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November 20, 2017 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.


The theft of a cash box from Plaza Spirits in Eastown Plaza in Batavia last Thursday had a familiar ring to Kevin Rathod, owner of Mr. Wine and Liquor in the Tops Plaza, so he went back and reviewed his own surveillance video from a similar theft in his store this past August.

In that video, at least one of the suspects looks to be the same man suspected in photos from the Plaza Spirits heist.

According to Rathod, two men worked in tandem one afternoon in August to enable one of them to steal a casher's purse from a backroom. The thieves made off with $500 cash and a credit card. The credit card was used to run up $1,100 in charges, including purchases at another local liquor store.

Batavia PD confirmed the crime was reported in August and it's possible the larcenies are related.

At least one of the same men, using the same mode of operation, appears to have been involved in a theft from a liquor store in September in Rochester, according to this 13WHAM report. In that case, the accomplices allegedly made off with $10,000. 

The system these alleged thieves are using, Rathod said, is for one subject to distract an employee or employees while the other scouts for something to steal and then makes off with the item.

"I think local business owners should be aware of what's going on," Rathod said.

Below, video shared with The Batavian by Rathod. Note that we edited it to remove as much as possible views of an unrelated individual who walked into the store. The suspect who looks similar to the suspect in photos from Plaza Spirits is the man in the white T-shirt.

November 20, 2017 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, notify, news, bergen, Alabama, byron.

Arsenio Youngs, 27, of Medina, is charged with criminal sex act, 2nd. Youngs is accused of a sex act with a disabled person in the City of Batavia. The complaint was made to State Police at 4:31 p.m., Nov. 1. Youngs was also charged with the same crime in the Town of Perry based on a complaint to State Police at 10:01 a.m., Nov. 1. Youngs was released on his own recognizance. No further details released.

Erika L. Gilson, 37, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, three counts of felony aggravated DWI, and felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Gilson was stopped at 3:05 p.m. Wednesday on West Main Street, Village of Le Roy, by Le Roy PD. Gilson was accused of driving while intoxicated with three children in the car under age 16. She was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Shane M. Nugent, 32, of West Middlebury Road, Wyoming, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, and failure to keep right. Nugent was stopped at 2:19 a.m. Saturday on Warsaw Road, by Le Roy PD.

Daun Elizabeth Monachino, 58, Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, improper left turn, improper right turn, and no left side mirror. Manachino was stopped at 4:34 p.m. Sunday on Richmond Avenue, Batavia, by Deputy Richard Schildwaster, following a citizen traffic offense complaint.

Tyler Lee Walls, 21, of Viking Way, Brockport, is charged with menacing. Walls allegedly threatened another motorist during a road rage incident reported at 1:36 p.m. Sunday on Warboys Road, Bergen.

Anson Torpe Arenas, 43, of Lexington Parkway, Rochester, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, driving left of pavement, driving a vehicle without a valid inspection, insufficient tail lamps, and driving with alcohol in a motor vehicle. Arenas was stopped at 6:16 p.m. Saturday on Townline Road, Bergen, by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Shawn William Cross, 46, of Craigie Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Cross was arrested following a report of a car vs. deer accident at 9:18 p.m. Friday on Perry Road, Pavilion, by Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Jenna Leann Hernandez, 21, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, driving left of pavement marking, and driver's view obstructed. Hernandez was stopped at 2:16 a.m. Saturday on Wortendyke Road, by Deputy Howard Wilson.

Jeremy Sheehan, 35, of West Bergen Road, Le Roy, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Sheehan allegedly displayed a handgun to a resident in a nearby apartment at 1:18 a.m. Thursday at a location on West Bergen Road, Le Roy. He was jailed on $1,000 bail or $3,000 bond. 

David Michael Bratt, 38, of Carolina Avenue, Lockport, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, moving from lane unsafely, and driving left of pavement markings. Bratt was stopped at 12:54 a.m. Wednesday on Lewiston Road, Alabama, by Deputy Ryan Young. 

Kari Ann Marble, 26, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Marble is accused of shoplifting from Kohl's Department Store on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia at 11:58 a.m. on Nov. 9.

Sarah A. Cheek, 33, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Arrested as part of the same incident was a 16-year-old on an execution of a bench warrant. The incident was reported at 10:48 a.m. Sunday on Route 237, Byron, by State Police. No other details released.

Christina M. Sarratori, of North Chili, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Sarratori is accused of entering an enclosed area at 8315 Park Road, Batavia. The incident was reported to State Police at 12:52 a.m. Saturday.

Amanda M. Volkman, 32, of Byron, is charged with assault, 3rd, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Volkman is accused of attacking a person with intent to cause serious physical injury. The complaint was reported to State Police at 11:45 p.m. Thursday at a location on Caswell Road, Byron. Volkman was held in jail. No further details released.

