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May 31, 2019 - 4:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, Grand Jury, batavia.

Andrew A. Said is indicted for the crime of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, a Class C felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 3, he intentionally attempted to cause physical harm to a police officer in the Town of Batavia by means of a dangerous instrument -- a motor vehicle -- when the officer was performing official duties. In count two, he is accused of first-degree attempted assault, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person. In count three, Said is accused of first-degree reckless endangerment, a Class D felony, for recklessly engaging in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person, under circumstances with exhibited a depraved indifference to human life. In count four, Said is accused of third-degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony, for allegedly intentionally damaging another's person's property in an amount exceeding $250 -- an unmarked NYS Police vehicle operated by a trooper. In counts five and six, the defendant is accused of second-degree criminal mischief, a Class D felony, for allegedly intentionally damaging another person's property -- NYS Police vehicles operated by two other troopers -- in an amount exceeding $1,500. In count seven, he is accused of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count seven that he was directed to stop by a uniformed police officer or marked police vehicle, and he attempted to flee at speeds of 25 mph or more above the posted limit, or engaged in reckless driving. In count eight, Said is accused of driving while ability impaired by drugs, as a misdemeanor, for driving a 1997 Mercedes on I-90 while his ability to do so was impaired by drug use. In count nine, the defendant is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree, as a misdemeanor. It is alleged in count nine that he drove on Aug. 3 knowing that his driver's license in New York was suspended or revoked. In count 10, Said is accused of misdemeanor reckless driving, for operating the Mercedes that day in a manner that unreasonably interfered with the free and proper use of a public highway, or unreasonably endangered the users of a public highway. In count 11, he is accused of operating an unregistered motor vehicle, a violation of vehicle and traffic law. The Mercedes was not registered in New York State. In count 13, Said is accused of operating a vehicle without insurance, another violation. In count 14, he is accused of having an uninspected motor vehicle, a third violation.

Josselyn A. Scott is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on March 10, she drove a 2008 Audi on the Thruway, Oak Street, Noonan Drive and in the Days Inn/Super 8 parking lot in Genesee County while intoxicated. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Scott is accused of having been convicted of: aggravated driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor on July 12, 2010 in the Town of Boston Court, Erie County; and driving while ability impaired by the consumption of alcohol, in violation of vehicle and traffic law, on Dec. 21, 2012 in Erie County Court. Those two convictions are within 10 years of the crime alleged in the current indictment.

May 30, 2019 - 3:20pm

Above, Scott Kern, who lives on Alleghany Road, was one of the most vocal in opposing the state’s proposal to put a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

ALABAMA – Scott Kern minced no words when he shared his concerns and disapproval of the state’s proposal to build a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road during a public hearing Wednesday night at the Alabama Fire Hall.

Kern lives a few hundred feet south of the intersection, and while he acknowledges there are frequent accidents there, he also says there are much more practical and cost-effective ways to address the problem.

Like all those who spoke in opposition to the proposal, Kern’s concern was over the fact that traffic (especially truckers) would be coming around a curve and down a hill and face the intersection just in front of them.

“You are asking truck drivers (who would be accelerating after leaving the 40 mile per hour speed zone in Indian Falls) to slow down in winter on slippery roads," Kern said. "Then coming up the hill, they don’t have a running start after having to slow down for the roundabout.

"It seems to me the money could be better spent than wasting it on a roundabout in the middle of nowhere.”

He advised representatives from the NYS Department of Transportation to give this a whole lot more thought.

“You’ve given no consideration to my neighbors on the corner who now put up with noise and pollution, and will be faced with even more when vehicles are slowing and speeding up,” Kern said. “The guy on the corner is going to have headlights in his bedroom at all hours of the night.

“I know people have died on that corner. I was there when they died. But it would be better if you took that $1.8 million and paved the road. Just give it some more thought.”

The public hearing began with a time for residents to ask questions from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Frank Billittier, regional design engineer for the NYSDOT, introduced members of the design team and explained the roundabout was a proposal to improve safety at the intersection.

The engineer said in the last five years there have been 34 crashes, five times the number they expect to see at a similar type intersection. Eleven of the crashes involved an injury and one was a fatality. He said all the right-angle crashes involved an injury, and the roundabout would simplify right turns.

The design team looked at low-cost safety enhancements, such an all-way stop and a light-controlled intersection. They studied grades and said the hill just south of the intersection was not steep.

They also took a look at how long it took a truck to stop on a 3- to 4-percent grade when it was traveling at 55 mph. The distance was 495 feet, compared to 553 feet when on a 6-percent grade.

Billittier showed a video of a roundabout in Kansas to demonstrate how an oversize vehicle could navigate a roundabout by running up on the concrete apron. The video also showed how a snowplow would remove snow from a roundabout.

