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Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Earn points and get a chance to win a FREE iPad Mini

Here's your chance to win an iPad Mini from Zebra Reach and The Batavian.

If you haven't done so already, download the Zebra Reach app for your smartphone (iPhone here / Droid here), then visit five of the participating merchants listed below and earn a point.

The first 500 Zebra Reach users who earn points at five local, participating businesses will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE iPad Mini.

The drawing will be held March 15.

Don't have a smartphone? No problem. Visit any participating merchant and obtain a Zebra Reach card. Become a registered user and then use the card to earn points in the stores of participating merchants. Earn points in five businesses and you're automatically entered to win.

Here's the "no purchase necessary" option: Download this form and follow the instructions on the form.

What is Zebra Reach?

We're all familiar with loyalty cards -- buy five lunches, get the sixth free, buy nine books get the 10th free. A lot of businesses run these sort of programs, but they usually come with flimsy paper punch cards that either get lost or crammed in your wallet with a dozen other cards.

Zebra Reach makes loyalty reward programs digital and easier to use -- one app stores all of your purchase points for multiple participating businesses.

Here are the participating businesses and initial offers (and of course, we're looking for more businesses to participate):

Adam Miller, 8 Center St., Batavia
Model Club Rewards -- $5 off your next purchase. For every dollar spent earn 1 point. Earn 50 points, receive $5 your next purchase.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia
1 Free sandwich.
Buy any 5 sandwiches, get 6th free.

Charles Men's Shop, Inc.,  200 E. Main St., Batavia
1 Free tie.
Buy 3 shirts, get 1 free tie.

Dog Crazy Daycare, 1 Mill St., Batavia
Earn points toward a free doggy overnight stay.
For $25 spent, earn 1 point toward the doggy overnight. New clients receive 2 bonus points.

Fastec Automotive, 7184 W. Main Road, Le Roy
Free NYS inspection with an oil change and tire rotation.

Fisher Sports, 412 Main St., Batavia
10% off hockey equipment, For each visit you'll earn 5 points.
Earn 25 points -- you'll receive 10% off your next purchase of any hockey equipment purchase.

Glass Roots, 12 Center St., Batavia
1/2 off glass. Buy 2 pieces of glass, get 1/2 off the 3rd.

Lambert's Design Jewelers, 375 W. Main St., Batavia. One point for every $10 spent on purchases.
Earn 25 points and receive $10 off your next purchase.

Main St Pizza, 206 E. Main St., Batavia
Free small pizza with 1 topping.
Earn 15 points and redeem your free small pizza with 1 topping. Earn points with any purchase.

RW Vapors, 224 Ellicott St., Batavia
Buy 5 bottles of E-Liquid, get the 6th free.

Salsa & Curry, 15 Jackson St., Batavia
Buy 1 lunch, get the 2nd for 1/2 off.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford
Free cookie, cupcake or muffin.
Purchase any 10 bakery items and receive a free cookie, cupcake or muffin.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery & Cafe, 23 Jackson St., Batavia
Free cupcake. Buy 11 cupcakes, get the 12th free.

Terry Hills, 5122 Clinton St. Road, Batavia
Free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

The Detail Shop, 3875 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Free deluxe wash. Buy 5 deluxe washes, Get the 6th deluxe wash free.

Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., Batavia
Free Chamilia bead. Buy 3 Chamilia beads, get 1 free.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia
Buy 5 dinners, Get one free.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy
Buy 10 lunches, get the 11th free.

T.F. Brown's, 214 East Main St., Batavia
1 free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

The Cutting Edge, 15 Bank St., Le Roy
Visit us twice for any service and receive $10 off any service on your third visit.

West Main Mini Mart, 3845 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Buy 7 pizzas, get one free.

Local business owners: To sign up for Zebra Reach, contact Lisa Ace ([email protected] or (585) 250-4118). 

SHOPPING LOCAL HAS NEVER BEEN SO REWARDING!

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Lake effect snow watch in place for Friday night and Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A lake effect snow watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for Friday evening through Saturday evening.

The primary area of snowfall is expected to be Northern Erie County and Genesee County.

Six or more inches of snow is expected. Visibility will be as low as a half mile at times.

Forecast confidence, the weather service said, is "medium."

