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Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Genesee ARC faces loss of trash pick up contract with City of Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee ARC

Genesee ARC, which has provided trash service to the City of Batavia for nearly 30 years, is facing the possible loss of the contract with a city decision to put the trash collection contract out to bid.

Though Genesee ARC is welcome to be among the bidders, as many as three private firms are expect to place bids.

"I think it comes down to the efficiency and effectiveness of the service being provided to the residents," Molino said on WBTA's Main and Center program this morning. "Our approach moving forward with refuse collection -- and it has been -- is how do we continue to divert refuse tonnage from the refuse stream to the recycling stream, and ultimately lowering costs to the residents."

Genesee ARC employs 30 people, including 20 with developmental disabilities, for trash hauling and recycling pick up. The agency is paid $810,000 a year for the service.

The last contract was signed five years ago.

“This is a competitive bid, no different than any other bid for any other service,” Molino said. “If you can provide that service and you can support it and provide the services we’re requesting, then they can continue to provide it.”

Molino also told WBTA he has received virtually no complaints about the service provided by the ARC.

Donna Saskowski, executive director of the ARC, says the trash contract with the city is vital to the agency.

“Mostly because it goes to our mission of employing people with developmental disabilities here locally in our community and it would mean that 20 individuals with developmental disabilities would be unemployed, as well as the staff – all residents of Genesee County – who would become unemployed," Saskowski said.

Molino expects as many as three private companies will submit bids for the trash contract. Saskowski said the ARC is weighing its options.

Saskowski said that even if ARC no longer provides recycling pick up in the city, ARC will certainly try to keep operating its recycling center on West Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

"Without the city contract it (recycling) would certainly be a diminishment," Saskowski said. "We are dedicated to recycling and we would certainly look for other opportunities."

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

Mistlers to donate downtown window display winnings to nominated families

'Tis the time of giving and Ken Mistler and his wife Andrea are in the spirit. The Mistlers' recently won $200 for winning the downtown window display contest. The display, located inside the former Carr's building was sponsored by both Next Level Fitness and City Slickers Bar & Grill.

"I want to thank the downtown (improvement) district and all the judges for choosing our window." Ken Mistler said. "We know there are families out there having a hard time and we want to be able to give back to them and give them a little something extra this holiday season."

If you know someone that is deserving please e-mail [email protected] with the name of the person and a brief description of why you think they are deserving. Also be sure to include your contact info as well as their's. You can't nominate yourself.

All nominations must be submitted by Dec. 20th. Winnings will be donated in the form of a Save-A-Lot gift card.

"I'm going to review the nominations  and will decide on the most deserving family or families." Mistler said. "I may give one gift card for the full amount or I may give a few."

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

Law and Order: Driver in Pembroke accused of DWI

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

Debra Jean Bastiano, 55, of South Main Street Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding (55 in 40 mph zone) and possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Bastiano was stopped at 9:31 p.m. Wednesday on Route 5, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Thomas Riley Munger, 18, of Glidden Circle, of Hamlin, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Munger was arrested following a report to College Village security of individuals smoking marijuana in a vehicle on College Village grounds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Jacquetta Simmons posts $50,000 bail

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman just announced that a $50,000 bail bond was posted today with the Genesee County Court on behalf of Jacquetta Simmons.

The 27-year-old Batavia resident was found guilty earlier this year of assaulting 70-year-old Wal Mart employee Grace Suozzi in the store last Christmas Eve.

On Nov. 30, New York Appellate Division Justice Rose Sconiers ordered that Simmons' sentence be stayed pending a hearing on her attorneys' appeal, which argues her sentence of five years in prison is overly harsh considering that Simmons is a first-time offender. This is what made it possible for Simmons' release this afternoon.

Judge Robert C. Noonan signed a release order and she'll be released from custody once it's received by Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where she is incarcerated.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Law and Order: Alleged drunk driver found passed out in cornfield with motor running

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Joshua William Cresswell, 20, of Janes Road, Rochester, was found passed out behind the wheel of his gray sedan around 7:30 this morning with the motor still running. He was in a cornfield, south of Little Falls Road, Pembroke. Cresswell was arrested and will appear in Pembroke Town Court on Jan. 10 on charges of driving while intoxicated and driving with a BAC of .08 or more. (Nothing about his being underage was noted in the report.)

Rozella Ann Smith, 76, of Colonial Boulevard, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. She was arrested for allegedly striking another person on the wrist and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court. The incident allegedly occurred on Nov. 29 at 10:43 p.m.

Gregory Stephen Hallifax, 46, of Diane Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and arraigned in Stafford Town Court. Hallifax was arrested on suspicion of criminal contempt and failure to obey an order of protection on Nov. 29 at 11:32 p.m. at a location on East Main Street Road, Stafford. He was released and will appear in Stafford Town Court next month.

