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October 31, 2017 - 9:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

A week ago, a man walking to his car in a parking lot off of East Main Street, was either splashed or sprayed with some sort of fluid by three youths riding BMX-style bicycles.

Police are investigating but have little information to share at this time.

Police were dispatched to the parking lot the night of Oct. 24 to investigate a report that a man had been sprayed with gasoline.

At Monday night's City Council meeting, during public comments, Bill Blackshear, while talking about the city's need to address some youthful misbehavior and find ways to bring the community together, referenced the incident and said the victim suffered second-degree burns.

Det. Eric Hill, Batavia PD, couldn't confirm whether the man was injured or what sort of fluid might have been involved.

"We are having difficulties getting in touch with the victim," Hill said. "That is the information we are trying to find out also."

There is another video obtained by The Batavian related to the incident that shows the youths involved more clearly so its possible the police could have identified them, but Hill said he wouldn't discuss that aspect of the case since it is an ongoing investigation (the youths appear to be under 16 years of age, so since this case is likely to be referred to Family Court if there are charges, and since there have been no charges, The Batavian has chosen not to publish that video clip at this time).

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation may call Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350 or the Confidential Tip Line at (585) 345-6370.

October 31, 2017 - 6:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Alabama, pembroke, notify.

A 39-year-old former Alabama resident pled guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor this afternoon in Genesee County Court in connection with complaints about construction work paid for but not completed.

Dana Ryan, who used to live on Galloway Road but now lives on Pratt Road in Batavia, was originally charged with one count of fourth degree grand larceny in the Town of Batavia, and one in the Town of Pembroke; a misdemeanor charge of misappropriation of property is pending in Town of Batavia Court.

Under the terms agreed to today, he waived the specter of a grand jury indictment and pled guilty to a single count of grand larceny, 4th, and the pending misdemeanor property misappropriation charge.

The charges against Ryan, who completed the 11th grade, were brought in July after an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office following a complaint in Batavia and another in Pembroke. The victims told Investigator J.M. Graff, who was assisted by Deputy K.M. McCarthy, that they made payments to Ryan pursuant to construction contracts for work agreed upon but not completed.

They claimed payments made to Ryan for home-improvement contracts were not allocated into a proper account and the funds were used by the defendant for purposes other than the agreed upon work.

The Batavia native with close-cropped blond hair and a thin build, wore a black hoodie advertising a tree service company and gray jeans to court. Judge Charles Zambito asked Ryan if between Sept. 18, 2016 and May 15 he stole property in excess of $1,000 and Ryan said "Yes."

He faces maximum jail time of one-and-a-third to four years and agreed to pay total restitution of just under an estimated $9,000 to two victims -- one male and one female, who are under temporary orders of protection from Ryan until Oct. 31, 2018.

Zambito told Ryan that if he does not follow the rules, or make court appearances, or is uncooperative with the Probation Department, then he will be in trouble. Ryan can't get arrested or violate any conditions he is required to abide by, otherwise the terms of sentencing under the plea agreement are null and void; although the guilty plea would remain, the judge could impose a harsher sentence.

Genesee Justice has already notified the judge of some violations, one on Oct. 17 and another one before that, plus three assessment appointments were missed at Horizon Health Services.

Public Defender Jerry Ader told Zambito that the issue with Horizon was they had the incorrect client phone number, but that has been corrected and Ryan has an appointment with them on Monday.

"If I get one more notice I will revoke your supervision (under Genesee Justice pending sentencing) and you will go to jail (now)."

Ryan said he understood.

Sentencing is set for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

October 31, 2017 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, news, notify.

A 33-year-old man from Hilton accused of illegally possessing a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle and large capacity magazine in violation of New York State law while in Byron in March entered a guilty plea this morning to a single felony count of criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

Under terms of the plea deal, if Charles S. Ganoung IV, avoids criminal legal trouble for the next year while on probation, his plea can be reduced to a misdemeanor, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th.

He would then serve two more years on probation.

Deputies arrested Ganoung March 25 while in the course of an unrelated investigation when Ganoung was found with rifle, which deputies said was unregistered and equipped with a telescoping stock, pistol grip, detachable high-capacity magazine, loaded with 28 live rounds, flash suppressor/muzzle break and a bayonet mount. 

The Army veteran admitted to the second count of the indictment, the one dealing with the large capacity magazine, in Genesee County Court this morning but made no other statements.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24.

October 31, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

Deborah R. Blatt, 56, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal trespass, 3rd. After refusing medical treatment in the emergency room of UMMC, Blatt allegedly sat down in the waiting area and refused to leave after being told by hospital staff to leave. Blatt allegedly pushed a responding officer.

Brian L. Erickson, 52, of Cherry Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Erickson allegedly pushed another person during an incident reported at 5:32 p.m. Tuesday at a location on Ross Street.

Robin L. Walsh, 50, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Walsh allegedly concealed several items in her purse at Tops Market and walked out of the store without paying for them.

Trisha R. Santora, 35, Naramore Drive, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, refusal to take breath test, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, driving a motor vehicle while on a mobile device. Santora was stopped at 9 p.m. Oct. 19 on Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

David L. Andrews, 29, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and suspended registration. Andrews was stopped at 3:17 p.m. Sunday on Jefferson Square, Batavia, by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

October 30, 2017 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, elba, Le Roy, Alabama, notify.

