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July 20, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, news, notify.

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(Photo provided by Jake Pietrzykowski via GoFundMe.)

Jeremy Pietrzykowski thought he could save a little money if he repaired his own barn roof. That is what he was doing July 1 at his barn at 8953 Alexander Road, Batavia, when a gust of wind kicked up, caused him to lose his footing, and he fell 20 feet to the ground.

He landed on his side. Town of Batavia Fire was called, Mercy EMS and soon Mercy Flight was dispatched to the scene. He was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital, where doctors discovered he had cracked vertebra, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and deep bruises.  

“It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Pietrzykowski said. “I thought I was going to die.”

On July 2, Pietrzykowski underwent spinal fusion surgery, to fuse five vertebrae together, to eventually heal as one solid bone.

“I’ve been sleeping in the chair,” Pietrzykowski said.  “I can’t help out with anything.”

Pietrzykowski grew up in Batavia and has lived here his entire life. He loves to be outdoors and enjoys running marathons. He had hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year but had to scratch that plan.

“I love to run,” Pietrzykowski said. “I’ve run 13 marathons in Boston and New York [City], and others.”

As a hardworking father of three, Pietrzykowski has spent more than 20 years working for UPS. He is on a five-pound weight lifting restriction.

“I’m normally the guy that doesn’t stop moving and now I can’t do anything,” Pietrzykowski said. “I can walk around a little bit, but as far as the kids, I can’t pick them up.”

Pietrzykowski’s brother started a GoFundMe page, located here asking for donations to help get him back on his feet and support his family. His mother-in-law has been staying with him to help take care of the kids, but he said things have not been easy.

“She’s stepped right up and helped us out tremendously,” Pietrzykowski said.

His doctors said his recovery should be three to four months.

“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Pietrzykowski said. “I’ll get back to where I need to be, it’s just going to be a long road.”

July 19, 2017 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, City Schools, schools, education, notify.

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Seniors at Batavia High School this year will not only be afforded the privilege of reserved parking spaces in the student lot, they will be able to paint their designated spot with just about any design they like.

Overall, board members for the City School District loved the idea, presented by the executive council of the Class of 2018, but requested some modifications from the original idea before approving it.

"With a personalized parking spot, the students are able to reserve their spots and then express their individuality, which is really meaningful as maturing young adults," said student Mikey Lullo.

The students said there would be three options for students. The first costs the student nothing -- they get an assigned spot that will remain black asphalt throughout the year. The second option allows them to reserve a spot for $10, but they can't personalize it. The sweet spot, painted and personalized, would be $15.

The project is a fundraiser for the Class of 2018.

The original proposal would make all options available to all students who drive to school and students paying $15 would be able to select three possible spots, which would then be assigned randomly from those choices.

Because it's the first year, the board thought painted spots should be reserved for seniors and all spots should be selected at random.

"I love this kind of stuff," Board Member Peter Cecere said. "I think the finished product looks amazing."

Then he raised concerns about how slots would be selected.

"While I'd like to give everybody at least one of their top three choices, that's just not going to work," Cecere said. "Inevitably you're going to have a kid complaining because 'hey this kid's got this and I paid the same amount of money.' "

Trustee Shawna Murphy wondered if the privilege might be tied to academic performance or attendance, but the feeling was that would add another level of complication. She also expressed concern that in this climate, the painted slots would look dingy over the course of the year.

The students said they researched schools in similar climates and found with the right paint, it hasn't been a problem. They also said the paint acts as a sealant, which helps protect the surface of the parking lot.

At the end of the year, the students would be responsible for painting over, with black paint, the customized student spots.

While students who wish to personalize parking spots must get a sketch approved by school administrators, the council said they will also help watch over the parking lot.

Cecere expressed concern about vandalism and bullying associated with customized slots. The students hope security cameras and their vigilance will help tap down these issues.

