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Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Notre Dame's Jeff Antolos, state champion runner, signs with Canisius

post by Howard B. Owens in Cross Country, Notre Dame, sports

Press release:

Notre Dame High School, Batavia, is proud to announce that Class of 2013 Senior Jeffrey Antolos has committed to attend Canisius College in Buffalo. Jeffrey, the son of Bare and Sheri Antolos, of Warsaw, will be studying Accounting while continuing his running career on Canisius College’s NCAA Division 1 cross-country team.

Jeff’s senior year cross-country accomplishments are indeed noteworthy and eye-opening as he:

  • Led Coach Eric Geitner’s Varsity Boys Cross Country team to a 16 -5 overall record and managed to break four course records (Genesee County Park #1, Pembroke Invitational, Dansville Central and Avon Central) in the process.
  • Was undefeated in GR-LCAA meets in 2012, as well as finishing 1st in the Pembroke and East Aurora Invitations and runner-up at McQuaid and West Seneca invitationals.
  • Ran a sub 15 minute 3.1-mile race finishing 2nd in the seeded Varsity “A” race at the prestigious McQuaid Jesuit Invitational on September 29, 2012 where he tied for the fastest Section V time at this year’s meet!
  • Surpassed ND grad Dan Bobo’s ’01 former ND school record for 3.1 miles by running a 14:55 minute race at the 2012 McQuaid Invitational.
  • Became a two-time individual Section V Champion in 2012 while moving up a class from D to C at the Sectional meet at Genesee Community College on November 3, 2012.
  • Became a two-time NYSPHSAA Champion in 2012 while moving up a class from D to C in the State meet at Elma Meadows on November 10, 2012 and became only the 5th runner (3rd boy) in Section V history to win two state championships!
  • Received the NYSPHSAA Section V Class C Sportsmanship Award for 2012.
  • Was named to the Genesee Region Cross Country All Star team for the 3rd consecutive year (2010, 2011, 2012).
  • Repeated as a Democrat and Chronicle Fall All Greater Rochester (AGR) selection as a senior (2011, 2012).
  • Repeated as a Section V All Star 1st Team selection as a senior. (2011-2012)
  • Placed 11th overall in the Nike Cross Northeast Regional qualifying meet in Wappingers Falls on November 24, 2012 – 20 seconds behind the 2nd-place finisher and three places from qualifying for Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore.

Jeff is also a member of our Fighting Irish Ice Hockey and Track and Field programs.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

VA has reportedly selected Pembroke for cemetery location

post by Howard B. Owens in pembroke

Using an unnamed source, the Buffalo News is reporting that a site in Pembroke has been selected for a new veterans cemetery.

The location a 132-acre parcel at Route 77 and Indian Falls Road.

Purchase negotiations are in progress, the story says.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

Law and Order: Medina man accused sending harassing text messages

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

Robert F. Sargent, 50, of 416 East Center St., Medina, is charged with two counts harassment, 2nd. Sargent is accused of sending 67 text messages to one person and 27 text messages to another person over a period of weeks. The messages allegedly served no legitimate purpose and seriously annoyed the recipients. Sargent turned himself in to Batavia PD.

Samuel James Vernaccini, 19, of South Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Vernaccini was stopped at 5:32 p.m. Monday on East Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona for an alleged traffic violation.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:59 am

Hawley joins push for local road repairs

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently joined legislative colleagues and local highway officials to advocate for greater attention to road and bridge repair. Partnering with fellow state representatives as well as mayors, county executives and highway superintendents, Hawley highlighted the need to support the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), which provides the bulk of state aid to counties and towns for the maintenance and improvement of local roads and bridges.

“The quality of our roads and bridges has a great impact on our safety and our overall quality of life,” Hawley said. “Sound infrastructure helps facilitate the flow of goods and services that boost our economy, while repair and maintenance projects help create local jobs.

"CHIPs funding is a critical component in how the state partners with localities to make our communities great places to live, work and raise a family, and I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues to fight for the crucial projects CHIPs funding supports.”