Mary B. Thompson, 34, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Thompson was charged by State Police based on an incident reported at 4:31 p.m. Nov. 15 on Pearl Street Road, Batavia.

November 17, 2017 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.


mugchase_young2017.jpg mugchase_siplin2017.jpg mugchase_jackson2017.jpg
     Shabre Young      Jeremy Siplin      Davion Jackson


Three residents of Rochester are in custody tonight, charged with felony larceny and misdemeanor conspiracy after allegedly stealing $2,200 in merchandise from Kohl's Department Store in Batavia today before leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase into Orleans County.

Charged are Davion Z. Jackson, 23, of Curlew Street, Jeremy L. Siplin, 40, of Lakeview Street, and Shabre A. Young, 25, of Fulton Avenue.

Young is also charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree, unlawfully fleeing police, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, speeding, speeding in zone, speeding in a school zone, speeding in a work zone, moving from lane unsafely, no turn signal, failure to keep right, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

The thefts were reported at 1:31 p.m. Deputies were informed the suspects had fled in a tan Ford van. A short time later, the vehicle was spotted on Route 98 by Deputy Andrew Hale and Trooper Mitch Hamilton.

The peace officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but Young allegedly hit the gas rather than stop and headed north on Route 98.

Reports today indicated that the van reached 120 mph as Young allegedly attempted to elude capture.

During the pursuit, suspects reportedly discarded stolen items from the windows of the vehicle.

At Route 98 and Lime Kiln Road in Albion, Young reportedly attempted to negotiate a turn at a high speed. The van struck a utility pole, shearing it off. Two occupants allegedly fled on foot but were apprehended quickly in close proximity to the vehicle. 

Young was transported to UMMC and subsequently released.

The suspects were arraigned in Town of Batavia Court.

Jackson was jailed on $20,000 cash bail, $30,000 bond; Young on $10,000 bail, $15,000 bond; and Siplin was ordered held without bail.

Additional charges may be pending in Orleans County.

The incident was investigated by deputies Andrew Hale and Joseph Loftus with assistance from other members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, including investigator Chris Parker and Investigator James Diehl. The State Police, Batavia PD, Albion PD, and the Orleans County Sheriff's Office also assisted. 

Previously: High-speed chase on northbound Route 98 as officers pursue suspected Kohl's shoplifters

Top photo by Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub.

November 17, 2017 - 10:24pm


A three-year legal battle for the owners of The Ridge (aka Frost Ridge Campground) appears to have come to a close with a state appeals court upholding prior court decisions allowing the campground to host live music concerts, rent campsites and run a restaurant.

The ruling was handed down today by the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department.

David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell haven't missed a concert season since 2010, even though the legal challenges to their concert series -- Jam at the Ridge -- started in 2014 when the Town of Le Roy, and David and Mary Cleere, and Scott and Besty Collins, first brought legal action to stop live music at the campground.

They were able to continue after winning motions in 2014 to allow an already-booked season to go forward, and as they continued to win court decisions -- including a Sept. 2016 decision by Judge Emilio Colaiacovo, presiding at the time over Genesee County Supreme Court, that ruled in favor of the owners.

The Town of Le Roy had dropped out of the lawsuits after losing a prior decision.

At the heart of the defense of Luetticke-Archbell's use of the property is that Frost Ridge -- going back to the ownership of David Frost, father of Mary Cleere and Betsy Collins --and its campground long hosted live music, rented campsites and served food, and that these uses fit within the meaning of a recreational area. The property was used in this fashion, they argued, before the Town of Le Roy changed the area's zoning to residential-agriculture in the 1990s.

In ruling in favor of Luetticke-Archbell, the appellate division concluded that contrary to the plaintiffs' contention, the Zoning Board of Appeals did not reach an arbitrary and capricious decision when the board ruled that the owners' use of Frost Ridge was a prior, non-conforming use. The plaintiffs contended that the ZBA failed to follow its own precedent and did not explain their reasoning. 

"We reject that contention," the court ruled. "In 1998, the ZBA interpreted the Code to provide that a preexisting nonconforming use of land as a campsite runs with the land pursuant to section 165-13, notwithstanding section 165-39 (B), which requires that an existing campsite of record be brought into compliance with the Code upon being sold. Contrary to petitioners’ contention, the ZBA’s determination is consistent with that precedent."

The court ruled that there was substantial evidence for the prior, non-conforming use.

