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September 15, 2022 - 5:59pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, crime, volunteers for animals, batavia, notify.

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Cassandra Elmore’s case was set for 1:30 p.m. today, and one thing was fairly certain: she would show since she was recently arrested on a warrant and put in jail. She had failed to show up two times previously.

After several other cases were brought before Judge Thomas Burns Thursday in City Court, Elmore was brought in, handcuffed and wearing a neon yellow jumpsuit with Livingston County Jail stamped on the back.

While waiting for her case to be called, Elmore turned to talk with her mother, Lisa, about posting bail, and made a one-fingered gesture to someone else in the gallery area. She was being represented by Assistant Public Defender Jamie Welch.

Judge Burns said that some correspondence was received from Volunteers For Animals, and it, in essence, asked for a “possible resolution to this case,” given that Oddey, Elmore’s dog that overdosed, has been sitting at the county shelter for more than two months.

Burns proposed adjourning the case for a week and set her next appearance for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

Welch and Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bauer agreed. Burns instructed Elmore that, if she was to make bail, she needed to show up for her court date. 

Elmore has missed two prior court dates after initially asking for more time to hire an attorney. Her original charge was three counts of injuring an animal after her dog was found to have overdosed on some type of narcotics.

She failed to appear in court on Aug. 11 (when a friend reported a call from Elmore in the hospital) and Sept. 8 and was arrested in between, on Aug. 30 after a traffic stop. She was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, obstruction of governmental administration, aggravated unlicensed operation third, uninspected motor vehicle, and insufficient tail lamps.

After not showing in court on Sept. 8, a warrant was issued for her arrest, and Batavia Police Department caught up with her on Sept. 10 after a property dispute at 316 East Main St. called them to the scene. She was arrested on the spot.

In the meantime, while her case has been pending and continues to be postponed due to her being a no-show, Oddey awaits his fate at the shelter. He can’t be put up for adoption while it’s an open case.

Volunteers For Animals member Wendy Castleman said Thursday that the dog is doing well. She couldn't answer any questions pertaining to the correspondence because it's an open case, she said.

September 15, 2022 - 4:56pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, town of batavia, business, notify.

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If you have driven past the former Clor’s building on West Main Street Road and thought you saw a sign that later disappeared, you’re not seeing things.

A sign for F&M Convenience store was briefly put on the front of 4169 West Main Street Rd. in the town of Batavia. The site, which sits on a triangular piece of property between Top’s Friendly Markets and Valu Plaza, has been leased, Town Building Inspector Daniel Lang said.

Unfortunately, Ali Musa, the renter, has not taken his business through the proper channels of the town planning board yet, Lang said. His business is set to go before the Town Planning Board next week. Meanwhile, the process has been explained to the new occupant at least a few times, Lang said, yet Musa put the sign up, then took it down as directed, followed by putting up blue and white lights around the front windows. Those have also been taken down.

Property owner Benderson Development is leasing the 1,737-square-foot building to Musa after an 18-month gap in occupants. Musa has also been stocking the future store, although some of his products may not pass town code, Lang said.

Cannabis sales are legal in the city, but not in the town, which vetoed an option for cannabis dispensaries. Apparently, Musa intends to sell related products at the convenience store.

A representative of Benderson Development was unable to provide any details about the renter's plans.

The site was built in 2004 and has served to house several various operations, most notably Clor’s Meat Market, which moved there in 2009. Longtime owner Chuck Gugel sold the business to Kathleen (Kate) Gonzalez in 2013, who closed it by the end of that year.

Other former occupants have been Pizza Joe’s and Georgie Porgies.

Photo: After an 18-month vacancy, the building at 4169 Main Street Rd., Batavia, has been leased for use as a convenience store, but has not been through the Town Planning Board process yet. Photo by Howard Owens.

September 15, 2022 - 3:40pm

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The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday afternoon threw its support behind the community’s cooperative efforts to help those with substance use disorder and to prevent suicides.

The legislature issued a proclamation acknowledging Sept. 4-10 as National Suicide Prevention Week and September 2022 as National Recovery Month – “when millions of people around the world join their voices to share a message of hope and healing.”

Representatives of Genesee County Mental Health Services, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Mental Health Association and Genesee County Suicide Prevention Coalition were on hand at the Old County Courthouse as Legislator Gregg Torrey, chair of the Human Services Committee, read the proclamation aloud.

In part, the decree states that county residents “have access to high quality prevention, support, rehabilitation, and treatment services that lead to recovery and a healthy lifestyle, and every day … people begin treatment at behavioral health services and community supports and begin the road to wellness and recovery.”

Furthermore, “Suicide Prevention Week and Recovery Month inspire millions of Americans to raise awareness, build resiliency, and find hope.”

Sue Gagne, a Suicide Prevention Coalition leader, said the proclamation “shines a light on the people who are considering suicide or battling addiction – who often feel very alone in their pain. And it shines a light on all who have lost a loved one to suicide or overdose, allowing them to feel seen.”

Photo: Taking part in the reading of the National Suicide Prevention Week and National Recovery Month proclamation are, from left, Legislator Gregg Torrey; Bob Riccobono, clinical director of Genesee County Mental Health Services; Cheryl Netter, Nickole Millette, Sue Gagne and Amy Kabel of GCASA; Diana Bucknam of the Mental Health Association and Genesee County Suicide Prevention Coalition, and Rachel Mieney, clinical social worker of Genesee County Mental Health Services. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 15, 2022 - 12:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, batavia, business, notify.

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Joe Oliver in 1939

If not for the Great Depression, Joseph Boyd Oliver may never have left his home in Pennsylvania for Rochester, and then wander into Batavia looking for work and finding instead an opportunity in the small town. 

The opportunity: Turn a family tradition of making blanched peanuts into a business.

To blanch a peanut, you start with raw peanuts -- which Oliver obtained in Buffalo -- boil them in water for three minutes, then dip them in cold water before removing the red skin.  It's time-consuming, tedious work.

Batavians really went for the stark white peanuts, and Joseph and Edna Oliver found that they had started a real business with growth potential. So they looked for other ways to please the locals' unabated craving for snacks, adding peanut clusters to their repertoire and making their concoctions in their Montclair Avenue home.

"No, I had never made any candy before," Oliver said in a 1939 interview. "I learned it all the hard way. There were so many headaches with it, I couldn't begin to tell you what they were.  We just kept going, trying until we got what we wanted."

Blanched peanuts and peanut clusters were the beginning of Oliver's Candies, now in its 90th year. Oliver's will be having a birthday celebration Saturday at the store at 211 West Main St., Batavia.

Joe and Edna moved their business to that location in 1937, renting a house from Sheriff Forest Brown. They sold candy in the parlor and lived upstairs. Eventually, they bought the house and expanded the business until it took over the entire residence.

By the 1950s, Oliver's was selling candy in all 48 states.

Harold Oskamp acquired the business in 1960.  In 1977, he sold it to Dick Call, Bob Call, and Alvin Scroger, then owners of Genesee Farms. 

That ownership group sold Oliver's in 1998 to John Quincey, father of Jeremy Liles, the current owner.

When his parents asked Liles, whose background was in digital publishing, to get involved in the business, how could he say no? Of course, he couldn't.