The governor has included $363.1 million in CHIPs funding in his proposed 2013-14 State Budget, the same level as last year. The legislators and local highway superintendents are calling for a CHIPs funding increase of $100 million, from $363.1 million to $463.1 million.  They note that local roads and bridges account for 82 percent of the roads, 52 percent of the bridges, and 48 percent of the vehicle mileage logged in New York State.

A recent report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, “Cracks in the Foundation,” called 32 percent of New York's local bridges deficient and 40 percent of local roads fair or poor, and getting worse.

Among those joining Hawley and his legislative colleagues at the event were officials from the NYS County Highway Superintendents Association (NYSCHSA), NYS Association of Town Superintendents of Highways (NYSAOTSOH), NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC), New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and the Association of Towns of the State of New York.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

Washington takes control in 4th to help the Blue Devils defeat Hornell

post by Nick Sabato in basketball, batavia, sports

Batavia used a 21-4 run over the final five minutes of the game to defeat Hornell and advance to the Class B Far West Regionals, 65 to 51.

The fourth quarter belonged to Batavia senior forward Justin Washington, who scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in the final frame alone.

Washington entered the quarter with only six points and having sat the majority of the third quarter with three fouled. But when he reentered the game, he immediately took over.

“(Washington) took the game over. Plain and simple,” said Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky. “I think he just decided it was time. He pretty much just took the game over, put us on his shoulders and carried us home.”

In the first half it was a different story for the Blue Devils, who jumped out to an early lead behind an unexpected source.

As Washington and Jalen Smith struggled to find their stroke in the first half, it was senior T.J. Powell who stepped up and delivered.

Powell scored all 13 of his points in the first half, while grabbing six rebounds, to give Batavia a 30 to 24 halftime lead.

“T.J. was tentative in the Newark game and we talked about it in practice,” Brasky said. “I told him to go out and be aggressive. I told him tonight is going to be your night and that was key. That’s the T.J. we need.”

Hornell began to cut into Batavia’s stingy defense during the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils 18-12 in the period, and eventually tied the game on a three-point field goal from Richard Brooks with just under a minute to play in the quarter.

“We weren’t sprinting back on defense,” Brasky said. “Their secondary break killed us. We were jogging back and they took advantage.”

The two teams headed into the fourth quarter tied at 42 and traded baskets before Brooks hit another three to give the Red Raiders the lead before Smith and Washington began to take over.

Smith had been struggling from the field all evening, going just 7-of-20 from the field and 2-for-13 from three point range for the game, but he began to take over in other facets.

The senior came up with three assists in the quarter, one on a gorgeous pass to sophomore Jeff Redband for an easy lay-up that forced a timeout.

“I trust my teammates to score, too,” Smith said. “I can’t score all of the points and my teammates help out a lot. They play hard and we all play together.”

Washington scored the first two baskets of the quarter for Batavia, and had matched both his point and rebound total for the entire game in the first four minutes of the frame.

After Hornell had taken a 47-44 lead, the Blue Devils went on to score the next 12 points during their 21-4 run to end the game. In total, Batavia held the Red Raiders without a point for nearly four minutes.

“Our team handles pressure very well,” Smith said. “We stuck together as a team, we played hard, we kept our confidence and we all stuck together.”

Smith would finish with a game-high 25 points, including several key free throws down the stretch to ice the game for Batavia (19-3).

Washington chipped in with 14 points, 14 rebounds and two steals for the Blue Devils, who will face the state's top-ranked team on Saturday in Olean.

The Huskies defeated East High School of Buffalo on Tuesday to win the Section VI championship, 62-50.

They are led by 6-foot-7 junior forward Sam Eckstrom, who notched his 1,000th point in the win and senior guard Wil Bathurst who scored 27 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked six shots.

“Olean is the number-one ranked team in the state,” Brasky said. “We played them last year. We have everybody back and they have everybody back. They are just a solid team.”

The Blue Devils defeated Olean in their own tournament last year, 56-43. The Huskies would win their next 21 games before falling in the State Semi-Finals.

Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.

To purchase prints of photos, click here. To purchase prints of earlier Blue Devils games (boys and girls basketball, click here)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Noonan gives jail time to man who committed crimes while high on bath salts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Bradley Broadbent poked his finger into the defense desk and told Judge Robert C. Noonan this morning, "I'm never going to be behind this table again, your honor."

