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January 16, 2019 - 1:09pm

A 17-year-old male who lives on Cherry Street in Batavia is charged with second-degree harassment. At 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, Batavia police investigated an incident at Batavia High School involving a student who allegedly had unwanted physical contact against a staff member. The youth was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court and is due there Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Shadow Star Jonathan, 24, of Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with second-degree assault. He was arrested at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 10 for allegedly assaulting another person at 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 on Sandhill Road, Alabama. He was arraigned in Alabama Town Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail. He is to return to Alabama Town Court on Feb. 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Diehl, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

James Arthur Daggar, 64, of Batavia Elba Townline Road, is charged with: DWI; aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; operating without a driver's license; refusal to take a breath test; and failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign. At 4:02 p.m. on Jan. 15, Daggar was arrested following a motor-vehicle accident investigation. The accident on Alleghany Road (Route 77) resulted in minor injuries and only Dagger was transported to UMMC, where he was treated. Traffic tickets were issued and the defendant is to appear in Alabama Town Court on Feb. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Ronnie Joe Flinchum, 59, Mill Street, Le Roy, is charged with failure to appear. Flinchum was arrested at 11:39 a.m. on Jan. 14 on a bench warrant for failure to appear on a prior charge of third-degree assault. The defendant was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail in lieu of $1,000 cash or bond. Flinchum is to reappear in city court on Jan. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Mehmet Kahraman Dilek, 43, of Meadowbrook Drive, Rochester, was arrested on Jan. 15 on a warrant out of Batavia City Court for failure to appear. Dilek was arraigned at 7:30 p.m. at jailed with inspecified bail. The defendant is due back in city court this afternoon (Jan. 16). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

January 16, 2019 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Coffee Press, news, downtown, batavia, business, notify.

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When there were no immediate takers for an empty storefront Derek Geib owned on Jackson Street, he started to think about what he could do with the space and what Downtown Batavia needed.

Geib, who now qualifies as a serial entrepreneur, having been an owner in Matty's Pizza, Main Street Coffee, Bourbon & Burger Co. (currently), and Casa del Taco, decided he should bring back what downtown has missed for a few years -- a community coffee shop.

"I fixed up all the apartments upstairs and I had this space for rent but there were no bites, so I figured I might as well try to make the most of it," Geib said. "I figured it seemed like something we're missing and what we needed."

Since buying the building at 13 Jackson St., Geib said he has put his own money into renovations -- no subsidies, he points out -- and he used his own money to turn what was most recently a Mexican restaurant, an Indian restaurant, and a frozen yogurt shop into a cozy coffee shop with a place-for-community vibe.

The newspaper theme is also locally inspired. Longtime residents remember Marshall's newsstand, which occupied a couple of storefront locations on Jackson from 1921 to 1999. Geib said the name of the coffee shop and the decor is an homage to years two men named Arthur H. Marshall, father and son, who sold newspapers, magazines, and paperback books on Jackson, including at 11 Jackson, where Bourbon & Burger is now.

Barely open a week, the word has already gotten out and The Coffee Press is attracting a crowd.

"Yes, it's amazing, the support we've had from friends and family," Geib said. "And you know, now I don't know half the people coming in. I's just people spreading the word. It's really nice. I'd like this to be known in Batavia as the hometown coffee shop."

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January 15, 2019 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county parks, news, county highway, notify.

Under a budget amendment resolution recommended for approval by the Public Service Committee on Monday, Paul Osborn, the county's park supervisor will become deputy superintendent of the County Highway Department.

Osborne will be responsible for both the county's parks and for maintenance of all county buildings in his new role.

The move is possible because the county's supervisor of buildings and grounds, Terry Ross, is retiring.

That position is being eliminated from the budget. A new senior building maintenance mechanic position is being created. That position will be part-time and will be filled by Ross.

The annual salary of the new deputy highway superintendent position will be $74,000, effective Jan. 28.

While the budget must be amended to shift the allocation of expenses, there is no additional expenditure for the county.

On other highway department resolutions recommended for approval by the committee:

  • Funding a $184,000 consulting and design agreement, funded by a federal grant, with Barton & Loguidice, for construction of a new Pratt Road Bridge over the Tonawanda Creek.
  • Acceptance of a state grant of $18,483.37 for culvert replacements.
  • Purchase of a new 2019 F-750 dump truck body from Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester at a cost not to exceed $162,897.73. Previously, the Legislature had approved a budget expenditure for this item of $165,000.
  • Purchase of a new Ford F-150 pickup truck from Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester at a cost not to exceed $32,706. Previously, the Legislature approved a Road Machinery Fund with a truck purchase authorized for up to $33,313.
  • Purchase of a new 14,000-pound capacity lift from Rotary Lift in Madison, Ind., at a cost not to exceed $43,065.32. In the 2019 budget, $59,000 was set aside for this item.
  • Set a new fee schedule for use of park pavilions and rooms:
    • Genesee County Park pavilions A, B, S, and E, $70; Pavilion D, $125; pavilions B1, B2, S3, E1, E2, F, G, H; and Fleming, $30;
    • DeWitt Recreation Area: Pavilion 1, $100; Pavilion 2 $125, and Pavilion 3, $30;
    • Interpretive Center: Discover Zone, $50, Activity Room, $150; Entire building (weekends only) $300; special event fee, $250.
  • ACORNS is donating $5,677 to the county for a Student Conservation Association internship. ACORNS is also donating a dolly and cabinet to the County Park.
  • ACORNS is seeking approval for its annual fall 5K/10K race and walk in the County Park on Oct. 6.
January 15, 2019 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Joseph Marranco, no age provided, of Batavia, was arrested and charged with petit larceny on Jan. 6. That day SP Batavia troopers were dispatched to a local motel in the Town of Batavia for a larceny complaint. While en route to the complaint, troopers allegedly observed Marranco riding his bicycle on Main Street in the City of Batavia carrying a flat-screen television that was tucked underneath his arm. Further investigation revealed that Marranco was recently at the same motel and claimed that a motel guest stated he could borrow the motel's television. After his arrest he was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and put in jail on $1,000 cash bail.

