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January 23, 2019 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Le Roy, Robbin's Nest, Presidential Acres, notify, land use.

mcquillendrivewayjan2019-2.jpg

Good fences make good neighbors the poet Robert Frost observed, but that may not apply to driveways, at least not in Le Roy.

A driveway is the latest flashpoint in a nearly decade-long neighborhood dispute that pits local businessman Pete McQuillen against Steve Barbeau and other residents of the subdivision known as Presidential Acres.

In the latest chapter, McQuillen was brought up on criminal charges for use of a driveway that traverses a parcel he owns next to the residence of Barbeau. It allows him to access both a utility building he constructed behind Barbeau's lot and the single-family home he and his wife, Judith, now live in further back on their parcel.

A judge in Darien Town Court dismissed the criminal complaint, which prompted Barbeau and several other residents to file an Artice 78 petition seeking, among other things, to overturn the dismissal.

An Article 78 filing, or proceeding, is an appeal of an agency decision. It is how a citizen in New York can appeal to judge in a county supreme court the ruling or decision of any government agency in the state.

Barbeau's side lost in a harshly worded decision written by Justice Emilio Colaiacovo of the NYS Supreme Court 8th Judicial District.

"As this Court has some familiarity with these parties and prior proceedings, it is deeply troubled by the continued methods employed by the Petitioners," Colaiacovo wrote. "While it is one thing to complain about your neighbor, it is another to install video equipment and keep a log documenting your neighbor's activities in an attempt to subject and expose him to criminal prosecution. The Petitioners' demonstrated pattern of prosecution against their neighbor is nothing short of harassment."

Despite the ruling, the legal proceedings are likely to continue, Barbeau indicted in an email to The Batavian.

History of Disputes
McQuillen purchased property in the Fillmore/Robbins Road area, adjoining Presidential Acres, in September 2010.

Shortly after acquiring the property, McQuillen announced his intention to build 26 single-family homes for people 55 and over on the subdivision, which McQuillen dubbed "Robbins Nest." This met with opposition and eventually resulted in a lawsuit with Barbeau, supervisor in the Town of Le Roy, as one of the plaintiffs.

The legal challenges eventually brought an end to McQuillen's plans for Robbins Nest, but by that time he was being sued over duplexes he built in the subdivision as well as a challenge to the utility barn he built behind Barbeau's home.

McQuillen eventually prevailed in the challenge to the duplexes and in that ruling, issued in February 2017, Colaiacovo determined the challenge to the utility structure was moot because McQuillen had built a single-family residence on the property (a utility structure, or garage, or barn, is not permitted as a stand-alone structure on a lot in a single-family area, according to Village of Le Roy code).

Village code enforcement had, perhaps incorrectly, issued a building permit to McQuillen for the utility building before plans were submitted for the single-family residence.

While McQuillen was erecting that barn-like structure in August 2013, Barbeau became upset with McQuillen when a tree fell on his house (there was little or no damage). An argument ensued and an accusation that Barbeau shoved McQuillen, causing him to fall ot the ground, leading to Barbeau's arrest (Barbeau eventually received a conditional discharge).

It was during this time that Barbeau and his then-neighbor David Boyce (who has since moved) had their own complaints against McQuillen. McQuillen was accused of parking construction equipment in front of their homes; storing waste construction material on the property across the street; and of once dumping a pile of manure against the back property line Boyce's home just in time for a graduation party for Boyce's daughter (an allegation recounted in a recent email to The Batavian from Amy Kendall, attorney for the Presidential Acres residents).

In July 2013, the Village granted a building permit for McQuillen to construct a single-family home with an address of 9313 Robbins Road.

Boyce and neighbors, in a lawsuit titled Bartz vs. Le Roy, challenged the ZBA's decision on the building permit.

As part of its decision, the ZBA ruled (and this point is part of the ongoing dispute) that ingress and egress for 9312 Robbins Road would be from a driveway leading to Robbins Road.

The neighbors ended up withdrawing the suit, letting the ZBA decision stand, in order to challenge McQuillen's use of the driveway leading to Fillmore Street.

Barbeau began keeping a log of traffic on that driveway, and at the suggestion of a code enforcement officer, set up a video camera to monitor vehicle traffic on the driveway.

That evidence was eventually used to file a criminal complaint against McQuillen. The case was moved to Darien because both justices in Le Roy had a conflict of interest as did Judge Gary Graber in Darien, which is how the case was handed to Darien Town Justice Michelle Krzemien.

The Easement
Pete and Judith McQuillen own the parcel at 9313 Robbins Road.

Judith McQuillen is CEO of Circular Hill Inc., according to a court filing by attorney Kendall, and that corporation owns the parcel adjoining Fillmore Street.

In September 2013, Circular Hill granted an easement to the McQuillens for use of a driveway and utility connections attached to the Robbins Road residence.

In July 2014, the Zoning Board of Appeals affirmed its prior decision to issue a building permit, after hearing an appeal from the neighbors, and stated in its decision, "The board notes the owners' right of entry to the primary and accessory structure will be accessed through Robbins Road."

It's the position of Barbeau and his co-plaintiffs that the decision limits the McQuillens to using only the drive leading to Robbins Road.

One point of contention in the case is that McQuillen did not mention, nor did the ZBA ask about, nor did anybody apparently research, the easement on the property next to Barbeau's.

McQuillen did not appeal this decision and later claimed he did not know about the ZBA's written decision requiring access on Robbins Road.

The McQuillens received a certificate of occupancy for their new home in June 2016.

Later that month, Pete McQuillen testified in the Bartz case that he used the Robbins Road driveway for ingress and egress to his house.

In July 2016, Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Steinbrenner sent a letter to McQuillen notifying him that he was violating Village code and the ZBA decision by using the Fillmore Street driveway.

From August 2016 through January 2017, Barbeau made a log of vehicles using the Fillmore Street driveway, which included a black Dodge Ram, a white GMC SUV, a gray pickup, a FedEx truck, tractors, a four-wheeler, and several other vehicles.

The following February, the Village filed a criminal complaint against McQuillen.

The case was transferred to Darien Town Court in May and McQuillen's attorney Benjaman Bonarigo filed a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint "in the interest of justice" in the fall.

A hearing on the motion was held Dec. 3, 2017.

The Dismissal Hearing
In New York, a criminal case can be dismissed "in the interest of justice" if a judge finds compelling factors about the circumstances of the case that clearly demonstrate that prosecution, or conviction, would result in an injustice, such as insufficiency of evidence or the defendant was really doing nothing wrong.

At the dismissal hearing in People v. McQuillen, Bonarigo represented McQuillen and James Wujcik represented the Village of Le Roy.

Kendall and Barbeau were also present and both attempted to speak and Krzemien denied their requests, an effort characterized by Colaiacovo in his ruling as an attempt to influence the proceedings.

In her subsequent filings, Kendall would have a few complaints about this hearing:

  • That neither Bonarigo nor Wujcik corrected Krzemien on relevant points of law;
  • That Wujcik did not correct what Kendall sees as inaccurate factual statements during the hearing and that he did not sufficiently challenge Bonarigo on points of law;
  • That neither attorney corrected Krzemien on misstatements about the county issuing the easement;
  • That Bonarigo failed to produce citations to back his assertion that the easement barred his client from being charged criminally;
  • That she wasn't allowed to speak in violation of court rules.

