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Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Law and Order: Police break up alleged Halloween underage drinking party on Jackson Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Oakfield

Jerry J. Jordan Jr., 19, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21. Patrols responded to 156 Jackson St., Batavia, at 1 a.m., Saturday, on a complaint of an underage drinking party in progress. When police arrived, occupants of the house locked the door. Officers determined that the occupants were gathering behind the front door with a plan to rush the officers. Jordan was allegedly the first person through the door when it opened. He was carrying a large speaker that he allegedly used to pushed into the first officer he encountered. Several other individuals were arrested. Deputies and troopers assisted at the scene. Supplemental Information Not in the Press Release: The property is owned by James Pontillo. The property has been condemned. Pontillo said as many as 80 people were gathered in the living room at one time, causing a floor joist to break.

Also arrested:

  • Philbert Prince Williams, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana.  
  • Demetri C. Stewart, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Didier A. Antoine, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
  • Terrence Brown, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Jason A. Perry-Murray, 20, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with providing alcohol to a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Tavid C. McIntosh, 19, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21.
  • Naquil T. Jones, 22, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with giving/selling alcohol to a person under age 21 and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Maleak H. Green, 21, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with rape, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Green was arrested following an investigation into an alleged incident at 2:15 p.m., Aug. 7. No further details released. Green is being held in the Genesee County Jail on an unrelated charge.

Kimberly M. Douglas, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Douglas is accused of violating an order of protection at 2:52 p.m., Friday, on Ross Street.

Jeffrey E. Williams, 30, of Westhigh Terrace, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. Williams was jailed, no bail specified.

Marlon M. Chess Jr., 33, of Bergen Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Chess was arrested following an investigation by Batavia PD at 1:08 p.m., Thursday, into a suspicious vehicle parked near the Verizon Store on Lewiston Road, Batavia.

Mark T. Zdrojewski, 61, of Meyer Road, Pendleton, is charged with three counts of issuing a bad check. Zdrojewski was arrested on a warrant for allegedly issuing bad checks in August in Batavia.

Terrance H. Riley, 26, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest. Riley was arrested after allegedly trying to fight another person while officers were present. He then allegedly resisted arrest. The incident was reported at 2:20 p.m., Wednesday, on South Main Street, Batavia.

Jeremy Allen Weatherbee, 45, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI (alcohol or drugs), aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving on sidewalk, refusing to take breath test and failure to stop at stop sign. Weatherbee is accused of failing to stop for a stop sign at Pearl Street and Roosevelt Avenue at 1:14 a.m., Saturday. His car reportedly struck the south curb of Pearl Street, resulting in heavy damage to the front tires and rims of his vehicle. He then allegedly drove the vehicle with the damaged rims back to his residence on Roosevelt Avenue. Weatherbee was ordered held without bail.

Dustin J. Wilmet, 25, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, driving with an open container and aggravated unlicensed operation. Wilmet was arrested following an investigation at 2:12 a.m., Friday, by Sgt. Eric Bolles into a reported fight at a location on West Main Street, Batavia.

Nicholas Joseph Breau, 22, of Glenwood Drive, Clarence, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Breau was stopped at 10:31 p.m., Friday, on Galloway Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona for alleged traffic violations. Breau was also arrested on a warrant out of Amherst.

Chantalle Josephine Bessil, 19, of High Manor Drive, Henrietta, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a location on Main Road, Corfu, at 12:59 p.m., Thursday, and during the investigation found that Bessil, a passenger in a vehicle at the scene, was in possession of a small amount of marijuana in a grinder and a baggie. She also allegedly had a stun gun in her purse.

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, and Tonya D. Smith, 29, both of Overlook Drive, Batavia, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Officer Micheal Lute, Corfu PD, responded to a complaint of a disturbance at 2 p.m., Wednesday, and upon arrival found a vehicle with a suspended registration. Upon further investigation, he found Hensel and Smith allegedly in possession of heroin and a needle. Hensel also charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, for allegedly breaking into a building in Corfu at 11 a.m., Oct. 5.

