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State Street

Photo: Santa on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


Santa and Mrs. Claus dropped in at 150 State St., Batavia, on Friday evening to hear from all the good boys and girls hoping for the best presents ever under their Christmas trees this year.

Angelina Pellegrino will host Santa again on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

She said there are 60 Christmas trees on her property this year.

Photo by Howard Owens.  With Santa, Prince and YeeYee Viera.

Santa returns to State Street on Dec. 9 and 10.

By Howard B. Owens


The lights are up, the air is crisp, and it's time for Santa to make his rounds to hear from all the good little boys and girls about what they want for Christmas.

One of Santa's stops again this year is at 150 State St., Batavia, the home of Angelina Pellegrino.

Santa will be at Pellegrino's house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 10.

"Santa and Mrs. Claus will be outside our home in front of the light display, ready to meet and take photos with the children," Pellegrino said. "We will use the parents' phones to take the photos so they may also participate and be in the photo as well! Also, we will have doughnuts and hot cocoa available for purchase."

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens

Three people facing drug charges after raid on State Street residence

By Howard B. Owens

A raid at 126 State St., Batavia, has led to the arrest of three people on drug-related charges, with one of the suspects accused of dealing narcotics.

Kenneth J. Campbell, 34, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a weapon 3rd.

Also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th are Joanna F. Larnder, 29, of Summit Street, Batavia, and Andre W. Taylor, 35, of Main Street, Albion.

Campbell was arraigned in City Court and ordered held without bail. Larnder and Taylor were released on appearance tickets.

The raid on Nov. 22 by the Emergency Response Team was in response to a warrant obtained by the Local Drug Task Force following an investigation into the sale of narcotics in Batavia.

Assisting were Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, City Fire, Mercy EMS, and the District Attorney's Office.

Angelina Pellegrino hosting benefit spring yard sale on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


If you've got nice things around your house that you no longer want, Angelina Pellegrino is ready to sell it for you, with all proceeds benefiting a family moving into a Habitat for Humanity home.

Pellegrino, herself a beneficiary of Habitat's homeownership program, has had previous garage sales to benefit the organization or its clients.

She's now collecting donations for the yard sale at her home, 150 State St., Batavia, on May 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are two Habitat homes near completion and Pellegrino said proceeds from this year's yard sale will go directly to the families moving into those homes.

"It's start-up cash," Pellegrino said.  "It's for the little things you need around the house that you don't really think about." 

If you have items to donate -- and it can be pretty much anything that somebody else might want to buy -- you can contact Pellegrino at (585) 356-4867 or [email protected].

"I know people will be spring cleaning and instead of tossing out what they don't want or donating it elsewhere, we could really use any donations at this time," Pellegrino said. "There is nothing really is off-limits for donations, from clothes to furniture. I am willing to pick up donations or people may drop them off at my house."

Photos: Santa on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


Amanda Sutton snaps a photo of her son Kannon, 3, and daughter Alora Wolff, 10 months, with Santa at the house of Angelina Pellegrino on State Street.  Pellegrino invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to her place on Friday evening to spread even more Christmas cheer.



Photos: Somebody is furnishing State Street

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia resident David Austin, who sent in the photos, noticed yesterday that somebody left household furniture up and down State Street.

"This table was in my yard," he said. "The chair is across the street. And down further towards BOCES, there is more. Very strange indeed. Funny thing is, it's not junk. The table isn't in terrible shape."


Three cats, dog perish in house fire on State Street

By Howard B. Owens
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A fire gutted a home at 162 State St., Batavia, this morning, claiming the lives of three cats and a dog.

The residents were not home at the time of the fire, which was reported by multiple callers to emergency dispatch at about 8 a.m. The residents arrived on scene shortly before 11 a.m., Chief Stefano Napolitano said.

An off-duty firefighter, according to the chief, was passing by the residence and spotted the flames. He stopped and was informed a person might still be inside the residence, so he attempted to gain entry to the house and was beaten back by flame and smoke.

Firefighters arrived on scene and quickly knocked down the flames, which had already consumed much of the interior of the house, and made a first and secondary search of the residence and found no people inside.

No firefighters were injured.

The cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation.

Police called on to break up numerous disturbances in Batavia over the past day

By Howard B. Owens

As temperatures have gone up the past couple of days tempers have flared, it seems, in some parts of the city.

Over the past 24 hours, there have been multiple calls for disturbances on State Street, as well as calls to Hutchins Place, Jackson Street, Watson, and Thorpe.

On State Street, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said it appears there are multiple neighbors who can't get along and he suggested they never have and they never will. 

"Nothing has risen to the level that we can arrest anybody," Heubusch said, though it would be helpful if witnesses to incidents were willing to put their statements in writing.

After a call on State Street this afternoon, which brought a response from Batavia PD and the Sheriff's Office, including a K-9, one deputy on State Street, when asked what was going on said, "A whole lot of 'I saw nothing.' "

"Neighbors have been calling, and that's good, but our hands are tied by changes to criminal justice this year," Heubusch said. "Without a statement, the most we can do is write an appearance ticket."

