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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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Previously:

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.
Video Sponsor

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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.
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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.

July 12, 2019 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bohn's Restaurant, batavia, GCASA, news, notify.

johnbennettgcasaplanningboard.jpg

After encountering community resistance for a planned recreation center for people in drug and alcohol recovery on South Swan Street in Batavia, GCASA has turned its attention to a former restaurant location on Clinton Street Road in the Town of Batavia.

And the Town officials have been more than encouraging and supportive, said John Bennett, executive director of GCASA, following a County Planning Board meeting Thursday evening where the board recommended approval of a special use permit for 5258 Clinton Street Road -- site of the former Bohn's Restaurant.

GCASA is in the process of acquiring the property.

Bennett said the community center will have a community garden, a basketball court, TVs for viewing sports, a pool table, space for other recreational activities. And, of course, since there's no place for a tavern in a building dedicated to recovery, the former bar area is likely to become a coffee and sandwich shop.

"We went into Rochester and went to this place called out Coffee Connections and it's a roasting business, a coffee-roasting business, run by recovering women," Bennett said. They run two coffeehouses and they serve lunches and breakfasts and we were kind of scoping that out, seeing how they did that. We're seeing if we can partner with somebody who might want to run a small little coffee shop."

People in recovery want to lead normal lives -- watch big sporting events together, play pool, eat some wings and pizza, socialize, but in an environment without drugs or alcohol, Bennett said.

"This is the new norm in urban areas," Bennett said. "It's what they call sober bars. And that's exactly what they are. They actually have mixology stuff but it's all alcohol-free and it's very much like going to any other bar that you would go to where they're having either karaoke or live music or dancing or whatever it is. I think just people in recovery are looking to be normal without having to worry about drugs and alcohol."

The most notable downside of opening up a social center for people in recovery on the outskirts of the City is that it won't be in walking distance for most people, like the originally proposed South Swan location. The upside is the square footage of the Clinton Street Road property is twice as much as the South Swan location. 

The asking price for the property, being sold by Mike Bohn after buying back the property in a foreclosure auction, is $250,000. Bennett said he can't disclose the actual sale price since the deal hasn't closed yet and the price is still being negotiated.

A presale building inspection was completed two days ago.

Much of the floor plan of the former restaurant will remain the same, Bennett said, but the interior, which probably hasn't been updated since the 1970s or early '80s, will be modernized.

There is also some equipment, furnishing, games and TVs to buy.

Bennett said GCASA has a modest $75,000 budget for the upgrades.

The property will be open to the community -- if there is a coffee shop, that will be open to everybody. If a community member isn't in recovery but wants to host an event -- say a birthday party -- for a friend or relative who is in recovery -- or isn't but perhaps should be -- the facility will be available for those reservations as well.

And there will be events for people in recovery, whether it be an open mic night or for big sporting events.

"Let's just say we're going to do a March Madness night or a week of March Madness basketball and we're gonna show games -- it's just a sober place to come down and watch basketball," Bennett said. "We'll have a little sports area and you can watch the Super Bowl or watch the World Series, things like that."

Bennett is a little exasperated by the community outcry over the proposed South Swan location but he said he understands it.

"It's really too bad that the South Side saw this as something that would threaten the community instead of benefit it because if you check out ROCovery in Rochester," Bennett said, " ... there's a whole thing around fitness and recovery. I went up and I met with them and they were amazing people and the community now has just enveloped them.

"Their community gardens are open to everybody in the community. Everybody gets to come down and pick some tomatoes or some peppers or lettuce or whatever they need. And everybody is also allowed to use the recovery center.

"So so I think that's where we want to head to. We want to say, 'hey this is open to you, too. You just have to be willing to be drug-free while you're here.'

"I think they were shortsighted but I understand that people have fears and the work we do is stigmatized."

July 11, 2019 - 8:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, news, batavia, notify.

cr_2019-17793_1.jpg

Pledges from Volunteers for Animals and animal lovers in the community have led to at least a $2,000 reward being offered for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for tossing an eight-week-old kitten from the window of a red car on Route 98 near West Saile Drive on Saturday night.