"I mean, it's candy, it's retail, it's sweet business, really, you have no better words to pick there," Liles said.

Oliver's still makes candy the way Joe Oliver insisted it be made, Liles said -- real ingredients, the original recipes, no cutting corners, and as a result, the business has continued to grow.

Online ordering has given Oliver's a global reach. Liles has been able to expand the wholesale business since opening a plant in Elba, and that northern location also gives Oliver's a second storefront in the county.

It's no wonder that a business born in the Depression has weathered all kinds of economic storms, a world war, and even a pandemic.

"We're doing just fine. It's not like you don't have the generic brands of candy out there, Walmart, Tops, whatever. People's tastes have honed down. People want specialty coffees. They want specialty desserts. People are going to different places looking for these things," Liles said. "I think that's what's helping us tremendously because we are a specialty. We provide unique flavors. We make it fresh. It's made with butter and cream. We're not adding preservatives. It's not being shipped off to some warehouse and then sitting on a shelf forever. It comes from Elba, our factory six minutes up the road, and it's on our shelf ready for the customer."

One of the secrets of the success of Oliver's is employee loyalty.  From the time of Joe and Edna, employees have tended to stay with the company not just for years, but for decades. 

Bill Betteridge started with the business in its early days and made candy for 52 years. Ronald Drock, one of the former master candy makers, worked for Oliver's from the 1950s into the 1990s. The current master candy maker, Doug Pastecki, has been with Oliver's for 26 years.

In the top photo are long-time employees:

  • Diana Cutitta (started 1983) - store associate/cashier
  • Doug Pastecki (started 1995) - master candymaker
  • Anna Liles (started 1999) - giftware associate
  • Jeremy Liles (started 2001) - owner
  • Julie Heale (started 2002) - packing line worker
  • Mary Graham (started 2004) - enrober line worker
  • Megan Palone (started 2006) - general manager
  • Alec Frick (started 2014) - assistant candymaker

Not pictured is Beth Diegelman, hand dipper/decorator who started in1980).

"I guess, for the most part, my family, the families before us, we try to take care of the people who work for us. We're all a family. We try to treat everybody as a family. We're not a big corporate-backed store. We're just a locally owned business and, like anybody else, trying to survive each day," Liles said. "We had some great years of growth and we tried to take care of our employees during those times, and in turn, our employees take care of the business during tougher times, so it really becomes a complete family. Obviously, I couldn't do any of this without them. They are the backbone of this business."

Liles said he's proud to be at the helm of Oliver's as it marks 90 years in business, both for the stability such longevity represents, and the strength of the company to adapt to changing times.

"I love doing this," Liles said. "It's exciting. It doesn't get boring. That's the cool part about it. There are always changes and obviously, in the environment around us, there are changes. Social media, for example, has really been a change. You have gotta be so careful with it. It can help you or it can tear you apart. But that's where, if we keep striving for customer service, then the reviews online will stay five stars, and that's the way we want it to be. I mean, it's all about quality products and quality service. That's why I don't want to outgrow our britches, per se. We need to keep it real."

September 15, 2022 - 10:12am

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Thanks to the generosity of a longtime Genesee County entrepreneur, All Babies Cherished Family Assistance Center has its first “nesting place for women and children.”

That’s how Sue Sherman, ABC executive director, described the five-bedroom house at 441 Ellicott St. that is two doors down from the nonprofit agency’s office. It will serve as a temporary residence for women in need of assistance during their pregnancy.

The home was purchased by Gary Good, an Alexander native who now splits his time between Batavia and Florida, and donated to ABC. He said it will be ready to welcome pregnant women, including some who have already had children, in early 2023.

“We’re calling it God’s Good Grace,” said Good, who serves in a volunteer role on the agency’s Housing Committee. “The goal is to make it easier for women who do not have a place to stay to access the services provided by All Babies Cherished.”

Sherman said that around 35 to 40 percent of the women ABC serves are homeless.

“Many of them have no family support – in fact, an alarming number of young women have been trafficked by their own families.”

A Christ-centered organization, ABC provides a wide variety of parenting classes for moms, dads and grandparents, which, in turn, generates credits to the expectant mothers to receive necessities during pregnancy and for their infants, toddlers and young children.

“We also act as an advocate for the women, helping them to complete their education at all levels and to obtain skills to enter the workforce,” Sherman said. “Additionally, we work with other agencies to set up daycare for them.”

Sherman said ABC’s mission is to give women the tools to make something of their lives “despite the fact that many of them been told they will never amount to anything.”

“The number one reason that women have abortions is because of the poverty situation,” she said. “We’re thankful that Gary has seen the need for a residence such as this and was in a position to make this happen.”

FALL VENDOR FESTIVAL SCHEDULED

The All Babies Cherished Fall Vendor Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at the City Centre Mall. Last year’s event drew 90 vendors and raised $4,000 for the agency.

Vendor registration forms are available by contacting Sherman at 344-5660 or by going to www.allbabiescherished.com or www.facebook.com/AllBabiesCherishedPregnancyCenter/.

Photo: Gary Good and Sue Sherman in front of the house at 441 Ellicott St. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 14, 2022 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, animal abuse, news, notify.

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A property dispute at 316 E. Main St., Batavia, helped Batavia PD locate Cassandra Elmore, a Batavia resident accused of letting her dog overdose on narcotics but has missed court appearances on the case.

She was wanted on an arrest warrant as well as two bench warrants for her failure to appear in court.

She was located on Sept. 10. 

According to Batavia PD, when Elmore was advised of the warrants, she attempted to stop officers from arresting her by closing a door and then actively resisting attempts by officers to place her in handcuffs.

In addition to the pending charges, Elmore is now charged with obstructing governmental administration 2nd

Elmore was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $5,000 bail.

She is scheduled to appear in City Court at 1:30 p.m., Thursday.

Elmore was arrested in July after showing up on emergency visits at veterinarians with her dog, Oddey, showing signs of a drug overdose.  Two of the veterinarians said Oddey consumed cocaine, apparently found on the floor of Elmore's residence, which was then on River Street, and the third said an unspecified narcotic.

Elmore was arrested on three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.

At her first court appearance after her arrest, she asked for time to hire an attorney

She failed to appear in court on Aug. 11 when a friend called the court to say she was in the hospital, a claim that was never substantiated in court.

She next failed to appear on Sept. 8 when a man claiming to be an attorney from Pennsylvania called and said Elmore had been unable to contact her public defender, a claim disputed by the public defender handling her case. 

While Elmore's case is pending, Oddey remains at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, unavailable for adoption. 

Elmore was also arrested on Aug. 30 following a traffic stop and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, obstruction of governmental administration, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, uninspected motor vehicle, and insufficient tail lamps.

See also: OPINION: Due process often neglects animal victims

September 14, 2022 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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Kanyia Coleman Craig Lynch
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Nyejay Braction Darnell Cleveland

A passerby spotted people inside Ken Barrett's Chevrolet at 229 West Main St., Batavia, on Monday at 11:50 p.m. and called 9-1-1.

When Batavia patrol officers arrived on scene, four people attempted to flee from the back of the car dealership.  Two people were taken into custody immediately and two others were located near the scene a short time later.