Construction of the roundabout would begin in the spring. Both Route 77 and Ledge Road would be closed to traffic for four to six weeks. Traffic would be detoured using Route 5 and Route 63. Road closure would be during July and August so as not to impede school buses.

Tom Finch, from the NYSDOT Northeast Regional Office, said five properties would be affected by the acquisition of land to build the roundabout. All property owners will be contacted and an appraiser will develop a fair market agreement for each property.

Property owners will be asked to sign the agreement, and in the case they fail to do so, filing of the map allows contractors to begin work.

Jill Klotzbach, a member of the Alabama Town Board, was the first to speak, making it very clear she opposed the roundabout.

“My family travels that intersection several times a day,” Klotzbach said. “I believe this intersection has features which makes it unsatisfactory for a roundabout. It’s on a hill and a sharp curve. Cars waiting for the right-of-way to enter the roundabout might be jeopardized by fast-moving vehicles coming down the hill.

"There is an intersection in the city where the road is flat and the speed limit is 35 mph and there are still crashes. Our farmers are all concerned about the difficulty navigating the roundabout with their large equipment.

“As a town board, we wrote letters to our legislature expressing our disapproval. The state has not listened to the expertise of local highway superintendents. What about the property values of the resident who will have the roundabout 30 feet from his house?

"The state keeps waving safety statistics at us, but do you have statistics of how safe a property owner feels with a roundabout 30 feet from his house?”

Attorney Reed Whiting spoke on behalf of his clients, Robert and LeNora Thompson, who live on the northeast corner of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

“They have many concerns about property devaluation and traffic lights flashing across their property all hours of the night,” Whiting said. “There will be jake-braking trucks, and any truck which enters at a high rate of speed is likely to travel near my client’s home.”

The attorney suggested rumble strips were far less expensive and far more effective than a roundabout.

Kathryn Thurber, who lives on Ledge Road, was upset with the fact Billittier said this was a public hearing, yet it was indicated they were going to take the property.

“It’s a done deal, and we don’t have any say,” Thurber said. “You said you are started construction to be thoughtful of school buses, but what about the farmers, who are at the peak of their season then? They need to move their equipment through there, back and forth to their farms.”

Lorna Klotzbach is a member of the Alabama Planning Board and she posed the question, “Is there anything that could be said to change your mind?”

“There are six current and former highway superintendents and workers in this room who have offered input and you have ignored them,” Klotzbach said. “You didn’t study the intersection in wintertime – you consulted charts.

"This intersection has a hill, curve, wind and heavy truck traffic in both directions going the speed limit of 55 mph. What happens if you are a car stuck in the roundabout waiting for a chance to move out and a truck comes down the hill at 55 mph?

“You are spending $1.8 million in a state where people are moving out in record numbers, yet you refuse to consider local input.”

She added it was rude and insulting to show a video from Kansas where roads are flat. 

“You have acted in a patronizing fashion to us,” she added. “You say we just don’t like change. We are not from the dinosaur era. We’d like to ask you to consider accepting our input, rather than come here and tell us it’s a done deal.”

She also quoted a comment from Alabama Highway Superintendent Bob Kehlenbeck, who said he’s been there on that hill in winter with the highway superintendent from Pembroke, shoveling sand under a truck that couldn’t make it up.”

She added at the end of the meeting how insulting it was to the residents of the Town of Alabama to discover the state had staked a state trooper and sheriff’s deputy outside the door. 

Julie Scarborough, who lives at Maple and Ledge roads, said she visited Scotland and saw many roundabouts there.

“But none of them were on a hill,” she said. “We live in one of the most expensive states and there are a lot of more economical options you didn’t even consider.”

Travis Warner is the resident on the southeast corner who will be faced with the roundabout 30 feet from his home. He said he doesn’t have air conditioning in his home and leaves the windows open in the summer.

He fears the increased noise from vehicles, especially trucks and motorcycles, jake braking and accelerating out of the roundabout will make it impossible for him to enjoy the summer. He is also concerned about increased exhaust and air pollution.

In addition, Warner said the snow which blows through that intersection will blow out of the roundabout and drift in the road within 10 minutes.

Jeff Kelkenberg, who lives on Marble Road a quarter mile north, has between 400,000 and 450,000 miles on the road, hauling loads as wide as 18 feet. He said big rigs these days have steerable rear ends and farmers have equipment, even when folded up, which is 18 feet wide.

“It sounds like the state didn’t really look at what the community wants,” Kelkenberg said. “They could put in a traffic light, with no turn on red. It appears we need to stand together. We need to unite and stand together in that intersection.”

Wes Klotzbach was concerned that traffic approaching the intersection from the south has been coming out of a speed zone.

“Traffic behind you wants to pull out and pass, then you see that roundabout at the bottom of the hill and climb on the brakes, and you get rear-ended by the traffic behind you,” he said.