"That evidence included the affidavit of a former employee of Frost Ridge’s predecessor, who averred that the Property had been used for skiing and other recreational purposes since the 1950s," the court wrote. "He averred that he began working there in the 1960s and observed numerous recreational activities on the Property, including winter sports, live music, and campsite rentals."

It's common sense, the court concluded that the term "campsite" includes recreational activities, which might include live music, and this definition complies with the Town's own codes.

"The ordinance does, however, require that any large campsite “provide a common open area suitable for recreation and play purposes” (§ 165-39 [C] [8]), and thus expressly contemplates that a campsite is a place for recreation," the court ruled.

"Although the kind of recreation is open to interpretation, it is rational in our view to conclude that live music, along with swimming and other outdoor activities, is the kind of recreation to be enjoyed at a campsite."

The court also cited evidence of witnesses who said live, amplified bands played every summer at the campground in the 1970s and 1980s, and the plaintiffs failed to prove that use ever stopped for an extended period of time to constitute a break in the prior, non-conforming use.

"Here, it is undisputed that the Property functioned continuously as a recreational facility and campsite since the 1950s," the judges wrote. "To the extent that petitioners contend that use of the Property to host live music was abandoned in 2008 and 2009, we note that there is evidence in the record that live concerts were hosted on the Property during those years."

Photo: File photo of David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell

November 17, 2017 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

collinsethics162017inset.jpgIt's not technically accurate to say the House Ethics Committee is investigating his involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics, Rep. Chris Collins said today while in Batavia.

There have been questions about Collins and his alleged "insider trading" related to the Australia-based pharmaceutical company for more than a year.

The issue was first raised, Collins said, by Rep. Louis Slaughter, which led to an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The three charges investigated by OSCE were dropped but the investigators referred two additional points of inquiry to the House Ethics Committee.

That, Collins said, is not an investigation.

"The Ethics Committee hasn't done anything," Collins said. "So to people who say I'm being investigated by ethics, I would say ethics is reviewing the OSCE, what I call 'the mall cops' report.' That doesn't mean they're investigating. And what didn't they do -- they did not appoint a subcommittee to look into it. If they thought there was wrongdoing they would have appointed a subcommittee to look into this."

Collins called the initial three points of contention and the two new issues a "nothing burger."

The points initially raised by Slaughter, he said, were that he had insider information about the progress of a clinical trial that he shared, that he facilitated discounted stock trading for congressional members, and that he supported a bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, because it benefited Innate.

To the first charge, Collins said, the clinical trial was a double-blind trial with nobody at Innate, including him, getting any idea of the potential results until the trial was completed and the results were released in July.

He couldn't have provided information on the trial to anybody because there was no information to provide.

As to the alleged illegal discount, Collins said, "We got this discount. The Office of Congressional Ethics totally dismissed that because it was available to every investor."

The allegation that Innate might someday come to the United States, and therefore benefit from the 21st Century Cures Act, was so preposterous, Collins said, that OSCE dismissed it without giving it serious consideration.

"That was such an outlandish allegation it wasn't even investigated," he said.

Out of the all the documents and emails reviewed by the OSCE, the staff came up with two more items it referred to the House Ethics Committee. One was that Collins allegedly communicated non-public information in emails to other investors and that he provided insider information about Innate to staff at the National Institute of Health.

In emails, Collins said he mentioned that the clinical trial had 93 participants. It was public knowledge that the trial would have at least 90 participants and the fact that there was 93 wasn't material to the value of the stock, he said.

He also shared his personal view that the trial would be done by a certain date, and then another date after that, and then a date after that, and in all cases he was wrong, he said.

"It was just my personal subjective opinion," he said.

'"Our CEO has done an affidavit saying he looked at those emails and there was nothing non-public in them," Collins said. "There was nothing significant in them."

As for the number of participants, he said, it's standard practice to sign up more participants than needed for a trial because some patients always drop out. The count of 93 vs. 90 really meant nothing to the value of the trial and it wasn't considered a secret by the company.

"Anyone who had called our office and asked how many people were recruited, we would not have even considered that confidential information and would have shared it," Collins said.

Significantly, Collins said, none of the people whom Collins shared information with through the emails bought or sold shares after receiving the information.

"If no one traded on it, even if I did share nonpublic information, there's no crime," Collins said.

The NIH meeting, Collins said, was part of a two-hour tour of the facility that he initially forgot about when the issue came up again a couple of years later.

The so-called insider information provided by Collins was an introduction of one scientist to another. It's common practice, Collins said, for NIH scientists to share information with outside scientists.

"There was a scientist in the one meeting who was looking at biomarkers and other indications from multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease, and some things (some aspects of the research) that there are no hard science measures on," Collins said. "It looks like this. It looks like that. Boom. Boom. Boom Boom Boom.