The four suspects, all from Buffalo, are Darnell Cleveland, 26, Kanyia Coleman, 18, Craig Lynch, Jr. 21, and Nyejay Braction, 18.

Cleveland allegedly provided a false name in an attempt to prevent officers from arresting him on several outstanding warrants, including a parole warrant.

Lynch is accused of struggling with officers while being detained. There were no injuries.

Cleveland was charged with burglary 3rd and criminal impersonation 2nd. Lynch was charged with burglary 3rd, obstructing governmental administration 2nd, and resisting arrest. Braction and Coleman were charged with Burglary 3rd.

All four suspects were arraigned in City Court.

In accordance with New York's bail statute, Cleveland and Lynch were released under the supervision of Genesee Justice. Cleveland was then remanded to the Genesee County Jail on his outstanding parole warrant. Braction and Coleman were released under their own recognizance. 

In a statement, Batavia PD says, "The Batavia Police Department would like to thank the observant citizen, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Parole for their assistance."

September 14, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Alexander, Le Roy.
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Adam Kreutz

Adam M. Kreutz, 33, of Batavia, is charged with assault 3rd, burglary 1st, and coercion 1st. Kreutz is accused of burglarizing an apartment on Ellicott Street and assaulting the person inside that apartment on Sept. 5 at 11:40 p.m. Kreutz was arraigned in City Court and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail without bail.

Jarrod K. Fotiathis, 27, of Le Roy, and Julie R. Richardson, 31, of Le Roy are charged with criminal possession of stolen property 4th, unlawful possession of personal identification 3rd, attempted petit larceny, and resisting arrest. They are accused of working together to steal a person's wallet  to purchase items at a local business on Sept. 3 at 9:01 a.m. on Ellicott Street. Fotiathis and Richardson are accused of fleeing from police on foot leading to a chase through the city. Fotiathis later turned himself. Richardson was stopped by a citizen who reportedly witnessed the incident. Both Fotiathis and Richardson were issued appearance tickets.

Christian I. Andrzejek, 26, no permanent address, is charged with burglary 3rd, petit larceny, and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Andrzejek is accused of entering a building on Sept. 6 at 8:57 a.m. on Washington Avenue, Batavia, and stealing items from inside. Andrzejek was arraigned in City Court following his arrest and released under supervision.

Feyza Gabrielle Osmancikli, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Osmancikli is accused of possessing crack cocaine, discovered by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush during a traffic stop on Sept. 6 at 3:35 p.m. on Liberty Street in Batavia. Osmancikli was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released on an appearance ticket.

Joshua Michael Ruffin, 27, of Main Street, Alexander, and Haley Maye Larnder, 23, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th.  Ruffin and Larnder are accused of possessing crack cocaine at a location on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia on Aug. 23 at 3:36 p.m. Both were arrested by Deputy Jacob Kipler, processed at the Genesee County Jail, and released on appearance tickets.

David W. Fielding, 33, of Bigelow Drive, Stafford, is charged with falsifying business records and grand larceny 4th. Fielding is accused of stealing tools from his employer on Godfreys Pond Road, Stafford, and pawing them for money between July 19 and Aug. 25. Fielding was arrested on Sept. 9 by Deputy Jacob Kipler, transported to the Genesee County Jail for processing, and released on appearance tickets.

Deontay Jahmani Sprattley, 21, of Green Avenue, Brooklyn, is charged with petit larceny. Sprattley is accused of skip-scanning multiple items at Walmart on Sept. 10 at 2:38 p.m. and stealing the items. He was arrested by Deputy Alexander Hadsall, processed at the Genesee County Jail, and released.

Jalen Corey Fields, 18, no street address provided, Brooklyn, is charged with petit larceny. Fields is accused of shoplifting at Walmart on Sept. 10 at 3:15 p.m. He was arrested by Deputy Ryan Mullen and issued an appearance ticket.

Matthew R. Taylor, 39, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Taylor is accused of entering a business on Oak Street he had been banned from on Sept. 4 at 10:01 p.m. Taylor was issued an appearance ticket. He also allegedly trespassed on the same day at 4:49 p.m.

Jeffery T. Dutton, 31, of Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration and littering. Dutton is accused of throwing garbage on city-owned property on West Main Street on Sept. 5 at 3:44 p.m. He was released on an appearance ticket.

James D. Hooten, 33, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Hooten was located by Batavia patrol officers and taken into custody on warrants held by the Sheriff's Office and State Police and allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine at the time of his arrest on Sept. 3 at 3:56 p.m. on Summit Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to the Sheriff's Office.

Jolene Y. Stevens, 33, no permanent address, was arrested on a bench warrant stemming from an incident reported on March 4 at 1:48 p.m. on East Main Street, Batavia. Stevens is charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and harassment. At the instruction of Judge Durin Rogers, Stevens was issued an appearance ticket and released.

David M. Camelio, 40, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Camelio allegedly struck another person in the face during a confrontation reported on Aug. 28 at 4:18 p.m. at a location on East Main Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Colin A. McCulley, 18, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and consuming alcohol under age 21. McCulley was stopped by a Batavia patrol officer on Sept. 5 at 1:07 a.m. on East Main Street, Batavia.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

September 13, 2022 - 10:27pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, vehicle damaged, city police, city council, notify, batavia.

Another piece of property downtown — this time an automobile — has apparently suffered some damage while its owner was at a meeting Monday at City Hall.

The owner of the defiled vehicle — who has not officially been identified by city police — apparently filed a claim that someone had poured nail polish on her vehicle while she was at a City Council meeting and public hearing Monday evening. The hearing about a farm animal law drew some 30 people to the second floor council chambers.

Detective Eric Hill confirmed that there is “an open investigation into the matter right now,” after The Batavian inquired about the damaged vehicle.

“I’m not sure on the level and location of polish and we don't have an estimate (of the value of the damage) at this time,” Hill said in an email to The Batavian.

Just last month, in early August, a vandal drew at least a dozen chalk figures on the brick pillars outside of Batavia City Centre as a City Council meeting was going on inside. The artwork was said to be anti-ReAwaken America Tour graffiti.

Police were investigating the incident and said the person responsible would face a charge of criminal tampering, a class B misdemeanor. There are no updates about that case at this time, Hill said.

September 13, 2022 - 5:50pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, downtown, Carr's, notify.

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When David Ciurzynski was a kid, he and his brother would shop for school items and take the elevator at C.L. Carr’s department store, watching as the operator pulled the little stick to close the zig-zag accordion-like gate before they ascended to a higher floor. And then down again.

There were floors for the billing department, a bridal shop and other specific types of merchandise, and the basement had housewares while first floor catered to men’s and women’s clothing, children’s items, jewelry, makeup and greeting cards. There were clear tubes that shuttled payments from downstairs up to billing.

 "And I just think about those memories that we had way back when ... and now the new memories that we make at the JJ Newberry's building that's now Eli Fish," Ciurzynski said during a presentation of downtown projects, including the former Carr’s building, Tuesday at City Hall. "That's what this project is all about. Right? Taking our history, taking our memories, and turning it into something that people can make new memories with, including ourselves. "

The project consultant is not alone with his recollections of Carr’s days of grandeur. Anyone who grew up in Batavia is familiar with the high-end department store, with free gift-wrapping service, seasonal visits from Santa Claus, sidewalk sales and an ice cream cart, and the personalized services of salesmen and women, especially those experienced ladies behind the jewelry counter.

