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March 28, 2019 - 4:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, pembroke. grand jury.

Laura L. Dutton, AKA Laura Godlewski, AKA Laura L. Godlewski Dutton-Pontillo, AKA Laura Dutton, is indicted for the crime of filing a false instrument in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 4 at the Genesee County Clerk's Office that Dutton filed a NYS Pistol-Revolver license application knowing that it contained false information, and with intent to defraud she offered it to a public servant for filing to become part of the public records.

Dennis S. Rogers Jr. is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 3 in the Town of Pembroke that Rogers drove a 2003 Chevrolet on Route 5 while he was intoxicated. In count two, Rogers is accused of DWI, per se, as a Class E felony, for having a BAC of .08 percent at the time. In count three, the defendant is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree for driving that day when his license was suspended or revoked. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Rogers is accused of having been convicted of DWI as a misdemeanor on June 30, 2011 in County of Monroe Court and also on Sept. 16, 2002 in City of Rochester Court. Those convictions and an additional suspension of Rogers's privilege to drive on July 27 last year, based on failure to pay child support, forms the basis for the suspension or revocation referred to in count three of the current indictment.

March 28, 2019 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.
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    Nikki Stonebraker      Marquise Lee      Angela Bateman      Derek Wilcox
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      Joseph Burr

 

 

Probation officers reportedly found 56 bags of crack cocaine along with drug paraphernalia and drug packaging material during a check of a residence on Liberty Street, Batavia, yesterday and as a result of a joint investigation by the Probation Department, Child Protective Services, and the Local Drug Task Force, five people were arrested and charged with multiple crimes.

Investigators reported also finding unidentified pills and currency.

Charged were:

  • Marquise L. Lee, 36, of Hobart Street, Rochester, with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia 2nd;
  • Angela R. Bateman, 46, of East Main Street, Batavia, with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd;
  • Nikki L. Stonebraker, 30, of Liberty Street, Batavia, with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, endangering the welfare of a child;
  • Joseph T. Burr, 25, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, arrested on a warrant for alleged violation of probation and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd;
  • Derek E. Wilcox, 30, of Congress Avenue, Rochester, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

All five suspects were arraigned in Batavia City Court.

Lee was ordered held without bail. Ball was set at $50,000 or $100,000 bond for Burr, who was also ordered held on $5,000 bail for the violation of probation charge. The other three suspects had their bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

March 27, 2019 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

One of the two men arrested in connection to thefts from local liquor stores, where one man would distract the store clerk and another would enter the back room to steal cash or credit cards, admitted to his crimes today in front of County Court Judge Charles Zambito.

The way career-criminal Edward F. Perdue, 58, seemed to figure it when he walked into County Court today, unless he could persuade Judge Zambito to be a bit lenient with him, he won't get out of state prison until he's 67 years old.

Perdue, arrested in Batavia for entering the backrooms of local liquor stores and stealing cash and credit cards, is currently serving three to six years in the Orleans Correctional Facility on a burglary conviction in Monroe County.

Zambito's choice today was to send him to prison, based on his guilty plea to grand larceny, 4th, in November, for either one and a half to three years or for two to four. Perdue added another twist with his own request of the judge: make his Genesee County sentence concurrent to his Monroe County sentence.

The reason the five-time felon should get a break, according to the felon himself, is that he tipped police to a threat against the life of District Attorney Lawrence Friedman. Perdue said he overheard another inmate on a bus make a threat against Friedman (whose name he kept pronouncing "fryedman" and noted that "I never saw him before today").

"I'm not asking to be released," Perdue said. "I'm asking for my time to be concurrent with the time I'm doing now. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

During his talk with the judge, Perdue claimed both that officers did not talk with him about his tip and he also said he spoke with investigators and provided them with the name of the person who he said made the threat.

"The cops said they would help me," he said.

"The detectives said they would come and talk with me and they never did," he said.

"The cops said they would talk with me and I would rather talk with them," he said.

He indicated he thought he deserved a break because he's been labeled a snitch in Orleans.

Friedman, outside of court, said state authorities did investigate Perdue's allegations and found the allegations unfounded.

Zambito noted during sentencing that Friedman asked for the maximum term for Perdue and never mentioned giving him any consideration for his cooperation with police, and without evidence of Perdue's claims, he said he couldn't really consider the request.

What he could consider is Perdue's criminal record going back to 1976 and includes multiple burglaries and other property crimes, a criminal contempt and a manslaughter conviction.

"You're a career criminal," Zambito said. "A career thief." 

He told Perdue, "there's no reason not to give you the maximum allowable sentence and hope that protects society."

The sentence: two to four years consecutive with the term Perdue is currently serving.

Perdue will, in fact, likely spend his 67th birthday in prison.

"I never burglarized anything," Perdue said before he was led from court in a statement that garnered no response from Zambito."Isn't a burglary when you break into some place? I just walked into the backroom of places."

March 26, 2019 - 11:15am

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A change in federal tax law in 2017 could help attract Downstate investors to Upstate communities such as Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation is planning on pursuing those dollars for economic development in wards three and six.

The new tax law allows investors who have realized profits from prior investments, known as capital gains, to defer and reduce capital gains taxes on those profits if they invest those gains in economically distressed neighborhoods.

Wards three and six -- which contain the City Centre mall and the Harvester Center, among other distressed properties -- were previously designated Opportunity Zones by the City of Batavia and would be eligible to attract investment under the terms of the revised Federal Tax Code.

Rachael Tabelski, BDC director, asked the City Council on Monday night to approve at its next business meeting a resolution that would allow the BDC to invest $20,000 in setting up a Batavia Opportunity Zone investment vehicle.  

"These wards are distressed and would benefit from both large and small investment projects," Tabelski said.

The goal is to attract $5 million in investment funds. Tabelski said there are already potential investors Downstate who have expressed an interest in such investments.

Urban Vantage LLC, a Buffalo-based urban planning firm, would assist, including financially, in setting up the investment package.