"And I said, 'you know, you might want to talk to our scientists because we're finding the same frustration in finding scientific measures of secondary progressive M.S. because there aren't any -- it's quality of life, patient-reported outcomes, doctor-observed things that are subjective, not objective, not scientific.

" 'You might want to want to talk to Jill. You guys should share some information.' And this woman said, 'I think it makes a lot of sense,' because that's what they do with the NIH. They talk to companies all the time."

The OSCE didn't even give Collins a chance to respond before forwarding the issue to the ethics committee, he said.

"My attorneys have subsequently done that, to point out that part of the role of the NIH is to meet with outside scientists," Collins said.

Now that these issues are in the hands' of the ethics committee staff, there isn't much Collins can do but sit and wait, he said.

It's possible there will be an investigation, but Collins said he knows of members of Congress who have waited for years while the committee did nothing on complaints brought to them, and didn't even publicly acknowledge when the case was dropped.

"Here's the most frustrating part," Collins said, "they may never look at this. This could be hanging over my head as a 'nothing burger' because they're not even investigating it."

November 17, 2017 - 4:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, taxes, news, notify.


(Photo: Chris Collins during a meeting today at the Job Development Center in Batavia.)

Rep. Chris Collins thinks he has the proof he needs to label Gov. Andrew Cuomo now and forevermore a pathological liar.

Following a meeting with county employment officials at the Job Development Center in Batavia, Collins took questions for reporters and in response to comments by Cuomo that the recently passed House tax reform bill will cost New Yorkers money, Collins immediately launched into a prolonged attack on Cuomo for claiming he had spoken with Collins about the bill.

"He attributed a quote to me that said that I said the reason I voted for the tax act was that I was pressured by Republican leadership," Collins said. "As I said, and it’s in The New York Times today, 'liar, liar pants on fire.' In seven years, I’ve never spoken to the governor. I certainly did not speak to him on this. Aand the outrageousness of him even fabricating a quote will tell you, if he will lie about something like that, he will not hesitate to lie about our tax plan."

The Batavian reached out to the governor's office for a response and received this statement:

The Governor's point was the Republican congress members he spoke to said they were under pressure from their political leadership‎ to vote yes‎. Collins and the rest of the New York Congress members who voted for their donors and against their own constituents can try to deflect from this irresponsible vote, but it's the Governor who stood up for New York taxpayers and always will.

Contrary to Cuomo's assertions about the reforms, the changes in the tax code will save most of his constitutes money Collins promised.

"I have said I will stake my career, my election next year, on the fact that 95 percent of the folks in GLOW and Erie County will pay less in taxes," Collins said. "If you do, then vote for me, and if you don’t, then don’t vote for me."

He challenged Cuomo to make the same pledge.

"If under our plan you pay more, then the governor was right and you should re-elect him, but next year when 95 percent of my constituents pay less, I would expect them to vote against our governor because he’s lying to them," Collins said.

Why isn't every single taxpayer in the NY-27 saving money? Collins explained it this way: If you're a married couple with no kids, with $80,000 in current state and local taxes, making $300,000 a year, living in a $1.5 million home, then, he said, you might pay $1,000 more in taxes.

Collins said most of his constituents will be quite happy when they get their first paycheck after Jan. 15 if the House bill passes the Senate -- and the Senate has its own ideas about how to change the tax code -- and they see their withholding has gone down.

"(The governor) is lying and he’s deliberately lying," Collins said. "He lied again and he exposed himself by talking about this and then attributing a quote to me. That’s beyond outrageous. I think he’s lost it.

"Now, from this day forward I can remind people, he is a pathological liar," Collins added.

November 17, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub. Location is Route 98 and Lime Kiln Road.)

A high-speed pursuit is underway between law enforcement and a tan Ford van occupied by three suspected shoplifters from Kohl's department store.

They are northbound on Route 98, at the Orleans County line and heading into Barre. Speeds exceeding 120 mph. The suspects are throwing merchandise outside the van along the way.

Orleans County officers have been notified.

UPDATE 1:43 p.m.: The vehicle has crashed; it struck a tree or a pole and rolled over and is smoking. The roadway at the county line and Route 98 is going to be shut down. Wires are across the road. Fire police from Albion are called to handle traffic. Deputies are collecting the items discarded from the van.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: Mercy medics and Barre Fire Department are responding. Route 98 in Orleans County will be closed between Maple Street and Lime Kiln Road, north of Barre Center.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m.: A pole was struck in the accident; although no power lines are involved, several phone and cable lines are down. Two people will need evaluation by medics, who are told to proceed in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 1:54 p.m.: The incident began around 1:30 p.m. when law enforcement was alerted to a shoplifting incident at Kohl's and three suspects were said to have left in a tan Ford van. A couple of officers responded, including one who was on Park Road. Almost immediately, an officer was following a tan van on Lewiston Road matching the license plates provided to dispatchers by Kohl's security. When the officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, the chase was on. At one point, the driver attempted to make a left turn onto westbound Route 262 and nearly lost control of the van. The chase continued and soon thereafter, the accident occurred.