"The exact placement of the heavier snow bands still uncertain," according to the announcement.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Man who made false claims for welfare given intermittant jail sentence

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Fairmont Avenue resident will serve a three-month intermittment jail sentence as a result of welfare fraud in 2011.

Lee Heckman, 35, of 5 Fairmont Ave., Batavia, was sentenced today in Town of Batavia Court by Judge Michael Cleveland.

He admitted in March to obtaining under false pretenses $2,176.13 in temporary assistance and food stamps through DSS from March 2011 through July 2011.

Hackman was working as a self-employed scrap recycler while drawing benefits and didn't disclose the income.

According to DSS officials, Hackman has already paid his restitution.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm

New attorney for man accused of sexual abuse given time to study the case

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime

The trial date for an Alabama man indicted on 28 counts of sexual abuse has been moved back, giving his new attorney time to become familiar with the case.

Earl Francis Sprague , 42, of Church Street, Alabama, was also later indicted on counts of criminal solicitation, 2nd, for allegedly trying to hire somebody to murder a witness.

Last week, William Harper, of the Public Defender's Office, withdrew from the case, citing a conflict of interest. Harper is representing one of the criminal solicitation witnesses on an unrelated criminal matter.

Since the witness wouldn't agree to a new attorney, Sprague consented to the change of attorney.

He is now represented by Fred Rarick, who was assigned to the case today.

Attorney and client will appear in court Feb. 20 to update Noonan on Rarick's progress in becoming familiar with the case, at which time a trial date will be set.

In August, Sprague was indicted on 28 counts sexual abuse in the first degree against a child under age 11. He allegedly abused a child on 28 separate occasions from 1999 through 2009.

Sprague is currently being held in the Genesee County Jail.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Man involved in check forgery given five years probation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Bath salts may have played a role in the criminal conduct of a former Batavia resident who admitted in October to possessing forged checks and who was sentenced in Genesee County Court today.

Richard Lee Matson, 30, will serve a four-month intermittent jail sentence and five years on probation as a result of his guilty plea.

Matson could have been sentenced up to seven years in prison.

As part of his guilty plea, Matson stipulated to $4,500 in restitution for his victims, but Public Defender Gary Horton objected to the restitution today because there was much less requested in actual claims filed through Genesee Justice.

Judge Robert C. Noonan said Matson will need to come back at a later date for a restitution hearing, giving the District Attorney's Office more time to collect restitution claims.

Horton, in arguing for the probation sentence, told Noonan that at the time Matson was involved with the forged checks, he was also using bath salts.

"We all are fairly familiar with the affect bath salts can have on someone's life," Horton said.

Horton added that Matson is a valued employee by his employer.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

'Vile' letter to ex-girlfriend a factor in 15-year sentence for admitted serial burglar

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

Russell P. Cessna, 25, of 18 Pleasant St., Le Roy, will spend somewhere near the next 15 years in state prison.

Cessna was sentenced in county court this morning for burglarizing more than a dozen homes in Genesee County.

As District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Judge Robert C. Noonan, if Cessna received the maximum sentence under his plea agreement, he would spend less than a year in jail for each of his crimes.

Three of Cessna's victims told Noonan how Cessna's burglaries had changed their lives forever.

"I don't like that I don't trust people anymore," said one victim. "I don't like that I don't like seeing cars parked in front of my house because I don't know if somebody is looking at my house because they want to take something from me."

The victim suggested that when Cessna gets out of prison, he be required to do 2,080 hours of community service to reimburse the government for all the resources used to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate him.

Another victim said Cessna stole her wedding ring (custom designed by her husband, which she wasn't wearing during her pregnancy) and her graduation ring.

"He took away the two things that meant the most me and something that can't be replaced," she said.

Another victim also said he has become more distrustful and worried about people coming onto his property.

"You're going to have a lot of time in the next 1,800 to 5,400 days of your life," the victim said. "You'll be able to think about why you did what you did and why you didn't just get a job."

Noonan also received letters from friends and family who support Cessna, but there was also a letter Cessna wrote to a former girlfriend and obtained by the District Attorney's Office that Noonan characterized as "vile."

The letter was discussed extensively by Friedman and defense attorney Jerry Ader.

The letter was written shortly after Cessna's arrest at a time, Ader said, when Cessna was coming down from a severe heroin addiction. Cessna was unhappy with his former girlfriend for something she did that was unrelated to his criminal case.