Barbara E. Ferrando, 43, of West Main Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. Ferrando was stopped for driving with an alleged suspended license at 9 p.m., Oct. 23, by Officer Michael Lute, Corfu PD. During an inventory of the vehicle's contents, a large bag of marijuana was allegedly found in the trunk.

William Gordon Schultz Sr., 40, of Evans Street, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Schultz was arrested at his place of employment and arraigned in front of Judge Eric Adams. Schultz was released on his promise to pay the majority of the fine today and the balance on Nov. 12.

Lauren K. Pellegrino, 32, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Pellegrino was arrested by State Police for allegedly stealing a credit card. The blotter entry is labeled "purse snatching." She was jailed on a bail amount that is not listed. The alleged incident is reported at 1:36 a.m., Sunday, in Oakfield. No further details released.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Police investigate claim of attempted kidnapping at Dollar General and find it's unfounded

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

An 11-year-old girl dropped some money on the floor at Dollar General and a deaf man tried to use sign language to tell her she dropped money.

The girl became alarmed and told a clerk at the store that a man tried to grab her to kidnap her, and this is how the call went out to the responding Batavia PD officer.

The officer investigated and found the claim of a kidnapping in progress completely unfounded.

The man didn't even try to leave the scene. He waited in his car.

"It was all a big misunderstanding," the officer said.

Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Parents picking up students at Jackson School mostly like new traffic barrier on extension

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson School

A parent complained to The Batavian about the new barrier blocking off the little extension road by Jackson School on South Jackson Avenue, so we thought we would investigate.

Of the nine parents we spoke with, seven gave the barrier an unconditional thumbs up. At first, one said she thought it made the traffic situation worse, but after being asked, "in what way?" She said, "I guess it's OK. It's not really a problem."

The first mother we spoke with said the barrier was a big improvement. She said when parents could park on the extension, they would pull in and pull out "any old way, acting like idiots." She thought it was much more dangerous for children without the barrier.

"They're picking up their kids, but they act like they have to get out so quick to do neurosurgery or something," the woman said. "I don't get it. I guess that's just the way it is today. People are in a hurry."

A grandmother -- the ninth person we spoke to and one of the last to arrive -- called the situation since the barrier was put in a "cluster." She said there was more parking available before the barrier went up.

A father with a younger child in the back seat said he's never had a problem at the school, either before or after the barrier.

"I just get here early enough to get a parking spot," he said.

The barrier went up after the city discovered a problem with illegal garbage dumping at the end of the extension, but it's unclear whether the city or state erected the barrier. The no trespassing sign installed behind it says "New York State."

Attempts to reach City Manager Jason Molino this afternoon for clarification were unsuccessful.

UPDATE: We just heard back from Jason Molino. He confirmed the extension is state property and the state put up the barrier.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

Batavia, the team that shouldn't be here, has shot at sectional title after 35-12 win in semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

By all rights, at the end of the first half Saturday night, Batavia should have been down to Penn Yan by a score more along the lines of 28-7.

The game should have been over in every manner except the time clock.

Three turnovers, a trio of 15-yard penalties, enemy receivers allowed to roam free and the repeated gifts of good field position didn't doom the Batavia effort.

It would be fair to say the Mustangs didn't cash in on all of these gold-plated errors, but that would be only half the story.

The Blue Devils hung tough. The line stepped up and stopped the run. Rushers put enough pressure on the passing game that completions were hard to come by.

With two minutes left in the first half, instead being down 20 or 28 to 7, Batavia trailed by only five points, 12-7.

Then the magic happened.

Greg Mruczek engineered a 70-yard drive in less than two minutes that ended with a five-yard pass in the end zone to a wide open -- open as in "alone on a Kansas prairie" open -- Malachi Chenault.

A two-point conversion later and Batavia headed into the locker room with a 15-12 lead and a level of confidence that makes Floyd Mayweather look shy.