He said the majority of accidents are a result of drivers who fail to yield right of way, and asked what was so magical about a roundabout that it would make them yield, when they won’t in a normal traffic pattern.

Farmer Dennis Phelps, who also lives on Ledge Road, called the proposal “horrific.”

“You are supposed to be engineers and professionals, yet you can’t see the danger in a school bus in the roundabout with a truck coming down the hill which can’t stop,” Phelps said. “Slowing them down would be the smartest thing you could do.”

Richard Rudolph was highway superintendent in the Town of Pembroke for 32 years and plowed Route 77 from Route 5 for 25 years.

“One of the worse spots I had was that hill in a sleet storm,” Rudolph said. “I’m not against roundabouts, but I don’t think that’s the place for one. Turning lanes and flashing lights would do the job.”

Another resident asked if the DOT had ever seen a pea-picking machine.

“They’re huge,” she said, adding wryly “...Mommas and poppas, don’t let your children grow up to be engineers.”

John Anderson said with the winters experienced in this area, if a truck is slowed down to 10 miles per hour through the roundabout, it will never make it up the hill. He recommended a stop-and-go light and rumble strips.

Ron Thurber asked what statistics were given for other options. He asked for data showing statistics of similar intersections with a stop light and rumble strips.

“I drive truck, and common sense needs to prevail,” he said. “My biggest concern is for the residents of that corner. If the state doesn’t offer them a whole chunk of change for their properties, it will be a crime.”

Eighteen-year-old Seth Doctor, an Oakfield/Alabama student, said he goes to school with a lot of kids who go through that intersection every day and he was concerned they could possibly lose their lives.

“I’ve been driving for two years and I know it’s not easy to stop in snow and ice, especially with a truck,” he said.

Annette Johnson is a volunteer Alabama firefighter who sent the DOT office on Jefferson Road in Rochester a petition with 1,079 names protesting the roundabout. She has another petition with 300 more signatures ready to send.

“I have responded to accidents there and in five years, there was one fatality,” she said. “There are far worse intersections in this county, and we don’t need a roundabout (for them).”

Residents have until June 10 to file comments with the NYSDOT Region 4, 1530 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY 14623.

Frank Billittier, regional design engineer for the NYSDOT, at a public hearing Wednesday at Alabama Fire Hall on the state’s intent to put a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

Lorna Klotzbach, a member of the Alabama Town Planning Board, reads her statement in opposition to the roundabout.

Kathryn Thurber, of Ledge Road, was another Alabama resident who spoke out against the proposed roundabout.

May 29, 2019 - 8:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee Justice, notify, County Jail.

Co-chairs of a committee charged with navigating the road toward a new county jail underscored the validity of a joint architect/consultant study on Wednesday afternoon as they asked Genesee County legislators to consider a 200-bed facility to replace the current County Jail at 14 W. Main St.

“This is coming from the experts,” said County Sheriff William Sheron, who is heading the 12-member steering committee along with County Assistant Manager Matthew Landers.

Sheron, speaking at a Committee of the Whole meeting at the Old Courthouse, was referring to a study conducted by SMRT, the architect under contract with the county, and CRS Inc., a consulting firm noted for its work in jail planning and analysis.

Landers reported that the committee is unanimous in recommending a 200-bed jail in light of the study, which initially found that the county would need a 184-bed facility by 2042, but then changed its estimate to 214 beds after reviewing 18 months of new data. New York State has mandated Genesee County to erect a new jail.

“We felt 214 was too extreme,” Landers said. “We believe a 200-bed facility (with five separate areas or pods) would give us flexibility.”

Landers noted that about 30 of the cells could be sized appropriately to double-bunk (100 square feet compared to 80 square feet) as a relatively short-term solution (as the population swells).

Jail Superintendent William Zipfel, however, said he was against double-bunking.

"It really doesn't work," he said, "and to build a jail for double-bunking would be ludicrous.”

Zipfel agreed that flexibility was important due to the several “classifications” of inmates. He said the jail needs to be flexible as prisoners with special needs (medical, emotional, substance abuse, pregnancy, childbirth, etc.) would have to be segregated at times and given “recreational” space.

The current jail is operating at 95 to 99 percent capacity, Zipfel said, and has created a “lot of strain” on his employees.

Legislator Gary Maha, the longtime former county sheriff, urged legislators to look at recent history when making their decision on the new jail’s size.

“We don’t want to build it too small. That happened to us in the ‘80s,” he said, referring to the County Courts Facility across the road from the Old Courthouse.

As a matter of perspective, Zipfel said that the current county jail houses around 90 prisoners on average and “boards out” to other counties at least 30 more.

“If we moved into a new 184-bed jail today, we’d be at 80 percent capacity (the state’s recommended level),” he said.

When Legislator Andrew Young asked “how do we get from 120 to 200,” Zipfel answered, “As soon as it opens, the female (jail) population in this county will double.”