At the hearing, Bonarigo spoke first, according to a court transcript, and presented the facts of the case as he saw it, from McQuillen's purchase of the property in 2010 through McQuillen's eventual criminal charge. He covered the easement and the ZBA hearings.

In the midst of his presentation, Krzemien interrupted and explained why she had not read filings from Kendall relevant to the Bartz case.

"I did not look at the paperwork because I don't know too much about zoning and you (Bonarigo) told me the appellate -- the appellate decision had nothing do with what was laid out here," she said.

A short time later, Bonarigo sums up, "Let me just say ... there's an easement. It's a matter of record. It allows for exactly what Mr. McQuillen is accused of doing here in a quasi-criminal matter. Therefore, it's our contention that based upon those facts and what's before this court, documentarily, that you should dismiss this case in the interest of justice."

In response, Wujcik argues that the ZBA had already ruled that McQuillen could only access his property from Robbins Road.

"Mr. McQuillen never disclosed that he had an easement," Wucik said. "So since he didn't disclose it, then the business about that he wasn't aware of the ZBA's decision -- our position is that's misplaced because he was the defendant in a litigation, so he certainly was aware of the two -- there's also a different ZBA decision against him -- but he was aware of that."

After more discussion, Krzemien asked who issued an easement, the village or the county.

Wujcik explained that private citizens grant easements, with a short explanation of how the process works, and that once two private parties agree on an easement, it is filed with the relevant government agency.

After the explanation, Krzemien asked, "So I guess what I'm asking is, ... in the VIllage of Le Roy, is there a process that you would go through to get an easement or all easements issued through the county?"

Bonarigo: "No, there is no such procedure."

Krzemien: "No such procedure."

There is then a long discussion related to issues contained in the Bartz case.

Returning to the requirement to use Robbins Road, Bonarigo said, "The ZBA can't create that by law over the top ... they can't take away a legal right that has been formulated for years prior to it by just a stroke of the pen. They don't have that kind of authority. As a matter of law, the easement was in existence."

Wujcik said the ZBA has the authority to nullify an easement, and as to the assertion that the ZBA didn't ask about the easement, "the Zoning Board of Appeals doesn't know what it doesn't know. If they are not made aware of an easement, they can't make an interpretation or a ruling on it."

Bonarigo: "They were made aware of it, Judge. That's my point."

He would later point out that the easement is on file with the clerk's office and is a public document and easily discoverable. In reviewing court documents obtained by The Batavian we didn't find any indication the ZBA was made aware of the easement prior its decision, nor is there any indication any ZBA member or staff member tried to research the title of the property.

After more discussion, Krzemien makes reference to the county granting the easement and discusses the life of the easement, which goes with the land.

Wujcik did not correct her misstatement about the easement being granted by the county but did agree it goes with the land.

Later, Wujcik points out that the McQuillens filed the easement two weeks after the first ZBA discussion of the property but before any ZBA decision.

At this point, Kendall tries to speak and Bonarigo objects.

"This is not a civil matter despite what Ms. Kendall might think," Bonarigo tells the judge.

Krzemien: "Ms. Kendall, I'm sorry. I'm not going to hear what you have to say, so will you have to sit down, please."

A few pages later in the transcript, Krzemien again refers to the county issuing the easement and neither attorney corrects her misstatement.

At one point, Krzemien complains about Kendall, "I'm not. I'm not. I know you're just -- got information from him. And that little bird back there is chirping at you."

Wujcik: "Yeah, I don't need her -- no disrespect to her, I don't need the chirping."

When it comes time to discuss when Krzemien might issue a decision, Krzemien asks that McQuillen, in the meantime, stop driving bulldozers down the driveway, along with snowmobiles and four-wheelers; asking that they only use the driveway for their own personal vehicles, except for snow removal. McQuillen agrees.

On April 16, Krzemien granted McQuillen's motion, dismissing the criminal complaint in the interest of justice, noting the existence of a valid easement.

The Village of Le Roy did not appeal Krzemien's decision, and Wujcik later informed Colaiacovo that the Village would not be joining the challenge by neighbors to the ruling.

The Batavian emailed Wujcik last week and asked why the Village did not appeal the ruling, as well as why Wujcik did not mount a more explicit challenge to Bonarigo's assertion that the easement took precedence over Village code or the ZBA decision. After acknowledging our questions and saying he would respond, he did not provide a statement.

The Batavian also contacted Bonarigo and asked him to provide case law citations or specific code sections that would indicate an easement takes precedence over local codes or a ZBA decision.

Bonarigo responded:

A decision was rendered by Justice Emilio Colaiacovo, Supreme Court, supporting my client's position on the Art. 78. I trust you have read that and would hope that you are going to report that result as I don't care to relitigate the Town of Darien case with you.

Bonarigo has declined to comment on follow-up questions.

Article 78 Petition and Ruling
Kendall filed an Article 78 petition May 16. The petition was on behalf of Barbeau, Earl Bickett, Robert Boyce, Joseph McKay, Stephen Moulton, and Ronald Paganin, all property owners in Presidential Acres.

In her motion, Kendall said the petitioners had no other means of seeking remedy than through an Article 78 petition.

The petition asks the court to annul Krzemien's "arbitrary, capricious, and illegal decision." Kendall claimed the ruling was based on insufficient information and misunderstanding of relevant law. Kendall asked the court to rule the use of the driveway off of Fillmore Street illegal and order that it no longer be used.

She asked that the court rule that the McQuillens' use of the driveway constituted a nuisance.

As part of the motion to overrule Krzemien's decision and bar use of the driveway, Kendall complains that the Village of Le Roy failed to challenge the judge's inaccurate statements and that her clients have experienced special damages.

She also asks for attorneys fees, court costs and punitive damages.

By the third page of his 17-page opinion rendering his decision, Colaiacovo is sniping at the petitioners.

"The petitioners live near McQuillen and have exhaustively and painstakingly monitored this otherwise innocuous activity and complaint to the Village of Le Roy," Colaiacovo writes.

The justice ruled that since the criminal proceeding involved only the Village of Le Roy, which declined to participate in the petition, and McQuillen, the petitioners lacked standing to file the motion.

The petitioners failed to demonstrate any injury or harm they sustained because McQuillen used the driveway, Colaiacovo said, adding, "It certainly is not a nuisance as Petitioners maintain, however, there is mounting evidence to suggest that these continued lawsuits are."

He dismissed the complaint against Krzemien, saying that even if the petitioners had standing, Krzemien has judicial immunity.

"Petitioners insist that they have a viable cause of action against the Town Justice because she lacked subject matter jurisdiction over a ZBA decision. Petitioners strangely maintain that by granting the motion to dismiss, the judge erroneously invalidated a ZBA decision by passing judgment on the validity of an easement. However, the Town Justice insists that these charges were dismissed 'in the interest of justice.' This court agrees that the Petitioners' argument improperly mischaracterizes the decision of the Town Justice."