The local landlords are also more restricted in how they can respond to troublesome tenants, Heubusch noted, because of the moratorium ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on most evictions, especially evictions related to missed rent payments.

Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic response, Heubusch said, he doesn't think the recent spate of disturbances is the result of eight weeks of being on lockdown. 

"These calls mostly involve people we've dealt with before," Heubusch said. "I don't think the lockdown is coming into play."

Batavia PD does have cameras installed to help monitor the situation on State Street and at Watson and Thorpe.

He said he understands the public might want more done but that takes cooperating witnesses.

One of the objectives of a police response to a crowd of people involved in a ruckus is to get the people to disperse, Heubusch said. If police can do that, it will help defuse the situation and hopefully help avoid an escalation of violence.

It might be a long summer, the chief said.

"(The disturbances are) definitely a concern," Heubusch said. "That's for sure."

Police dealing with multiple disturbances on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


Earlier tonight a caller on State Street reported a disturbance involving a large group of people at State and Lewis with the suggestion "you better send anybody."

Multiple units from Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, and State Police responded.

There was no physical altercation though some officers have remained on scene as area residents have continued to mill about in their yards with several people gathered at 131 State St.

At 9:30 p.m., even with officers there, a caller reported to dispatch that there was another disturbance though officers could not confirm any other disturbances in the area.

Witnesses said the disturbance started with a group of youths and then the adults got involved.

That has been the pattern most of the week they said.

The first disturbance was after Friday night's football game.

Police have made no arrests and no injuries have been reported.

Suspected drug activity leads to raid on State Street apartment

By Howard B. Owens
      Keith Kendrick        Denzel Hall

Members of the Local Drug Task Force along with Batavia PD Emergency Response Team busted in on a residence at 133 State St., Batavia, on Thursday night to execute a search warrant and as a result, they say they found six people engaged in narcotics activity inside an apartment at that location.

According to the press release, local law enforcement recovered from the scene a quantity of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Two of the six people found in the apartment were charged with possession of narcotics with the intent to sell and the tenant of the apartment was accused hosting the drug activity.

Keith R. "Sosa" Kendrick, 26, of Viola Drive, North Chili, and Denzel T. Hall, 25, of Stenwick Drive, Rochester, were both charged with two counts each of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Donna M. Fidanza, 48, of State Street, Batavia, was charged with criminal nuisance in the first degree.

Also arrested were Heath D. Snyder, 47, of Abbott Road, Orchard Park, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Joseph M. Marranco, 47, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, was charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Madalyn R. Muntz, 32, of Evans Street, Batavia, was charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Kendrick and Hall were arraigned in City Court and ordered held on bail.

Crews install new manhole today at State and Washington

By Howard B. Owens


Crews with Blue Heron Construction set a manhole today at Washington Avenue and State Street, park of the sewer reconstruction project this summer along Washington Avenue.

The area around Jefferson Avenue, Washington and State has been closed for a few weeks, but the project is getting closer to the finish line, said Matt Worth, director of Public Works.

Here's what Worth told us in an email:

They expect to be through the intersection tomorrow (State/Washington will open back up) and then the bypass pumping should no longer be required. Next week an additional crew is expected and it is anticipated that the new water and sewer services to the houses between Jefferson and State Street will be connected along with the unexpected water main work that is required on Jefferson Avenue.

If all goes well, everything west of State Street would then be back open (or very close) to traffic by the end of next week. This would leave construction between State and Bank and the storm sewer crossing on State Street to up near Park Avenue and final milling and paving (Ellicott Avenue to Ross Street) left to complete, with completion of the project before school is back in session.



Chief says more time needed to evaluate usefulness of surveillance camera on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


A little more than a year ago, Batavia PD installed a surveillance camera on State Street near Hutchins Place, but Chief Shawn Heubusch said that a year's worth of use hasn't produced enough data to say if it's worthwhile for the city to invest in more such cameras for other locations.

There have been no criminal convictions resulting in use of the camera.

"A lot of times we look back and review footage and see if somebody is involved or not involved (in an incident)," Heubusch said. "It's always good to take a look back when you have video evidence of something."

Heubusch wouldn't reveal whether the camera's feed is regularly monitored, if whole periods of time are regularly reviewed, or if it's only reviewed in the case of specific incidents reported.

Making light of his reluctance to discuss that point, he said, "I don't know if I want to give any secrets away."

The camera was installed in August 2014 because that particular area had been a source of numerous calls for police service in the proceeding months.

Asked if he'd like more cameras, Heubusch said, "we're still evaluating this one."

"It's been up about a year," Heubusch said. "I don't know if that's the perfect time frame for an evaluation period. If it proves its worth, then yes."

The department also has available for patrols a number of body cameras, but not enough for every officer to wear them on every shift.

While body cameras have been touted in the national debate over police conduct, Heubusch said that's not why he wants his officers to wear them.

