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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:38 am

The potential for arrest has dramatically reduced fighting at BHS, school officials say

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, crime, education, schools

The message seems to be getting through.

Batavia school officials were alarmed at the number of fights at the high school in 2012-13, so after some consideration, they decided to do what people do to curb criminal activity: call the police.

It was a big policy swing away from the traditional approach of schools, which is to handle problems on campus through internal processes such as counseling and suspensions. 

The new policy means students who fight could be arrested, put through the criminal or family court system and potentially see their names in police blotters (last year, The Batavian redacted the names of under-18-year-old students arrested on campus from arrest reports).

The change in policy had an immediate impact.

In 2012-13, 19 fights at BHS. In 2013-14, three.

"The resources we had available weren't changing views, and we needed to do something in order to change the behavior of kids choosing to fight while at school," said Superintendent Chris Daily during a press conference Tuesday. "We took it to the next level and it's worked."

Daily knew the new policy was having an impact when he was walking through a corridor at BHS and overheard a young lady and young man talking.

"He was obviously a little agitated," Daily said. "I heard her say directly, 'if you get in a fight, they're going to arrest you and then you're not going to be around this weekend and then we are done.' "

The other component of the new program is intervention. It takes some effort by teachers and counselors to become aware of potential issues between students, some reliance on students expressing concern about potential problems (more likely with the elevated consequences), but school officials work at the effort because they would like to mediate conflicts before fights erupt. 

"Peer pressure gets a negative rep, but there is positive peer pressure and the kids, they want to take care of each other," said BHS Principal Scott Wilson. "They are now reaching out to the adults in the building and looking for other ways of resolving conflicts."

In the case of Daily's overheard conversation, a counselor got involved and mediated the dispute. It didn't necessarily make the two potential combatants friends, but it did lessen the tension.

"It's been the hardest part of the rollout," Wilson said. "We've had countless remediations to resolve conflicts. Sometimes students agree to disagree, but they do not engage."

Officials hope students learn through the program that there are better ways to solve problems than fighting.

"The kids are learning, 'I can't handle myself this way,' " Daily said.

A pair of police cruisers showing up at the front entrance of the school as the result of fight gets the students' attention. After the first fight last year, Wilson said, the chatter among students wasn't the usual recap of the altercation; rather, students were talking about the arrests.

"The kids who have been through consequences, either through youth court or criminal court, have been our best advertisements to stop this behavior," Daily said.

The old policy kept students in a bubble, isolated from societal consequences of criminal behavior, and helping students learn that whether on campus or off, they are part of a larger community is one positive of the program, said Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.

"(When a student) leaves the school, he shouldn't have to abide by a different set of standards than he does while he's in the school," Heubusch said. "By applying that consistency and that constant communication, you should see that student carry that over into his personal life and into his community."

The words consistency and communication came up a lot during the press conference.

It was communicated clearly to students at the start of the school year that there would be criminal consequences to fighting, and school officials communicated with parents, particularly parents with children involved in conflicts.

There's also an outreach component to the effort. Heubusch doesn't want students to just see his officers as the long arm of the law. He wants them to understand they're available to help.

Det. Richard Schauf has been a regular presence on campus in the mornings, in uniform, greeting students along side Daily and Wilson.

At first, Schauf said, students were wary (quite a contrast to the warm welcome from elementary school students when Schauf goes to Jackson School), but over the course of the year, many students became cordial and talkative.

Greater police involvement on campus, Schauf said, helps create a better learning environment.

"I don't care what age you are, if you don't feel safe, you're not going to learn," Schauf said. "You're not going to learn because you're going to be more concerned about protecting yourself, and we want students to learn."

The motto at the school is "Take Care of BHS" and the program reinforces that motto, Wilson said.

"It helps us deliver that message and building that culture of 'Take Care of BHS', that fighting is something we don't do in this building," he said.

Daily, a former BHS principal himself, said he has seen the new policy have a real positive impact on school culture.

"By using this, it's really helped our school community heal something that was very disruptive," Daily said. "We're hoping going forward, that message continues, and that message gets out and we're going to eliminate this kind of behavior from school. Kids are going to make mistakes and we're going to be there to help them learn, but we just took another resource and used it to help us get a better result."

Photo: Board Member Pat Burk, Wilson and Daily.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

Law and Order: Trio accused of trespassing on railroad property

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy

Kyle Brian Sovocool, 22, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with trespass. Sovocool allegedly drove a vehicle on property owned by Rochester Southern Railroad in the area of Circular Hill Road in the Town of Le Roy. Also charged with Brandon John Richard Vangrol, 19, of Quinlin Road, Le Roy, and Ronald Baltasar Gonzalez, 29, of Spencer Court, Batavia.