November 17, 2017 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Job Bureau, chris collins, news, notify, NY-27.


Rep. Chris Collins toured the offices of the county's Job Development Bureau this morning to learn more about the work the department does to help people in Genesee County find jobs.

The tour, led by Jay Lazarony, GLOW Workforce Development Board executive director, focused on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (oWOIA), which is a federal program designed to help youth and those with significant barriers to employment find and retain high-quality jobs and careers.

Many of the clients who enter the program have not developed the job skills that help them retain jobs.

Lazarony told the story of one woman who entered the program who had been working as a home health care aide but couldn't stay in a job. The training she received helped her understand what it takes to hold onto a job and also provided her with the skills to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. The program helped her with the expense of travel, shoes, and scrubs. She eventually landed a full-time job at the Genesee County Nursing Home and now she's studying to become a Registered Nurse.

"This is the stuff that we can do with that funding, is give people a great start," Lazarony told Collins.

Collins said he appreciated the insight because so often the programs that pass before congressional members for review are just numbers on a page but the tour helped him see how the program benefits people.

So far in 2017, the center has helped 989 clients, including 141 through WIOA. A total of 137 veterans have been assisted.

There have been 1,322 people placed in jobs in Genesee County through the department's services.

Collins also learned about on-the-job-training programs through 13 participating businesses, occupational training programs, 38 on-site employer-specific job recruitment sessions, and the Summer Youth Employment program that placed 39 high school students in jobs at 23 work sites this summer.

Sometimes the clients of the center need ongoing help, said Scott Gage, director of the bureau.

"We’ll actually stay with them for 12 months after they leave us," Gage said. "We can mediate anything going on with the business, help this person out with issues. We’ve got a lot of community partners we rely on to help us out, social service agencies that will help us out in a number of ways and there’s no funding involved. They provide services and we access those services."

There are currently more than 600 job listings on file with the bureau and most of those are good-paying jobs, Gage said. With local unemployment at about 4 percent, it's proving hard for companies to find skilled workers.

The tight job market is helping to bring some people into the workforce who until now had opted out, Lazarony said. He said two recent clients the bureau has placed in jobs have worked their way up to full-time employment. They were in their mid-20s when they first came in and had never worked any type of job in their lives. They weren't part of the system at all. They just lived at home and didn't work.

There are other long-term unemployed who rely on the state's Safety Net program and they can be hard to assist, Gage said. They're capable of working, but they also have other underlying issues, such as disabilities, and sometimes they've just given up. That's a challenge, Gage said.

Collins observed that "Anybody who wants to get a job can get a job. It may not be at the wage they want, or the hours they want, or the job they want, but they can get a job."

Changes in aid programs initiated by Congress might change some of that, Collins said.

"As we continue down that road you’re going to start to see people lined up out your door," Collins said.



November 17, 2017 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia, notify.

A 70-year-old Batavia woman died yesterday in a two-car accident at the intersection of Chestnut Ridge Road and Paul Road in Chili.

The crash was reported at 2:30 p.m.

It took firefighters 30 minutes to extricate Diane Rebmann from her vehicle. She was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where she later died.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office reports that Rebmann was westbound on Paul Road and made a left turn onto Chestnut Ridge Road. They say her vehicle entered the path of a vehicle driven by Joseph Curtis, 18, of North Chili. His vehicle was T-boned and pushed into a telephone pole.

Curtis was not hurt.

Via our news partner 13WHAM

November 16, 2017 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

plaza_suspect2.jpgInvestigators are seeking the public's assistance in identifying two older black males whom they suspect of making off with a cash box from Plaza Spirits at about 1 p.m. today.

According to police, the two individuals worked in tandem, with one subject distracting a store employee while the other one grabbed the cash box.

They then left in separate vehicles.

There were no threats and no weapons were displayed. No one was injured.

One suspect is described at 50 years of age, 5'10" to 5'11", wearing blue jeans, a black hoodie, black and white sneakers, a black and white winter hat and sunglasses.

The other is about 40 years old, 5"10", wearing a blue hat with a white line around it, gray/blue zip-up hoodie, blue/white striped sweatpants, and work boots.

One vehicle was a maroon Chevrolet sedan. The other vehicle was a gray or light blue SUV.