The $20,000 would come from BDC's revolving loan fund, which has a current balance of $319,000.

At its next business meeting, the City Council will also be asked to approve a resolution that would allow the revolving loan fund, first established with Federal grants in 1997, to start assisting small businesses in Batavia with cash grants (in addition to continuing revolving grants).

Tabelski told the council that the purpose of the fund is to get money into the hands of local businesses to help spur economic development and the fund isn't accomplishing that goal if the money isn't being put to use.

The $20,000 initial investment would be used for legal preparation of the investment vehicle, listing and marketing the project, along with filing and accounting fees.

"We're setting this up so we are on the map as a proactive community taking advantage of a new federal tax law that is allowing investment into low-income census tracks and to show investors and developers that we're serious about moving our sites forward and creating our own fund as a city," Tabelski said.

There's much about how the new investments will work that hasn't yet been determined by the Treasury Department. The final guidelines should be released in a few weeks.

In general, the idea is if an investor has capital gains, the investor can move those funds to an opportunity zone investment fund and defer any capital gains tax until 2026. After five years, the basis of their taxable gains would be reduced by 10 percent. For example, if an investor had $100,000 in capital gains and invested those gains in an opportunity zone, the investor would owe taxes only $90,000 of those gains. After 10 years, the basis would be reduced another 5 percent.

Also, after 10 years, the investor would not owe any taxes on any additional gains on their opportunity zone investments. In other words, if that investor put $100,000 into an opportunity zone and at the end of 10 years, exited the investment and got back $150,000, there would be no capital gains tax on that additional $50,000 realized from the investment.

"It's really designed to attract investment in projects that have a high likelihood of appreciation," said Richard Rogers, a principal in Urban Vantage.

Tabelski first met Rogers and his partner Travis Gordon during the Downtown Revitalization Initiative process, when they represented Ken Mistler on the Carrs Reborn project. They worked together on developing a plan to create the opportunity zones under the tax code revisions.

Tabelski and Gordon both said Batavia could be attractive to investors not just because of a break on capital gains tax but also because of other credits available, such as historic building tax credits, new market tax credits, and the availability of PILOTs (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) on building improvements.

"This is a marketable location for people from places like Downstate to put the money into to actually get a good return on their investment as well," Gordon said.

The BDC-initiated fund will focus on real estate investment but there's no reason private investors can't establish their own funds to support business startups and expansions. So long as the business is based in designated opportunity zones, investors would be eligible, potentially, for the same tax breaks on capital gains.

There are some guidelines yet to come yet, however, that will either expand or limit those opportunities. For example, initially, the tax code would have required at least 50 percent of a business's revenue to come from within the opportunity zone.

That would seriously limit, as Rogers noted, a new firm's ability to scale, which would make a much less attractive investment for venture capital.

Tabelski said there is already an investment fund established in Buffalo that might be interested in projects in Batavia.

Photo: Rachel Tabelski presenting the project to the City Council on Monday, accompanied by Richard Rogers and Travis Gordon.

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March 25, 2019 - 2:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia.

Juaquin E. Davis, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt -- physical contact; first degree criminal contempt -- with a previous conviction within five years; and second-degree burglary -- illegal entry to a dwelling. Davis was arrested on March 21 after an alleged domestic incident on Thomas Avenue in Batavia on March 18 against a person with a complete stay away order of protection. Davis was arraigned in Batavia City Court then jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail. He was due back in city court on March 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Henry L. Banks, 49, of Ross Street, Batavia, was arrested at 12:49 a.m. on March 24 on Ellicott Street in Batavia. He was stopped for a traffic violation and it was shown that a bench warrant for his arrest was issued by Batavia City Court. He was processed and arraigned in city court, then jailed in lieu of $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond. He was due back in city court this afternoon (March 25). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Aisha I. Culver, 20, of Thomas Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a Batavia City Court warrant March 17 after she failed to appear in court on a traffic summons. Culver had previously been charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration; and various other traffics infractions. She was released on her own recognizance. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Jordan R. Rose, 18, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree -- weight more than two ounces; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Rose was arrested at 10:45 a.m. on March 22 following a search by the Probation Department of his residence. He was allegedly found in possession of marijuana and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia. Rose was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash or $2,000 bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

March 25, 2019 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, notify.

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Nearly 500 people turned out at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon in support of Joe Trigillo, who is battling glioblastoma, a cancer that forms in a person's brain and is very difficult to eradicate.

Trigillo was diagnosed in January and has been through two rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment -- one for 33 days and another of 40 days -- and the fundraiser is intended to help Joe and his wife Kathy with any extra expenses.

Kathy said her husband was overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support.

"It means the world to him," Kathy said. "Every time I bring it up he just starts to tear up and he can't believe the great outpouring of love that he's gotten."

Trigillo and members of the Trigillo's family have worked at Batavia Downs for decades, including both of Trigillo's parents. Trigillo has been a stalwart of the local bowling community his entire adult life and is a regular on the local golf tournament circuit.

"He's always been the social person," Kathy said. "He's the one that goes to the bowling tournaments. He's the one that goes to the golf tournaments. He loves to be with people. He never, ever says no because he loves to go out with other people and do things. He's just always happy to do that and he loves people."

The symptoms of glioblastoma can be non-specific and are different for individuals, depending on where in the brain the cancer starts and how it progresses. At the start of the bowling season, Trigillo didn't have his A-game going and he and Kathy took it as an early-season slump.

"You just think it's a slump but he wasn't getting out of the slump," Kathy said. "Still, we didn't think much of it other than he's in a slump."

The community sees Joe the competitor and may not perceive he has a softer side, Kathy said, but he can get emotional in private; however, when Joe started crying during Hallmark movies, Kathy sensed he was being more emotional than usual. Even so, she didn't suspect a serious issue.

But then one day DirecTV called and when Joe wanted to hand the phone off to his wife, he couldn't remember her name.

That weekend, walking across some pavement, Kathy noticed Joe was shuffling his feet. She started to suspect a mini-stroke. That Monday, Jan. 14, she called a doctor who told her to take Joe to the emergency room at UMMC.

