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Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Three students named to Deans' List at SUNY Albany

post by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Milestones, Oakfield

The following students were named to the University at Albany's Spring 2011 Deans' List for outstanding academic achievement:

Nicholas Chiruck, of Le Roy <http://readabout.me/Nicholas-Chiruck/DK4G

Molly Eadie, of Le Roy <http://readabout.me/Molly-Eadie/BUJG>

Rachel Shamp, of Oakfield <http://readabout.me/Rachel-Shamp/IESA

Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

GC chambers to hold meeting about trip to China this fall

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will host an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. on June 29 about the nine-day tour of China. It will take place at the chamber office on Main Street in Downtown Batavia.

This is the sixth time the chamber has offered this tour.

The trip is from Nov. 1 to 9 and costs $2,099 per person. The chamber believes this trip to be an exceptional value. Price includes air fare (from JFK), bus to/from JFK, hotel stays, three meals a day, bus tours (with guides), admission to tourist spots, and airport taxes throughout the trip.

The trip is filling up quickly! Final payments are due by July 20. For more details or to sign up for the meeting, call Lynn or Melissa at the chamber at 343-7440.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Level 3 sex offender found guilty of failing to register address change

post by Billie Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Oakfield

Level 3 sex offender Ronald A. Smith was convicted Tuesday afternoon in Genesee County Court of one count of failure to register a change of address.

After deliberating less than two hours, the jury of seven women and five men returned a guilty verdict, which needed to be unanimous, for a violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act. Sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 8.

The Lewiston, Maine, native rejected two plea offers by the District Attorney before taking the case to trial. The first offer was for one and a half to two years in prison, the minimum allowed under statute, and the second offer was for one to three years.

Smith was released Oct. 28, 2010 after serving time for first-degree criminal sexual act with a child under 11. Subsequently, he reportedly lived on Thorpe and East Main streets in the City of Batavia, as well as in Alexander and Oakfield. He was found to not be legally residing at any of these locations.

In court on Tuesday, Smith wore khaki-colored pants, and a snug-fitting white, long-sleeved shirt which revealed a well-muscled torso. His head was nearly shaved. He's about 5'4" tall.

In his brief opening statement, William Harper, an attorney with the Public Defender's Office, reminded the jury of its duty to stick to the issue at hand and not be prejudiced in weighing the evidence because his client is a sex offender.

"The presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of our justice system," Harper said. "We know you won't pre-judge."

Harper and Public Defender Gary Horton tried to create reasonable doubt in the jurors' minds by indications that Smith was confused about his obligations and was not properly instructed about them. The credibility of two witnesses who live on Thorpe Street was also called into question.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told jurors the case would not last long because it is not complicated. Simply put, Smith knew he had to register his address, knew how and when to do so, but did not.

A videotaped interview conducted on Jan. 13 was played in the courtroom. It shows Smith, clad in a black T-shirt and slumped in a chair, telling an officer he lived in a trailer park in Oakfield. The officer says he talked with Smith's aunt and others in Oakfield and they said Smith didn't live there and never had.

The defendent maintained that he lived in Oakfield with his fiancee until his sister was removed from his mother's house and put into foster care -- because he is not allowed by authorities to be in contact with his sister. Once that occurred, he moved in with his mother. He didn't register there because his mother "would get evicted."

But a child-protective services worker testified that he visited Smith's mother's house beforehand and found the defendant "crouched in a fetal position by the bed with his eyes covered." He said he saw him again the following day turning into the driveway of the apartment complex and contacted police.

The length of time Smith lived on Thorpe Street was said to be four days or two to three weeks, depending on who was talking. He said he notified authorities he lived there, but not the landlord. When the landlord found out he was there, it was made clear he was not welcome.

At some point, too, he purportedly lived in Alexander.

"The place you come home to is where you live...not because you get mail there," Smith is told in the videotape.

Smith, who will turn 20 in January, replied that "before you told me, I really didn't know."

And yet Smith acknowleged his parole officer told him what he needed to do as a free citizen: Notify the police within 10 days of a change of address, show police verification of address every 90 days, go for treatment if required to do so, and let the state know where he was.

Desiree Sumeriski is the mother of Smith's baby daughter and lives in an apartment on Thorpe Street. She testified that Smith stayed there until Oct. 31 after his release and left to move in with his mother.

She was romantically involved with another man at the time and when asked if this created a problem with Smith being around, she said no, that she only saw the man when Smith wasn't there.