While a town justice doesn't have subject matter jurisdiction, Colaiacovo said, they can dismiss such matters "in the interest of justice."

"Judge Krzemien's determination was just that, a determination and exercise of her judgment, and not a ministerial or clerical act that could be reviewed under Article 78."

He added later in the same section, "to otherwise entertain the relief requested would create a terrible precedent, allowing officious, meddlesome individuals, like those here, an opportunity to intervene and challenge any judge's decision that offends their belief of what the law should be. Sanctioning the relief requested by the Petitioners would only empower like-minded obstreperous people who are engaged, as is the case here, in a simple yet ongoing neighborhood dispute."

While the neighbors sought attorneys fees, court costs, and punitive damages, Colaiacovo notes the arguments of Bonarigo claim that the Article 78 petition was "frivolous" and that challenging the town justice's decision was "beyond zealous representation and of a client and constituted an abuse of process."

Colaiacovo also faulted Kendall and Barbeau for what he said was attempted interference in the McQuillen case at the Dec. 3 hearing and then commencing the Article 78 petition without standing.

"This tactic, which is completely lacking in merit and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument, cannot now be simply overlooked," Colaiacovo wrote. "When viewed in its entirety, the conduct of Petitioners clearly evidences a systematic and torrid legal assault of anyone who stands in the way of what they ultimately seek, including a local Town Justice. This court finds that this reckless and egregious conduct justifies the imposition of costs and fees."

Colaiacovo ordered a hearing on costs and fees for 9:30 a.m., Feb. 14.

Kendall said her clients remain unsatisfied with the response of the Village to the situation, unhappy with Krzemien's ruling, and with Colaiacovo's opinion upholding that decision.

"My clients simply want the McQuillens to comply with the law of the Village," Kendall wrote in an email to The Batavian. "I do not know why that is so difficult. The McQuillens have at least one other driveway onto their property, so the reason they continue to violate the ZBA Decision seems clear. The Village did not support its Code Enforcement Officer’s determination that McQuillen was violating the ZBA Decision by appealing the Justice Court’s obviously incorrect decision. At this point, it appears that having an easement allows you to violate Village law and that is a very dangerous precedent."

She added, "My clients do not want to live with this ongoing harassment and feel that they should be protected from it by the Village. The Village isn’t protecting them."

Given a chance to respond to Kendall's remarks, McQuillen replied, "My response would be to only quote the Supreme Court Judge Hon. Emilio Colaiacovo in his decision – 'The Petitioners’ demonstrated pattern of prosecution against their neighbor is nothing short of harassment.' "

This is probably not the end of the story.

Previously:

Photos: Top and bottom photo made Jan. 17. The top photo is the driveway from Fillmore Street. The bottom photo is the driveway from Robbins Road. Both drives showed evidence of regular use at the time the photos were taken. "Skippy's Way" refers to a friend of Pete McQuillen's, he said.

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Map of the area we created in 2013 to provide an overview of who owned what property. Fillmore Street now connects with Robbins Road. David Boyce is no longer a resident of Presidential Acres.

January 22, 2019 - 6:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, news, GC Women's Republican Club, notify.

When the Genesee County Women's Republican Club convenes its emergency meeting tonight to discuss its anemic body politic, Melissa Haacke will seek guidance and direction, input and feedback.

The chairwoman and other members of the board need to know what the 65 dues-paying members (at least on paper) want to see happen this year. Are there changes that ought to be made? What can be done to boost participation? Do you know what the club's purpose is?

It's aim is to encourage candidates to run for office; help them get endorsed; and support their candidacy for office.

But that is getting harder to do.

The notice sent out last week about the 6:30 meeting at Oakfield's Community & Government Center cited low attendance at last year's spring breakfast and the summer cancellation of the Lucky Numbers basket raffle fundraiser at T.F. Brown's because of lack of interest.

"It is becoming more and more difficult to continue this Club with little to no participation or support," the notice said.

Haacke knows that problem is not uncommon for volunteer groups, particularly with people's tight schedules, regardless of whether the groups are focused on partisan politics, civic or religious purposes, sports or hobbies.

"We've had the same five people, with one or two migrating in or out for the last 10 years," Haacke said, an untenable track.

The echo chamber and self-interest bubble perpetuated and fostered by social media is perhaps part of waning real-world participation in many groups, she acknowleged.

"People are at one end of the spectrum or the other," Haacke said.

And fewer young people are taught about the virtues of volunteerism, she said, and many equate volunteering with punishment: wrongdoers are often given community service in lieu of a harsher penalty.

The irony is that Genesee County is solidly red territory in a blue state, and the GC Women's Republican Party is having trouble pulling off a breakfast when Democrats and Progressives say it's "standing room only" at their events these days.

Asked if Trump's treatment of women or his language concerning them is causing Republican females to go missing in action, Haacke said unequivocally and 100-percent "No. Trump is not a factor."

Any awkwardness in his oratory is because he's "not a politician" but "he tells the truth."

"If we want to get to where we need to be as a Christian and God-loving people, we need to support Trump and the Republican candidates," Haacke said.

Naturally, Erica O'Donnell, chairwoman of the City of Batavia Democratic Committee, sees things differently, but she does sympathize.

"Political or not, all organizations struggle with participation at times, with the busy lives we lead," O'Donnell said. "But we decided to come out of the closet and do more community involvement -- be in parades, go to community events, be at Picnic in the Park (for the 4th of July).

"We are the party of inclusion and acceptance. We should have a big tent."

O'Donnell said that women's participation increased in Democratic and Progessive politics here and elsewhere after Bernie Sanders lost the primary and after the 2016 election.

And O'Donnell thinks Trump is not resonating with a growing number of Republican women, so they are sitting on the sidelines.

"The way he treats women, the way he talks about them," O'Donnell said. "I don't want my daughters exposed to that."

January 19, 2019 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Women March, news, batavia, notify.

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With a theme of "We Will Rise," about 75 people, mostly women, came out on perhaps the winteriest day of the winter so far -- with a bit of wind, a temperature in the mid-teens, and snow -- to Jackson Square this morning for the local version of Women March.

On a day when Buffalo organizers canceled their march, Genesee County's women's rights supporters rallied each other to do better and help each other.

"We don’t all have to be leaders but we each need to be participants," said Diane Kastenbaum, the keynote speaker.

Born and raised in Batavia, Kastenbaum moved away from her hometown as a young adult and returned seven years ago, going to work for the family business and eventually running for Congress against the now-indicted Chris Collins in 2016.

When she returned, she said, she found some irregularities in the family business and when she pressed the accountant and the attorney for information and documents, she met resistance.

She suspected the resistance was due, at least in part, to gender bias, she said, even though she was a stockholder and board member in the company.

Eventually, after continuing to press the issue, she staged a boardroom coup and was appointed CEO.

In 2016, she said, when she told a business colleague, a male colleague, that she was going to challenge Collins for the NY-27 seat, she said the man asked "Are you crazy?" He wondered, she said, how she could run her business and run for Congress.