Austin Lee Wester, 23, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Police responded to the area of 21 Ross St., Batavia, at 11:13 a.m. Wednesday after a postal carrier reported observing a person who "appeared to be on something and suspicious." It was also reported that Wester walked around to the back of a residence and appeared to be casing the residence. He was jailed on $20,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Stacey Lynne Ives, 38, of Angling Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, and unreasonable speed. Ives is accused of driving a vehicle that struck a parked semi-trailer in the area of 2200 Angling Road, Pembroke, at 3:06 a.m. Sunday. When deputies arrived on scene, Ives was reportedly out of the vehicle and walking around. She was treated at the scene by Mercy EMS and released with no reported injuries. The accident was investigated by Deputy Ryan Young.

James M. Rossiter, 35, of Clifton Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to signal, failure to use headlights, moving from lane unsafely. Rossiter was stopped at 1:04 a.m. Sunday on North Spruce Street, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Michael J. DiFalco, 29, no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. DiFalco was arrested on a warrant for an alleged theft that occurred at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at 41 S. Main St., Batavia. He was jailed on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Danielle Elizabeth Cummings, 39, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Cummings was taken into custody at Wayne County Jail by Batavia PD and returned to the City of Batavia for arraignment in City Court. She was jailed on $2,500 bail. No information released on the charges contained in the warrant.

Geoffrey M. Anderson Jr., 52, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass and second-degree harassment. Anderson was allegedly in a building at Batavia Middle School without authorization at 10:14 p.m. on Friday. While being escorted from the building, Anderson allegedly pulled away forcefully from a security aide and made threatening statements.

Ryan N. Bartholomew, 23, of Adams Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Bartholomew is accused of directing obscene language at City of Batavia residents while in a vehicle in the area of 6 Orleans Ave., Batavia, at 3:44 a.m. Wednesday. 

Michael Charles Friedman, 60, of Quarry Hill Estates, Akron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or higher, and possession of an open container in a vehicle. Friedman was stopped at 1:45 a.m., today, on Macomber Road, Alabama, by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Daniel Edward King, 41, of Alleghany Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, disorderly conduct, and unlawful possession of marijuana. King allegedly returned to Batavia Downs at 5:37 p.m. Saturday after being told to leave, and using obscene language causing public alarm. He was jailed on $1,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

Cindy M. Auberger, 54, of Keitel Road, Albion, is charged with felony DWI, drinking alcohol in a vehicle on a public highway, refusal to take a breath test, and unlawful of possession of marijuana. Auberger was allegedly found in a vehicle parked roadside at 12:37 a.m. Sunday on Clinton Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

John A. Petronio, 35, of Long Bridge Road, Albion, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Petronio was allegedly found in possession of an electronic stun gun at 1:57 a.m. Friday at a location on Lake Street Road, Le Roy.

Matthew Scott Williams, 29, of Hundredmark Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny and auto stripping. Williams is accused of stealing catalytic converters from vehicles at a residence on Hundredmark Road, Elba. He is also charged with grand larceny, 4th, and falsifying business records, 1st. He is accused of selling a vehicle for scrap when he was not the owner of the vehicle had no night to sell the vehicle. He allegedly produced documents purporting to show he was the owner of the vehicle. The alleged theft was reported Sept. 28 on Clinton Street Road, Bergen.

Minnie M. Henry, 29, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Henry was arrested by State Police for an alleged theft reported at 3:33 p.m. Aug. 22 at a location in the Town of Batavia. No further details released.

October 29, 2017 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thorpe Street, batavia, news, notify.

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Dan Eberly and his wife, Sarah, hosted a carnival in their backyard yesterday for the children living on and around Thorpe Street in Batavia.

"This is a busy neighborhood and there are lots of kids and we just wanted to get to know them," Dan Eberly said.

The carnival had various games that allowed the children to earn tickets that could be redeemed for prizes. There were also hotdogs, snacks and drinks.

It was all free.

Most of the year Eberly, who is originally from Baltimore, works overseas but with an extended stay at his home in Batavia, he thought it was a good time to do something for the neighborhood kids.

"I had carnivals in my neighborhood when I was growing up and they were the highlight of my fall," he said.

The Eberlys also host Nerf gun games every Wednesday evening in their backyard. If kids show up and don't have their own Nerf guns, the Eberlys supply them.

Eberly is also mindful that Thorpe has a reputation for being a troubled neighborhood.

"We had the shooting — it was literally out my front window -- a couple of weeks ago, and we just figure this would be a good way to start changing the community by getting to know everybody," Eberly said.

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October 26, 2017 - 7:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, news, notify.

The 2018 budget County Manager Jay Gsell is filing contains a property tax rate increase of six cents, to $10.13 per thousand of assessed value.

The manager's budget only becomes law if the County Legislature fails to pass a budget before the end of December.

At a meeting of the whole yesterday, no member of the Legislature expressed outright support for the increase and several said they oppose it and want to hold the rate at $10.07.

To do that, legislators will need to appropriate another $186,000 from reserve funds or find an equal amount of spending to cut.

Gsell's budget already calls for spending down the reserves again by $1 million.

“We’ve got the money, we should use it," said Chairman Ray Cianfrini. "I don’t think we should be hitting the public with another tax increase. Right or wrong, I think they think perception-wise that the Nursing Home money is money we have to apply toward this. I’m just throwing that out as my recommendation.”

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said, “You’ve got to remember, people’s assessments went up, so their taxes are already going up.”

Both John Deleo and Ed DeJaneiro expressed opposition.

"I don’t think I could vote for a budget unless we went to $10.07," DeJaneiro said.

Now that Gsell has submitted the manager's budget, legislators will have two weeks before a public hearing to make their suggestions for fine-tuning the revenue and spending plans.

The county's spending plan for 2018 calls for a total expenditure of $130,180,842, which will be paid for by a combination of state and federal reimbursements and local property and sales taxes along with miscellaneous fees and use taxes.