Getting a gift from Carr’s was kind of special — it meant quality and style. And so very neatly and precisely wrapped with a coordinated bow. There are still offerings like that downtown, such as Valle Jewelers and Charles Men’s Shop, as those places have continued to bob and weave to miss the knock-out punches of big box stores and economic shifts.

Carr’s was the only store, however, to consume so much footprint -- more than 11,000 square feet -- along Main and Jackson streets. It was exciting to step aboard the elevator and be whisked up to look at fancy women’s dresses and accessories.

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Ciurzynski’s description of the site’s future — renovating the upper two floors for apartments, installing arched windows in the front overlooking Main Street, preparing the lower levels for other commercial space by removing asbestos and making them more enticing for prospective businesses — also included a vision. The project has been titled Carr's Reborn.

“We can restore the former landmark to its former glory,” he said.

People will be able to go to a restaurant or brewery, catch a play, movie or live music, or visit the future Healthy Living campus with its new exercise and classroom space, kitchen and complete wellness center, he said.

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The project would take $1 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant funding and $4 million from property owner Ken Mistler. Possible uses for the main floor have not been determined, and it’s about “what does downtown Batavia need?” Ciurzynski said.

“I could see a small department store for women’s clothing to complement the men’s clothing shop we have,” he said. “The harder part right now is getting people to commit with labor; there’s been a shortage.”

Steve Hyde of the county’s Economic Development Center said that studies have found that Batavia needs more housing — some 4,500 units over the next several years.

“People are commuting here, working and collecting paychecks, but they don’t live here,” he said.

Adding 14 to 16 market rate — higher scale — apartments would “tie a bow around us,” he said.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said that older people have mentioned that they might like to live in a downtown apartment, but “the only drawback is a long staircase.” Those possibly semi-retired folks wish there was an elevator as well, he said.

So yes, that relic of Carr’s will be resurrected and working once again, albeit, probably not with a personal attendant.

The DRI Committee members approved a motion to move forward with the project. They were:   Eugene Jankowski,  Steve Hyde, Dr. James Sunser,  Craig Yunker, Tammy Hathaway,  Erik Fix, Tom Turnbull, Susie Ott, Paul Battaglia, Marty Macdonald and Nathan Varland.

The remaining committee members who were absent include Pier Cipollone, Patrick Burk, Marianne Clattenburg, John McKenna, Julia Garver, John Riter, Peter Casey, Matt Gray, Mary Valle, John Bookmiller and Dan Ireland.

Ciurzynski, of Ciurzynski Consulting, LLC, gave Mistler a nod and thumb’s up. Mistler said he appreciated the support, but wanted to hold off with any further comment until the project gets moving. Now that the committee approved the grant funding, minutes from the meeting will be sent to Empire State Development for state approval.

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Top photo: City Council President Eugene Jankowski talks about a proposed project Tuesday morning to renovate the former Carr's building in downtown Batavia. David Ciurzynski reviews the project, dubbed 'Carr's Reborn,' with the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Committee at City Hall; Committee members Nathan Varland, Tammy Hathaway, Eugene Jankowski, Susie Ott, Dr. James Sunser, Steve Hyde and Erik Fix. Photos courtesy of Jim Krencik. Rendering of Carr's Reborn from Batavia Development Corporation. 

September 13, 2022 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, news, notify.
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Arthur Brown

A 45-year-old Le Roy man facing felony charges from a "shots fired" incident on Clinton Street Road a year ago, and facing other felony charges, turned down a plea offer today that could help him avoid the potential of a life-in-prison sentence.

That decision made a little more sense during a hearing that followed the plea offer discussion on a grand larceny charge from a separate incident.

In that case, a video that reportedly shows Arthur J. Brown taking a credit card from inside a police station wasn't preserved by Le Roy PD.

Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini ordered a spoliation hearing -- a hearing to determine what happened to the evidence -- to be followed by a Huntley hearing -- a hearing on whether evidence should be suppressed at trial.

Without the video, the only evidence against Brown in the grand larceny case is the testimony of a police officer who reviewed the video recording prior to arresting Brown on the charge.  Under the rules of evidence, the officer can testify about what he saw on the recording.

By calling for a spoliation hearing -- something the defense did not request -- Cianfrini signaled that she might consider a strong sanction against the prosecution, which could include dismissing the case.

When asked about a possible remedy, First Assistant District Attorney Joseph Robinson said it would be appropriate to permit the jury to draw an "adverse inference" from the fact the video does not exist.  That would mean at trial, the jury could consider that the lack of a recording means there is a weakness in the prosecution's case.

Robinson said that remedy would be significant because there is only one police officer who can testify in the case and state what he saw on the video. There is no other supporting evidence.

On Aug. 11, 2021, Brown was picked up by Le Roy PD on a violation-level offense, said Assistant Public Defender Lisa Kroemer, and placed in an interview room where he was required to empty his pockets. 

When he was released, he was instructed to take his personal belongings.

Later, a police officer discovered that a credit card was missing. The card had been found by somebody and left with the police. It was being held for safekeeping until its rightful owner could pick it up.

The missing video supposedly shows Brown picking up the card along with his property.

Kroemer argued that the video is a critical piece of evidence that could show whether Brown knowingly and intentionally took the card or whether he picked it up accidentally, a distinction, she said, the officer can't reliably testify about.

When questioned later, Brown did have the card in his possession, Kroemer conceded, but the issue that can't be resolved without the video is whether Brown knowingly took the card from the police station.

Kroemer said Brown was held for a bail hearing less than 24 hours after his arrest and Kroemer put the District Attorney's Office on notice at the hearing that the video recording needed to be preserved as evidence.  She also argued that police officers should know that such a piece of evidence should be preserved.

Later, Cianfrini would note that Kroemer made a compelling argument that members of law enforcement, more than a store owner or any other member of the public, should understand the importance of preserving evidence. 

In ordering a spoliation hearing, Cianfrini said the court is interested in hearing what protocols Le Roy PD has in place for preserving video evidence, what happened in this case, what was communicated to police, and how it was communicated, about preserving the recording, and what if anything is the police department doing to ensure this doesn't happen again.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 14.

Brown is also facing multiple charges from a Sept. 19, 2021 incident in which Brown was stopped on Clinton Street Road in Stafford for alleged erratic driving and once stopped, fled from law enforcement into a cornfield.

A deputy said he saw a gun on Brown and a second later, there was a bang or a boom in the area that prompted the officer to inform dispatchers of "shots fired."  

The search for Brown took several hours and involved Monroe County SWAT, the Batavia Emergency Response Team, State Police (including the closure of the Thruway), drones and a State Police helicopter.

Law enforcement reported recovering a handgun at the scene, but Brown has maintained it wasn't his.

It turned out later, that what sounded like possible gunshots was really a wildlife scare cannon.

In that incident, Brown was charged with:

  • Criminal possession of a weapon 2nd
  • Menacing a police officer
  • Tampering with physical evidence
  • Obstruction of governmental administration 2nd
  • Criminal  possession of a controlled substance 7th
  • Driving while impaired by drugs
  • Failure to keep right

Brown is also facing a charge of failure to register as a sex offender but he hasn't been indicted on that count yet.