Jennifer P. Hepp, 31, of Clinton Street, Cowlesville, is charged with felony DWI/drugs, DWI under Leandra's Law, aggravated unauthorized operation, 1st, endangering the welfare of a child, driving without an interlock device. Hepp was stopped at 2:32 p.m. July 15 after a report of an erratic driver on West Main Street, Batavia. Two children were allegedly in the car at the time of the stop by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Dakota J. Kamysek, 22, no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. Kamysek allegedly stole two mobile phone chargers from Hess Express. Kamysek was jailed on $1,500 bail or $3,000 bond.

Brandon Weig, 26, of Livingston Street, Warsaw, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Weig turned himself in on a warrant and was jailed on $1,000 bail.

James P. Coles, 35, of Alexander, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and offering a false instrument for filing. Coles was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Zachary T. Ford, 18, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, obstructing governmental administration and unlawful possession of marijuana. Ford was arrested by Le Roy PD after a report of an intoxicated male attempting to unlawfully enter a residence on East Main Street early in the morning. When officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, Ford allegedly kicked and tried to spit on the officers. Ford allegedly caused damage in excess of $250 value to a patrol vehicle. Ford was jailed on $2,000 bail or $5,000 bond.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Drug Task Force announces pair of arrests

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke
Jacob Patterson David Truesdale

Two alleged drug dealers who are suspected of selling heroin and crack cocaine in the City of Batavia have been arrested by the Local Drug Task Force.

Jacob W. Patterson, 18, of Killian Road, Pembroke, and David C. Truesdale Jr. (aka "True"), 24, of Sylvester Street, Rochester, were arrested as the result of separate investigations.

Both Patterson and Truesdale are charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Patterson allegedly sold quantities of heroin to an undercover agent while in Batavia and Truesdale is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent.

Patterson was arrested on a warrant July 16 at his residence. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Truesdale was already in custody on unrelated charges. He was arraigned on the new charges and ordered held without bail.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Calves and farm equipment stolen in Le Roy area

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, crime, Le Roy

A case of calf rustling has hit Le Roy and Western Monroe County.

A farmer is out 14 black and white bull calves along with a Dewalt generator, Dewalt saw, and Napa battery charger. A nearby farm is also missing a milk replacer and hay.

Sheriff's Office investigators suspect the thefts are related and that the people responsible for the calf thefts are raising the animals but not bringing them to auction.

The thefts occurred within the last week or so and a witness describes one of the suspects as a larger white male with either a bald head or very short hair and another suspect as a white female.

The suspect vehicle is a dark-colored minivan, possibly burgundy, with tinted windows.

Anyone with information are asked to contact Investigator Timothy Weis at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3572.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

YWCA's Wheels & Heels is Saturday at Stan's, benefits kids affected by domestic violence

post by Billie Owens in Wheels & Heels, YWCA

Press release:

YWCA's 2014 Wheels & Heels event includes something for everyone, from a cool vehicle show and motorcycle ride to a bicycle rally, basket auction, fashion show, food fest and children's games. It's set for 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at Stan's Harley-Davidson, 4425 W. Saile Drive, Batavia.

The party is being thrown to benefit YWCA of Genesee County, specifically to fund new programs for children affected by domestic violence.

As bicycles head out on a 25-mile trek, motorcyclists will go on a 100-mile trip around Genesee County. There will be a few stops and goodies along the way, with the finale at Stan's, where more fun will continue.

The registration fee for the vehicle show, motorcycle and bike rides is $25.

Admission to Wheels & Heels is $5, and that includes entry for a drawing tickets, registration forms or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Assorted foods will be available for purchase, including lobster rolls, seafood chowder, grilled hotdogs, pulled pork, ice cream treats and popcorn. Spectators may also want to check out the assorted vehicles on display, fashions on a flatbed and live entertainment.

"driVen," a three-piece rock band from Genesee and Orleans counties, features Mike Warren on bass and vocals, Dylan DeSmit on lead guitar and vocals and special guest drummers Alex DeSmit and Dan Ryan. The band has been performing for about a year at various locations in Western New York and bills itself as “not just another cookie-cutter classic rock band.” It features both classic and modern rock. Warren was previously the bass player and vocalist for Savage Cabbage and Dylan DeSmit was the founder of Above the Fog and currently performs with Zero, Delano Steele, The Night is Young and Methanol.

Not to be left out, kids can play in a bounce house and will have the challenge of a scavenger hunt with opportunity to win prizes. Youth and adults will be walking the runway to show off fashions from local merchants.

Announcement of the YW's $10,000 cash raffle will be made at 4:30 p.m., though winners need not be present. Tickets are going fast, at $15 each, $60 for five or $100 for 10. There will also be several items up for bid in a basket auction.