The property tax levy under Gsell's plan is $29,492,783. That's an increase in the levy of $268,120, which is within the state's two-percent tax cap mandate.

That mandate is being made tougher by Albany. The Raise the Age law passed earlier this year -- which will bring more 16- and 17-year-olds accused of crimes into the Family Court system -- was written to withhold funds for reimbursements for additional expenses from the law to counties that fail to hold the line on the two-percent cap.

This is also the first year the county is not saddled with the expense of the Genesee County Nursing Home, with its 160 jobs (full-time equivalents) and $16 million budget, which was draining as much as $2 million from local taxpayers each year.

There remain 540 FTEs on the county's books. Personnel is the largest expenditure for the county, but the pressure of the expense has been mitigated the county's share of the state's pension program remaining flat for 2018, more employees falling under Tier IV of the pension program, and the cost-savings success of the county's health coverage program, which now has employees contributing 10 to 20 percent of the premiums.

Unfunded state-mandated expenses continue to eat up a good portion of the tax levy. The 8-9 programs cost local taxpayers $22,315,765, or 76 percent of the levy. Medicaid is $9.4 million of that expense.

In all, Department of Social Services provides health aid to 12,500 senior citizens, children and adults in need at a cost of $95 million (most of which is covered by State and Federal expenditures).  About 60 percent of the expenditure is for long-term nursing care.

Other unfunded mandates include indigent defense, pre-K/elementary handicapped education services, probation, mental health, the jail, Safety Net, family assistance, child welfare and youth detention, according to Gsell's budget message.

Another mandate Gsell knocks in his message is the requirement from Albany that counties give raises to district attorneys. On April 1, the DA's salary will go up to $193,000 and there's nothing local elected officials can do about it.

"This is merely a reflection of the unilateral and paternalistic attitude of Albany and the disregard for local county government fiscal constraints," Gsell said.

The most significant personnel change in the budget is the addition of a compliance officer, who will report the county manager and oversee compliance with state and federal regulation related to the more than $11 million in grants the county receives so that revenue isn't inadvertently jeopardized. 

"(The position) has been strongly recommended by our outside/consulting corporate compliance attorney and our independent auditors," Gsell said.

As for proceeds from the sale of the nursing home, DeJaneiro wanted to know if the state could mandate what the county does with the money. Gsell said that is one thing the state leaves entirely up to local discretion.

There are still accounts to settle related to the nursing home, so the final total of the proceeds (profits) from the $15 million sale is not yet available, but whatever the amount, it will likely be placed in the capital improvement fund.

DeJaneiro suggested it go to help pay for repairs to roads and bridges and Gsell said that is one possibility, but the county is looking at the state soon requiring the county to build a new jail with a potential price tag of $43 million.

As expenses continue to go up every year in a county budget that for years has held the line on tax increases and cut personnel and services year-after-year, one concern for legislators about the tax cap is if they don't raise the property tax by six cents, then the amount they can raise taxes in future years if dire circumstances require it is diminished.

To get around this Legislator Bob Bausch asked if the county could raise the rate by six cents and then on the tax bill immediately turn around and rebate property owners the six cents per thousand, thereby increasing the total amount of the levy without actually taking more from taxpayers.

"I think it’s sort of a gimmick," DeJaneiro said.

Bausch replied, "Of course it’s a gimmick. The whole thing is a gimmick," meaning the state's arbitrary tax cap.

"Fight gimmicks with gimmicks," Legislator Andrew Young observed.

No vote was taken on the budget. There will be another budget discussion next Wednesday.

October 26, 2017 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

(Police mug shot of Joshua Gurto.)

State trooopers and Sheriff's deputies, and a canine unit from each agency, are scouring the area around exit 48 on the Thruway for a man a caller described as looking somewhat like the suspect wanted in Ohio for raping and murdering a 13-month-old girl on Oct. 7.

They have been on scene around the Batavia exit for about an hour.

The man is said to be bearded and wearing a hoodie and he's on foot, having been spotted north of the exit 48 overpass, then crossing where there's a strip of concrete median and heading west.

It's unknown if he is actually the suspect, who is Joshua Gurto, a 37-year-old from Conneaut, Ohio.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: BOCES was put on lockdown during the manhunt, but that has now been lifted. The search is expected to terminate soon.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Gurto is described as a 5-foot-10, 145-pound male with a deformed right ear, misaligned jaw and tattoos on his right forearm. The person spotted earlier this afternoon in Batavia so far has not been located.

UPDATE 3:03 p.m.: Law enforcement is preparing to leave. The pedestrian was not found.

October 26, 2017 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Jimpce Jay Etienne, 41, of Warren Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Etienne allegedly repeatedly punched another person in the face during an incident reported at 12:30 a.m. Sunday at a location on Warren Street. He was jailed on $950 bail.

Giancarlo A. Miranda, 19, of Clipknock Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Miranda was allegedly found in possession of a switchblade knife while at County Building #1 at 4:07 p.m. on Tuesday.

Michelle L. Misiak, 52, of Fisher Park, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Misiak is accused of stealing an alcoholic beverage from Southside Deli at 11:46 a.m. Saturday.

Carlton Lynn Beardsley, 22, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Beardsley was wanted on a warrant out of Batavia City Court.

William A. Andrews III, 38, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Andrews allegedly failed to comply with court-ordered programs. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

October 25, 2017 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, Darien, notify.