(Note: Temporary difficulties in receiving FAX transmissions delayed the publication of information on Smith and Hallifax.)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:29 am

Photos: Batavia Christmas lights, Dec. 11, 2012

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Christmas lights

I spent some time this evening driving around Batavia and taking pictures of houses with Christmas lights. I've done this each of the past few years (a tradition of The Batavian started by Brian Hillabush). This slide show contains 18 photos. Hopefully, between now and Christmas I'll have time to take more pictures. Tonight I concentrated on trying to find houses I hadn't photographed in previous years. I probably have some duplicates, but hopefully we're featuring some homes that haven't been included in previous years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Photos: Candlelight vigil for Collin Crane at Batavia HS

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Car parked by St. Joseph's Cemetery reported to be a 'suspicious condition'

post by Billie Owens in batavia

A caller reports a suspicious condition to emergency dispatch: a car is parked off Ellicott Street, on "an extension road" by St. Joseph's Cemetery and it's been there for half an hour. It's "occupied and it's going up and down." Police are responding to investigate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

BREAKING: Firefighters accused of bookmaking plead guilty to greatly reduced charge

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The three Batavia men arrested in February for running an illegal gambling operation, including two city firefighters, have entered guilty pleas in city court today to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling, 2nd.

The pleas are a dramatically reduced from the Class B felony of enterprise corruption, which the case was elevated to in April.

Gregory Phillips and Brian Bordinaro, both veteran city firefighters, along with Lance Engel, a cook with the state's veterans home in Batavia, were originally arrested on a felony charge of criminal possession of gambling records in the first degree, a Class E felony. Philips was also accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

The Class B felony carried a maximum penalty of 8 to 25 years in state prison.

City Court Judge Robert Balbick's sentencing options include everything from an unconditional discharge to a year in county jail, including a combination of a shorter jail term and a term of probation.

As part of the plea deal, all three men agreed to resign their government jobs.

Attorney Larry Andolina, representing Phillips, said the charge his clients pled guilty to was exactly what they should have been charged with in the first place.

"I just don’t think gambling is that serious of a crime considering all of the gambling that goes on by the state, various lottery tickets, horsing racing, casinos … times need to be changed," Andolina said.

When the case first became public, investigators said gambling records indicated the trio was running a wide-ranging bookmaking operation that covered a variety sports, had numerous clients and turned over about $1 million in wagers. The trio was alleged by investigators to have taken in $80,000 in profits.

Andolina said none of that was true.

"It's all nonsense," Andolina said. "This was little people, betting, gambling on football games. It was blown so out of proportion, which is why it ended up being a misdemeanor."

At the first court appearance that Andolina and his fellow attorneys made on behalf of their clients, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman turned over thousands of pages of "discovery" -- the evidence the government has supposedly gathered against the defendants.

Andolina said the discovery failed to substantiate the original charges.

Friedman was not in court today, was out of the office and has not responded to a request for comment.

Sheriff Gary Maha said his investigators felt they had a solid case that could substantiate the felony charges or they wouldn't have made the arrests.

"We have many cases in which we make an arrest and then the case is pled down," Maha said. "It's our job to make the arrest. It's the DA's job to decide what to do with the case."

The Class A misdemeanor of promoting gambling is the lowest level crime under Article 225, New York's gambling penal code.

Joseph LaTona, attorney for Engel, said there was nothing unusual at all about the plea bargain. He characterized it as a "garden variety" plea.

"I’ve practiced criminal defense law for almost 40 years in Western New York and for individuals without a prior criminal history, for a first-time gambling offense, this is par for the course," LaTona said. "I’ve had many dispositions identical to this throughout many counties in Western New York.  It’s not unusual. It’s typical."

Sentencing on all three defendants is set for March 5.

One decision Balbick will be asked to make in the case of Phillips is to declare what Andolina called a "release from liabilities." He said Phillips has an opportunity for another job and a release from liabilities allows a person convicted of a crime to still be licensed in New York for some types of jobs. Andolina said the job prospect for Phillips is in the private sector.

Phillips and Bordinaro had 17 and 18 years on the job and would have been eligible for a New York State pension if they had completed 20 years of employment.

Both, they said in court, have already resigned from their city jobs.

Photos: Top, Bordinaro, center, with Andolina, right and Greg Ireland, president of IAFF Local 896. Inset, Phillips.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

Law and Order: Rochester man accused of concealing drugs while being booked into jail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Benjamin Authur Tribunella, 18, of Spencerport Road, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21 and promoting prison contraband, 1st. Tribunella's vehicle was stopped at 4:28 p.m. Monday on Route 33, Stafford, for an alleged equipment violation by Deputy Joseph Corona. During the traffic stop, Tribunella was found to allegedly possess a controlled substance and alcohol. While being processed into the Genesee County Jail, Tribunella was reportedly found in possession of an additional controlled substance that he allegedly tried to conceal.

Randy Kevin Wilmet, 35, of Franklin St., Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting an incident. Wilmet is accused of providing false information regarding a vehicle accident at 5:18 a.m., Oct. 21, in the Town of Bergen. Wilmet reportedly was a passenger in the vehicle. Also charged was Matthew James Reed, 28, of State Street, Batavia.

Joshua David Kritz, 24, of Lyndale Court, West Seneca, turned himself in on a bench warrant out of the Village of Corfu Court for allegedly violating a conditional discharge on a DWI arrest. Kritz was jailed on $500 bail.

Gregory Stephen Halifax, 46, of Diane Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Halifax is accused of violating an order of protection.

Rochel J. Johnson, 31, of Pembroke, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Johnson was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 6:20 p.m., Oct. 26. No further details were released.

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