The plea offer from the District Attorney's Office was for Brown to plead guilty to the weapons charge and the grand larceny, and serve five years in prison with seven years on parole, and the rest of the charges would be satisfied.

Brown would still have been subject to being found by the court to be a second felony offender, a second violent felony offender, and a persistent felony offender.

After Robinson recited the plea offer, Kroemer said her client was rejecting the offer. 

Cianfrini then wanted to ensure that Brown understood the ramifications and risks of his decision.  As she spoke, Brown raised his hand as if he wanted to speak and Cianfrini advised him that he shouldn't speak to the court and instead talk privately with his attorney and let her speak on his behalf.

Kroemer and Brown then conferred, but Brown was speaking loud enough that some of what he was saying could be heard in the courtroom.  Cianfrini told him he should whisper so she couldn't hear what he was saying.

After Kroemer and Brown spoke, Cianfrini asked Brown if he still wished to decline the deal.  He said that he did.  

She explained to him that if he was found guilty at trial, he could be sentenced to the maximum prison term for each count, that the sentences could be served consecutively instead of concurrently, and that if the court found him to be a persistent felony offender, he could be sent to prison for life.

"My job is to ensure that I feel satisfied that you understand," Cianfrini said. "Whether you take the plea is 100 percent your decision. I just want to make sure you understand." 

Brown, who spoke clearly in court, said he understood.

On the weapons charge, the court set a trial date for March 20 to March 24, with a Jan. 23 plea cutoff date. 

Cianfrini explained to Brown that while the plea offer he just rejected was off the table, the prosecution had the option of making a new offer and Jan. 23 would be the final date Brown would have to accept a plea offer, otherwise the case would go to trial.

There will be a Huntley hearing, a hearing on the possible suppression of evidence, at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 11.

Brown is not being held in jail while the charges against him are pending.

September 13, 2022 - 8:10am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, feral cats, farm animals, city council, notify.

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A group of about 30 people attended Monday's City Council meeting, and half of them spoke about the proposed farm animals law to ban most farm animals from city limits and the feeding and care of feral cats. Volunteers For Animals member Robin Lewis, second row, in blue, waits to take her turn at the podium and dispute that a feeding ban does any good for feral cats

Forbidding people to care for homeless cats will not take care of the feral cat problem, Robin Lewis says.

She was one of about 15 people to share their thoughts during a public hearing Monday at City Hall.

“It is a cruel, inhumane, and ineffective way to solve a complex problem,” Lewis said to City Council.

In an audience of 30 or so spectators, half of them were there to voice support or opposition for a proposed farm animal law expected to go up for a vote later in the evening. The law would ban “owning, bringing into, possessing, keeping, harboring, or feeding” most farm animals and feral cats in the city, and limit chickens to six as long as they’re penned properly and don’t create an accumulated mess and odor.

Lewis and other speakers nailed one issue right on its head: it’s a complex issue when dealing with cats. She was with a group of fellow Volunteers For Animals members who stressed that the ban was not only unfair to homeless cats but that it doesn’t work for eliminating them. Spoiler alert: volunteers were happy in the end.

One point of contention was that feral cats and “community cats” are hard to tell apart; one group is often being well cared for by good samaritans while the ferals are cats born outside that are often unsocialized and therefore less friendly and seemingly wild.

Judy Sikora, who has lived in the city for 40 years, is one of those good samaritans who has been caring for stray cats. She has worked with Kathy Schwenk of Spay Our Strays to ensure the cats are spayed or neutered so as not to reproduce, and that they are healthy. There are some ferals that “occasionally do remain very wild,” she said, however, many others are redeemable to go up for adoption.

She has appreciated the work of Spay Our Strays and asked that council remove the cat ban from the proposed resolution.

“The work they do is incredible,” she said.

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Kathy Schwenk, coordinator of Spay Our Strays, appeals to council that "these community cats should not be punished for one person."

Schwenk has been with Volunteers For Animals for the last 18 years and is coordinator for Spay Our Strays, which is a low-cost spay and neuter program for feral and outdoor cats. The group humanely sterilizes and vaccinates cats throughout Genesee County, including in the city of Batavia, she said.

“The caregivers did not ask for these cats. They're compassionate, caring, humans who cannot bear to see animals suffering. Some of them are in the audience right now,” Schwenk said. “These community cats should not be punished for the deeds of one citizen who irresponsibly harbors farm animals on their city property and infringes on their neighbor's rights.

“By including feral cats in the same category as farm animals, this is going to ensure undue suffering and spread of disease among our own community cats. So because of this proposed amendment, I've had several people, several upstanding city residents, contact me fearing that they will not be able to legally care for their outdoor cats anymore,” she said. “Some of these cats are strays, some are semi-socialized. Others have just been thoughtlessly left behind with a piece of trash and these compassionate people are caring for them.”

Her group worked with City Council seven years ago, after a presentation from SUNY Buffalo Law School recommended the trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate and release method for best controlling the stray cat population. Working with former Assistant City Manager Gretchen Difante and a task force, Spay Our Strays experienced “big success” by trapping 42 cats in one neighborhood, treating them per the program and releasing them.  That was in 2016.

While the issue of feral cats has come up since then, it isn’t what triggered the farm animal ordinance. Complaints from neighbors about one resident, in particular, got the ball rolling. The resident owns four goats, plus chickens, a dog and a cat. Her Burke Drive neighbors have come to council previously and complained to their ward councilman John Canale. They were fed up with loose goats charging them, eating their foliage, and the animals creating a mess and foul odor.

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Who'd want farm animals in the city? resident John Ladd asks during his time at the podium Monday evening.

City resident John Ladd wanted to clarify for council what his stance was. That was after he rattled off several dates of when he’d documented seeing loose goats or chickens “roaming freely out of their enclosures.” One day he found a goat standing on his front porch eating bushes. It might seem humorous, he said, but it makes him angry.

“We don’t want a limit on farm animals, we want no such animals allowed in the city limits,” he said.

Another speaker against the ban asked council to consider the aspect of people with disabilities having a right to a support animal. What if someone wants to have an emotional support cow or giraffe, Ladd said.

“Is that possible? Is it legal?” he said.

Some folks cited state and federal laws and statements from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to support their positions on the proposed law. The resident at issue, who has said that her animals were therapeutic service animals for her daughter, was not present. Her father, Randy Turner, was present and vocal.

He estimated that although 75 percent of the city residents owned a dog or cat, “that has nothing to do with this,” he said.

“There’s no reason to have farm animals in the city,” he said.

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I'm not against any animals, resident Shannon Maute says to council. These goats, these chickens, these ducks are not service animals. 

Fellow residents John Roach and Shannon Maute also supported the ban on farm animals. Roach didn’t move to the city to be near them, he said. Maute, who lives on Burke Drive, isn’t against animals, and in fact, “I love animals,” she said. But the goats, the chickens, the ducks are not service animals, and one’s pets should be properly contained, she said.

“So far I’ve had to chase one goat, three chickens and a dog out of my yard,” she said.

After everyone had a chance to speak, Council President Eugene Jankowski asked for comments before a vote. Councilman John Canale first responded to the cat comments.

