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November 29, 2018 - 2:51pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, pawn king, pawn law, notify.

The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday tabled a proposed local law designed to closely regulate secondhand dealers, but as far as one longtime Batavia businessman is concerned, the board should scrap it completely.

(Download PDF of the proposed local law.)

“I can’t sleep over this; I’m livid,” said Michael Barrett, owner of Batavia Marine & Sporting Supplies on West Main Street. “To put the onus on the business in the county is terrible.”

Barrett said he doesn’t like the proposed $150 licensing fee and what he perceives as extra layers of government intervention. Businesses not complying with the law would be subject to being charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

“I don’t need to be checked out by the sheriff’s (department), I don’t need to have to log everything in a book and I don’t need to have to download it to the sheriff’s (department),” he said. “That is their area of expertise, not mine.”

Legislature Chairman Robert Bausch said county lawmakers have “gotten comments about it – pro and con,” which has led them to ask for clarification of some the language of the law.

He said that District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, in conjunction with police agencies and the county attorney’s office, will be revising portions of the law.

“We’re going to get something out there eventually, but it is going back to the Public Service Committee and they don’t meet until January 14th," Bausch said.

Wednesday’s tabling action means that a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 on the matter will be cancelled.

Bausch said that the primary focus of the law is to pinpoint the source of items being sold to pawn shops and similar businesses and to curtail criminal activity -- “not to interfere with their business activity."

“We’ve heard that Pawn King (the county’s lone pawn shop, located on Veterans Memorial Drive) is doing the right thing in other counties (with a LeadsOnline tracking program),” he said. “Our concern is that there (be) no collateral damage to other businesses.”

He also noted that when a similar law was proposed five or six years ago, no one objected except for scrap dealers. The law did not take effect due to lack of support from legislators. This time around, scrap dealers are exempt from the proposed ordinance.

Commenting on concerns from business owners who offer gift cards, Bausch said that is not part of the equation.

“I don’t even worry about the gift cards as part of normal business activity, unless people are selling gift cards to the pawn shop,” he said.

Legislator Andrew Young, who has come out as being opposed to the law, acknowledged that the intent is "admirable," but feels that it is too restrictive.

"We've gone way too far ... it's nine pages of limitations and regulations," he said. "And it is ambiguous as to who it really covers."

Young said he hopes some of the points he made during recent committee meetings will take hold and that he is looking forward to discussing the revised document at a Ways & Means Committee meeting next month.

Public comments on The Batavian and other sites have been mostly against the law.

Barrett, who takes in used gun parts such as empty cartridge brass, scopes and reloading equipment, said there already are many layers of regulations and is “overburdened as it is.”

“Business is bad in the county … so many empty buildings in our town,” he said. “I’ve talked to one business owner and he said if this goes through, he’s taking his business out of the county.”

Barrett said he’s read the proposed law very closely and believes that other than “used cars, clothing, books and scrap, everything else is open.”

He said he plans to be there when the public hearing does take place and hopes that he is joined by other business owners.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away,” he said.

November 29, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, byron, notify.

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UPDATE 7:15 p.m.: Amber Alert canceled. The girl has been located and is safe. The suspect has also been located.

The Sheriff's Office believes a 14-year-old Byron girl was allegedly abducted this morning from a location on West Bergen Road, Byron by a 22-year-old man driving a blue Dodge Journey.

She is considered in "imminent danger or serious harm and/or death" and an Amber Alert has been issued.

Kamerie Elliot is described as 4 feet, 11 inches tall and 140 pounds. She normally has brown hair but recently dyed it a cotton-candy blue.

The suspect is Guillermo Torres-Acevedo, who has black hair and brown eyes. He is approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds.

The license plates of the Dodge Journey are New York HHP5458.

According to Sheriff William Sheron, Kamerie and Torres-Acevedo knew each other and Torres-Acevedo had been arrested by State Police on Monday in connection with that an incident involving the girl.

According to State Police public information officer for Troop A, James O'Callahan, the Bureau of Criminal Investigations received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and BCI opened an investigation into Torres-Acevedo's activities. Torres-Acevedo was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

He was jailed on $5,000 bail and issued a complete stay away order as a result of the charge.

This morning, Kamerie apparently got into his car willingly at about 8 a.m.

The car was last seen traveling northbound on West Bergen Road. 

Town of Batavia Justice Tom Williams this morning signed an arrest warrant for Torres-Acevedo for the alleged violation of the stay away order.

If you have information or spot the vehicle or either individual, call 9-1-1 or (585) 343-5000.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: The suspect may have shaved his head this morning, according to Sheron.

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This is not a picture of the vehicle but this photo looks like the suspect vehicle.

November 28, 2018 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tri-Town, alexander, news, notify.

For a time, the leaders of Tri-Town Youth Athletics Association considered skipping the basketball season because they knew they couldn't pay new fees imposed by the Alexander CSD on use of the school's gym.

Then they got an offer from St. Vincent's Church in Alexander -- low-cost use of the gym there.

"Someone was kind enough to reach out and asked if we knew the building was sitting there not being used a ton and they offered to let us use it," said Lisa Lyons, president of Tri-Town. "It's worked out good for us so far."

The school district announced last spring that it would start charging Tri-Town a fee for use of school facilities even though Tri-Town helps develop student-athletes for the Trojans and the community has already made a substantial investment in The Field of Dreams, which the school district uses.

Tri-Town was able to reconstruct its football field in the park behind the Alexander Fire Department rec hall over the summer, but Lyons said the board didn't think it had access to a low-cost gym for basketball for the winter, so there was talk of canceling the season since the district's new fees proved unaffordable.

The uncertainty of the season, Lyons said, meant that registration this year was lower than normal, a dropoff from about 100 participates, down to 70 or 75.

But practices are underway and there will be games played this Saturday at St. Vincent's.

There's no set fee for the association to use St. Vincent's, Lyons explained. The association will make a payment from available registration funds after paying for insurance, uniforms and equipment.

St. Vincent is the patron saint of charities. 

The season runs through the end of January.

Previously:

November 28, 2018 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander csd, alexander, news, notify.

The Alexander Central School District has proposed a $12.6 million capital improvement package that includes lights for the football field, a new transportation building and classroom improvements.

The district will host a public forum on the package at 7 o'clock tonight in the auditorium.

There is an election schedule Monday to ask district voters whether to approve the package.

The transportation building is the largest part of the package, with an estimated cost of $6.9 million.

The proposal calls for the demolition of the existing transportation facility and the construction of a new bus garage.

The cost of lighting the football field is expected to come in at more than $400,000.

The district is proposing borrowing more than $10 million and spending $1.9 million from the capital reserve fund.

The ballot proposition anticipates an increase in the tax levy to help pay for the project but doesn't specify how much the levy might increase, if at all.

November 28, 2018 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, alexander csd, news, notify.

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Catherine Huber, Ed.D., who was named superintendent of the Alexander Central School district two years ago this month, is one of two finalists for the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES District superintendent position, according to the BOCES website.

Huber is scheduled for a daylong visit at the BOCES campus as part of the interview process Dec. 12.

The other finalist is Vicma Ramos, superintendent for the Greater Amsterdam School District.

Prior to accepting the position in Alexander, Huber was a principal in West Seneca, director of secondary education and assistant superintendent for human resources in the Kon-Ton School District. She's a member of the chief school officer group at Genesee Valley BOCES and chairs the instructional subcommittee.

The Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES includes 25 public school districts, 11 in Wayne County, nine in Ontario County, three in Seneca County and two in Yates County. The superintendent manages a $3.3 million budget.

The BOCES board anticipates appointing a new superintendent in January with a start date for the job in the spring.

