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Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Police respond to teens fighting on Jackson Street about Facebook comments

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Police responded to a report about 20 minutes ago of fighting on Jackson Street. Police Sgt. Chris Camp told Howard at the scene that two teens met there to fight over something posted on Facebook and they brought some backup and some others also showed up. The initial caller said about 20 youths were involved, but Camp said the total "was nothing like that."

Although one person was handcuffed at some point, no one is believed to have been arrested. The fracas has broken up and police are back in service.

CORRECTION: South Jackson, not Jackson.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Photos: Prepping for Summer in the City

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, downtown, Summer in the City

Preperations are under way for tomorrows Summer in the City in Downtown Batavia.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and includes live music, food, vendors and classic cars.

Come on out, have some fun, and wear your T-shirt from The Batavian.

Photographer Amanda Earl captured some shots late this afternoon of the BID's Don Burkel, Laurie Oltramari and Jeff Gillard as they marked off vendor booth space on Main Street.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Photos: Printing T-shirts for the Don Carroll 5K

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 5K, Don Carroll, T-Shirts Etc.

Photographer Amanda Earl hung out with Brian Kemp at T-Shirts Etc. today for a bit while he made T-shirts for tomorrow's Don Carroll 5K run and walk.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Collins secures $135K in funding for Genesee County Airport

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, genesee county airport, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $135,000 in federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Genesee County Airport. Specifically, the grant will fund the design phase to remove obstructions in a portion of the airport’s runway.

“Supporting local governments with the cost of maintaining, repairing and building critical infrastructure is an appropriate use of federal tax dollars,” Congressman Collins said. “Local taxpayers send too much of their hard-earned money to Washington, and it is only proper that we get a share of it back to assist with projects that are important to our local communities.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local governments pursuing a federal grant.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Photo: A finch among the sunflowers

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, outdoors

Pulled into my driveway this afternoon and saw a flash of yellow dancing through my sunflowers. There were two yellow birds -- finches, I think, eating seeds. I managed to get a photo of one before they took flight.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Photos: City fire training for rope rescues

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

City firefighters were on the hill of South Jackson Street, near the railroad tracks, this morning for training with rope rescue techniques.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Person falls out of car, suffers head injury, at DeWitt park

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accident

A person fell from a vehicle and suffered a head injury at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street. Mercy medics are responding.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

The Weekend Lineup: 8.15.2014

post by Paul Draper III in bands, entertainment, music

UPDATE: The Southside Blues Brothers will also be in Jackson Square this evening.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

Law and Order: Traffic stop in Corfu yields drug-related arrest

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

John E. Sackett, 48, of 81 Falmouth St, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, unlawful possession of marijuana, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Sackett was stopped for allegedly speeding in the Village of Corfu by Officer Mike Petritz. Sackett was allegedly going 48 in a 35-mph zone and found to have 16 suspensions on his license. He was allegedly found with a small quantity of marijuana and a small baggie containing cocaine residue. Sackett was jailed on $1,000 bail or $1,000 bond.

Thomas James Rose, 18, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana. Rose was arrested following an investigation into a personal injury accident off a driveway on Valle Drive, Batavia, at 6:45 p.m. Aug. 3. The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

William Leslie Casinett II, 32, of Frontier Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with assault, 3rd. Casinett allegedly punched another person in the face causing physical injury at 9:30 p.m. July 29 while at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center.

Kirk Andrew Frye, 25, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Frye is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Kevin Albert Roberts, 23, of Riverstone Parkway, Canton, Ga., was arrested on warrants alleging criminal mischief, 3rd, petit larceny and unlawful possession of marijuana. Roberts was arrested in Georgia as a fugitive from justice and returned to Genesee County. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed without bail.

Stephen K. Mullen, 25, of Silver Springs, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Mullen was stopped by State Police at 2 a.m. Aug. 5 on Route 5, Stafford. No further details released.