Frank D. Fulton, 61, of Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, driving without insurance, unregistered motor vehicle, uninspected vehicle, driver's view obstructed and unlicensed driver. Fulton was stopped at 11 a.m. Tuesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Lonnie Nati. He was found to be driving despite an alleged 27 active suspensions on his license. He was jailed on $500 bail or $2,000 bond.​

Carlton Lynn Beardsley, 22, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband 1st, criminal possession of controlled substance, 7th, and controlled substance not in original container. Beardsley is accused of bringing a narcotic drug into a secure area of the Genesee County Jail at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. He is being held on bail.

Brandi Marie Smith, 37, of North Bennett Heights, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Smith is accused of using two stolen checks at Walmart. The checks were reportedly stolen from a victim in the City of Batavia. (Previously: Woman facing 15 charges after allegedly breaking into car, stealing purse.)

A 15-year-old resident of Darien is charged with petit larceny. The youth was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 5:12 p.m. Tuesday in Pembroke. No further information released.

October 25, 2017 - 8:15am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, batavia, Jason Molino, notify.

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With more than a decade as manager of the City of Batavia under his belt, 38-year-old Jason Molino says he cherishes the opportunity to move the community forward, ever mindful of the support he has received along the way.

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Sidebar: City Council president weighs in on Molino’s performance.
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“Every day is a new day, and the most fun is the (City of Batavia) staff,” he said. “We are fortunate to have dedicated people who go above and beyond – people who are committed to the community and seeing each other succeed -- and work in a community that is thankful for everything you do. That’s what makes it most enjoyable.”

Molino, a Saratoga Spring native, moved to Batavia in the winter of 2006 after accepting the assistant city manager position.

He admitted that local governmental administration is “a tough field, with a level of scrutiny,” but his motivation comes from understanding that “change happens” at the local level.

Molino started out as an environmental science major in college but switched to political science – a move he doesn’t regret.

“It was the second semester at Norwich (University in Northfield, Vt.) when I decided that environmental science – with all of those science courses – was not for me,” he said.

Also during this time, Molino joined the U.S. Coast Guard reserve as a Petty Officer 2nd Class and stayed on until 2007.

While political science can be a broad field, Molino focused on a degree in management, enrolling at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany. He overcame some initial doubts to earn a Master of Public Policy degree (the public sector version of an MBA).

“The program was one of the best in the country,” Molino said, noting that many international students – from the Eastern bloc and Asia -- were there “to learn public administration from the American values perspective.”

But Molino said he still wasn’t sure that he made the right move – “I wondered why I was here?” he said – until he took a local government seminar course taught by Bob McEvoy, a retired Schenectady County manager who became Molino’s mentor.

After graduate school and a one-year stint as a management assistant in Schenectady County, in 2004 Molino accepted the position of assistant to the village manager in Port Chester in Westchester County.

His responsibilities included developing budgets for the village’s geographic information system (GIS), leading a yearlong study of sanitation services, coordinating stormwater management, digitizing documents to improve workflow and negotiating labor contracts for 150 full-time employees.

“That was a different environment … a lot of the county’s villages and towns have managers,” Molino said. “When the Batavia assistant manager job was advertised, I applied, thinking that it was an opportunity to come back upstate. It was my journey back north, so to speak.”

It was his first experience with Western New York, however.

“I remember getting into town and stopping at the Chamber of Commerce office, which was downtown, and I grabbed some quarters to put in the parking meters,” he said. “I then realized that I didn’t have to pay for parking. Now that was something I didn’t live with. The next thing I did was check out Royal Rink (now Falleti Ice Arena).”

Molino’s interest in the ice rink stems from his years as a hockey player in Saratoga Springs, a passion that continues today as a goalie in the Batavia Men’s Hockey League.

At the time of his hiring as assistant city manager, Molino said he was unaware of the City’s financial difficulties. It didn’t take him long to see there were problems, however.

“It was around the summer of 2006 when I made Council aware that the City was late in disclosing financial statements,” he said. “There were six to seven years of operational deficits, and I was making a presentation a month to Council that this is what has been happening, and made immediate, short-term and long-term recommendations.”

Shortly thereafter, Molino replaced Matthew Coppler as city manager and embarked on a mission to erase a $2.2 million fund balance deficit. At the age of 26, he was the youngest city manager in the state.

“It was a difficult time,” he recalled. “We had no assistant, the deputy director of finance had left and the City Clerk was on maternity leave.”

Molino said his initial strategy was to draft a balanced budget and “stop the bleeding.”

“We took drastic measures, realizing a small surplus in operations, but the next budget (2007-08) was painful – reduction of services, retirement incentives, tax increases and staff cuts. ”We didn’t even have the proper equipment at that time as the City hadn’t purchased a piece of equipment in 10 years.”

Working together, Molino and City Council managed to stay out of the red every year since, unless there were planned expenditures, such as capital improvement plans and infrastructure projects.

Starting in 2009 and continuing to this day, Molino implemented best practices for budgeting, and the City has been honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the past three years for its budget presentation.

The year 2009 was an important year for Molino personally as he and Batavia native Anna Lesh were married following a two-year courtship. They reside on the city’s northwest side with children, Sophia Dinehart, a senior at Batavia High; Stella, 7; Charley, 5, and Jason Jr., 3.

Other important changes in the past eight years include consolidating police dispatch with Genesee County, abolishing the City’s ambulance service, developing a plan to revitalize the downtown Brownfield Opportunity Area (notably the Batavia Pathways to Prosperity funding arm), and participating in the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

“All of this has been driven by us trying to save money and improve operations,” Molino said. “We received pushback, for sure, because these were big decisions, tough decisions. Council made the decisions in light of severe financial challenges.”

Fairport Village Manager Bryan White, who at 37 is on a parallel career track with Molino since their time at Rockefeller College, gives Molino glowing reviews for restoring Batavia’s fiscal health.