All proceeds will help serve some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence: the children, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

YWCA staff has developed the You Engaging Success program for victims of issues that come about for children who are being exposed to domestic violence in the home.

"So that they can move forward, away from the cycle of fear and anger," Walton said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Chief: Officer justified in shooting aggressive dog

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A Batavia police officer did what he could to try and avoid shooting an aggressive dog early Saturday morning, Chief Shawn Heubusch said this afternoon.

The pit bull was shot and killed after becoming aggressive toward Officer Peter Flanagan.

Flanagan had responded at 1:37 a.m., Saturday, to a report of a barking dog at 370 W. Main St., Apt. 2, Batavia.

"He couldn't retreat any faster than it was gaining, so he had no other choice," Heubusch said. "He had to dispatch the dog."

The incident started with Flanagan arriving on scene to investigate the complaint and he found a pit bull leashed to the front porch.

"The dog was acting very aggressive towards him, not letting him go near the door, barking and snarling at him," Heubusch said. "He was finally able to get the owner of the dog to come out and she put the dog inside."

For the purpose of the report, Flanagan asked the owner for ID. She thought it was in her car. While she looked through her car, Flanagan allegedly observed a pipe containing marijuana in the car.

"It was in plain view," Heubusch said. "He was, 'OK, now I need your identification because we're going to address this issue.' "

When the woman tried to enter her house to look for her ID, the dog escaped, and off leash, was aggressive toward Flanagan.

Heubusch said the dog pursued Flanagan around the car. The officer tried using his flashlight to distract that dog, but that proved ineffective.

"A dog is not like a person," Heubusch said. "It's not just coming to get you. It's coming to do a job. We discussed the possible use of a Taser or pepper spray, but those have proven not to be effective. You can't guarantee your safety, basically. If you Taser a dog and it doesn't plant, it doesn't have an effect and you now have an angry, disoriented dog running free in the neighborhood."

Heubusch, who responded immediately to investigate the weapon discharge, characterized the response of the dog's owner, 29-year-old Ann Marie Capuano, as understanding.

"She was in fear the officer was going to get bit," Heubusch said. "She hadn't had this dog very long and wasn't familiar with the dog. She did indicate the dog has shown some aggressive behavior in the past."

Flanagan was not injured in the incident, Heubusch said.

This is the second incident reported in the city this summer involving an allegedly aggressive dog. A month ago, a Rottweiler on Otis Street, allegedly bit a child.

Asked if he had advice for owners of dogs that might become aggressive, Heubusch said, "If you have a dog that you know is aggressive, you need to get some help for that dog. There are plenty of places out there where you can get some training. The ultimate advice is, if you can't control the dog, you need to give the dog up."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Nominees sought for 2014 Le Royan of the Year

post by Billie Owens in Le Roy

Nominees are being sought for Le Royan of the Year.

Le Roy American Legion Post 576 is asking that each club, church, society, organization or individual submit a nominee to be considered as the 2014 Le Royan of the Year Award. Applications are available at the local banks and at the Legion Post.

Replies are due by Aug. 19th.

The award recognizes people who demonstrate the following qualities:

  • A man or woman who exemplifies the true spirit of Americanism, its ideals, love of flag and country, regardless of race, color or creed;
  • Good citizenship by carrying out these principles, often beyond what is expected;
  • Service to the community signified by excellence in life of purpose and accomplishments.

Mail applications to American Legion Post 576

Attn:  Catherine Stone
53 West Main St.
Le Roy, NY 14482

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

Town of Batavia Fire announces bigger tent, new band for 15th annual Harley Raffle

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire

A new band, a bigger beer tent and all the fun you've come to expect are on tap at the Town of Batavia Fire Hall, 8382 Lewiston Road, this Saturday.

It's time again for the annual Harley Raffle.

It's the 15th annual raffle.

Audibull will rock the expanded beer tent this year.

Festivities start at 6 p.m.

Admission is free.

Pictured, John Mullen, Mike Jones, Ben Fisher, Tim McJury and Stephen Kowalcyk.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8:52 am

Report of smoke in the residence on Telephone Road, Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, fire

Smoke is reported on the first floor of a residence at 3625 Telephone Road, Alexander.

Alexander fire is responding. Town of Batavia also dispatched.

A chief reports, "we've got smoke in the house. It smells like trash. I can't find anything." He asked another responder to check a neighbor's property.

A responder reports, "nobody's burning anything in the area."

A chief asks for the thermal camera.

UPDATE 9 a.m.: Alexander returning in service.