Cody J. Wenner, 28, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing and third-degree attempted assault. Wenner was arrested after a disturbance that occured at almost 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Walnut Street. He was arraigned in city court and held on $2,500 cash or bond. He is due back in city court on Jan. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

William T. Hughes, 62, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. On Jan. 13, troopers out of SP Batavia were dispatched to a domestic dispute in the Town of Batavia. Upon arrival troopers determined the victim was grabbed and threatened with physical harm by Hughes. They also observed property damage at the residence. Hughes was arrested then arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $500 cash bail. An order of protection was issued for the victim.

Jennifer Sue Davis, 39, of Webber Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with: DWI -- with a previous offense; aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; following too closely; and refusal to take a breath test. On Jan. 11, following an investigation into a two-car accident at 6 p.m. on Route 63 in the Village of Oakfield, Davis was arrested. It is alleged that Davis was driving while intoxicated and while possessing a conditional driver's license and that she rear-ended another vehicle. Davis was arraigned in Oakfield Town Court on Jan. 11 and is due to return there at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Matthew Clor.

Joseph William Freeman, 34, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; unlicensed operator; uninsured motor vehicle; failure to use designated lane; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. He was arrested at 4:18 p.m. on Jan. 8 on Jackson Street in the city. The charges all stem from a traffic stop wherein it is alleged that Freeman was operating a motor vehicle on Ellicott Street at the intersection with Jackson Street and made an illegal right-hand turn onto Jackson Street. During a lawful search, several items of drug paraphernalia were allegedly discovered. He was released on bail and transported to Orleans County Jail on an active warrant out of that county. Freeman is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer James DeFreze.

Quamane J. Santiago, 20, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of second-degree harassment. He was arrested (date not specified) for allegedly having physical contact with two separate female victims during a disturbance that occurred at 6:05 a.m. on Dec. 1 on Walnut Street. Santiago was processed and issued an appearance ticket for this afternoon (Jan. 15) in city court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Klimjack, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Brian Keith Dyer, 52, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal tampering in the third degree. Dyer was arrested following a landlord-tenant dispute which occurred on North Street at 2 a.m. Jan. 5. Dyer was processed at Batavia Police Department and released on an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court this afternoon (Jan. 15). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

January 15, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, notify.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 10 p.m. for freezing drizzle, which could create a glaze of ice accumulation on roadways and walkways.

The weather service warns of potentially hazardous conditions, especially on untreated roads, particularly during the evening commute.

January 14, 2019 - 9:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, jennifer serrano, Darien, fatal hit-and-run.

An evidentiary hearing that grew testy at times was held in Genesee County Court this afternoon in the case of Jennifer L. Serrano.

The 48-year-old who lives on Charles Street in Irving is charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Connor Lynskey and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. She remains in jail on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of Aug. 11 that an intoxicated Serrano struck and killed Lynskey, of Hinckley, on Sumner Road in Darien but didn't stop to help or call the police. Lynskey was reported missing that night after the Jason Aldean concert and officers patrolled the area, including Sumner Road, but nobody saw Lynskey or any evidence of an accident.

The next morning, Deputy Richard Schildwaster, checking Sumner Road, found debris in the roadway and when he got out of his vehicle and looked around, he found Lynskey's body in a ditch.

How Serrano first came to the attention of Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning was part of the testimony given at what is known as a Huntley hearing to determine what will be admitted into evidence. It is believed that Henning encountered Serrano after the fatal hit-and-run had occurred.

Under questioning from District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Henning said at 12:56 a.m. he was traveling northbound on Route 77 heading to the county jail with a male who had just been arraigned in Darien Town Court on a criminal mischief charge.

Henning said he noticed a white Jeep Wrangler backing out of a residential driveway and it was stationary on the eastside of the roadway. 

Under questioning from one of two defense lawyers present, Henning later noted that when he spotted the Jeep he was traveling 55 to 60 miles an hour in a 55-mph zone. Traffic was moderate that evening, he said, due to the concert ending at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center not long before.

If Serrano's vehicle had stayed on the shoulder, he said he would have driven past her. But suddenly the Jeep pulled onto northbound 77 right in front of the deputy's vehicle and Henning said he had no reason to anticipate the Jeep's action and did not slow down.

Instead, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a collision and swerved into the southbound lane of 77, where "fortunately, no cars were coming."

Defense Attorney Frank LoTiempo asked if the soon-to-be-inmate in the backseat of the patrol vehicle was injured in the violent slamming on of brakes and if injuries were reported. Henning said he recalls some part of the arrestee "moving forward and some contact was made" with the divider between the front and rear seats, but no injuries were sustained, thus none reported.

"Were there skid marks?" LoTiempo asked.

"I didn't look," Henning said.