"They immediately ordered an MRI after I told them the symptoms," Kathy said. "I think they must have known more than we did."

The MRI revealed two tumors in the lower left frontal lobe and Joe was taken by ambulance to Buffalo General Medical Center.

Once there, surgery was quickly ruled out for treatment.

"If they did surgery to remove the tumors, it was a high risk to cause the whole right side of his body to be paralyzed and he would not be able to speak," Kathy said.

From Buffalo General, Joe was sent to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is also in Buffalo.

The regime of chemo and radiation was rough, Kathy said. Joe was hospitalized a couple of times during the treatment, with treatment suspended once because of complications.

The typical prognosis for glioblastoma is a survival rate of 12 to 15 months. Kathy is hopeful Joe will get back to doing the things he loves this spring and summer.

They'll know more when they meet with doctors at Roswell again on April 14.

"We're hoping that we're going to fight this and that we're going to play golf this summer and we're going to be at the long end of that prognosis," Kathy said.

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March 24, 2019 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, bergen, Le Roy.

Amanda Marie Bowles, 33, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree forgery -- four counts; first-degree identity theft -- four counts; criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree -- five counts; and one count of third-degree identity theft. Following an investigation of multiple credit cards stolen out of the Town of Batavia, Bowles was arrested on March 20 for allegedly using the stolen credits cards at multiple locations around the City of Batavia. She also allegedly completed some transactions by forging the signature of the credit card owner. She was arraigned on March 21 in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Woodrow Clarence Horseman, 43, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny. He was arrested March 22 for allegedly stealing a wallet at 5 a.m. on March 21 at a location on West Main Street Road, Batavia. The wallet contained nine credit cards and other personal documents. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and put in GC Jail on $2,500 cash or bond. He is due back in court on April 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Yacuzzo Salvatore, 73, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at 12:30 p.m. on March 21 on Red Mill Road, Le Roy, for allegedly violating a stay away order of protection. He was issued an appearance ticket for Le Roy Town Court and is due there April 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor.

Richard Dean Neal, 29, of Roosevelt Highway, Kent, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Neal was arrested on March 18. It is alleged that at 5:28 p.m. on March 16 that he damaged another person's vehicle while in the Walmart parking lot. He was released on an appearance ticket for April 1 in Batavia Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth.

Aaron Lee Heale, 38, of North Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with: introducing dangerous contraband into prison in the first degree; fifth-degree conspiracy; and falsifying business records in the first degree. On March 14, Heale allegedly conspired to have drugs brought into the Genesee County Jail. He is currently incarcerated there. He is due in Batavia City Court tomorrow (March 25) to answer the charges. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

Amethyst Rose McCracken, 31, of North Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with: introducing dangerous contraband into prison in the first degree; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; and fifth-degree conspiracy. It is alleged that at 9:48 p.m. on March 14, that she brought drugs into the GC Jail. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court on March 23 and is due back there tomorrow (March 25). The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

Joseph G. Sumeriski, 27, of Batavia, was arrested by deputies of the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office on March 16 in the West Municipal Parking Lot in the Village of Warsaw on a warrant for allegedly failing to pay restitution ordered by Warsaw Village Court. He was arraigned in Village of Warsaw Court then posted cash bail. Warsaw police assisted at the scene. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Sgt. Colin Reagan and Deputy John Button.

March 23, 2019 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.
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     Keith White

An inmate in the Genesee County Jail is accused of introducing dangerous contraband into the jail after receiving a birthday card allegedly containing a controlled substance.

Keith White, 47, of North Tonawanda, faces numerous other charges. Besides introducing dangerous contraband, a felony, he is charged with 16 counts felony falsifying business records, 1st, criminal solicitation, 4th, conspiracy, 5th, and 60 counts of falsifying business records, 2nd. 

White, who is being held on a petit larceny charge from July, is accused of using the PIN numbers of other inmates to make telephone calls.

The date and time of the incidents were between November and February.

Deputy Ryan Young is leading the investigation.

White was arrested last July in Batavia, accused, along with Jeffery P. Wozniak, of Niagara Falls, of stealing steaks, lobster, shrimp, a roast and several household items from Top's Market. That case is still pending.

He is being held on the new charges without bail because of prior felony convictions. He's been incarcerated three previous times on burglary and robbery charges. His most recent stint in state prison was from 2001 to 2016 on a robbery conviction in Niagara County. He was released from parole in February 2018.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. with additional information about the case.

March 22, 2019 - 8:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, notify, news.

 

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  Samuel Blackshear

When Samuel Blackshear shot Nathaniel Wilson on Central Avenue one evening last May, Blackshear was exercising "street justice" Judge Charles Zambito told the young man today at his sentencing on an illegal weapon conviction.

It wasn't a matter of self-defense, as defense attorney James Hinman contended, Zambito said. The judge said he believed there was a prior dispute between Blackshear and Wilson, even before Wilson showed up with a knife and stabbed and killed Terry Toote, and that Blackshear knew a woman he was with had a gun and that he expected to be handed the gun if he needed it.

Blackshear was denied youthful offender status and sentenced to three and a half years in state prison followed by two and a half years on parole, which is the mandatory sentence for a conviction on a count of criminal possession of a weapon.

The father of Samuel Blackshear, who was 17 at the time of the incident, said he was disappointed that Zambito denied his son a chance to go to school, get a job, and try to get on a path toward a productive life.

"I came here today expecting justice for my young son," Billy Blackshear said. "I'm not trying to make excuses for him. I'm not saying that he was in the right for how he reacted, but considering the factors that placed him in that situation...with him being a young person, you have the influence of television, you have the influence of peers, you have so many negative influences that could have carried him even worse than the way he reacted and he did not."

Before sentencing Blackshear, Zambito meticulously reviewed the law, the criteria that must be met for a finding youthful offender status, and the circumstances of the case.

Many new details about the murder of Toote and the shooting of Wilson on Central Avenue on May 17 came out during today's hearing.