"We're going to be there and we take it upon ourselves to monitor everything, us being the executive council," said Lauren Leone. "We are there to check everyone's paint and make sure it's being respectful."

Murphy asked how the council knew this was something they knew their fellow students wanted.

Lullo said the idea has been a big hit on social media.

"This has gone around multiple times and there has been positive feedback from pretty much the majority of the school who is on social media saying 'oh we wish we have this' and 'this would be so cool,' " Lullo said. "They said, 'this is so great, we want this.' So we kind of took it and ran with it."

Top Photo: Lauren Leone.  Bottom photo: Kiara Cherry, Amand Patel and Mikey Lullo.

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Video about a similar program at a high school in Lebanon, Ind.

July 19, 2017 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, byron, notify.

Dwayne Bartholemau Spivey, 40, of Doran Street, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st. At 10:45 a.m. Sunday on Lake Street Road, Le Roy, Le Roy PD, State Police and the Sheriff's Office were conducting a joint traffic checkpoint. Officers reported observing a vehicle driven by Spivey stop prior to the checkpoint, with Spivey exiting the driver's side and changing seats with the passenger, making the passenger the driver when the vehicle arrived at the checkpoint. Upon investigation by Deputy Chad Cummings and Deputy Chris Erion, Spivey was found to have 25 suspensions over the course of two decades. The other occupant, the passenger who became the driver, had a valid license. Spivey was jailed without bail.

Jesse Dean Parsons, 33, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with promoting prison contraband. Parsons is accused of entering the Genesee County Jail on an unrelated charge with a known banned item.

July 19, 2017 - 9:04am

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Chicago concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Tuesday:

Jaqueline M. Walker, 48, of Wallace Drive, Grand Island, is charged with resisting arrest and two counts of harassment, 2nd, after allegedly kicking and striking several Live Nation security officers and then resisting arrest by kicking deputies while being taken into custody.

Mark P. Walker, 49, of Wallace Drive, Grand Island, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching a Live Nation security officer in the face.

July 18, 2017 - 9:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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UPDATED at 9:47 p.m.

Batavia PD investigators took less than a day to identify a suspect in a knife attack on a person overnight on East Main Street.

Arrested this afternoon was JW Hardy III, 30, of 216 Liberty St., Batavia.

He is charged with assault in the first degree and gang assault, 1st.

He was jailed without bail.

The investigation is ongoing.

Under NYS Penal Code, the charge of gang assault does not mean that the person charged is a member of an organized, ongoing, criminal enterprise. It does mean that the police suspect was aided by two or more other people in perpetrating an attack that caused serious physical injury.

Chief Shawn Heubusch said that right now police believe there was at least more than one person involved.

As for any possible actual gang membership for Hardy, Heubusch said, "There is no reason to believe he is involved in any organized criminal enterprise."

The attack was reported at 1 a.m. in the area of 318 E. Main St., Batavia.

Upon arrival, officers located a male victim who had a severe laceration to his upper arm, lying on the ground.

The victim was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital. He reportedly had serious injuries.

Based on evidence and witness statements at the scene, police said earlier today that the victim had been beaten and slashed with a knife by at least one person.

Police reported at the time of the release that one person was being questioned in connection with the attack.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau at (585) 345-6350 or the Confidential Tip Line at (585) 345-6370.

July 18, 2017 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Bethany, news, notify.

Investigators have leads to track down and a person of interest in a home invasion assault in Bethany three nights ago, according to Investigator Chris Parker, who is leading the case.

The 73-year-old victim is in stable condition at Strong Memorial Hospital after initially being transported to UMMC the night of the attack.

Parker said he has interviewed someone who is not a suspect at this time, but truly a person of interest.

The crime was reported just before 9 p.m., Saturday at a residence in the Bethany Center Road, Paradise Road area of Bethany.

The victim called 9-1-1.  He told deputies on scene that he was asleep and the intruder woke him. He said he had been hit with an unknown object, which caused facial wounds, and sprayed with an unknown substance.