Tips: Det. Thad Mart, (585) 345-6372, or Batavia PD (585) 345-6350, or the Confidential Tip Line (585) 345-6370.




November 16, 2017 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar farms, solar, news, notify.


The state provides a tax exemption to industrial solar projects and until recently county officials didn't realize they had any say on whether to allow these exemptions.

Typically, the projects are built on farmland and the county can continue to tax the property at the established assessed value, but if the solar farm increases the assessed value of the land -- typically 10 acres -- then the property is exempt from taxes on the amount of the assessment increase.

The options for the county are to opt-out, through a local law, on the tax exemption, or establish a PILOT on projects on a case-by-case basis.

PILOT stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes, and typically a PILOT ramps up the amount of payments made as a percentage of the increase in assessed value over a period of years.

Under state law, the solar farm properties are exempt from taxes on the increase in assessed value for 15 years for county, town and school taxes.

"I think everybody should be able to do what they want with their land but the real issue is the state telling us what we can’t tax them on," said Legislator Andrew Young during a discussion of the issue during yesterday's Ways and Means Committee meeting. "Because of that reason, I think we should at least do something to maintain a little control."

By consent, the committee agreed to have County Attorney Kevin Earl draft a local law to have the county opt-out of the exemption.

There are three solar projects under construction and all three were started before the county learned it had the choice to opt-out of the exemption or establish a PILOT.

The issue came to the county's attention because the builders of a fourth project on Pearl Street Road came to the county and volunteered to pay a PILOT.

That caused Legislator John Deleo to wonder why the company would volunteer for to make PILOT payments.

"I think they know counties are going to start taxing everybody, so they’re going to get ahead of it and don’t want to get stuck with the full no-exemption later on," suggested County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

It's unclear if the county can go back to the projects already under construction and void the exemption or require a PILOT.

The company with the project on Pearl Street Road told county officials that not only did they anticipate building other projects in the county, but that officials should expect more solar companies seeking farmland for solar farms locally.

The developers typically lease the farmland at $6,000 a year for 15 years.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said that should be a big concern to legislators.

"My fear is we have pretty reasonable land costs here and that these are going to pop up everywhere and it’s open season because Geneses County hasn’t really established any kind of policy regarding (solar farms)," Clattenburg said. "If other counties do start doing it, then we’re going to get the brunt of it all."

Legislator Shelly Stein noted that two of the three solar farms going in are on "wet land," less than prime farmland, and that she's aware of four projects proposed in Le Roy that were turned down by National Grid because the nearest power station is over capacity already.

Hens said the typical project is 2.5 megawatts and costs $5 million to build.

How they should be assessed has yet to be established.

If the Pearl Street Road project goes forward and PILOT is instituted, it won't produce any revenue for the county before 2020, maybe in 2019.

Kevin Andrews, deputy county treasurer, said the PILOT payments won't help the county increase its overall tax levy.

"There’s no overall revenue benefit to the county at that point," Andrews said. "It’s more of a shift so the solar companies are picking up a little extra versus the rest of the taxpayers."

Photo: Taken today of a solar project under construction off State Street Road near West Saile Drive.

November 16, 2017 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, corfu, bergen.

Carlene V. Santiago is indicted for the crime of first-degree falsifying a business record, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on April 30, in the Town of Batavia, that Santiago acted with intent to defraud by making a false entry in the business records of an enterprise. She is accused of entering fraudulent merchandise return information into the Walmart computer system; it is alleged that her intent to defraud included the commission of another crime or to aid or conceal its commission. In counts two through five, Santiago is accused of the same felony on May 13, 27, 31 and June 4, respectively. In count six, the defendant is accused of the crime of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing cash or property worth $622.67 between April 30 and June 4.

Marquis R. Brown is indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 3, Brown knowingly entered or remained unlawfully inside a building on South Lake Road in the Town of Bergen with intent to commit a crime. In count two, he is accused of the unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two, that the defendant, knowing he did not have the owner's consent, took a 2006 BMW motor vehicle. In count three, Brown is accused of the crime of fourth-degree criminal mischief. It is alleged in count three, that without having the right to do so, he intentionally damaged property belonging to another person.

Stephen J. Turkasz is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class C felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 30 in the Village of Corfu, that Turkasz drove a 2010 Chevrolet on Route 33 while holding a conditional license and while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In count two, he is accused of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. In count three, the defendant is accused of failure to keep right, a violation of vehicle and traffic law. In count four, Turkasz is accused of consuming or possessing an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle on a public highway. In count five, he is accused of the offense of refusal to submit to a breath test, another vehicle and traffic law violation.