Ader argued that the letter shouldn't be used as evidence of Cessna's character, yet he couldn't deny that it's a part of who his client is. But he's also a person with friends and family who support him, the attorney said.

"The letters do not paint my client in some rainbow," Ader said. "He is somebody who is troubled, who, while he may not admit it, has mental health issues, issues that run in his family and a drug problem that runs in his family. I'm not saying that excuses him. It explains him."

Local law enforcement caught up with Cessna July 31 as part of an undercover operation that located Cessna in the act of burglarizing a home on Summit Street, Batavia. He accepted a guilty plea to two counts of burglary, 2nd, on Jan. 16.

According to Friedman, Cessna cooperated with investigators from four different law enforcement agencies, admitting to a string of burglaries. Friedman said that cooperation did more to help Cessna himself than it helped law enforcement, because by admitting to the crimes, Cessna avoids possible separate prosecution later on new charges.

Cessna read a handwritten statement to Noonan.

"I wish I could take it all back, but it's too late now," Cessna said, adding later that he knows his actions were selfish. "I'm sorry. I hope they (his victims) can forgive me."

Noonan said Cessna's statement was "a reasonable response for somebody who has committed terrible acts against strangers."

But then there is that letter to Cessna's former girlfriend.

"The letter submitted that was written to a former girlfriend is one of the most vile things I've ever read as part ofa pre-sentence package," Noonan said. "Whether it represents who Mr. Cessna is or, as his attorney said, a part of Cessna, that this man would write such a very, very disturbing letter tells me a lot about the person I am about to sentence."

Cessna was also ordered to pay $32,107.15 in restitution.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Following jury verdict on criminal contempt charge, Le Roy man restrained by deputies

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A man tried this week on a criminal contempt charge had to be restrained by deputies yesterday afternoon after a jury found him guilty.

Security measures were in place from the start of the trial of Jon Nelson Roblee, 37, of Linwood Road, Le Roy. He wore a weighted boot to inhibit his ability to flee and the defense table was angled toward the jury in such a way, with a skirt around it, that jurors would not be able to see any restraints that might have been placed on him (none where during the trial).

After he was pronounced guilty, Roblee became fixated on the two people who were the victims of his refusal to obey a court order, according to Deputy John Baiocco.

"He stood up and pointed and started yelling that it was a conspiracy to commit murder and took a step towards them," Baiocco said. "He had to be physically restrained."

Baiocco and Deputy Daniel Van Valkenburg grabbed Roblee, and with the assistance of Sgt. Bill Scott, Van Valkenburg cuffed Roblee. He was immediately returned to the Genesee County Jail.

Roblee was indicted on the criminal contempt, 1st, charge in June for calling a person protected by a court order and telling the victim, "I am going to get you and him, too, if it takes the rest of my life."

In October 2011, Roblee was arrested and charged with menacing, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. He was accused of throwing a coffee pot at a victim, cutting a victim's hand, and displaying two knives at a pair of victims and threatening to kill them.

Sentencing on yesterday's jury conviction is set for 1:30 p.m., March 19.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm

New sports bar at Batavia Downs to be called '34 Rush'

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas have released the name and logo of their new bar and restaurant to be built inside Batavia Downs Casino. After receiving hundreds of entries via a naming contest, run through Twitter, the name chosen by staff and Mr. Thomas is “34 Rush."

The logo of the new sports bar includes Thurman’s signature and the phrase “34 Rush” with a slightly pitched block font and the words sports bar underneath. Fans who wish to follow “34 Rush” may do so at facebook.com/34rush as well as twitter.com/34rush.

“We give thanks to the many fans that submitted names over the course of last week," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “The name of the bar correlates to Mr. Thomas’ position and his number. The bar name is not one of a typical sports bar. It’s unique, just like Thurman.”

Batavia Downs Casino is in the process of reaching out to the Twitter commenters that helped contribute to the naming of the bar. Those persons will enjoy a dinner with Mr. Thomas as well as prizes from the casino.  The facility’s $28 million dollar expansion begins on Feb. 4 and will conclude some time in the fall.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 9:34 am

Minor power outages, minor accidents on a morning of light snow, cold and strong winds

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The day started off with strong winds, a bit of snow and icy roads.