The kitten had to be euthanized because of its extensive injuries. 

The Sheriff's Office announced the award this evening.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.

July 11, 2019 - 3:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in weather, news, National Grid, notify.

Press release from National Grid:

Weather forecasts are calling for strong winds and thunderstorms across large portions of New York this afternoon and into the evening. While National Grid is preparing its crews and storm response plans, we also urge customers to be safe and ready.

The company offers the following tips to help customers be prepared and stay safe:

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • National Grid customers should call 1-800-867-5222 to report a power outage, or to report any downed wires.

  • Customers are urged to stay away from all downed wires, and anything those wires might be touching like tree limbs or fencing.

  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off themain breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger restoration crews, first responders and your neighbors.

  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1.)

  • Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home. Also, make sure to keep mobile devices charged.

  • Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.

  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

National Grid also advises staying tuned to local media for important announcements from emergency officials about possible evacuations or other emergency procedures. In most areas, information on storm shelter locations is available by calling 2-1-1.

Stay Connected

National Grid offers several ways to stay informed and safe – before, during and after a storm:

  • We can send personalized alerts by text, e-mail or phone call when an outage is detected ata customer’s address, restoration estimates are available, or weather warnings have beenissued. To enroll, customers can call National Grid or text REG to 64743.

  • For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit the Outage Central section of www.nationalgridus.com. Customers who create an online profile on our website can also sign up for email alerts.

  • To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).

  • Online and text alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.

  • Visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com

July 11, 2019 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, news, batavia, notify.

Open Letter:

In Batavia, we are proud to call ourselves New Yorkers.  Our residents’ band together in shared experiences and pride for our City and the great state of New York. Our city, the crossroads of Western New York, rose as thousands traveled through our downtown and neighborhoods toward destinations of employment and prosperity.  Many found Batavia and stayed to create an amazing life for their families.

Imagine the energy that 1,300 workers at Massey Harris generated as they built modern tractors and equipment from a 1 million Sq. Ft. of manufacturing operation in the heart of the City.  Batavia hummed with production and vibrancy, good wages, and happy families.  Their hard work and sweat allowed rural families across the world to give their children opportunities beyond back-breaking labor, and the food that fed millions.

Finishing their shifts, workers congregated downtown supporting merchants, professionals, and even a cluster of breweries that welcomed their neighbors.  The smell of freshly baked breads, the sight of produce and meat hanging in the window, the sound of the train rolling through, and the excitement of a vibrant downtown permeated the senses.

That era fell away with Urban Renewal and an economic decline that lasted decades.  Children walking to school saw vacant sites decaying and open lots.  The blight of hollowed, crumbling brownfields like Ellicott Station cannot support their ambitions, does not give them sense of purpose, and will not bring opportunities to advance personal prosperity.

As partners in the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2), the City of Batavia, the Batavia City School District, and Genesee County forgo immediate funding to pledge investments in distressed brownfield areas.  The BP2 was created to catalyze growth in Batavia’s main corridors and foster quality of life of our neighbors. 

Far too many families continue to experience and walk past blighted brownfield properties with decaying buildings and broken windows in Upstate New York, including the Ellicott Station site. This site is not only an environmental hazard and an eyesore; it represents the delicate balance between poverty and the hope for a successful future.

The BP2 initiative was born out of the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) and was a major driver in attracting Savarino Companies as the developer to the Ellicott Station Brownfield.  Other economic development partners and state agencies have come to the table to assist the project, understanding the importance of getting Batavia’s first brownfield rehabilitated. 

Leveraging millions of dollars of investments to transform Ellicott Station will bring up to 60 good-paying, full-time jobs and reconnect our community along the path of the Ellicott Trail.  Cleaning up the Ellicott Station site enables a vision to add downtown apartments sought by Millennials, retirees, and the professionals connected to Rochester and Buffalo.  The project has materialized slowly and only recently when Governor Cuomo announced Batavia as a Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) winner did hope rise that the necessary funding support would come together to finalize the project and construction could begin. 

