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April 29, 2019 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in warrants, news, notify, Wanted.
cassandraelkinswarrantmug2019.jpg victoriagilbertwarrantmug2019.jpg tyannagrrenwarrantmug2019.jpg

Cassandra C. Elkins, age 28, white female, 5’5” 125 lbs., brown hair, green eyes, LKA East Avenue, Springville, NY

Bench Warrant for criminal impersonation 2nd PL 190.25-1 (misdemeanor)  Pembroke Town Court DOW 1/30/17

Victoria H. Gilbert, age 47, white female, 5’5” 130 lbs., blond hair, brown eyes, LKA Oakcrest Drive, Farmingham, MA

Bench Warrant for disorderly conduct PL 240.20-1 (violation) Batavia Town Court DOW 8/21/13

Tyanna D. Green, age 23, black female, 5’4” 130 lbs., black hair, brown eyes, LKA Walnut Street, Batavia, NY

Bench Warrant for violation of probation CPL 410.40 (Felony) Genesee County Court DOW 4/15/19


denzelhallwarrantmug2019.jpg robertpeacheywarrantmug2019.jpg kevinsmithwarrantmug2019.jpg

Denzel T. Hall, age 26, black male, 5’9” 175 lbs., black hair, brown eyes, LKA Atkinson Street, Rochester, NY

Bench Warrant for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd Degree PL 220.16-1 (felony) Genesee County Court  DOW 4/15/19

Robert L. Peachey Jr., age 35, white male, 6’0” 185 lbs., brown hair, brown eyes, LKA Gibson Street, Oakfield, NY

Bench Warrant for aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd  VTL 511-2a2 (misdemeanor) Stafford Town Court DOW 8/27/14

Kevin T. Smith, age 35, white male, 5’9” 220 lbs., brown hair, blue eyes, LKA Buffalo Avenue, Buffalo, NY

Bench warrant for trespass PL 140.05 (violation) Darien Town Court DOW 1/22/19


If you are able to assist the Sheriff's Office in locating these people, the Sheriff's Office asks that you do not approach these people and that you call (585) 343-5000 with information that may assist in locating the suspects.

April 26, 2019 - 9:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

A 43-year-old former correction officer at the Albion Correctional Facility was sentenced this afternoon to six months in Genesee County Jail and 10 years probation after pleading guilty last month to one count of first-degree sexual abuse for a sexual act involving a woman incapable of giving consent.

It is a Class D felony.

Adam H. Brokaw, (inset photo) of Northern Boulevard, Batavia, will also have to register for permanent listing on the Sex Offender Registry, although his (threat) level (for reoffending) won't be determined until midsummer.

The case stems from a party at his house with a theme of "high school reunion" on Friday night, Nov. 10, 2017.

Brokaw and his wife, Ellen, invited several friends, including the victim, who said in court she had been friends with Ellen for about five years and felt safe and comfortable around the Brokaws. When she arrived, she headed downstairs where everyone was at the bar, including some members of law enforcement.

She joined with others in "doing shots." Over the course of the evening, she told police, she drank "an entire bottle" of Goldschläger -- Swiss cinnamon schnapps -- a liqueur that is 87 proof. She got sick and vomited outside over the porch railing. Adam Brokaw, according to court testimony, knew this and knew how incapacitated she was. The victim's children had to be brought over to the Brokaws because their mother was not able at that point to care for them at home.

Later the victim passed out on the couch, unconscious. Before that happened, she was unable to sit up unassisted and she could not keep her eyes open.

Her pants had been unbuttoned by Ellen and Adam "to make her more comfortable" as she slept on the couch, according to statements in the presentencing report.

But her rear end was hanging out and she felt the cold couch, the victim said in court today, as she came in and out of consciousness.

Ellen had gone to bed and Adam, who was himself intoxicated, stayed up to pick up the post-party mess.

At some point in the early morning hours Saturday, she recalls her left leg being swung over the couch and her foot planted on the floor. The victim said she felt a man fondling her breasts and penetrating her vagina with his fingers, then attempting to penetrate her with his penis. She heard the click of a camera and saw a flash. She still hears the heavy breathing.

When she came to, she found her underwear twisted all around. She felt she had been sexually assaulted and woke up Ellen.

"I had to keep your filth on me until I could get to the hospital," the victim said during her victim impact statement before sentencing.

"I sometimes think what if my children had woken up and seen you raping me?"

Ellen Brokaw drove the victim to the hospital.

"There are 20 steps in a rape kit," the victim said ruefully. "Twenty steps."

They poked and prodded and swabbed inside and outside every orafice of her body, gave her tests for sexually transmitted diseases, drew her blood, and bagged her underwear and other clothes for evidence. They scraped under her nails and took a hair sample. They gave her a "Plan B" pill (morning after emergency contraception pill) that made her experience severe uterine cramps.

"I'm still in shock. I am disgusted. You are disgusting," she hissed, adding that once she got home "I couldn't make the shower hot enough or long enough. And afterward, I still felt your filth on me."

"You're a piece-of-shit scumbag who took advantage of me," the victim said, although he took "an oath to protect and serve."

In the aftermath, her life has become a regime of pysch meds for depression and anxiety; a sexless marriage -- for now -- because she has flashbacks and trust issues; the loss of a once-close circle of friends; the loss of her old self, her confidence and sense of self worth; all the anger, the aloneness.

"This stops today," the victim said, vowing to regain her strength and independence.

