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July 29, 2019 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, elba, notify.

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In the six months since Kim Albanese learned of her mother's and brother's death in an accident on a snow-covered road on Route 98 in Elba, it hasn't stopped hurting, she said today during a stop at the accident scene where she placed some flowers in memory of Teresa M. Norton.

Norton would have turned 54 today.

In the six months since the accident, Albanese has given birth to a daughter. She also suffered the loss of her stepfather, who was the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital when he learned that his wife of 30 years and son had died.

"It still feels like a nightmare like still trying to put the pieces back together," Albanese said. "It's so hard. It feels like yesterday that they died. I still pick up my phone and go to call her or receive a phone call from her."

Norton and her son Thomas, 22, were northbound on Oak Orchard Road when she lost control of her 2008 Suzuki on a stretch of roadway that was heavily covered by drifting snow. Her Suzuki was broadsided by a pickup truck driven by Jeffrey S. Toussaint, 59, of Albion.

"That accident destroyed three families not just ours, but the guy that hit her," Albanese said. "We feel horrible because he was an innocent party in the whole thing. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't blame him at all."

Given the conditions of the road and the lack of information forthcoming from the Department of Transporation about road conditions at that time, Albanese has retained an attorney, Jon Wilson, of Buffalo.

Wilson confirmed a lawsuit has been filed.

"The State answered and served various discovery demands and we are in the process of responding to those demands," Wilson said.

Albanese said telling her stepfather of his wife's and son's deaths was one of the hardest things she's ever had to do.

The whole process has been difficult.

"You watch it on the news and you're like, 'Oh that stinks for their family. I feel bad. My heart goes out.' But when it happens to your own family -- I lost my whole family in that instant, in that split second -- and I think the hardest part is I got stuck in the detour," Albanese said. "I was just at that light and I could see the tow trucks lights.

"But it was up on the hill, just right where I couldn't see my mom's truck. And I was like 'well, that's good maybe.' People tell me it was a good thing you didn't because I didn't go into labor because I could've had my daughter at 29 weeks pregnant."

Her fiancé, Cory Vanameron, said Albanese is a strong woman to go through what she's gone through. He said he's a bit older, more experience at life, he's been through the death of loved ones before but she doesn't see how she carries on.

"I couldn't do it," he said.

"I had my daughter two months after the accident," Albanese said. "(My mom) never once got to hold her. She never once got to see her. She was so excited to have a granddaughter and now just to look at my daughter, knowing she would never experience my mom, it's heartbreaking."

Previously:

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July 29, 2019 - 2:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kiha S. McNear (inset photo left), 21, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: first-degree criminal contempt -- with a prior conviction; criminal contempt -- having physical contact; second-degree burglary; fourth-degree criminal mischief; and second-degree harassment. McNear was arrested at 1:55 a.m. July 25 after a domestic incident on Walnut Street in which he allegedly violated an order of protection and got into a physical fight with a famiy member. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or bond. He was due back in court July 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Justin P. Avino, 26, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested after an investigation allegedly found he physical contact with another person at 4 a.m. July 21 on Swan Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 8. The case was handled by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Katherine S. Thomas, 46, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. She was arrested after an investigation into a disturbance on Ross Street at 1:11 a.m. on July 26. Thomas was warned to stay away from the scene by police but she allegedly returned a short time later. She was issued an appearance ticket for July 30 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Sgt. Matthew Lutey.

Dustin Wayne Bogue, 37, address unknown, Buffalo, was arrested on a warrant in which is alleges that the defendant violated an order of protection at 10:38 a.m. on April 5 on Tracy Avenue in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed with unspecified bail. He was due to return to city court on July 28. The case was handled by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Myriam M. Cruz, 36, of Copeland Street, Rochester, and Christian Saez, no age or address provided, are each charged with two counts of petit larceny after allegedly shoplifting from a local business on separate occasions in July. Cruz was released on her own recognizance. Saez was jailed on July 26 in lieu of $500 cash bail or $2,500 bond. Both are due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 1. The investigation was conducted by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Tony J. Aguglia, 39, of Main Street, Clarence, is charged with larceny of beer from a local business at 2:50 a.m. on July 25. He was arrested and processed at the jail, issued an appearance ticket for Aug. 6 in Batavia City Court, and released to his mother. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Darryle Streeter.

July 27, 2019 - 6:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, bergen, notify.

Press release:

Troopers from SP Warsaw responded to a cornfield off Soper Road in the Town of Perry for a skydiving accident today. Further investigation revealed that Richard S. Cordaro, 68, of Bergen, flew out of Perry/Warsaw airport with three others. All four individuals jumped from the plane. The other three landed safely.