Youthful offender status is reserved for those cases, Zambito said, where there are mitigating circumstances and where the defendant may have acted in haste and thoughtlessly. The judge making a Y.O. determination must consider the gravity of the circumstances, the defendant's prior record, prior acts of violence, the reputation of the individual, whether the defendant cooperated with police and prosecutors, the defendant's attitude, and whether the defendant has displayed respect for the law.

Y.O. status is mandated if the perpetrator is between 15 and 19 years old at the time of the offense but the conviction is for a misdemeanor. In this case, Blackshear admitted to a felony.

If the case involves an armed felony, as this was, Zambito said, then mitigating circumstances come into play.

In their remarks to Zambito prior to Zambito discussing his decision, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said there were no mitigating circumstances and dismissed assertions by the defendant's attorney, Hinman, that Blackshear acted in the defense of himself and others. Hinman passionately and exhaustively argued that there were mitigating circumstances and this his client did act in defense of himself and others.

Friedman argued that Blackshear, who had little experience, he said, with handguns, and no prior training in defending others, acted recklessly and without regard to the safety of others in the vicinity when he fired three shots at Wilson. After Wilson attacked Toote, he said Blackshear walked over to a nearby car, took a gun from the driver, and immediately turned around and started firing.

"That wasn't self-defense the first time he fired it," Friedman said. "It wasn't self-defense second time he fired it. It wasn't self-defense the third time he fired it. That was not self-defense."

If it was self-defense, Friedman argued, then why didn't Blackshear stick around after the shooting? Why did he flee instead of talk to the police? Why wasn't he cooperative with investigators once he was located? Friedman asserted the Blackshear has been unwilling to help police locate the handgun he used and that the gun is still missing.

Hinman argued that all available physical evidence, in particular, a video camera mounted on a utility pole on Central Avenue at the time of the shooting, shows Blackshear acted in defense of himself and others. He said it showed Wilson arrive on scene and within 10 seconds, attack Toote, kill him, and then immediately brandish the knife at other people in the area.

Other than his possession of the gun, Hinman said his client did nothing illegal. He suggested the other charges against Blackshear -- attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree -- where satisfied in the plea agreement because Blackshear could have made a credible case to a jury that he acted within New York law to defend himself and others.

"Maybe he (Wilson) would have stabbed other people if he had not been shot," Hinman said. "That doesn't make Mr. Blackshear a hero but he stopped illegal acts."

As for Blackshear's leaving the scene of the shooting before police arrived, Hinman said that's the normal reaction of a black youth today.

"I would submit that a young black man in this day and age has a good reason to not stick around and talk to police," Hinman said. "Nor does he have the obligation to stick around and talk with police."

As for helping police find the gun, Hinman said his client told police that he handed the gun to a third party to take care of and that he has no direct knowledge as to the gun's whereabouts. He said that third party may have cooperated with police in locating the gun but since that person wasn't assured immunity from prosecution he hasn't cooperated. He did say police learned the gun may have been dropped from a bridge into a creek and a search was undertaken to try and locate the gun but it wasn't found. None of that, Hinman said, could be blamed on his client.

Hinman disputed statements Wilson made in a presentence probation interview where Wilson apparently asserted that Blackshear shot him because of a prior dispute and that Blackshear was looking for a confrontation with Wilson.

"It's nothing more than an attempt by Wilson to make himself a victim," Hinman said. "He's the one who set everything in motion."

Zambito, however, gave some weight to Wilson's account of the incident.

"I have no sympathy for Nathaniel Wilson," Zambito said. "He is convicted of murder and he is in jail for a long time, and deservedly so."

But, Zambito said, some of Wilson's statements are corroborated by the evidence on the pole cam video recording as well as mobile phone recordings by witnesses.

In order to find mitigating circumstances, Zambito said he would have to be convinced that Blackshear acted on the spur of the moment to defend himself and others but Zambito said the evidence suggested otherwise.

For example, well before Wilson arrives, a black sedan is seen on Central Avenue. At one point, the driver gets out and retrieves what appears to be a handgun from the trunk of the vehicle. Later the car leaves Central Avenue and returns. The car leaves again and reappears just before Wilson shows up. After Wilson stabs Toote, Zambito said, Blackshear is seen moving toward Wilson, who is turning to leave, and then sees the sedan and walks over to it and is immediately handed a gun by the driver of the vehicle.

"That tells me," Zambito said, "that he (Blackshear) was looking for that car and he expected to be handed the gun."

He said audio from mobile phones show that several people cried out "Sam," which Zambito took as a verbal attempt by witnesses to tell Blackshear to not fire any shots but that Blackshear fired anyway.

Wilson contends he and Blackshear had a prior dispute over Wilson hitting a girlfriend and that Wilson had tried to apologize and Blackshear refused the apology. He said even in a phone call earlier that day, Blackshear had refused the apology and hung up on him.

He said Blackshear had referred to himself as a member of the "L Gang" and that members of the "L Gang" would be looking for Wilson (outside of court, Friedman said "L Gang" may refer to a group of youths who grew up on Lewis Place and applied that moniker to themselves).

While acknowledging that Blackshear's natural impulse may have been to leave the scene and that he had no obligation to stay at the scene, his failure to do so did display a lack of cooperation with police, and one of Zambito's findings must include cooperation with police for Youthful Offender status. Further, Blackshear did not come forward voluntarily the next day. When he was located, he was at the residence of the adult who gave him the gun, playing video games.

As for Blackshear's criminal record and good conduct, Zambito said Blackshear had been arrested once, granted youthful offender status once, and was on probation at the time of the May 17 incident. He also said that Batavia PD and Sheriff's Office reported 26 negative contacts with Blackshear in the prior two years. He said Blackshear had been accused of shooting another person with a BB gun.

"And he's only 17 years old," Zambito said.

Citing district official at BOCES, Blackshear was characterized as having us vs. them attitude, of disrespecting authority, of hanging out with other youths who caused trouble.