Before returning to the gallery, she thanked Batavia Police Detective Thad Mart, her therapist, UMMC staff and family members for helping her. She was supported in Genesee County Court by at least 15 people.

Brokaw, who is at least 6'5" and solidly built, with shorn hair, sat at the table and stared frozenly ahead when the victim held forth from the podium. He wore tan pants, black athletic shoes, and a pale persimmon-colored T-shirt. His wife, parents, and one other supporter sat behind him in the gallery.

Next First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini was incredulous that the PSI examiner talks in the report about "the defendant's pain."

She accused Brokaw of attempting to minimize his role in the sexual assault -- by denying he attempted to penetrate her with his penis or that he fondled her breasts, of lying, of portraying himself as a victim, one who has been villified and has become a pariah.

In fact, it was only after DNA tests came back on April 26, 2018 that he admitted to his family that "something happened," Cianfrini said, underscoring her point that by no means did he own up to anything straightaway.

"She was raped and he perpetually lied about it for an extended period of time," Cianfrini said.

At this point, the defense attorney, Matthew Lembke, stood and said it was "improper" for Cianfrini to speak as she was, and that it amounted to her asking that Brokaw be punished for exercising his rights as an American citizen and for adhering to his counsel's advice.

He asked Judge Charles Zambito to strike the First ADA's comments from the record. Zambito declined and said he had no intention of punishing anyone for exercising their rights.

Brokaw shifted in his chair and cupped his chin with one hand and grasped his elbow with the other.

Cianfrini mentioned the glowing letters included in Brokaw's file that speak of his integrity and honor, and reminded the court that this same person ejaculated on the victim: There were seven different areas of the victim's underwear and three areas of her body that tested positive for Brokaw's semen.

A letter said Adam Brokaw is the kind of man who would get up at 2 a.m. to feed a stray kitten. Cianfrini said, and yet, the same man took advantage of "a helpless victim who couldn't get away" in the wee hours that November morning.

"He knows what prison will be like for him," Cianfrini said. "We should send a message that his conduct is reprehensible."

She asked for six months of jail and 10 years probation for Brokaw.

Lembke tried for the better part of an hour to sway the judge against any incarceration, saying his client is a veteran, with a fine record of service in law enforcement. He added that Brokaw's highly unlikely to ever do such a thing again; his chance of recividism is nill.

Lembke also disputed the prosecutor's contention that he acted as he did because "he thought he could get away with it" and said his client knows he should never have behaved as he did. Lembke said Brokaw has never pretended that he did nothing wrong.

"He never blamed anybody or suggested she made things up," Lembke said.

Then he went on about the philosophical struggle of humankind -- wrestling with the eternal questions such as why bad things happen and why good people endure famine, the loss of a child, sexual assaults and unspeakable acts of cruelty. He concluded by saying the answers are never simple because people are complicated.

Brokaw's actions were an aberration, an opportunity seized in the moment, fueled by alcohol.

"There's no denying what happened here is inexcusable," Lembke said. "(The victim's) feelings are right and there's just no excusing it."

Still, Lembke maintained nothing would be served by jail time, only retribution.

His client struggles with his own depression and anxiety since the high-school-reunion-party-gone-wrong, "self-inflicted or not."

"He regrets every minute of it," Lembke said. "He says 'I can't say how sorry I am. I will regret it for the rest of my life.' "

Lembke reminded the court to remember Scripture and to "love the sinner, but hate the sin."

He sought a sentence of probation only.

Zambito said maybe retribution shouldn't be part of a sentence but it's part of life. The community has to have faith in the judicial system. The court is obliged to fashion a sentence that bolsters that faith, and provides justice to all parties to the best of its ability.

"Otherwise the people would resort to self help," Zambito said.

The judge acknowleged Brokaw's military service, his former career in law enforcement, and his family. He said the letters sent to him pleading for lenience and mercy are "not his job."

This case was difficult.

"Alcohol was a factor," Zambito said. "But you allowed this to proceed. Someone came to your house and she trusted you and felt safe. She had to endure a violation, physically, personally, emotionally.

"I don't think you're a monster, but you committed a monstrous act. But you did this and people need to have confidence that there are consequences."

Zambito said he could have sentenced Brokaw to up to seven years in state prison.

Brokaw was led away to jail immediately after signing paperwork. The judge also granted the prosecution's request for two stay away orders of protection for the victim and her husband, which will remain in effect until April 26, 2029.

In the fall, when school begins, the orders can be modified to allow incidental contact at school-sanctioned activities and sports since the couples' children attend the same school and are on at least one sports team together.

Fees totaling more than $1,900 must also be paid by Brokaw, including: $489.69 for restitution; $1,000 to a victims' fund; $300 felony surcharge; $50 DNA fee; $25 for SORA; etc.

"Nobody wins in this situation," the victim said.

April 26, 2019 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rashaad Santiago, batavia, news, notify.


A piece of Godzilla that came from Batavia landed on the doorstep of a Pennsylvania home leading to a hazardous materials team responding to the residence and the police and fire departments evacuating the entire neighborhood around Seneca Street in Fountain Hill, which is outside Bethlehem.

The homeowner apparently forgot he had contributed to a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Godzilla movie, Godzilla Heritage, produced in Batavia by Tim Schiefer and Greg Graves.

One of the rewards for his contribution was a mock body part from Godzilla that was supposed to look like it was frozen.