Cordaro had more than 45 years of skydiving experience. Cordaro's parachute opened normally but then became tangled. Troopers attempted life-saving measures. Cordaro was pronounced at the scene. Rochester Skydivers was the company involved in this incident.

UPDATE: The State Police issued a correction on the spelling of the victim's last name. The press release above has been corrected accordingly. 

July 26, 2019 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Darien, darien center.

Terrill James Cunningham (inset photo, left), 23, of Treehaven Road, Buffalo, is charged with first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree sexual abuse, and two counts of forcible touching.

Following an investigation at Six Flags Darien Lake, Cunningham was arrested at 6:40 p.m. on July 25 and arraigned in Darien Town Court. He is accused of touching the intimate parts of two individuals less than 14 years of age.

He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash bail and is due back in Darien Town Court at 3 p.m. on July 30. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

Ricardo Sampel, 50, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with five counts of aggravated family offense -- more than one offense within five years. On July 17, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received the report of a violation of an order of protection by a third party. Following an investigation, Sampel was identified and is alleged to have committed the crime of second-degree criminal contempt. It is alleged that he knowingly violated an order of protection by contacting the protected party via phone on July 13. Due to his previous criminal history, including criminal contempt convictions, the charge against him was elevated to a Class E felony. The defendant is currently being held in GC Jail on a separate criminal contempt charge. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. The investigation was assisted by jail correctional officers, including Senior Correctional Officer J.M. Smart. The investigation was conducted by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Jennifer Jean Greene, 46, of Tennyson Terrace, Williamsville, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. At 4:45 p.m. on July 7, deputies responded to Six Flags Darien Lake for the report of a violation of an order of protection. Following an investigation, Greene was arrested. It is alleged that she made physical contact with a person who had a stay away order of protection against Greene. The defendant was arraigned in Darien Town Court and released on her own recognizance. She is due back in Darien Town Court on July 30. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

July 26, 2019 - 1:19pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, crime, news, notify, Morgan murder trial.

Batavia Police Department detectives' court testimony on Thursday attempted to connect the bludgeoning death of 47-year-old Raymond L. Morgan to Richard D. Hanes, the man accused of murdering Morgan in his Liberty Street residence last July.  

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman called detectives Eric Hill and Thad Mart to testify about their recollections of the events surrounding the July 24, 2018, murder. 

The investigators said lab tests detected Hanes’s DNA on a baseball cap found below Morgan’s bedroom window. Detectives reportedly also found a green shirt and gray pants — similar to descriptions of the unknown perpetrator’s clothes — in Hanes’s blood-covered closet at his former Thorpe Street, Batavia, home. 

The detectives explained to jurors that Morgan’s DNA began to be collected throughout the city following his death. Batavia PD found Morgan’s blood on both the exterior of his bedroom window and the house siding below the room in the hours after the attack. 

Morgan’s DNA was also swabbed from a handlebar grip of Hanes’s bicycle and a hammer on the roof of an Ellicott Street house. Detectives suspect Hanes may have thrown the alleged murder weapon before pedaling back to Thorpe Street. 

Jurors listened as Hill reassembled a text conversation between Morgan and Hanes from the fatal night last July. Although Morgan’s contact information and the text messages did not appear on Hanes’s phone, they were later found in a phone records search by police. 

Hanes apparently texted Morgan “I owe you $395. Imma pay you” around 10:50 p.m. and “Here” at 11:09 p.m, minutes before Batavia PD was called to 111 Liberty St.

Mart told the jury that he had heard loud sirens from emergency responders as he was driving on Main Street before being dispatched to the scene of Morgan's death.

Mart questioned why Hanes said in a July 26, 2018, interview that he did not hear or see responders while traveling on his bicycle in the vicinity of the crime scene. 

“For him to be in the area where he said he was, I find it hard to believe that he would not at least hear the sirens,” Mart said.

Hanes faces life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Defense attorney Frederick Rarick will have the opportunity to cross-examine Mart when the trial continues at 2 p.m. today in Genesee County Court.

July 24, 2019 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, Medal of Honor, batavia, video, notify.

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Today, The Batavian conducted an exclusive interview with Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia at the Holland Land Office Museum.

This photo shows the first time the medal awarded to Bellavia and the medal awarded to Charles F. Rand are in the same room together. Bellavia and Rand are the only two Batavians to have received the Medal of Honor.

Our interview today with Bellavia focused on his experience in Washington, D.C., last month when he received the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump. David and I discuss some of the observations and insights Bellavia has not discussed yet in other interviews.  