“I don’t think Batavia understands the caliber of manager that Jason is,” said White, the current president of the NYS City/County Management Association (a position formerly held by Molino). “He is a true professional who is driven to succeed, who cares about the community and is well-rounded in regard to his thinking and processes.”

White said Molino’s status as a “credentialed manager” speaks volumes.

“You have to be in the program for over seven years just to apply, and you have to prove to your peers that you have achieved a level of competency in public sector management and local government,” he said.

Molino has been successful, White said, by “building an environment that fosters leadership, confidence, and accountability.”

Today, Batavia has emerged from the “recovery mode,” as Molino puts it, into a “growth mode that can propel the community to greater things.”

And last month’s announcement that the City won the $10 million DRI award for the Finger Lakes Region will make Molino’s campaign of $100 Million, I’m All In campaign much more reachable.

“We’re looking for $100 million in investment in the City by 2022,” he said. “With input from the staff, support from Council and the community, we can do it.”

In the meantime, the City has secured $2.5 million in funding for extensive street repair on Union, Clinton, Vine, Liberty and South Liberty streets, and East Avenue in 2018, work that will include resurfacing, sidewalks and water lines, Molino said.

All told, the City has made a remarkable recovery – tax increases, if any, have been minimal; state and federal money is coming in and it looks as though a solution to the ongoing dilemma known as the City Centre Mall is near.

Molino indicated that interviews for the assistant city manager position are concluding and that a final candidate will be introduced within a couple weeks. Batavia has been without an assistant to Molino since the departure of Gretchen DiFante in July.

 “There have been challenges and curveballs, but throughout all of this, City Council has made the decisions to allow these things to progress – a lot of important decisions,” said Molino, who manages a $25 million budget and a workforce of 140 (full-time equivalent).

He said that discussions are ongoing with the owner of property on Swan Street, a parcel targeted by a city task force for a potential site for a new police headquarters.

“We’re trying to get a contract for a sale in front of Council,” he said, adding that a facility with a $10 million to $15 million price tag would have a significant impact on taxes – and will trigger community input from those on both sides of the fence.

Molino said he understands that public criticism of those charged with making the decisions comes with the territory.

“Anybody that gets into this line of work must accept the fact that he or she will be criticized publicly,” he said. “Even with the best of intentions and ideas, it is the people’s right to criticize. While I don’t take it personally, sometimes people cross the line.

“But at the end of the day, I’m recommending what I believe to be the best possible solutions, giving Council the information to make its decision.”

October 24, 2017 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

There are eight people who have active files with the Federal Elections Commission, making them eligible for a primary campaign in June 2018 for New York's 27th congressional district.

Rep. Chris Collins is the incumbent and is one of the eight who has filed.

Not all who have filed are running, but even among the announced candidates, an incumbent being targeted by both primary and general election challengers is unusual.

His campaign chief Chris Grant said he isn't worried.

"We live in very fluid political times, so people, especially on the Democratic side, whip themselves into a frenzy because they believe, wrongly, that the country agrees with their progressive, extremist positions and then they run into the reality of running against an incumbent congressman who is very popular in his district," Grant said. "I'm not surprised by any of it."

The seven people with FEC filings are:

  • Kevin Aleong, who has no party affiliation but does have a campaign website;
  • James Banks, a Republican, whom we wrote about yesterday;
  • David Bellavia, who ran against and lost to Collins in a primary in 2012, and has yet to express his intentions for 2018;
  • Sean Bunny, a Democrat, who has said he's running but has yet to make an appearance in Genesee County;
  • Erin Cole, a Democrat who has reportedly dropped out of the race;
  • Michael McHale, a Republican who ran in 2006 but has made no announcement about 2018; and,
  • Nicholas Stankevich, a Democrat who was in Batavia yesterday to announce his candidacy.

Frank Smierciak II, a 26-year-old Republican, has also announced his intention to challenge Collins in the primary and got a lot of attention from the media for running at such a young age, but he has yet to file with the FEC.

The fact there are Republican challengers also isn't a concern, Grant said.

"Every cycle now, people get into the fall of an off-year election and they think there is an opportunity and then the reality of qualifying for the ballot and running a real campaign rears its ugly head before they reach February, March, and April," Grant said.

Collins is popular in his district, even with an ethics investigation hanging around, and it hasn't hurt Collins at all that he was an early and vocal supporter for Donald Trump for president and continues to be loyal to Trump.

Trump is perhaps more popular in the NY-27 than any district in New York.

"It's not Trump," Grant said. "It's because of what Trump said, Trump's message."

Collins was out in front on the issues that drew people in the 27th to Trump, Grant said, such as "destructive trade agreements, and jobs being shipped overseas, and a Washington culture of elitism that ignores the people in districts like the New York 27."

Challengers to Collins are perhaps a bit out of touch with reality in the 27th District, Grant suggested.

"I think all of these candidates watch way too much cable news, pay too much to the Acela corridor press and whip themselves into a frenzy about a race they can’t win," Grant said. 

He added, "The progressive resistance movement is nonsense. It's so out of touch with what middle-class working families care about. It just shows they don't understand what people care about in the district."

As for Bellavia, the one candidate who might come into a race with some name recognition, Grant had no insight on whether he's actually running.

Last night, The Batavian emailed Bellavia, a resident of Batavia, about the FEC filing and his only response, "You noticed that?" He didn't respond to a follow-up message pressing for more clarity and confirmation.

"David's his own man and we respect him and we respect his service (Bellavia is an Iraq War vet), but we're going to fight hard for every vote in the New York 27," Grant said.