"That was huge," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "I would like to say that was the game right there because that just gave us the momentum to get back into it. I think if we'd gone into half time down, I think our kids really would have been in a little bit of a hole. But they've been grinding and fighting all year and that's what they did."

Briggs said he went into the locker room at half and told the team it was their game to lose.

He told them, he said, " 'we've done everything we could do wrong and we're still leading this game by three points. That says something.' "

"I said," he added, " 'we've got 24 minutes left. All the time, all the effort you've put in come down to these final 24 minutes. Do you guys want to pack it in or do you guys want to go out and dominate like we can?' "

Batavia scored 20 unanswered points in the second half and never really allowed the Mustangs to get a drive going. The win, in the end, was a blowout, 35-12.

The unsung heroes of this semi-final game -- as they often are in football -- are the offensive and defensive lines. 

Against a team that featured two heavyweights tipping the scales at more than 320 pounds each, and with a degree of athleticism, the Batavia line on both sides of the ball simply outplayed the other team's big men.

The Blue Devils feature two young men up front who are pretty hefty themselves. Seniors Gunner Rapone and Devon Koepp, who are 6' 4", 260 pounds, and 6' 3", 265 pounds.

Rapone said the men up front for Batavia are not intimidated by anybody.

"We've faced big kids before," Rapone said. "An example is Bath. Bath has a lot of big guys. We knew what we were in for. We've been practicing all week about moving our feet and driving guys down the field and opening holes up for our backs and that's what we did the second half."

One of the beneficiaries of this offensive line largess was Anthony Gallo, a quick, slashing back with a knack for making defensive players miss.

"The linemen were making huge holes and I have good vision," said Gallo, who gained 110 yards on 14 carries. "I just see where I've gotta go and I just run."

It was another big game for junior QB Greg Mruczek, who was six for 13 for 161 yards, tossing three TDs and scoring one himself on the ground.

"Going into halftime, we thought we had the better team, you know," Mruczek said. "We came out and just played tough, despite the weather conditions. We've both got to play in it so you've got to keep playing tough. We thought we did a good job coming out in the second half and just playing hard."

If game balls were given out, surely one went to Jerrett Laskett, who had a 40-yard TD reception, but more importantly, snagged two key interceptions, including the pick just before the two-minute mark of the first half that set up Batavia's game-winning scoring drive.

It was Laskett's first game ever at corner back. 

"He did an unbelievable job," Briggs said. "You know, he's come a long ways this year and I can't say just how proud I am of the kid. We just put him at defensive back this week and he gets two picks."

Chenault had two receptions for 38 yards and the TD. Dominick Mogavero had 21 rushes for 84 yards and a TD. Ryan Hogan had two catches for 50 yards. Trevor Rittersback and Koepp had five tackles each.

The win gives Batavia a shot at a sectional title for the first time since 1998. The Blue Devils haven't won a title since 1991, the program's only title since sectional play began.

This is a program that was going nowhere before Briggs took it over four years ago and Briggs and the players have talked all year about how nobody gives the team the respect of a potential champion, that winning wasn't part of the pre-season projections of pundits.

There's a sense now that those critics, whomever they are, are proven wrong.

"It's crazy," Mruczek said. "It's an amazing feeling. It just turns some heads, you know. I don't think anyone would have thought we'd be in the sectional finals this year, honestly. It's just an incredible feeling and we're all happy to be here right now." 

Mruczek gives a lot of the credit to Briggs.

"He worked very hard with us all off season, with lifting and passing with me and the receivers," Mruczek said. "He's put in a lot of time and effort. He deserves to be in this position."

For players like Rapone, who has been dreaming of being part of a winning Blue Devils program since at least middle school, said it's an unbelievable feeling to get to this point in the season.

"It's unreal to me, to be honest with you," Rapone said. "It's a strange feeling because everyone is so used to looking down on this program and it being this year, my final year, and a lot of our guys final year, and we have the opportunity that we have this year, is unreal and unbelievable."