Parker did not discuss what might have been used to hit the victim, but that all indications are, whatever the victim was sprayed with was likely nothing more than water. There is no evidence to indicate it was any other substance.

"I can allay any public fears that there is a person or persons out there coming into people's homes and assaulting them," Parker said. "That is not the case here. This was not a random act."

People with information that might be helpful to the case can call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.

July 18, 2017 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, GCEDC, batavia, business, news, notify.

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(Photo of HP Hood Chairman John A. Kaneb taken this afternoon at his company's new processing facility in Batavia's Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.)

With existing plants at capacity and demand growing, HP Hood was looking for a facility the company could get up and running quickly for long-shelf-life dairy and nondairy products, said its Chairman John A. Kaneb today in an exclusive interview with The Batavian at the company's new processing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. 

The plant was built in 2012 for $206 million as a joint venture between PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group and became known as the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

Now, it's the HP Hood plant, which Hood acquired June 30 from Dairy Farmers of America for $54 million.

Kaneb said Hood knows Upstate New York well -- with four existing plants -- and knew the area had a good supply of raw milk, so when the plant became available, Hood took a keen interest.

"This plant happens to be located fairly well for us -- not ideally -- but fairly well," Kaneb said.  "The availability of the plant, that overcame a lot of, let's say, whatever reluctance we would have because we have to do a lot of very expensive repurposing here. We're moving from a plant that was designed for mass production of lots of yogurt to two fluid products. So that there were some warts and such, but we're very happy to be here."

The staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center made the whole process easy, understood it needed to be expedited, and that added to Hood's interest in locating in Genesee County, Kaneb said.

"Your economic development people here are superb," Kaneb said. "I mean they really are good and they're knowledgeable and they're friendly to business. Hopefully, we will not disappoint them."

Scott Blake, senior vice president of operations for HP Hood, added that the GCEDC staff provided a wealth of information on the area, businesses, and people, which helped them get comfortable with the decision to open a plant here.

HP Hood has committed to creating 230 jobs at the plant. They will take on the original PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement signed by Muller Quaker to receive $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years. The state is also providing a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

If employment goals are met, Hood is also eligible for $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. 

The 170-year-old, Lynnfield, Mass.-based company is adding 100,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space to the plant, which is already 363,000 square feet. After the expansion, with retooling the plant, and the purchase price, Hood will have sunk nearly $200 million into the new facility by the time it goes into production in early 2019.

There has been a rumor recently that the Hood plant could eventually employ 500 people. That's too far down the road to think about, Kaneb said, and he doesn't want to promise that level of growth. He believes they will hit the 230 employee target, but in the first priority is hiring 140 people over the next 12 months.

"I think we're we're confident that it will be reached, but I don't want to get into when we get to 230 or 250 or whatever," Kaneb said. "As far as going beyond that, I hope so. I will tell you that the only other situation that's halfway comparable to this is a greenfield plant we built from the ground up in Winchester, Virginia. We built that in basically 2000 to 2001. Today, 17 years later, here it is employing about 600 people. This plant has the acreage and, et cetera, et cetera, to do something like that, but that took 17 years."

(For photos of the Winchester plant, click here.)

Kaneb is a former Navy man. He graduated from Harvard in 1956, before joining the Navy, with a bachelor's degree in Economics. He acquired a controlling interest in Gulf Oil, tripled its sales to $4.5 billion, and got out of the business in 2005.

The Kaneb family acquired HP Hood in 1985.

It was almost happenstance that the family got into the dairy business, Kaneb said. The only way to grow the oil business was through acquisition, and with growth opportunities limited, they were sitting on excess capital that needed to be put to work. Hood was a great brand and as a native New Englander, Kaneb grew up drinking HP Hood milk. So did his children. But the company had fallen on hard times.