Previously: Q&A with Catherine Huber, Ed.D., superintendent of Alexander CSD

Photo: File photo.

November 26, 2018 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Basom, batavia.

Daphne Sundown, of Basom, was arrested on Nov. 24 and charged with aggravated DWI -- with a BAC of .18 percent or greater, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Troopers responded to a report of a vehicle accident on Greiner Road at the intersection of Goodrich Road in Clarence. Investigation revealed that she rear-ended another vehicle that was stopped at the light. Sundown subsequently allegedly failed field sobriety tests. During a search a small amount of cocaine was found on Sundown and in the vehicle. She was released with a return court date in Clarence.

Isaiah P. Petty, 21, of Van Schoick Avenue, Albany, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and drinking alcohol in the motor vehicle on a highway. Petty was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 24 on Main Street in Batavia following a traffic stop. Petty was issued an appearance ticket and is due in City of Batavia Court on Dec. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon.

November 26, 2018 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, crime, notify.
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  Samuel Blackshear

The attorney for the teenager accused of shooting murderer Nathaniel Wilson in the leg on May 17 on Central Avenue reached an 11th-hour plea agreement with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman today, saving his client a trial on felony assault charges. 

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today for Samuel Blackshear, 17, who was indicted by a grand jury on counts of attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and two counts of criminal possession in the second degree.

Today, Blackshear entered a guilty plea to one count of criminal possession of a weapon with the understanding that he could be granted youthful offender status, which could mean probation or a 1 1/3 to four-year prison term, but if he isn't granted YO he faces at least three and a half years in state prison.

Whether Blackshear is declared a youthful offender will be entirely up to Judge Charles Zambito, who will issue his decision at Blackshear's sentencing at 2:30 p.m., Jan. 23, and Zambito, given the severity of the criminal possession of a weapon charge, can only reach that conclusion if he's convinced there were mitigating circumstances to justify Blackshear's possession of a loaded handgun.

Blackshear did not have a license to possess a handgun and at 17; he's too young to obtain a license to possess a loaded handgun.

His attorney, James Hinman, of Webster, will argue, he said, that there was justification, the mitigating circumstances necessary for Zambito to reach that conclusion.

Outside of court, Hinman explained that the video obtained from the pole camera placed by Batavia PD on Central Avenue just a day before the incident shows Wilson stabbing 41-year-old Terry J. Toote twice (Friedman said Toote was only stabbed once), killing him, and after dropping the knife, Wilson picks it up, walks into the middle of Central Avenue and starts approaching three other people in the street.

Toote, according to Hinman, is Blackshear's uncle. Friedman said he doesn't believe that is accurate.

"The video clearly shows (Wilson) threatening those other three people with that knife," Hinman said. "That is clearly, to me, a circumstance under which using deadly physical force to defend someone else is permitted under the law."

If the case had gone to trial, Hinman was expected to argue that Blackshear was justified in shooting Wilson but that only would have been a defense on the assault charge and the criminal possession of a weapon with intent to harm another person charge.

As Friedman explained after the hearing, "As you heard the defense attorney say, they were going to raise a justification defense, defense of yourself for others, and that would address the attempted assault first, the assault second, and also the one weapon possession charge that requires intent to use unlawfully, because if you are justified in the use then it wouldn't be unlawful use. But he realized that there was no defense to the possession of a loaded firearm outside of your home or place of business."

Wilson and Blackshear were two of the three defendants taken into custody after the May 17 incident. Also arrested was Jennifer Urvizu-Hanlon, 48, a Batavia businesswoman who owned a Mexican grocery store in the Valu Plaza.

Urvizu-Hanlon is accused of giving her licensed handgun to Blackshear at the Central Avenue scene.

She is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, both Class C violent felonies.

Her attorney, Christian Kennedy, has indicated at previous court appearances on her behalf that he also intends to raise the justification defense if the case goes to trial.

Hinman thinks that in defending his client he could easily have convinced a jury that Blackshear was justified in shooting Wilson.

"All I would really need to have done is play the video, identify who Mr. Wilson is, who's Sammy, and that should have been the end of it," Hinman said.

Friedman said what Blackshear pled guilty to was actually one of the more serious charges of the indictment. 

"It's a Class C violent felony," Friedman said.

If Blackshear fails to abide by the terms of his release on bail while awaiting sentencing he could lose his chance for youthful offender status and the maximum prison term for the charge is 15 years in prison.

Friedman said he couldn't discuss whether at this point whether he will support, oppose, or be neutral on Blackshear's application for youthful offender status.

So far, Friedman said, he's satisfied with the outcomes of the prosecutions in the Central Avenue cases.

"We have taken care of two of the three defendants and I obviously feel they were appropriate dispositions," Friedman said. "As you know Nathaniel Wilson pled guilty to murder and got 20 to life."

CORRECTIONS: We corrected the sentencing options for Blackshear to include that he may still receive a prison sentence even if declared a Youthful Offender and that if YO is not granted the minimum term is 3 1/2 years.  We corrected the first name for Terry Toote. While Mr. Hinman said that Mr. Toote was stabbed twice, Mr. Friedman says he was only stabbed once. On two occasions, Mr. Hinman has referred to Mr. Toote and Mr. Blackshear's uncle, Mr. Friedman said he doesn't believe that's accurate.

Previously:

November 26, 2018 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, news, notify.
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      Todd Englerth        Philip Serverino

A Stafford man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly struggling with a Le Roy police officer and leading him on a chase behind the Tops Market at 128 W. Main St., Le Roy.

Todd M. Englerth, 46, criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, criminal possession of a control substance, 7th, obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, assault 3rd, and resisting arrest.

The incident began at 1:50 p.m. when the police officer spotted a white Ford pickup parked in the fire lane, a no parking zone, in front of the store.

Englerth was reportedly sitting in the passenger seat when the officer approached. The passenger told the officer that the driver, whom he identified as Phillip J. Severino, of Corfu, was in the store. 

According to the officer, during the interview, he observed brass knuckles in the armrest of the pickup in plain view.

When Severino came out of the store, the officer interviewed both Severino and Englehart in an attempt to determine who owned the brass knuckles.

During the investigation, the officer discovered Severino was allegedly in possession of a loaded handgun. Severino was detained and placed in the officer's patrol car.

The officer then attempted to detain Englerth, who allegedly refused to comply with the officer's verbal commands and then physically resisted.

The officer informed Englerth he was under arrest and Englerth allegedly continued to resist.

Multiple citizens attempted to assist the officer in restraining Englerth, according to Le Roy PD's report on the incident. 

Englerth reportedly broke free and ran.

The officer gave chase and he shot his taser at Englerth but with no effect.

Englerth reportedly ran into the woods behind the store. There was another struggle and the officer deployed his taser again, this time with effect.

Englerth was taken into custody as a result.

During the investigation, Englerth was allegedly found in possession of cocaine. 

The DEC's K-9 assisted in the investigation.

Severino and Englerth were arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Severino, 42, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

Le Roy PD was assisted by the Sherif's Office and State Police.

Le Roy PD also thanked the citizens who attempted to assist at the scene.

November 24, 2018 - 10:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, football, news, notify.

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What if Ethan Biscaro wasn't injured in the first quarter Saturday of Batavia's Class B state championship football game at the Carrier Dome?

Could Batavia have maintained its early lead, its early momentum, and held off Joseph Girard and the Glens Falls Indians, instead of losing 55-32?

We'll never know.

Biscaro's injury certainly isn't the only reason Batavia lost. The Blue Devils made their mistakes and missed their opportunities but, truth be told, Girard is one heck of a quarterback.

To whatever degree last week's game against Skaneateles and their athletic QB Patrick Hackler prepared the Blue Devils to face an athletic, strong-armed QB, it wasn't enough. Hackler was good but he wasn't Joseph Girard III good.

