300,000
Genesee County Genesee County 2040 Strategy Genesee County will prepare an update to its outdated 1997 Comprehensive to provide a new direction for the future of Genesee County with a focus on economic development and community revitalization. The plan will be action-oriented and community-driven with an emphasis on priority county- wide revitalization projects complemented by an implementation strategy and performance measurements. $40,000
Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council Seymour Place The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council will make needed renovations and upgrades to maintain the fundamental beauty of its historical building while bringing the functionality of the building into the 21st century. $72,500
Town of Byron Town of Byron Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Study The Town of Byron will complete an engineering report to evaluate disinfection alternatives at its wastewater treatment plant. $30,000
Town of Pavilion Town of Pavilion Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection Study The Town of Pavilion will complete an engineering report to evaluate disinfection alternatives at its wastewater treatment plant. $30,000
Village of Corfu Village of Corfu Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection The Village of Corfu will install effluent disinfection at the village's wastewater treatment plant. This project will improve water quality by reducing pathogens in the treatment plant's discharge. $620,000
Village of Elba Village of Elba Wastewater Treatment Facility and Collection System Study The Village of Elba will complete an engineering report to evaluate disinfection alternatives at its wastewater treatment facility. The report will also include recommended actions to reduce the inflow and infiltration in the sanitary sewer collection system. $30,000
Village of LeRoy Village of LeRoy Sewer Inflow and Infiltration Study The Village of LeRoy will complete an engineering report that provides a detailed sanitary sewer collection system capital improvement plan based on investigations of inflow and infiltration in the system. $30,000

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $761 million in economic and community development funding has been awarded through Round IX of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Since its inception in 2011, more than $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs statewide through the REDC process.

"Throughout the Regional Economic Development Council process over the past nine years, we have seen unprecedented regional investment focusing on a ground-up, strategic model that has spurred tremendous growth in every corner of this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "By bringing together local leaders and stakeholders who are invested in their communities we have replaced the 'one size fits all' approach to economic development with one that is unique to each community, creating opportunities for success all across the Empire State."

"By empowering local officials and stakeholders who know their communities best, we have transformed the state's economic development strategy into one that is not only successful, but is built to last," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils.

"Together, we are revitalizing downtowns, supporting and attracting businesses, and welcoming new residents and visitors. Through the REDCs, we are advancing the strategic economic development strategies of each region and supporting growth as part of the Downtown and Upstate Revitalization Initiatives. With a focus on workforce development and growth of high-tech industries, we are adding new job opportunities and strengthening the economy of New York State."

Today, more than $761 million in economic and community development funding was awarded through Round IX of the REDC initiative:

  • Western New York: Regional Council Awardee | $67.3 million supporting 109 projects
  • Finger Lakes: Regional Council Awardee | $64.4 million supporting 94 projects
  • Southern Tier: Top Performer | $88.9 million supporting 109 projects
  • Central New York: Top Performer | $86.2 million supporting 93 projects
  • Mohawk Valley: Top Performer | $82.7 million supporting 81 projects
  • North Country: Regional Council Awardee | $67.9 million supporting 83 projects
  • Capital Region: Top Performer | $84.1 million supporting 120 projects
  • Mid-Hudson: Regional Council Awardee | $65.8 million supporting 105 projects
  • New York City: Regional Council Awardee | $66.3 million supporting 109 projects
  • Long Island: Top Performer | $87.9 million supporting 94 projects

More information on the 2019 Regional Economic Development Council Awards, including a full list of awardees, is available here.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "For nearly 10 years, the REDC process has been the driving force behind New York State's economic development decisions, and the model is a proven success. As the process enters the next decade, we are seeing the legacy of past projects being completed and excited about the new economic development opportunities our REDCs continue to identify." 

The REDC process has transformed New York State government's approach to economic development, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process. Established in 2011 as a centerpiece of the governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state's old top-down approach with one that is community-based and performance-driven.

This spring, Governor Cuomo launched Round IX of the REDC initiative and the fourth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. A full list of communities in which $10 million will be invested through the DRI, along with their applications, is available here.

In 2019, all 10 REDCs competed for up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects identified by the Regional Councils as priorities in their regions. All 10 regions competed for designation as a Top Performer with the five top performing regions being awarded a share of $100 million in ESD capital grants. The remaining five regions were awarded a share of $50 million in ESD capital grants. Each region was also awarded a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

The Regional Council priorities this year included working with local businesses and communities to identify childcare needs and develop potential solutions; developing an economic and environmental justice strategy for the region; supporting community investment in place-making and downtown revitalization; and supporting the state's $175 million Workforce Development Initiative. Each council was asked to address these items in ways that complement each regional vision.

During Round IX, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), comprised of state agency commissioners and members of the New York State Legislature, received presentations on this year's proposals from each of the 10 Regional Councils and assessed the implementation of the regions' strategic plans.

December 18, 2019 - 12:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia, notify.

A potentially dangerous snow squall is moving through the region and is expected to hit Genesee County by 12:45 p.m., according to the the National Weather Service.

A weather warning has been issued.

The Weather Service warns of poor visibility, heavy and blowing snow, with wind gusts of 30 mph.

The warning is based on radar images. 

The Weather Service warns of "dangerous life-threatening travel" during the squall.

December 18, 2019 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

anibalsolerbcsdsuper2019.jpgPress release:

The Batavia City School District’s Board of Education (BOE) has named Anibal Soler Jr. as the district’s next superintendent. Soler Jr. is set to begin on Jan. 20.

Patrick Burk, Batavia City School District’s Board President stated, “The board is confident that Anibal Soler Jr. will lead our district as we work together to deliver the best education possible for our students. Our search process narrowed the field to three excellent candidates. We value all of the input from our stakeholders and community members.

"With his dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge, our board feels that Anibal has the educational capacity and attributes to move us forward. We are united in making Batavia City Schools the best district for our students and we feel that we are making the right decision in hiring Anibal.”

Soler Jr. is the associate superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for the Buffalo Public Schools, New York state’s second-largest school district, a position he has held since 2018. In this role, he oversees four areas: adult education, district athletics, the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and the district school improvement strategy known as Strong Community Schools, which encompasses 11,000 students and 21 schools across the City of Buffalo. This Strong Community Schools effort has moved persistently struggling or failing schools to good-standing rating by the New York State Education Department.

From 2016 until 2018 Soler Jr. was the principal of North Park Academy, an elementary school in the Buffalo Public School District. In this role, he led a staff of more than 50 and 250 students and supervised all instructional and operational aspects of this Pre-K through 8 community school.

From 2009-2016, Soler Jr. was the principal of East High School, the largest comprehensive high school in the Rochester City School District, with between 1,500 to 2,000 students and a staff of almost 250. Through his leadership, the school was removed from the New York State Education Department’s Persistently Dangerous list in 2011.

Soler Jr. serves as an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo. He began teaching in 2000 as an art teacher at Thomas Middle School in the Rochester City School District.

“I wish to thank the Batavia Board of Education for offering me this exciting opportunity to be the next Superintendent of Batavia City Schools," Soler Jr. said. "I am deeply honored and humbled to be selected to lead your high-quality school system. I also look forward to joining and serving the amazing students, parents, talented staff, and community partners of the Batavia City Schools.

"Together, we will continue to make Batavia City Schools a premier district that effectively serves and supports all students and families.”

Soler Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science from Daemen College, a master’s degree from Nazareth College and Certification in School Administrator and School District Administration from St. John Fisher College. He also holds a certification as a New York State School Administration Supervisor. Soler Jr. is currently enrolled in the doctorate program in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education, district staff, and community.

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