In the presentence report, probation officers recommended against Y.O., and detectives Thad Mart and Kevin Czora, the lead investigators on this case, also recommended against Y.O. status.

"It was only by sheer luck that his reckless behavior didn't result in killing or seriously wounding a bystander," Mart wrote in his letter to the court.

Zambito said he took all of that into consideration in coming to his conclusion.

"The defendant attempted street justice," Zambito said. "He put at risk an entire neighborhood. Even Nathaniel Wilson recognizes the loss of life in this incident was over something very senseless and I have to agree with him. I have to believe this defendant was complicit."

Billy Blackshear said his son was raised well, as the grandson of a beloved local pastor, the late Reverend Oraid Blackshear of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Ellicott Street, and as the son of a man who has never been arrested or spent a night in jail.

But outside court he said he can't help but wonder if he did enough to prepare his son for dealing for life in today's society.

"As a parent, I wish I would have done more," Billy Blackshear said. "I think that's something that maybe a lot of parents say when bad circumstances happen. I said the same thing about my brother when he passed. I wish I could have had a chance to say goodbye to him. I wish there were words that I could have said to him had I known that would be the last time I saw him.

"I didn't get that chance and I feel that same sense of sadness and remorse in this particular case. I wish I could have spent more time or that I could have done or something, or something I could have said that would have better prepared him for such horrendous circumstance."

There's a lesson in this case for all of us, Billy Blackshear suggested.

"I think that young people are too busy being raised and being influenced by outside forces that gave other people monetary value," Blackshear said. "You know there's money to be made on telling kids you should be this way, to have a violent attitude, or look at, you know, you don't have to listen to the rules or anything like that. I'm not saying that's what Samuel was influenced by (that) but I'm saying that there is more negative input than ... positive.

"And so we as parents have to step up. I think the system has to step up as well. Hand-in-hand cooperate in order to be a counterbalance to the things that are steering our young people into the feeling hopelessness and anger and just frustration. We need to start putting hope back inside these young people. We need to start giving them better options. We could do more. There's always more that can be done." (View the full video at the top of this story for all of Mr. Blackshear's comments after the hearing.)

Zambito thinks it's time for Samuel Blackshear to step it up and use his time in prison to take advantage of programs that will help him be more productive and move his attitude away from "us vs. them."

"If you don't," Zambito said, "you're either going to spend a lot of your life in jail or you're going to wind up dead like Terry Toote."

March 19, 2019 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GOW opioid task force, opioid epidemic, news, notify.

blondellopioid2019.jpg

There is a lot of attention paid to opioid addiction treatment, Dr. Richard Blondell told an audience at the City Church Generation Center in Batavia today, but not enough effort is given to preventing addiction in the first place.

"The bottom line of this opioid epidemic is we cannot treat our way out of this epidemic," Blondell said. "We cannot incarcerate out of this epidemic. We can't legislate our way out of this epidemic. What we really have to do is prevention."

Blondell is vice chair of addiction medicine and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at SUNY Buffalo. He spoke today at a workshop for faith leaders sponsored by the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force.

Drawing on science, history and statistics, Blondell made the case that it's very difficult to successfully treat somebody for opioid addiction; therefore, to end the current epidemic, society needs to produce fewer addicts.

That begins with doctors, he said but includes families and individuals who need to be more aware and better educated about addiction and prevention.

The causes of addiction are both genetic and environmental, Blondell said.

About 10 percent of the population is genetically susceptible to opioid addiction. Those people, when exposed to opioids, usually through prescription medication, are much likely to become addicts.

The addiction for them is a disease.

An addict has about a 5 percent chance of dying in any given year. 

"The average life expectancy of a heroin addict is about 10 years, most are gone in 20," Blondell said.

Much of the blame for the opioid epidemic can be placed on Arthur M. Sackler, a medical marketing executive in the 1950s who, among other things, introduced the world to Valium, the first multimillion drug.

"It didn't treat anything actually," Bondell said. "Even though Valium was the number one prescribed drug in the country it was not clear what disease it treated."

The Sackler family went on to own Perdue Pharma, the company that introduced OxyContin. 

That pain pill was sold to doctors as non-addictive if used for pain.

Then the insurance companies got involved, Blondell said. They stopped funding pain-management regimes, which could cost thousands of dollars but were effective, in favor of prescription pain medications. And if doctors didn't prescribe enough pain pills, they would get low patient satisfaction scores from patients who said, "he didn't do anything for my pain."  

Doctors started prescribing opioid-based pain medications "like skittles," Blondell said.

Patients who become addicted to pain pills often, usually, turn to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to get. About 75 percent of heroin addicts started with a prescription to either the addict himself or to a friend or family member.

There are two types of treatment for addicts, neither high success rates -- counseling or medication.

In counseling, an addict receives psychological therapy, or they might live in a home and where they can learn adult life skills but if they are physically addicted, brain condition related to addiction is not treated. That is where medication, such as methadone, come in.

Blondell said all treatment methods should continue but that isn't the final answer on the epidemic. We've never treated our way out of an epidemic, he said.

People who say addiction is a choice really don't understand opioid addiction, Blondell said.  

Everybody is addicted to something. Addiction is essential to survival. We're all addicted, for example, to water.

But what substances, such as illicit drugs and alcohol do, is trick the brain into thinking that substance is a higher priority than other addictions, such as food.

"So people say to me, this is a behavior," Blondell said. "It's not really a mental illness or it's not a disease. It's not a disorder. It's really just a behavioral problem. To which my question is, what organ in the body produces behavior? Is it the kidneys? Is it the liver? No, it's the brain. So it's the brain that produces the behavior that we see and pass judgment on."

If we're going to end the epidemic, Blondell said, doctors need to be more cautious and judicious in when and how they prescribe pain medications. Patients who receive them need to be better educated about taking the prescribed amount for only a short period of time. Parents need to ensure they control the distribution of pain medication to their teen children, and ensure they actually take them when dispensed so they're not hoarded so five or six can be taken at a time. Everybody needs to be better educated about the nature of addiction and how to avoid it.