Advancing the largest investment in decades in downtown Batavia gives momentum to over a dozen more local DRI projects identified as community priorities and supported by Governor Cuomo and leaders at the Department of State, Empire State Development and the Department of Housing and Community Renewal.

The BP2 partners have been working since 2016 to get this project off the ground and we cannot turn away from the challenges we have overcome and opportunities we can achieve with a project of this size and scale. 

The time has come for the community and our economic development partners including all the engaged state and local agencies to join together to resolve the final pieces necessary to move this project forward.  With the Governor’s leadership at this important moment, we will make it a reality.

Eugene Jankowski, Jr., President, Batavia City Council
Robert Bausch, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature
Patrick Burk, President, Batavia City School District Board of Education
Paul Battaglia, Chairman, Genesee County Economic Development Center
Pierluigi Cipollone, President, Batavia Development Corporation

July 11, 2019 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, bergen, Stafford, Le Roy.

Salvatore M. Tornabene, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, (inset photo right) is charged with third-degree assault. He was arrested following a domestic incident on Ross Street at 11:30 p.m. on July 1. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. Tornabene was due back in city court July 8. 

Salvatore M. Tornabene, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and second-degree menacing. At 11:05 p.m. on July 6, Batavia police responded to Ross Street for a report of subjects fighting, possibly with weapons. He was arrested after he allegedly threatened a woman with an imitation pistol. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. Tornabene was due back in city court July 8. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Kyle Allan Hawley, 29, of South Lake Avenue, Bergen, is charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; possession of a hypodermic instrument; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. At 8:10 a.m. on July 10, the GC Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a larceny that just occurred at a business on West Main Street in the City of Batavia. The suspect vehicle was located entering the Thruway at the Exit 48 interchange. Hawley was identified as a passenger in the vehicle. Following a search of the vehicle, and after allegedly observing stolen property in plain view, Hawley was found to allegedly possession two different kinds of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia. He was arrested, arraigned in Batavia Town Court and processed, then released on appearance tickets. He is due back in town court on July 25. The investigation was assisted by members of the NYS Troopers and City of Batavia Police Department. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Mitchell Edward Bryan, 27, East Bethany -- Le Roy Road, Stafford, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated; DWI; driving left of pavement markings; moving from unsafely; and failure to keep right. At 12:12 a.m. on July 11, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office investigated a one-car accident on Bernd Road in the Town of Le Roy. The driver and sole occupant, Bryan, was arrested on the charges listed. He was driving northbound on Bernd Road when he cross over into the southbound lane and continued off the west shoulder, striking a tree. Further investigation allegedly revealed he had a BAC of .18 percent or higher. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in the Town of Le Roy Court on Aug. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

David M. Raines, 37, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested at 7 p.m. on July 5 after an incident on Bank Street. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 16 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

July 11, 2019 - 9:23am
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, Batavia PD, news, notify.

Batavia PD may yet once again have a working police dog and on Monday, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch updated the City Council on efforts to reinstitute the program.

The effort includes receiving donations and seeking funds from Homeland Security.

It's been 20 years since Batavia PD had a working K-9 officer.

If approved, a resolution presented to the Council on Monday would create a K-9 fund in order for the Batavia Police Department to accept donations and funds from the federal government for a canine purchase, training and associated costs. 

The K-9 program’s approximately $23,000 price tag was broken down by Heubusch. He explained to Council members that it will cost $10,000 to purchase the dog and $5,000 to train the canine and its police officer over the course of several weeks. 

“During the regular workday, we’ll give the officer the allotted time for their training,” Heubusch said. “On off-days, we’ll have to compensate the officer for that. We do have some sample MOAs with some different unions to cover that.”

Additional expenses include $5,500 to purchase a vehicle designed to carry the canine, $2,500 for food and veterinarian bills, and $500 for incidentals and supplies.

Heubusch said the K-9 program will be like a specialized tool with a warranty. Beyond regular duties, the officer who receives specialty K-9 training would be called to respond when a police dog is needed for investigations.