Upon further questioning, Henning noted that he took no pictures at the scene and could not recall which driveway the Jeep had backed out of.

LoTiempo asked that the name of the male in Young's custody at the time be determined and provided to the defense in case they decide to interview him about what he saw or heard.

Next, Henning said he turned on his emergency lights and pulled behind the Jeep, which pulled over after a couple hundred feet and stopped.

He said he approached the driver, whom he identified in court as Serrano, who sat in beige pants and an orange hoodie, shackled, at the defense table, her dark hair up in a coarse braid, reading glasses propped on her head. Serrano smiled a couple of times at three family members in the gallery; she largely seemed dazed during the hearing.

Henning said she had trooper stickers on her windows and he asked her about them, and she replied that some members of her family were retired from law enforcement.

The reason she was pulled over -- pulling out suddenly into traffic -- would have been simply a traffic violation -- moving from lane unsafely -- until Henning suspected Serrano was impaired. He said Serrano told him she was returning from the Silver Lake area and he observed she had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speach and he detected the strong odor of alcohol on her breath.

He asked her to exit the vehicle and when she did she "misjudged the depth of the ground" and got off balance, but used the door to steady herself and was able to "stagger" to the rear of the vehicle by using it to "keep from swaying back and forth" while he talked with her.

Henning testified that he activated his body camera when he approached Serrano and that footage would also show Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

LoTiempo asked the deputy if he had the body cam on the entire time during his shift. Henning replied that he always had it on his person just not always on, but that it may have been on while he was at Darien Lake.

"She seemed fidgety, uncomfortable and nervous," Henning told Friedman.

"Did you ask her if she had something to drink?" Friedman asked.

"She said she had earlier in the day, then she said she had none," Henning said.

Once Henning knew Serrano was not going to be getting back into the Jeep to drive, a half hour to 40 minutes after encountering the defendant, her Miranda rights (to have an attorney, to not answer questions, etc.) were not read, Henning testified under questioning from LoTiempo. Yet the defense attorney said one of two DVDs entered into evidence today will show that Serrano says she asserts her right to say nothing and still the deputy talks with her about a Breathalyzer test. 

LoTiempo said a "7-10-30" notice was filled out but nothing was noted about the deputy asking her about drinking.

Next up to testify was Deputy Ryan Young, who spoke about his assignment Aug. 12 -- to take two deputies to the Buffalo Airport so they could travel for training then go to 23 Opal Court in Amherst. That's where the defendant's sister Mary Brillhart lives. He was to make sure Serrano's Jeep, which was parked in the garage, stayed in the garage.

Young said he got there about 4:30 a.m. and waited three hours until Sheriff's Investigator Christopher Parker got there with a search warrant.

At about 7:25, Young, Investigator Parker and two officers from the Amherst Police Department converged at the property. Young said he approached the "man door" on the side of the garage, saw Serrano inside the garage and activated his body cam; he asked her to open the door, whereupon she opened the overhead garage door. Young said he saw that the damage to the Jeep was consistent with the damage specified in the hit-and-run report.

Parker, according to Young, asked Serrano if she knew why law enforcement was there.

"I imagine you found my (suicide) note at my house," Serrano replied.

After Serrano was arrested her Miranda rights were read to her.

Young testified that she subsequently asked him to retrieve reading glasses from the house for her and flip-flops from the Jeep, and when he got the latter, he found a bottle of clonazapam in plain view. Young drove her silently on a 40-minute ride to the Genesee County Jail. Once there, he asked her how many of the pills she had taken; "one" she said. "Not enough to overdose?" he asked. "No, that was the plan," Serrano replied.

Young told the court that he was concerned about what amount of the drug she had in her system because she was being processed into jail.

Sanchez asked if Serrano was asked questions after her Miranda rights were read.

Young testified that a few were, such as "How can I reach your sister?" "What is her (sister's) first name?" "Does she know what happened?" "Did you leave the note inside or outside your house?"

Sanchez raised issues about the "affirmative questions" Serrano had been asked while interacting with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office personnel. The DA objected and asked what "affirmative questions" were and said the questions speak for themselves and it is not for Deputy Young to classify them in a particular way because the defense asks him to. The judge sustained the objection.

Sanchez asked if Young's body cam was on the whole time that day.

"I recall that I turned the camera off when I went to use the bathroom," Young deadpanned.

The question of when the defense counsel "attaches" to Serrano was debated in this Huntley hearing. Was it at the time she retained attorney Michael Caffery for a misdemeanor DWI arraignment in Darien Town Court? Or was it after that DWI, or once the hit-and-run fatal were suspected of being connected to the arrest made by Henning when LoTiempo and Sanchez were hired?

The defense then called its sole witness, attorney Caffery, who testified he was retained for $500 and met with Serrano at the jail. After speaking with dispatch about damage to the Jeep, he thought there was more to the case than a misdemeanor DWI.

Caffery, Serrano and "a third party" -- a woman who had been a passenger in Serrano's vehicle -- subsequently met at the Tim Hortons in Derby (Erie County).

"What was said?" Friedman asked.

That prompted the defense to object because they specifically wanted to limit Caffery's testimony to the fact that he had been retained for the misdemeanor DWI and that there was property damage to the Jeep.

LoTiempo argued -- with hands on hips, then his right hand jabbing the air with the forefinger and pinkie sticking out belligerently -- that the conversation was covered by attorney-client privilege and therefore off limits for cross-examination.