When the unexpected package arrived, Michael and Tara Conner opened it.

“We opened it and there was a glass jar with a clear liquid inside,” Tara Conner told Andrew Scott, a reporter with the Morning Call. “There was something black floating in the clear liquid. We didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to touch it.”

The return label on the package included the name Greg Graves, which also just happens to be the same name of a U.S. Postal official, which was the only match they found for the name when the Conners searched online. That made them more suspicious so they called 9-1-1.

“We had no idea what this was or who sent it to us," Tara Conner said. "A police officer came, saw the package and agreed it was suspicious. He told us to pack some things and leave our house. And then Hazmat was called in.”

It took a few hours for officials in Fountain Hill to piece things together and discover the jar contained nothing harmful.

The monster part was made by Rashaad Santiago, who lives in Batavia but is nationally known, especially after winning the reality TV series Face Off, for his monster costumes, makeup, and props. He made Godzilla for Godzilla Heritage.

Santiago was both amused and proud that his monster part caused such a hubbub in Fountain Hill.

"It made me laugh," Santiago said. "The mass hysteria caused by it also made me proud that something I made by hand was mistaken for something that looked real and harmful."

Photo: File photo of Rashaad Santiago and Tim Schiefer.

UPDATE: A photo of the bit of Godzilla's flesh that was shipped to the Conners. Photo courtesy Tim Schiefer.



April 25, 2019 - 3:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin M. Waleski Jr., 31, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment for allegedly threatening physical violence toward a person living on South Main Street, Batavia, at 12:47 p.m. on April 14. He is also charged with third-degree criminal trespass for allegedly trespassing and remaining on the same South Main Street property at 2:40 p.m. on April 23 after being told to leave. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on April 23 and jailed in lieu of unspecified bail. He was due to return to city court on April 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Lawrence W. Worsley, 39, of Ridge Road, Albion, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal contempt. Worsley was arrested April 24 after an investigation of a complaint that he contacted the protected party of a stay away order of protection on Vine Street in Batavia on March 12 and again on March 18. He was jailed in lieu of unspecified bail and was due in Batavia City Court today (April 25). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

April 25, 2019 - 2:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Oakfield.

From the NYS Police:

On April 25 at approximately 12:50 a.m. troopers from SP Batavia (Troop A) responded to a reported robbery at the 7-Eleven located at 25 Main St. in the Village of Oakfield.

The suspect is pictured in the image above. If anyone has any information about this incident, please call SP Batavia at 585-344-6200.

April 24, 2019 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
    Michael Piasta

A pair of jeans with a hole, a pair of shoes, and a jacket that were all consistent with images of a robber in a surveillance video were key to getting felony convictions in a jury trial for Michael J. Piasta, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

"This is a case where we definitely needed that surveillance video to provide the corroboration that we needed," Friedman said.

Piasta took $10,000 from the Arby's, 212 W. Main St., Batavia, on March 25, 2018. 

The jury took two hours to decide Piasta was guilty of robbery, 2nd, grand larceny, 3rd, and criminal possession of a weapon.

Friedman said Piasta carried an imitation handgun and wore a mask when he robbed Arby's.

Photo from Arby's surveillance that helped lead to the arrest and conviction of Michael Piasta.

On April 13, 2018, Piasta, who had already been identified as a suspect, was located in a pickup truck with three other individuals stopped by a Batavia police officer on West Main Street. Friedman said the pants he wore that day had a hole in one leg consistent with a hole in the leg shown in the surveillance video.

He also wore shoes Friedman said he thought were unique and consistent with the shows shown in the Arby's video.

The jacket Piasta wore during the robbery was located at his mother's house following his arrest. His mother said the jacket was hers but she had loaned it to her son a few days before the robbery and it was returned shortly after the robbery, according to Friedman.

"We had a witness who testified that defendant came to his residence right after the crime wearing clothes consistent with the clothes worn during the robbery and that he had several thousand dollars with him and he stated that he had, quote 'done dirt', which apparently means he committed a robbery," Friedman said.

Piasta has three prior stints in state prison and is eligible for sentencing for persistent felony offender status, which means a minimum of five years in prison. The maximum term for a Class C felony is 15 years.

When Piasta was sentenced in 2010 on a burglary charge, he told Judge Robert C. Noonan, "At this point, I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta told Noonan before receiving a maximum state prison term of seven years for burglary. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."


Photo from April 13, 2018, of the scene on West Main Street, Batavia, when Michael Piasta was taken into custody as a suspect in the Arby's robbery.

April 24, 2019 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Darien.
     Robert Gerety

Robert Richard Gerety (right photo), 45, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt in the first degree and criminal obstruction of breathing. He was arrested following an investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 9:28 p.m. on April 18 on Chestnut Street in Batavia. He allegedly grabbed a female acquaintance by the neck in violation of an order of protection. He was subsequently found to have an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in Batavia City Court. After arraignment, he was processed at the jail and allegedly found to possess a crack pipe, according to the police report. So he was charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia. He was held without bail and is due in Batavia City Court on May 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

      Latoya Jackson

Latoya Denise Jackson (right photo), 33, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. At 10:20 p.m. on April 20, Batavia police responded to a Vine Street residence for a physical disturbance call. After investigation, Jackson was arrested for allegedly cutting a male with a knife. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. She was due back in city court on April 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Kishonti D. Williams, 28, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs -- first offense; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; operating a motor vehicle while using a portable device; and unlawful possession of marijuana. On April 22 at 11:22 a.m. Williams was stopped on Route 5 in the City of Batavia for a vehicle and traffic violation. Following a roadside investigation, Williams was arrested. At the jail, GC Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer, a Drug Recognition Expert, administered a Drug Influence Evaluation and concluded Williams was impaired by drugs. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on May 16. The investigation was handled by Deputy Ryan Delong, assisted by Deputy Meyer.