Experienced sportswriters in the press box were raving about Girard by the fourth quarter, the best high school quarterback they've ever seen, some of them said.

Girard showed arm strength, touch, accuracy, and savvy on the field, as well as strength and quickness that enabled to him to turn what looked like sacks for lost yards into gains, into first downs, and even into touchdowns. 

For example, with Batavia leading 14-0 in the second quarter, Girard, from Batavia's 19-yard line, tries a keeper to his right and finds the path cutoff and he appears pinned in a corner near the sideline but he swings out wide into his own backfield and starts running toward the far side with Cam White in pursuit. Just as it appears White would snag his jersey, somehow Girard steps ahead of him and now has the entire defense beat on the far side of the field. He scores to give Glen Falls its first six points.

"He is a great football player, obviously a division one athlete," said Batavia Coach Brennan Briggs. "We had our opportunities, I think, and you know, he was very difficult to get a hold of. We simulated all we can in practice but at the end of the day, you have got to come up your make plays."

While officially, Girard gained only 15 yards on the ground on 15 carries, with two TDs, he was 10-18 passing for 314 yards and two TDs on passes.

All this and it was still a big game for Ray Leach, who for the third game in a row gained more than 400 yards, this time picking up 410 yards on 30 carries. He scored three touchdowns and he was clearly exhausted in the second half and playing on sheer determination.

"He's just a tough kid, he loves football," Briggs said. "He wanted to be out here so he did whatever it took to be out here."

With 1,645 yards over the final four games, Leach ends the year with 2,826 rushing yards, breaking the season Section V record of Hornell's Austin Dwyer, 2,826 yards, set in 2009.

A former Blue Devil who played for Batavia last year when the team opened the season in the Carrier Dome said a factor in that game was the heat on the field. As the game wears on the Dome warms up.

Ironically, the Carrier Dome is not air-conditioned.

Leach said he and his teammates were feeling the heat.

"The temperature was a little different than we've been playing and we had to get used to the heat," Leach said. "It's definitely a big adjustment. We're a little tired. I just had to rely on my line and keep on the ball hard."

Leach could be seen at one point in the third quarter with his hands on his knees. The sign of a winded athlete. Still, Leach went on to break off a couple of long runs in the second half, including an 80-yard touchdown run that avoided contact with every Glens Falls player on the field.

The turning point, if there was one, may have been Biscaro's injury. Batavia went on to score on that drive, thanks to a 46-yard pass from Leach to Taiyo Iburi-Bethel on the first play after Biscaro left the field. But that didn't reveal how unsettled the offense would become without Biscaro.

That score gave Batavia a 14-0 lead but it was clear how much things changed on the next Blue Devils' possession, which began with a successful onside kick. The play calling was slow and a combination of Leach and Alex Rood in the backfield lacked the tempo and organization of a Biscaro-led offense.

The Blue Devils were unable to convert that opportunity into points on the board and with Glens Falls scoring on its next possession, momentum seems to have shifted in the Indians favor.

Briggs said losing Biscaro hurt on both sides of the ball.

"He's a huge part of our offense and our defense so there's no question about it, that hurt a lot but, hey, I'm the football coach and you've got to figure out how to get it done and I didn't do that."

Biscaro did take the field to start the second half but Batavia was still unable to get back in rhythm, and after taking another hit that sent him to the turf in pain, Biscaro was once again lifted from the game.

Briggs tried a few different looks with the offense with Biscaro out -- Leach along in the backfield, Leach at QB with Rood at running back, Rood taking the snaps, along with reverses, flea-flickers, end-arounds, and the offense wasn't able to execute consistently.

One of Batavia's touchdowns in the fourth quarter came after a pass to Andrew Francis bounced off his hands, into the air and toward the end zone. Iburi-Bethel grabbed the pop-up fly, turn, ran and scored.

That and Leach's 80-yard run where among the few bright spots for the Batavia offense without Biscaro.

Briggs blamed himself, not the dropped passes, the fumbled snaps, the miscommunication on the field.

"We ran a lot of wildcat stuff with Ray but obviously everybody's keying on him," Briggs said. "He's not a pure passer back there so we tried to do a few different things. But you know, it didn't totally work out but again we've got to get some stops and you know maybe I should have been a little better prepared for that."

Iburi-Bethel finished with four catches for 82 yards and a TD. Leach had one reception for a 28-yard TD. Biscaro was 5-6 passing for 70 yards and TD.

Besides Girard's heroics for Glens Falls, Trent Girard, one of six Girard cousins in the game, caught seven passes for 183 yards and a TD. David Barclay had two catches for 93 yards and a TD. Aalijah Sampson carried the ball 23 times for 135 yards and four touchdowns.

Batavia had 538 yards and 25:37 time of possession while Glens Falls had 464 total yards and 19:25 time of possession.

For Batavia, Cam White, Joseph Martinucci and Alex Rood all recorded sacks.

Joshua Barber had eight tackles. 

Photos by Jim Burns.

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For more pictures, click here.

November 24, 2018 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, news, batavia, Batavia HS, notify.

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We're just a couple of minutes from kickoff at the Carrier Dome in the Class B state championship game between the Batavia Blue Devils and the Glens Falls Indians.

We spoke with a former Batavia player before the game who played in last season's opener at the Carrier Dome and he said on that September day it got hot inside the dome. Something to watch for this game -- whether the colder November weather helps keep it cooler in here or if it gets hot and then the effect that has on players. Ironically, the Carrier Dome is not air-conditioned. 

Other keys: Can the Blue Devils keep Indians QB Joseph Girard III in the pocket? And if they can, pressure him while the secondary maintains coverage? Turnovers good be key in a potentially high-scoring game.  

On the Batavia side, it's likely all about Ray Leach, who has gained more than 1,200 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in the last three games. Even if Glens Falls slows Leach, Batavia still has weapons in Ethan Biscaro, Alex Rood and Taiyo Iburi-Bethel.

It looks like Batavia comes into the game with the bigger line on offense and defense.

Check back shortly for updates or tune in to WBTA for the broadcast or WBTAi.com for the live stream.

-----

Opening kickoff to Batavia is out of the back of the end zone. Batavia starts on the 20-yard line. Leach on the first play, six-yard gain. Leach gets the first down on the next play. On the third play, Leach turns the corner and carries the ball to the Indians 23-yard line, with the last 15 yards gained coming while dragging defenders with him. Leach gains just two on his next carry. Holding penalty. First and 20. Pass to Taiyo Iburi-Bethal for a five-yard game. Leach out wide, pass from Biscaro, he gains 10 before an Indian defender grabs his jersey. Leach drags him five yards and then breaks the tackle. Leach breaks two more tackles and scores. Extra point missed. 6-0 Batavia.

Batavia kickoff out of bounds. Glens Falls starts on its 35. Joseph Girard passes on the first play. Dropped by Trent Girard on the far side. Joseph Girard barely backs it to the line of scrimmage after being held in the pocket and trying to run up the middle. Girard sweeps right and on the run heaves the ball far downfield and the pass is incomplete. Andrew Francis with good coverage. Glens Falls punts. No return.

Batavia starts on its own 26. Leach up the middle on the first play. Two-yard gain. Leach has nowhere to go on the second-down play. He barely makes it back to the line of scrimmage. Biscaro on a long pass to Iburi-Bethel. Complete at the 50-yard line. Iburi-Bethel on an end of round, nine-yard gain. Biscaro from shotgun, fakes a pass to a wideout and then darts up the middle for a three-yard game. First down. Biscaro from the shotgun sacked on a blitz. Second and 16. Biscaro on a keeper, collapses before he reaches the line, untouched and is on the field being tended to by a trainer.