"Would he have said that to a man? I don't think so," Kastenbaum said.

To fight back against sexism and discrimination, Kastenbaum said, women need to get involved. They need to join organizations and become board members, whether arts councils, civic group, nonprofits, or business organizations, women need to participate.

"Get yourself on some board and then run for office yourself," Kastenbaum said. 

Women getting involved will make a difference, she said.

"If you make that promise to me, together we will rise," Kastenbaum said. "And if you make that promise to yourselves, together we rise. And if you make that promise to your daughters and your granddaughters and your nieces and your mothers, together, we rise.

"And if you make that promise to your sisters here today, who will bear witness, together, we rise. And if you make that promise to take the power into your own hands, women, together we rise."

The crowd gathered in Jackson Square then broke into a call-and-response chant.

"We will"

"Rise up."

"We will"

"Rise up."

"We will"

"Rise up."

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After Kastenbaum spoke, the activists marched down Center Street, to Main Street, to City Centre to conclude the rally.

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January 19, 2019 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Robert Bausch, news, bergen, notify, county legislature.

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When Bob Bausch joined the County Legislature in 2010 he said he was making at least a four-year commitment to serve. Nine years later, at age 75 and with a new four-year term looming, he thinks it's time to step aside.

Bausch announced today that he's not going to seek reelection this year.

"When I was pushing for the four-year terms, I knew that at 75 I shouldn't run for a four-year term," Bausch said. "I'm in good health but I'm 75. There's no denying it."

Bausch editorialized and lobbied in support of staggered four-year terms for the county legislative members, replacing a system that had all nine members up for election every two years. County voters approved the reform in November.

Before joining the Legislature, he served as a Village of Bergen trustee for eight years and for 10 years before that, he was on Bergen's Zoning Appeals Board.

He became chairman of the County Legislature in 2017.

Once his term is up at the end of this year, after 27 years in either elected or appointed office, Bausch said he will have plenty to do to keep himself busy. He will continue to serve on the boards of community groups. He also has family spread across the country from Philadelphia to San Jose, Calif., and so will travel occasionally to see them.

"There are still things I would like to get done but I should step aside," Bausch said.

Photo: File photo.

January 18, 2019 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news, notify.

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A mother and two young children were displaced from their home after a fire that started on a stove quickly spread to the kitchen leading to a burnt-out kitchen and extensive smoke and water damage to their second-floor apartment.

The mother and her children were at home at the time of the fire and evacuated safely.

City Fire Chief Steve Napolitano said the fire cause $10,000 to $25,000 damage and the apartment wouldn't be fit for habitation until the kitchen is rebuilt and there is extensive, deep cleaning in the rest of the apartment.

A downstairs apartment sustained minor water damage and the residents have been allowed to remain.

The fire was reported at 136 Pearl St., Batavia, just after 1:30 p.m.

"Crews did an outstanding job of containing the fire with little or no extension into the attic or the rest of the structure," Napolitano said.

The Salvation Army is assisting the mother and her children.

(Initial Report)

Submitted photos.

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January 18, 2019 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alpina Foods, news, business, notify, GCEDC.

Press release:

“The Genesee County Economic Development Center in collaboration with our many public and private sector partners celebrated in bringing Alpina Foods to Genesee County in 2011. Unfortunately, due to the loss of a co-packaging contract, Alpina Foods has made a decision to close its operations at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

“While this is extremely disappointing news, the GCEDC will be diligent in marketing and promoting the facility to other agricultural businesses. This was similar to our approach in marketing and promoting a former yogurt manufacturing site, which resulted in bringing HP Hood to our community and with it, further economic investment and eventually the hiring of hundreds of employees.

“We are confident that we will have similar success with the Alpina Foods facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

“In the meantime, the GCEDC will work with our public and private sector partners to assist displaced workers in any capacity we can.”

January 18, 2019 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy, batavia.

Brady Christopher Lund (photo above), 21, of Lake View Park, Rochester, is charged with: criminal sex act in the first degree; first-degree sex abuse; and endangering the welfare of a child. Lund was arrested on Jan. 17 and arraigned in Batavia Town Court at 4:20 p.m. He is accused of having oral sexual contact with a male victim less than 11 years old. The alleged incident occurred at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 on Pearl Street Road in Batavia. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator/Youth Officer Timothy Westcott, assisted by Investigator Howard Carlson.

Carla L. Catalano, 46, of 9 Mill St., Apt. 1, Le Roy, was arrested Jan. 14 and charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that between September and this month that Catalano intentionally agreed with one or more persons to engage in or cause criminal possession of stolen property. Further it is alleged that Catalano knowingly possessed stolen property consisting of one pump shotgun (color black), belonging to the victim, and that she refused to return the gun to the victim when the victim asked/then demanded she do so. Catalano was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Chazmar T. Walters, 26, of 12 Myrtle St., Le Roy, was arrested Jan. 15 and charged with these misdemeanors: aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree -- driving while license suspended; and resisting arrest. It is alleged that Walters was seen by a Le Roy patrol driving on Myrtle Street in the Village while his license was suspended 20 times. Upon approach of the Le Roy patrol, it is alleged that Walters resisted arrest by refusing to exit the vehicle after being ordered multiple times to do so, then he had to be physically removed from the vehicle. It is further alleged that Walters continued to be obstructive during the officers' attempts to walk him into the court for arraignment and further charge(s) are pending. Walters was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

January 18, 2019 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

The National Weather Service has upgraded the outlook for the expected winter storm this weekend to a warning with the possibility, starting at 1 p.m., Saturday, that the storm will bring up to 14 inches of snow to the region.

Winds could gust to 35 mph and temperatures are expected to be low and cold.

The warning is in effect until 6 p.m., Sunday.

Travel is expected to be very difficult, potentially impossible, according to the weather service. Areas of blowing snow could reduce visibility.

Wind chills could make it feel like 15 below zero and frostbite on exposed skin could occur in as little as 30 minutes.

January 16, 2019 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

Expect snow to start falling Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service, snowfall becoming heavier that night and becoming lake-effect snow by Sunday night.

At this time, accumulations of only seven inches are expected but it will be accompanied by gusting winds and cold, arctic air.

Blowing and driving snow could make travel difficult and wind chills could drop to well below zero.

This storm is expected to hit all of Western New York.

Drivers should plan on slippery roads and low visibility.

January 16, 2019 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, corfu, Oakfield, notify.

In deciding how to sentence a 24-year-old from Oakfield who caused a serious injury accident while drinking and driving on Route 33 in Corfu on April 18, just weeks after a prior DWI arrest, Judge Charles Zambito said he had to wrestle with how to balance punishment, protecting the community, and providing the young man with the best chance at rehabilitation.

To that end, he decided that Jacob Szumigala should serve an intermittent jail sentence in the Genesee County Jail followed by five years under the watchful eye of the County Probation Department.

Nothing against state's parole supervision but Zambito said he believed Szumigala would be more closely monitored by local probation and if there was a violation, Szumigala would be returned quickly to Zambito's court.