Below, a video we did previously about Charles Rand and our video covering Bellavia's Medal of Honor Week, in case you haven't seen it yet, to prep you for the video interview. I hope to have that edited and later to post tonight sometime, or in the morning, at least.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: When I posted this, I wasn't thinking about the fact that we have the opening of Batavia Downs tonight. Covering that will greatly delay my ability to finish this video. 

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July 24, 2019 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Marquerite A. Magee, 80, of North Street, Albion, is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 12:05 a.m. on July 20 on Bank Street in Batavia after allegedly punching her roommate in the face at the assisted living facility where she resides. Magee was issued an appearance ticket for July 30 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Michael L. Valle, 38, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested after allegedly punching a person in the face at 10:08 p.m. July 19 on Bank Street. He was issued an appearance ticket for July 23 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Brandon C. Dodd, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Dodd was arrested after an incident at 12:51 a.m. on Pearl Street in Batavia in which he allegedly struck an individual in the face. He was issued an appearance ticket for July 30 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Bradley R. Jordan, 26, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree harassment, and endangering the welfare of a child. At 3 p.m. on July 19 on East Main Street in Batavia it is alleged that Jordan struck a person who has an order of protection against him. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He was due back in court today (July 24). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Bobby Lee Mobley, 34, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested on the charges July 20 and jailed without bail following an investigation of an incident that occurred at 6:35 p.m. on July 19 on Maple Street in Batavia. He is accused of entering a residence of a person who had a stay away order of protection against him. He is due in Batavia City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Sgt. Christopher Camp.

Tatiana Celeste Lugo, 24, no permanent address, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt. Lugo was arrest at 12:46 a.m. on July 19 on North Spruce Street, Batavia, following the investigation into a violation of a court order. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $5,000 cash or bond. She was due back in city court today (July 24). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Kiha S. McNear, 21, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. McNear was arrested July 14 on an arrest warrant out of Batavia City Court. It is alleged that McNear stole a bicycle at 11 p.m. on June 28 on Ellicott Street. He was arraigned in city court and put in jail in lieu of $1,000 cash or bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Duane K. Miller, 54, of Linwood Avenue, Warsaw, is charged with illegally inhaling toxic vapors in public places. He was arrested at 2:42 p.m. on July 22 in the 200 block of West Main Street in Batavia after he was allegedly located huffing an aerosol container in the parking of a local business. He was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court and released. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 30 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Duane K. Miller, 54, of Linwood Avenue, Warsaw, is charged with illegal use of toxic vapors. He was arrested at 5:26 p.m. July 23 in the 4100 block of West Main Street Road in Batavia for allegedly huffing cans of air duster in the parking lot of a local business. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 30 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post.

Ronald D. Williams, 42, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawfully growing cannabis and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arrested at 8:45 p.m. on July 18 on Ellicott Street. It is alleged that Williams was growing marijuana plants on the roof of his residence. He was issued an appearance ticket for July 30 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

July 24, 2019 - 10:09am
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, news, crime, notify.

Jurors have been selected in the case of Richard D. Hanes, who is charged in the bludgeoning death of Raymond L. Morgan, 47, of Batavia.

After two days of questioning prospective jurors, defense attorney Frederick Rarick and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman selected a jury composed of eight women, four men and six alternates who swore to serve as unbiased fact-finders in the case. 

Hanes, a 37-year-old former Holley resident, is facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly beating Morgan beyond recognition in his 111 Liberty St., Batavia, apartment last July. 

Morgan was pronounced dead when police arrived at the scene. Morgan's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Batavia PD officers and detectives are expected to testify to their investigation in the coming days of testimony.  

Friedman repeatedly asked juror candidates yesterday whether the use and sale of illegal drugs would affect their fairness since Morgan had a previous conviction for criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Rarick urged potential jurors to admit whether graphic testimony and images of the blood-covered crime scene would cause them to be impartial. Judge Charles Zambito excused a few juror candidates when they said that the forensic evidence may be too overwhelming.

The jury will now have the opportunity to listen as attorneys deliver their opening statements and question witnesses at 9:30 a.m. today in Genesee County Court. The first day of testimony coincides with the anniversary of Morgan’s death.

July 23, 2019 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, Le Roy, Stafford.