Zipfel said he values the opinion of the “professionals” who did the needs assessment, and agrees with (at least) the 200-bed figure.

“The Court Facility is too small now and it came back to haunt us,” he said. “We’ve done this before. It would be a shame to do it again.”

Legislator Robert Bausch said 200 beds may be the right size, considering “we’re at about 125 now at the lower end and if 160 is the top end – 80 percent capacity – I could see that the middle ground is going to fill up very quickly.”

Bausch mentioned, at least twice, that each cell costs $250,000.

Sheron and Landers’ agenda also included the possibility of including an “arraignment room” in the facility, moving Genesee Justice to the new jail and the requirement to hire four to five new correction officers as the “jail transition team.”

“If we pushed through an arraignment room, it would save considerably on transportation costs,” Sheron said, adding that he would like to see Genesee Justice there as well because “they’re the ones keeping them (potential prisoners) out of jail.”

The current plan also includes a 2,000-square-foot medical area, said County Manager Jay Gsell.

Landers said the county needs to start budgeting for four or five new correction officers – additional employees mandated by the NYS Commission of Corrections -- to serve as a team dedicated to transitioning from the old jail to the new one.

Sheron added that both jails – he termed the current jail as “antiquated” -- would be in operation for about six months after the opening of the new one.

Following the transition, these officers would be retained and join the sheriff’s office full-time staff.

Landers said the project has moved from the “programming phase into the schematic design phase” following the hiring of SMRT and the Pike Company as construction manager. He said the county has a verbal informal agreement with the owner of adjacent land on West Main Street Road for an additional 2.81 acres, if needed.

While nothing is official at this time, a jail of that size would cost around $50 million, and would be funded by sales tax revenue (the county has restructured its sales tax distribution system with its municipalities) and through a reserve fund, Landers said.

County leaders are looking at county-owned land near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as a potential site. Sheron said he would hope to see a shovel in the ground by next summer – “if everything keeps moving along." Then it would take about two years to complete the jail.

Other members of the committee are Legislator Shelley Stein, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Assistant County Engineer Laura Wadhams, IT Director Stephen Zimmer, Planning Director Felipe Oltramari and Deputy Treasurer Kevin Andrews.

May 29, 2019 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
      TeeSean Ayala

A young man from Batavia who was in a car that pulled into the driveway of the county manager's house on Washington Avenue in November and tried to ditch a handgun there admitted this morning in County Court to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

TeeSean Ayala faces from three and a half to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced Aug. 1.

The plea satisfies several other charges, including pending burglary charges (arrest reports here and here) as well as possible charges from other burglaries in Batavia that District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said Ayala has told investigators he was involved in. The earliest burglary was in 2015, Friedman said.

The 20-year-old Ayala is a former Batavia High School basketball star.

He is being held without bail pending sentencing.

As part of his guilty plea, Ayala was required to agree to several stipulations, such as the standard waiver to a right to appeal his conviction, as well as stipulations that were contained in an email that Friedman provided to the defense attorney and the court. Asked after the hearing for a copy of the email, Friedman declined and said the contents of the email were sealed.

May 28, 2019 - 1:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Darien, Bethany, corfu.

Zachary V.D. Seeley, 22, of Miller Avenue, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt. It is alleged that at 9:12 p.m. on May 25 that Seeley was in violation of an order of protection. He was arrested, arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Angela Louise Flowers, 48, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt and second-degree harassment. At 6:15 p.m. on May 26, Flowers allegedly pushed another person, who had an order of protection against her. She was arrested, arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice. She is due back in court today (May 28). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

A 17-year-old male was arrested for third-degree criminal mischief after an incident at 6:20 p.m. on Hewitt Place in Batavia in which he allegedly damaged a city police car. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or bond. He is to return to court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Offcer Stephen Quider, assisted by Det. Eric Hill.

Frank James Falcone, 33, of Batavia Bethany Townline Road, Bethany, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; failure to dim headlights; operating an unregistered motor vehicle; refusal to take a breath test; and open container in a motor vehicle. Falcone was arrested at 2:28 a.m. on May 26 on Lewiston Road in Batavia. After his arraignment, he was released on his own recognizance and is due in Batavia Town Court on June 24. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Jamie L. Edenholm, 32, of Gabbey Road, Corfu, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; criminal possession of a controlled substance; unlicensed operator; and following too closely. At 1:06 p.m. on May 25, after the investigation of a property damage accident on Main Street in Batavia, Edenholm was arrested on these charges. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court to answer the charges on June 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Robert James Patnode, 50, of Bishop Street, Warsaw, is charged with driving while intoxicated; DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, and moving from lane unsafely. Patnode was arrested at 7:54 p.m. on May 26 on Route 238 in Darien. He was issued an appearance ticket for June 20 in Darien Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Saile, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Jordan Scott Thomas, 20, of Elm Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. At 3:59 p.m. on May 25, Thomas was arrested after allegedly stealing merchandise from Kohl's department store on Veterans Memorial Drive at 12:12 p.m. on May 21. Thomas was released on an appearance ticket for June 3 in Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

Quinn M. Pritchard, 28, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Pritchard was arrested after a shoplifting complaint at the Dollar General on East Main Street in Batavia at 12:23 p.m. on May 24. The defendant was released with an appearance ticket for June 4 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post.