There's another Rapone, Max, coming up the sports ranks in Batavia and Gunner thinks he and his teammates have set an example of hard work and dedication for the next generation.

"I hope Max and all of his teammates look up to what we are and want to strive to be what we have done and know they can do it," Rapone said. "I've got a good feeling they can do it."

Now the focus shifts to Livonia, as if that isn't where the focus has been all along.

The Blue Devils are 8-1. That one loss was handed to Batavia in the final seconds of a thunder-interrupted game opening week when Livonia managed a last-ditch touchdown.

Players and coaches all seem to think it was a game Batavia should have won, could have won, but didn't. Hardly a week has gone buy since where the loss to Livonia didn't figure in the conversation at some point.

It's the game that has fueled Batavia's resilience and swagger, two words Briggs has attached to his players all season.

"After losing to a good team like that, we knew we had a good team and we could compete this year for a sectional title," Mruczek said. "We came out with some confidence after that game. We almost beat Livonia, supposedly the top of Class B."

Now, as one player said, it's time for revenge. 

"We're happy we're getting a shot at the sectional title, but there's really nobody else our guys would want to have it against," Briggs said. "If you wrote up a storybook ending, you know, you really couldn't write it up any better than that."

Well, it's not quite a storybook ending. Not yet. A win against Livonia would be a storybook ending.

Go get 'em, boys.

Top Photo: Malachi Chenault.celebrates his first-half touchdown that proved the turning point of the game.

Jerrett Laskett with a key first half interception.

Jerrett Laskett with a TD reception. 

Anthony Gallo finding another big hole.

Trevor Sherwood with a long reception just ahead of the goal line, setting up another Batavia score in the second half.

Dominick Mogavero got most of his 84 rushing in the 4th quarter as the Blue Devils chewed up the clock and kept the Mustangs' offense off the field.

Mogavero gets a handle on Mustangs' QB Austin Fingar. Fingar pulled free and gained another four or five yards.

At times during the game, the icy rain and sleet came down heavy.

Fans weathered the chill and the damp.

Gunner Rapone after the win.

Post-game celebration.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Batavia wins Section V Class B semi-final 35-12

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

The Batavia Blue Devils will get a chance to play for the school's first sectional title since 1991 in football next week after beating Penn Yan this evening, 35-12.

Above, Malachi Chenault in the end zone near the close of the first half. The score, making it 15-12, gave Batavia a lead it never relinquished.

The Blue Devils will face Livonia in the Class B final next week. Batavia's only defeat of the season came against Livonia on a last-second touchdown in the first game of the season.

We'll have complete coverage posted tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

Photos: Halloween in Batavia, 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

There were trick or treaters out all over the City of Batavia last night.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

Truck and car accident reported on the Thruway near Bank Street Road, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, thruway

A car and semi-truck have collided on the Thruway in the westbound lane near mile marker 386.6

That's about two-tenths of a mile east of the Bank Street Road overpass.

There are only minor injuries.

Town of Batavia fire is responding along with Mercy EMS.

A chief on scene reports, "we've got one against the inside guard rail and one against the outside guard rail."

The left lane is blocked.

UPDATE 8:33 a.m.: A chief reports a correction on vehicles. One passenger vehicle and one flatbed truck, unloaded.

Friday, October 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

City to get state grant for sidewalk improvements, not bicycle trails

post by Billie Owens in batavia, infrastructure

State funds for a system of bicycle trails around the city of Batavia, which the governor's office announced Monday, are actually eamarked for sidewalk replacements and repairs, not biking trails, according to City Manager Jason Molino.

The Healthy Schools Corridor project is slated to get $720,657 for sidewalk improvements on Summit Street, Liberty Street, South Liberty Street and Washington Avenue.

Today's press release:

With a $720,657 grant from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funded by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by NYS Dept. of Transportation, the City of Batavia Public Works Department will be able to expand sidewalk replacements along Summit and Liberty streets and Washington Avenue.