Ryan M. Sharlow, 49, of West Bergen Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief and resisting arrest. At 12:15 p.m. on July 16 on West Main Street Road in Le Roy, deputies were conducting an investigation into an incident in which Sharlow allegedly damaged the property of another person. While attempting to take Sharlow into custody, he allegedly tried to resist arrest by grabbing and attempting to punch a deputy. He was issued appearance tickets for Le Roy Town Court on Aug. 8. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

Jessica Leigh Culver, 29, of Walker Road, Le Roy, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; operating a motor vehicle without an inspection certificate; and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. At 8:43 p.m. on July 21, Culver was stopped on Batavia Stafford Townline Road for alleged vehicle and traffic violations. It was determined upon investigation that she was driving on a suspended license. A subsequent search of the vehicle allegedly led to the discovery of controlled substances in her possession. She was issued appearance ticklets for Aug. 15 in Stafford Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Alexandra R. Lasky, 29, and Alexander Scheg, 24, both of Seven Springs Road, Stafford, are charged with unlawful growing of cannabis by an unlicensed person. At 12:55 p.m. on June 26, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to an address on Seven Springs Road following the report of a domestic incident and an unlawful marijuana-growing operation. After an investigation, they were issued an appearance ticket for unlawful growing on cannabis. Lasky was also issued an appearance ticket for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree following the alleged discovery of a controlled substance on location. Both are due in Batavia Town Court on Aug. 13. The case was handled by Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Ronald Welker. The investigation was also assisted by Deputy Lonnie Nati and members of the GC Drug Task Force.

July 22, 2019 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Darien, crime, notify, darien lake performing arts center.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Whiz Khalifa Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday:

Arthur J. Meaney IV, 19, of West River Road, Grand Island, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, after allegedly being found in possession of a fictitious license and then refusing to be placed under arrest by struggling with deputies. Meaney was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed in lieu of $2500 bail.

Elijah R. Giles, 24, of East State Street, Albion, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the medical treatment area at Darien Lake and then interfering with the process of his arrest. 

Ryan A. Diana, 21, of Britany Lane, Pittsford, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the medical treatment area at Darien Lake and then interfering with the process of his arrest. 

Matthew D. Pantera, 25, of Homecrest Drive, Amherst, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Michelle M. Seneca, 42, of Cosad Road, Seneca Falls, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the Darien Lake Hotel.

Emily C. Kornack, 18, of Landmark Lane, Pittsford, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Jaycee V. Jones Jr., 18, of Clarence Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching another person in the eye.

Joseph M. Folvarick, 42, of Wheeler Street, Tonawanda, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly having physical contact with another person. 

Darius A. Hamilton, 30, of Kehr Street, Buffalo, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue after being told to leave several times and then interfering with the process of his arrest.

Dominic G. Santamaria, 22, of Overbrook Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing a Live Nation security officer. 

Brennan K. Callen, 18, of Flynn Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Nicholas G. Curre, 21, of Corral Drive, Penfield, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue and then entering the concert venue after having been ejected and arrested and told not to return. 

Connor T. O’Keefe, 20, of Autumn Lane, Lewiston, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return. 

A 17-year-old of Rumsey Road, Buffalo, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue and then entering the concert venue after having been ejected and arrested and told not to return. 

Timothy J. Lloyd, 19, of South Grosvenor Avenue, Brighton, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue and then entering the concert venue after having been ejected and arrested and told not to return. 

Matthew E. Dickerson, 21, of Timberwood Drive, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Brianna L. Stiegler, 19, of Graystone Lane, Orchard Park, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and criminal Impersonation, 2nd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return and then identifying herself as her sister. 

(name redacted upon request), 20, of Misty Meadow Way, Fairport, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue and then entering the concert venue after having been ejected and arrested and told not to return. 

Devin M. O’Dell, 19, of Smith Road, Canandaigua, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance at the concert venue exit. 

Gray H. Benhal, 20, of Middle Cheshire Road, Canandaigua, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return. 

Austin J. Allen, 19 of Clovermeadow Lane, Farmington, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Christopher A. Rasbin, 21, of West Avenue, Newark, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue and then entering the concert venue after having been ejected and arrested and told not to return.

A 17-year-old of Proximity Lane, Victor, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Jacob G. Damelio, 19, of Angels Path, Webster, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

A 17-year-old of Edendery Circle, Fairport, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Abbey L. Heist, 20, of Chesapeake Lane, West Henrietta, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Kaylee A. Horn, 20, of Elaine Drive, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

A 17-year-old of Wheat Road, Clifton Springs, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Derrick C. Jones, 18, of South Street, Clifton Springs, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Thomas J. Miller Jr., 18, of Edgemere Drive, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Sonia D. Vasquez, 20, of Underwood Avenue, Hilton, arrested for criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, after allegedly being found in possession of a stun gun while entering the Darien Lake parking lot. 

Jacob L. Masterson, 18, of County Road 15, Filmore, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana. 

Thomas C. Emerson, 18, of Skyline Drive, Corning, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

July 19, 2019 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, notify, batavia.

David Bellavia, who received the Medal of Honor on June 25, will receive the Key to the City of Batavia in a homecoming program at 2 p.m., Tuesday.