"The whole premise for my bringing body cameras to the City of Batavia was to collect evidence," Heubusch said. "It wasn't to monitor my officers. I don't think they need that. What it (the camera) does is collect evidence that can subsequently be used at trial or a proceeding so the officer's recollection is always there. You have it in black and white."

Law and Order: Two women arrested after report of fight on State Street

By Howard B. Owens

Melissa R. Piazza, 24, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with reckless endangerment, 2nd. Piazza allegedly threw a stick at a vehicle during an argument on State Street at 6:53 p.m., Wednesday.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 48, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Lyons allegedly brandished a stick and a knife while threatening another person during an argument on State Street reported at 6:53 p.m., Wednesday. A child was allegedly present to witness the threats.

Dillion Lee James Farley, 22, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to keep right, moving from lane unsafely. Farley was reportedly involved in a property damage accident at 11:14 p.m. Sunday on Lockport Road, Elba. The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Jason Charles Lusk, 33, of Collegeview Drive, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Lusk allegedly hit an acquaintance while in front of two deputies at 2:13 a.m., Saturday.

Harry Thomas Gibson, 49, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny. Gibson was seen by Dollar General staff allegedly placing merchandise in a bag in an attempt to steal it. When confronted, Gibson reportedly dropped the bag and left the scene.

Sara J. Smith, 28, of Fairmont Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant related to a criminal mischief charge. She allegedly failed to appear. Smith posted bail (amount not disclosed) and was released.

Aaron Walter Smith, 26, of Webber Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Smith was arrested following an investigation by officers Chad Richards and Stephen Cronmiller into a report of a suspicious vehicle left unattended and running in the area of Kwik Fill.

Rebecca E.A. Mulholland, 23, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Mulholland's vehicle was stopped at 3:54 a.m. Saturday on Ellicott Street by Officer Peter Flanagan following a "check the welfare" request for a vehicle matching the description of the one driven by Mulholland.

Police still investigating reports overnight of the sound of 'shots fired' on State Street

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia PD is investigating reports of shots fired on State Street last night, Chief Shawn Heubush confirmed today.

The reports came in some time after 11 p.m. and officers searched the area, according to radio traffic, for a couple of different vehicles in order to question subjects.

Heubusch did not confirm whether any interviews took place.

There is no report of any injuries at this time nor confirmation that a gun or guns were fired.

Cat on porch preventing homeowner from getting in the house

By Alecia Kaus

Batavia police are responding to a residence on State Street to help a homeowner with a cat that is preventing the resident from getting in the house.

The cat is located on the porch and won't leave. Dispatch says it might be 110 or 115 State St.

Homeless man charged with arson in small fire on State Street

By Howard B. Owens

A homeless man who was given permission to sleep on the back porch of a residence on State Street has been arrested and charged with arson in the fourth degree after a fire he started caused some damage to the house.

The fire was reported shortly after 8:30 p.m. Thursday and quickly extinguished by city firefighters, causing minimal damage to the porch and siding of the house at 107 State St., Batavia.

Reginald J. Hawker, 57, of no permanent address, was arrested Friday afternoon following an investigation by Det. Patrick Corona.

He was jailed without bail.

Hawker is accused of intentionally setting the fire. Corona said it's believed that Hawker started the fire on the porch in an attempt to cook and to have heat and light.

Previously: Fire at home on State Street possibly set by homeless person trying to keep warm

Three people busted for allegedly dealing drugs on Bank Street

By Howard B. Owens

Three people were arrested yesterday following an investigation by the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force into the transportation and sale of cocaine in Batavia.

All three face charges related to the sale of a controlled substance.

Members of the drug task force, along with Batavia police officers and Sheriff's Office deputies, executed a search warrant at 335 Bank St., Apt. B3, yesterday evening and allegedly found a quantity of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $1,500. 

Also seized was $750 in cash, drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Arrested were:

Julia B. Wescott, 29, of Batavia. Wescott was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal nuisance, 1st, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Thomas L. Hill, 22, of Rochester. Hill was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jade Cierra Wims, 18, of Rocheter. Wims was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.

Wescott is accused of allowing Hill and Wims to deal cocaine from her apartment on Bank Street, which is the basis of the "criminal nuisance" charge.

All three were arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail.

Photos: Top, Wescott, Hill and Wims.

Batavia PD looking for information on residential burglaries on State Street and Norris Avenue

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is investigating two reported incidents of residential burglary. One incident occurred at a home in the 200 block of State Street. The other incident occurred at a Norris Avenue residence.

Both incidents occurred during the late evening hours, of Monday, September 19th or during the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 20th. During both incidents, the homes were occupied and doors had been left unlocked.

Cash was taken from a purse during the State Street incident. A laptop computer was taken during the Norris Avenue incident.

Anyone with information or anyone having observed suspicious activity is encouraged to contact the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350 or the Batavia Police Department’s Confidential Tip Line at 585-345-6370. Information can also be submitted via the Suspicious Activity Report link at the website of the Batavia Police Department.

Residents are reminded to secure the doors to their homes, especially during the overnight hours.

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