"I'm more confident that this type of sentence will provide the community with more protection and you with more supervision," Zambito told Szumigala in Genesee County Court Tuesday afternoon.

Szumigala was stopped by State Police on Lockport Road in Oakfield in March and charged with DWI. With his driving privileges already revoked, Szumigala was driving through Corfu when his gray Hyundai Sonata was heading eastbound on Route 33 at high speed when it struck a Honda sedan.

That Honda struck a black pickup truck. The driver of the Honda, James Hoskins, of Corfu, suffered serious injuries -- considered so serious at the time of the accident that the Crash Management Team was called to investigate the crash in case the Hoskins didn't survive.

Assistant District Attorney Shirley Gorman said the injuries sustained by Hoskins are life-altering. She argued for a harsh prison term, especially in light of an alleged violation of Szumigala's terms of release while awaiting sentencing.

Szumigala's attorney, Tom Burns, didn't dispute Gorman's assertion that Szumigala tried to get high and when the drug was ineffective, he stopped taking medication to soothe his craving for alcohol and then got drunk.

"That decision to not only use alcohol but to deliberately use a substance intended to induce a high and then stop his treatments that he was authorized to be on and required by his treatment counselor," meant Szumigala deserved a prison term, Gorman argued.

"If there was a time in which you follow the letter of what is expected of you, it's while you're at the mercy of the court before sentencing. But within a month of his appearance, he used alcohol."

Gorman concluded, "how can anything here stop him from drinking other than state incarceration?"

Burns said everybody was disappointed in his client's relapse, including Szumigala. What separated Szumigala from many other defendants in a similar situation is that all the treatment Szumigala has been through -- in-patient, a halfway house, residential treatment -- have all been voluntarily, and other than the one relapse Szumigala's performance throughout treatment has been excellent.

"I was extremely disappointed in his relapse," said Burns, while several members of Szumigala's family sat in the first row of the gallery. "I know his family was disappointed in his relapse."

And unlike many other defendants, Szumigala isn't thinking just of himself, standing before the court expressing remorse over his addiction. Szumigala acknowledges the harm his actions caused other people.

Burns pointed out that if placed on probation, a violation would subject Szumigala to a potentially much longer prison term than available to Zambito under terms of the plea agreement reached in this case. Zambito later said Szumigala could be sent to prison for from five to 15 years if Szumigala violated his probation terms.

In November, Szumigala entered a guilty plea to aggravated vehicular assault and DWI as a misdemeanor and aggravated unlicensed operation. The DWI case in Oakfield is still pending and under terms of his plea agreement, he must plead guilty in that case.

Zambito said that if he sent Szumigala to prison, that would mean he would be taken out of treatment at the Oxford House, cause him to lose his job, and eventually return Szumigala to the community without treatment. That would mean, Zambito said, Szumigala would still be a potential threat to the community.

Szumigala will serve his intermittent jail term on Mondays through Wednesdays.

There is still the issue of restitution to the victims to be resolved and a hearing on restitution was set for March.

January 16, 2019 - 1:09pm

A 17-year-old male who lives on Cherry Street in Batavia is charged with second-degree harassment. At 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, Batavia police investigated an incident at Batavia High School involving a student who allegedly had unwanted physical contact against a staff member. The youth was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court and is due there Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Shadow Star Jonathan, 24, of Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with second-degree assault. He was arrested at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 10 for allegedly assaulting another person at 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 on Sandhill Road, Alabama. He was arraigned in Alabama Town Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail. He is to return to Alabama Town Court on Feb. 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Diehl, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

James Arthur Daggar, 64, of Batavia Elba Townline Road, is charged with: DWI; aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; operating without a driver's license; refusal to take a breath test; and failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign. At 4:02 p.m. on Jan. 15, Daggar was arrested following a motor-vehicle accident investigation. The accident on Alleghany Road (Route 77) resulted in minor injuries and only Dagger was transported to UMMC, where he was treated. Traffic tickets were issued and the defendant is to appear in Alabama Town Court on Feb. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Ronnie Joe Flinchum, 59, Mill Street, Le Roy, is charged with failure to appear. Flinchum was arrested at 11:39 a.m. on Jan. 14 on a bench warrant for failure to appear on a prior charge of third-degree assault. The defendant was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail in lieu of $1,000 cash or bond. Flinchum is to reappear in city court on Jan. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Mehmet Kahraman Dilek, 43, of Meadowbrook Drive, Rochester, was arrested on Jan. 15 on a warrant out of Batavia City Court for failure to appear. Dilek was arraigned at 7:30 p.m. at jailed with inspecified bail. The defendant is due back in city court this afternoon (Jan. 16). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

January 16, 2019 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Coffee Press, news, downtown, batavia, business, notify.

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When there were no immediate takers for an empty storefront Derek Geib owned on Jackson Street, he started to think about what he could do with the space and what Downtown Batavia needed.

Geib, who now qualifies as a serial entrepreneur, having been an owner in Matty's Pizza, Main Street Coffee, Bourbon & Burger Co. (currently), and Casa del Taco, decided he should bring back what downtown has missed for a few years -- a community coffee shop.

"I fixed up all the apartments upstairs and I had this space for rent but there were no bites, so I figured I might as well try to make the most of it," Geib said. "I figured it seemed like something we're missing and what we needed."

Since buying the building at 13 Jackson St., Geib said he has put his own money into renovations -- no subsidies, he points out -- and he used his own money to turn what was most recently a Mexican restaurant, an Indian restaurant, and a frozen yogurt shop into a cozy coffee shop with a place-for-community vibe.

The newspaper theme is also locally inspired. Longtime residents remember Marshall's newsstand, which occupied a couple of storefront locations on Jackson from 1921 to 1999. Geib said the name of the coffee shop and the decor is an homage to years two men named Arthur H. Marshall, father and son, who sold newspapers, magazines, and paperback books on Jackson, including at 11 Jackson, where Bourbon & Burger is now.

Barely open a week, the word has already gotten out and The Coffee Press is attracting a crowd.

"Yes, it's amazing, the support we've had from friends and family," Geib said. "And you know, now I don't know half the people coming in. I's just people spreading the word. It's really nice. I'd like this to be known in Batavia as the hometown coffee shop."

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January 15, 2019 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county parks, news, county highway, notify.

Under a budget amendment resolution recommended for approval by the Public Service Committee on Monday, Paul Osborn, the county's park supervisor will become deputy superintendent of the County Highway Department.

Osborne will be responsible for both the county's parks and for maintenance of all county buildings in his new role.

The move is possible because the county's supervisor of buildings and grounds, Terry Ross, is retiring.

That position is being eliminated from the budget. A new senior building maintenance mechanic position is being created. That position will be part-time and will be filled by Ross.

The annual salary of the new deputy highway superintendent position will be $74,000, effective Jan. 28.

While the budget must be amended to shift the allocation of expenses, there is no additional expenditure for the county.

