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Friday, July 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Riders raise more than $1,400 for Crossroads House

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, crossroads house

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Crossroads House received a $1,445 donation today, the result of the 4th Annual Jerry "Rat" Cone Memorial Run, held July 5 in Genesee County.

Fifty-two riders participated in the charity trek over local roads.

The donation was delivered this evening.

Pictured are, from left, Scott Bliss, Jim Andrews, Kelli Bliss, Vanessa Andrews, Paul Ohlson, Anthony "Smokey" LoCastro, Stephen Worthington, Pastor Timothy Young, and on the porch are Charlotte Puccio, Mary Ann Shuler and Kathleen Pentepento.

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Previously reported police activity on Jackson Street turns out to be part of planned law enforcement detail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, crime

We now know that all the police activity on Jackson Street the evening of June 26 was more than just a response to an individual seen running behind backyards between Maple Street and Morton Avenue. It was part of law enforcement detail in the area aimed at identifying issues in the neighborhood. 

Earlier this week, the City of Batavia announced the results of the detail.

Police made contact with numerous individuals, some were on parole or probation.

The person seen running through yards was on parole, but not wanted, according to local law enforcement. He was released after none of the property owners who initially called about him wanted to file a trespass charge. Police are unsure why he decided to run and try to hide from law enforcement, if that is indeed what he was doing.

There have been complaints from citizens on The Batavian and on Facebook that they had their vehicles stopped for no or flimsy reasons, but Chief Shawn Heubusch said all traffic stops were made in accordance with guidelines related to probable cause. 

"Each traffic stop was conducted legally and with probable cause," Heubusch said in an e-mail response to our questions. "As for the probable cause for each I do not have that information. We do not generally keep track of that information unless an arrest is made (DWI for example)."

We asked about the probable cause for the 59 "data runs" reported in the press release.

Heubusch said, "As for the "data runs," these are done routinely when checking license plates or driver's license info, for any wanted-person info, or stolen vehicle, for example. New York State does not require probable cause to run a license plate attached to vehicle."

We asked for the arrest reports/press releases on each of the three arrests reported during the sweep and Heubusch said he would think those arrests would have been reported previously by each of the agencies making the arrests, but he would have to research that further.  

The detail is part of a plan announced earlier this year in keeping with the city's strategic plan, which calls for revitalizing neighborhoods. The effort is designed to identify problems and deal with them before they grow into something bigger.

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm

County planning board votes against proposed 55-and-older complex on West Main Road, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, land use, planning

Concerns about adequate parking and emergency vehicle access led the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night to recommend against approval for a senior housing apartment complex off Route 5 in the Town of Batavia.

The board's vote is not binding, but it does require the Town of Batavia Planning Board to vote with a +1 margin to approve the project.

The site for the project is 3833 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. It is 33.4 acres and would contain 110 apartment units that would be marketed to middle-income residents age 55 and older.

There's currently no senior housing in the area designed for middle-income residents, said Ben Gustafson, a civil engineer with Hunt Engineers/Architects/Surveyors, and representing the developer, Calamar.

The project calls for 1.5 parking spaces per unit, which is a variance from the town's 2-per unit ordinance. 

Gustafson explained that two per unit is excessive by modern planning standards, the county's own planning goals and what Calamar's studies of its own 15 similar complexes shows is necessary.

In some Calamar locations, the local ordinance requires only one parking space, but even there, because of Calamar's own experience, they put in 1.5.

"What we're proposing is in keeping with sustainable development throughout this country by not providing more parking than is required," Gustafson said. "Our studies show we need far less than two spaces per unit."

Multiple board members expressed concern about 1.5 parking spaces, even so.

"The 1.5 parking per unit is unrealistic," said Mel Wentland, board chairman. "For 55 and older, both members of the family usually have cars. You're under-populating parking spaces. There should be two per unit. There are also people coming to visit, nurses aides, various kinds of help. I don't think the parking (the plan) provides is adequate to meet all the needs of such a community."

Gustafson said it's common for residents in these communities to not even have cars, but if the parking proved inadequate, there's plenty of space on the property that could later be converted to parking if needed.

Another issue is the single driveway for the complex off Route 5.

The main concern of the board is access for emergency vehicles -- what if traffic is tying up the driveway, or there's an accident in front of it?

According to Gustafson, there are fewer than 30 cars an hour that will pass through the driveway, far less than similar-sized units serving younger families. The traffic impact will be minimal and the wide driveway will provide ample room for emergency vehicles.

Board Member Lucine Kauffman said no one on the board is arguing against the need for the project, but that these issues should be addressed before it's approved for development.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Third annual 3-on-3 tournament at Williams Park set for Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, 3-on-3 tournament, sports, Williams Park

Davon St. John drives for a layup during a bit of a practice session today at Williams Park in advance of Saturday's third annual 3-on-3 Tournament organized by Jerry Smith.

The tournament this year is sponsored for the first time by The Batavian.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. First game is at 11 a.m.

The cost is $50 per four-player team. Each team is guaranteed at least four games.

There are boys and girls divisions grades 5 through 12, an 18-19 year-old division, and a 30 and over division.

The winners will receive champion T-shirts.

Event supporters include Venue Entertainment, Big Pauly's Pizza, Southside Deli, Extreme Streetwear, Direct TV, Showtime Player Development, Buffalo 716ers, Erie Hurricanes, Ficarella's Pizzeria, and Genesee Clean-Out.