“The officer is not dedicated to K-9 duty 100-percent of the time,” Heubusch said. “They would be on the road just like any other officer would be assigned to a patrol zone. We don’t have the luxury of just being able to dedicate an officer to that duty.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski said that, on occasion, the canine may be called for investigations that are not in the City of Batavia. Although it most likely would not happen often, the canine and its owner would be prepared to respond at non-city locations.

BPD is working on an agreement with the Homeland Security Investigation Federal Asset Forfeiture Program to defray some of the canine and training costs. Federal funding is not currently available due to high demand for border patrol canines.

Based on the positive feedback Heubusch received from Council members, this proposed resolution may receive approval at the August business meeting, which would allow BPD to be prepared for the K-9 program when federal funding is ready.

Previously: Batavia seeks Federal funds to bring back a K-9 patrol to the city

July 11, 2019 - 8:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports, notify.

seanreynolds2018-3.jpg

Press release:

When the rest of the Miami Marlins prospects were being moved up and down a few weeks ago, Sean Reynolds stayed in Florida to refine his sweet swing and work on little things in his hitting approach.

Boy, are the Batavia Muckdogs glad.

In his first game with the team this season, Reynolds blasted two home runs, going 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. The Muckdogs (16-9) downed the Lowell Spinners (17-7), 8-6.

Reynolds, a crowd favorite, is a 6-foot-7, 237-pound first baseman who hits from the left side and throws right-handed. The fourth-round pick of the Marlins in 2016 has crushed 33 home runs in his short minor league career. The 21-year-old hit 17 home runs in Batavia last season.

"I want to be a consistent hitter who can have power," Reynolds said. "It felt good, obviously, two big ones tonight. When it happens, it's always good."

However, Reynolds was pleased with his RBI single in the seventh inning.

"My favorite hit of the three was the two-out, two-strike RBI single," Reynolds said. "It is huge whenever you get a chance to add on late in a game against a good pen like that."

As for being back in Batavia, Reynolds said, "The crowd was excited and I was excited to be back. You never want to get sent down per se, but wherever I am I am going to try to help teams win games … That was fun."

Reynolds then signed autographs for young fans and handed his oversized batting gloves to one lucky Little League player. The boy looked at the gloves with wide eyes and Reynolds joked, "don't worry, you'll grow into them."

Lowell has the best overall record in the New York-Penn League and Batavia has the second-best record, which is good enough for first place in the Pinckney Division.

With the Muckdogs trailing 6-5 following an extended fifth inning rally from their NYPL opponent, the Lowell Spinners, Reynolds came through with a blast for the ages, a two-run home run, which regained the lead for Batavia and proved to be the difference in what eventually turned into an 8-6 win for the home team.

The three-run, go-ahead moon shot, Reynolds’ second four-bagger of the game, followed his go-ahead three-run tater in the bottom of the first inning which came after a two-run first from Lowell. Both of Reynolds’ big flies came with two outs. His second home run came off the bat at 115 MPH.

Left fielder J.D. Orr, a 10th-round Marlins draft pick this year, continued his torrid start to the season, finishing 3-for-4 with four runs scored and a stolen base while shortstop Dalvy Rosario (two runs), second baseman Jack Strung (25th round pick this year) and center fielder Milton Smith II (22nd round pick in 2018) also chipped in multi-hit games. Smith, the leading hitter in the NYPL is hitting .416 with Orr at .404 and chasing him at the second spot.

Picking up the win on the mound for Batavia was right-hander Joey Steele (1-0), who pitched one-and-two-thirds clean innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. Steele, a 30th round pick this year, got out of a jam in the fifth and then went on to hurl a perfect sixth inning.

Starter Edgar Martinez went 4.1 innings and struck out four. Muckdogs’ closer Evan Braband recorded the save, striking out the side in the ninth. Braband, the Marlins’ 2019 9th round draft pick, has allowed just one hit this season while striking out 11 over six and one-third innings pitched. He now has five saves on the season. Josh Simpson, a 32nd-round draft pick this year had his third hold as he threw two scoreless innings and struck out four.