"(Hood) was a company with a great reputation and a great name," Kaneb said. "It was in some difficulty. In fact, a lot of difficulty. As we looked at we thought it might benefit from management that was highly motivated and with energy, et cetera. We thought we could bring some money to the table. We said, 'you know this isn't the business we know but it doesn't look like a complex business. It looks like a basic blocking and tackling business.' "

Since the acquisition, HP Hood has grown to $2 billion in annual sales and has opened new facilities around the Northeast and around the country, such as Virginia, California and Minnesota.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brands and licensed products. The familiar names include Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

When the Kaneb family took over Hood, they replaced much of the management, though they also identified some bright young talent, such as Blake, Kaneb said. Since then, Hood's executive team has been stable.

"(Blake) is certainly one of those stars who could take on more responsibility," Kaneb said. "We found those who had the skills that have helped us build the company into what it is today," Kaneb said. "It's really common sense, frankly, having a true partnership with your employees. If you want to put a motto on it, how we as owners look at the business and the employees, is that 'You take care of us, we take care of you.' Very simple."

Kaneb said he thinks that approach has been good for the company and it's what potential employees can expect in Batavia.

"You take care of us, we take care of you," Kaneb repeated when asked about company culture. "I mean, do your job and do it well and then you'll find the company will appreciate it and take care of you. We prize low turnover and we have low turnover, I would say, very low turnover, at every level."

As for the kind of corporate citizen Hood will be in Batavia, Kaneb said getting involved in the community is something Hood will strive to do, but the first order of business is getting the plant into production.

"First of all, get our business set up," Kaneb said. "We need to get to the level of employees we need to get going. I would call that, from my Navy days, as the shakedown period. Then we can be open to being a reasonably active corporate citizen. I don't think it's a great idea for us to do anything but get ourselves comfortable here, with the employees we need, and get our production going and so on. That should be our sole activity for the foreseeable future."

July 18, 2017 - 7:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Dalton C. Kelley, 19, of Chase Park, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Kelly allegedly damaged garage windows and pushed or threatened to harm other individuals during a disturbance on Chase Park at 6:55 p.m., Saturday. Kelley was also charged with harassment, 2nd, for allegedly striking a person at the same location at 4:42 p.m., Sunday.

Matthew D. Novak, 28, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, criminal mischief, 3rd, and harassment, 2nd. Novak was arrested on a warrant stemming from an incident reported at 1:30 a.m., April 12. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Darazian W. Williams, 24, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Williams was arrested following a traffic stop at 6:30 p.m. July 9 on Law Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Melvin C. Tolbert-McDonald, 21, of Seward Street, Rochester, is charged with assault, 3rd, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. Tolbert-McDonald is accused of striking another person several times and choking that person during a disturbance reported at 6:31 p.m. Saturday at a location on Pearl Street, Batavia.

Bonnie L. Cortright, 30, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass. Police responded at 11:15 p.m. to 122 Summit St., Batavia, for a report of people being inside a vacant home. Also charged were Sabrina Higgins, 22, and Thomas Preedom, 29. Preedom, a parolee, was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Casey J. Halsey, 37, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Police responded to a report of a disturbance on Redfield Parkway at 4:34 a.m., Saturday. Halsey allegedly refused to leave a residence. He was jailed on $7,500 bail.

Willie Frank Irvin II, 35, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with DWI, speeding in zone, and tailgating. Irvin was stopped at 2:37 a.m. Sunday on East Main Street, by Officer Arick Perkins.

July 17, 2017 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Stafford, batavia, news, notify, alexander.

Chris Kaboingo, 28, of Mill Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th. Kaboingo was arrested following a property damage accident at 7:29 p.m. May 25 on Alexander Road, Alexander. He was allegedly found in possession of amphetamine pills. He was arraigned July 11 and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Also charged was Darazian Willie Paul Williams, 24, of West Main Street, Batavia. Williams was also cited for alleged failure to keep right.

Alexander Albert Chandler, 25, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and inadequate plate lamp. Chandler was stopped at 9:50 p.m. Friday on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy Michael Lute.