Bellavia will be honored by city and county officials and will be asked to make a few remarks in a short program in front of City Hall.

Since receiving the Medal of Honor, Bellavia has been on the road almost constantly, traveling to New York City and Los Angeles to make public and media appearances on behalf of the Army.

President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Honor to Bellavia during a ceremony at the White House last month. Bellavia is the first living combat veteran from the Iraq War to receive the nation's highest military honor.

The award was presented for his heroic actions, saving the lives of his entire platoon, during the Second Battle of Fallujah on Nov. 10, 2004, which also happened to be his birthday. Bellavia distinguished himself by taking on a stronghold of insurgents single-handedly, killing four and seriously wounding a fifth.

A brass band is expected to play during the program and local veterans will be attendance to honor Bellavia, a Batavia resident.

The public is invited to the event.

In the event of rain, the program will be moved to the interior of City Centre, just inside the doors of City Hall.

City offices will close temporarily at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Jefferson Avenue will be closed during the program.

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July 19, 2019 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mooney's Bar & Grill, news, notify, Le Roy.

A post on Facebook by a woman who is apparently a former employee of Mooney's Bar and Grill complaining that the Le Roy restaurant is rat-infested has gotten the attention of thousands of local residents.

In response, the Genesee County Health Department released the following statement.

The Genesee County Health Department is aware of the public’s concerns regarding vermin at Mooney’s Sports Bar and Grill located in Le Roy.

Public Health sanitarians have been working diligently with the restaurant manager and a licensed exterminator. An inspection by the department was conducted this morning, July 19, and no public health threats were identified.

The facility remains open and we will continue increased inspection frequency.

In the original post by Kayla Gangarossa, she writes, in part:

I’ve wanted to say something for so long but because I’m a mother of three and need an income I’ve kept my mouth shut! But due to recent events the public and all my regulars there have a right to know what’s going on!!! I’m sorry to all my fellow coworkers this may affect but it had to be done! Mooneys sports bar and grill in Leroy ny 65 lake st of Leroy to be exact has RATS!!! Hey we had them for MONTHS!!

Gangarossa included eight pictures she claimed to have been taken at the restaurant Wednesday night. The pictures showed what appeared to be at least one dead rat, another dead animal that may have been a mouse, some mousetraps and a whole in a door or wall.

She concluded her post with the statement, "Do NOT eat at Mooney’s ..."

The post has been shared nearly 2,000 times and has more than 1,500 comments.

July 19, 2019 - 4:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, pembroke, thruway, notify.
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A semi-truck has come off the Thruway and landed on Route 5 in Pembroke and overturned.

One person was pinned by the trailer.

Mercy Flight is requested to the scene

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire dispatched and East Pembroke requested to scene to assist with a landing zone.

All responding units requested to park on the east side of the overpass or under the bridge because of the lack of a guard rail on the Thruway.

UPDATE 7 a.m.: The driver of a semi-truck on the Thruway may have fallen asleep before the truck struck a guard rail and flew off the Route 5 overpass landing on the roadway below. No other vehicles were involved. The driver suffered minor injuries and was transported to ECMC by Mercy EMS. A female passenger suffered leg injuries, and possibly other injuries, and was flown to ECMC by Mercy Flight. There were two dogs in the truck. One was located and taken to the animal shelter where it was given a bath to clean off diesel fuel. The dog appears to be in good health. The other dog is missing. The accident is under investigation by troopers from Troop T. There was nobody pinned under the trailer as initially reported. The woman was trapped in the cab of the truck and was being tended to by the male driver when firefighters arrived on the scene. There was a lengthy extrication process by volunteer firefighters. Route 5 is expected to be closed at least through noon.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: Pembroke's interim chief reports the second dog is in custody and uninjured. The dog was spotted on Route 5 and when first responders tried to corral him, he ran onto the Thruway. Somebody on the Thruway was able to catch him before he was harmed and an animal control officer is in route to pick him up and take him to the shelter.

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Submitted photo.

July 18, 2019 - 9:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news, notify.

A teenage resident of Alabama who just 18 months ago was sentenced to prison for making a terroristic threat against a police officer was arrested again Tuesday night for allegedly threatening another person with a baseball bat.

Isaac Abrams, 19, of Sky Road, is charged with menacing, 2nd.

At 11:26 p.m., Tuesday, Abrams allegedly threatened to injure another person using a metal baseball bat.

He was arrested by deputies Austin Heberlein and Travis DeMuth.

In February 2018, Judge Charles Zambito sentenced Abrams to one-and-one-third to four years in prison following his earlier guilty plea to the Class D felony of making a terroristic threat.