Horton asked if she had been convicted of filing a false report of child abuse against a person with CPS and she admitted she had. Asked if she had also pled guilty to harassment charges on more than one occasion, she said yes.

Her neighbor across the street, Jennifer Schaffer, also testified that she knew Smith was staying there and that he left on Oct. 31. Her friendship with Sumeriski was pointed out by the defense, an inference that this might affect her testimony.

The cross examination of the two women was apparently an attempt to discredit their testimony that Smith lived there only a few days because Smith had stated he was there for two or three weeks. But in his videotaped interview, he says he was only on Thorpe for a few days.

Regardless, Sumeriski's landlord was not notified because Smith claims he didn't know he had to.

On cross examination, Horton tells Batavia Police Detective Kevin Czora that Smith mentioned several times he didn't know he had to notify the landlord.

"Did you ask him what he thought was required to notify the landlord?" Horton asked.

"No," the detective replied.

An administrative aide with the Sex Offender Registry in Albany testified that address information filed for sex offenders "all ends up in Albany." There are only three notifications on file for Smith.

The first move documented is from West Main Street (jail), Batavia, to Alexander. The second is from Alexander to Thorpe Street. The last is from Thorpe to South Main Street, Oakfield. There is nothing on file about residency at his mom's apartment in Batavia.

Outside the presence of the jury, Horton moved to vacate the case for lack of evidence and his motion was denied.

In closing arguments, Horton told jurors the key question is "When did Ron Smith register?" He told them to forget about the details, the forms -- which weren't explained to the defendent -- and not to use Smith's prior convictions to decide the case.

"Cases don't get much simpler that this," Friedman told the jury. "They don't get less complicated than this."

Friedman said Smith gave different addresses and different times he stayed at them. He admits that he never lived in Alexander or Oakfield, Friedman said. He also claims he thought he could just list an address without regard to where he  actually stayed, which is inconsistent with the legal obligation he acknowleged, Friedman said.

After asking to view the videotape a second time and having the stipulations of the charge reread for them, the jury reached a verdict just before 3:30 p.m. Smith will remain in custody.

A court date for other charges pending against Smith will be set at 11 a.m. on July 7.

He also faces up to five years in prison -- to be served concurrently with the failure to register conviction -- if he's found guilty of three counts of sexual acts with a child under 11.

He was arrested less than four months after being released in October, 2010 on suspicion of molesting a child in the City of Batavia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Manhunt in Indian Falls proves futile

post by Billie Owens in batavia, indian falls, Tonawanda Creek

About 20 minutes ago, law enforcement called off an extensive search around Indian Falls and Little Falls roads for a wanted man. The search went on for about an hour.

They say he's known locally and "will turn up."

The man, whose name has not been released, has warrants out of Ontario County and was allegedly driving a vehicle without a driver's license.

He was spotted by state Trooper Holly Hanssel, who attempted to make a traffic stop, prompting the suspect to flee on foot.

She called in additional law enforcement, and Batavia police and Sheriff's deputies responded, along with a K-9 team and a state helicopter.

They combed both sides of the Tonawanda Creek and at some point found muddy footprints, and it is believed he crossed over in a couple of places.

He's described as being white, about 5'8", with a medium to heavy built, tattoos, a shaved head and sporting a goatee. No description of clothing was given.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: The suspect was possibly spotted near Route 77 wearing a red shirt and black shorts. A resident with a gun had chased the suspect to a picnic cookout area where the guy ran down an embankment. The resident contacted law enforcement and subsequently went home. The Sheriff's K-9 unit is scouring the area but officers "do not have a visual" on him.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: The suspect was apprehended at 3:17 p.m. Some time later, one deputy was heard on the scanner congratulating Deputy Brian Thompson on "another awesome job." Deputy Thompson, in response, gave credit to K-9 "Pharoah."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Kid on bike struck by vehicle in front of Denny's

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accident

A child on a bicycle has been struck by a vehicle in front of Denny's restaurant at 364 W. Main St. in Batavia. The child is still under the vehicle.

Batavia Fire Department and Mercy EMS are responding. Mercy Flight is being sent in, with a five minute ETA.

UPDATE 12:58 p.m.: Ladder truck 15 out of the city is going to set up a landing zone for the helicopter on River Street, south of Main street by the creek.

UPDATE 1:03 p.m.: Mercy Flight is on the ground.

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.: The victim has been extricated.

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Corfu resident earns scholarship to attend Alfred State College

post by Billie Owens in corfu, Milestones

A Genesee County resident has been awarded a $1,000 "Russo Family Scholarship" to attend Alfred State College.