“I certainly did not expect to see this turnout,” he said. “I certainly recognize that we gave our blessing to that organization (SOS). I don’t know if it’s working or not, we haven’t heard from them in years.”

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Councilman Bob Bialkowski removes his support for the proposed farm animals law, and Councilman John Canale shares that when he was a kid, a neighbor tried to raise a pig next door on Bank Street.

Canale would like to continue the trap-release program, he said, but to also have more communication between SOS and the city. He suggested that people who wish to be caregivers for homeless cats should contact the nonprofit and make sure those cats are properly spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski questioned the legitimacy of the ordinance: “All of this because of one home,” he said.

He also wondered how, if farm animals are banned, it will go if a child wants a rabbit but can’t, while her neighbor has six chickens. He suggested that when people have issues on their streets, to “talk to your neighbor … it’s called addressing the problem.”

“I’m not supporting any of this,” he said.

Jankowski explained that the city police and code enforcement departments are aware of the one issue, but with no law, not much could be done to solve it. He also pointed to the fact that Turner owns the house where his daughter Judy lives with all of those animals, and he’s against farm animals in the city. That should tell you something, Jankowski said.

“There are other issues going on that we can’t talk about,” he said.

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He then proposed removing the feral cats from the entire law or stipulating that the spay/neutering program must be part of it.

“It will delay us, but I’d rather get it right,” he said. “I think we lumped it in, it was an afterthought. We made a mistake.”

Council needs more time to thoroughly review the issue of feral cats, Councilwoman Patti Pacino said.

“I definitely think we need more time to think about it,” she said.

Fellow council members Al McGinnis, Kathy Briggs, Paul Viele and Tammy Schmidt agreed.

Council unanimously voted to move forward with the farm animals ban and remove cats from the entire equation. The pared-down law will move to the Sept. 26 business meeting for a vote.

Lewis paused for a second before reacting to that news. 

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "We work to educate people and to educate them about feral and community cats. Feeding bans do not work."

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Wendy Castleman of Volunteers For Animals cites that state law acknowledges the effectiveness of trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate/release programs as a way to stop cats from reproducing and the spread of disease. A feeding ban would be inhumane management of cats, she says, and it's a complex issue. 

"We are very pleased that feral cats have been removed from the proposal," she said after the meeting. "The area volunteers will continue in their efforts to spay and neuter community cats in the city of Batavia as well as the surrounding area." 

Photos by Joanne Beck.

September 11, 2022 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, fire, news, notify.

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A mobile phone left on a bed charging is the suspected cause, at least at the preliminary stage of the investigation, of a fire at 6979 Big Tree Road, Pavilion, this evening.

The fire was called in at 7:03 p.m., according to Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator.

It appears to have started in a second-floor bedroom and residents told investigators that a phone was left on the bed plugged into a charger. A 13-year-old resident smelled the smoke and found the fire.  He alerted his father and they shoved the mattress out the window but the fire spread quickly anyway.

"How the fire progressed inside the building, we don't know yet because we still need to investigate and then go from there," Yaeger said. "It's kind of early yet."

All residents of the two-unit apartment building escaped safely.  There were no injuries reported.

There were one adult and two children residing in each of the apartments.  

It was unclear earlier this evening if the structure is a total loss, but it was heavily damaged on both floors with obvious heavy flame damage in the front of the second floor.

Pavilion, Le Roy, and Stafford were dispatched on the first alarm.  The second alarm included the City of Batavia FAST Team, but that crew was soon pressed into firefighting duties so Alexander's FAST Team was dispatched.

FAST stands for Firefighter Assist and Search Team.

"They're there to be the rescue team for firefighters," Yaeger said. "So if a firefighter gets trapped, disoriented, runs out of air, something happens to either a firefighter or a team of firefighters, that's what that team is there for."

Also responding to the fire, Bethany, Caledonia, Perry Center, Wyoming, Mercy EMS and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, along with Emergency Management. 

A large response was needed, Yaeger said, because of a shortage of manpower.

To volunteer with your local fire department, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

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Photos by Howard Owens.

September 10, 2022 - 8:25am

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Armor Security staff members made their debut at Friday's home football game between Batavia and Livonia high schools. Spectators were wand-checked at the gate, and security guards were on site to ensure that the only commotion was on the field at Van Detta Stadium. Perhaps there was also some excitement in the stands as the Blue Devils blew away the competition by 42-6.

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The security company has a contract through the end of this year, and members of Batavia Police Department were also on hand to check for illegal parking and related un-gamely behaviors. Superintendent Jason Smith has been adamant -- via a letter to parents and recommending the extra security -- that home football games will be safe and without unwanted disruptions from spectators. 

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Friday's game included a moment of recognition during a dedication to honor all police and fire department and armed forces members.

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Earlier in the day Smith issued his superintendent's update to the district, sharing that he is "personally thrilled to begin my first full school year as our Superintendent of Schools, and I look forward to experiencing all the fun and joys associated with being a Batavia Blue Devil!" Certainly, players, staff and fans experienced one of those well-deserved joys with Friday night's win.

District leaders were "out and about" during the first day of school on Wednesday, he said, and they are focused on three key teaching principles: effective teaching, literacy (reading and writing) across all content areas, and providing an engaging and consistent curriculum. Smith gave some advice that is well-suited for anyone: work hard and be kind.

To read the entire update, go HERE  

Go here for prior Robert Morris story, and district security.

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Top Photo: Spectators are wand-checked as they enter Van Detta Stadium Friday evening; members of police, fire and armed forces were given a dedication to honor their service to the community. Photos by Steve Ognibene. File Photo: Superintendent Jason Smith takes board members on a tour of the revamped Robert Morris building before the first day of pre-school and UPK classes on Wednesday. Photo by Joanne Beck. Children arrive for the first day at Robert Morris. Photos from Batavia City Schools.

September 9, 2022 - 4:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, murder, crime, news, notify.
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Nicholas Maher

Nicholas Maher is being sent to state prison for 23 years for killing his father Martin Maher in their Oakfield home on Oct. 18.

The picture painted on Nick Maher in Genesee County Court today was of a 37-year-old man who struggled for years with mental health issues and gave into his delusions when he stabbed his 69-year-old father to death.

"Nick believed that his father was responsible for poisoning the air," District Attorney Kevin Finnell said. "He said he grabbed a knife to scare him but his father was flippant and arrogant and denied involvement in poisoning the air.

"Of course he denied it. It's ridiculous. It was a product of his mental health issues that he refused to address, he didn't want to address," Finnell said.

"Nick Maher is a college-educated person," Finnell continued. "He's smart enough to know that he needs to get mental health treatment and that he needs to take his medication, even if it doesn't make him feel real good. But he chose not to do that. So he responded, in his words, by 'losing it on his father,' a man who just denied poisoning the air, and killed him. In so doing, he took away the only person that was left in the world who cared about him."

Nick's siblings, Megan and Matt, spoke to the court and shared how much the death of their father hurt them.

Megan said Martin Maher put Nick first over his own happiness, putting off his own retirement to care for his son. She said Nick refused treatment and accused anybody who tried to help him of trying to harm him. 