October 23, 2017 - 8:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mall, batavia, news, notify.

Four decades of wrangling, including five lawsuits, between the city and mall property owners is close to finally being wrapped up after a majority of property owners tonight voted to approve a settlement agreement. 

The agreement gives the city control over, and responsibility for the mall concourse. 

This settlement is the biggest step, but not the final step, in resolving this long-standing dispute. The vote for the settlement was not unanimous and if any mall property owners fail to sign the agreement it would drag out the legal process. Recalcitrant owners would have to appear before a judge and explain, show cause, for their failure to sign.

Most of the mall property owners coming out of the closed-door meeting where they voted on the agreement tonight were smiling. Robert Chiarmonte, chair of the Mall Merchant Association, said he was glad the settlement was finally approved. 

"The positive thing is that this year the maintenance fee, which will actually be called a user fee now, will stay level or somewhat level for about five years. We have our easement. We don't go to court. That's a good thing."

The protection of property owners easements was an important point to include in the settlement, Chiarmonte said.

"That was a big thing because some people were worried about being able to refinance their property or sell their property," he said.

Every property owner in the mall must now sign off on the agreement. They have 10 days to sign. If they don't, the mall merchants attorney and the city attorney will try to convince them to sign. If they still don't sign, they will have to explain their reason and provide evidence to support their reason, before a judge in Buffalo.

The vote total from tonight is not available. Each mall property owner who is in good standing on mall association fees had a vote weight by the square footage of his or her property. The City didn't have a vote on property it owns through foreclosure, but it did have a vote based on ownership of City Hall. Chiarmonte said the motion to approve the settlement would have passed, just based on the property size of the owners who did support the settlement, even without the city's vote.

City Manager Jason Molino said he expects a final resolution to be in place by April, at which time the city can take over maintenance and began work to replace the roof, repair the skylines and clean up the entryways.

"The optic improvements, the visuals, that will make the space more welcoming and open to investment," Molino said.

The city owns, through tax lien foreclosure, a handful of properties in the Mall. Once the appearance of the mall improves, those properties will be easier to sell and they will go up for auction.

Chiarmonte thinks that in itself will be a big step forward to help bring more traffic into the mall as new businesses open in those locations.

Molino agrees.

"My estimation is that when some of the improvements begin, and just some of the aesthetic improvements begin, which is not a lot, you're going to start seeing interest in those properties," Molino said. "You will see people are going have a different perspective on investing in those properties. That will be just a positive turn, just that alone."

October 23, 2017 - 6:15pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in alexander, news, dreamvention, notify.

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After watching his grandma burn her fingers getting breakfast out of the toaster oven, Andrew Young Jr., thought of the idea to make a toaster oven that shoots the toast back onto the plate.  

Andrew submitted his toaster shooter idea to Dreamvention, and was chosen as one of five finalists, among thousands of submissions.

“I saw it and I didn’t really think I had a chance, but I thought I would try it,” Andrew said.

After not hearing back for a while, he got an email, and then a phone call, saying he would be traveling to Texas in the beginning of September.

“We shot commercials for the invention, and we did interviews,” Andrew said.

Andrew also got to use a prototype of his invention but did not get to take it home.

At 14 years old, Andrew enjoys science, math, and swimming. He plans on being an astronaut when he is older because he loves space.

“I’m really interested in science, space, and stars,” Andrew said.

The grand prize for the competition is $250,000. Andrew said he would like to go to Hawaii and save some money for college.

Andrew’s dad, Andrew Young Sr., said Andrew Jr. originally was going to buy a Lamborghini with the money.

“That was before he realized he might win,” Young Sr. said.

Andrew did not tell his parents about the competition until he received the email about his trip to Texas.

“We’re not necessarily surprised that he took the initiative to do it,” Young Sr. said. “I think now that is the coolest part, that he took the initiative, went and did it, and look what it's turned into, with him just having some initiative.”

After the competition, he said he might try to sell the toaster shooter if people like it.

Andrew’s mom, Denise, said she has people asking already, where they can buy a toaster shooter.

“We’re just really proud of him,” Young Sr. said.

Denise said just the process has been exciting for Andrew and the family.

“He’s learning, as well as we’re learning, a lot about it,” she said.

Voting for the five finalists started today here. It ends Nov. 27, with the winner being announced in December. You can vote once a day with the chance of instantly winning $1,000. Learn more about Andrew's invention, here.

Submitted photo.

October 23, 2017 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, news, notify.

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A teenager from Alexander is one of five national finalists in an invention contest with a top prize of $250,000.

Fourteen-year-old Andrew Young Jr. saw an announcement for the contest on TV and drew up his idea for a toaster that shoots out toast on a plate. The judges love the idea and selected it as one of the finalists. Now the people of America will be asked to vote and select their favorite invention.

The contest is sponsored by Frito-Lay.

Voting has not yet opened.

The Batavian will have a longer story about Andrew (son of County Legislator Andrew Young), his invention, and the contest later this afternoon.

October 23, 2017 - 8:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify, elba, Alabama, pembroke, corfu, Darien.
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       Adante Davis

Adante L. Davis, 27, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd, and burglary, 1st. Davis was arrested on a warrant for assault and robbery stemming from a home invasion at a location on Central Avenue on Oct. 28, 2016, in which he is a suspect. Davis was one of four suspects and has been at large since the incident. Three participants have pled guilty and been sentenced -- Daniel J. Gilbert, Marquis K. Saddler, and Oliver Thomas. Davis was ordered held without bail.