Friedman rejected his assertion, saying that Caffery is a witness that he has the right to cross-examine and that the presence of a third party negates the attorney-client privilege argument.

Judge Zambito overruled the objection and called for the witness to answer the question. LoTiempo -- hanging his head toward the floor dejectedly as he sat sideways at the defense table, his fist in a knot -- reared up to renew his argument.

The heated scenario prompted the judge to call the lawyers into his chambers for a 10-minute recess.

It seemed to tax the victim's parents, who had sat throughout the proceedings with great poise along with three other adults in the front row.

The mother began to cry as she briefly exited the gallery, sobbing halfway down the aisle. She returned composed.

The issues of Caffery's attorney-client privilege and what was said at Tim Hortons were not revisited by Friedman after court resumed.

The case is next on the docket for 1:45 p.m. on March 13.

Previously:

January 14, 2019 - 10:31am
posted by Virginia Kropf in news, GLOW Women March, batavia, notify.

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The Women’s March which took place in Washington, D.C., in 2017 has created interest among women in Genesee County.

On Saturday, Erica O’Donnell, of Batavia, Kristie Miller of Darien and Dorothy Avery, of Bergen, have organized an event called “Women March,” featuring a march, speakers and informational booths by various nonprofit groups. The march will begin at 10 a.m. in Jackson Square, where music will be provided by the Women’s Resistance Choir from the GLOW region. 

The march is a family friendly event, Miller said, designed after the original march in Washington, D.C., and then was copied in cities like New York City, Seneca Falls, Buffalo and Rochester.

“A lot of people from the Batavia area traveled to the march in Seneca Falls,” Miller said.

“Last year, a mutual friend, Dorothy Avery, got a school bus to take women to Seneca Falls, and we said, ‘We can do this here,’ ” O’Donnell said. “You hear in the media about these events geared to the big cities, and we wanted to make one available for rural women.”

“We wanted an event which dealt with issues facing women in our community,” Miller said.

“Typically, if you live in the GLOW region, you have to travel to Buffalo or Rochester for a lot of things,” O’Donnell said. “But the experiences of people who live in those cities are different from the people who live in the GLOW region.”

After organizing in Jackson Square, the women will march down Center Street to Ellicott, then Liberty to Main and the City Centre, where speeches will continue and nonprofit organizations will have information available.

Participants will include Diana Kastenbaum; Members of Woke GCC; Lauren Jimerson of Fairport, project manager of Iroquois White Corn Project; Tamara Leigh with Out Alliance of Rochester; Carly Fox with Worker Justice Center of New York; Debora McDell-Hernandez with Planned Parenthood of Batavia; Michelle Schoneman of East Aurora, founder of Citizens Against Collins; ChaRon Sattler-Leblanc with Moms Demand Action from Rochester and the Genesee region; and Vanessa Glushefski, deputy comptroller for the City of Buffalo.

O’Donnell said she thinks the event will be good for the city. Other marches across the country have been huge, she said. When she went to the march in Seneca Falls, hotels were all booked and stores sold out of everything.

“This is going to be a year-round effort to empower and support women,” O’Donnell said. “We are an organization, not just a march.”

Sisters, daughters, mothers and friends are invited to join the march.

Photo: Erica O’Donnell, left, and Kristie Miller are co-leaders of a Women’s March on Saturday morning. The march will begin at 10 a.m. in Jackson Square and feature speakers, a march to the City Centre, and information from nonprofit groups.

January 11, 2019 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shooting for a Cure, basketball, news, notify, pembroke.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: Last night was another new record for 'Shooting for a Cure." The event raised $30,000.

In its eighth year, Pembroke's "Shooting for a Cure" girls basketball reached a significant milestone Thursday night, topping $100,000 raised for cancer research.

The total amount raised this year hasn't been released yet but Mike Wilson said last night that organizers knew more than $19,000 had raised, putting the cumulative total over that $100K mark.

"These girls this year, they attacked it. I can’t say enough about this team," said Wilson, who was head coach the first year of the fundraiser in 2011. "They lead the charge. They really do. They’re the ones out pounding the pavement. They’re the ones out in Batavia, and on Transit Road, and Rochester, and Buffalo, and they’re on social media using it the right way for all those good things.

"They have really spread our mission. I’m so proud of this group. They’re a young group but they’re so mature in the compassion and love they have for the people in our community. It’s awesome."

Thursday night was also the night the community could celebrate a new job for Brianna Johnson.

It was Johnson who, in 2011, while on a team bus returning from a softball game, said the school should do something to support Coach Ron Funke's wife, Toni Funke. She and teammates talked with Wilson and the idea for Shooting for a Cure was born.

Today, Johnson starts a new job on the cancer research team at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo.

"For Brianna to have that idea and then to move on to something in the medical field, doing cancer research, it’s come full circle," Wilson said. "They just hired her. Her intake meeting is tomorrow, so when we’re down presenting our check to Candace Johnson and the Roswell staff, Brianna is going to be there signing up to become a member of that team.

"They’re going to find a cure for cancer with Brianna on that team. She’s so passionate about this. I’m very proud of her."

As for the game, Notre Dame beat Pembroke 50-31.

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January 10, 2019 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Child Advocacy Center, Justice for Children, news, notify.

The Child Advocacy Center should be a place where children who have been physically and sexually abused feel safe and cared for when they visit.

