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Friday, February 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Law and Order: Woman accused of stealing items from residence in Alabama over Father's Day weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, alexander, crime

Penny Sue Sprague, 42, of Oakfield, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Sprague is accused of entering a residence without permission on Father's Day weekend and stealing several items, including electronics, jewelry, money and other property.  Following arraignment, Sprague was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Scott D. Fairfield, 19, of 131 S. Swan St., Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest. Fairfield is accused of interfering with the arrest of another person at his residence. No further information was released.

Timothy James Walsh, 44, of Redfield Parkway, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Walsh is accused of using a motor vehicle to recklessly damaging the property of another person on Hunn Road, Alexander, on Feb. 3.

Friday, February 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

Accident with minor injuries, Town of Le Roy, Route 5

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy

An accident with a minor injury is reported in the area of 7904 E. Main Road, Le Roy.

Fire police requested to the scene to shut down East Main at Asbury Road,

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance dispatched. The ambulance can respond non-emergency.

View Larger Map

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Group working to raise $125K for 'inclusive playground'

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, inclusive playground, Kiwanis Park

Building an "inclusive playground" at Kiwanis Park in the Town of Batavia will cost $125,000, members of the Batavia Kiwanis Club were told at their weekly meeting today.

The group backing the project has already raised $30,000, asked the club to pitch in $10,000 and is making similar requests of a number of local groups.

Susan Maha, who is on the committee helping to bring the idea of an inclusive park to fruition, told members "it's your park" and the Kiwanis should be part of the project.

An inclusive park includes play sets that are accessible to people with disabilities, whether physical or mental.

"So many kids in our community have these fears and can't go to a normal playground," Maha said. "We have thousands of people in our community who can't go to a normal playground and it breaks my heart."

The playground would be open to the entire community, young and old, with disabilities or not.

Maha recalled the history of the park, which was first proposed in 1976. The Kiwanis helped raise $100,000 and the park opened in 1982.

Shelley Falitco, director of development for Genesee ARC, said backers have until March 1 to raise the $125,000. That's when the playground equipment must be ordered so it arrives by April's "Day of Caring."

The group will be looking for 50 people to volunteer on the Day of Caring to help install the playground equipment.

To find out how to support the project, contact Shelley Falitco at (585) 343-1123.

Top photo, Shelley Falitco; inset photo, Susan Maha.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Genesee ARC supporters plan rally Monday prior to city council meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection, Genesee ARC

Supporters of Genesee ARC are planning a rally at 6:15 p.m., Monday, outside Batavia City Hall, to voice support of the agency, which may lose its garbage collection contract with the city.

The city council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on proposed changes to local laws governing garbage collection.

The changes are necessary to institute an automated tote collection system.

Genesee ARC, which has collected trash in the city for nearly 30 years, submitted the highest bid for the new contract.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

City firefighters raise $1K for Genesee Cancer Assistance

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

Press release:

The City of Batavia Professional Firefighters Association recently donated $1,000 to Genesee Cancer Assistance. The money was generated from the annual breast cancer awareness campaign T-shirt sales. The firefighters association would like to thank the community for its support of such a worthy cause.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Two different crews suspected of burglaries in Elba, Oakfield, Byron and Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, byron, crime, elba, Oakfield, Stafford

Sheriff's investigators are actively pursuing leads on a string of burglaries that started in January in Elba, Oakfield, Byron and Bergen.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said investigators believe two different crews are involved in the burglaries.

"The crew in Elba and Oakfield enters with door kick-ins," Brewster said. "The other crew is more sophisticated about getting into a house."

The Elba/Oakfield crew may be associated with a white van. The Byron/Bergen crew (which may be responsible for a burglary in Stafford) may use stolen vehicles.

One vehicle from Bergen is still missing, another has been recovered and a car that was stolen in Henrietta was located in Bergen.

The Elba and Oakfield burglaries have occurred during daylight hours.

There are suspects in the Elba/Oakfield burglaries, Brewster said, and they don't live in the area.

Brewster said residents who see anything suspicious could contact the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.

"Give us a call," Brewster said. "We love to look into those things."

Residents should be on the lookout for a suspicious vehicle in a neighbor's driveway, a car slowing and apparently trying to check out homes in a neighborhood, and somebody knocking on your door with no apparent need to knock on your door  -- all the sort of things that should be phoned in as suspicious, Brewster said.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Region under winter storm watch tonight through Saturday morning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The forecast for the coming storm is from six to 12 inches of snow starting at 1 a.m.

The storm warning is in effect until 5 a.m., Saturday.