Darrell J. Holloway, 49, of Farnsworth AVenue, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Holloway was stopped for an alleged traffic infraction at 8:02 p.m. Thursday on Evans Street, Batavia.

Daniel Joseph Difrancesco, 36, of Edgewood Drive, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Difrancesco was allegedly involved in a dispute at his residence. He was jailed without bail.

Alex Scott Dumbleton, 24, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with illegal disposal of items. Dumbleton allegedly threw a bag of garbage onto the property of another person without permission.

Michele L. DiFalco, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. DeFalco allegedly stole property from an associate Sept. 25. He was jailed on bail.

Katty L. Jackson, 21, of Dewey Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Jackson allegedly struck another person in an incident reported at 6:29 p.m. Thursday at a location on Maple Street, Batavia.

A 17-year-old resident of Batavia is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, obstruction of governmental administration, failure to yield right of way to emergency vehicle, and no lights on a bicycle. Police attempted a traffic stop on the young bicyclist at 8:36 p.m. Thursday on Ellicott Street and the youth attempted to flee from police and led police on a chase. The youth was jailed following his arrest.

Casey Arthur Trommetter, 29, of Angling Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, moving from lane unsafely, and unregistered motor vehicle. Trommetter was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Ryan Young into a two-vehicle accident reported at 12:09 a.m. today on Genesee Street, Pembroke. When deputies arrived on scene they found an unoccupied vehicle in the westbound lane. Trommetter was in a second vehicle in a ditch off the side of the road. She was treated and released at the scene for minor injuries and charged with DWI. 

Michael Alan Shelter, 27, of Lewiston Road, Alabama, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Shelter was arrested following an investigation into a disturbance reported at 8:45 p.m. Friday on Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Anthony James Constable, 31, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with DWI. Constable was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 11:08 p.m. Saturday in Elba. Following the incident, he allegedly drove to 7993 Call Parkway, Batavia, the location of Ashley Furniture, where he was located by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello and arrested for alleged DWI. Additional charges are pending.

Mark Harley Bennett, 31, of Chamberlain Street, Albion, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Bennett was arrested after deputies responded to a report at 8:57 p.m. Saturday of two men in a vehicle in a parking lot at 8363 Lewiston Road shooting up heroin. Upon investigation, Bennett was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance.

Adrienne F. Yocina, 36, of Alleghany Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Yocina was charged following a home probation check. She was allegedly in possession of high capacity ammunition magazines and a controlled substance.

Benjamin Jacob Skubis, 23, of Colby Road, Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Skubis was charged following an investigation by Deputy Mathew Clor into a motor-vehicle accident reported at 2:25 p.m. Saturday on Bloomington Road, Basom.

Nicolas James Scripp, 27, of Fullington Road, Attica, is charged with public lewdness. Scripp allegedly urinated near the entrance of a business on Park Road at 2:22 a.m. Saturday.

Pamela A. Battaglia, 59, of Limerick Road, Piffard, is charged with trespass. Battaglia is accused of refusing to leave a property on Junction Road, Pavilion, after being told to leave several times.

John Paul Henning Sr., 55, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, is charged with acting in a manner that could injure a child and assault, 3rd. Henning is accused of attempting to punish a child by striking him on the foot with a plastic object, which caused the child to bleed.

Trisha Rose Santora, 35, of Georgian Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, controlled substance not in original container, aggravated unlicensed operation, license plate violation, and inadequate plate lamps. Santora was arrested on a warrant. She was jailed on $5,000 bail, $10,000 bond.

Robert E. Magoffin, 45, of Darien Center, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Magoffin was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported 5:52 p.m. Friday in Darien. No further details released.

Nichole M. Ambrosoli, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Ambrosoli was stopped at 2:45 a.m. Saturday on R. Stephen Hawley Drive, Batavia, by State Police.

October 22, 2017 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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Police are searching areas west and north of UMMC for a man in a hospital gown and underwear who escaped custody while at UMMC.

The man is a suspect in an assault and was taken to UMMC for a mental health evaluation.

Search areas have included the area around Dwyer Stadium and behind the high school, North Side Apartments, Walden Estates and the general area.

The suspect is a male in his 30s.

If spotted, Emergency Dispatch can be reached at (585) 343-5000.

UPDATE 10:26 a.m.: The man remains at large and is not considered armed; he's wearing a hospital gown and boxer shorts. Police plan to charge him with third-degree assault, and other charges, stemming from a domestic incident in Elba last night. A State Police helicopter will soon be deployed -- an ETA of about 20 minutes -- and a DEC canine unit is on scene. The search area is Bank Street in the city, northwest between the Thruway and the high school. The command post is by Walden Estates apartment complex, where the suspect was last seen.

UPDATE 11:17 a.m.: The suspect has been spotted on State Street Road by the Thruway. He is only wearing blue underwear, having jettisoned the hospital gown.

UPDATE 11:20 a.m.: The suspect has been taken into custody in a field north of the Thruway.

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October 20, 2017 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify.
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The U.S. Marshals Service is asking for the public's assistance in locating a fugitive who is a suspect in the rape and murder of a 13-month-old girl.

The fugitive is traveling with an unknown male in a pickup truck with New York license plates, which has led them to suspect the two men may travel to or through Western New York.

The men were last seen Oct. 13, in Girard, Pa.

The suspect is Joshua Gurto. He is 37 years old, approximately 5'10" tall and 145 pounds. He may have a deformed right ear, misaligned jaw and tattoos on his right forearm.

A reward is offered for information that leads to his arrest.

He is wanted by the Conneaut Police Department in Northern Ohio 

The two men are traveling in a dark gray Ford F-150.

Anyone with any information that can help identify the unknown male in the photos is asked to call 1-866-4WANTED.