Spinners’ right-handed reliever Miguel Suero (0-1) was hit with the loss, pitching two and one-third inning, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out one.

Batavia began the game trailing 2-0 after Lowell put up two-runs in the top of the first, but Reynolds’ blast in the bottom half of the frame gave the Muckdogs the lead until the fifth inning. The Spinners struck for two runs during both their half of the fourth and their half of the fifth, giving them a 6-5 lead heading to the bottom half of the inning.

Then, Reynolds’ two-run blast during the Muckdogs' half of the fifth proved to be the difference, while Reynolds’ single in the seventh simply served as insurance.

Coming up: Tonight is Thirsty Thursday as all Labatt's products are $2. On Friday is Crafty Hour where the large selection of craft beers are just $3. There will be other specials and events during the week. All games are at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets for these games and others are available at the Dwyer Stadium box office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, online at muckdogs.com or by calling 585-483-3647.

Top photo: FIle photo from 2018. Bottom photo, Reynolds connects for one of his two homers, supplied by the Muckdogs.

Previously: In 2018, Muckdogs fans have watched perhaps the most intriguing player in the NYPL

reynoldsconnectshr.jpg

July 9, 2019 - 4:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sharrows, batavia, bicyclists, news, notify.

Submitted photos and press release from the City of Batavia:

National and Local efforts to incorporate bicyclists in any new road project are finding their way into the City of Batavia.

“Complete Streets” is the term that is used for any street or highway, or any reconstruction of an existing highway, to consider the effect on bicyclists and pedestrians. Where possible, accommodation of these two groups should be incorporated into the project.

This has happened in the City of Batavia, where the most recent update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan encourages a “Complete Streets” approach. East Avenue and Liberty Street now have “sharrows,” or shared lane markings (SLM), meaning that the streets, which have only one travel lane in each direction, are shared with bicycles in a wide (14 feet or more) lane (see road photo).

Shared lane markings are high-visibility pavement markings that help position bicyclists within the travel lane. These markings are often used on streets where dedicated bike lanes are desirable but are not possible due to physical or other constraints.

Shared lane markings are placed in the travel lane to alert motorists of bicycle traffic, while also encouraging cyclists to ride at an appropriate distance from the “door zone” of adjacent parked cars.

If there is enough room, a separate bike lane should be marked. Dedicated bike lanes do impact the ability to accommodate on street parking and often there just isn’t enough room to accommodate them.

Further complicating the issue for bicyclists are streets where parking is allowed, as drivers often open their doors without looking for bicycles approaching from the rear. Bicyclists have been seriously injured by riding into a car door opened by a driver or rear-seat passenger without regard for bicycles.

The “sharrow” pavement markings should be supplemented with a Bicycle Warning Sign (see sign photo).

Federal and state criteria designate where the sharrows and the warning signs should and should not be used.

For bicyclists, where the sharrows are painted on the pavement, it only means that both bicycles and vehicles must use the same lane, and caution should be used by both. Vehicles should give bicyclists plenty of room when overtaking bicycles and bicyclists should realize that vehicles will be passing them.

Providing marked facilities such as shared lane markings is one way of helping to persuade residents to give bicycling a try and remind motorists that the roadway is to be shared with bicycles.

July 9, 2019 - 3:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Pavilion, Oakfield, byron.

Kayla Michelle Yglesias, 19, of Fisher Road, Oakfield, is charged with: falsifying business records in the first degree; falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement in the third degree; operator leaving the scene of a property damage accident; moving from lane unsafely; unlicensed operator; and failure to report a property damage accident. At 8:50 p.m. on July 7, Yglesias was arrested after an investigation of an incident that occurred at 3:45 a.m. June 22 on Fisher Road in Oakfield. She was allegedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident in the Town of Oakfield and left the scene. She then reported the vehicle she was driving as stolen to Sheriff's deputies and falsified information on a supporting deposition. On July 3, deputies recovered the vehicle submerged in a body of water in the Town of Byron. Yglesias was issued appearance tickets and is due in Oakfield Town Court on July 29. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Investigator Christopher Parker.

