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Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 10:42 am

Truck rolls over on Bank Street after swerving to avoid dog

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A Security Roofing pickup truck was traveling north on Bank Street at about 8 a.m. when it swerved to miss a dog in the road, hit the curb and then a guy wire of a utility pole, causing it to roll onto its side. 

The location was just north of Washington Avenue.

The driver of the pickup, a male in his 30s, was transported to UMMC to be checked out. 

The truck's load of scaffolding spilled onto Bank Street.

National Grid called to the scene to fix the guy wire.

City fire also on location for leaking fluids from the truck.

Photos and reporting by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Tomorrow, tour some beautiful homes and gardens in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, gardens, Landmark Society of Genesee County

 

Tomorrow, take the opportunity to tour some of the finest gardens and homes in Batavia.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is once again hosting the annual House and Garden Tour, this time in cooperation with Vibrant Batavia.

The tour runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 per person. Proceeds will go to the Batavia Cemetery Association to assist with efforts to restore the Richmond Mausoleum.

Above, Jim and Kathy Owen of 2 Redfield Parkway in a portion of their garden. The first three photos below are from their garden.

David Gann outside his home on East Avenue. David said the credit for the garden's beauty goes entirely to his wife, Marcia. "I'm just the guy who cuts the lawn," he said. Unfortunately, Marcia wasn't home when The Batavian dropped in unannounced for a picture.

The home and yard of Judith Hale, 14 Jackson Ave.

These pictures are of Lou and Millie Moretto's yard, 65 Edgewood Drive. Millie said the yard is entirely Lou's handy work. Note the fairy garden below.

Lucine Kauffman added this reminder in comments:

Tickets will be available the day of the tour (Saturday) at the Batavia Cemetery starting at 11:30 a.m.

Full press release about the event after the jump:

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Reed Eye hosts ribbon cutting, grand opening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associates

Reed Eye Associates held an open house and their official ribbon cutting today at their new location in Batavia on Washington Avneue (the former school administion building).

From left, Dr. Ronald Reed, Chamber President Tom Turnbull, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Dr. Alan Bloom.

Previously: New home of Reed Eye built with historic preservation and customer care in mind

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Police announce results of Thursday's neighborhood enforcement detail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Press release:

On July 31st the City of Batavia Police Department joined by the Genesee County Drug Task Force (The Genesee Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from Batavia PD, Le Roy PD and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.), Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Genesee County Probation participated in the second neighborhood enforcement detail this summer. The purpose of these details was to systematically approach known problem areas within the City and target criminal activity.

In total 12 law enforcement personnel from four different agencies were partnered in focused enforcement details in seven separate locations. NET patrols included State Street, Bank Street, Tracy Avenue, Dellinger Avenue, Holland Avenue, and the Ellicott Street Corridor. The following are results of this year’s second detail:

45 data runs
24 vehicle/traffic stops
14 Traffic tickets issued
4 Vehicles Searched
3 Penal Law Arrests

  • Munroe, Isaiah J.A., age 24, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Court Date 08/12/14
  • Witkop, Michael A, age 22, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Court Date 08/12/14
  • Lattimer, Henry, L., age 33, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Court Date 08/19/14

12 probation checks
3 probation violations

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said “The City Police will continue to make a concentrated effort in those areas that need the most enforcement. We are lucky to have the assistance of the other agencies in providing the support to these very productive details. Many major crimes have been solved by starting small; officers know that the simple traffic stop or street encounter has the possibility to turn into a major arrest. These details have a proven track record of producing tangible results and therefore we look forward to implementing them as the year progresses.”

Genesee County Chief Deputy of Investigations Jerome Brewster added “The NET details provide local law enforcement with the resources necessary to address 'quality of life' issues for our citizens. Through the shared efforts of the Batavia Police, Sheriff's Office, Probation and Parole, we can have an immediate impact on drug dealing, drug-related activity, probation and parole violations, as well as related unlawful behaviors in areas previously noted for this type of behavior. Input from our citizens is critical so that our resources can be directed to areas where the enjoyment of property and neighborhoods have been compromised by the actions of others.”

Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) details were outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan as part of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts. They include dedicated patrols for targeted enforcement with the goal of intercepting and interrupting the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband as well as locating and arresting wanted persons. All agencies involved expect to continue joint law enforcement efforts in the future. These details are not advertised prior to taking place and locations are selected based on criminal data, the presence of nuisance and illegal behavior and ongoing investigations.  

If you see criminal activity or know about a crime that has occurred please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

St. Joseph School chosen as Enhanced-STEM School by Diocese of Buffalo

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia, st. joseph school

Press release:

St. Joseph School of Batavia has been chosen by the Diocese of Buffalo as one of 10 diocesan‑schools to pilot their enhanced STEM program. STEM within the educational community has come to refer to enriched programming emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Diocese’s enhanced program adds Religion and the Arts to create the STREAM initiative. The STREAM program consists of two facets: “STREAM teaching” and “STREAM Academy.” STREAM teaching is deliberate subject integration. For example, students might be studying ancient Greece in their Social Studies class, column design in Art class and participate in an Olympics-based unit in their Physical Education class.

Stream-teaching is not a new curriculum, but instead a framework for teaching that formalizes what great teachers are inclined to do naturally, integrate across the curriculum. STREAM Academy is the adding of supplemental, project-based courses to the curriculum.

One day a week, during the final period of the day, the entire school (K-8) will participate in various grade-appropriate STREAM project-based courses from robotics to future-city-competition.

“We are completely thrilled that the Diocese chose St. Joseph School to pilot this program,” said Principal Karen Green. “We have worked diligently over the last several years to update our technology and improve our facilities in anticipation of offering new and exciting programming.

"Our goal remains to prepare our students to excel as they grow from their high schools to colleges and eventual careers.”

St. Joseph School currently serves 280 students from 14 school districts within three counties.

Applications for the upcoming school year are still being accepted. Interested families may call 585‑343‑6154 or visit www.sjsbatavia.org

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Sean Vickers convicted in sexual abuse trial

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

It took a Genesee County jury all of 95 minutes to conclude that Sean Vickers did in fact molest five boys in Batavia over the several years prior to 2013.

The guilty verdict on five counts concludes a three-day trial in County Court.

Vickers, 45, will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 28 29.

The defendant stood motionless in a pressed black suit as the jury foreman was asked to recite the verdict on each of the five counts against Vickers.

Sodomy in the first degree: Guilty.

Sodomy in the first degree: Guilty.

Criminal sexual act in the first degree: Guilty.

Criminal sexual act in the first degree: Guilty.

Sexual abuse in the first degree: Guilty.

Previous coverage:

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Raceway Mini-Mart on East Main, Batavia, has closed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

The Raceway Mini-Mart at 629 E. Main St., Batavia, has closed.

A customer contacted us last week about the impending closure and said the store shelves were nearly bare as the owners wound down their operation of the location. She said the owners told her annual rent increases were making it harder to keep the business going. 

She said she was sad to see them close.

"They are the nicest store owners I have encountered," she said. "Every time I’ve gone in there I have just felt that they were so appreciative of my business, and their friendly nature is just so welcoming."

The property is owned by Kevin Brady, president of Townsend Energy in Le Roy.

Brady wasn't available for comment, but a Townsend employee said the building has been leased to another operator and will reopen, but no name or opening date is available at this time.

Photo and some reporting by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Attorneys present their cases to the jury in sexual abuse case

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Inconsistencies in witnesses testimonies, a lack of evidence, and a witness who had motivation to lie are all reasons to find Sean Vickers not guilty of sexually abusing five boys in Batavia, defense attorney Jerry Ader told jurors today in closing arguments of the three-day trial.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman countered that Ader "nibbled around the edges" of the case and ignore inconvenient facts.

Jurors are being asked to decide whether Vickers is guilty of sodomy (the title of the law at the time of the alleged offenses) and criminal sexual act.

Vickers, a former Batavia resident, was living in Geneva at the time of his arrest. 