Broadbent was sentenced today on his five misdemeanor convictions stemming from his actions July 6 when he was high on a bath salt known as "Amped," that he said he purchased at the former 420 Emporium.

That day, he destroyed a bathroom of an office complex on Liberty Street, climbed on the roof of a house on Hutchins Street, and after leaving the emergency room at UMMC, entered a dwelling on Tracy Avenue.

A jury found him not guilty on all the felony charges he faced, but convicted him of five misdemeanors: two counts of criminal mischief, 4th, two counts of criminal trespass, 2nd, and petit larceny.

Those are charges, he said, he would have entered a guilty plea to if given a chance.

Broadbent said he really wants to get his life straightened out and was hoping for a probationary sentence or weekend incarceration.

"I've been in jail almost my whole life," Broadbent told Noonan. "I know with my record, saying I'm sincerely sorry is hard to take seriously, but I am sorry. This is the last time I'm ever going to be at this table, your honor, regardless of what you sentence me to."

Because of Broadbent's record, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said, anything less than the maximum sentence available under New York law would be inappropriate.

Broadbent has a history, Friedman said, of violating terms of probation and parole.

Noonan did sentence Broadbent to the maximum for his misdemeanor convictions, which is two consecutive one-year terms in jail. With time served and time for good behavior, Broadbent will be out of jail in seven to eight months.

"You're a poster child for why bath salts had to be banned," Noonan said. "The evidence of your behavior in this trial was nothing short of bizarre, and not only in terms of what you did, but what you were able to do with almost superhuman feats while under the influence of those substances."

But, Noonan said, there's nothing indicating Broadbent could abide by any terms of probation.

"If you turn your life around, nothing would make me happier and the other people in the criminal justice system," Noonan said.

At age 33, Noonan said, it was time for Broadbent to put his childish behavior behind him.

Just before Broadbent was escorted from the courtroom, Noonan added, "I'm going to hold you to your promise that I won't see you back here."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Bradley introduced himself to me prior to the hearing. He thanked The Batavian for our fair, accurate and honest coverage of his case. We had a long talk, none of which is really fodder for this story. He did ask me to emphasize that he offers his sincere apology to the community for his behavior, that he realizes with his track record it might be hard for some to believe, but that he really wants to get his life going in the right direction. I believe he's sincere and truly hope he is able to move forward in a positive direction from this day forward.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

Pavilion woman arrested on a Leandra's Law charge given 11 months to stay out of trouble prior to sentencing

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

A Pavilion mother caught twice drinking and driving, including once with her underage children, will be given 11 months to show to the court she can stay out of trouble.

Judge Robert C. Noonan gave Angela A. Kruse, 40, interim supervision until Feb. 6, when she will returned to County Court for sentencing.

Her sentence will be determined by her conduct over the next 11 months.

Kruse was arrested in June in Le Roy for driving while intoxicated with her children in her car, leading to a felony charge under Leandra's Law. She was arrested a second time following an accident in Covington in September. She reportedly had a child with her in the car at that time as well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:20 am

Law and Order: Mother accused of not being at home when children were dropped off by school bus

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, Stafford

Susan Marie Norway, 29, of Cockram Road, Byron, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Norway was allegedly not at home when her children were dropped off after school by a school bus. The children went to a neighbor's house, where they stayed while the neighbor contacted the Sheriff's Office.

Melissa Marie Morton, 27, of West Middlebury Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny and criminal contempt. Morton was arrested on warrants from Stafford Town Court for alleged failure to appear on the charges. She was jailed on $200 bail.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:10 am

A swamp country fable: the turkey and the possum

post by JIM NIGRO in nature, outdoors, possum, turkey vulture, turkeys

Why did the turkey cross the road? To prove to the possum that it COULD be done.

"No way!!!!" exclaimed the possum.

"Piece of cake" said the turkey...."Watch me".......and off he went.

"Cool beans" said the now believing possum. "Let me give it a try!"......

Meanwhile, a lone turkey vulture patiently watches in anticipation...........

He made it...much to the vulture's disappointment! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:01 am

Hawley votes against minimum wage hike

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently voted against a dangerous, job-killing measure to raise the minimum wage both now and on an automatic escalator in the future. The bill seeks to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour, the second-highest rate in the nation, and includes annual increases tied to the rate of inflation.