March 19, 2019 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Soil and Water Conservation District, news, notify.
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   Brad Mudrzynski

The job of Soil and Water Conservative, District Manager Brad Mudrzynski, told the Public Service Committee on Monday during a department review, is pretty straightforward at its most basic: Keep soil healthy; keep it on dry land; keep it out of water, so water is kept clean.

Mudrzynski became the director in January, the second since George Squires retired a couple of years ago after 31 years of service to the county, but Mudrzynski, who is from Elba, said the district has continued to operate without missing a beat.

Genesee County's soil and water district was established in 1944. Every county in the state has a soil and water district. The county budgets about $150,000 annually to fund the district. That pays for personnel, currently four full-time staffers and one part-time employee, and it's up to the district to apply for grants and aid to fund its programs.

"We have a good core," Mudrzynski said. "I hope I get to keep my core because they are really good people. They all know what they're doing."

The current staff is Molly Cassatt, a technician (the former director who volunteered to change rolls), Bob Berkemeier, senior technician, Tim Welch, technician, and Laura Bestehorn, clerk-treasuer.

In Genesee County, most programs are focused on agriculture but the agency also works with municipalities. For example, soil and water is using a $6,000 state grant to fund a hydroseeding program with the towns.

Hydroseeding, rather than just spreading grass seed on the ground, helps prevent runoff and soil erosion.

Other programs and services include tree and shrub planting, fish stocking, an Envirothon, recycling events, permit assistance, guidance for invasive species control, and erosion control design.

In 2018, the district secured nine grants worth $1.2 million.

Mudrzynski said soil and water districts are unique in the state because they operate as quasi-state agencies but with local control, which makes them more nimble and responsive to local needs.

March 19, 2019 - 7:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pawn law, news, notify.
      Kevin Earl

A proposed local law aimed at curbing property thefts is back before the County Legislature after undergoing revisions to more narrowly focus its intent on pawn shops and other businesses most commonly favored by criminals to fence stolen goods.

County Attorney Kevin Earl worked with a variety of interested parties, including District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster to draft proposed language that would still meet the intent of the legislation, but ensure it only hit its target without potentially adding an unintended regulatory burden to other local businesses.

The original bill was introduced in November and met some initial opposition from some members of the Legislature and some local business owners.

The key change of the law narrows the scope of the regulations to businesses known as "pervasively regulated." Prior case law has established that certain business activities can be monitored by the government without a warrant because of the nature of the business. In New York, these already include pawn shops, coin dealers, chop shops, and other enterprises that can be used as fronts for stolen property.

The change ensures the law can't be used to impose regulations on commercial thrift-type stores, used book and record stores, antique stores, or businesses that resell gift cards, among other establishments that might have been swept up in the prior broader language of the law.

Public Services Committee Chair Shelly Stein said during yesterday's committee meeting that it's important to remember the purpose of the law. 

"We are trying to assist victims of theft and robbery in the county," Stein said. 

Even so, the revised bill isn't supported by all members of the Legislature. Both legislators John Deleo and Andrew Young said they are uncomfortable adding another layer of regulation on private enterprise.

"We have one pawn shop here and we're creating more mandated laws when we get upset when the state puts mandates on us," Deleo said. "I don't think it's right. I have faith in law enforcement that if we have a problem, we can solve it. I don't care how much lipstick we put on this, I have a hard time buying into it. I guess I have more faith in law enforcement.

After the meeting, Young said he still isn't satisfied with the language of the law.

"It has been suggested that the decision to be made to pass this law is easy because it is simply to choose between victims of stolen goods and potential criminals," Young said. "I don’t agree that is what it is about. The decision to be made is to weigh the cost of additional government rules, regulations and reporting requirements against the value those government-imposed burdens provide towards assisting victims of theft. 

"The changes made make this law better and somewhat less intrusive. I am not sure we have reached the point where the value of this law outweighs the cost."

Another significant change is the elimination of the licensing fee for a qualified secondhand dealer.

"We did this to address the suggestion that this was only a money grab by the county," said County Clerk Michael Cianfrini. "We wanted to eliminate that concern."

Earl said he's confident that changes in the bill's language will help it withstand any potential Constitutional challenge.  

Niagara County passed a new law similar in language to the original draft of Genesee County's law and Earl said officials up there, after he shared his concerns with them about the local law, don't intend to make changes.

"Niagara County had nobody show up at their public hearing," Earl said. "There were no objections. It's probably a good thing we had objections up front or we might have had problems on the back end."

Brewster said just discussion of the law has compelled Pawn King on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, to start using Leads Online, a digital service used by pawn shops to enter items received into a searchable database. Law enforcement agencies can then subscribe to the service (there's no cost to the merchants who participate) so they can see what items are coming into the shop and check the list of items reported stolen.

Pawn King was already using the service in other counties where it does business because those counties legally compel Pawn King to use Leads Online.

Brewster said passage of a similar law locally will ensure Pawn King continues to use the service and will help ensure their compliance is thorough.

Businesses required to record transactions and hold items for at least 10 days under the law could lose their license and be forced to close if found out of compliance.

Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett Marine, said after the meeting that with the revisions, he's more comfortable that the new law. If passed, it won't apply to Barrett's business, but the owner of John G. Cooper Coin Shop in Le Roy said at age 76, this law may be a signal that it's time to retire.

Previously:

March 18, 2019 - 2:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Darien.

Lee George Ezzell, 64, of Genesee Street, Darien, is charged with second-degree harassment. At 10 a.m. on March 17 on Genesee Street in Darien, Ezzell was arrested. It is alleged that with intent to annoy, harass, or alarm a person, he used an open hand to strike that person in the back of the head. Ezzell was issued an appearance ticket for April 2 in Darien Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen

Joey Aaron Evans, 28, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. At 4:03 p.m. on March 16, Evans was arrested after he allegedly stole two Dyson V6 vacuums from Walmart. He was arraigned then released on his own recognizance. He is due in Batavia Town Court on April 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

Mary Ellen Bruton, 63, of Gilman Road, Churchville, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher; and having a vehicle stopped, standing or parked on a highway. She was arrested at 10:32 p.m. on March 17 on Park Road in Batavia following a traffic stop. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on April 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Jeremy McClellan.