John Roderick Benton, 61, of Colby Road, Darien, is charged with: Felony DWI -- operation of a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more, with a prior conviction within 10 years; felony DWI with a previous conviction; and failure to keep right. It is alleged that at 1:39 p.m. on April 21 on Tinkham Road in Darien that Benton drove up to a GC Sheriff's deputy and made an inquiry then immediately drove off. The deputy observed Benton unable to maintain his lane of travel and a traffic stop was conducted. Benton was subsequently arrested and issued appearance tickets for Town of Darien Court, where he is due to appear on May 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwater, assisted by Kevin McCarthy.

Patrick J. Michael, 38, of Batavia, was arrested by the City of Batavia Police Department on April 14 on an active Warrant of Arrest issued by the Wyoming County Family Court. Michael was wanted for failure to pay child support. Michael was turned over to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where he was arraigned in the Village of Warsaw Court and put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or bond.

Robert R. Richmond, 55, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with trespass. At 4:43 p.m. on April 20, Richmond was arrested on North Street in Batavia after he allegedly entered a building to use the restroom after previously being avvised that he is not welcome on the property. He was processed and released on an appearance ticket. He is due in Batavia City Court on April 30. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

April 24, 2019 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, unemployment, news, notify.

Genesee County's unemployment rate in March was 4.6 percent, the lowest March rate since at least 1990.

The rate a year ago was 5.4 percent.

The county's labor force is reportedly 29,100, down 100 people from a year ago. The number of county residents with jobs is reported at 27,800, up 200 from a year ago. The number of residents seeking employment is 1,300, down from 1,600 a year ago.

In 1990, there was 30,800 residents in the labor pool with 29,200 holding jobs.

The unemployment rate in March for the GLOW region is 4.9 percent, down from 5.8 percent a year ago and also the lowest recorded rate since 1990.

The state's unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, down from 4.6 percent a year ago and nationally, the rate is 3.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent a year ago.

April 23, 2019 - 7:08pm

Above, mugshots of Brandon Joseph Welch after his arrest in October.

A former Batavia resident is being held accountable starting today for the "horrific" treatment of a tortured and starving puppy after City Court Judge Robert Balbick sentenced Brandon Joseph Welch to immediately begin serving two months in Genesee County Jail, and a total of three years probation.

Welch made his sixth court appearance this afternoon, flying in from his parents' house in Florida, accompanied by his mother. His attorney is Rochester-based Frank Ciardi.

The native of Suffolk County pled guilty earlier this year on the misdemeanor charges of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (for claiming he found the starving puppy); torturing/injuring/not feeding an animal. The charge of owning/harboring an unlicensed dog was not mentioned, so apparently it was dropped.

Welch was arrested Oct. 18 after a warrant was served at his apartment at 679 E. Main St., following a tip from a witness.

"Opal" -- so named by Volunteers For Animals at the shelter -- is a fawn and white colored pitbull mix who was a few months old and weighed only 9.2 pounds when rescued on Oct. 4 after she was found by a Good Samaritan in Stafford. The dog was not able to stand on her own and was covered in urine and feces, and was severely dehydrated and malnourished.

Opal subsequently received nourishment, medical treatment, grooming and exercise while in foster care and was later adopted.

A Class D felony charge of making a terroristic threat, for Welch's alleged threat to shoot the first cop who came to his residence, was dropped because the cooperation of two witnesses, who live in another part of the state, proved problematic.

Today Ciardi articulated all that his client is going through to get his life together. He noted the lengthy pretrial period and that his client always showed up for court appearances. He noted that he has found suitable employment as a diesel mechanic trainee in Florida.

Welch moved to the Sunshine State after initially staying with his grandparents, who live on South Fairview Avenue, in the Village of Montauk, Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County -- on the Long Island Peninsula.

Ciardi said his client has availed himself of mental health treatment and is making progress all around after changing his lifestyle.

"He lacked the mental health to have a life that's fulfilling," Ciardi said.

The defense attorney reminded Balbick that Welch's offenses are misdemeanors. He argued against any incarceration, which Genesee County Probation recommended, and was against his client serving probation in Genesee County since he has no ties here.

"Jail would serve no purpose; it would bring him back down," Ciardi said, and put the brakes on the diesel mechanic career path Welch is pursuing.

The defense attorney even suggested that sentencing be postponed altogether until a course of mental health treatment was completed. He said it would be good if his client could continue his employment as a novice truck mechanic in Florida and have probation oversight transferred there.

Barring that, at least have it transferred to Suffolk County -- Welch could move back to his grandparents' place or make other living arrangements there where he was born and raised and has extended family.

Ciardi questioned whether Genesee County Probation actually read the two-page addendum to his client's presentencing report from Suffolk County, which recommends no incarceration and positively notes the good measures Welch is taking to get his life in order.

He strongly disputed Genesee County Probation Department's assertion that Welch took no responsibility for his actions.

"He took full responsibility -- for lying to police, for his poor choices, for putting his family through this," Ciardi said. "He has no prior record."