Shane Zimblis, 48, of South Swan Street, Batavia was arrested on May 27 on a bench warrant. Zimblis was located at his residence after police arrived for an unrelated complaint. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. Zimblis is due back in court today (May 28). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

May 28, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in unemployment, jobs, news, notify.

Genesee County's unemployment rate dropped by 7/10ths of a percent in April 2019 compared to April 2018, according to the state's Department of Labor.

The 3.6 percent rate is lowest of any April since at least 1992 (as far as published data goes back). During that span, the April rate has never dropped below 4 percent.

The total Genesee County labor force (people who have jobs or are seeking jobs) is reported at 29,400, up from 29,200 the year prior.

The highest April unemployment rates for Genesee County since 1992 were in 2010 and 2012 at 7.9 percent when the labor force was 31,800 and 31,700, respectively. 

A total of 28,300 people in the county are employed, up from 28,000 a year ago.

The state's unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, down from 4 percent a year ago, and the nation's rate is 3.3 percent, down from 3.7 percent a year ago.

May 24, 2019 - 7:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, news, batavia, notify.
Video Sponsor

Press release:

Youth Detective Rich Schauf retired today after 32 years of dedicated service to the City of Batavia and City of Batavia Police Department.

Schauf started his law enforcement career in June of 1983 as a Jailor at the Genesee County Jail. He was hired by the City of Batavia Police Department on Jan. 25, 1987, and promoted to Youth Detective on Oct. 20, 2003.

Schauf spent the majority of a career dedicated to the youth of the City. He was an integral part in the creation of several organizations designed to provide support services to the youth of the community.

A luncheon was held at City Hall to honor Schauf ’s 32 years of service and to wish him well in his retirement.

May 24, 2019 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
sessionsgermaynemug2019.jpg walkershakerramug2019.jpg
 Germayne Sessions    Shakerra Walker

A traffic stop in the City of Batavia last night by police officers working a Neighborhood Enforcement Team detail yielded a cache of drugs and a pair of felony arrests.

Germayne D. Sessions, 25, of Cummings Street, Rochester, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd; criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th; unlawful possession of marijuana; promoting prison contraband, 1st; falsify business records, 1st; criminal impersonation, 2nd; driving without a license; and a license plate violation.

Sessions was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine and marijuana during the traffic stop. At the jail, he was allegedly found in possession of nine bags of heroin. He is also accused of providing police officers with a false identification.

Shakerra B. Walker, 18, of North Goodman Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. She was allegedly found in possession of 35 baggies of crack cocaine.

Both Sessions and Walker were jailed without bail.

Participating in the traffic stop, along with Batavia PD, were the Sheriff's Office and members of the Local Drug Task Force.

May 24, 2019 - 5:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

TeeSean T. Ayala, 20, (inset left file photo) of Walnut Street, Batavia, was arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office for a series of burglaries, which occurred in the towns of Batavia and Stafford last fall.

Ayala is charged with: first-degree burglary; two counts of second-degree burglary; three counts of third-degree grand larceny; and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on his own recognizance on all charges.

He remains in the custody of the Genesee County Jail on unrelated charges.

Laqueasha M. Taylor, 25, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal obstruction of breathing; endangering the walfare of a child; and second-degree harassment. She was arrested on May 19. She was allegedly involved in a fight with another person at 5:39 p.m. on May 18 on Bank Street at Northside Meadows apartments. Taylor was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on May 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Sgt. Matthew Lutey.

Robert Oliver Taft, 45, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. At 2:39 p.m. on May 15, Taft was taken into custody on a sealed indictment warrant returnable to Genesee County Court. He was allegedly found in possession of drug paraphernalia during the course of his arrest Taft was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on his own recognizance. He is still currently being held in jail without bail on the charges in the sealed indictment. The case was handled by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Kaleb James Bobzien, 21, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree coercion, criminal obstruction of breathing, and second-degree harassment following the investigation of a domestic dispute on Dellinger Avenue at 10 a.m. on May 17. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or bond. He was due back in city court on May 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Tiesha D. Smith, 32, of Prune Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 1 p.m. on May 19 after allegedly shoplifting from the 7-Eleven convenience store on East Main Street in Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on May 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Mark B. Skeet, 65, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree -- mandatory suspension. On May 20, Skeet was arrested for allegedly driving outside of the parameters of his driver's license at 2:06 p.m. on May 17 on Evans Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision. He was due back in court on May 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

May 24, 2019 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify.