Justin T. Gladney, 29, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on March 13 at 11:37 a.m. on Hutchins Street in Batavia on three separate warrants issued by Batavia City Court. One was a bench warrant for failure to appear. The second was an arrest warrant for failure to appear on an appearance ticket. These were in connection to two petit larceny charges. The third warrant was for first-degree falsifying business records and criminal impersonation in the second degree -- for allegedly giving a false name to the police and while being fingerprinted at the GC Jail. Gladney was put in jail with bail set at $2,500 cash or bond on the first two warrants and bail of $15,000 cash or bond for the new charges that garnered the third warrant. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Sgt. Daniel Coffey.

Pablo Abdiel Cintron Guzman, 18, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arrested at 4:54 p.m. March 17 on Park Road in Batavia following a traffic stop. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on April 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Andrew Hale.

March 18, 2019 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, Health Care, news, notify.

According to data compiled by the Center for Disease Control, a federal agency, and compiled by USA Today, United Memorial Medical Center has one of the best rates of mothers avoiding serious complications during childbirth in New York and the nation.

UMMC's severe maternal morbidity (SMM) rate for births to all mothers is 0.09 percent, compared to 1.8 percent for New York and a 1.4-percent rate nationwide.

SMM includes unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman’s health, according to the CDC.

The rate for UMMC is based on 2,341 deliveries from 2014 through 2017.

Dr. Tara Gellasch, chief medical officer for UMMC, and a physician at Batavia's Women Care Center, said UMMC's rating reflects the hospital's commitment to quality care and the support of the Rochester Regional Health system.

"Due to a myriad of potential conditions that can increase risk, maternal mortality is a growing concern in New York State and throughout the country," Gellasch said. "At United Memorial Medical Center, our providers and staff are trained to identify patients at risk so we can work with our Rochester Regional Health experts in high-risk obstetrics to provide these patients with the prenatal care they need.

"Our team is proud that we have kept maternal mortality rates consistently low and, as we do in all areas of care, we continue to evaluate our work and find ways to raise the bar for the future."

The severe maternal morbidity rate "is a composite measure of things that can go wrong at the hospital before, during or after delivery – heart attacks, strokes, blood transfusions, hysterectomies and other perilous emergencies that can permanently harm or even kill a new mother," reported USA Today.

Because the SMM rate is especially a concern for black mothers, the newspaper also reported on the rate and deaths for black mothers at UMMC during the study period.

The rate of episiotomy, an incision made in the vagina to assist during difficult births but not recommended by most health care experts, is 1.2 percent at UMMC compared to 7.8 percent at hospitals in 13 other states. 

The cesarean rate at UMMC is 18.5 percent compared to a national rate, among hospitals that report the rate -- some do not disclose it -- is 19.9 percent.

March 18, 2019 - 12:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in unemployment, jobs, economy, news, notify.

While Genesee County's unemployment rate jumped to 5.0 percent in January it was still a point-and-a-half lower than a year earlier for the same month.

The Department of Labor released the county's unemployment rate on Friday.

January's unemployment rate is traditionally one of the highest rates of any month in the year and last year it was 6.4 percent.

In December, the local rate was 4.1 percent.

There were 30,000 local residents reported in the labor force for January of this year compared to 29,500 the previous January.

Of those 30,000, 28,500 had jobs compared to 27,600 with jobs the previous year.

The number reported without work but seeking employment dropped from 1,900 to 1,500.

As for the number of private-sector jobs in the county, there were 16,300 reported in January compared to 16,200 the previous year.

March 15, 2019 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, notify.

With each budget revision of the Batavia City School District budget for 2019-2020, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski gets a little closer to trimming $750,000 in spending.

He said school officials are also hoping state aid will increase for the year so the district can keep the property tax levy from growing more than 4.69 percent.

In the latest revision, Rozanski has penciled in $51,118,155 in spending.

He expects about $25 million in state aid, though hoping for more, and local revenue of more than $27.4 million. That would include spending $3.1 million in fund balance with a tax levy of $20,608,000.

But that tax levy amount would mean an increase of 8.78 percent, well above the legal limit of the state's property tax law.

Over three revisions, Rozanski has already trimmed off more than $500,000 but he still needs to find enough savings to get the levy down to $19,834,000, or lower.

A levy under that amount would allow the budget to pass on a simple majority and ensure district property owners would be eligible for a tax rebate from the state in the fall.

A Tuesday's school board meeting, Rozanski said administrators and department chairs found $166,000 in purchases that could be canceled or delayed.

The district will also be able to save $120,000 by letting positions stand vacant after staff retirements.

When asked by a board member why the positions weren't being filled, Rozanski said, "We need to look at things a little bit differently in how we're operating so we're looking for savings."

Those are the kind of cuts Rozanski continues to look for in the budget. He said he doesn't anticipate any significant program cuts.

Overall, the school district expects to cut spending by more than $2.8 million but $2.1 million of that spending came from a statewide bond initiative five years ago that allowed school districts through the state to improve technology-related infrastructure. The cut in revenue and expenditure offset each other as the program comes to a close.

The other $750,000 that must be cut is the result of an NYS Comptroller audit a few years ago that found the school district was estimating revenue correctly but underestimating expenditures in its annual budgets. This was leading to a growing fund reserve. The reserve had become 7 or 8 percent of overall expenditures when it shouldn't be more than 4 percent. That money, the report noted, should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

The district had a reserve fund for debt service but the Comptroller said debt service should be paid out of the general fund so, over the past two years, the district has been transferring money from the debt service fund to the general fund. The debt service fund is now tapped out, hence the need to cut $750,000 in expenses.

March 15, 2019 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Alabama.