Balbick outright dismissed the notion of adjourning sentencing. The judge said the allegations against Welch were serious and he agreed that some incarceration was warranted.

But the game changer was Welch's decision to up and move to Florida before his case was adjudicated, essentially removing himself from Balbick's jurisdiction. This did not sit well with the judge at all even though he broke no law in doing so.

The prospect of getting a probation department in Florida to make room for the oversight of a misdemeanor New York case is not a given. It would be a complicated, lengthy and uncertain landscape to navigate.

By removing himself from New York State, it "exponentially complicated" his case and thereby put the terms of his probation on "shaky ground," Balbick said.

"That move to Florida really put the court in a bind," Balbick said.

When asked if he had anything to say on his behalf, a tearful Welch -- dressed in a long-sleeved red, white and navy plaid shirt, with navy pants and black dress shoes -- told Balbick that he's making progress in his life and that his "dream job" of becoming a diesel mechanic means everything to him. He would be devastated, he said, if he lost the opportunity he currently has in Florida.

The judge called a recess in order to contact the GC Probation Department to be sure they had read the addendum in the presentencing report from Suffolk County.

Welch walked from the podium that's in front of the judge to the gallery and sat next to his mother and cried and sniffled for 30 solid minutes.

When the case was recalled at 3 p.m., Ciardi and Welch stood at the podium and the judge told them that GC Probation confirmed they had read the addendum but still recommended a period of incarceration and he agreed with them.

Welch stood with his shoulders hunched and his arms crossed tightly across his chest.

"Your move to Florida complicated this matter tremendously," Balbick told the defendant. "What you did to (that animal) was horrific. There has to be accountability for the injuries and mistreatment. That's why you find yourself here in this situation."

Balbick proceeded to sentence Welch to "shock probation" of 60 days in jail starting right then and there. He said while he's incarcerated, he has no problem with getting probation transferred to Suffolk County, NY -- Florida is out of the question. Welch's probation will end on April 22, 2022.

Other stipulations:

  • He must notify his probation officer of any change in address, employment, treatment, education;
  • Get job training or a job;
  • Pay a $200 surcharge as required for falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement;
  • Pay a $50 DNA database fee;
  • Two orders of protection were renewed for two witnesses;
  • Allow courts/law enforcement/authoriites to access treatment and mental health records;
  • Avoid disreputable people and places;
  • Do not use mood-altering drugs or substances;
  • Undergo testing as need be;
  • Own/harbor NO PETS;
  • Get a substance-abuse evaluation from an OASIS-licensed clinician;
  • Within four weeks, get a mental-health evaluation;
  • Do not possess any firearms.

Welch, looking dejected and sniffling still, asked if he could hand his mother his wallet and mobile phone before being taken into custody. The Sheriff's deputy at hand said no and took the items from him and gave them to his mother in the gallery.

Welch asked if he could step outside the courtroom and speak briefly with his mother and tell her goodbye. The judge said "if it's all right with the deputy." "No" replied the deputy, "we usually don't allow it once you're taken into custody."

With that, the mother cried and mouthed "I love you" and her 23-year-old son, pouting, arms clenched across his chest, eyes downcast, was led away to jail by another deputy to begin his "shock probation."

Below, photo of Opal when she was first brought to the GC Animal Shelter.

Below, Opal after being nursed back to health and ready for adoption, which was successful.

April 23, 2019 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in terrorism, bomb threat, news, notify, batavia, Jerome Medical Center.

The Jerome Medical Center at Bank Street and Washington Avenue in the City of Batavia has been evacuated after an anonymous bomb threat was received there about 3:30 p.m.

The facility provides urgent care, mammography, laboratory and pathology services.

Law enforcement communications on the scanner have been encrypted -- scrambled.

The threat is under investigation.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.: Bank Street between East Main Street and Washington Avenue is closed. The housing complex for seniors -- Jerome Senior Apartments -- has not been evacuated, but staff has been informed of the situation.

UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: Additional streets have been cordoned off, establishing a perimeter for the preliminary investigation, said Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence. The other junctures closed off are: Alva Place and State Street; East Main and Summit streets; and Washington Avenue and Summit Street. Lawrence said the residents of Jerome Senior Apartments are to be evacuated; calls have been made to those in charge of the residential facility.

UPDATE 5:01 p.m.: Department of Public Works barricades have been put in place at several locations where officers had been posted to close streets off from traffic. The county's Emergency Response Team is at the command post in the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street (the site of the summer Downtown Public Market). Two State Police K-9 units are on scene; so are city fire crews.

UPDATE 5:28 p.m.: Officer Lawrence says the residents at Jerome Senior Apartments were told an hour ago to shelter in place. Reverse 9-1-1 calls were placed to people on Washington Avenue, Bank Street and Summit Street.

UPDATE 5:49 p.m.: Two State Police K-9 units went through the medical facility and exited the building a few minutes ago.

UPDATE (By Howard): Photos added. Officer Marc Lawrence said the scene was cleared by the K-9s. Nothing suspicious was found and the urgent care would reopen.








April 23, 2019 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Batavia PD, batavia, news, notify.

It's been about two decades since Batavia PD had a dog patrolling the city with a qualified handler, but that could change if Federal asset forfeiture funds become available.

Chief Shawn Heubusch is asking the City Council to approve a memo of understanding with Homeland Security for the Federal agency to pay for the purchase and training of a K-9 and handler to work in the City of Batavia.