On other highway department resolutions recommended for approval by the committee:

  • Funding a $184,000 consulting and design agreement, funded by a federal grant, with Barton & Loguidice, for construction of a new Pratt Road Bridge over the Tonawanda Creek.
  • Acceptance of a state grant of $18,483.37 for culvert replacements.
  • Purchase of a new 2019 F-750 dump truck body from Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester at a cost not to exceed $162,897.73. Previously, the Legislature had approved a budget expenditure for this item of $165,000.
  • Purchase of a new Ford F-150 pickup truck from Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester at a cost not to exceed $32,706. Previously, the Legislature approved a Road Machinery Fund with a truck purchase authorized for up to $33,313.
  • Purchase of a new 14,000-pound capacity lift from Rotary Lift in Madison, Ind., at a cost not to exceed $43,065.32. In the 2019 budget, $59,000 was set aside for this item.
  • Set a new fee schedule for use of park pavilions and rooms:
    • Genesee County Park pavilions A, B, S, and E, $70; Pavilion D, $125; pavilions B1, B2, S3, E1, E2, F, G, H; and Fleming, $30;
    • DeWitt Recreation Area: Pavilion 1, $100; Pavilion 2 $125, and Pavilion 3, $30;
    • Interpretive Center: Discover Zone, $50, Activity Room, $150; Entire building (weekends only) $300; special event fee, $250.
  • ACORNS is donating $5,677 to the county for a Student Conservation Association internship. ACORNS is also donating a dolly and cabinet to the County Park.
  • ACORNS is seeking approval for its annual fall 5K/10K race and walk in the County Park on Oct. 6.
January 15, 2019 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Joseph Marranco, no age provided, of Batavia, was arrested and charged with petit larceny on Jan. 6. That day SP Batavia troopers were dispatched to a local motel in the Town of Batavia for a larceny complaint. While en route to the complaint, troopers allegedly observed Marranco riding his bicycle on Main Street in the City of Batavia carrying a flat-screen television that was tucked underneath his arm. Further investigation revealed that Marranco was recently at the same motel and claimed that a motel guest stated he could borrow the motel's television. After his arrest he was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and put in jail on $1,000 cash bail.

Cody J. Wenner, 28, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing and third-degree attempted assault. Wenner was arrested after a disturbance that occured at almost 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Walnut Street. He was arraigned in city court and held on $2,500 cash or bond. He is due back in city court on Jan. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

William T. Hughes, 62, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. On Jan. 13, troopers out of SP Batavia were dispatched to a domestic dispute in the Town of Batavia. Upon arrival troopers determined the victim was grabbed and threatened with physical harm by Hughes. They also observed property damage at the residence. Hughes was arrested then arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $500 cash bail. An order of protection was issued for the victim.

Jennifer Sue Davis, 39, of Webber Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with: DWI -- with a previous offense; aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; following too closely; and refusal to take a breath test. On Jan. 11, following an investigation into a two-car accident at 6 p.m. on Route 63 in the Village of Oakfield, Davis was arrested. It is alleged that Davis was driving while intoxicated and while possessing a conditional driver's license and that she rear-ended another vehicle. Davis was arraigned in Oakfield Town Court on Jan. 11 and is due to return there at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Matthew Clor.

Joseph William Freeman, 34, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; unlicensed operator; uninsured motor vehicle; failure to use designated lane; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. He was arrested at 4:18 p.m. on Jan. 8 on Jackson Street in the city. The charges all stem from a traffic stop wherein it is alleged that Freeman was operating a motor vehicle on Ellicott Street at the intersection with Jackson Street and made an illegal right-hand turn onto Jackson Street. During a lawful search, several items of drug paraphernalia were allegedly discovered. He was released on bail and transported to Orleans County Jail on an active warrant out of that county. Freeman is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer James DeFreze.

Quamane J. Santiago, 20, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of second-degree harassment. He was arrested (date not specified) for allegedly having physical contact with two separate female victims during a disturbance that occurred at 6:05 a.m. on Dec. 1 on Walnut Street. Santiago was processed and issued an appearance ticket for this afternoon (Jan. 15) in city court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Klimjack, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Brian Keith Dyer, 52, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal tampering in the third degree. Dyer was arrested following a landlord-tenant dispute which occurred on North Street at 2 a.m. Jan. 5. Dyer was processed at Batavia Police Department and released on an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court this afternoon (Jan. 15). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

January 15, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 10 p.m. for freezing drizzle, which could create a glaze of ice accumulation on roadways and walkways.

The weather service warns of potentially hazardous conditions, especially on untreated roads, particularly during the evening commute.

January 14, 2019 - 9:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, jennifer serrano, Darien, fatal hit-and-run.

An evidentiary hearing that grew testy at times was held in Genesee County Court this afternoon in the case of Jennifer L. Serrano.

The 48-year-old who lives on Charles Street in Irving is charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Connor Lynskey and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. She remains in jail on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of Aug. 11 that an intoxicated Serrano struck and killed Lynskey, of Hinckley, on Sumner Road in Darien but didn't stop to help or call the police. Lynskey was reported missing that night after the Jason Aldean concert and officers patrolled the area, including Sumner Road, but nobody saw Lynskey or any evidence of an accident.

The next morning, Deputy Richard Schildwaster, checking Sumner Road, found debris in the roadway and when he got out of his vehicle and looked around, he found Lynskey's body in a ditch.

How Serrano first came to the attention of Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning was part of the testimony given at what is known as a Huntley hearing to determine what will be admitted into evidence. It is believed that Henning encountered Serrano after the fatal hit-and-run had occurred.

Under questioning from District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Henning said at 12:56 a.m. he was traveling northbound on Route 77 heading to the county jail with a male who had just been arraigned in Darien Town Court on a criminal mischief charge.

Henning said he noticed a white Jeep Wrangler backing out of a residential driveway and it was stationary on the eastside of the roadway. 

Under questioning from one of two defense lawyers present, Henning later noted that when he spotted the Jeep he was traveling 55 to 60 miles an hour in a 55-mph zone. Traffic was moderate that evening, he said, due to the concert ending at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center not long before.

If Serrano's vehicle had stayed on the shoulder, he said he would have driven past her. But suddenly the Jeep pulled onto northbound 77 right in front of the deputy's vehicle and Henning said he had no reason to anticipate the Jeep's action and did not slow down.

Instead, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a collision and swerved into the southbound lane of 77, where "fortunately, no cars were coming."

Defense Attorney Frank LoTiempo asked if the soon-to-be-inmate in the backseat of the patrol vehicle was injured in the violent slamming on of brakes and if injuries were reported. Henning said he recalls some part of the arrestee "moving forward and some contact was made" with the divider between the front and rear seats, but no injuries were sustained, thus none reported.

"Were there skid marks?" LoTiempo asked.

"I didn't look," Henning said.

Upon further questioning, Henning noted that he took no pictures at the scene and could not recall which driveway the Jeep had backed out of.

LoTiempo asked that the name of the male in Young's custody at the time be determined and provided to the defense in case they decide to interview him about what he saw or heard.

Next, Henning said he turned on his emergency lights and pulled behind the Jeep, which pulled over after a couple hundred feet and stopped.

