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Monday, April 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Elmwood Cemetery hit by 'intolerable crime' again

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Elmwood Cemetery

The grave marker is of a young girl on her knees hands clasped in prayer.

Elmwood Cemetery caretaker Steve Davis has been on the job for 20 years and the little headstone always reminded him of his daughter.

"My daughter, when she was little, always made a pose like that when she wanted something," Davis said. "Every time I go past that statue, if I'm trimming or working in the area, I always think of my daughter. When I came in and saw (it knocked down), it broke my heart."

The girl's praying headstone along with 28 others were knocked over by vandals sometime over the weekend.

It's the second time this month -- the first being around April 7 -- that vandals have rampaged through the cemetery knocking down headstones.

Det. Rich Schauf said the vandalism certainly has the attention of Batavia PD and patrols will be stepped up in the area.

"This is an intolerable crime," Schauf said. "Any criminal mischief isn't tolerable, but this is intolerable because of the lack of respect for the deceased. This isn't just about the police being upset. It should offend anybody with any common sense."

There's quite a bit the public can do to assist the police, Schauf said.

First, if young people are involved, they'll talk. They may even post pictures to social media.

"There's an old saying," Schauf said. "If three people know a secret, the only way it stays a secret is if two of them die."

The police would welcome any tips about pictures posted on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or if anybody hears anything related to the crime; tipsters should call Batavia PD.

Second, if you're out and about at 10 or 11 at night, or 2 or 3 in the morning, take a drive down Harvester or Buell.  Normally, Schauf said he wouldn't recommend calling the police just because a group of youths are out, but in this case, if they're in that area, call the police.

"Normally, just because three people are out walking doesn't mean they're going to do damage to a cemetery, but if there's anybody in the area, we're going to want to know about it," Schuaf said. "Nobody is going to say, 'I'm not going to that.' We're hypersensitive about it right now and we're going to respond."

Whatever you do, Schauf said, don't go into the cemetery. It's closed after dark, so not only would you be trespassing, you would make yourself a suspect, and if the real suspects were ever arrested, part of their defense could then be that this other person was in the cemetery as well.

Batavia PD is budgeted for a new mobile surveillance camera in 2014 specifically to deal with troubled crime areas, but Det. Kevin Czora said it will be months before the department makes the purchase.

Davis said he might bring up with the board of directors at its next meeting the idea of the cemetery investing in its own camera system. There isn't much money for such a purchase, however.

He said he has spoken with kids who come around the cemetery about helping protect the cemetery.

"When I come by after supper, there's a ton of kids here riding their bikes or whatever and I try to befriend them only because this is their cemetery along with everybody else's and I ask them to keep an eye on it," Davis said. "I don't know what the answer is -- not let people in here anymore? You can't do that. How do you keep the bad ones out? I try to tell them keep an eye out. Let me know if something is going on."

Officer Jason Davis, who took the report on this weekend's vandalism, said patrols are certainly aware of the need to increase their presence in the area, especially at night and on weekends, but it's difficult to catch the vandals in the act.

"Obviously, it's dark inside the cemetery so it's very difficult for us see in there without driving in there and when a patrol car drives in there, usually people can duck in between the shadows and it's difficult for us to see them," Officer Davis said.

The cemetery can apply to the state for compensation for grave-marker repair, but it's a long process to get the funds. The total damage at this point exceeds $1,000.

Volunteers can't be used to help repair the damage, Davis said, because of possible liability. If somebody hurt their back lifting a stone, he wouldn't want to see the cemetery sued.

This weekend's damage forms almost a straight line from the front entrance on Harvester to a hole in the fence near Buell Street.

"They use bolt cutters or something to cut the hole," Davis said. "We fixed it the first time a long time ago, but as many times as I can fix it, they break it."

Because the aggregate damage of each of the two recent incidents exceeds more than $250 each, the vandals are facing possible felony charges for tampering with a cemetery, Officer Davis said. And each headstone knocked over constitutes its own misdemeanor criminal tampering charge.

Cemetery vandalism is a decades-old problem, Davis acknowledged. Elmwood records in the 1920s and '30s record acts of vandalism, but this latest round certainly has Davis feeling weary.

"It's going to be a long summer," Davis said. "It never starts this early. Usually it's in the summertime when the kids are out of school and this year it started early, and I've never had it so close together, so I'm just afraid of what's going to happen this summer."

Davis has had a rough month. Last week his shop on Buell Street was hit by burglars. They stole more than $3,000 in tools.

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of third-degree assault following fight on Harvester Avenue

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

David J. Swartz, 53, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault following a disturbance on April 24 outside a bar on Harvester Avenue. It is alleged that Swartz intentionally struck a subject in the face during an altercation, recklessly causing physical injury. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to return to City Court on May 6. The incident was investigated by officer Devon Pahuta, assisted by officer Marc Lawrence.

