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Monday, February 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Schumer stops by Batavia HS to issue challenge to DEA to step anti-synthetic drug enforcement

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Charles Schumer, synthetic drugs

Synthetic drug use hasn't hit the epidemic proportions of 2012, but with reports of related hospitalizations and law enforcement issues on the uptick, Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the DEA to step up its enforcement efforts.

To draw attention to the issue, Schummer held a press conference this morning in the library at Batavia High School, joined by Superintendent Chris Daily, Principal Scott Wilson, GCASA Communications Director Pamela LaGrou, and Sgt. Greg Walker, head of the Local Drug Task Force.

"We gave the DEA the authority (with legislation in 2012) to ban a long list of chemical look-alikes," Schumer said. "If it's almost marijuana, or almost methamphetamine, or almost Ecstasy, or almost cocaine, and they can switch a few molecules, we told the DEA you don't need legislation to make it a Schedule 1 drug. You can ban it. The problem is, the DEA is moving much too slowly."

The DEA is battling against a worldwide network of independent chemists, small labs and distributors who are constantly reformulating their drugs. Schumer thinks the DEA can keep pace.

"The DEA has a panel of scientists, experts, keeping tabs on new drugs," Schumer said. "We would hope they can ban these before they are actually sold on the market."

Schumer came to Batavia High because of reports of four students who were hospitalized as a result of using synthetic drugs.

It's important to education young people about the dangers of these often unknown substances, school officials said.

Walker said that while opiate-based drugs remain the number one drug enforcement issue in the county, there has been a slight increase in synthetic drug usage locally.

"Like the senator said, in 2012, we did have a big influx of the synthetics and since then, it has dropped off," Walker said. "Now that Cloud 9 has come up, it's starting to come back, but we're not seeing that huge surge we saw in 2012."

Schumer said he fears a repeat of 2012 in 2015 if the DEA isn't more aggressive in its enforcement efforts.

"They've banned 20 (substances)," Schumer said. "But there are another 300 on the list. We're asking the DEA to move much more quickly. The drugs are powerful. They have severe side effects and some kids develop permanent mental problems as a result of using them."

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Batavia man accused of trying to stab girlfriend with scissors inside Attica Tops

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, crime
Joshua Pehrson

A Batavia man is in custody in Attica after an alleged assault at the Tops Store in the Wyoming County village.

Joshua T. Pehrson, 29, of 330 Ellicott St., Batavia, is accused of choking his girlfriend while they were parked in a car outside the store. The woman, an employee of Tops, entered the store and Pehrson allegedly attacked her again when they got inside, choking her and attempting to stab her with scissors.

Employees and customers intervened and held Pehrson until Attica PD officers arrived.

He is charged attempted assault, 1st, criminal obstructing breathing, menacing, 2nd and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th.

The suspect was jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond.

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 10:44 am

Law and Order: Batavia man charged with assault

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Tyquawn D. Bethal, 24, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, criminal contempt, 2nd, assault, 3rd, coercion, 2nd, and criminal obstruction of breathing. Bethal was arrested following an investigation into an alleged incident reported at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at a residence on Prune Street, Batavia. The investigation stemmed from an initial report that Bethal had unwanted physical contact with a person protected from him by a court order. He was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Bethal was ordered held without bail.

Keith B. Besaw, 43, of Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 2nd. Besaw is accused of damaging an electric clock valued at more than $1,500 at the Genesee County Nursing Home.

Nickol RL Burnett, 24, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Burnett was arrested on a warrant during a traffic stop. He posted $300 bail and was released.

Russell L. Cocilovo, 44, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument and driving a motor vehicle with an obstructed view. Cocilovo was stopped at 10:25 a.m. Wednesday on Bank Street by Officer Frank Klimjack.

A 17-year-old was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to appear on a disorderly conduct charge. The youth was found at a local hotel and taken into custody. He posted $300 bail and was released.

Chad A. Bernard, 37, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 1st, and endangering the welfare of a child. Bernard was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 11:40 a.m. Saturday on Ross Street. Bernard was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Andrew C. Webster, 21, of Gillate Road, Alexander, is charged with petit larceny. Webster is accused of shoplifting from Tops Market.

Michael R. Marchese, 24, of Park Avenue, Batavia, was arrested for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Marchese was located at his residence. He posted $500 bail and was released.

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 10:27 am

Weather: Single-digit cold to hold on today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

It's minus two degrees in Batavia. The good news is, we're going to see a warming trend through the afternoon, all the way up to five degrees.

There are no weather alerts posted at the moment.

The photo is of the spillway on the Tonawanda Creek behind the County Courthouse from about 30 minutes ago.

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

Photos: Crews still working on water main break on River Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

Work crews took a break overnight, but were back at it at first light this morning, working to repair a water main break at South Main and River streets.

There is an issue with identifying and turning off the three valves that feed the juncture at the intersection. Once the water flow is shut down, repairs won't take long.

Previously: In the cold and wind, city crews spending a day working on South Main water line break

Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm

In the cold and wind, city crews spending a day working on South Main water line break

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

Through nearly 24 hours of sub-zero temperatures, crews from the city's Public Works Department have been dealing with a water main break on South Main Street near River Street.

The break itself is repaired, according to City Manager Jason Molino, but there is a valve causing a problem and crews are trying to isolate it so it can be repaired.

Residents in the area should have water flow, though the pressure might be down a bit.

"They're out there," Molino said. "They're working hard, but the weather isn't helping. You've got to give them a lot of credit. There's got to be nothing worse than working outside and getting wet in sub-zero temperatures."

There's no ETA for when repair work will be complete.

UPDATE 8:33 p.m.: Photos added. City workers were out trying to locate the troublesome valve. At the break site were contractors from Sergi Construction. Crew members confirmed they've been at this task since last night. Asked how it was going, one said, "not good." As you can see from the pictures, there's still a lot of work to be done. It's currently minus eight degrees outside.

Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Driver in accident on Law Street charged with DWI

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

The young man reportedly behind the wheel of a pickup truck that took out a utility pole on Law Street early this morning, causing a power outage in the area, was charged with DWI.

Joseph P. Pratt, 20, of 70 Church St., Le Roy, and a passenger were transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

According to police, Pratt failed to negotiate a curve on Law Street in the area of 2 Law St., Batavia.

The 2010 Chevy Silverado hit the pole, which snapped in half.

Pratt was charged with DWI, speed unreasonable and prudent and refusal to take pre-screen breath test. Additional charges are pending. 

Power was restored to the area about 10:30 a.m.

(Initial Report)

UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: Photo added. National Grid crews are still on scene completing repairs to the broken pole.

Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 1:22 am

Car hits pole on Law Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A car has struck a utility pole in the area of 2 Law St., Batavia. 

Wires are down. Unknown injuries. 

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Photo: A cold Downtown Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, weather

Yes, it's cold, and getting colder.

The overnight low is expected to be two or three degrees below zero with wind chill dropping it down to -24, then in the morning, the temperature will fall even more.

And it will snow. A couple of more inches tonight and another an inch or two tomorrow.

The winter storm warning is effect until 6 p.m., Sunday.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Photos: Ice Devils top Fighting Irish 2-1 in hockey

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, high school sports, hockey, Notre Dame, sports

In their third matchup of the season today at Falleti Ice Arena, Batavia and Notre Dame battled for three periods in a physical, fast-paced game that ended 2-1 with the Ice Devils on top.

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