The U.S. Marshall's Office says a man who is accused of running over his ex-wife multiple times with his truck, seriously injuring her, May 17 could be in the Batavia or Albion area.

Crime Stoppers Buffalo is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Shane Hescox, a 5-foot, 11-inch, 190-pound white male.

His last known address is 8422 Carol Court, Wheatfield, in Niagara County.

Investigator Brent Novak said Hescox has known ties to Batavia and Albion. 

He also has a violent criminal history, Novak said, and though he's not known to have a weapon, citizens should not try to apprehend him.

Novak said he has several tattoos, including the ones seen on his neck as well as tattoos on his fingers.

Hescox is wanted by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and the Marshall's Service and is facing a charge of assault in the second degree.

People with information that could lead authorities to locate him should call Crime Stoppers at (716) 867-6161 or call 9-1-1.

May 23, 2019 - 7:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in b-17, Memphis Belle, Warplane Museum, batavia, news, notify.
Video Sponsor

The movie version of the Memphis Belle is based at the Warplane Museum in Geneseo but it often flies to other parts of the country for airshows, like one recently in Virginia. The airfield in Geneseo is grass, so when it returned to Western New York, it landed in Batavia because the field in Geneseo was soggy.

While it was at the Genesee County Aiport, several people asked me to go out to the airport and take pictures of it.  On Tuesday, while driving down East Saile Drive, I thought, I have a little time, I should stop.

Good timing. The pilots showed up while I was setting up my camera for video.  They were there to fly it back to Geneseo. I got a tour of the plane, an interview with Craig Wadsworth, and shots of it departing. 

Other news the past couple of days delayed my efforts to edit the video but here it is.

Mobile app users can tap here to view the video on YouTube.

May 23, 2019 - 6:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal rescue, lost pets, news, lost bird, notify, batavia.

This colorful cutie landed on the person of reader Karen Laney while she was outside gardening today.

She lives on State Street Road in Batavia. Laney said the friendly avian is "very obviously a hand-raised bird."

She would very much like to find the owner of this affectionate pet and hopes the owner will contact her via email and make arrangements to reunite with it.

Her email is [email protected]

UPDATE 12:04 p.m., Friday, May 24: Karen Laney, whom the bird landed on, sent us this good news a minute ago: "A person who knew the owner saw the post about the bird in the Batavian and bird and owner have been reunited! Thanks so much for getting the word out!" You are welcome. We are glad!

May 22, 2019 - 5:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, Basom, search and rescue, pembroke, indian falls, Alabama.

Mark Dibble has been found alive, according to Tim Yaeger, GC Emergency Management Services coordinator.

He is breathing but not alert and was found behind 1031 Ledge Road in Basom -- the Totem Pole Smoke Shop. Mercy Flight was called, then cancelled. A ground ambulance is heading there now.

The location is about 270 yards south of the smoke shop.

The 58-year-old Indian Falls resident was reported missing late yesterday afternoon after he failed to show up at work and no one had heard from him.

Up to 70 firefighters, law enforcement personnel, volunteers and family members scoured the area until after 9 last night before calling off the search until daylight. It resumed about 10:30 this morning.

UPDATE 6:07 p.m.: A fire chief at the scene said when the ambulance arrived, Dibble was alert and able to walk to the ambulance, which is taking him to ECMC for evaluation.

UPDATE 6:19 p.m.: A group of about a dozen friends and family members decided to search the area around the Totem Pole Smoke Shop and they are the ones who found Dibble, says one of his friends.


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May 22, 2019 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, alexander, byron.

Peter J. Gravante Jr., 30, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with second-degree burglary and grand larceny in the fourth degree, both felonies, and unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree, a misdemeanor. At 5:48 p.m. on May 20 on Townline Road, Byron, Gravante allegedly forcefully entered a residence through a window. He then allegedly stole a welder from the garage and took keys to a vehicle in the driveway. He subsequently allegedly took the car from the residence. The property he is accused of stealing was recovered in Rochester. The defendant was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond. He is due in Byron Town Court on June 3. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster, Deputy Jenna Ferrando, Deputy Kevin Forsyth, and investigators Christopher Parker, Howard Carlson and Chad Minuto.

Colby Le-andrew Ellis, 30, of West Academy Street, Albion, is charged with: endangering the welfare of a child; fourth-degree criminal mischief; second-degree harassment; and third-degree criminal mischief. Ellis was arrested on May 20 after a domestic incident at 3:30 p.m. on May 14 on Old Creek Road in Alexander. He allegedly: damaged property that did not belong to him; endangered the welfare of a child; and struck the victim in the face with his hand. He was arraigned in Town of Alexander Court, then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Ellis is due back in court on June 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

May 22, 2019 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, search and rescue, indian falls, pembroke, notify.