Kendra Kenyon, 22, (pictured left) and Dominic Beck, 23, (pictured below right) both of Batavia, no addresses noted, were among 12 people arrested recently by the Wyoming County Drug Task Force and accused of selling and/or manufacturing drugs throughout Wyoming County over the past year or so. Kenyon and Beck were the only defendants from Genesee County arrested in the sweep.

On March 13, Kenyon was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree. It is alleged that Kenyon and Beck agreed to sell suboxone to an individual in the Village of Attica on Feb. 8. Both allegedly travelled to Attica with the intentions of selling the drug to another subject at which time they were arrested by Task Force Members and Wyoming County Probation officers who were waiting for them when they arrived to sell the drugs.

Kenyon is currently in the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail, while Beckwho was arrested on the same charges March 8, has since posted bail. 

The Wyoming County Drug Task Force is a multi-agency unit with members from the Sheriff’s Office, Warsaw, Perry, Attica, and Arcade Police Departments, which all participate.

Tonya Lee Buzzell, 36, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with: third-degree bail jumping; false personation; violation of the Family Court Act; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Buzzell was located in Erie County and arrested on March 13 on four warrants then turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Following her arraignment in Genesee County Family Court, she was released on her own recognizance. Next she was arraigned in Batavia City Court regarding the false personation charge and released on her own recognizance. Afterward, she was jailed in lieu of $1,500 bail on the criminal possession of a controlled substance charge and $10,000 bail on the third-degree bail jumping charge. Additional charges may be pending. She is due in city court April 24. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Sharnice Shantell Gibson, 27, of Frank Street, Medina, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated -- with a passenger less than 16 years of age; DWI; two counts of endangering the welfare of a child; and loud exhaust. Gibson was arrested March 14 on Alleghany Road in Alabama following a complaint of an erratic driver. She was arraigned in Town of Alabama Court and jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. She is due in Town of Alabama Court on April 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Jamie Leigh Ayala, 39, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny. Ayala was arrested at 6:29 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Palm Island Indoor Water Park on Park Road in Batavia after allegedly stealing and preventing the return of a wallet containing three credit cards and other personal documents while at the water park. Ayala is due in Batavia Town Court on April 4 to answer the charges. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

March 15, 2019 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
polkleonamug2019.jpg
       Leona Polk

A 39-year-old resident of West Main Street Road, Batavia, has been arrested and accused of selling a quantity of methadone to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force on two occasions.

Leona J. Polk is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance 4th, a Class C felony.

Polk was arraigned in Genesee County Court on Thursday and given her status as a lifelong Batavia resident and her lack of any prior criminal record, she was released on her own recognizance. 

She was arrested March 8 and held without bail until her appearance before Judge Charles Zambito on Thursday.

She is accused of making the sales on June 17 and 18.

March 14, 2019 - 11:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

The sentencing of Samual Blackshear, the Batavia teenager who shot murderer Nathaniel Wilson in the leg after Wilson had stabbed Terry J. Toote outside a residence on Central Avenue, was delayed again today because his attorney received information that could effect Blackshear's eligibility for youthful offender status.

Blackshear entered a guilty plea in November to a single count of criminal possession of a weapon.

The plea agreement, which satisfied an indictment that included counts of attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and two counts of criminal possession in the second degree, came with the promise that Judge Charles Zambito would consider granting the then 17-year-old youthful offender status. That would seal his court and criminal record in this case; the defendant is then never required to disclose the conviction to colleges or on job applications.

In preparing for sentencing, James Hinman did not receive a victim's statement from Wilson and did not believe such a statement existed.

Today, he learned that while Wilson did not make a victim's impact statement, he did make statements during his interview for his own pre-sentence investigation, that could have a bearing on the Blackshear case. Hinman asked for time to review those statements.

The content of Wilson's statements was not revealed in court.

In defending Blackshear, Hinman has maintained that Blackshear acted to protect the lives of people at the scene of May 17 murder. While the justification defense might have swayed a jury on the assault charges, Hinman did not dispute that Blackshear came into possession of a handgun he wasn't licensed to carry.

The gun allegedly came from Jennifer Urvizu-Hanlon, 48, then a local businesswoman, who did have a license for the gun. Her case is still pending.

Blackshear's case was continued to 3:30 p.m., March 2.

Even if granted youthful offender status, Blackshear could still be sent to prison for up to four years, or Zambito could put him on probation immediately.

Wilson, who admitted to second-degree murder, was sent to prison for a minimum of 20 years.

March 14, 2019 - 10:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, notify, pembroke.

A Pembroke-area resident, whose name has not yet been released by local law enforcement, was killed this afternoon in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer on Main Road near the county line.

The accident was reported at 3:06 p.m. in the area of 352 Main Road.

First responders reported a large debris field. Mercy Flight helicopters were put on ground standby but soon canceled after medics arrived on scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries and was taken by Mercy EMS to UMMC for evaluation.

The driver of the SUV was westbound when it crossed the center line and struck the truck driver's-side-to-driver's-side. The SUV was heavily damaged in the accident.

Assistant Chief Ed Mileham, Indian Falls fire, said it was one of the worst accident scenes he's responded to in the 37 years he's been a volunteer firefighter.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 15: The name of the driver killed in the crash is Wayne A. Striewing, 54, of Pembroke. Striewing was driving a 2017 Lexus NX2 westbound on Route 5 when the vehicle crossed the centerline, entering the eastbound lane. Investigators have yet to determine why Striewing's vehicle cross the centerline. The Lexus struck a 2016 Peterbilt tractor-trailer operated by Raymond L. Bennett, 56, of Winona, Mo. 

The crash is being investigated by Deputy James Stack, Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Sgt. Andrew Hale, Sgt. Jason Saile, Investigator Chris Parker, Investigator Chad Minuto, and Chief Deputy Joseph Graff. Assisting at the scene were the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit, Department of Environmental Conservation, Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department, Indian Falls Volunteer Fire Department, East Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department, Mercy EMS, and Coroner Jeff McIntyre.

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