Riley Kristine Davis, 20, of Gilbert Road, Bergen, is charged with petit larceny. Davis is accused of shoplifting from a business on Veterans Memorial Drive at 12:11 p.m. on July 10. Davis allegedly stole jewelry. 

Nasir Chalee Nathan, 21, of Goade Park, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Nathan was allegedly found in possession marijuana while in a parking lot off Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, at 12:43 p.m. on July 10 by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Jessica Ann Shiltz, 33, Claybed Road, Filmore, is charged with DWI and refusal to take breath test. At 12:27 a.m., July 13, Deputy Ryan DeLong observed a vehicle stopped at the side of the road on Colby Road, Darien. Upon investigation, Shiltz was found to be allegedly driving drunk. She was jailed on $250 bail.

Jay'von D Spivey, 18, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and resisting arrest. Spivey is accused of stealing a bicycle. He allegedly pulled away and resisted when police attempted to place him in custody. He was jailed on $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond.

Gregory Seppe, 59, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, burglary, 2nd, and conspiracy, 4th. Gregory Seppe was arrested with Brandon Seppe, 33, when the two men were allegedly found leaving the area of a reported burglary. Both were held without bail.

Olivia J. Paganin, 28, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and motor vehicle with lights that do not meet standards. Paganin was stopped at 1:15 a.m., July 1, on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Sheryl A. Jeffery, 58, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Jeffery allegedly struck a registered nurse while being treated at UMMC.

July 17, 2017 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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    Jason Giuliani

A 38-year-old Batavia man is being accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force on three separate occasions.

Jason M. Giuliani, of Oak Street, was arrested at the Genesee County Jail, where he is being held on unrelated charged.

Giuliani is charged with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. The charges are Class B felonies.

Bail was set for Giuliani on these charges at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

July 15, 2017 - 10:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Oatka Festival, parade, news, notify.

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To purchase prints, click here.

July 15, 2017 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, crime, news, notify.

A 73-year-old man in Bethany was asaulted tonight in his home by an intruder and is being transported to UMMC by ambulance for treatment of his injuries. 

The intruder awoke the man and struck him several times with an unknown object. He also sprayed him with an unknown substance. 

The suspect was not on scene when deputies arrived and law enforcement has no description at this time. 

The initial 9-1-1 call was just before 9 p.m.

July 15, 2017 - 9:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

A caller reported seeing kids playing on train tracks near Wortendyke Road, Batavia, including lying on the tracks while a train was coming. 

Deputies are dispatched. 

CSX is now holding a train to give deputies a chance to search the area. 

UPDATE 9:31 p.m.: A person in law enforcement informs dispatch about a graduation party in the area and kids from the party going up to the tracks.

July 14, 2017 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Tonawanda Creek, batavia, news, notify.

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The water level on the Tonawanda Creek, as measured by the station behind the Genesee County Courthouse, peaked at just under 10 feet at about 8 p.m. and started to recede by 9 p.m., according to measurements captured by the USGS.

A flood alert remains in effect until Saturday morning.

July 14, 2017 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Le Roy, notify.

A 23-year-old Le Roy man was charged with DWI after a report last night that a car he was driving went off the roadway on Kenney Road, into a swamp and struck a tree.

Kodey Richard Mills, of Myrtle Street, is also charged with driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely and driving without insurance.

The accident was reported at 10:02 p.m.

Mills was released on an appearance ticket.

The accident was investigated by Deputy James Stack.

July 14, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jail, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

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The path to a Sheriff's road patrol often passes through the Genesee County Jail for career-minded folks interested in law enforcement, and Darrell Klein thought that would be the path he would take when he signed on as a corrections officer 24-and-a-half years ago.

It didn't take him long, though, to figure out the jail was where he could do the most good.

"I liked the people," Klein said. "I liked the challenge, the feeling that I was doing something that mattered. People misunderstand what inmates are all about. They think they are bad people. They're not. There are a lot of good people here who made bad choices. It's nice to be able to help them when I can."