"I think you simply made him the bad guy because he was there for you," Megan said. "What if mom hadn't passed a few years earlier? Would she have been caught up in your alternate reality and have been the bad guy, too? What if I spent more time around the house? Would I have been in the crossfire? I don't know. But these things have crossed my mind this year."

Megan said cleaning up her father's house, and going through old family photos was the hardest time of her life.

"I was constantly reminded of what you did," she said. "I no longer felt happy and safe in that house. All of the wonderful memories of our childhood were overshadowed by what you did."

Near the end of her remarks, she said, "You took a dad away from your siblings, and a grandpa away from his grandchildren. "Life has been hard enough after mom passed but not having my dad has been even more difficult than I think you'll ever be able to comprehend."

Matt said he will never forget the day he went to his father's home after not being able to reach him on the phone, worried something terrible had happened, and finding him dead on the floor.

"My dad loved my brother and it broke his heart that his love was not reciprocated, but that there was anger and blame towards him," Matt said.

Finnell told the court that the Sheriff's Office conducted a thorough investigation of the case and there is no doubt in his mind, that the evidence supported a murder conviction but it was also clear from psychological exams that if Nick Maher's case had gone to trial, his extreme emotional disturbance would have to lead the jury toward a manslaughter conviction rather than murder.   That is what lead to a plea deal that allowed Maher to admit to the murder with a possible sentencing range of 20 to 25 years in prison.

But Maher's mental health issues don't excuse him from the choices he made, Finnell argued.  Maher refused treatment and refused to take his prescribed medication.  Those choices ultimately led to Maher taking his father's life.

The chance to plead to manslaughter is the only consideration the defendant should get, Finnell told Judge Michael Mohun. Finnell said Maher should get the full 25 years in prison allowed by statute.

Public Defender Jerry Ader took exception to the suggestion that Maher was completely responsible for his own choices in dealing with his mental illness.

"I sincerely believe that our community, our country, has a difficult time dealing with mental illness, especially when it comes to mental illness in the criminal justice system," Ader said near the beginning of his remarks.

Later he said, "some of the speakers here, the children of Mr. Maher, they use of words, that he chose to do these things, and that he could have done something else. And I'm just not quite sure that's true. And I don't think anyone can know for sure if that's true, it's easy to say because we don't understand mental illness. But in my experience, when someone is placed in a psychiatric hospital, it could take years in order to get a patient, an inmate, to understand, to have the insight as to their illness, why they need help and why they need medication."

Ader said after nearly a year in jail, his client is just starting to take his medication and come to terms with his mental illness.

Ader argued that Mohun should consider something less than the maximum 25-year term on the manslaughter conviction because the Legislature when it wrote the law, allowed for a sentencing range of 5 to 25 years. Clearly, the Legislature understood, Ader argued, that each individual, each case, is different because mental health is involved, therefore, a judge has latitude to weigh all the factors.

In this case, the plea agreement meant that Maher must receive a sentence of at least 20 years but there was no reason, considering the factors of his mental health issues, to sentence him to the maximum of 25 years.

After giving Nick Maher an opportunity to address the court, which he declined, Mohun spoke directly to the family.

"I don't want you to dwell on Oct. 18 of 2021. The day your dad died. What I want you to think of are the days he lived. He almost lived until his 70th birthday which would have been in July of this year. Think of all those things that you had with your dad and that you celebrated together and that he was there to give you guidance and support. And think of the man who put his life on hold during his retirement years to take care of your brother."

He added, "Your brother has admitted, he's acknowledged., he has pled guilty to manslaughter in the first degree. What he has done by this act, you've lost two family members. On Oct. 18, you lost your father and you lost your brother. That is a devastating event which it will resonate through generations of Maher family celebrations of birthdays and holidays. But don't let this crime define the family. Remember your dad as he would want to be remembered, as a good dad, as a dad who stepped up and took care of your sick brother. Your father's devotion to duty was extraordinary."

Mohun said the killing of Martin Maher was without justification, without reason. 

"It was a heinous crime to which an appropriate sentence must be imposed," Mohun said.

The 23 years will be followed by five years of post-release supervision.  

Nick Maher is barred by court order from having any contact with his siblings until Sept. 9, 2053.

September 9, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Healthy Living, GLOW YMCA, notify.

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As some go up, others must come down.

That’s the nutshell version of construction in downtown Batavia. Work is being done to construct a new Healthy Living campus alongside GLOW YMCA, and the fitness facility at 207-209 East Main St. will eventually be demolished to make way for green and parking spaces.

It will take much investment for the entire plan to unfold, and Genesee County’s Ways & Means Committee agreed Wednesday to proceed with an application for a $2 million Restore NY grant to help with the costs.

Before anything else can happen, a public hearing must be conducted about the project to demolish 207-209 and 211 1/2 (rear) on East Main Street. Led by the county, the grant is available for “projects to demolish/deconstruct and/or rehabilitate/reconstruct vacant, abandoned, surplus and/or condemned residential, commercial, and/or mixed-use buildings.”

The hearing was set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

The project has already passed historic preservation and environmental reviews, and has a developer, said Ed Flynn, director of planning at LaBella Associates. Having those items taken care of “I think will make it a competitive project,” Flynn said.

An important goal of Restore NY is to revitalize urban centers, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. It is anticipated that upon completion, the projects funded by Restore NY municipal grants will attract individuals, families, and industrial and commercial enterprises to the municipality, according to the resolution.

“It is further anticipated that the improved community and business climate will result in an increased tax base, thereby improving municipal finances and the wherewithal to further grow the municipality’s tax and resource base, lessening its dependence on state aid,” it states.

Populations of less than 40,000 can apply for up to $2 million in grant funding. Since the City of Batavia meets that stipulation, Flynn suggested going for the entire amount.

Genesee County will be assisting with the administrative portion of the grant and applying on behalf of the city. The $2 million would go towards a $33.5 million Healthy Living project between Bank and Wiard streets downtown.

The future site is to be a 78,000-square-foot integrated medical and wellness facility. It's to include state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new pool, an indoor track, a teaching kitchen, a children’s adventure room play area, plus 22 exam rooms and two medical procedure rooms for primary care, telemedicine appointments, behavioral health and crisis intervention support, cancer prevention, chronic illness, and community education services.

Rochester Regional Health, United Memorial Medical Center and YMCA officials have said the site will serve as a one-stop-shop for many health concerns and fitness goals, and there will also be a drop-in childcare center. 

For prior coverage, go to Healthy Living.

Illustration: File Photo of future Healthy Living campus rendering.

September 8, 2022 - 7:34pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Eli Fish Brewing Company, batavia, notify, Oktoberfest.

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In the mood for some German fruited lager? It’s like a pilsner that’s “bombarded” with notes of prickly pear and blood orange.

“It’s crisp, dry and refreshing, but floral and fruity,” chief brewer Adam Burnett says. “It reminds me of the Southwest.”

That craft brew will be one of three available at this year’s Oktoberfest hosted by Eli Fish Brewing Company. Burnett has been at the brewing helm for the last four years, and involved with the traditional October celebration for the last three. After living in California for 15 years, Burnett didn’t get to experience many of the German-themed events, and this one’s been growing on him.

“It’s becoming (a favorite) … definitely one of the best days of the year,” he said during an interview with The Batavian.”