UPDATE 9:08 a.m.: At 9, two Alexander trucks went back in service. Now the assignment is back in service. The chief reports, "burnt hummingbird feeder."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8:29 am

Law and Order: Youth accused of threatening another person with a knife

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Darien, elba, pembroke

Tyshon L. Taylor, 17, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use, menacing, 2nd, petit larceny and robbery, 3rd. Taylor was arrested following an investigation into an unrelated incident. Taylor allegedly possessed a large knife and threatened another person with physical harm. In an unrelated investigation, Taylor is accused of using force to steal a mobile phone and headphones from another person. Taylor was jailed on no bail.

Edward Ryan Loper, 26, of State Street, is charged with strangulation, 2nd, and robbery, 3rd. Loper was arrested on a warrant for an alleged incident May 23 at a location on West Main Road, Batavia. At the time of his arrest, Loper was allegedly found in possession of a needle and a controlled substance. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Loper was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Terrence Devon West, 36, of Lorimer Street, Rochester, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and aggravated unlicensed operation. West was stopped at 1:40 a.m. Thursday on Townline Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona. West allegedly has three prior DWI convictions in the previous 10 years.

Veronica Eckerson, 57, of Akron, is charged with petit larceny. Eckerson is accused of stealing $400 from the safe of her employer, a business in Alabama, after quitting her job.

Richard Fredrick Boswell, 33, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with petit larceny. Boswell is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart valued at $874.84.

Peter Charles Himan, 29, of Berkley Street, Williamsville, is charged with driving while ability impaired and possession/consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Himan was located in a stopped vehicle on Route 63, Oakfield, at 12:34 a.m. Sunday by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Justin Thomas Hemmer, 34, of South Main Street, Elba, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Hemmer is accused of violating a court order protecting another person by shoving that person during an argument.

Andrew Loren Mark Falker, 20, of Indian Falls Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and improper turn (no signal). Falker was stopped at 2:53 a.m. Saturday on Main Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Ann Marie Capuano, 29, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Capuano was charged after Officer Peter Flanagan allegedly observed a glass pipe with partially smoked marijuana in her car.

Grant W. Whitney, 34, of Route 20A, Perry, is charged with unregistered motor vehicle. Whitney was arrested on a warrant out of City Court. He posted bail and was released.

Stephen J. Holdaway, 62, of Corfu, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Holdaway was stopped by State Police at 1:01 p.m. May 19 in the Town of Batavia.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

Today's Deals: Sweet Pea's, Santino's, Dave's, Blue Pearl, Sweetland and Center Street

post by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day

Sweet Pea’s Cupcakery Café, 23 Jackson St., Batavia, NY. We are a full-service Cupcake Bakery and Café. Now serving fresh-baked artisan pizza on Friday nights! We offer soft-serve ice cream, too! Treat yourself to a variety of baked goods, mainly varieties of specialty and traditional scratch-made cupcakes, as well as other bakery items like cookies and brownies. We also serve a variety of hot and cold beverages. Check out our location, or place an order for parties, gatherings or any other reasons you can think of to enjoy some cupcakes. We have a $10 gift card for $6.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Dave's Ice Cream, 3872 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, NY: Dave's offers only locally purchased products, including Perry's hard ice cream in a wide variety of yummy flavors, with a wonderful assortment of toppings and homemade waffle cones. Different soft-serve flavors are offered weekly. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Stretch your body and soul with yoga. This offer is a $20 gift certificate off instruction. For new students only. Not good with any other discounts or offers. Use before October 2014.

Sweetland Pines Golf Course, 5795 Sweetland Road, Stafford, NY: Sweetland Pines is a par 3 golf course, great for beginners and experienced golfers working on the short game. Relaxed golf game, average play is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, leaving the golfer time to enjoy rest of the day. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

SOLD OUT

For the rules, click here.

Monday, July 21, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Two-car accident with minor injuries reported on Ellicott Street Road, East Bethany

post by Billie Owens in accident, east bethany, Stafford

A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported at 6049 Ellicott Street Road. Stafford fire and Mercy medics are responding. Two vehicles are said to have collided into a utility pole. A responder on scene says two young men are injured, one complaining of pain, the other of facial cuts. The road is open but eastbound traffic will be slowed down.

UPDATE 8:38 p.m.: Two flatbed tows are called to the scene.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: The location is between Transit and East roads in East Bethany. Bethany fire is also at the scene.

UPDATE 8:51 p.m.: Traffic is being handled in alternate-lane order.

UPDATE: Photos submitted by Doug Yeomans.

Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Police investigating robbery at Tracy and Washington

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is asking for assistance from the public with the reported robbery of a pedestrian that occurred on Saturday, July 19, at about 11 p.m. at or near the corner of Tracy and Washington avenues. No weapon was displayed.

Anyone with information can contact Det. Eric Hill at (585) 345-6373 or use the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370. Citizens can also send information using the City’s Web site. 

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