He said he will be look back at several memories where he feels he made a difference in people's lives. 

"Those are good feelings," he said.

Today was Klein's last day on the job.

"It's time to pass the torch to somebody else," he said.

July 14, 2017 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake, darien performing arts center, news, notify.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Vans Warped Tour Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday:

A 16-year-old, of Lake Avenue Lancaster, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Thomas A. Soares, 31, of Smoral Road, Camillus, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Zackery K. Johnston, 21, of Kingsley Road, Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the fenced in pit area of the venue without permission.

Brittany L. Dumsar, 24, of Anytrell Drive, Webster, is charged with criminal trespass, 3r,d and harassment, 2nd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and then spitting in a Live Nation employee's face.

Joseph N. McCarthy, 23 of North Road, Freedom, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

July 14, 2017 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Tonawanda Creek, batavia, alexander, Alabama, notify, news.

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At 9 a.m., the water level of the Tonawanda Creek, measured behind the courthouse, was 8.5 feet and rising, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood stage is 9 feet.

The creek is expected to crest at 9.4 feet this afternoon.

Impacted areas include Kibbe Park, Law Street and Walnut Street.  

Also, expect flooding in the rural areas of Alexander and the Alabama Swamps.

July 13, 2017 - 7:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, batavia, news, notify.

The City of Batavia is warning of flooding along the Tonawanda Creek in the areas of Law Street, Walnut Street and Kibbe Park.

The Tonawanda is expected to crest at 9.7 feet, which is above flood stage levels.

Residents in the affected areas are asked to keep vigilant and take precautions to minimize property loss.

July 13, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Sometimes good people do bad things, Judge Micheal Mohun told Bill Thomas before sentencing him to three years in state prison for menacing a police officer.

With the nearly 14 months already served in county jail, and time off for good time, Thomas should be back home with his family in a little over a year.

Family is a big part of the Thomas story, something Mohun noted during his sentencing remarks.

"You're a lucky fella," Mohun said. "Every time you've come to court, your family has been here. Your family has been very supportive. I see you are one of 10 kids, the second youngest. Your mother died in May while you were in jail. I'm sure that was very hard on you.  It gives me great encouragement that your family is with you and has backed you throughout your court appearances and your trial and now they're here with you today. That is a real testament to the Thomas family.

Then he added, "you're also lucky to be alive."

On the morning of March 16, 2016, Officer Pete Flanigan responded to a home on State Street to investigate a report of a disturbance. Bill's brother Rand answered the door and Flanigan saw Thomas, he testified at trial, with a knife in his hand. He said Thomas came at him with the knife and he thought he would have to shoot Thomas, but Rand, in trying to flee the residence, got in between the officer and his brother.

At a trial last month, Thomas was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon and menacing a police officer.

The mandatory minimum sentence for menacing a police officer is two years in prison, with a maximum of eight. 

Mohun also sentenced Thomas to one to three years on the weapons conviction, to run concurrently to the menacing charge. Thomas will also have a year and a half parole to serve when he's released.

Thomas has a prior criminal record, but nothing in the past 20 years and never had a prior arrest for any kind of violence.

He had been living with his mother, caring for her, prior to his arrest.

While Thomas, 57, was represented at the jury trial by the Public Defender's Office, retained counsel Maurice Verillo appeared for the defendant today. He argued for a minimum amount of time in prison and asked that his client's time in prison be at a facility close to Batavia so his family could easily visit him.

Mohun said he has no control over where the Department of Corrections sends Thomas, but he did attach the request to his file, so it is with him when he is processed, and all of the letters of support from friends and family the court received.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, who usually has something to say when asked what his sentencing recommendations are by a judge, made no statement in court today.

About a dozen members of his family were in court. After Mohun adjourned the case, they all stood. Deputies allowed Thomas to turn and say goodbye to his family.  Family members told him they supported him and loved him.

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