Travel on Friday could be difficult with a mixture of heavy snow and sleet.

Visibility could be a half mile or less.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit during the day Friday.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Batavia man who took case to trial avoids second felony conviction

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia resident accused of committing crimes while reportedly under the influence of bath salts over the summer avoided a felony conviction Wednesday after a Genesee County jury found him not guilty of the higher charges.

Bradley C. Broadbent was found guilty on five misdemeanor counts, but by avoiding the felony convictions he is no longer looking at up to 15 years in prison as a second felony offender.

The jury found Broadbent guilty of two counts of criminal mischief, 4th, two counts of criminal trespass, 2nd, and petit larceny.

He was acquitted on the charges of criminal trespass, 3rd, and second-degree burglary.

Last month Broadbent turned down a plea deal and elected to take his chances with a jury.

Because the 32-year-old Broadbent has a prior violent felony conviction, the best deal District Attorney Lawrence Friedman could offer Broadbent was a minimum of five years in prison with a guilty plea to attempted burglary, 2nd, a Class D felony.

Broadbent was accused of breaking into bathrooms of a building on Liberty Street one day in July and later that day he reportedly climbed atop a roof on Hutchins Street and needed emergency responder assistance to be talked off it. That night, he reportedly escaped from UMMC's emergency room and was accused of breaking into a home on Tracy Avenue.

Broadbent's family spoke with the media at the time about his arrest because they were concerned that bath salts had derailed his attempt to get his life back in order after getting out of jail on a previous charge.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Attorney accused of being no show for fourth straight appearance for defendant

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

Brian P. Griffen is indicted on counts of burglary, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th, and four times since October he's appeared before Judge Robert C. Noonan to answer to those charges.

Four times Griffen's attorney has been missing in action, according to Noonan.

Today, the judge told Griffen it's time for him to find a new attorney.

According to documents, Griffen is represented by David S. Widenor, a Buffalo-based defense attorney.

Griffen told Noonan he's paid Widenor $800 to represent him.

According to court staff, Widenor has never denied representing Griffen and Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl said he's received written correspondence from Widenor about the Griffen case.

Noonan said he's written to Widenor and told him he better make his next court appearance (which was today) or there could be financial consequences.

On at least one occasion, Widenor reportedly told Noonan that he forgot to record Griffen's court appearance on his calendar.

"I can't just leave this case on the calendar until someday he decides to grace me with his presence," Noonan said.

Zickl told Noonan, "(Griffen) has been here every time he's been directed to be here. We certainly support his realization that perhaps he needs another attorney."

Griffen was indicted in October and accused of breaking into a building on Fisher Road, Oakfield, sometime between June 12 and June 26 and stealing a dune buggy, Yamaha Kodiak 4-wheeler and a Honda dirt bike.

Under questioning from Noonan, Griffen said he has a job. He didn't ask for a court-appointed attorney. He said he has missed work to make his court appearances, which brought a sad shake from Noonan.

Noonan said that if Griffen files a grievance with the bar association that might be the best way for Griffen to get his $800 back. Noonan said he couldn't wait, however, for Griffen to get reimbursed before he retains another attorney.

Noonan ordered Griffen back in court March 6.

Whether Griffen files a grievance (about his attorney's absenteeism), Noonan said, is entirely up to him.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Affordable Daycare in Batavia, NY!

post by Agri-Business Chi... in children, Daycare, Head Start

Free or Minimal Charge for Eligible Families! Genesee and Wyoming counties!

Children 6 weeks old to 5 years old receive bilingual culturally appropriate care, including specialized care for children with disabilities.

Eligible Families:
-Have child(ren) from 6 weeks to 5 years old
-Work in food service

-Work in Agriculture

-Collect Social Services (DSS)
-Meet income and employment eligibility guidelines

Knowledgeable Teaching Staff who promote Creative Curriculum
-Meals Provided Breakfast, Lunch, and Afternoon Snack
-Diapers and Formula Provided
-Full-Time Nurse Health Screenings
-Indoor Large Motor Room

-Free Transportation

How to apply?

Call Batavia ABCD (585)343 -8160


Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Woman accused of stealing money from charity raising money for cancer patient

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Oakfield

Five Star Bank has reimbursed $6,600 to Austin's Army -- a fundraising effort to assist a Pembroke teen struck with a rare form of cancer -- after a local woman allegedly made unauthorized withdrawals from the charitable account.

The alleged theft was discovered by Jason Heineman on Nov. 27.