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GC Emergency Management Services Coordinator Tim Yaeger said up to 70 people are involved in the continuing search for Mark Dibble, including family members.

Dibble was identified as "almost certainly" the person seen walking northward on property owned by Sunrise Farm LLC, Kreher's egg farm in Basom. That is where the search is being staged today.

They have searched wooded areas, a rock quarry and ponds, and Diver Lake. No clues, clothing or footprints were found.

NYS Police aviation was deployed as well as their divers and nothing found after extensive investigation this morning.

They have widened the search from a quarter mile of where Dibble was seen on the farm video, to beyond a half-mile range. They are rechecking cabins, barns, and outbuildings that were inspected yesterday.

The search area also includes open fields, hedgerows, and ditches, private residences, campers, vehicles, and thick brush, with participants walking in swaths five feet apart.

Dibble grew up here; has been here his whole life; knows the area very well. Some of the geography is difficult terrain.

Next, they will check the property of his longtime employer.

They have spoken with colleagues, friends, family members and others who are acquainted with Dibble.

Anyone with information about Dibble is asked to call the Emergency Dispatch Center at 9-1-1.

May 22, 2019 - 10:48am
posted by Billie Owens in search and rescue, indian falls, news, notify.

The search is resuming this morning for missing 58-year-old Mark Dibble. The Indian Falls man was reported missing yesterday afternoon. He did not go to work after he checked on his mother at 6 a.m. Tuesday, who lives on Alleghany Road.

Around 9:15 p.m., a search and rescue team with firefighters from East Pembroke, Pembroke, Alabama, Indian Falls, and Darien along with two K-9 units, an Erie County Sheriff's helicopter and a NYS Police drone, were called off the detail for the night. Genesee County Office of Emergency Management personnel also assisted.

Now firefighters from East Pembroke, including its UTV, and Alabama and Indian Falls are gathering at 1307 McAlpine Road in Alabama to resume the search for Dibble.

May 21, 2019 - 5:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in indian falls, news, notify.


A 58-year-old male is missing in Indian Falls and a search and rescue team is deployed to find him.

Firefighters from Alabama, Pembroke and Indian Falls are called to assemble at the Indian Falls United Methodist Church, located at 7908 Alleghany Road.

UPDATE 5:57 p.m.: The team will initially be checking the area of Alleghany Road, Meiser Road, Houseknecht Road and McAlpine Road.

UPDATE 6:19 p.m.: The missing male did not show up for work today. One K-9 has joined the search and another is on the way. A helicopter from the Erie County Sheriff's Office is also being deployed.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: They are also checking the creek area.

UPDATE 7:18 p.m.: The missing man is Mark Dibble. He is 5' 11" tall and weighs 230 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen at 6 a.m. today at his mother's house at 7888 Alleghany Road. His truck is still in her driveway. He had on work boots and jeans; there is no description of his shirt.

UPDATE 7:33 p.m.: The Erie County Sheriff's helicopter is scouring the area from the sky, so is the NYS Police drone. Two canine units are at work, too.

UPDATE 8:36 p.m.: The 7:18 p.m. UPDATE was corrected to reflect that Dibble was last seen at his mother's house at 7888 Alleghany Road and his truck is still in her driveway. His residence is roughly a half mile away.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m.: GC Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Brian Frieday said Dibble has not yet been located. They are stopping search efforts for now, he said, and will meet in the morning to evaluate whether to resume them.

May 21, 2019 - 1:59pm

Photo and information from the NYS Police, Troop A, Batavia:

Cold Case Tuesday: New York State Police in Batavia continue to investigate the 1977 murder of an Erie County woman.

On Nov. 25th, 1977, the partially decomposed body of Jessica Rose Lane, age 66, was found by two deer hunters in a wooded area off of Alley Road in the Town of Darien.

The victim was found fully clothed with fractured ribs, a fractured left elbow and a fractured skull, likely caused by stabbing.

Lane was last seen on Nov. 11, 1977 at Williamstown Apartments in Cheektowaga.

The exact location of the crime has yet to be determined. However, the residents below the victim’s apartment claimed to have heard two “thumps” between 4 and 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 12th, 1977.

Lane, who lived alone, was known to keep to herself and rarely had visitors. Suspects have been developed, but no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Batavia by calling 716-344-6200. Please refer to SJS # 3029541.

May 20, 2019 - 4:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, byron, bergen, Pavilion, Le Roy.