Biscaro limps off the field. He was holding his knee. Third and 17. Leach takes over at QB. Snap to Leach and Leach heaves a high-arching pass intended for Andrew Francis, bounces off his hands and Iburi-Bethel picks the ball out of the air and streaks into the end zone. Touchdown. Leach scores on the two-point conversion. 14-0 Batavia.

Batavia recovers an onside kick at the Glens Falls' 45 yard line. Leach starts at QB and runs off the snap for a three-yard game. Timeout Batavia with 2:47 left in the quarter.

Leach at QB, and he hands the ball to Rood, who gains three yards. Leach back at QB. He drops the snap, recovers, breaks a tackle and sweeps to the nearside and gets back to the line of scrimmage. Fourth and 4. Leach on direct snap, sweeps right and gets six yards. Empty backfield, snap to Leach, runs left and gains three. Clock under 20 seconds, direct snap to Leach who tries running to his right and is tripped up in the backfield and flags fly. Holding on Batavia, 10-yard penalty. That's how the quarter ends. 14-0 Batavia.

Second and 19 for Batavia to start the second quarter. Leach takes the snap, long pass intercepted by Girard and he's tackled on the seven-yard line. Girard misses a pass two passes and then scrambling, nearly sacked in the end zone, on the run throws a long pass to Davi Barclay, complete at Batavia's 33-yard line. Handoff to Aalijah Sampson runs left and carries the ball to the 19-yard line for a first down. Sampson gets handoff again, carries the ball to the four-yard line. First and goal. Girard fakes the handoff and tries to run off tackle and stopped at the line of scrimmage. Batavia's defense again blocks up the middle of the line and Sampson stopped for a one-yard loss. Third down. Sampson rolls out to his right and is pursued. Cam White is on his tail and he reverses direction and as White reaches for him he seems to just take an extra step and eludes White, runs to far sideline, down the line, and into the end zone. Touchdown The extra point is blocked by Andrew Francis. 14-6, Batavia still leads.

Kick to Leach on the five-yard line. He returns it to Batavia's 27. Rood is QB on the first possession. Hands off to Leach for a two-yard gain. Incomplete pass from Rood. Intended for Iburi-Bethel. Rood takes the snap, drops back and feigns pass and then decides to run. Two-yard gain. Batavia will punt on 4th and 7. No return. Glens Falls takes over on its 29.

First and 10, Sampson on the carry for four yards. Girard hits Trent Girard the Indians have first and 10 at the 48-yard line. Girard with a completion to Sampson, nine-yard gain. Girard with plenty of time in the pocket, long pass intended for David Barclay but it falls beyond his diving reach. Girard rolls out, forced to turn back toward the right side and is tackled from behind for a loss by Josh Barber of a yard. Fourth and one. Timeout. There is 5:20 left in the half. Girard has to scramble and his pursued through the backfield, he runs right, gets the first down and cuts back to the middle past nearly every Batavia defender. Before he reaches the end zone with a Batavia player close, he dives and looks like he gets the ball over the line but a ref 15 yards away rules him down at the one-yard line. Sampson scores on the next play and then runs the ball in for the two-point conversion. 14-14.

There is 4:55 left in the half. The kickoff goes out the back of the end zone. Batavia's ball on its own 20. Leach drops the handoff and recovers his own fumble on the 17-yard line. Second and 13. Leach up the middle, finds a hole, cuts to his left, gets a good block and finds open field. He stumbles and recovers, three Indians pursuing him, he heads toward the sideline and outruns a lone defender for a score. That's an 83-yard TD run. Timeout before the extra point. Leach on the carry for a two-point try and he's stuffed at the line. 20-14, Batavia leads.

Batavia again tries an onside kick. The Indians get first and 10 from their own 49-yard line. Girard with a pass to Sampson, complete. Leach tries to shove him out of bounds but he stays on his feet and finds some space. He's tackled at about the 10-yard line. Sampson with the carry to the three-yard line. Sampson with the ball again and sweeps to the left, tackled at the one-yard line. Sampson up the middle for the score. Extra point is good for a 21-20 lead for the Indians. The first time all season Batavia has trailed.

According to our photographer on the sideline, Jim Burns, Ethan Biscaro is being taken by his parents for medical treatment. He's out for the remainder of the game.

Batavia takes over on the 20. Leach breaks free for again to the 38-yard line. Leach with the next carry for a five-yard gain. 2:06 left. Batavia has no timeouts left. On a flea-flicker, Leach throws down to the 20, intended for Iburi-Biscaro, incomplete. Leach with the carry. No gain. Flag on the play. Illegal formation declined. Fourth and three, Batavia will punt. Line-drive punt with a favorable Batavia punt. A 47-yard punt, ball down on the five-yard line.

Sampson on the carry from the five, three-yard gain. Girard is sacked, bringing up third and 17 but Glens Falls lets the clock run out on the half.

The half ends with Glens Falls leading 21-20.

During half-time, Ethan Biscaro was warming up. Apparently, in consultation with his parents, the decision has been made to let him play in the second half.

Batavia's kickoff to start the second half goes to Girard at the 20 who brings it back to the Indians 38, first and 10. Movement by Batavia on the line. Flag. Five-yard penalty. First and five. Girard drops back to pass and seems to have plenty of time to pass and then faces pressure and heads toward the far side and steps out of bounds for a short game. Pass for a first down, ball on the Indians 48. Girard rolls out and throws across the middle of the field to Trent Girard, complete to Batavia's 30. Sampson tripped up in the backfield by Batavia, second and 13. Girard drops deep, scrambles and just before reaching the line, throws a bullet at the knees of a receiver who drops it. Girard begins in the shotgun, scrambles, long pass to the far side, pass broken up by Iburi-Bethel. Fourth and 13. Girard's pass into the end zone, complete for a touchdown to Barclay. Francis wants an offense pass interference flag but doesn't get it. Extra point good. 28-20, Glens Falls.

Batavia starts on its own 20. Biscaro is at QB. Handoff to Leach, five-yard gain. Leach stopped at the line. Pass wide to Iburi-Bethel on the nearside, gain to the 33, making it first and 10. Leach up the middle, five-yard gain. Leach bottled up at the line, but gets two yards before being pushed back. Biscaro has Iburi-Bethel wide open down the middle with a pass to the 35 but Iburi-Bethel drops the pass. Batavia in punt formation. High deep punt by Francis. Glens Falls gets the ball on their own 21.

First play, Sampson dropped for a loss. Girard with a bullet to Trent Girard at the first-down marker on the far side. First down. Girard sacked by Iburi-Bethel. Two-yard loss. Girard on the run finds Trent Girard wide open on the 30. Rood makes a shoe-string tackle on the seven-yard line to save a touchdown. Sampson up the middle. Batavia claims a fumble but doesn't get the call. Ball on the two. Sampson again dropped for a loss. Ball on the three. Third and goal with 4:01 left in the third. Girard rolls right with two defenders in pursuit, on the two-yard line, they lunge at him and he sidesteps the tackle attempt and scores. Extra point is good. 35-20. 

Iburi-Bethel with the return. Batavia's ball on the 33-yard line, first and 10. Leach with the carry, out to the 39. Leach breaks two tackles on the way to the Indian's 42-yard line. First and 10. Leach with the ball, picks his way to the 29. First and 10. Leach off the left side, gain of three. Leach looking tired. A blitzer gets past him and sacks Biscaro, there is a fumble but Biscaro recovers. Biscaro passes to Zack Anderson back to the original line of scrimmage. Fourth and 10. Biscaro sacked. He drops the ball. The fumble is recovered by a Batavia lineman and Biscaro is again down on the turf but limps off the field. Glens Falls takes over on downs on their own 37.