Jodi M. Coe, 37, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, Oakfield, was arrested in connection with the alleged theft and charged with 41 counts of possessing a forged instrument.

According to court documents, Coe allegedly acquired blank checks, drafted the checks in her name and forged Jason Heineman's signature on the checks.

Heineman wrote in an affidavit that he never wrote checks to Coe out of the Austin Army's account and that she was never authorized to write checks to herself.

The checks were all allegedly cashed between Oct. 7 and Nov. 5, while Heineman was in New York City with his son, Austin, who was in NYC for surgery and treatment.

The bank balance discrepancy was discovered by Heineman when he visited a Five Star branch in Dansville and needed to transfer funds to another account.

Upon requesting an account summary, Heineman noticed checks being cashed out of sequence. 

When confronted with an accusation by Heineman, Coe allegedly said she had a problem and was in over her head.

Later she allegedly told Heineman that she had a gambling problem.

According to documents, Heineman gave Coe an opportunity to reimburse the account and when that allegedly did not happen by Dec. 5 he contacted the Sheriff's Office.

Coe faces 36 counts in Batavia City Court of possession of a forged instrument and another five counts in the Town of Le Roy.

She is jailed without bail.

If convicted, Coe would likely be required to pay restitution and that restitution would be paid to Five Star Bank.

Austin Heineman still has ongoing medical expenses and anybody wishing to make a donation can contact Five Star Bank.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Can and bottle drive to help Byron Bergen HS band buy marching shoes, travel

post by Billie Owens in announcements

The Byron Bergen High School Band is having a can and bottle drive this Saturday to raise money for the band, which would like to be able to go a a trip to perform as well as new marching shoes.

The drive will be from 9 a.m. to noon in the band room. The high school is located at 6917 County Road 31 in Bergen.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

BBPW Raises Money for Local Charities

post by Ann Winters in BPW, genesee county community services

More than 60 members and guests attended the Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club annual “Cookie Auction” held during their December meeting. This bake good sale raises money for local charities. BBPW members bake, make, and buy the most delectable sweets and treats for auction. Assorted Christmas crafts are also donated and auctioned off to fellow members and guests.

This year’s auction was held at Saint James Church in Batavia who provided a wonderful chicken and biscuits dinner. The auction was presided over by member and volunteer auctioneer Catherine Johnson (shown in the picture) with assistance from member’s daughters. One by one the dozens of auction items went to individuals who often opened them immediately to share a tasty desert with others at their table.

Service awards will be selected by the club at the May meeting but any Genesee County Service organization may request to be considered by sending a short letter requesting to be considered for our service award on service group letter head to: Batavia Business and Professional Women’s’ Club, Service Award, PO Box 1778, Batavia, New York 14020. Post marked and deadline April 20, 2013.

The BBPW has existed for more than 90 years. Besides supporting local charities, it raises money for scholarships to high school, BOCES and Genesee Community College students. It also offers volunteer assistance to local community civic organizations and groups. The Club meets for dinner 10 times a year on the first Thursday of the month. Membership is open to working women who desire to serve their communities. If interested please contact President Joan Post at 356-4617. For further information access the BBPW website at bataviaBPW.wordpress.com or send us an email at [email protected]

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge hosts spaghetti dinner Sunday to benefit WNY children

post by Billie Owens in daphne's, Variety Kids Telethon

Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge is having a spaghetti dinner this Sunday to benefit the 51st annual Variety Kids Telethon for Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, as well as the Dr. Robert Warner Center for Children with special needs and other WNY children's charities.

Children in Genesee County are helped by these organizations.

It's sponsored by Greek Satellite, Satellite Child Arianna Pray and tickets can be purchased at Daphne's, located at 241 S. Swan St. (off Route 63/Ellicott Street) in the City of Batavia. Cost is $10 for adults, children 5-10 pay $5, and children under eat free.

The spaghetti dinner is available from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 10 and will include soda or coffee and there will be a live DJ.

For more information or to make a donation, please call Daphne's at 343-3300, Vera Pray at 478-4242, Priscilla at (716) 854-7577 or the Variety Kids Telethon office at (716) 854-7577.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

State of the County address scheduled for Feb. 20

post by Howard B. Owens in gensee county

Press release:

Genesee County’s annual “State of the County” is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Chambers of the Old Court House. Chair of the Genesee County Legislature Mary Pat Hancock will deliver the address.

This year’s address will focus on major trends impacting local county governments and how Genesee County is dealing with these trends.  “Changes are so significant that they impact every department and employee, as well as all of our citizens.”