That means the center needs to have a home-like feeling, not a clinical atmosphere, said Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

While that has always been the goal of the center, Asmus-Roth said she and the staff and the board of directors think it's time to renovate their office location at 301 E. Main St., Batavia, to help make the center more friendly and welcoming.

"We want this environment to feel like the kind of place that you would go to get away from all the worries of the world," Asmus-Roth said during an open house Wednesday unveiling plans to remodel the building.

The First Presbyterian Church of Batavia donates the two-story building to Justice for Children and the agency, supported by grants and donations, has a long-term lease.

When it became clear a few years ago that the center's old location on Bank Street was no longer adequate, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia took on the major financial goal over five years of raising funds to support the center's move to a new building. When the Presbyterian church made its building available, the center moved into the new location and decided to forego building a new structure. The Kiwanis Club raised $190,000, which will go a long way to covering the cost of the more than $250,000 in renovations to the current location.

Asmus-Roth said the Justice for Children Foundation is seeking additional donations from the community in order to complete the project.

The renovations will first create all new office space on the second floor. That will enable the first floor to be dedicated entirely to caring for children and their families in times of crisis.

"We want families coming in to feel like they're coming to visit a friend or relative instead of coming for a doctor's appointment," Asmus-Roth said.

To that end, the renovations will include installing a wraparound porch outside and a waiting room inside. There will be more private meetings rooms as well.

Since construction and visiting with children who have been abused aren't a good match, during the first-floor renovations, clients will be seen in the Albion and Warsaw offices or in space being made available in the church next door.

More than 20 years ago, if a child was abused, if they were believed, the investigation and prosecution involved multiple examinations and interviews and multiple locations. That, in itself, Asmus-Roth said, was traumatic, and by the nature of things, could lead to inconsistencies in stories that made prosecution harder.

Now, because of the center, all of the professionals involved in a case -- attorneys, investigators, caseworkers, victim's advocates, and doctors, are all in one place and can be seen in one visit.

The work of the center is important, Asmus-Roth said, because she remembers what she heard in a previous job from adults who had been abused as children. They were often ignored or told they were making it up.

Today, she said, child abuse is less frequent, but because of greater awareness more often reported.

"Being here enables all of us to make sure that no kid who walks through our doors is going to say 50 years from now, 'no one believed me. No one supported me. I felt like I was all alone,' " Asmus-Roth said.

"I go back to that sense of wanting this to be the shelter in the storm. It's important to me that the children in our community know that no matter what happens outside when they come here, they'll be believed and they'll be supported."

For more about the center or to make a donation, visit www.justiceforchildrenadvocacycenter.org.

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Kathleen Kogut, architect and project manager, from LaBella Associates, and Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

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The staff of the Child Advocacy Center: Theresa Asmus-Roth, Brenda McQuillan -- mental health therapist, Amanda Czworka -- mental health therapist, Breana Crane -- victim assistant, Dave Libick -- family advocate, and Jessica Mitchell -- forensic interviewer.

January 10, 2019 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, batavia, news, notify.
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    Torres-Acevedo

New charges have been filed against a 22-year-old Batavia resident who is accused of taking an underage girl away from her home in Bergen on Nov. 29 and driving her to Pennsylvania.

Guillermo Jose Torres-Acevedo has been charged with custodial interference in the first degree, criminal contempt, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The Nov. 29 incident prompted an amber alert for the girl. She was later located, allegedly with Torres-Acevedo at a Walmart in Mansfield, Pa., through a geolocation ping of her mobile phone.

Torres-Acevedo was taken into custody by authorities in Pennsylvania without incident and the girl was returned to her parents.

The girl and Torres-Acevedo knew each other and Torres-Acevedo had already been arrested in connection with his relationship with the girl and issued a stay-away order, which he allegedly violated, leading to a criminal contempt charge.

He's also been charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle for allegedly stealing the Dodge Journey he is accused of using to transport the girl.

Torres-Acevedo remains in jail without bail.

January 9, 2019 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy school district, Le Roy, news, notify.

Press release:

At last night’s Jan. 8th regular meeting, the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education acknowledge receipt of the formal resignation of Board Member Lawrence Bonacquisti.

In Mr. Bonacquisti’s letter he noted, “I feel that being away for months at a time plus plans for extended vacations is not in the best interests of the community and the students whom I represent. It has been a real pleasure sharing Board efforts with such a fine staff, administration, and fellow colleagues.”

Mr. Bonacquisti has spent 78 years of his life in public education as either a student, teacher, coach, adjunct professor, mentor, and/or board member. He retired in 1993 after a 36-year teaching career at York Central School District, only to then continue on at Genesee Community College as an adjunct professor teaching Psychology. In 1997, Mr. Bonacquisti also supervised student teachers as a senior clinical supervisor at SUNY Geneseo.

Mr. Bonacquisti was an Advisory Member of the Genesee Wyoming BOCES Board from 1978 – 2002, and served on the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education from 2003 – 2018. During his time as a Le Roy school board member, Mr. Bonacquisti was selected as the 2014 Al Hawk Award Recipient for his “outstanding contributions to public education and children in his own community.”

Le Roy School Superintendent Merritt Holly stated, “It has been an absolute honor working with Mr. Bonacquisti over the past three years. His knowledge, experience, and passion for students will be sorely missed. On behalf of the Board, we wish Mr. Bonacquisti the best in his extended upcoming travels!”

Lastly, the Board of Education has decided to wait for the board election process to take place in May in order to fill the remainder of Mr. Bonacquisti's two-year term.