Zambito also granted Abrams youthful offender status (his juvenile record would be sealed) if he could stay out of trouble. 

In September 2017, Abrams threatened to shoot deputies during an incident on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Two days before that, Abrams was accused of trying to seriously hurt or kill a person with a motor vehicle at a fast-food restaurant in Batavia.

July 16, 2019 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, news, notify.
restivomugjul2019.jpg
      Louis Restivo

A 25-year-old Bergen resident is accused of injuring another bar patron in a fight early Saturday morning, leading to a felony charge.

Louis Christopher Restivo is charged with assault in the second degree for allegedly using a weapon or dangerous instrument.

Restivo is accused of hitting another man in the head with a beer bottle, causing an injury.

The incident was reported at 1:58 a.m. at a location on North Lake Avenue in Bergen.

He was arraigned in Town of Bergen Court and released. An order of protection was issued.

The incident was investigated by Deputy David Moore and Sgt. John Baiocco.

July 15, 2019 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, byron, batavia, elba, bergen.

Kyle Allan Hawley, 29, of South Lake Street, Bergen, and Marissa A. Brennan, 26, of Townline Road, Byron, are both charged with: second-degree grand larceny, a felony; and four misdemeanors -- criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and fourth-degree criminal mischief. In addition, Hawley alone is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. They were arrested in the early morning hours of July 11. They allegedly stole a vehicle on West Main Street Road in Batavia and were later observed in the Village of Bergen but left prior to the arrival of a Genesee County Sheriff's patrol. They were allegedly found in the Village of Churchville still inside the vehicle and in possession of drugs, paraphernalia and possibly other stolen items. They also reportedly did damage to the inside of the vehicle prior to it being recovered. The investigation is ongoing. Both defendants were arraigned in Town of Batavia Court on July 12 and then put in jail. Hawley's bail was set at $15,000 cash or bond; Brennan's bail was set at $10,000 cash or bond. They are due back in Batavia Town Court on July 22. The incident was investigated by deputies Kevin McCarthy and David Moore, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster, Sgt. Michael Lute; the GC Drug Task Force, Investigator Chris Parker, Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, and members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Solomon Jason Wood, 40, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault -- intentionally causing serious physical injury, and criminal contempt in the first degree -- violating an order of protection by having physical contact. Wood was arrested following a physical domestic altercation at 3 a.m. on July 9 on North Spruce Street. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or bond. He was due in  city court July 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Matthew Scott Eggleston, 29, of West State Street, Albion, is charged with: felony driving while ability impaired by drugs; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; speeding in a 55 mph zone; and having an obstructed driver's view. At 1:38 p.m. on July 13, Eggleston was arrested on Quaker Hill Road in Elba. He was previously convicted of a DWI offense within the last 10 years. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due in Elba Town Court on July 24. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Kevin Forsyth.

Jason Lee Johnson, 36, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. At 12:47 a.m. on June 29, Batavia police responded to a drive-thru of a restaurant on East Main Street in Batavia where it was reported that a male was passed out at the wheel. Johnson was initially issued a traffic ticket for the DWAI-drugs charge due to his being transported to a local hospital for care. On July 3, Officer Stephen Cronmiller issued Johnson appearance tickets for the other related charges. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 17. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Sabrena L. Randall, 43, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with: circumventing the required interlock device -- operating a vehicle without the device; aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; unsafe backing of a vehicle; operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver; and petit larceny. Randall was arrested July 11 on an arrest warrant out of City of Batavia Court. The warrant and charges are in regards to a shoplifting incident that occurred on Dec. 3 at JCPenney in the mall. She was arraigned in city court and jailed on $250 bail. She was due back in court July 8. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Wesley Thigpen, 38, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested after allegedly making numerous phone calls at 7:38 p.m. July 7 to a person on West Main Street in Batavia who has a full stay away order of protection against him. He is due in Batavia City Court on Tuesday (July 16). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Coty Ray Read, 28, of South Hillcrest Drive, Albion, is charged with criminal trespass. At 9:22 a.m. on July 14 following the investigation of a suspicious condition complaint on Mill Pond Road in Byron, Read was arrested. He is accused of allegedly unlawfully entering and remaining in a residence without the owner's permission. He was released with an appearance ticker for Aug. 5 in Byron Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

July 13, 2019 - 12:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, County Court, batavia, notify.

It's been a tough year for stenography in the Genesee County Court and today three cases came before Judge Charles Zambito dealing with stenography issues.

Two stemmed from a previously reported stenographer's mistake while transcribing grand jury proceedings -- that stenographer inappropriately taped the proceedings.

Another defendant appeared before Zambito today because an appeals court overturned his conviction on a burglary charge because a part of the transcription of his jury trial was not preserved for review.