A 16-year-old from Caledonia is charged with harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing following an incident on March 25 on East Avenue, Batavia. The charges were incurred due to an alleged altercation with her mother. The teen was jailed with bail set at $1,000. She was to appear in court April 25. The incident was investigated by officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by officer Christopher Camp.

Kim M. Mobley, 51, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny following an investigation of a shoplifting incident at occurred on April 19 at a grocery store on Ellicott Street. Mobley allegedly entered the store, took several items and then left without paying for them. Mobley was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in City Court on May 6. The incident was investigated by officer Chad Richards, assisted by officer Jamie Givens.

Adam R. Clark, 23, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unnecessary noise-excessive noise, following an incident with occurred on April 20 on South Main Street. Clark was arrested following an investigation of a complaint of loud music. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to return to City Court on Tuesday. The incident was investigated by officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

Empire Cup College Showcase

post by Lisa Ace in batavia, Empire Cup College Showcase, ny

Empire Cup College Showcase

May 10 - May 11
Batavia Sports Park – Batavia, NY

The Empire Cup College Showcase invites boys and girls teams (ages 15 – 18) to participate in our 11th annual event.

This international tournament draws teams from throughout the Northeastern United States, Ohio, Michigan, and Canada.

The event will draw 75-80 teams.


The Empire Cup College Showcase is the premier college showcase event in our region. It draws coaches from nearly 100 colleges and universities each year due to the high level of competition and great natural grass facility. 

Batavia Sports Park hosts this top flight tournament with some of the best fields in upstate New York and offering a convenient location off the New York State Thruway (8069 Bank Street Road, Batavia, NY).


Our Official Tournament Food Vendor is:

CLORS Meat Market, BBQ, and Catering

Chicken BBQ will be offered May 10 - Starting at 3 PM

Open to the Public








Event Date and Time

May 11, 2014 - 3:00pm - 9:00pm
Monday, April 28, 2014 at 6:25 am

CIty fire responds to smell of smoke in the residence on Harvester Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Harvester Avenue

City fire is on scene at 116 Harvester Ave. for the smell of smoke in the residence.

A commander reports smoke in the residence and firefighters are investigating.

UPDATE 7:34 a.m.: The smoke has been traced to a burned-out motor in the refrigerator.

UPDATE 7:48 a.m.: City fire back in service.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Photo: Drug drop-off day at Batavia PD

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, drug drop-off day

Officer Jamie Givens collects a drop-off from a local resident during drug drop-off day at Batavia PD.

Officers filled 13 boxes (about 4-feet tall, 18x18 inches square) and nine buckets of sharps.

The drugs are turned to the DEA for safe destruction.

There were also drug drop-off events today in Pembroke and Corfu.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Heavy smoke spewing from apartment on third floor of 400 Towers

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

Heavy smoke is reportedly spewing from a third-floor apartment inside Washington 400 Towers on East Main Street. City firefighters are on scene after dispatch received information that multiple alarms were sounding in the building. Firefighters are "packing up and heading in."

UPDATE 3:48 p.m.: This was a stove fire. Commands reports it is out and they are ventilating.

UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: Now ventilating the fourth and fifth floors and will be remaining on scene for "quite awhile."

UPDATE 4:38 p.m.: Ventilation was completed about 15 minutes ago. Command says one unit is picking up to leave and the other will be remaining to do some investigation.

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Pair of Washington Towers residents marry, saying they've found true love

post by The Batavian in batavia, Washington Towers

Story and photos by Sloan Martin, WBTA.

At 67 years old, Cherry Pease is now Cherry Farr.

She and 78-year-old Edmund “Sonny," who met as Washington Towers residents, got married Friday afternoon on the same Care-a-Van bus they got engaged on.

Cherry said a few days before her wedding that this is a second-chance for her; a way to have the wedding – and marriage – she’s always wanted.

“I think things will be different this time because my last marriage, to be honest, I married for money that he didn’t have,” she said. “This time I am marrying for love, so I think it’s really going to be wonderful.”

Surrounded by close family members, about 15 people wearing pink carnation boutonnieres witnessed the union of Cherry and Edmond.

Cherry tells the story of their first meeting like a college student who doesn’t have a car on campus yet would. A couple of years ago, she started to give him rides to Wal-Mart and Tops so Sonny wouldn’t have to walk so far in the winter.

“I asked him if he wanted a ride because no one else would ask him in the building. And we went. And that’s apparently when he said he fell in love with me, with my eyes,” she described. “But I asked him later on, maybe a couple months later if he wanted to come up and play (the gaming system) Wii. He runs up the three flights of stairs – that’s how quickly he wanted to get up to play Wii (with me).”

Both are widows. Sonny’s late wife passed away in August of 2012, Cherry says, and Cherry’s late husband died in September of last year.

In November, Sonny proposed.