January 9, 2019 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, batavia, animal abuse, animal cruelty.

Suspected puppy abuser Brandon Joseph Welch was in Batavia City Court Tuesday afternoon for discovery and pretrial motions in his case.

The 23-year-old, who lived at an apartment on East Main Street in the city at the time of his arrest Oct. 18 (above photo), is charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (for claiming he found the starving puppy); torturing/injuring/not feeding an animal; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog -- all misdemeanors.

He was also charged with making a terroristic threat, a Class D felony, for allegedly threatening to shoot the next police officer who showed up at his home. The status of that charge is unclear because of difficulties the prosecution has had with getting two witnesses, who live out of the area, to travel to Batavia to testify.

That was why bail for the felony was moot at Welch's last court appearance Oct. 25 when City Court Judge Robert Balbick set Welch's bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond solely on the misdemeanors.

At some point, Welch got out on bail; he sat with a buddy at the back of the gallery Tuesday until his case was called after 2:30 p.m. He stood with his private counsel Frank Ciardi before Judge Balbick; Welch was clad in a long-sleeved, medium-blue dress shirt and dark gray pants, his brown hair in a burr cut and beard neatly clipped.

Ciardi told the judge they would like the case "to come to a disposition" (rather than go to trial). 

First District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini said she is not sure of the terms or status of plea negotiations with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and must confer with him about it.

"The sooner we can resolve this the better," Balbick said.

The next court appearance is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29.

The emaciated 9.2-pound pit bull mix pup -- named "Opal" by the Volunteers for Animals at the shelter -- was found roadside by a Good Samaritan in Stafford on Oct. 4. Welch was arrested after a tip to police.

Opal was nursed back to health by vets and volunteers and subsequently adopted.

Three other animals in Welch's care were seized from his home -- a bearded dragon lizard and two other mixed-breed dogs.

Welch is not liable for vet and shelter bills for the animals because he forefeited ownership of them.

Previously:

City resident accused of threatening to shoot cops in case of starving, neglected pup

Suspected puppy abuser gets bail, forfeits pet ownership

January 9, 2019 - 12:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Joshua J. Dibble, 36, no permanent address, (inset photo, right) is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and third-degree burglary. Dibble was arrested and arraigned in Batavia City Court on Jan. 3. He allegedly burglarized a local business and stole about $6,000 worth of property. Bail was set at $10,000 cash or bond. He is due back in city court on Jan. 31. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Ana M. Uribe, 25, of Willow Street, Batavia, (inset photo, left) is charged with three counts of falsely reporting an incident in the second degree, Class E felonies. Uribe was arrested on Jan. 2 following an investigation into an incident at Willow Group, 1 Elizabeth St., Batavia, which occurred at 9:53 a.m. on Nov. 30. On that date, the threat of an impending explosion was called into 9-1-1. Uribe was arraigned in Batavia City Court and is to reappear there Jan. 31. (No mention of bail status.) The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Thad Mart, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Patrick M. Viscuso, 54, of Vernon Avenue, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault. He was arrested following an incident at 4:33 p.m. Dec. 18 on Evans Street in Batavia wherein he allegedly struck another person in the face, fracturing that person's jaw. He was due in city court on Jan. 8 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards.

Steven A. Barclay, 33, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Barclay was located on Ellicott Street and arrested Jan. 7 following a domestic incident that occurred at 3:50 p.m. on Dec. 31 at an apartment on South Main Street in Batavia. Barclay was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Carlton Beardsley, 24, of State Street, Batavia, and Salvatore Schwable, no age or address provided, are charged with petit larceny. At 1:17 p.m. on Dec. 31, the defendants were arrested after allegedly stealing two cans each of Four-Loko (an alcoholic beverage) from Sav-A-Lot. They were issued appearance tickets returnable to city court on Jan. 8 then released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Lindsay Christopher.

January 9, 2019 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, schools, education, NASA, news, notify.

Pembroke students Tuesday had a lot of questions for Astronaut David Saint-Jacques about being a space pioneer and life aboard the International Space Station.

Sixteen students were selected to ask questions and participating the planning of the event and today it all came together after months of preparation -- going back to April of last year -- during an assembly in the school's auditorium.

Saint-Jacques answered questions about what it was like to be in space, how his life inside the space station, what surprised him about going into space, and whether it was fun, along with addressing other topics.

Melissa Smith, a 7th and 8th-grade science teacher, took the lead on setting up the event and said it was a great opportunity to expose the students to things they may not otherwise get to do as part of their school experience. They learned about shortwave radio, the space station, about astronauts and they worked with members of the community to help bring it all together.

"We want to make a relatable experience for them so this was really cool because this isn't something we would necessarily teach in our curriculum, in our class, so it was a way we could go above and beyond what students normally learn," Smith said.

In all, 16 students were selected to ask questions during the eight or nine minutes the station was in position to connect via shortwave with a transmitter.

The ARISS event was managed by an international consortium of amateur radio organizations and space agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at SUNY Buffalo State, and members of the Genesee County Radio Amateurs (GRAM) Club.  Pamela Ware, from Corfu, and member of GRAM, holds an FCC amateur extra license and was the liaison for the team of radio operators who provided hands-on training and experience for Pembroke students. 

January 8, 2019 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

This story is based on audio provided at the courthouse by WBTA's Alex Feig.