Ader, of the Public Defender's Office, told jurors that one witness told investigators at one time that he was eight years old when Vickers molested him; at trial, the same person said the acts occurred in 2011. 

Both statements couldn't be true, Ader said.

"You have people here who just don't remember what happened and when," Ader said. "That leads to whether these things happened at all."

Friedman said that while a person's childhood memories may be faulty about dates, they aren't faulty -- at least in this case -- about the searing memories of abuse.

None of the alleged victims at any point were inconsistent or recanted their testimony about specific acts of abuse, even if they couldn't place them at the right time in their lives.

"That's not something they forget," Friedman said. "That's not something they confuse with something else. That's something that sticks with them for the rest of their lives."

Ader said only one police officer testified at trial and provided only one fact relevant to the case.

"The people did not offer any evidence to support the alleged victim's testimony from an unbiased law enforcement investigation," Ader said. "You heard testimony from a forensic expert that interestingly can explain every inconsistency as being consist with child abuse. How convenient that every possible inconsistency can support sexual abuse."

There was an investigation, Friedman said. That's how some of the witnesses were located and their stories of past abuse -- or knowledge of abuse -- were brought to light.  

And the forensic expert didn't testify that inconsistencies were evidence. She explained, Friedman said, why children who have been abused sometimes lie, hide the truth, are fearful of coming forward and change their stories. 

"We're not at all suggesting that this is evidence of abuse," Friedman said. "This is not a diagnostic tool. We're not saying if you find those factors it proves abuse. The purpose of her testimony is for you to hear from an expert with her speciality explaining why these things happen and don't happen."

The alleged victims were consistent in the key facts: their abuse, Friedman said.

"With five victims in this case, there is no indication of them ever retracting the allegations of sexual abuse," Friedman said. "There's no indication of peer pressure. There's no indication of suggestions by others."

Ader was especially critical of one witness, now an adult serving a state prison term for sexual abuse, who claimed to have been abused by Vickers when he was 12.

The witness has been denied parole before and has another upcoming parole hearing. That's motivation to lie, Ader said.

"He's been in prison for years," Ader said. "He's had more than enough opportunity to make statements, to contact police, to say something about (Vickers) for years, without any threats or promises. (Vickers) can't get him in prison. He can send an anonymous letter. Nothing. But now he needs to get out of prison, so he makes the allegations against (Vickers). How convenient."

The fact is, Friedman said, the witness had shared his allegation of abuse at the hands of Vickers 10 years ago, just not in as much detail as now.

Also, it's not like the witness came forward. An investigator located him and questioned him. There's no evidence the prisoner asked for or received special treatment in exchange for his testimony.

The jury started deliberations after receiving instructions on the law and the counts against Vickers this afternoon.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story left out the word "not" in the following quote from DA Lawrence Friedman: ""This is not a diagnostic tool."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Melee reported at Lewis and State, combatants wielding baseball bats

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

About 15 to 20 people are reportedly fighting, armed with baseball bats, at Lewis Place and State Street. City police are responding.

UPDATE 8:54 p.m.: Howard at the scene reports that there are six cop cars at the scene, including units from the Sheriff's Department. In addition, he said dozens of people "are milling about," some of whom are being interviewed by law enforcement. One witness told Howard that no baseball bats were involved.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Several vehicles with smashed windows and stolen valuables reported on Bank Street Road

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

At least 10 vehicles were broken into this evening on Bank Street Road at the Batavia Sports Park. The victims of these "smash-and-grab" crimes are missing purses, wallets, jewelry, credit cards and more.

Mostly, side windows were smashed, but one vehicle had a rear window smashed.

The crimes were reported by an off-duty deputy. State Troopers are on scene now.

Although soccer and kickball games were under way at the park, no witnesses have been found.

In addition to these crimes, it is reported that overnight on the city's Southside, at least four criminal mischief complaints resulted from vehicle break-ins.

For tips that may aid in the investigation, State Police can be reached at (585) 344-6200.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: Using mobile phone tracking technology, State Police were able to locate three bags of purses in a dumpster at a hotel in Clarence off the Thruway. No suspects found.

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