Indians call timeout after lining up in formation. Five seconds left in the third quarter.

Trent Girard with a reception for a first down.

End of the third, 35-20, Glens Falls over Batavia.

Girard loses three on a keeper. On the next play, Girard again eludes the rush but his pass falls incomplete. Girard finds Trent Girard 10-yards out, who is wide open and with no defenders behind, touchdown. Extra point is good. 42-20.

OBSERVATION: Girard is a much better QB than what Batavia saw in Patrick Hackler last week, and Hackler is very good. Girard has a better touch, can also throw bullets, throw down the field on the run without under-throwing his targets, and is very hard to contain or catch in the backfield.

On first and 10 at the 15, direct snap to Leach, who eludes all tackles and carries the ball to the 50 before stepping out of bounds. Leach on the next carry, three-yard gain. Iburi-Bethel on the end-around, big gain out to the 30. Leach, direct snap, hands it off to Iburi-Bethel who breaks a tackle in the backfield and gains a couple of yards. Leach on direct snap runs to the outside and gets enough yardage for the first down but flag on the field. Holding on Batavia. Rood in the shotgun, pump fakes, looks downfield. Iburi-Bethel is wide open. The pass is on the numbers. He drops the ball. Third and 12 with 8:47 to go. Rood swings right, pursued by Terrell Bonner-Welch who hits him from behind. Rood lost the ball but he appears to have been down. There is a penalty against Batavia. 4th and 19. Rood drops back, in the grasp of a defender, he spins and tosses the ball down the middle of the field and finds Daemon Konieczny but well short of a first down. Glens Falls takes over on downs at their own 42.

Girard is sacked for an 11-yard loss. Girard sacked again, ball now on the 21. Glens Falls will punt.

With 6:12 left, down 42-20, Batavia starts on its own 43. Leach runs left, picks up about 10 where he breaks a tackle, and he changes direction heading toward the far sideline, picks up a couple of blockers and steps out of bounds at the 21. Leach with the ball, heads to his left and finds nothing but open field to the end zone. Touchdown. Two-point try fails, 42-26 Glens Falls.

Batavia tries an onside kick but a whistle blows at the line of scrimmage. Illegal motion. Batavia will kick again from the 35. The kick fails to travel 10 yards before going out of bounds at the 40. Five-yard penalty on Batavia, first and 10 from Batavia's 35. 

Sampson with the carry for four yards. Sampson with a 25-yard carry but a flag on the play. Block below the waist, 10-yard penalty on the Indians. Sampson again, big gain, to the 22. First down. Great backfield tackle on Sampson sweeping to the left, loss of two. Sampson breaks a tackle and finds some space but Iburi-Bethel catches him and comes over his back, hanging on, trying to strip the ball, and Sampson shakes him off and scores. Extra point is no good, 48-26 Glens Falls.

Time left, 3:44.

Rood at QB, hands off to Leach, sweeping left and a five-yard gain. Ball on the 25. Batavia tries a tricky play, with snap to Rood, hand off to Leach, pitch to Iburi-Bethel who heaves the ball downfield well beyond any receivers or defenders. Rood scrambles stops, turns to throw just pass the line, and lineman T.J. Guy intercepts giving Glens Falls the ball on Batavia's 16.

Sampson on the sweep to the left. Nobody touches him. Touchdown. Extra point makes it 55-26. There was a late flag on Sampson run, a personal foul that will be enforced on the kickoff.

Glens Falls kicking off from Batavia's 45. The kick skips through the end zone.

First play from the 20, Leach with the ball, untouched through the line, all the way to the end zone for an 80-yard TD. Leach stopped on the two-point try. 55-32, Glens Falls.  

Leach is exhausted.

Penalty on Batavia's kick. Try again from the 35. And another penalty. Encouragement. Ball on the 30. After two failed onside attempts, deep kick to Sampson who bobbles the ball but recovers, and carries the ball to Glens Falls 41-yard line. Sampson with the carry, six-yard game. Sampson with a first-down carry. Sampson, no gain. Less than a minute to play. Time will expire with Glens Falls up 55-32.

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Here's the hardware they're playing for.

November 23, 2018 - 6:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in The Salvation Army, charity, Christmas, news, notify.

As many know The Salvation Army is quite busy this time of the year preparing for Christmas. This year we expect to help approximately 300 families here in Genesee County. This will include food for Christmas dinner.

We work hard to be able to give each family a turkey. In years passed Holiday Ice has generously provided freezer space to store the turkeys as we collect them between Thanksgiving and our distribution date just before Christmas.

We were just informed that this option is not available to us this year. We desperately need to find someplace to store frozen turkeys this season.

Our onsite freezers are near capacity. Is there perhaps a restaurant or other facility that could help us with this dire need?

Todd L. Rapp
Office Manager
Director Emergency Disaster Services 
The Salvation Army 
Batavia, NY 14020
585-343-6284 (office)
585-734-8145 (cellular)

November 23, 2018 - 6:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, corfu, crime, news, notify.

Julie Marie Neale, 37, of Alexander Road, Alexander, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; driver's view obstructed, uninspected motor vehicle, and failure to keep right. At 2:20 p.m. on Nov. 16, Neale was stopped on Oak Street in the City of Batavia following the observation of vehicle and traffic violations. Upon investigation, it was determined that Neale was allegedly operating her vehicle while her ability to do so was impaired by drugs. She was processed at the jail and released on appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Dave W. Case, 60, of Corfu, was arrested Nov. 20 and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, inadequate headlamps, and unsafe tires. He was arrested on Route 354 at Burrough Road in the Town of Bennington by Wyoming County Sheriff's Sgt. Colin Reagan following a traffic stop because a headlight was out. He was released to a family member and is due in Town of Bennington Court on Dec.17 to answer the charges.

November 23, 2018 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, news, notify.

Officials in Corfu neglected to properly manage budgets and accounting for the village's sewer fund according to a recent office by the state's comptroller's office.

The three key findings of the audit:

  • The board routinely adopted budgets that were not reasonably estimated, which resulted in operating deficits;
  • The board did not develop and adopt multiyear capital and financial plans;
  • The board did not annually audit financial records and therefore did not identify inaccuracies.

There is no accusation of malfeasance in the report.

The auditor found that the lack of realistic budgets led to a gap between actual revenues and expenditures. The board did not "adequately consider the effect that problematic cash flow issues and the formation of two new sewer districts would have on the annual budgets," according to the report.

The auditor said estimates were inadequate because the board anticipated the village would receive additional revenue from new sewer districts sooner and greater amounts than it actually did. The board also underestimated expenses.

The clerk-treasurer, according to the report, did not include a cash flow analysis in her reports to the board.

"In addition, the Clerk-Treasurer recorded that the sewer fund owed the general fund $61,0003 as of May 31, 2017, but she could not explain the purpose of these entries or provide evidence for their accuracy," the report reads. "As a result, we question the accuracy of her records."

These discrepancies would have been detected by the board with annual audits but board members told the auditors that the board did not hire a CPA annually for an audit as a cost-saving measure.

Annual audits are required by law.

The audit did find that sewer customers were billed properly and the proper amount of sewer rents were collected.

In a letter to the auditor from Mayor Joseph Johnson, the board said it would correct the discrepancies by adopting the auditor's recommendations, including drafting more realistic budgets, develop a multi-year financial plan, and hire a CPA to annually audit the district's financial records. 

November 23, 2018 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, employment, news, economy, notify.

There was robust private-sector job growth in Genesee County in October, according to recent statistics from the NYS Department of Labor, with 200 new jobs.

There are a reported 16,700 jobs in Genesee County compared to 16,500 a year ago.