Batavia High School student Antwan Odom appeared in Genesee County Court this morning for his arraignment on an indictment filed by the Grand Jury stemming from a summertime fight with his classmate and neighbor, Ray Leach. 

Odom's attorney Frank Housh waived a reading of the indictment and entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client on charges of attempted assault, 1st, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, a Class A misdemeanor.

Odom, 18, allegedly cut Leach during an Aug. 4 altercation on Ross Street.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman indicated the prosecution was ready for trial and motion hearings were scheduled.

Judge Charles Zambito continued bail at $15,000 cash / $30,000 bond without objection.

A temporary order of protection barring Odom from contact with Leach was also continued, however the defense contested that the order should be altered as he claimed it was being used by Batavia High School to prevent Odom from attending.

Housh claims his client’s education is suffering due to practices of BHS and the Batavia City School District, which has in essence expelled Odom, who he says is "falling far behind" in his studies despite being assigned a tutor and attending BOCES.

"He's not getting a good education," Housh said. "And this is happening only because the (school) district has made the determination to protect Ray Leach and punish my client."

Speaking with reporters after today's court proceedings, the defense attorney said he received a letter on behalf of his client from the district explaining that because of the serious nature of the charges, Odom could no longer attend BHS. Leach continues his studies at the high school unabated.

A reply letter pointed out that certain hearings, such as a superintendent's hearing, have to be held before an expulsion can be ordered, with Housh citing #3214 of the NYS Education Law.

Subsequently, Housh received another letter from the school district's attorney, which changed the justification of Odom's ouster to the fact that an order of protection is in place.

"It is extraordinarily rare for a school district to say because there is a stay away order, you can no longer be educated, you have to be expelled," Housh said, noting that he has practiced law 25 years and handled lots of students' cases in many districts.

"What almost always happens is the court makes a determination that the two of them have to stay away from each other at school, so both of them (can get) an education. ... They don't take one student and deny them an education."

The fact that a tutor has been assigned to Odom and he can attend BOCES is not the same as being able to attend the school he has gone to for the last three years; there's no parity, according to Housh.

Judge Zambito said he would consider Housh's argument if it is put in writing, which Housh will do when he files motions in the case. The next court appearance for Odom is sometime in March.

January 7, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, business.

(Above: suspects involved in the weekend burglaries.)

Submitted photos and press release from the Batavia Police Department:

The Batavia Police Department is investigating several burglaries which occurred at different local businesses over the weekend.

The areas where the burglaries took place are Ellicott Street and Jackson Street, Harvester Avenue, Swan Street, Center Street, Apollo Drive and Liberty Street.

The suspects broke windows or kicked in doors to gain entry. Items were taken at some of the businesses but not all. The suspects stole a white 1998 Dodge RAM 2500 diesel (NYREG 65962JX) from one of the businesses and may be operating the vehicle.

Attached are photos of the suspects from one local business and the actual stolen vehicle. It is recommended that business owners remove all cash/valuables prior to closing.

The Batavia Police Department is requesting business owners and citizens to look out for suspicious persons. Please notify the police department IMMEDIATELY if suspicious activities are observed so investigative actions can be taken. 

Anyone with information in reference to the case may contact Detective Eric Hill at 585-345-6373 or the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online here.

No other information will be released on the burglaries at this time due to the ongoing investigations.

(Below: Ellicott and Liberty streets - south.)

(Bottom: Ellicott and Liberty streets - east.)

January 7, 2019 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Bethany, Stafford, bergen, Le Roy, elba.

Mark Daniel Tooley, 35, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, (inset photo, above) is charged with: first-degree sexual abuse; acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17; and first-degree criminal sex act. On Jan. 4, Tooley was arrested on a sealed Grand Jury indictment for allegedly having sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13 on Main Road in Stafford at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24. He was arraigned by Judge Charles Zambito and put in jail with bail set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. He is to reappear in Genesee County Court at a later date. The investigation was handled by Youth Officer Tim Wescott and Youth Officer Howard Carlson.

Nicholas G. Williams, 42, of 3810 W. Main Street Road, Lot 7, Batavia is charged with: felony burglary, 2nd, misdemeanor attempted petit larceny; and felony criminal contempt, 1st. A reported disturbance on Nov. 26 on Lake Street in the Village of Le Roy led to an investigation of Williams. It is alleged that Williams knowingly entered and/or unlawfully remained inside a residence on Lake Street in Le Roy with the intent of committing the crime of petit larceny. Williams is accused of attempting to steal a laptop computer from inside the residence when he was interrupted and fled the scene. Williams was charged with felony criminal contempt in the first degree because it is alleged that a protected person, whom the court ordered him to have no contact with, lived at the residence. Williams was convicted of a prior criminal contempt within the preceding five years. Williams was located in the Genesee County Jail where he was confined due to an alleged parole violation. Williams was arrested on Dec. 12 for the Le Roy charges and arraigned in the Le Roy Town Court and jailed without bail due to multiple prior felony convictions.

Kevin Pietrzykowski, 63, of Stafford (inset photo, left), was arrested by troopers on Jan. 4 for directing a laser at an aircraft, 2nd, which is a misdemeanor. On Jan. 3, troopers responded to the Town of Bergen for a call received from Rochester Airport Air Traffic Control Office on behalf of the National Guard Air Wing for a military helicopter being directed by a laser during night training. According to a spokesman for Troop A in Batavia, the second time the laser was directed at the aircraft, the helicopter pilot put a spotlight on the area it originated from, which helped troopers patrolling the area to find the suspect. Multiple interviews resulted in the arrest of Pietrzykowski on Clinton Street Road, Stafford. Pietrykowski was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Stafford Court in February.