In the People vs. Victor J. Grimes, Grimes was convicted at a jury trial in August 2016 and subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison.

He's served 44 months of that sentence. 

Last week, a state appeals court ordered a new trial -- even while finding evidence was sufficient for conviction -- because a stenographer's error on the final day of the trial meant relevant notes in the case were not preserved. Since the court then didn't have the final day's transcription, the court couldn't review the proceedings to ensure the trial court complied with specific procedures. 

In the trial, Grimes was represented by retained counsel. He's now represented by Lisa Kroemer of the Public Defender's Office. Kroemer asked for time to review the case and speak with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman before a new date for the trial is set. 

Judge Zambito ordered Grimes held on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond pending his possible trial.

The other two stenographer-related cases heard today were People vs. Antwan Odom and People vs. Richard Hanes.

Odom is accused of knifing Ray Leach. Hanes is charged with murder in the beating death of Ray Morgan. 

Friedman asked the cases be placed on the docket because he wanted to get on record what the defense attorneys intend to do regarding the mistaken recording by the stenographer of grand jury proceedings in those cases.

The attorneys for Odom and Hanes took decidedly different approaches.

Odom is represented by Buffalo attorney Frank Housh. Housh with his own unique sartorial style at every court appearance, walked into court today in seersucker slacks and robin's-egg blue sports jacket. And when pressed about how he intended to proceed, raised his prior complaint that Friedman is conducting a dual prosecution, one against his client and one against him.

In May, Housh made statements to local media that Friedman considered a violation of professional standards and risked tainting the jury pool. Friedman asked for a gag order and Zambito issued a temporary gag order but lifted it last week, citing an objection on free press grounds by "the media" (in this case, The Batavian). 

Zambito did rule against Housh's motion to have Friedman removed from the case because of this alleged "dual prosecution."

Besides the request for a gag order, Housh said Friedman has also filed a grievance complaint with the state bar against Housh. 

Housh contends -- without presenting proof -- that everything Housh says or does in the case is forwarded by Friedman to the state bar.

For that reason, Housh said he has not made the trip to the District Attorney's Office to review the case file on the stenography issue because, he said, he would need to bring his attorney with him.

Housh has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the case because of this "dual prosecution" but so far has not withdrawn.

Today he asked Zambito for a summary judgment dismissing the case against Odom because, he said, in a prior answering brief, Friedman stated the grand jury process was legally constituted when in fact Friedman, he said, new about the inappropriate recording of the proceedings.

After more discussion, Zambito agreed to meet with the attorneys in his chambers for an on-the-record but closed-door discussion about the issue.

Out of that meeting, it was agreed, as stated in court later, that Housh would file a motion and there would be a hearing Aug. 5 (instead of the trial starting on that day) on the defense motion.

In contrast to the approach of Housh, Fred Rarick, representing Hanes, was willing to stipulate in court that prior hearings on this topic -- including one in the Jennifer Serrano case -- established the facts of the incident and those same facts could be entered into the Hanes case and Zambito could issue a ruling based on the facts and evidence already presented.

On previous cases, including Serrano, Zambito ruled that stenography issue did not invalidate the grand jury proceedings.

Outside of court, Rarick said he saw no point in going through another hearing where the same facts and evidence would be presented that are already on the record knowing that Zambito is unlikely to rule any differently than he has previously.

By getting the prior hearings submitted as evidence in the Hanes case, without objection from Friedman, he has preserved any possible appeal over the issue for his client should Hanes be convicted at jury trial.

July 12, 2019 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
urvizu-hanlonjennifer_1.jpg
Jennifer K. Urvizu-  Hanlon

A local former businesswoman who admitted to giving a loaded firearm to a 17-year-old boy, who then shot and wounded a man who had just stabbed and killed another man on Central Avenue on May 17, 2018, told Judge Charles Zambito today that she's not a threat to the community. 

Jennifer K. Urvizu-Hanlon, 48, mentioned the letters Zambito had received supportering her, her involvement in her church, her steady employment and her lack of criminal record.

Zambito saw something else.

"I do think you are minimizing what happened," Zambito said. "You're minimizing your involvement. Samuel Blackshear would not be in prison and Nathanial Wilson would not have been shot had you not handed your loaded firearm to a 17-year-old boy. That young man is in prison now because of you. And after that happened, after a man was killed and another wounded, you went home.

"I do consider you a risk to the community but under the circumstances, I'm prepared to accept the plea offer and go along with the sentence. You're being treated entirely fairly here. I don't think it's right for you to even suggest otherwise."