Kathryn J. Worth, of Corfu, is slated to graduate from Pembroke Central School and intends to enroll in the college's digital media and animation program.

The scholarship is based on academic achievement and is made possible through the generosity of the Russo Family Foundation.

Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Alfred State offers 52 associate degrees, 19 baccalaureate degree programs, and three certificate programs.

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Batavia High School Class of '76 to hold 35th Reunion

post by Billie Owens in announcements

Batavia High School's Class of 1976 is having a casual gathering to reunite with friends and socialize on Friday, July 1 at the Smoke House restaurant on Center Street.

The 35th Reunion will be from 6 to 11 p.m. on the second floor. Attire is casual, so is attitude. There will be a cash bar and food available.

The organizers ask that you inform any and all contacts from the Class of '76 and advise them to reply as to whether or not they will be attending at <Bataviahs1976@gmail.com>

"Thanks and we look forward to seeing all of you there!"

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 12:56 am

Vehicle on its roof on Gabbey Road, Pembroke

post by Billie Owens in accident, indian falls, pembroke

A motor-vehicle accident, with unknown injuries, is reported at 871 Gabbey Road in Pembroke. The vehicle is on its roof.

The location is "by the bend" at Wyman and Marble roads.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments and Mercy EMS are responding.

UPDATE 1:20 a.m.: The driver and a passenger said to be his girlfriend are not in the vehicle. State Troopers went to a house not far away on Route 5, where it was thought they might be, but they weren't there. Now troopers are going to a house on South Lake Road. At least one of the vehicle's occupants is believed to be injured. Firefighters are proceeding to stage in the area of South Lake and Gabbey roads, not far from the accident scene. Mercy medics are continuing non-emergency mode. A hook tow truck is en route to the vehicle, a red Corvette.

UPDATE 1:40 a.m.: Law enforcement tells dispatch that the two parties involved purportedly suffered only cuts and bruises and that they they were taken by a third party to their respective residences. Next, the pair was thought to be indeed at the South Lake Road residence -- based on what a responder reportedly saw -- despite what the homeowner contended. This sparked comments on the scanner about "honesty issues." Now, the Corvette's occupants are thought to be, or are returning to, the home on Route 5. Pembroke and Indian Falls are put back in service, along with Mercy medics. A fire hyrdrant was sheared off as a result of the accident, but is not spouting water. The water authority has been notified.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 2:52 am

Two-car accident at routes 33 and 237, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in accident, Stafford

A two-car accident is reported at routes 33 and 237.

Stafford Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched. A third ambulance is requested from Byron since no additional Mercy rigs are available. A fourth ambulance is requested from Bethany.

Traffic control is requested at the west and east ends of the intersection. One lane will be closed and two-way traffic directed by traffic police.

No Mercy Flight helicopters are available. Buffalo is grounded due to weather.

Two people were entrapped, but are now out.

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Hawley helped defeat 'inane' bill to ban smoking in vehicles

post by Billie Owens in batavia, steve hawley

Here's a press release from Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) was one of several Assembly Minority members to speak up against a bill that sought to ban smoking in cars carrying passengers ages 14 and under.

The measure was ultimately defeated and removed from consideration. While Hawley noted that the intent of the legislation was admirable, he described the bill as an affront to personal freedoms and liberties. He also questioned whether a convertible would be exempted and told “no,” further
exemplifying the absurdity of the inane legislation.

“Most everyone can agree that people shouldn’t smoke in the car with young children present, but government does not exist to legislate what a citizen should and should not do,” Hawley said. “This bill is a blatant example of government meddling with the rights of individualism to an obscene extent.

"Just as we cannot legislate who is qualified or unqualified to be a parent, the legislature cannot tell a citizen of legal, tobacco-purchasing age that they cannot smoke in their own vehicle.”

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

College board agrees to sell cell tower, awards two contracts, chooses new officers

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia, GCC

Here's a press release from Genesee Community College.

On Monday, the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees conducted the following business:

-- Approved a Resolution of Sympathy to the family of Rev. Kenneth A. Dodd, who died May 27. Rev. Dodd had served as a member of the College's Board of Trustees since 1992.

-- Authorized President Stuart Steiner to execute documents for the sale of the Verizon cell tower lease with the college to Unison Site Management. In addition to receiving about $176,000 in the sale, the college will receive 50 percent of any new revenues Unison generates from cell tower clients. The sale is subject to an environmental review and approval by the Genesee County Legislature, sponsor of the college.