The project will include the removal of old sidewalks, installation of new sidewalks, handicap access ramps, high visibility crosswalks and selective tree removal and will be matched with $240,219 of City funds. In total the $960,000 project will include over 12,300 linear feet of improved sidewalks providing safer routes for pedestrians and bicyclists connecting United Memorial Medical Center, Batavia Middle School, St. Joe’s School, the Downtown Corridor and Jackson Elementary School.

“Improving sidewalks has been a priority for City Council and this grant will allow us to do even more over the next few years” said City Council President Brooks Hawley. “With this grant we will be able to make our sidewalks safe for our residents and children.”

The City has approximately 73 miles of sidewalk, and in 2011 it was estimated that more than 20 percent of the sidewalk system needed repair. The City has made a concerted effort since to 2011 and has replaced over 26,500 linear feet, or almost 7 percent of the sidewalk system. This includes more than 130 curb ramps.

“This grant will allow the City to more than quadruple our annual effort,” said Sally Kuzon, director of Public Works.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Rosemary Christian and longtime advocate for sidewalk improvements added, “I’m ecstatic about getting this grant. Every year I ask for more and more sidewalk improvements and now we are going to do almost $1 million in one year. Our residents deserve it.”

TAP provides funding for non‐motorized transportation alternatives such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities, safe routes to schools projects, trails, and other infrastructure improvements to the transportation system. The City applied for the grant in June 2014 and was one of seven communities in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region to receive an award.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Winners announced for city fire's second annual Fire Prevention Poster Contest

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department along with the City of Batavia Fire Fighters Union – IAFF Local 896 is proud to announce the winners of our Second Annual Fire Prevention Poster Contest. We would like to thank all of the students who participated in this year’s Fire Prevention Week poster contest.
Group 1:
First Place  -   Kaitlyn Bartz  “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”
                       Jackson Primary School
1st Grade
Second Place  -  Anthony Kopper “Working Smoke Alarms save Lives”
                           John Kennedy School
2nd Grade
Third Place  -  Emmeline Bateman “Go to Your Outside Meeting Place”
                       Jackson Primary School
                       1st Grade

Group 2:
First Place  -   Violet March “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”
                       St. Joseph's School
                       3rd Grade
Second Place  -  Katelyn Kowalski “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”
                           St. Joseph's School
                           3rd Grade
Third Place  -  Kaitlyn Landers “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”
                       St. Joseph's School
                       3rd Grade
Group 3:
First Place  -   Sophie Fulton “Smoke Alarms Matter”
                       Batavia Middle School
                       5th Grade
Second Place  -  Alyssa Koladzinski  “Check Your Smoke Alarm Every Month”
                           Batavia Middle School
                           5th Grade
Third Place  -   Amber Fitzsimmons “Fire Alarms Save Lives”
                        Batavia Middle School
                        5th Grade
The 1st Place winner of each group will receive a ride to school on a City Fire Engine. A luncheon will be on held Saturday, Nov. 1st from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Fire Station on Evans Street for all 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Congratulations to all of the student winners!

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

Photos: New escalators being installed at Batavia Downs

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

Batavia Downs is in the home stretch of a $20 million expansion that includes a new gaming floor, a new sign, new offices, and in the final phase, a new facade and entry on Park Road.

Today, a pair of 7,500-pound escalators are being installed and soon a statue of Fortuna, the goddess of good luck, will arrive from Wisconsin.

With the last major pieces in place, it's just a matter of putting on the finishing touches.

The new gaming floor, now on the first floor, opened last October. The old gaming floor on the second level is now offices for Batavia Downs and Western OTB staff.

The escalator to the second floor will provide access to the clubhouse and grandstands as well as a new OTB inter-track wagering facility, which will move from its current location across the street on Park Road.

The entry way will feature lighted neon and Fortuna will stand through a hole in the ceiling so she can be viewed from ground level or from up above.

"It's just going to look incredible," said Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Batavia Downs.

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