The fourth annual Oktoberfest has been scheduled earlier this year — at least one week before most fests begin — as a way for people to participate before other events get going. It’s set for 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Square in downtown Batavia.

“We’re excited to see if being one of the first ones brings the energy up even higher,” Burnett said. “Last year we had it at the end of the month, and some people said they had been to four others already.”

Founded in Munich, Oktoberfest this year runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3. According to Britannica.com, the festival originated on Oct. 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. But does anyone really care much about the origins of an event that’s filled with German food, beer, music and dancing?

And there will be all of those things, Burnett said. The Frankfurters, a band so popular it has to be booked two years out, will take the stage while its complementary dance troupe whoops it up. Promoted as “the best of the wurst,” the Buffalo performers are dressed to the nines — neuner in German — in lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders) for the men and dirndls (short swingy dresses with ruffles or a half-apron and peasant-style blouses) for the women.

“It’s just wild, they’re so entertaining. It’s a hoot,” he said. “They’re very fun to watch, very engaging.”

The band is already booked for Eli’s 2023 festival due to its popularity, he said.

Burnett looks forward to pulling on his lederhosen and fully embracing the part, he said. In fact, one can expect Eli Fish staff to be dressed accordingly, he said, and attendees are encouraged to do likewise. Since there is so much activity in the Square — lively polkas, a beer tent and all — it is suggested not to bring a lawn chair to the event, he said. But do wear your dancing shoes.

Another beer at the event will be a standard amber lager and a festival German blond beer, “a step-sister to the amber,” Burnett said. Aged in an oak versus steel container, it has “a nice oaky” flavor, he said.

A 2003 Batavia High grad, Burnett is happy to be back home. He had been a professional brewer in Chicago for three years when Eli co-owner Jon Mager gave him a call. Burnett moved back and sees this gig as a long-term venture. He promises three stellar brews at the Square, with another 23 on tap inside Eli Fish at 109 Main St. It’s not much of a walk, just up the back steps from the Square.

Of course, there will also be bratwurst, huge pretzels and other German fare for the choosing, and some benches outside to grab a seat and a bite.

The mayor of Munich taps the first keg to open the festival every year in Germany, and the total beer consumption is nearly 75,800 hectoliters or about 2 million gallons. This weekend’s event may not reach that volume, but plenty of fun is to be had, organizers said.

Admission is $8 presale and $10 at the door, and each ticket includes one free beverage. There are a limited number of tickets, and Burnett advises buying them sooner than later. They may be purchased at Eli Fish or online.

Photo: Via The Frankfurters website.

September 8, 2022 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, animal abuse, notify, news, batavia.

A woman accused of injuring an animal after her dog overdosed three times on narcotics earlier this summer once again failed to appear in City Court on Thursday.

Cassandra Elmore was ordered to appear at 1:30 p.m. and was not seen in court by the time Judge Thomas Burns called her case at 3:20 p.m.

He said a court clerk had received a call earlier in the day from a man who claimed to be an attorney from Pennsylvania and that he was calling on Elmore's behalf, claiming that Elmore had tried contacting her assigned attorney multiple times and her calls were not returned.

Burns said the man provided only a partial address, no phone number, and said his secretary would be in touch with the court.  The man also did not file a motion to change attorneys, Burns noted.

At no time, Burns said, did the clerk say Elmore was excused from her scheduled appearance today.

Elmore faces three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.  She reportedly took her dog, Oddey, to veterinarians with apparent drug overdoses after the dog, according to police reports, licked up white powder from the kitchen floor.


See AlsoOPINION: Due process often neglects animal victims


Elmore did make her initial court appearance on the case on July 26, when she asked for time to hire an attorney.

On Aug. 11, Elmore failed to show for an ordered court appearance. On that date, a woman who identified herself as a friend of Elmore called and said Elmore was hospitalized.  The caller was informed that the court needed proof of the hospitalization but no proof was sent to the court before her scheduled appearance.

Burns issued a warrant for Elmore's arrest but when The Batavian checked with Batavia PD on the status of the warrant more than a week later, a spokesman for the department said the department never received a warrant for Elmore.

Elmore was arrested on Aug. 30 following a traffic stop in Batavia and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and obstruction of governmental administration.

During today's hearing, Jamie Welch, with the Public Defender's Office, said he was unaware of any messages left for him by Elmore. 

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bauer told Burns that her office was not contacted by any other attorney claiming to represent Elmore.  She also noted that it took Elmore two months to complete the paperwork required for the Public Defender's Office to represent her.

Following her Aug. 30 arrest, Elmore was ordered to appear in City Court on those charges at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Burns said she was going to be arraigned on those charges today, so he issued an arrest warrant related to those charges. He also issued two bench warrants for her failure to appear on the two injuring an animal charges.

At the time of her arrest on the animal charges, Elmore lived on River Street.  Welch provided the court with a new residential address for her on East Main Street.  Welch said he would be sending her a letter informing her of her court appearances and would attempt to reach her by phone.

Oddey remains at the animal shelter. Oddey is doing well, according to a member of Volunteers for Animals, but he can't be sent to a foster home or put up for adoption while the legal case against Elmore is pending or until she surrenders ownership.

Previously:

September 8, 2022 - 5:03pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, news, Darien, notify.

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According to Deputy Robert Henning with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, an SUV facing west on McVean road failed to yield at the stop sign at Route 77 and was struck by a box truck that was traveling south on Route 77.

The female driver of the SUV, in her late 70s, may have suffered a medical event and was conscious and alert, but transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC. The male driver of the box truck, in his early 60s, suffered cuts to the face and was transported to ECMC via ambulance.

According to Deputy Henning, the driver of the SUV will be charged with failure to yield.

PreviouslyPossible serious injury accident reported in Darien

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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September 8, 2022 - 4:28pm

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Myrin and Dannielle Lumpkin are excited, to say the least.

The Batavia couple is in progress for an October ribbon-cutting of Mama Dee’z Kitchen in its new location at Eli Fish Brewing Company.

“It’s happening,” Dannielle said. “October 1st.”

In August, the Lumpkins shared with The Batavian at the Italian Fest that their hopes were on the possibility of moving into the downtown restaurant and brewery. 

At a more recent event, they informally disclosed that it’s coming true, and Eli Fish co-owner Matt Gray confirmed the news this week. Papers have been signed, he said.

The former catering company will now be serving dine-in meals and takeouts, plus be available through Grub Hub, Dannielle said.

She has also posted the news online: “what a blessing,” she said.

The Eli Fish site at 109 Main St., Batavia, has housed prior catering and restaurant set-ups as an incubator style: starting small and learning the ropes before expanding into bigger solo establishments.

Eden Cafe & Bakeshop was the last occupant at Eli, and it moved over to Ellicott Street a few months ago as a successful vegan eatery.

Mama Dee’z specializes in homemade sauces and features soul food and Caribbean flavors, barbecues, chicken wings and a slew of spicy jerk and saucy glazed meats and fish.

For more information about Mama Dee'z, click HERE.

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Top File Photo: Dannielle Lumpkin serves up some rasta pasta during this year's Italian Festival downtown. Photo by Joanne Beck. Above, she stands in front of her new work space at Eli Fish on Main Street, Batavia. Photo from the Mama Dee'z online site.

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