The total number of jobs in the county, including government jobs, is 22,400, with the government sector losing 100 jobs year-over-year.

Average quarterly wages for all sectors increased from 2017 to 2018 in the second quarter from $9,921 to $10,107. Third quarter wage reports are not yet available.

The Genesee County unemployment rate is 3.3 percent for October 2018, matching the September unemployment rate but an improvement over the 4.5 percent rate of 2017.

Unemployment is a measurement of the number of county residents who are actively seeking employment divided by the total number of people considered part of the labor force (the employed and people seeking employment).

The county's labor force is 29,500, down from 30,400 the previous month but up from 29,100 the prior year.

The total number of employed Genesee County residents, working anywhere in the region, is 28,600, down from 29,400 a month ago but up from 27,700 the prior year.

One thousand people are listed as unemployed, unchanged from the prior month a 300 fewer than a year ago.

The unemployment rate for GLOW is 3.3 percent, down from 3.4 the previous month and 4.7 percent a year ago.

The state's unemployment rate dropped from 3.8 to 3.6 month-over-month and from 4.4 the prior month.

The nation's unemployment rate is 4 percent.

November 22, 2018 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, Batavia HS, batavia, notify.

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When you're a high school football player, it's something special to get to practice on Thanksgiving Day. It means only one thing. You're playing for a chance to win a state title.

The Batavia Blue Devils (12-0) held a walk-through practice this morning at the Batavia Middle School gym, rehearsing plays and defensive schemes in preparation for that championship match up with the Glens Falls Indians (10-2) at noon Saturday (Nov. 24) inside the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

"It was a special thing to practice on Thanksgiving and my father and I always talked about it, saying, 'wow, you know, think about it, some high school teams are practicing today,' " said Head Coach Brennen Briggs, son of Section V Hall of Fame Coach Jim Briggs. "It's finally us, so you know the hard work has paid off with all these guys and we're excited to get out there on Saturday."

Batavia got to the state final by outscoring the #1 ranked Skaneateles Lakers 54-49.

That game was the first time all season the Blue Devils faced a standout, strong-armed, athletic quarterback, in Patrick Hackler. As they turn their attention to the Indians, they're again facing a top-ranked QB, Joseph Girard III, who has a 63-percent completion rate on the season.

Again, he's big and athletic (he's all-time leading scorer in Basketball for Glens Falls, with 3,306 career points, and just signed a basketball scholarship with Syracuse).

He's also not the only member of the Girard family on the team. He's one of six cousins from a family with 75 years of athletic history in Glens Falls.

Briggs said facing Hackler and Skaneateles definately helped his team be better prepared to defend against Girard and the Indians.

"Obviously it's a very good football team over there," Briggs said. "You know we're game-planning for their quarterback and their skill positions. It's going to be a tough test for us. I think we'll be up for the challenge and you know we're hoping to get another good day of work in tomorrow."

The game plan for Batavia will come as no surprise to Glens Falls Head Coach Matt Shell: Give the ball to Ray Leach and make the Indians stop him.

So far in the postseason, every other opponent of the Blue Devils has found that impossible.

Leach has 1,223 yards rushing and has scored 22 touchdowns over the past three games, including eight touchdown performances against both Cheektowaga and Skaneateles (state playoff records). He was handed the ball 50 times against the Lakers. He set a new state record (breaking his previous week's record) with 474 yards rushing. His 50 points scored is a playoff record for New York.

Leach also intercepted a Hackler pass on defense, with Andrew Francis snagging another key interception to open the third quarter and allow Batavia to extend its lead by two touchdowns for the first time in the game.

The interceptions, perhaps, made the biggest difference and highlight a weakness for high school teams that live by the pass. Even the best high school quarterbacks are more prone to turnovers than top running backs.

Batavia's big line will be ready to pressure Girard and with Leach, Francis, and Taiyo Iburi-Bethel in the defensive secondary, the Blue Devils have the tools to disrupt the passing game.

"If we do what we do by taking care of the football, as we've done, then it should be pretty good for us," Briggs said. "I think that we've got some guys out there that are hungry to get the football once it's in the air so hopefully we can put some pressure on him, contain him, and create some turnovers."

At the end of today's practice, Briggs and his coaches told their players -- enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, be thankful for what they've got, recognize the unique position they're in -- a chance to play for a state championship, take care of themselves and be ready to go on Saturday. 

If you're not attending the game, you can listen to the WBTA broadcast (UPDATE: WBTA will stream the came on WBTAi.com) or check The Batavian for updates.

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November 21, 2018 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
murrell_constantinemug2018.jpg
 Constantine Murrell

Carjacking suspect Constantine Murrell, 35, a parolee from Rochester, entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment today in Genesee County Court on counts of second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

Murrell is accused of forcibly taking a car from a woman at the Kwik Fill, 99 Jackson St., Batavia, on Sept. 25.

He is also charged with reckless driving and unlawful fleeing a police officer.

After allegedly stealing the sedan, Murrell is accused leading police on a chase through city streets that reached 65 mph.

The chase came to an end when the stolen vehicle struck another car at Redfield Parkway and Richmond Avenue, which caused it to careen into a tree and the recently installed sign at the entrance of VA Medical Center.

The car then caught on fire.

The woman who had been driving the car was not physically injured.

Murrell was released from prison in April after serving an eight-year sentence for a 2010 kidnapping conviction in Rochester. He also has a previous drug conviction.

He reportedly told police after his arrest that he didn't know how he wound up in Batavia on Sept. 25. He said he had gotten into a truck with a man he didn't know in Rochester to do the drug K-2 and that the man left him in Batavia. He told police he panicked and just wanted to get back to Rochester.

“(I) couldn’t figure out how I would do it," Murrell is quoted in a court document as telling police. "I was at the gas station and saw an old lady in a white car at the gas pumps. I figured that it would be pretty easy to scare her and take her car.”

Judge Charles Zambito reaffirmed Murrell's bail status. He is being held without the possibility of bail. He will reappear in County Court on Jan. 23 for a hearing on pretrial motions.

There was no discussion of any potential plea offer.

The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM contributed to this story.

November 21, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray, notify.

Two weeks after election day, with most of the outstanding ballots in the NY-27 counted, challenger Nate McMurray has pulled within 1,384 votes of Rep. Chris Collins but it's unlikely there are enough ballots left to be counted for McMurray to overtake the Federally indicted congressman.

McMurray has not conceded the race, though Collins has declared victory.

In Genesee County, in the count of provisional, military, absentee and emergency ballots, McMurray gained 71 votes on Collins, making the split 11,471 for Collins to 8,705 for McMurray. Third-party candidate Larry Piegza finished with 627 votes.

According to the McMurray campaign, and multiple other news reports, McMurray gained votes in nearly every, if not every, county in the district since election day two weeks ago.

In a statement this afternoon, McMurray thanked his supporters and vowed to continue the fight, claiming potential irregularities. He said he and his attorneys are discussing the situation and will decide what to do after Thanksgiving.

In election law in other states, when the margin separating two candidates is less than 1 percent, an automatic recount is required or a candidate can request a recount. New York law provides no mechanism for requiring a recount.

"We have seen extensive irregularities in the voting process, especially pertaining to absentee ballots, and there are issues that need to be addressed, not only for this election but for all elections in the future to ensure voters are not disenfranchised and that every voice is heard," McMurray said.

The Collins campaign has not sent a statement about the outcome of the election to The Batavian.

In Genesee County, the recount is a bipartisan affair, overseen by Richard Siebert for the Republicans and Lorie Longhany for the Democrats, with observers from both parties watching the entire process, from ballots being opened to votes being tabulated.