Adam Michael Kreutz, 30, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with falsifying business records in the first degree. He was arrested at 9:50 p.m. on July 7 after an investigation of an incident that occurred at 3:45 a.m. on June 22 on Fisher Road in Oakfield. Kreutz allegedly falsified information on a supporting deposition taken by the GC Sheriff's Office to conceal another crime that was committed. He was arraigned in Oakfield Town Court and jailed without bail. He was due to return to Oakfield court on July 8. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by  Investigator Christopher Parker.

Parker E. Payton, 20, of Pavilion, was arrested by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office following a traffic stop on York Road in the Town of Pavilion. He is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; reckless driving; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; unlawful possession of marijuana; unlawful possession of alcohol by person under 21; possession of a fictitious driver’s license; and multiple other traffic infractions. Payton was observed driving on State Route 63 in the Town of Covington several feet into the oncoming lane while traffic was flowing in the opposite direction past his vehicle. Payton drove his vehicle onto Perry Road then turned on to York Road where deputies were able to conduct a traffic stop. Payton was found to be in underage and allegedly in possession of alcohol in plain view within his vehicle. A subsequent vehicle search found Payton to be in possession of marijuana inside a grinder, concentrated cannabis, and a forged NYS driver’s license. Payton also allegedly failed field sobriety testing and was taken into custody for DWAI Drugs. Payton was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where a Drug Recognition Expert performed a drug influence evaluation with Payton. Payton was found to be impaired by cannabis and unable to operate a vehicle safely. Payton was released to a sober third party and scheduled to answer the charges in the Town of Covington Court on July 29.

July 9, 2019 - 1:23pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, city council, news, notify, crime, crime task force.

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch presented City Council with a proposed resolution Monday night for a Memorandum of Understanding among Genesee County law enforcement agencies and the Monroe Crime Analysis Center in Rochester to share information. It received strong support.

Heubusch explained to Council members that over the past few months local law enforcement has coordinated with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and MCAC to develop the agreement.

He said becoming a member of MCAC is the best approach to access information databases and facilitate crime response and investigation.

“What this memorandum does is it allows us to share information with Monroe Crime Analysis Center and also reap the benefits of them sharing information with us,” Heubusch said.

This new crime analysis system also comes at no cost to city taxpayers.

“Being a member of the crime analysis center in Rochester costs the city zero," Heubusch said. "It’s really about gaining that information and being able to analyze that information in a way that we can’t now."

The chief said that most of the criminal element in Batavia is connected to individuals from the City of Rochester and the Monroe County region. The MCAC memorandum will allow local police to share records with Monroe County law enforcement in real time.

The memorandum includes resources like crime monitoring and background checking information to alert law enforcement of identifying factors when pursuing suspects.

City Council members reacted favorably to the proposed resolution.

“It seems like, according to this, between the state police, the [Genesee County] Sheriff, Monroe County Sheriff and District Attorney, our District Attorney, DCJS — they’re all signed on to this," Council President Eugene Jankowski said. "It’s good to be sharing information.”

Other agencies participating in the memorandum are the Le Roy and City of Rochester police departments and the Genesee County and Monroe County probation departments.

City Manager Martin Moore wants to reduce crime and restore a sense of safety in Batavia. In June, the first Batavia Crime Task Force meeting was held so law enforcement and city leaders could talk about ways to combat crime.

“I want to thank the police department working together with the other police departments," Moore said. "This is one of the things that was brought up in our initial Crime Task Force meeting, and it’s one of the first actions that our police is working on."

The MCAC memorandum is expected to aid in identifying sources of crime, mapping incidents and arrests and following crime trends. MCAC is one of the task force’s first strides toward securing resources to prevent and deal with crime.

The proposed resolution for the memorandum will be forwarded for consideration by Council. The next City Council Conference and Business meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at the City Hall Board Room, 2nd Floor, City Centre.

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