-- Awarded two contracts for various projects on the Batavia campus, including: replacement of concrete in front of the main entrances; addition of a courtyard adjacent to the Conable Technology Building; and electrical and lighting work on the college's tennis courts. V.J. Gautieri Constructors, LLC, of Batavia, was the successful bidder for general construction services with a bid of $419,750. Kaplan Schmidt Electric, of Pittsford, was the successful bidder for electrical services with a bid of $212,000.

-- Heard Nominating Committee Chair Glenn R. Morton report that the committee plans to nominate Charles R. Ruffino as board chair for the 2011-2012 year; Maureen T. Marshall as vice-chair; and Diane D. Torcello as secretary. Officers will be elected at the board's July meeting.

-- Heard that Karlyn M. Finucane has joined the college staff as technical specialist for the Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program, which coordinates college courses and services to area high school students. She is a resident of Lancaster.

-- Heard President Stuart Steiner report that 1,479 students had enrolled in the college's summer sessions. Registrations are still being accepted for the second summer session, which runs from July 5 to Aug. 6. Every area high school graduate will receive a scholarship for two summer courses, and high school students can still register for the second session. Steiner said he believes that the summer 2011 session will have the second-highest summer enrollment in the college's history. And although fall enrollment was not on the board's agenda, Steiner said that the fall semester will likely produce a new record enrollment.

-- Heard Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Gina M. Weaver report that a broad-based Strategic Planning Committee had completed the draft of a new strategic plan for the college. It encompasses goals in six areas: student success and preparedness; faculty and staff success; economic impact; relevant and impactful programs; culture of trust and innovation; and financial sustainability. Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino thanked Weaver and the committee for the year-long effort. Ruffino referred the draft plan to an ad-hoc Board of Trustees Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of Trustees Melvin J. Wentland, Maureen T. Marshall, Donna M. Ferry and Laura J. Bohm.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

College trustees agree to put wind turbine on Batavia campus

post by Billie Owens in batavia, alexander, GCC, Pavilion

This is a press release from Genesee Community College.

At the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees on Monday, they agreed to locate an educational wind turbine at the Batavia campus in cooperation with Batavia, Alexander and Pavilion high schools.

The three schools received a Title I federal grant to purchase the wind turbine, which will be used by the high schools and the college for science and engineering instruction. Trustees anticipate locating the turbine at the northeast corner of the campus. The turbine will be much smaller than many windmills, standing only 70 feet. The schools identified the Batavia campus an ideal location for the turbine since it is believed to be the windiest location in Genesee County.

The turbine will generate a variety of wind and meteorological data that will be transmitted to a computer housed at the campus. Students will use and analyze the data as part of their educational programs. The college has identified at least nine engineering, chemistry and physics courses that would use the turbine and turbine-related data. Eight Genesee Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Physics courses offered in area high schools are also expected to use turbine data. And at least two of the high schools are developing courses that would specifically include use of the wind turbine.

Hundreds of students will directly benefit from the equipment each year, said Eunice M. Bellinger, Ph.D, executive vice president for Academic Affairs. The turbine could also be used for community courses and demonstrations in the future, President Stuart Steiner said.

In addition to its small size, the wind turbine is very quiet, rated with a noise level of 35 decibels, which is softer than a typical conversation. One side benefit of the wind turbine is that will generate about 1,500 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which will slightly decrease the college's electricity bill.

Besides supporting educational programs, the wind turbine reflects the State University of New York's system-wide commitment to an "energy-smart" New York.

"We have a real commitment to sustainability and we want to help meet SUNY's vision of an energy-efficient New York state," Bellinger said.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Le Roy students named to Deans' List at SUNY Oneonta

post by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Milestones

Brianna Olsen, of Le Roy, is among the 1,422 students who earned Deans' List honors for the spring 2011 semester at SUNY Oneonta. To qualify, undergraduates must earn a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher while carrying a course load of 12 semester hours or more.

A liberal arts college focusing on teaching and learning, SUNY Oneonta was established as a state normal school in 1889 and incorporated as a founding member of the state university system in 1948. The college is well known for its outstanding faculty, strong academic programs, educational technology, community service and character-building activities and scenic campus.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Hawley sponsors bill to help WNY wineries to be more competitive

post by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, steve hawley, wineries

Here's a press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) recently sponsored a bill, that has passed the Assembly, which will allow New York’s world-class wineries to become more competitive, both within the state and abroad.

Assembly bill 7828-A repeals a number of onerous mandates on winery owners and grape growers that will streamline the licensing process and encourage the growth of this booming industry.