In Erie County, which is where McMurray picked up most of his additional votes to close the gap, which was 2,241 votes districtwide when Erie County started its vote count yesterday morning, Republican Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr told the Buffalo News the process there is similar to the process locally.

From the Buffalo News:

The Tuesday process began around 10 a.m. in a stark room at the Board of Elections on West Eagle Street. Officials first ran through a scanner the emergency ballots that somehow were jammed or encountered other problems in the machines on Election Day.

Then Mohr explained the process by which a bipartisan team from the board would open the ballots and prepare them for machine scanning. Officials lined up approximately 16 workers at carefully staged positions on both sides of a long table, with Democrats observing Republicans and vice versa.

“We have here a bipartisan team,” Mohr explained to a crowd of campaign observers and reporters, asking Democrats and Republicans assigned to the counting table to raise their hands.

Erie County officials counted 5,588 absentee ballots, 1,454 affidavit ballots, and 433 emergency ballots, with McMurray picking up 3,279 votes and Collins 2,422.  There are more ballots to count but McMurray would need nearly all of the remaining his ballots to go his way in order to pull out a victory and that is statistically improbable.

Collins is expected to be sworn in for his fourth term in January even though he faces an ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee, will be in the minority party, serve on committees, and awaits a Federal trial on charges that he exchanged in securities fraud, wire fraud, and lied to the FBI about his role in an alleged scheme to illegally use corporate insider information to assist family and friends in dumping stock they owned in Innate Therapeutics. Collins served as a member of the board of directors of the Austrailian biotech company.

He was also once the company's second-largest shareholder but in a recent disclosure by the company, Collins isn't even listed among the top 20 shareholders.

At one time, Collins reportedly held 3.8 million shares of the company's stock.  

By law, members of Congress must disclose their stock trades within 30 days of the transaction.

On June 20, Collins sold between $15,000 and $50,000 shares of stock (as specific as he's required to be on the disclosure form).

On that date, Innate was trading at 28 cents a share.  If he sold $50,000 worth of shares, he sold less than 180,000 shares. It's unclear when and how he disposed of his other outstanding shares (which would have been enough to keep in the top 20 shareholders of Innate if he retained the shares).

In a news report about the stock disclosure, his campaign spokeswoman called these facts "fake news."

Collins is expected to go on trial for his insider trading charges in February 2020. He vows to beat the charges and continue to serve in Congress.

November 21, 2018 - 12:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander, Le Roy, Alabama, Oakfield.

Jason Eric Jones, 44, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with introducing dangerous contraband into prison in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Following an investigation at the GC Jail. Jones was arrested on the charges. It is alleged that while being in custody at the jail that he smuggled drugs into the facility with the intent to use them while incarcerated. He was arraigned in City Court, put in jail, and is due back in court at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan, assisted by Deputy Matthew Burgett.

Anthony James Demmer, 23, of Towne Place, Alabama, is charged with: DWI; operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more; unsafe backing; and unlawful possession of marijuana. On Nov. 16 at 6:53  p.m., deputies responded to the 7-Elevent Store in Oakfield for a two-car property damage accident. Following an investigation, Demmer was arrested. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Oakfield Town Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies Erik Andre and John Baiocco.

Nicholas J. Barr, 36 of Hilton, was arrested at 10:15 a.m. on Nov. 16 by troopers of out the State Police barracks in Batavia and charged with: unlawful possession of marijuana; criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th; aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; along with other vehicle and traffic infractions. Troopers stopped Barr on East Main Road in the Town of Le Roy for having an uninspected motor vehicle. While interviewing Barr the odor of marijuana was allegedly present. Barr was allegedly found to be in possession of marijuana in addition to several canisters of THC oil. Further investigation also revealed Barr was operating with a suspended New York State driver's license. Barr was arrested and transported to SP Batavia for processing. He was arraigned at the Town of Le Roy Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $750 cash/$3,000 bond.

Cassandra Joy Barto, 22, of Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and having an obstructed driver's view. On Nov. 18 at 11:40 a.m., deputies stopped Barto's vehicle on Veterans Memorial Drive for vehicle and traffic law violations. She was arrested and issued appearance tickets for Town of Batavia Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

November 20, 2018 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pawn king, pawn law, pawn shops, crime, law enforcement, news, notify.

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Local law enforcement is backing a new proposed county law to more tightly regulate pawnbrokers but the draft legislation may have a spill-over impact on other local businesses.

At least one county legislator, Andrew Young, is opposed to passing the new law.

A public hearing on the proposed law has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the Old County Courthouse. (Download PDF of proposed local law).

The purpose of the law is to help local law enforcement find stolen property, recover stolen property, and apprehend the criminals who pilfer other people's property. 

“Basically, our interest in doing this is an interest in not only being able to prosecute people who steal this property and take it to pawn shops to be sold, but also making it possible to make things right for victims of these burglaries," said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, who drafted the proposed law at the request of Sheriff's Office.

Friedman, as well as Undersheriff Gregory Walker and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, were clear however, there's really only one business in Genesee County that is the target of the law and that is Pawn King, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive.

"I worked with Jerry from the start five years ago," Friedman said. "The request came from local law enforcement because of a problem primarily with residential burglaries and that proceeds from these burglaries were primarily going to pawn shops and primarily one local pawn shop," Friedman told members of the Public Service Committee at a meeting Monday.

The Legislature considered a similar law five years ago but after opposition from scrap metal dealers at a public hearing, where they raised concerns about the logistical difficulty in tracking where scrap metal came from, the proposed law lost support among legislators.

County Attorney Kevin Earl has modified the bill to remove regulation of scrap metal dealers.

During his presentation in support of the proposed law, Friedman recalled two recent incidents he said illustrates the need for the law.

If you read the local news, Friedman told legislators, you know about a recent incident where a suspect pulled into the driveway of County Manager Jay Gsell and allegedly threw a stolen gun from the car. That case is linked, Friedman said, to a recent string of burglaries in the area and one of the suspects allegedly used a fake ID to pawn stolen items at Pawn King.

"That's a big problem," Friedman said. "That's one example of something that goes on here on a regular basis."

Friedman also said the assistant district attorney for the Town of Batavia Court recently took an affidavit from a witness who said he saw a person wheel an entire shopping cart full of merchandise from Walmart to Pawn King across the street and pawn all of the items.

"That's the kind of thing we're dealing with," Friedman said.

Brewster said the proposed law would make his job, and the job of all local criminal investigators, easier.

"It will make it harder to get away with illegal activity and make it easier to prosecute those who are breaking the law," Brewster said.

Friedman said when he wrote the law five years ago, he patterned it after a law already passed in Monroe County as well as ones in other jurisdictions.

There are similar other laws in other jurisdictions, including other states, and some of them have run into legal challenges over the implication in the laws of warrantless searches, which violate the Fourth Amendment.

Under the terms of these laws, including the law proposed in Genesee County, police officers can enter the place of business of a secondhand dealer without notice and inspect the property and demand to inspect the mandated records kept by the business.

In California, GameStop is suing over a pawn shop law.

In this law journal article, the author says that in New York, courts have found, specifically in People v. Keta, that the state has a greater interest in stopping chop shops from trafficking in stolen parts than chop shop owners have a right to privacy. The Supreme Court has ruled that records inspections of closely regulated businesses, which includes pawn shops, are permissible.

However, Onondaga County paid a $15,000 settlement in 2015 after a court ruled his business was the victim of a warrantless search under that county's pawn shop law. Also in New York, a New York City law that required law enforcement inspections of pawn shop records was struck down by a judge there.

Last night, The Batavian emailed Friedman and Earl and asked them how these New York cases, which are more relevant than cases in other states, differ from the proposed local law and we haven't received a response.