That was after the couple had gotten involved with the Care-a-Van Ministries. Founder and Director Paul Ohlson runs the local public outreach initiative to share the Gospel and was there for the engagement.

“It was a cold morning and he walked out to the jewelry store and picked up the ring,” Ohlson said. “He brought it onto the bus and knelt down and asked if she would marry him and of course she said ‘Yes.’ ”

“We couldn’t afford a very expensive ring,” Cherry said. “It’s sterling silver which doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s blue diamonds and that’s one of my favorites and he’s got blue eyes so they kind of match.”

Cherry says Care-a-Van Ministries has been a “good foundation for our lives.” They spent many weekends volunteering together which is why they decided to get married on the bus itself.

The bus is cozy and inviting. White tulle and potted plants with fresh flowers hang from the silver overhead poles which hands once grasped for balance in the bus’s former life. Seats with tables in between line the bus. Each table has a Bible, creamer and candies in a pretty dish for the Care-a-Van’s outreach coffee and movie sessions.

Guests crammed in for the intimate session. Sonny’s grandson, Jordan Farr, read aloud from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 between wiping away tears. Pastor Tim Young was the officiant. Sonny, who was peppy and spunky posing for cameras prior to the ceremony, was tender and reserved, almost nervous. They did not recite their own vows, but exchanged rings and kissed twice -- to make sure they did it right.

Ohlson says weddings on the bus don’t ever happen. It was because Cherry and Sonny were so devoted to both the ministry and each other that he was supportive of the wedding venue.

“Everybody needs somebody,” he said. “Edmund, he’s getting up there in age and he knows it and he jokes about it, he’s good with it. He just doesn’t want to be alone. Just to be able to connect and encourage someone to follow through with the dream that they had but also bringing in Biblical principles to their relationship and encouraging them to put the Lord first.

“Even this late in life they can make it work and they can be happy.”

After the ceremony they celebrated with a Chinese buffet for the whole party. It was almost like when they first met, transporting around Batavia. Only this time they were married and it was their special Care-a-Van bus that shuttled them.

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:37 pm

BID honors two Downtown businesses and key volunteers

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

Story and photos by Dan Fischer, WBTA.

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) honored two local businesses on Friday with its “Spirit of Downtown Business Award.”

The new business Spirit award was given to The YNGodess Shop. Proprietor Christine Crocker received the award with her son, Ben, at her side.

Accepting the Spirit award for the Established Business of the Year was Gregory Gluck, proprietor of Alberty Drugs.

Also recognized for their volunteer efforts on behalf of the BID were Steve Coraci and Beth Kemp.

The BID was created in 1997 creating a core group of Downtown property owners and city officials to organize a formal Downtown management association. Today, the BID is comprised of 143 properties that pay a total annual assessment of $120,000 and the City of Batavia’s contribution (for capital projects) is $41,300 to fund the organization.

The BID will meet on Tuesday to elect a new slate of officers.

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Golden Arches on the horizon for Eastown Plaza

post by Bonnie Marrocco in batavia, business, Eastown Plaza, McDonald's

It's been a long time coming, but a spokesperson for the McDonald's Corp. has confirmed the fast-food chain will indeed open a second location in Batavia on East Main Street.

A developer received the necessary permits and approvals months ago, but then -- nothing. Even city officials didn't know if the project was still going through.

“Construction should begin this summer and Batavians can look forward to a brand new McDonald’s restaurant before the end of the year,” Vice President of Public Relations Kerry B. Ford said.

The project developer, TY Lin International, obtained a lease from the property owner, Eastown Plaza Associates, in November 2012 and according to City Manager Jason Molino, a building permit was issued last September.

“Permits are good for one year, but may be extended or a new permit could be applied for after expiration,” Molino said.

In response to questions about delays, Ford cited the magnitude of the project.

“As you can imagine, a project of this scale requires a great deal of careful planning and that planning takes time,” Ford said. “McDonald's is thrilled to raise a new set of Golden Arches in Batavia.”

According to the February 2013 application to the city’s Planning and Development Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals, Ty Lin International proposed constructing a 3,911-square-foot site in the current parking lot of Eastown Plaza. The project area is about .78 acres and is zoned for commercial use. The site would include two drive-thru lanes and raised islands, a shed, a dumpster, along with asphalt parking, landscaping, lighting and signage.

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Stove fire on Ellicott Street

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

City fire is responding to a reported stove fire at 511 Ellicott St., right-side apartment.

UPDATE 7:07 p.m.: No fire at this time, just a smoldering pot on the stove. Ventilating. Now Mercy medics are called for a person suffering from smoke inhalation.

UPDATE 7:26 p.m.: Fire command says that are still ventilating and will be there for some time. The source was deemed to be an electrical problem with the stove. Medics are evaluating the patient.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: The patient is being transported to UMMC.

UPDATE 7:39 p.m.: Firefighters killed power to the stove then removed it from the apartment. The assignment is back in service.

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