The new K-9 and its handler would be a member of the Batavia police force but on-call if Homeland Security needed K-9 officers for an operation.

Once the MOU is signed, it becomes a waiting game for funds to become available. Currently, by executive order, President Donald Trump is diverting asset forfeiture funds to the construction of a wall along a portion of the Southern U.S. border.

"This is just the very first step," Heubusch said. "This is not an imminent thing. We’re not going to have a K-9 next week. We’re not going to have a K-9 next month. This is something to get in line for the funding."

Under the terms of the agreement, once the funds become available, Homeland Security to cover the estimated $15,000 in purchase and training costs. The city would be responsible for any other costs associated with a K-9, such as outfitting a patrol car, leashes, food, and veterinary care.

Heubusch said he anticipates setting up a fund to receive donations from the community, much as the Sheriff's Office has done, to cover the additional K-9 costs.

While the Sheriff's Office is soon to have two K-9s on duty, and the Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police have K-9s in the area that sometimes assists local law enforcement, a K-9 in the City of Batavia would greatly enhance the Batavia PDs capabilities, Heubusch said.

"We have a great relationship with all of those agencies and they’ve all helped us out in the past, but you’re talking about response time to get to a situation," Heubusch said. "So if there’s a child missing or if there’s an elderly person missing, that’s time that is ticking away."

The last K-9 officer in the city was Ed Mileham, now retired, now a fire chief in Indian Falls. 

According to Heubusch, Mileham was taken off of K-9 duty when police unions across the state challenged the lack of overtime pay for K-9 handlers because the officers are often called upon to care for their animals while not officially on duty. 

Police departments across the state, Heubusch said, took their K-9s out of service at that point rather than pay overtime. 

If Batavia gets a new K-9, Heubusch told the council that Batavia will follow the example of the Sheriff's Office in providing handlers with time to care for their animals as part of their normal duty shifts.

Mileham said he supports Batavia trying to bring back K-9 patrols and noted, as have other police officers over the years, that "bad guys don't like K-9s."

Heubusch agreed.

"If you go to a scene and there’s a K-9 on scene, there’s a different demeanor from somebody you’re dealing with," Heubusch said.

Batavia's K-9 will be a patrol dog -- not specifically a drug dog or a bomb dog but a general patrol dog.

"It’s all about being able to provide the best service to the community that we possibly can," Heubusch said. "K-9s can be used in patrol interdiction, to get drugs off the street; they can be used in finding people, if you’ve got a lost loved one or somebody that wandered away, you can do tracking with them.

"If you look at (alarms), we respond to numerous burglary alarms in buildings. It takes two or three officers quite a while to clear a building. A K-9 can do it in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the risk."

April 22, 2019 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, pembroke, bosom, Alabama.

Matthew A. Oakes, 39, and Kailyn M. Oakes, 24, both of Boston State Road, Hamburg, are each charged with these misdemeanors: three counts of petit larceny; three counts of endangering the welfare of a child; and three counts of sixth-degree conspiracy. Between 11:20 and 11:50 p.m. on April 6, 12 and 15, the subjects allegedly stole several cartons of cigarettes from the Two Eagles Smoke Shop on Bloomingdale Road in Basom. They allegedly had their small child with them on each occasion. The parents were arrested, issued appearance tickets and are due in Alabama Town Court on May 8. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon, Sgt. John Baiocco, and NYS Police Officer Michael Machniak.

Kayla Frances Twardowski, 29, of Spencer Court, Batavia, is charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny. Twardowski was arrested at 3 p.m. on April 16 after it was alleged that she allowed two fraudulent checks totaling more than $3,000 to be deposited into her bank account. She was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on May 7 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Minuto, assisted by Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

Michael Scott VanBuren, 51, Wesley Drive, Akron, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; aggravated DWI -- operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .18 percent of higher; moving from lane unsafely; speed not reasonable and prudent. VanBuren was arrested at 5:55 p.m. on April 19 on Knapp Road in Pembroke following the investigation of a motor-vehicle accident. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Pembroke Town Court on May 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor.

Gary Alfred Rynkowski, 50, of Thomas Avenue, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .18 percent or greater; DWI; open container; and inadequate plate lamp. On April 20, Rynkowski was arrested at 2:33 a.m. on West Main Street in Batavia following a traffic stop. He is due in Batavia City Court on May 15 to answer the charges. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Ar-Rahmaan M. Jones, 38, of East Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Jones awas arrested at 10:29 p.m. on April 20 on East Main Street Road in Batavia. It is alleged that while a deputy was checking the welfare of a motorist parked roadside on Route 5 in the Town of Batavia, Jones was found behind the wheel of a vehicle with its motor running. At the time, Jones allegedly was under the influence of alcohol and had an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on May 20. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan, assisted by Brabon Joshua.

Jordan R. Rose, 18, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Rose was arrested after he was allegedly found to have been in the presence of two parties protected by a stay away order of protection at 4:30 p.m. on April 10 on Maple Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Tuesday, April 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Joshua David Capwell, 39, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal mischief. Capwell was arrested following an investigation into a domestic dispute on West Main Street in Batavia at occurred at 11:45 p.m. on April 18. He was issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and is to be arraigned in Batavia City Court on Tuesday, April 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Heidi L. Harder, 43, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant following an unrelated incident. She was located at her residence and taken into custody with incident. After arraignment in Batavia City Court on April 16, she was jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash or bond. She is due to return to city court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Marc Lawrence.