He said he approached the driver, whom he identified in court as Serrano, who sat in beige pants and an orange hoodie, shackled, at the defense table, her dark hair up in a coarse braid, reading glasses propped on her head. Serrano smiled a couple of times at three family members in the gallery; she largely seemed dazed during the hearing.

Henning said she had trooper stickers on her windows and he asked her about them, and she replied that some members of her family were retired from law enforcement.

The reason she was pulled over -- pulling out suddenly into traffic -- would have been simply a traffic violation -- moving from lane unsafely -- until Henning suspected Serrano was impaired. He said Serrano told him she was returning from the Silver Lake area and he observed she had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speach and he detected the strong odor of alcohol on her breath.

He asked her to exit the vehicle and when she did she "misjudged the depth of the ground" and got off balance, but used the door to steady herself and was able to "stagger" to the rear of the vehicle by using it to "keep from swaying back and forth" while he talked with her.

Henning testified that he activated his body camera when he approached Serrano and that footage would also show Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

LoTiempo asked the deputy if he had the body cam on the entire time during his shift. Henning replied that he always had it on his person just not always on, but that it may have been on while he was at Darien Lake.

"She seemed fidgety, uncomfortable and nervous," Henning told Friedman.

"Did you ask her if she had something to drink?" Friedman asked.

"She said she had earlier in the day, then she said she had none," Henning said.

Once Henning knew Serrano was not going to be getting back into the Jeep to drive, a half hour to 40 minutes after encountering the defendant, her Miranda rights (to have an attorney, to not answer questions, etc.) were not read, Henning testified under questioning from LoTiempo. Yet the defense attorney said one of two DVDs entered into evidence today will show that Serrano says she asserts her right to say nothing and still the deputy talks with her about a Breathalyzer test. 

LoTiempo said a "7-10-30" notice was filled out but nothing was noted about the deputy asking her about drinking.

Next up to testify was Deputy Ryan Young, who spoke about his assignment Aug. 12 -- to take two deputies to the Buffalo Airport so they could travel for training then go to 23 Opal Court in Amherst. That's where the defendant's sister Mary Brillhart lives. He was to make sure Serrano's Jeep, which was parked in the garage, stayed in the garage.

Young said he got there about 4:30 a.m. and waited three hours until Sheriff's Investigator Christopher Parker got there with a search warrant.

At about 7:25, Young, Investigator Parker and two officers from the Amherst Police Department converged at the property. Young said he approached the "man door" on the side of the garage, saw Serrano inside the garage and activated his body cam; he asked her to open the door, whereupon she opened the overhead garage door. Young said he saw that the damage to the Jeep was consistent with the damage specified in the hit-and-run report.

Parker, according to Young, asked Serrano if she knew why law enforcement was there.

"I imagine you found my (suicide) note at my house," Serrano replied.

After Serrano was arrested her Miranda rights were read to her.

Young testified that she subsequently asked him to retrieve reading glasses from the house for her and flip-flops from the Jeep, and when he got the latter, he found a bottle of clonazapam in plain view. Young drove her silently on a 40-minute ride to the Genesee County Jail. Once there, he asked her how many of the pills she had taken; "one" she said. "Not enough to overdose?" he asked. "No, that was the plan," Serrano replied.

Young told the court that he was concerned about what amount of the drug she had in her system because she was being processed into jail.

Sanchez asked if Serrano was asked questions after her Miranda rights were read.

Young testified that a few were, such as "How can I reach your sister?" "What is her (sister's) first name?" "Does she know what happened?" "Did you leave the note inside or outside your house?"

Sanchez raised issues about the "affirmative questions" Serrano had been asked while interacting with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office personnel. The DA objected and asked what "affirmative questions" were and said the questions speak for themselves and it is not for Deputy Young to classify them in a particular way because the defense asks him to. The judge sustained the objection.

Sanchez asked if Young's body cam was on the whole time that day.

"I recall that I turned the camera off when I went to use the bathroom," Young deadpanned.

The question of when the defense counsel "attaches" to Serrano was debated in this Huntley hearing. Was it at the time she retained attorney Michael Caffery for a misdemeanor DWI arraignment in Darien Town Court? Or was it after that DWI, or once the hit-and-run fatal were suspected of being connected to the arrest made by Henning when LoTiempo and Sanchez were hired?

The defense then called its sole witness, attorney Caffery, who testified he was retained for $500 and met with Serrano at the jail. After speaking with dispatch about damage to the Jeep, he thought there was more to the case than a misdemeanor DWI.

Caffery, Serrano and "a third party" -- a woman who had been a passenger in Serrano's vehicle -- subsequently met at the Tim Hortons in Derby (Erie County).

"What was said?" Friedman asked.

That prompted the defense to object because they specifically wanted to limit Caffery's testimony to the fact that he had been retained for the misdemeanor DWI and that there was property damage to the Jeep.

LoTiempo argued -- with hands on hips, then his right hand jabbing the air with the forefinger and pinkie sticking out belligerently -- that the conversation was covered by attorney-client privilege and therefore off limits for cross-examination.

Friedman rejected his assertion, saying that Caffery is a witness that he has the right to cross-examine and that the presence of a third party negates the attorney-client privilege argument.

Judge Zambito overruled the objection and called for the witness to answer the question. LoTiempo -- hanging his head toward the floor dejectedly as he sat sideways at the defense table, his fist in a knot -- reared up to renew his argument.

The heated scenario prompted the judge to call the lawyers into his chambers for a 10-minute recess.

It seemed to tax the victim's parents, who had sat throughout the proceedings with great poise along with three other adults in the front row.

The mother began to cry as she briefly exited the gallery, sobbing halfway down the aisle. She returned composed.

The issues of Caffery's attorney-client privilege and what was said at Tim Hortons were not revisited by Friedman after court resumed.

The case is next on the docket for 1:45 p.m. on March 13.

Previously:

January 14, 2019 - 10:31am
posted by Virginia Kropf in news, GLOW Women March, batavia, notify.

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The Women’s March which took place in Washington, D.C., in 2017 has created interest among women in Genesee County.

On Saturday, Erica O’Donnell, of Batavia, Kristie Miller of Darien and Dorothy Avery, of Bergen, have organized an event called “Women March,” featuring a march, speakers and informational booths by various nonprofit groups. The march will begin at 10 a.m. in Jackson Square, where music will be provided by the Women’s Resistance Choir from the GLOW region. 

The march is a family friendly event, Miller said, designed after the original march in Washington, D.C., and then was copied in cities like New York City, Seneca Falls, Buffalo and Rochester.

“A lot of people from the Batavia area traveled to the march in Seneca Falls,” Miller said.

“Last year, a mutual friend, Dorothy Avery, got a school bus to take women to Seneca Falls, and we said, ‘We can do this here,’ ” O’Donnell said. “You hear in the media about these events geared to the big cities, and we wanted to make one available for rural women.”

“We wanted an event which dealt with issues facing women in our community,” Miller said.

“Typically, if you live in the GLOW region, you have to travel to Buffalo or Rochester for a lot of things,” O’Donnell said. “But the experiences of people who live in those cities are different from the people who live in the GLOW region.”