Jacob R. Reinhardt, 51, of Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Reinhardt was stopped by State Police on Colby Road, Darien, at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday.

Steven P. Tubinis, 42, of Niagara Falls, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Tubinis was stopped at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday on Colby Road, Darien, by State Police.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

Diner in Village of Corfu moving to new location near Pembroke High School

post by Howard B. Owens in business, corfu, pembroke

Linda's Diner in the Village of Corfu is moving.

The Genesee County Planning Board approved a proposal submitted by Pembroke resident Linda Richley to convert a single-family residence at 8783 Allegheny Road into a restaurant.

The location is just south of Pembroke High School.

The new Linda's Diner will be build inside a 1,176-square-foot, ranch-style home built in 1959.

Richley said this morning that it was her son and daughter who encouraged her to move.

The location is strategically located near the busy intersection of routes 5 and 77, close to Yancey's Fancy cheese shop and Pembroke HS, Richley said.

Her daughter would like to eventually add ice cream to the menu and her son already operates a BBQ catering business, so the location would give him a place to set up and cook pulled pork and ribs when he isn't at a client's location.

"It's more their idea than mine," Richley said, but she is looking forward to the family owning its own location after renting for all these years.

The plans approved by the planning board call for 25 parking spaces on the lot.

Richley purchased the 1.1-acre parcel from the Town of Pembroke, which acquired it when they bought lland for the town park.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

You could win $100 if you wear your Batavian T-shirt to Summer in the City

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

This Saturday is Summer in the City. I'll be there for at least some of the event walking around and taking pictures.

I'm going to be looking for people wearing T-shirts that say "The Batavian" on them.

We've sold a couple hundred shirts over the years.

The seventh person I spot wearing their The Batavian T-shirt will get a $100 bill.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Simmons found guilty of the Park Avenue burglary

post by Julia Ferrini in batavia, crime

Though staunch in his defense of Akeem Simmons, Defense Attorney Thomas Burns failed to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the 12 jurors tasked with hearing the case. Simmons was found guilty today on all three counts for which he was being tried.

The 23-year-old Batavia resident was found guilty of burglary in the first degree, a class B violent felony; criminal use of a firearm in the first degree; and conspiracy in the fourth degree. While Burns made a valiant attempt to poke holes in the prosecution's witness testimonies, the jury was not swayed in his client's favor.

"There is an irony that stands out," Burns said during closing arguments, "when you count the number of law enforcement that (18-year-old Nathaniel) Davis met, even before the trial, that he lied to about the events of that day (January 14, 2014).

"He came in, laid his hand on the Bible and swore to tell the truth and he lied," Burns continued.

Davis is also accused of first-degree burglary, and fourth-degree conspiracy. The Davis case is still pending.

Burns also noted that, according to Davis, there are lies, and then there are justifiable lies. 

Reasonable doubt and the lack of quality evidence were the key points in the defense attorney's closing argument. According to the defense, Davis himself admitted to breaking into the home on Park Avenue. Additionally, when Davis was nabbed by police, he was found carrying a loaded gun. Furthermore, Burns painted the investigation by police as somewhat lackadaisical.

"Did you (jury) hear any testimony about the house being searched for evidence?" Burns queried. "It was January in New York; where are the footprints? Was anything observed in the house?"

Burns also pointed out that there was no evidence that linked his client to the gun or the screwdriver used in the crime.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman countered with a recap of witness testimony. He stated that Simmons was seen with what looked like the grip of a gun, prior to the crime. 

The focus of the evidence has been on the flight from the area -- the path that ran along the back of the Park Avenue house to St. Paul's Church, Burns argued. He also stated that police K-9 Pharoah detected a strong scent that led the animal and handler, Deputy Brian Thompson, to the porch where Simmons was hiding.

Burns contended Simmons ran because of his knowledge of a warrant issued against him for a parole violation. Friedman continued reminding the jury that the trial was not about a parole violation, it was about placing Simmons at the scene of the crime and committing burglary. 