Chris K. Mukendi and Darazian W.P. Williams are indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony. It is alleged on on May 25, the defendants knowingly and unlawfully possessed a stimulant which weighed one gram or more -- about 1.8 grams of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine capsules.

November 16, 2017 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

robbery larceny is reported at Plaza Spirits, 563 E. Main St., Batavia.

Police are responding.

The suspects are described as two black males. One is wearing a black jacket, black hat and glasses. The other is in a double-lined gray hoodie and glasses.

One suspect reportedly left the scene in a maroon 2004/2005 Chevy, possibly a Malibu, westbound on East Main Street. The other was last seen walking toward McDonald's.

UPDATE (By Billie) 2:14 p.m.: After police investigators spoke with personnel at the liquor store, it was determined that this was a larceny, not a robbery. No weapon or force was used. The suspects simply grabbed a cash box and ran from the store. The two black male suspects remain at large. Both are said to be between 40 and 50 years old.

(Editor's note: The initial dispatch indicated a bank robbery.)

November 15, 2017 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama, news, notify.


Investigators have yet to determine how a fire started Friday night that destroyed a barn and killed livestock at 1239 Judge Road in Alabama.

There was an initial report that somebody was seen running from the scene just before the fire broke out but Investigator Chad Minuto said no witnesses interviewed so far corroborates that story.

"We don't know where that report came from," he said.

Minuto said several interviews have been conducted and there are several more to take place to try and uncover what people know or saw. At the time, investigators from the county's Emergency Management Service are sifting through evidence to try and determine the cause and origin of the fire.

There is no evidence to emerge yet that the fire was intentionally set.

All of the horses and cows that were in the barn have been accounted for, Minuto said, but all of the rabbits, goats, and sheep, except either one goat or sheep, perished in the fire. That goat or sheep came out of the barn after the fire was out and Minuto said it's his understanding that animal may not be in good health.

November 15, 2017 - 2:16pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, batavia, news, notify.

The first of many committee meetings to develop a plan for the city to put to use its $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award was held Tuesday evening at City Hall.

A group of 20 people representing different areas of the community were asked to be a part of the committee. Ed Flynn, a member of the Planning and Development Committee, said it is a cross section of the community, in terms of businesses, agencies and residents.

“This is an opportunity for the community,” Flynn said. “It is also a responsibility for the community. It’s a lot of money. That’s why we’re putting together a Strategic Investment Plan so that we have some kind of strategy to take that $10 million and make sure there is some kind of impact on the community.”

The six-month schedule for the plan is aggressive, Flynn said. There will be multiple committee meetings, and public meetings before the final draft is submitted.

“We need to push this and get it done by the end of March,” Flynn said.

Batavia was one of 10 communities awarded the $10 million as part of the statewide DRI competition. The goal of the grant is to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers want to live, work and raise families. The winning communities are awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects to advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

“It’s not just jobs, it’s not just investments, it’s not just public spaces, it's all of those things together that create a vibrant downtown,” Flynn said.

Projects need to be submitted by Dec. 8 to be considered. Flynn said he will hold a Nov. 21 information session for business owners, nonprofit organizations, and others interested, who want to submit a proposal.

While not every idea submitted will be funded by the grant, Flynn said they will look at multiple projects for the 90-acre boundary in Batavia.

“There might be some other projects that we might recommend to not be funded by the grant,” Flynn said. “But they may be useful for the future revitalization of downtown Batavia, so we will keep them in the plan.”

Multiple projects for different places in the community were introduced for Theater 56, Jackson Square, the City Center, and the Masonic Temple.

Projects on the plan should fall into one of four categories: Public improvements, significant private development projects, revolving loans and grants, and branding and marketing.

On Batavia’s application, the project will focus on arts, culture and entertainment, healthy living and wellness, and prosperity for all. The committee members discussed goals they would like to stick to decide what to focus on when choosing projects.

Steve Hyde, the president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said the focus should not be on what will create jobs. 

“What we want is to make these investments to create vibrant spaces and vibrant places,” Hyde said.  “If we can make those investments to do that, the jobs will follow.”

After editing the original vision statement, the committee decided the new statement is, “Batavia is all-in to reshape its urban core by embracing and building upon its rich entrepreneurial history, fostering cultural appreciation and creating a healthy, vibrant community to benefit all.”

Erica O'Donnell, a resident in Batavia, said she is one of those "terrible Millennials," but she would like to see more projects to attract young families with children. 

"We have a unique opportunity, being between Buffalo and Rochester, to draw Millennials here," O'Donnell said. 

The next public meeting has not been scheduled yet but will be posted on the Batavia Downtown Revitalization website along with other updates, here.

November 14, 2017 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, bergen, accident, notify.