Young said Cattaraugus County passed a similar law and later repealed it. We couldn't find any news coverage of such a repeal, but we did find a story about the City of Salamanca deciding to repeal its pawn shop law after local antique dealers objected to the law.

While the proposed law does target pawn shops, the definition of secondhand dealers includes any business, with a couple of exceptions, that acquires previously used items for the purpose of resale to the public.

This would seem to include antique dealers, junk dealers, non-charitable thrift stores and secondhand shops, and used record stores.

Exceptions are written into the law for clothing and books but no other items.

Jewelry stores and coin dealers with sales of less than 15 percent of sales from used items are also exempt from the law. Also exempt, antique dealers who sell exclusively at trade shows and licensed auctioneers.

The law also covers the resale of gift cards. This seems to apply to the resale of gift cards from other businesses, which is common in local businesses, such as Tops Market, Walmart, and Target, as well as The Batavian.

Earl told legislators those type of gift cards, even though they are acquired from the issuer for resale to a third party, are not covered by the law.

He quoted from Section 2, paragraph F:

"Secondhand Article" means any article or object, with the exception of clothing and books, that has previously been bought or sold at retail and/or which has been previously used and/or is not in a new condition.  This shall include any “gift card” .... 

Earl argued that the law only covers gift cards that are considered "used" even though once a gift card is used, it loses its value.

The purpose of including gift cards is to deal with criminals who shoplift from stores such as Walmart and then return the items. Since they don't have a receipt, they are given a gift card. Brewster said, for example, they might get a $100 gift card and then walk over to Pawn King and sell it for $50.

When questioned after the meeting about clarity on the gift card provision, Friedman reiterated it was not the intention of the law to cover gift cards sold by The Batavian or retail outlets such as Tops. He said it would be up to the Legislature to refine the law if they thought such clarity was necessary.

"I guess what I'm going to say is we drafted it as we thought was appropriate," Freidman said. "This is not the end. You know there's going to be a public hearing and everyone is going to have an opportunity to be heard about that. And presumably, there could be further refinements made to it just like we did after the last public hearing."

The law as proposed requires secondhand dealers to acquire a license. There is a $150 annual fee for the license. Licenses could be denied to anybody with a criminal conviction and potentially to businesses with employees who have criminal convictions for property crimes.

Secondhand dealers would be required to keep written records of all transactions -- both buying and selling -- in their shops as well as enter data into LeadsOnline, a private business that law enforcement can contract with to track the acquisition of used merchandise by dealers. LeadsOnline is free to participating businesses.

Dealers would be required to obtain photo identification of every person, and make a photocopy of the ID, of every seller or buyer of merchandise.

Section 12, paragraph B:

Prior to acquiring or disposing of any secondhand article covered by this local law, every Secondhand Dealer shall request Identification from the seller or purchaser and shall verify the identity of such individual by comparing the individual to the photographic image contained on said Identification. The Secondhand Dealer shall record the individual’s name, date of birth and address (or current address if different than that listed on the Identification), and the Identification number (e.g., motorist ID number) listed on the Identification. The Secondhand Dealer shall make a photocopy of the front of the Identification.

Failure to comply with the law is a Class B misdemeanor.

The law also covered dealers who transact business online, such as eBay resellers, if they're based in Genesee County.

It's not clear how online retailers would comply with the requirement to obtain a physical ID of buyers and sellers.

License dealers must also allow local law enforcement and code enforcement to inspect their place of business prior to receiving a license and at any time upon request once the license is issued.

Young made the point that many Web-based businesses operate out of the owners' homes and he asked if such owners would be expected to make their homes subject to inspection by law enforcement.

None of the advocates for the law provided an answer to the question.

Young compared the law to code enforcement and health inspection laws, which usually involve an appointment with the inspector.

"Not only is an appointment made," Young said, "the consequences are you're not serving the lunch next day. In this case, you go to jail."

Earl said, as a Class B misdemeanor, there is no jail term. It's more like a traffic ticket.

The proposed law was first discussed in the Public Service Committee. Young is not a member of the Public Service Committee but he was given an opportunity to voice his concerns.

The Public Service Committee unanimously recommended approving a public hearing on the proposed law.

The Ways and Means Committee met immediately after the first meeting. Young does serve on that committee and Ways and Means was also asked to vote on approval of a public hearing.

Young again raised objections to the proposed law, which prompted another discussion.

There isn't a need for the law, Young suggested, because Pawn King is already entering its transactions in LeadsOnline. Young said he spoke with the manager of the local Pawn King.

"It’s not true," Walker said. "He may say that but he’s not doing it."

During Public Service, Friedman hinted but didn't outright say, that Pawn King conducts some transactions after regular business hours.

Young voted no to send the proposed law to a public hearing. He thinks the bill should go back to the lawyers to clarify key points.

"There are too many unanswered questions," he said.

Chairwoman Marianne Clattenburg suggested that the bill could go to public hearing and the Legislature could then better determine how to amend the law after hearing from the public.

Ways and Means approved sending the proposed law to a public hearing on a 4-1 vote.

Much of Young's objection to the proposed law is that it creates a new regulatory scheme for businesses, which he thinks runs counter to the county's effort to try and attract new business.

"This is an unprecedented law in this county," Young said. "In this county, we don't have too many local laws and they've usually been reserved for things that are really important. Monroe County has a different governing body and they think differently than ours, but we're taking one of their laws and making it even more restrictive."

Young argued that the problem in Genesee County doesn't rise to the level of passing new laws.

Friedman said there is a pressing need for the law.

“I have to disagree with the statement that there is no problem here," Friedman said. "There is absolutely a problem here.”

Photo: Public Service Committee meeting.

November 20, 2018 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Destro, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

The Sheriff's Office may have found a young dog worthy of taking over K-9 patrol for "Destro," who died unexpectedly in early October.

A 2-year-old Belgian malinois from the nation of Holland is being evaluated by Deputy Chris Erion, the Sheriff's Office current K-9 handler, and if the dog proves suitable, the county will pay a $9,500 fee for purchase, shipment and paperwork on the dog.

That's about $1,000 more than anticipated but the cost is also amply covered by donations from members of the community to the Sheriff's K-9 program.

Erion said this morning that he has the dog -- who has a name but the name may change -- and is working with him to see if is temperament is suitable for police work. This morning, he's returning from the K-9 training facility in Canada where he was given a workout.

"We're putting him through his paces," Erion said.

The dog has only basic training at this point and will need to be fully trained in K-9 police work before being put into service. That training will start in March.

The fundraising following Destro's death has been so successful -- and there are more fundraising events planned -- that the Sheriff's Office will acquire a second K-9. Undersheriff Greg Walker said the new, second K-9 handler has already been selected from among current deputies but the Sheriff's Office is not ready yet to announce who the new handler will be.

Even though payment for the new dog is covered by community donations, the money still goes into the county's budget and the expenditure must be approved by the Legislature. The Public Service Committee voted to recommend approval of the $9,500 fee for the new dog from Holland.

At the Public Service meeting yesterday, a member of the Legislature asked why the K-9 money came from public donations rather than the county's general fund and Legislator Gary Maha, the former Sheriff, explained that when the Sheriff's Office first decided to acquire a K-9 the decision was made to ask the community to pay for it.

There have been four dogs purchased since then, each one paid for through donations and that just seems to be the way it's done now. There was nothing preventing the Sheriff's Office from including a new K-9 in its operations budget.

In this case, as soon as the news came out of Destro's death, who succumbed to complications from cancer surgery, community members set up fundraisers and donations started pouring in.

Legislator John Hilchey suggested he and his fellow legislators wouldn't have a problem funding the K-9 program, but "the community didn’t really give us a chance to ask on it."

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