Benjamin Santiago Jr., 30, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. After a larceny investigation at Crocker's Ace Hardware in Le Roy, Santiago was arrested May 18 for allegedly stealing $800 worth of tools from the store at 3:25 p.m. on May 14. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Le Roy Town Court on June 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Heather Nicole Holbrook, 34, of Byron-Holley Road, Byron, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; endangering the welfare of a child; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; and having an indequate muffler. At 10:08 p.m. on May 16, deputies conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of West Main Street and River Street in the City of Batavia. Following an investigation, Holbrook was arrested. She is accused of operating a motor vehicle while her driver's license was suspended and while in possession of a controlled substance, with two children as passengers. She was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on May 29. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Deputy Robert Henning.

Heather Nicole Holbrook, 34, of Byron-Holley Road, Byron, is charged with failure to appear. She was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court and arraigned at 10:58 a.m. on May 17. She is accused of failing to appear in Batavia City Court on May 9. She was released on her own recognizance and is to return to city court on May 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan.

Michael David Senay Jr., 25, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, is charged with: third-degree menacing; fourth-degree criminal mischief; criminal obstruction of breathing; unlawful imprisonment in the second degree; and second-degree harassment. At 9 p.m. on May 17, following the investigation of a domestic incident in the Town of Batavia, Senay was arrested. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court. He is due back in court on June 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Lee Christopher Clark, 39, of 8202 Lewiston Road, upper, Batavia, is a convicted sex offender charged with failure to report a change of address/status within 10 days as required. It is alleged that Clark failed to register Internet accounts with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 days. He was transported to the GC Sheriff's Office for processing and released on an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia Town Court on June 4. The case was handled by GC Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Sara Tea Cupler, 26, of Starr Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and unlawful possession of marijuana. Cupler was arrested at 8:33 p.m. on May 18 after a call to the Emergency Dispatch Center for a welfare check on a female unconscious in a vehicle on South Lake Road, Pavilion. Cupler was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Pavilion Town Court on June 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore, assisted by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Robert G. Whitehead, 28, of Ellsworth Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court on May 13. He is accused of failure to appear in court on Sept. 13, 2012. He was arraigned at 1:54 p.m. and then put in jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond. He was due back in city court on May 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Katrina Lynn Drake, 29, of Locust Avenue, Lockport, was arrested on May 21 and charged with trespass. It is alleged that at 5:39 p.m. on May 9 there was a disturbance on Tracy Avenue in Batavia and Drake allegedly went onto a porch and kicked a door. She is due in Batavia City Court on May 21 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Bryan Jose Alvarado-Arce, 22, of Studley Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Alvarado-Arce was arrested at 6:29 p.m. on May 17 after a traffic stop on Townline Road in Bergen. He was a passenger in the vehicle. He was released on an appearance ticket and he is due in Bergen Town Court on June 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

May 19, 2019 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm labor bill, farm labor, agriculture, news, notify, corfu, video.
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Sen. Rob Ortt visited Reyncrest Farms in Corfu on Friday as part, he said, of regular visits to farms in Upstate New York to learn more about the potential impact of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.

He said he feels obligated to do it because the supporters of the bill, who have no farms or farmworkers in their districts, aren't doing it and they're not holding hearings on the bill in Western New York.

"We know that the sponsor is not visiting farms," Ortt said "She doesn't have a farm in her district. So I'm trying to fill that void to push back on some of these narratives that are being justified as to why we need to have this legislation in New York."

Ortt is the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He's also a potential candidate for the Republic primary race in the 27th Congressional District.

Sen. Jessica Ramos, chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and a first-term representative from Queens, is the Senate sponsor of the bill. She did visit Genesee County a few weeks ago and met with farmers and farmworkers and tried to prevent the press from covering her visit. She heard from many farmworkers who said they didn't support the legislation because it would mean they would make less money.

The bill, as written currently, would give farmworkers the right to join labor unions, as well as mandate an eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week. Both farmers and farmworkers say it is the cap on work hours that will do the most economic damage.

Earlier this month, Ortt lead a roundtable discussion of the bill and afterward indicated a willingness to negotiate on both of those main points. Friday he said that willingness is based on the feedback he's getting from farmers who tell him, he said, that if passage of such a bill is inevitable, then can it at least be made less draconian?

So far, he said, he's seen little willingness by the sponsors to negotiate.

Reyncrest is exactly the kind of family-owned dairy farm that stands to be most severely hurt by the legislation if it passes as is, he said.

"They have three farmers, (ages) 28, 26, and 25 -- a new generation, right? The next generation of farmers here to keep this going," Ortt said. "But they need to be able to sustain each of those individuals. This farm needs to be profitable for all three of those family members and if they can't make it a go, maybe they're unable to continue on and that impacts consumers.

"That impacts folks here in New York State who want to buy their products from New York State farmers, who want to buy their products from locally grown farms, locally grown here in New York. And so every time we add onto the burden here, and especially when it's being done by people who haven't stepped foot on a farm, who don't understand the dynamics of what they're doing, now I think that should be a real cause for concern for all New Yorkers."

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