Urvizu-Hanlon, the former owner of a small Mexican grocery store on West Main Street in Batavia, accepted a plea deal in May that capped her prison term to two years on an attempted criminal possession of a weapon conviction.

More than a dozen people in the gallery, friends, and family, were there, it appeared, to support Urvizu-Hanlon, which Zambito also acknowledged.

Zambito said he seriously considered rejecting the plea arrangement because she should perhaps get at least three and a half years in prison, which is the term Blackshear received.

"You got a significant break here," Zambito said. "Perhaps that is because of your minimal involvement in the incident and your clean record."

On Thursday evening in May, Nathaniel Wilson stabbed and killed Terry Toote at Central and Pringle. As the stabbing was taking place, Urvizu-Hanlon arrived in her car and Blackshear approached the car and she gave her handgun, which she was licensed to carry, to Blackshear, who immediately fired at Wilson, hitting him in the leg.

Blackshear's attorney argued at his sentencing that he was acting to protect himself and others from a killer. Zambito rejected that contention, accusing Blackshear of exercising "street justice" before denying him youthful offender status and sending him to prison.

That defense isn't available to Urvizu-Hanlon under the current statute for attempted criminal possession of a weapon but her attorney, Christian Kenndey, said the Legislature is considering a change, and that it could be said Urvizu-Hanlon was justified in giving Blackshear the gun so he could protect others from a killer.

Wilson was later sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison for the murder of Toote.

As in the Blackshear case, Zambito said he was fully aware of the May 17 incident. He had seen all the video recordings, read the witness statements, and felt he had a complete picture of what happened that evening.

He said there was nothing spontaneous about events on Central Avenue as the incident went down. The confrontation, the expectation of violence, was all premeditated.

"You knew what was going to happen," Zambito said. "I don't think you thought Terry Toote was going to get murdered but you went there under the impression there was going to be confrontation and you were ready to take action."

Once the sentence was pronounced and the paperwork complete, a deputy stepped behind Urvizu-Hanlon -- dressed in a gray blouse covered by a black windbreaker, a long skirt, and flip-flops -- and asked her to place her hands behind her back. For a moment, the only sound in the courtroom was the metallic zip of the cuffs closing around her wrists. As she was led away, somebody at the back of the room yelled, "Love you, Jen."

July 12, 2019 - 4:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, notify, news.
michaeljapiastjul2019.jpg
    Michael J. Piasta

Before sending him to prison for 10 years, Judge Charles Zambito reminded Michael J. Piasta Jr., that in 2010 he promised Judge Robert Noonan that he was going to straighten out his life and that he would never appear in County Court again.

Piasta was out of prison barely two years before he robbed, at fake gunpoint, the Arby's, taking from $6,000 to $10,000 on March 25, 2018.

"I'm going to give you a very long time to think about what you did," Zambito said.

The 10-year sentence, followed by 10 years on parole, was on Piasta's jury-trial conviction for robbery in the second degree. On his convictions for grand larceny and criminal possession of a weapon, Zambito gave him three and a half to seven years on each count, to be served concurrently with the robbery sentence.

In 2010, Noonan heard from Piasta's attorney at the time, William Teford, about Piasta's hard life -- a father who died of an overdose, a mother with a drug problem, domestic abuse, a learning disability, and the lack of a meaningful childhood.

Piasta acknowledged his wrongdoing and told Noonan, "At this point, I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta said. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."

Piasta already had a lengthy criminal record when Noonan sent him to prison in 2010.

Today, attorney Brian Degnan also reminded Zambito of Piasta's troubled past. 

"Mr. Piasta, with his upbringing, with his adult life, he's certainly been dealt a very bad hand here," Degnan said.

He acknowledged a prison term was inevitable but asked Zambito to consider Piasta's circumstances and expressed hope that Piasta could get the help he needs while in prison.

Piasta's own statement was short, asking Zambito to take into consideration Degnan's arguments on his behalf.

While Piasta was convicted by a unanimous verdict of a jury, Piasta, Degnan noted, has continued to maintain his innocence.  

Zambito agreed to hold a hearing on the issue of restitution. Degnan contends that there was contradictory testimony at the trial, with a contention that $5,000 was stolen from Arby's, and a claim of $10,000 stolen. Arby's has filed a claim for $6,000.

July 12, 2019 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in crossroads house, news, batavia, notify.

Submitted photo and press release:

Regarding Crossroads House Garage Sale donations...

A very generous community has packed our storage containers to our limit.

As a result, we cannot accept additional donations for the upcoming sale later this month.

You folks have filled three tractor-trailers, two shipping containers, a barn and our garage!

We are so fortunate to serve in a community of givers. We look forward to seeing everyone at the sale.

For more information on dates and times, click here.

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