According to the Business Council of New York State, Inc., the measure would increase total payroll costs per-employee by roughly $4,063 annually. Hawley listed a number of glaring problems with the bill, particularly its impact on the local agricultural industry.

“This legislation is a poorly thought out plan that will force businesses to eliminate jobs and pass the increase in the cost of doing business down to the consumer,” Hawley said. “The agricultural industry will be particularly devastated by this measure, which will wreak havoc on our local economy. If we want to help low-income families, we should be investing in the Earned Income Tax Credit rather than passing job-killing laws.

"This is not the way to show the world that New York is open for business. Rather, this is another example of the disconnect between Downstate, where the plan was hatched, and Upstate, where the damage will be the most severe. Now more than ever, we should be looking into my legislation that would let the public decide if New York should be split into two separate states.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:55 am

GCC forward named Player of the Year for division

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, GCC, sports

Press release:

Genesee Community College freshman forward Vaughn Boler (Pittsford Mendon High School, Rochester) has been named the NJCAA Division II Region III Player of the Year for the 2012-2013 season.

Boler played in 27 games (26 starts) this year and led the Cougars in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per game. That mark was the second-highest scoring average in Region III and 14th most in the country. He also averaged seven rebounds per game, which was second highest on the team.

On three occasions this season, Boler scored 30 or more points in a game. He scored a career-high 37 points against ASA College on Dec. 9 and recorded 12 or more points in every game.

Boler missed four games during the middle of January due to an injury and the Cougars were 0-4 during that stretch. Genesee finished the regular season with a 15-15 overall record and fell to Mercyhurst North East in the opening round of the Region III playoffs, 97-94.

Boler is the first player at Genesee to receive the award since Leon Nelson, who was named co-Player of the Year in 2010.

Genesee Community College athletics program endeavors to provide a quality and competitive intercollegiate athletics program consistent with the National Junior Collegiate Athletics Association (NJCAA) philosophy and the overall educational mission of Genesee Community College. Participation in collegiate athletics should be an extension of the total educational experience for the student athlete. The inherent philosophy emphasizes the athletic setting as a classroom used to teach character, commitment, work ethic, respect for differences, and the importance of sacrifice, teamwork and cooperation.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:46 am

Batavia named top micropolitan city for ninth consecutive year

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC

Press release:

Site Selection Magazine has once again recognized Batavia/Genesee County as one of the top micropolitans in the United States. For the ninth consecutive year, Batavia/Genesee County has made the Site Selection Governor’s Cup rankings for top micropolitans and is now ranked tied for fifth on its national list.

“It is very difficult to jump up so many spots, especially with the intense competition among the top micropolitans throughout the United States,” said Mike Glennon, regional marketing director of Site Selection Magazine. “Congratulations to all in economic development in Genesee County; this is a superb job and a testament of the strength of the business climate and assets Batavia and the region have to offer.”

The ranking of Top Micropolitans is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county.  There are approximately 576 micropolitans in the United States according to Site Selection Magazine.  Batavia tied Shelby, N.C., for fifth place in the national rankings.

“This is a great recognition in an extremely competitive industry and it once again reinforces that when the public and private sectors work together we can accomplish great things for the region,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Council. “We look forward to continuing the momentum of this collaboration in our economic development efforts for 2013.”

The GCEDC will unveil its 2012 Annual Report highlighting performance results at the organization’s annual meeting on Friday, March 8 at Noon at Genesee Community College.

Among those attending include Congressman Chris Collins, New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock and other local government and business officials.

National Grid will be recognized by the GCEDC as economic development partner of the year. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance by calling the GCEDC at 343-4866.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Judge tells bookies they will serve in a weekend-work program

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The three men -- including two former City firefighters -- who admitted to a bookmaking charge late last year will work weekends for the community through the Sheriff's Office the next four and a half months, serve three years on probation and pay a $1,000 fine each.

Because the county's work release program doesn't have any openings until March 30, City Court Judge Robert Balbick delayed formal sentencing until March 26.

Greg Phillips, Brian Bordinaro and Lance Engel each appeared in court with their attorneys.