April 19, 2019 - 4:03pm

Willis Floyd Miller Jr., 59, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested on April 18 and arraigned in Pembroke Town Court at 4:30 p.m. for allegedly stealing tools belonging to his former employer on Dec. 5 on Genesee Street in Pembroke. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Pembroke Town Court again on April 30. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth.

Elizabeth Rose George, 28, of Council House Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with: unauthorized use of a vehicle; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; and moving from lane unsafely. George was arrested on April 18. It is alleged that she drove a vehicle on April 18 without the owner's consent and that she was subsequently involved in an accident at 5:13 a.m. on Bloomingdale Road. It is also alleged that she left the scene of the accident. George was issued traffic tickets and released on appearance tickets. The defendant is due in Alabama Town Court on May 8 to answer the charges. The case was handled by Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Brandon Eugene Matteson, 25, of Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment. Following a domestic incident that occurred at 7:56 a.m. on April 17 on Ellicott Street Road in Pavilion, Matteson was arrested and arraigned at 11:41 p.m. on April 17 in Le Roy Town Court. He was jailed in lieu of $500 cash or $3,000 bond. Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer handled the case, assisted by NYS Police.

April 19, 2019 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, notify, crime, Grand Jury, Oakfield.

James A. Chase is indicted for the crime of failure to register a change of address, a Class D felony. It is alleged that this convicted Level 3 sex offender failed to register with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 calendar days any change of address, including Internet accounts, Internet access providers or Internet identifiers. In this case, he is accused of not registering a specific email account. In count two, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly not registering a Facebook account that used the screen name of John Chase. In count three, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly not registering an Internet access provider he used, in this case Boost Mobile. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Chase is accused of having been convicted of: the crime of failure to register/verify a change of address, as a Class A misdemeanor, on Aug. 18, 2005 in Batavia City Court; failure to register a change of address, a Class D felony, on Sept. 12, 2005 in Town of Oakfield Court; and failure to register/verify change of address, as a Class E felony, on March 10, 2015 in Genesee County Court.

Jacob J. Camerera is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 18 in the City of Batavia that Camerera knowingly possessed stolen property, in this case one or more firearms, rifles or shotguns -- a Marlin .22-caliber model 60 rifle.

April 18, 2019 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

Despite a shortage of corrections officers, officials have been able to hold down overtime pay at the Genesee County Jail, Superintendent William Zipfel told members of the County Legislature's Public Service Committee on Wednesday.

Zipfel made his report as part of a Sheriff's Office department review with the committee.

Overtime was more than $17,500 less in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018, Zipfel said.

The jail is understaffed by six C.O. positions even with three C.O.'s recently completed training and two more in the pipeline.

"We're constantly doing interviews and background checks," Zipfel said when asked about filling the vacancies.

Because of the vacancies, there hasn't been jail staff available to handle inmate transports, so the task has fallen once again to deputies on road patrol.

The prison population continues to exceed the jail's capacity.  

While there has been an average of 16.16 women (who can't be held locally) incarcerated under Genesee County jurisdiction, which is about two more than last year, there has also been an increase of male prisoners who must be housed at other county jails.

The state seems to be contributing to an increase in the jail population because of new policies that have prison inmates being released on parole sooner and then being picked up on parole violations faster. Those parolees, when found in Genesee County, are held locally until transferred to state prison.

The kitchen is also turning out to be another place the jail is saving money, Zipfel said, praising head chef Bill Cultrara. He said last year in the first quarter, the jail served 20,194 meals at a cost of $30,722, or $1.52 per meal. In the first quarter this year, Cultrara and staff served 4,500 more meals but at cost of $1.15 per meal.

Older inmates, inmates with more health problems, more mental health problems, and substance abuse problems, are driving up other costs, such as prisoner transports to the hospital and other health providers.

Sheriff William Sheron told the Legislature that felony and drug cases in the first quarter were on par with 2018.

He said illegal drugs remain a concern, particularly cocaine, heroin, and LSD. He said there seems to be an increase in LSD use among high school students.

For the concert season at Darien Lake, he said one show is sold out, a few more are likely to sell out, and 17 shows of an anticipated 20 to 25 have been announced. He said he anticipates adequate law enforcement staffing for the shows.

The Sheriff's Office is also expecting the construction of a new communications tower in Attica, actually in Wyoming County, which will eliminate dead spots in Pavilion, Alexander and Darien.

April 18, 2019 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia GOP, news, notify.

Press release:

I believe the local Democratic leadership has lost sight of its responsibility to serve its own constituents. Rose Mary Christian has represented Batavia’s sixth ward for over 28 years. Although I have at times agreed with her on issues and at other times disagreed, I have always respected the fact that Rosemary understands service at the local level and works very hard to serve the residents of the sixth ward. That’s why she’s held her seat for so long. All 28 years she has represented the sixth ward, Rosemary has enjoyed the support of local Democrats. However, that changed this year and it changed for reasons that should trouble any community-minded Batavia Democrat. 