Thanks to Davon and his father, David, for the fun game of 21. It's the first time I've played basketball in at least 25 years.

Davon is entering his junior year at Bennett High School in Buffalo. He was part of the Pembroke program. His father hopes there might be a way he can return to Genesee County -- Batavia or Pembroke -- before the start of the high school basketball season.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Former nurse convicted for second time of stealing $14K from employer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime

It took a jury all of 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict against former Bergen resident Michele Ann Case of grand larceny in the third degree.

This is the second time a jury in Genesee County has found Case guilty of stealing more than $14,000 from her former employer, HomeCare & Hospice.

The first conviction, in March 2012, was overturned on appeal because state justices found that summations of her thefts were improperly prepared and presented to the jury.

Case, 47, was represented in this trial by attorney Larry Koss, who argued before the jury in closing statements this afternoon that the extra compensation received was all just a big misunderstanding.

"The fact that there are discrepancies doesn't mean anything was done intentionally," Koss told the jury. "People make mistakes. I submit to you, if you're in the profession she's in, your primary concern has to be your patients. If you want to be a good nurse, you want to care for your patients. They have to be your primary concern. They have to be what you pay attention to."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told the jury that the evidence was clear: Case submitted claims for "call outs" (patient visits supposedly outside of regularly scheduled hours) during her normal work shift; that she submitted claims for call outs that she didn't make; and that she claimed mileage that was greatly exaggerated.

Koss said it was a lack of proper training and clear policies that caused Case to submit inaccurate claims for compensation.

There's nothing in the polices that define what allowable mileage is (to which Friedman responded during his close, "I think the answer is you're expected to record mileage truthfully."

During her employment with HCH, Case submitted 61 mileage claims. Of those, Friedman said, 60 of them contained wildly inflated mileage, up to 100, 200 and 300 more miles than Case possibly could have driven.

For a trip to Crossroads House on Liberty Street from the HCH office on East Main Street, Batavia, Case claimed 30 miles.

When confronted by Det. Charles Dudek (now retired) about the discrepancy, Case claimed at one point her trip that day originated in Warsaw, but even those miles -- combined with the side trips she claimed -- didn't add up, Friedman said.

When she went to Delavan for training, Case claimed mileage that was nearly double the actual trip, even using the longest possible route offered by MapQuest for the drive, Friedman said.

That didn't happen just once, but twice.

Case told Dudek that she forgot to reset her trip counter on her odometer and didn't realize her mistake when submitting her mileage reports.

Friedman said the pattern of Case's inflated claims made it quite clear she was trying to increase her compensation illegally.

On 69 occasions, Friedman said, Case claimed compensation for call-outs during what should have been her normal, salaried working hours. Those claims alone totaled $5,300 in extra compensation.

"There is one common scheme to illegitimately and illegally increase what she saw as her insufficient income," Friedman said.

To Koss's argument that HomeCare & Hospice neglected to spot and correct Case's false claims for two and a half years, Friedman said such fraudulent claims went undetected because they were unexpected.

"The defendant was a registered nurse," Friedman said. "She's a professional and they expected her to be professional and honest when she documented her claims, and it turned out, they couldn't count on that."

At the start of his summation, Koss quoted Oscar Wilde.“The truth is rarely plain and never simple.”*

The case against his client, he said, was complicated and obscured by poorly written policies and inadequate training.

Friedman said at the close of his summation, that actually, the facts of the case were pretty straightforward.

"The plain and simple truth is this defendant stole more than $14K by falsifying time vouchers and mileage records," Friedman said.

With uncommon speed, the jury reached the same conclusion.

NOTE: Wilde's correct quote is, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Batavia PD investigating report of disturbance at State and Lewis

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia PD is responding to State Street and Lewis Place for a report of a disturbance.

The initial call was for a group of people making a lot of noise. Minutes later, a follow-up call said people were fighting.

When the first patrol arrived on scene, the officer said members of the group fled. Some headed toward Bank Street, some are said to be heading north on State Street.

Multiple police units responding.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: An officer reports he's out with several individuals at State and Lewis.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Photo: New utility pole on Center Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Center Street

Workers with National Grid installed a new utility pole on Center Street. The road was closed for a portion of the morning during the installation. The pole will help accommodate power upgrades for the new call center for the Tompkins Insurance Company going in at that location.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Photos: Basketball camp at John Kennedy School

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

Here are some pictures from today's basketball camp at John Kennedy School. This portion of the camp is for boys and girls going into the 7th and 8th grade.

From the small portion of the camp I watched, high school coaches in the county can anticipate getting some skillful young athletes with a lot of heart in a couple of years.

Coaching at John Kennedy were Tom Redband and Matt Shay.

Yesterday: Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Car accident, no injuries, in front of Denny's on West Main Street in the city

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A car accident, with no injuries, is reported in front of Denny's restaurant at 364 W. Main St., between Bogue Avenue and Woodrow Road. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: The  city assignment is back in service.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Volunteer Open House Night at Crossroads House!

Volunteer Open House Night at Crossroads House at 11 Liberty St. between 5-7pm for a tour, ask questions, learn how you can become involved. We look forward to meeting you.  

Event Date and Time

September 16, 2014 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
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