Conversely, when a search warrant was issued for Davis's phone, investigators found Simmons' number in Davis's list of contacts.

"There were no text messages or calls between Simmons and Davis," Burns said. "There was no communication between them on the phone at all. Not knowing about the phone records is a quality-of-evidence issue."

In the defense's pursuit to rebuke Friedman's witness testimony, Burns questioned a witness account of the events on the day of the burglary. He noted that her initial testimony indicated that only one person entered the Park Avenue home, and she was "pretty sure" they were black and about 5'7" or 5'8". The prosecution recalled the witness after the lunch break, whereupon she recanted her earlier testimony, and stated she saw two men enter and exit the house which is what she said in the call to 9-1-1 on Jan. 14.

Returning to Davis's testimony, Burns stated that even when Davis tried to put Simmons in the house, he still couldn't get his story straight. He contended that Davis said he lied because he was intimidated by Simmons; that he was afraid of what Simmons would do -- thus stated after notes were found where Simmons is said to have written that he "had a man killed in Elmira." The prosecution also made reference to said notes, but stated that Simmons' threat is indicative of consciousness of guilt.

Burns asked the jurors to consider Davis's demeanor on the stand, his lifestyle, his conflicting explanations, and how he justifies his lies; this goes to show a person's moral fiber. Drumming the idea into jurors' heads that Simmons only ran because of the parole warrant and Davis is a "scary pathological liar," he finalized his argument reminding jurors to follow the law as instructed by the court.

"If you have any doubt about Davis," Burns said. "Then you have reasonable doubt about Simmons' guilt.

"You're not being asked if he (Simmons) is a good or bad person or that he violated parole," Burns continued. "You are asked to determine if the district attorney proved beyond a reasonable doubt to my client's innocence."

"Judge (Robert) Noonan will tell you that the verdict is based on evidence, not speculation," Friedman said. "The evidence presented proves this beyond a reasonable doubt."

Speaking of the decision to use Davis's testimony, Friedman enlightened the jurors that a case can not be built solely on an accomplice's testimony -- corroborating evidence is also needed.

"You got that many times over in this case," Friedman said. "Don't get hung up solely on Davis's testimony. Look at all the evidence."

Friedman also refuted the idea that Davis received a deal for his willingness to testify. According to the D.A., they didn't need his testimony to prove the guilt of Simmons.

"Davis lied because he knew Simmons was a gang member," Friedman said. "That's why Davis wasn't willing at first to finger Simmons. 

"What does Davis have to gain by testifying against Simmons?" Friedman retorted.

Friedman inferred that if it wasn't enough that Simmons was a gang member and carries a gun, it was also intimidating when threatening notes were passed to Davis in the Genesee County Jail. Conversely, Simmons was said to have given Davis the idea that breaking into the house on Park Avenue was a way to get money because the homeowner was a drug dealer.

"Upon investigation, it was obvious that the homeowner was not selling drugs out of his home as Simmons indicated to Davis," the D.A. said.

The prosecution also questioned Simmons' honesty when he denied knowing Davis, yet Davis had his phone number in the contacts of his cell phone. Furthermore, when Simmons was questioned, he said a "kid" was involved in the burglary, however, police never stated the age of the subject. 

Simmons also admitted to wearing the clothes that witnesses said the men leaving the house were wearing, yet when he was found, Deputy Thompson witnessed Simmons pushing similar clothing away from him.

Additionally, Simmons puts himself on the path, going in the direction of the church, on the date and time the crime was committed. He even went so far as telling officers that he "saw two dudes in black running on the path."

"Think of the evidence the police had prior to Davis's testimony," Friedman said. "Using common sense, you (jury) will find that Simmons' innocence was proven wrong, therefore you must return a verdict of guilty."

Simmons is held without bail at the Genesee County Jail. He is scheduled for sentencing Sept.15 at 9:30 a.m..

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