Rosemary was very concerned with the radically liberal abortion/infanticide bill that was passed by Albany and Downstate Democrats and decided to speak out for the unborn. The local Democratic leadership, obviously in lockstep with the radical views prominent in Albany, New York, and Washington decided that an honest objection from a local Democrat who had the courage to speak out was unacceptable. Having endorsed Rosemary just a very few weeks earlier, the leadership decided to rescind her endorsement and suddenly a candidate emerged who tried, unsuccessfully, to challenge her in a primary this June. Isn’t there any loyalty to a local representative who has shown loyalty to her party and her constituents for so many years? Whose interests are to prevail in the Batavia and Genesee County Democratic Party; the local constituents, or the kingmakers in Albany? It looks like the answer is obvious. In addition, I respectfully hope Batavia’s sixth ward Democrats express their independence and send a message to the kingmakers by supporting your long term representative without punishing her for speaking up on an issue that she is passionate about; supporting the lives of the unborn.

If you want a better voice at the local level and an honest commitment to represent your interests first, join our local Republican party. I personally promise that your voice will be heard and respected. We are also committed to doing what’s best for the City of Batavia, even if that requires some sacrifices by our local candidates.

You can contact me or any Republican Committee person and we will happily assist you in making the change.


David Saleh, Chairman,
City of Batavia Republican Committee

April 18, 2019 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, news, notify.

There's nothing "cast in concrete" yet, Information Technology Director Steve Zimmer told members of the County Legislature at the Ways and Means Committee meeting on Wednesday but New York State is considering requiring all counties in the state to segregate the computer networks of elections commissions from any other computer network in the county.

It's not clear yet, Zimmer said, exactly what the state will require but in Genesee County, at a minimum, that might mean a new high-speed Internet line going into County Building #1, where the election commission operates, with new switches, and taking the commission's computers off the network currently in that building.

That will cost at least $20,000, Zimmer said.

What he doesn't know is if he will also be required to install a separate fiber optic from County Building #1 to the main data center to further segregate the elections commission from the rest of the county network.

No official directive has been issued yet but Zimmer expects the state will mandate some change in advance of the 2020 election.

"Everyone is scared to death of the Russian hackers or that something is going to happen with the 2020 election, so the state is coming up with a lot of ‘what ifs’ and 'what do we need to do to improve security in local elections offices,' " Zimmer said.

April 16, 2019 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, news, notify.

The town board in Alabama has notified that New York Department of Transportation that it opposes a planned $1.8 million roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road, the site over the years of numerous accidents.

State officials maintain that roundabouts save lives and reduce high-impact, right-angle, serious-injury accidents but town officials in a letter to the DOT said they believe a roundabout at that intersection will make things worse.

"While it may decrease high-impact accidents," the board members wrote, "it will increase low-impact accidents, which will, in turn, increase the amount of emergency calls for our volunteer firemen."

The letter also raises concerns about farmers moving equipment through the roundabout, plowing it in winter, increased noise from trucks slowing and applying their jake brakes, and the danger of traffic slowing as vehicles approach the roundabout.

"The proposed roundabout will be approximately 30 feet from a residence," the letter states. "This poses a significant safety hazard to this property owner."

The town is also concerned that current equipment cannot properly clear the roundabout during and after snowstorms.

"Is the state going to pay for (the town) to purchase the equipment necessary to maintain it?" the letter states, adding later, "Our own highway superintendent is not in favor of this project. It is very difficult to keep this intersection clear in the winter as it is. Adding a roundabout to the mix will make it even more difficult."

The letter is signed by Supervisor Janet Sage, Deputy Supervisor Kevin Fisher, board members Gordon Linsey, Jill Klotzbach and William Cleveland.

April 16, 2019 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, bridges, genesee county, news, notify.

The County Legislature is poised to accept more than $2.5 million in federal grants to help pay for two bridge replacement projects, one in Pembroke and the other in Alabama.

In Pembroke, the current steel girder bridge with a steel grate deck over the Tonawanda Creek will be removed and replaced at a total cost of 2,033,050. A federal grant will pay for $1,651,100 of the replacement with state aid covering $389,200, and the county picking up the final $9,550 of the tab.

In Alabama, the county will replace the Judge Road Bridge over Whitney Creek. The cost is $1,183,000. Federal aid is $946,400, with state aid at $177,450 and a local share of $59,150, which will come from sale tax revenue.

In both cases, the federal aid is capped at 80 percent of the cost of the project.

The Pratt Road Bridge was built in 1971, the Judge Road Bridge in 1978.

Lu Engineers, in Rochester, will be retained as consultants on the Judge Road Bridge at a cost of $162,063.91.

The resolutions for these projects were approved unanimously by the Public Service Committee on Monday and will now go to the full Legislature for approval.

Also on Monday, the committee recommended the county accept a $200,000 grant from NYS Ag & Markets for improvements to the Animal Shelter, which is now 20 years old.

The committee also authorized the transfer, pending full Legislature approval, of $40,000 oil and stone funds to the salt fund. Deputy Highway Superintendent Dave Wozniak said the transfer is necessary to help replenish the road salt supply before the fall and that the transfer would have no significant impact on planned road resurfacing projects this summer. A couple of minor projects, including a parking lot at the County Park, would be delayed for a season.

April 15, 2019 - 5:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

From the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

On April 15, former Genesee County Correctional Officer Justin M. Gugel was arrested on two charges: petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Both are Class A misdemeanors.

It is alleged that on Jan. 19 while employed at the GC Jail, Gugel stole a controlled substance from medication which had been prescribed and alloted for an inmate.

An investigation was opened after pills were reported missing following a routine medication count in the jail.

Gugel was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on May 7. The case was investigated by GC Sheriff's Investigator Joseph Loftus.

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