After organizing in Jackson Square, the women will march down Center Street to Ellicott, then Liberty to Main and the City Centre, where speeches will continue and nonprofit organizations will have information available.

Participants will include Diana Kastenbaum; Members of Woke GCC; Lauren Jimerson of Fairport, project manager of Iroquois White Corn Project; Tamara Leigh with Out Alliance of Rochester; Carly Fox with Worker Justice Center of New York; Debora McDell-Hernandez with Planned Parenthood of Batavia; Michelle Schoneman of East Aurora, founder of Citizens Against Collins; ChaRon Sattler-Leblanc with Moms Demand Action from Rochester and the Genesee region; and Vanessa Glushefski, deputy comptroller for the City of Buffalo.

O’Donnell said she thinks the event will be good for the city. Other marches across the country have been huge, she said. When she went to the march in Seneca Falls, hotels were all booked and stores sold out of everything.

“This is going to be a year-round effort to empower and support women,” O’Donnell said. “We are an organization, not just a march.”

Sisters, daughters, mothers and friends are invited to join the march.

Photo: Erica O’Donnell, left, and Kristie Miller are co-leaders of a Women’s March on Saturday morning. The march will begin at 10 a.m. in Jackson Square and feature speakers, a march to the City Centre, and information from nonprofit groups.

January 11, 2019 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shooting for a Cure, basketball, news, notify, pembroke.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: Last night was another new record for 'Shooting for a Cure." The event raised $30,000.

In its eighth year, Pembroke's "Shooting for a Cure" girls basketball reached a significant milestone Thursday night, topping $100,000 raised for cancer research.

The total amount raised this year hasn't been released yet but Mike Wilson said last night that organizers knew more than $19,000 had raised, putting the cumulative total over that $100K mark.

"These girls this year, they attacked it. I can’t say enough about this team," said Wilson, who was head coach the first year of the fundraiser in 2011. "They lead the charge. They really do. They’re the ones out pounding the pavement. They’re the ones out in Batavia, and on Transit Road, and Rochester, and Buffalo, and they’re on social media using it the right way for all those good things.

"They have really spread our mission. I’m so proud of this group. They’re a young group but they’re so mature in the compassion and love they have for the people in our community. It’s awesome."

Thursday night was also the night the community could celebrate a new job for Brianna Johnson.

It was Johnson who, in 2011, while on a team bus returning from a softball game, said the school should do something to support Coach Ron Funke's wife, Toni Funke. She and teammates talked with Wilson and the idea for Shooting for a Cure was born.

Today, Johnson starts a new job on the cancer research team at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo.

"For Brianna to have that idea and then to move on to something in the medical field, doing cancer research, it’s come full circle," Wilson said. "They just hired her. Her intake meeting is tomorrow, so when we’re down presenting our check to Candace Johnson and the Roswell staff, Brianna is going to be there signing up to become a member of that team.

"They’re going to find a cure for cancer with Brianna on that team. She’s so passionate about this. I’m very proud of her."

As for the game, Notre Dame beat Pembroke 50-31.

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January 10, 2019 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Child Advocacy Center, Justice for Children, news, notify.

The Child Advocacy Center should be a place where children who have been physically and sexually abused feel safe and cared for when they visit.

That means the center needs to have a home-like feeling, not a clinical atmosphere, said Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

While that has always been the goal of the center, Asmus-Roth said she and the staff and the board of directors think it's time to renovate their office location at 301 E. Main St., Batavia, to help make the center more friendly and welcoming.

"We want this environment to feel like the kind of place that you would go to get away from all the worries of the world," Asmus-Roth said during an open house Wednesday unveiling plans to remodel the building.

The First Presbyterian Church of Batavia donates the two-story building to Justice for Children and the agency, supported by grants and donations, has a long-term lease.

When it became clear a few years ago that the center's old location on Bank Street was no longer adequate, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia took on the major financial goal over five years of raising funds to support the center's move to a new building. When the Presbyterian church made its building available, the center moved into the new location and decided to forego building a new structure. The Kiwanis Club raised $190,000, which will go a long way to covering the cost of the more than $250,000 in renovations to the current location.

Asmus-Roth said the Justice for Children Foundation is seeking additional donations from the community in order to complete the project.

The renovations will first create all new office space on the second floor. That will enable the first floor to be dedicated entirely to caring for children and their families in times of crisis.

"We want families coming in to feel like they're coming to visit a friend or relative instead of coming for a doctor's appointment," Asmus-Roth said.

To that end, the renovations will include installing a wraparound porch outside and a waiting room inside. There will be more private meetings rooms as well.

Since construction and visiting with children who have been abused aren't a good match, during the first-floor renovations, clients will be seen in the Albion and Warsaw offices or in space being made available in the church next door.

More than 20 years ago, if a child was abused, if they were believed, the investigation and prosecution involved multiple examinations and interviews and multiple locations. That, in itself, Asmus-Roth said, was traumatic, and by the nature of things, could lead to inconsistencies in stories that made prosecution harder.

Now, because of the center, all of the professionals involved in a case -- attorneys, investigators, caseworkers, victim's advocates, and doctors, are all in one place and can be seen in one visit.

The work of the center is important, Asmus-Roth said, because she remembers what she heard in a previous job from adults who had been abused as children. They were often ignored or told they were making it up.

Today, she said, child abuse is less frequent, but because of greater awareness more often reported.

"Being here enables all of us to make sure that no kid who walks through our doors is going to say 50 years from now, 'no one believed me. No one supported me. I felt like I was all alone,' " Asmus-Roth said.

"I go back to that sense of wanting this to be the shelter in the storm. It's important to me that the children in our community know that no matter what happens outside when they come here, they'll be believed and they'll be supported."

For more about the center or to make a donation, visit www.justiceforchildrenadvocacycenter.org.

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Kathleen Kogut, architect and project manager, from LaBella Associates, and Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

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The staff of the Child Advocacy Center: Theresa Asmus-Roth, Brenda McQuillan -- mental health therapist, Amanda Czworka -- mental health therapist, Breana Crane -- victim assistant, Dave Libick -- family advocate, and Jessica Mitchell -- forensic interviewer.

January 10, 2019 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, batavia, news, notify.
torres-acebedo0mug2018.jpg
    Torres-Acevedo

New charges have been filed against a 22-year-old Batavia resident who is accused of taking an underage girl away from her home in Bergen on Nov. 29 and driving her to Pennsylvania.

Guillermo Jose Torres-Acevedo has been charged with custodial interference in the first degree, criminal contempt, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The Nov. 29 incident prompted an amber alert for the girl. She was later located, allegedly with Torres-Acevedo at a Walmart in Mansfield, Pa., through a geolocation ping of her mobile phone.

Torres-Acevedo was taken into custody by authorities in Pennsylvania without incident and the girl was returned to her parents.

The girl and Torres-Acevedo knew each other and Torres-Acevedo had already been arrested in connection with his relationship with the girl and issued a stay-away order, which he allegedly violated, leading to a criminal contempt charge.

He's also been charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle for allegedly stealing the Dodge Journey he is accused of using to transport the girl.

Torres-Acevedo remains in jail without bail.

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