Engel was the first called to the bench and his attorney Joseph LaTona argued that Engel should be given a conditional discharge, meaning no supervised punishment, though he would need to stay out of trouble for a period of time.

All three men entered guilty pleas Dec. 11 to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling, 2nd. The maximum sentence available to Balbick on the conviction was up to a year in jail.

LaTona took note that while it's true that his client initially faced felony charges, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, "a pretty tough guy," agreed to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor for a plea bargain.

"My client had to resign his job of 17 years at the New York state Veterans Hospital," LaTona told Balbick. "In terms of punishment already sustained by my client and his family, that is enough."

Adding later, "He did wrong. He knew he did wrong and he knew it was a crime."

Asked for a statement by Balbick, Engel said, "I take full responsibility for my actions and the embarrassment it caused to members of my family, coworkers and friends."

Friedman (inset photo) acknowledged that even though the charges had been reduced from felonies, including the Class B felony of enterprise corruption, the fact the charges were reduced was already a substantial break.

Friedman supported the Probation Department's recommendation for Engel, which was a period of probation.

"Assuming the defendant is a law-abiding citizen in coming years, then it's not a great hardship for him to be on probation and that's a pretty good disposition for the community in a way I don't feel that a conditional discharge is good for the community."

Balbick said he's thought long and hard about the case, and while he has no doubt Engel is a hard-working family man who made just one "horrible mistake," a sentence of probation wasn't enough.

"It would be a waste of money to put this man in jail, but I do think this man committed a crime and there needs to be accountability to the citizens of this community," Balbick said.

After Engel's appearance, Bordinaro and Phillips approached the bench in turn. Both were asked if they would accept the same sentence as Engel.

The alternative sentence, Balbick said, was 120 days intermittent jail time.

Both Bordinaro and Phillips accepted Balbick's terms. There was no discussion about the sentence during their appearance before Balbick.

Phillips appeared unhappy with Balbick's offer and his attorney, Larry Andolina (top photo), admitted to reporters outside the courthouse that Phillips was indeed displeased with what transpired in court.

"It was a little more than what I expected, but we'll come back to court on the 26th and we'll deal with it then," Andolina said.

Asked about allegations that Phillips and Bordinaro conducted their bookmaking operation while on duty at the City of Batavia Fire Station, Andolino said the allegation was "nonsense."

Asked why the case had been reduced from felony charges, Andolina said, “The investigation wasn’t handled appropriately.”

Asked if there was a conflict of interest, Andolina said, "yes."

Asked if he would elaborate, he said, "No."

"You have to ask Larry Friedman or the Sheriff?" Andolina said. "They have much more information."

Asked again later if he had evidence to support his allegation that the investigation was mishandled, Andolina said, "Steve Mullen retired, didn't he."

When told that wasn't exactly evidence, Andolina again referred the question to Freidman or Sheriff Gary Maha. 

"You're asking the wrong people," he said and added, "My client still has to get sentenced on the 26h."

Later, Friedman said he wouldn't discuss the matter.

Maha who is out of town, has yet to respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

While Engel expressed remorse in court, neither Phillips nor Bordinaro were given a chance to speak.

Asked if his client, Phillips, was remorseful, Andolina said, "Sure he's remorseful. He lost his job. He lost his pension. He’s got a family. This is not a real big community. He knows a lot of people in this community. This is not a happy time."

Andolina said Phillips has been training to become a barber and can't receive a state license unless Balbick signs a "release from disability," a legal document that would allow Phillips to be licensed for such an occupation.

Balbick said he'll take up that matter on March 26.

Asked to comment on Balbick's characterization that the three defendants committed an offense against the community, Friedman said, "Regardless of how you feel about gambling laws, two of the defendants were professional firefighters and were on the public payroll and the evidence is that they were running the gambling operation on duty at least at times. The other defendant was an employee of New York State Veterans nursing home, so I think in that respect it would be considered offenses against the community."

UPDATE: WIVB's George Richert lead this evening's newscast with a story about the sentencing and included information accusing Mullen of placing bets with the bookies. Richert offered no proof, either in the form of documents or sources, to substantiate the claim. (WIVB Web Story)

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