Kevin James Compton, 57, of Clipnock Road, Bethany, is charged with: criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment; two counts of unlawful imprisonment; and two counts of second-degree menacing. Compton was arrested following a domestic incident which occurred at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 on Clipnock Road. It is alleged that Compton threatened two people with a pistol. He was arraigned in Bethany Town Court on Jan. 6 and jailed in lieu of $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond. He is due back in court on Jan. 15. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Howard Wilson, assisted by Deputy Jeremy McClellan.

Ernest Dee Lane, 60, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault. Lane was arrested on Jan. 3 for an incident which occurred at 2:20 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Ellicott Street. He allegedly injured another person during a physical altercation. He is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 8. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Cody J. Wenner, 28, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment. Wenner was arrested Jan. 3 for an incident which occurred at 12:57 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Walnut Street. Wenner allegedly pushed a juvenile to the ground during an altercation. He was released on his own recognizance following arraignment in Batavia City Court. He was due back in City Court on Jan. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

January 7, 2019 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, bergen, notify, Michele Case.

Michele A. Case who, in her last court appearance, invited Judge Charles Zambito to put her in jail will get her wish.

Zambito issued a warrant for her this morning after she failed to appear in court on further proceedings regarding restitution she owes for stealing more than $14,000 from her former employer, HomeCare & Hospice.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman requested the warrant after being informed that she also did not provide her attorney, Public Defender Jerry Ader, a financial statement nor did she make a restitution payment on Jan. 2, which Zambito previously ordered.

"(Considering the other factors and) her rant when she was in court last time where she invited the court to send her to jail because she's not going to make any more restitution payments, I request a warrant," Friedman said.

Ader didn't oppose the warrant but indicated he planned to file an appeal challenging the Genesee County Court's jurisdiction in the restitution case.

The PD has maintained that because Case's probation was served in other counties -- first Erie County than Niagara County, where she presently lives -- Ader maintains that now that she's off probation the local court doesn't have the authority to compel restitution and that the matter should be referred to Niagara County. 

Zambito has ruled previously that he does have jurisdiction and he said the Genesee County Probation Department has indicated it will accept restitution payments from Case under these circumstances.

Case was employed by HomeCare & Hospice when she falsified documents about her patient visits that enabled her to collect more than $14,000 in unearned income. She was convicted at trial twice by a jury (her first conviction was overturned on appeal because of how some evidence was presented at that trial).

January 7, 2019 - 1:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, elba, notify.

A structure fire is reported at 3899 Ridge Road, Elba.

A second alarm sounded.

First responders report a working structure fire.

Elba Fire, Oakfield and Barre dispatched.

UPDATE 1:53 a.m.: It's reportedly an abandoned house. Town of Batavia requested to the scene.

UPDATE 4:11 a.m.: Video and photos added. The structure was vacant. A neighbor called in the fire. It was difficult to fight because it was a dead-end road making it harder to get tankers in and out of the area. 

UPDATE 4:14 a.m.: Elba command informs dispatch that the fire is pretty much out, "just working on some hot spots."

elbafirejan72018.jpg

elbafirejan72018-2.jpg

elbafirejan72018-3.jpg

elbafirejan72018-4.jpg

January 5, 2019 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, notify.
m._condidorio.jpg s._anthony.jpg
 Michelle Condidorio      Shane Anthony
r._pragle.jpg t._powers.jpg
      Robert Pragle       Tyler Powers 

Community tips, following news reports of larcenies in the Robbins Road area of Le Roy, as well as a tip from two of the suspects themselves, helped Le Roy PD officers piece together a case against four Le Roy residents in a scheme to allegedly steal personal property and sell the items for drug money.

Taken into custody were Tyler M. Powers, Robert J. Pragle, Shane C. Anthony, and Michelle A. Condidorio.

A series of larcenies was first reported Wednesday, with more than $20,000 in private property reportedly stolen. Le Roy PD provided a surveillance photo of a suspect and information about the crimes to local media.

On Thursday afternoon, police officers received a complaint of suspicious activity in the area of Robbins Road. Individuals were reportedly seen disposing of items near the property of the caller. The two people then left in a vehicle. 

When police officers arrived, they identified many of the items as those reported as stolen.

A short time later, two subjects arrived at the Le Roy Police headquarters and offered to identify the suspect in the photo provided to news outlets.

Officers determined the person identified by the people at the police station matched the subject in the photo.

As it turned out, based on further investigation by the officers, the two people at the police station appeared to also be involved in the larcenies. Another person was also identified as a suspect in the thefts.

As a result of the investigations, officers obtained a search warrant at a residence shared by the suspects. 

At the residences, officers say they found additional items that had been reported stolen along with crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

During the search, Anthony was also allegedly found in personal possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Charges:

Tyler M. Powers was charged with one count of grand larceny, 3rd, a Class D felony, and one count of criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a Class D felony. Powers was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Robert J. Pragle was charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a Class D felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, a Class A misdemeanor, and one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, a Class A misdemeanor. Pragle was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Shane C. Anthony was charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a Class D felony, and one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Powers was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Michelle A. Condidorio was charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a class D felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Condidorio was jailed on $10,000 bail.

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