“Wineries and grape-growing farms are cornerstones of New York’s agricultural industry,” Hawley said. “By reducing the red tape that owners of these businesses must sift through in order to become properly licensed, these establishments will save time, money and resources that will encourage existing operations to expand and new businesses to open.

"As a sponsor of this legislation and a member of the Committee on Agriculture, I commend my colleagues for helping me achieve these sorely needed, procedural reforms for our wine industry.”

The provisions of A.7828-A will:

  • Allow the owner of a winery license to sell wine in bulk to wholesalers, retailers and other major distributors;
  • Authorize a winery to manufacture, bottle and sell various fruit products on-premises;
  • Allow wineries and farm wineries to charge event operators for the use of their premises; and
  • Reduce the number of specialized licenses for wineries and farm wineries, providing a more efficient registration process.

“With places like Leonard Oakes Estate Winery and Schwenk Wine Cellars located right here in Western New York, it is imperative that we encourage our agricultural job creators to set up shop in our communities,” Hawley said. “I am confident that this legislation will not only benefit our current grape growers and winery operators, but will draw even more business owners to our fertile soil and spacious landscapes in the future.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Large plume of smoke coming from woods in Darien

post by Billie Owens in Darien, fire

A large plume of smoke is reported coming the woods at 951 Broadway Road. The type of fire is unknown. Darien Fire Department is dispatched.

The location is between Harlow and Warner roads.

UPDATE 12:54 p.m.: The chief says it's a small controlled burn.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: The fire stems from burning paper and wood. The homeowners have been advised of burn regulations. Darien is back in service.

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Motor-vehicle accident on Maple Street, Elba

post by Billie Owens in accidents, elba

A motor-vehicle accident was reported at 44 Maple St. in Elba about 45 minutes ago. The victim suffered a head injury.

Elba Fire Department and Mercy EMS responded.

Mercy Flight was sent in and is now airborne.

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

'Ms. Corona' suspected of shoplifting at Target

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Suzanne Corona

Batavia resident Suzanne Corona, 43, is in the security office at Target, being held on suspicion of shoplifting.

Within the past half hour or so, Corona is alleged to have ran from the store, allegedly carrying merchandise some perfume, and yelling "Bruce, Bruce, I'm over here!" before ducking down and supposedly trying to hide among the parked vehicles, according to witness Brandon Maldonado.

After causing a commotion and exiting the store, she was apprehended by Sheriff's Deputy Brian Thompson, who was in the store at the time doing a K-9 demonstration with "Pharoah."

Dispatch was notified that "Ms. Corona" was being detained and an officer sent to take a statement.

Corona's past brushes with local law enforcement include allegations of shopping from a local florist, trashing a lunch buffet and engaging in a sexual encounter at a public park.

(The name of the perfume has not been disclosed.)

UPDATE 10:09 p.m.: It was not perfume as we were originally told, but Corona allegedly attempted to steal two pair of sunglasses, a hair band and a necklace.

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Truck rolls over, hits tree, lands on roof in South Byron

post by Billie Owens in accidents, byron, south byron

A pickup has rolled over and crashed into a tree at 6478 Freeman Road in South Byron. It landed on its roof.

Byron and South Byron fire departments are responding along with Mercy EMS.

Bergen fire's rescue equipment is called to the scene.

The location is between Ivison Road and Route 237.

UPDATE 4:22 p.m.: The availability of Mercy Flight is requested.

UPDATE 4:24 p.m.: A landing zone is set up and Mercy Flight out of Batavia is called to the scene. The driver has been extricated. Bergen is told to stand down.

UPDATE 4:36 p.m.: Mercy Flight landed several minutes ago. National Grid is called because a pole with a transformer was hit during the accident, tilting it at a 45-degree angle.

UPDATE 4:56 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne with the victim and headed to Strong Memorial Hospital. National Grid is expected at the crash site shortly.

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Car veers off Thruway into the woods

post by Billie Owens in accidents, east pembroke

A car traveled off the eastbound Thruway and into the woods. Severity of injuries is unknown. The location is mile marker 394.8.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy EMS are dispatched. State Police are on scene.

UPDATE 2:08 p.m.: A head injury is reported.

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

Man slices finger in roofing accident

post by Billie Owens in east pembroke

A man with a partially amputated finger is in and out of consciousness in East Pembroke, following an accident while he was doing roof work.

He was found in a silver pickup truck at 1705 Main Road, between Cleveland and Boyce roads.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy medics are called after law enforcement contacted dispatch.

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