Crews were out early salting highways and law enforcement officers were dispatched to a few minor accidents, including a tractor-trailer that took out a power pole in the area of Texaco Town. Currently, some 61 National Grid customers in that area are without power.

There have also been reports of power and phone lines down in various parts of the county.

Winds are currently blowing at 25 mph with gusts up to 41 mph and strong winds are expected to continue for at least a couple more hours.

More light snow is possible.

Some snow is predicted for tonight with a light breeze.

There are currently two other power outages in Genesee County. One is in Elba and 21 customers are without power and in East Bethany, where 24 customers are without power.

In Pavilion, power should be restored by 11:30 a.m., in Elba by 10:30 a.m. In East Bethany, crews are assessing the situation.

Photo: Genesee ARC workers collect garbage in windy, 27-degree weather on Liberty Street.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Genesee ARC will receive tax-exempt status for West Main property after all

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, genesee county, taxes

Genesee ARC will be able to claim its recycling center at 3785 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, as a tax-exempt property despite missing an important deadline.

According to the county's Deputy Treasurer Matt Landers the nonprofit organization failed to apply for tax-exempt status on the property by the tax status deadline date.

As a result, three local government agencies included in their budgets anticipated revenue from the 5.3-acre parcel, which has an accessed value of $860,000.

When ARC asked to receive tax-exempt status, Landers said his initial reaction was "no," because of the budget concerns.

Then a staff member found a legal opinion that states that an owner is eligible for reconsideration of tax-exempt status after a missed deadline if the assessor concurs in writing that the property was eligible on the tax status date.

The decision wipes out more than $30,000 of anticipated revenue for local governments.

Batavia City Schools anticipated in its 2012-2013 budget revenue of $21,543.07.

According to Landers, district officials, when faced with the revenue loss, double checked the legal opinion and reached the same conclusion as the county Assessor's Office.

The county was set to receive in 2013 $3,650.37 in Medicaid mandate taxes and another $4,189.84 in county property tax.

The Town of Batavia Fire District will see its revenue for 2013 drop by $2,012.36.

Genesee ARC held its grand opening for its new recycling facility on West Main, formally a location for Duro Shed, in September.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Man facing up to 11 years in prison for grand larceny pleads not guilty to new burglary counts

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime

An Alexander resident -- who has already admitted to grand larceny in Wyoming County, and is facing prior theft charges locally -- entered a not guilty plea in Genesee County Court today to two new burglary counts.

Nicholas A. Antonucci, 25, of 4192 Broadway Road, who is being held in Wyoming County Jail pending his sentencing Feb. 21, made a brief appearance before Judge Robert C. Noonan this afternoon.

Antonucci was indicted by the grand jury a week ago on two new counts of burglary in the second degree, stemming from two alleged break-ins at a residence in Darien.

In Genesee County, he was already facing incharges of burglary, 2nd, grand larceny, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th.

On Nov. 26, in Wyoming County Court, Antonucci entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th. His original indictment also included a count of burglary, 3rd.

He faces from three and two-thirds to 11 years in state prison on the Wyoming County conviction, to be served concurrently with any sentence he might receive in Genesee County on the original set of charges.

The Wyoming County plea satisifies all of the charges in that county against him.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm

High winds, with gusts up to 60 mph, expected tonight through 4 p.m. Thursday

post by Billie Owens in weather

A high-wind warning will be in effect from 7 tonight until 4 o'clock Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

The strongest winds are expected late tonight through early afternoon Thursday. Winds will be coming from the southwest at 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Winds of this magnitude will likely bring down a few trees and possibly result in scattered power outages. Driving in high profile vehicles will be difficult, the weather service says.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Two people injured in accident at Lewiston and West Main

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

Two people were injured Tuesday when their cars hit at the intersection of West Main Street and Lewiston Road, Batavia.

One driver said the light was red when he was attempting to make his left-hand turn,and the other driver said the light was yellow as he proceeded westbound on Route 5.

No citations were issued following the accident, which was reported at 7:40 p.m.

The driver of the first car is identified as David Pfenninger Jr., 34, of Bennett Road, Alexander.

The driver of the second vehicle is identified as Jacob Mark Finkney, 19, of Gabbey Road, Corfu.

Two passengers in Pfenninger's vehicle were injured. Jessica L. Miles, 31, and Jordana A. Miles, 14, were both transported to UMMC.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Tim Wescott.

(Initial Report)

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