Bergen volunteer firefighters and Mercy EMS medics responded to an accident on Bovee Road, Riga, at 5:45 p.m. where a young male driver was pronounced dead as a result of a single-car accident.

The driver's car reportedly struck a tree.

The name of the driver has not yet been released.

The location of the accident is in Bergen's fire district, though in Monroe County.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident.

The stretch of road is near another fatal accident in August where a woman's car struck a tree.

The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM assisted with this story.

November 14, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Eric M. Donohue, 29, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree forgery and identify theft. Donohue allegedly used a fraudulently obtained credit card to make a purchase at a business in the Tops Plaza at 6:21 p.m. on May 26, and also signed the name of the individual who name was on the credit card.  He was jailed without bail.

Armando M. Teruel, 33, of Black Spruce Court, Amherst, is charged with second-degree harassment. Teruel was arrested in connection with an incident reported Oct. 29 on South Main Street, Batavia.

November 13, 2017 - 1:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Police are continuing to investigate an attempted robbery reported Saturday night on West Main Street, and though some subjects were located a short time after the incident was reported, no arrests have been made.

Det. Todd Crossett also confirmed there was a robbery earlier that evening on Harvester Avenue.

He said it hasn't been determined yet whether the incidents are connected, or if they are connected to an incident in late October where a man was splashed or sprayed with some sort of liquid (he wasn't injured).

The attempted robbery Saturday involved at least four males on bicycles.

An off-duty police officer working at Towne Center of Batavia that night spotted four males on bicycles riding in front of Dick's Sporting Goods shortly after the attempted robbery was dispatched to police.

Sheriff William Sheron was already in the area and deputies responded and the subjects were detained after they had entered Target.

The victim of the attempted robbery was treated at the scene for a possible eye injury.

After The Batavian reported that incident, a person called dispatch to report she had been robbed earlier in the evening on Harvester Avenue. In that case, the perpetrators got away with $20.

The incidents remain under investigation, Crossett said.

November 13, 2017 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Oakfield, batavia, notify, Le Roy, elba, pembroke, Alabama, bergen.
      Michael Shetler

Michael Alan Shetler, 27, of Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with two counts of second-degree strangulation, five counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, two counts of third-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and two counts of criminal mischief, 4th. Shetler was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Kevin Forsyth and Deputy Richard Schildwaster into several complaints of domestic violence at a location on Main Street, Oakfield. Shetler was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Nicole Leanne Williams, 25, of Kings Street, Albion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and driving left of pavement markings. Williams was stopped at 2:45 a.m. Sunday on Quaker Hill Road, Elba, by Deputy Howard Wilson.

Amy R. Sellhorst, 31, of Beaufort Street, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sellhorst is accused of hitting another person at a location on York Road, Le Roy, at 10:37 p.m. on Saturday.

Jason William Wolf, 41, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, driving a vehicle without an interlock device, and improper left turn. Wolf was stopped at 8:23 p.m. Thursday on West Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Jaclyn Kathryn Blackmer, 32, of Cabot Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, open container, driving left of pavement markings, and moved from lane unsafely. Blackmer was stopped at 2:33 a.m. Saturday on Main Road, Pembroke by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Joseph M. Smith, 41, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Smith posted bail and was released.

Alaysia L. Henderson, 18, of Gardiner Avenue, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Henderson was released on $500 bail.

Christina R. Aaron, 21, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Aaron was stopped by State Police at 11:51 p.m. Friday on Route 33, Bergen.

Heather M. Captain, 31, of Basom, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Captain was arrested by State Police in relation to an incident reported at 8:35 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Town of Alabama. No further details released.

Crystal D. Cardona, 27, of Bergen, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cardona was stopped by State Police at 1:55 p.m. Nov. 7 on Route 33, Bergen.

November 10, 2017 - 8:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Alabama, notify.

A working barn fire, that a caller believes to be intentionally set, is reported at 1239 Judge Road in Alabama. The location is between Crosby and Alleghany roads. Flames are visible from Bloomingdale Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding. The third platoon is called to Alabama's headquarters.

UPDATE 10:13 p.m.: According to Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster, earlier this evening Alabama Fire Department was dispatched for a working barn fire; several agencies were also dispatched, including the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and the Emergency Management Office.

"There was a report that came over dispatch (of a fire suspicious in nature) but nothing to led to that conclusion," Schildwaster said, adding that "nobody was seen leaving." He said the investigators were in the "very preliminary, very early stages of investigation." He noted that "we do believe there is loss of life (livestock) in the barn." Also, although there was initially a report of minor burns to a human, no subsequent reports of that appear valid.

UPDATE Saturday, 1:04 a.m.: Photos added.










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