Tips can also be sent via text message by typing keyword WANTED and tip to 84711 (tip411).

People providing tips can remain anonymous. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 19, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, news, notify.

As County Manager Jay Gsell gets closer to pitching his proposed 2018 budget to county legislators, the focus in budget talks is on what staff positions will be created and which will be eliminated.

New positions might include a compliance officer, a first assistant district attorney, and a program coordinator in the Department of Mental Health.

On the way out are a child care worker in Social Services and a youth program specialist in the Youth Bureau.

Many of the positions being eliminated are reclassifications of jobs within the same department. For example, in Mental Health, two part-time clerk-typist positions become one full-time position. Public health is eliminating a principal financial support specialist but adding an administrative officer and part-time senior financial clerk-typist.

If a first assistant district attorney position is created in the District Attorney's Office, which is expected to go to Melissa Cianfrini at a salary of $111,783, an assistant district attorney position, with a salary of $91,915, will be eliminated.

The headline new position, however, is the compliance officer. The potential salary is $87,694 and the position will report to the county manager. The compliance officer will make sure the county is meeting all federal and state requirements for privacy, disability accessibility, health record privacy and other codes and regulations that are often tied to the grants the county receives from state and federal agencies.

“If Tim Yaeger or somebody wants to apply for a Federal grant, a Homeland Security grant, or some other kind of grant, they can the requirement of the grant, hand it to the compliance officer who can digest it and make sure we are currently meeting the requirements or what kind of changes do we need to make administratively to make sure we’re going to meet requirements,” said Matt Landers, assistant county manager.

There are millions of dollars in grants at stake in the county if the county fails to meet compliance requirements. 

The qualified job applicant will have a four-year degree and at least two years related work experience, or a master's degree and two years experience.

The Youth Bureau is eliminating a position because there's no guarantee the federal government is going to continue to fund Americorps. That program ends at the end of the year and the current director of the program will spend January and February winding down the program and then will be out of a job.

The Sheriff's Office is also asking to add two new positions, an assistant to the director of emergency communications, at a salary of $67,109, and an emergency services dispatcher, $43,128.

From the current budget draft, Gsell must trim $257,831 to arrive at a tax rate of $10.13, which keeps the tax levy increase within the tax cap limit. Without further cuts, the Legislature would need to approve a tax cap override. If the Legislature wants to get the tax rate down to this year's $10.07 per thousand of assessed value rate, Gsell will need to find $460,000 in additional spending cuts.

Gsell will present his draft budget and his annual budget message later this month.

October 18, 2017 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 400 Towers, batavia, news, notify.

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A group of non-smoking residents at 400 Towers are demanding stronger enforcement of a no-smoking policy that was instituted in April and they've prepared a petition for the Housing Authority asking for sterner measures against rule violators.

Nathan Varland, executive director of the Housing Authority, said the agency is doing everything it can to enforce the ban on smoking in apartments, in the building and anywhere within 25 feet of the building.

"I'm also frustrated," Varland said. "We put a policy in place in order to help us go in a healthier direction and it's something I feel strongly about and something I want to move forward on."

Varland has been the director since 2015 and he said work on the policy began under the previous housing director. It took a long time to implement because the authority wanted to make sure it was rolled out to residents in a way that gave them time to adjust their living arrangments if necessary.

There was a 60-day notice prior to the policy becoming official. That gave residents who wanted to continue smoking in their apartments time to move and while some people did move during that 60-day period, Varland couldn't say whether they left 400 Towers specifically because of the new policy.

There have been five residents who quit smoking as a result of the new policy, however, Varland said.

According to the non-smoking residents, many who gathered in a meeting Friday night led by resident Beverly Morgan, most of the residents who smoke are complying with the rules, but there are about 20 residents who continue to either smoke in their rooms, in hallways and stairwells or in the front of the building.

"There's no place you can go outside and not smell smoke," Morgan said.

Residents expressed concerns about the dangers of secondhand smoke, especially for vulnerable people, such as seniors and those with related medical issues. It's not just an issue with smelling smoke, they said, but a real health concern.

Under the new policy, smokers who violate the rules get three chances to comply. First, there is a written warning, then a fine, and then eviction.

"I know for a fact there are some people who should have been evicted already," said one resident at Friday's meeting.

That isn't accurate, Varland said. There are a few residents who are on the cusp of a third violation, but they haven't crossed the line yet.

"There are certainly not people who have three strikes right now," Varland said. "We go by our own policies as much as we try to enforce our policies fairly. If we have evidence we move ahead with eviction."

Getting evidence can be difficult, however. During non-office hours, the only people around to file complaints about smokers are other residents. There is a group of volunteers who are empowered to patrol the building and grounds and turn in complaints, but those complaints must still be substantiated in order for the housing authority to take action.

While the Batavia Housing Authority developed its own policy, during the period of implementation, the Housing and Urban Development Department issued its own policy banning smoking at HUD-funded facilities.

"A few tenants have been slower to realize that it's time to change their habits or move," Varland said. "That's up to them. We can only enforce our policy the way it is intended and we're going to enforce it."

The authority also recently received a grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation to build amenities, outdoor spaces, for non-smokers and those projects should be completed by late spring or early summer, Varland said.

Cigarettes aren't the only smoking issue Varland is dealing with. Residents said, and Varland confirmed, there is also some marijuana use at 400 Towers. 

Varland said the housing authority is bound by federal law to treat smoking marijuana like any other illicit drug use. It's a crime and Batavia PD has been cooperative in trying to investigate these crimes, he said.

"We are forced to take it very, very seriously," Varland said.

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