All are cordially invited and encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be available.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Investigators stymied by lack of cooperation in shot-fired-at-Walmart case

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

While the case will remain open, State Police investigators have been unable to obtain sufficient evidence so far to make an arrest in the case of a shot fired in the Walmart parking lot Jan. 21.

Investigator Kenneth Dubrinski said that even though there is a video of the incident, the one person possibly involved whom investigators could identify is uncooperative.

The video is not of good enough quality to release pictures in the hopes of identifying other individuals, Dubrinski said.

"You can barely make out the make and model of the car," he said.

Last week, police learned that a car that was parked in the area at the time was struck by a bullet.

The bullet could not be recovered.

Dubrinski said even though there isn't much new to report on the case, the case will remain open for some time in case somebody comes forward with new information.

"This is a little more serious than a run-of-the-mill case and we don't want to close it until we know we have everything covered," Dubrinski said.

As for the possibility of one or more people involved having ties to a criminal gang, Dubrinski said, "that would be speculation."

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of possessing 41 forged checks

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, pembroke

Jodi M. Coe, 37, of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, is charged with 36 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, in the City of Batavia and five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, in the Town of Le Roy. Coe was allegedly in possession of numerous checks containing forged signatures. Coe allegedly possessed the checks while at various locations within the City of Batavia and Town of Le Roy. Following arraignment in city court, Coe was ordered jailed without bail. Town of Batavia Court set her bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

Cassi Ann Schutt, 25, of West Crest Drive, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Schutt is accused of stealing $328.23 in merchandise from Kmart. When confronted by Kmart security, Schutt allegedly fled on foot. She was apprehended in the Tops parking lot after a brief foot chase. State Police assisted in the arrest. Investigation by Deputy Tim Wescott.

Rodney Lowee McKenzie, 48, of Buffalo, is charged with inhalation of hazardous inhalants. McKenzie was allegedly observed snorting inhalants while seated in a car in the Flying J parking lot. McKenzie was arrested by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

Tom Houseknecht asserts new trash plan an attempt to skirt property tax cap

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

From Tom Houseknecht:

There is one major problem with Mr. Molino’s most recent attempt to sell city council and the voters of Batavia on removing garbage collection from the budget and replacing the tax with a user fee. In his comparison of costs, he claims that maintaining the current trash system would require a property tax increase from the current $10.71 to $11.14 per thousand. What he does not tell anyone in this comparison is that this increase cannot happen without a public vote by the citizens of Batavia (with 60% in favor) because of New York’s 2% property tax cap. This means $10.92 is the highest the tax rate can rise to without a vote of the citizens. Many more cuts would be needed in the city budget to keep the taxes under the cap, perhaps including council’s 75% pay increase.

What I feel is happening in this change of trash/recycling collection is this – If Mr. Molino removes the trash process from the budget (effectively lowering the budget by approximately one million dollars) he is able to avoid dealing with a property tax increase of more than 2%. An increase higher than 2% would cause council to put the city’s budget out to public vote. The only other way to keep the tax rate below a 2% increase would be to make big cuts elsewhere. The biggest perceived adverse side affect to this proposal is the impact on the ARC as their collection system, that has served the city well for 28 years, is not geared to the new user fee based system. Therefore, with little time in which to craft their response to the city’s bid specification, the ARC was not the lowest bidder.

With the sideshow of the battle for the ARC and the local jobs they provide, Mr. Molino has attempted to paint his new proposal as an overall savings for the taxpayers. The problem is that we are being misled into thinking that the majority of taxpayers will experience lower costs. The reality is the lowest valued properties will pay an increased amount and the highest valued properties will receive the savings, while the majority of taxpayers will pay more in total.

I now believe that the main reason for this proposal is that it allows for minimal budget cuts, a city council raise and no public vote while passing the bulk of the increase onto the city’s lowest income citizens. When compared to what you paid in 2012, if you are assessed at $60,000, the increase in what you pay out between your taxes and the new user fee at the smallest tote size will be an additional $64 per year, however if you are assessed at $200,000 you will save $183.

Under the proposed plan, everyone assessed below $96,000 will be paying more than they did in 2012. Everyone assessed higher will receive a savings. This break-even point on assessment will move somewhat if a higher tax rate is considered as opposed to the proposed rate with user fee, but should not be compared to a rate that is higher than the city will be allowed to pass without a vote of the citizens.

I’m not disputing the fact that trash collection is an expensive service that needs to be scrutinized as part of the budgeting process. I’m also not opposed to a pay increase for council members. What I take exception to is the ruse that a user fee based system will save the majority of taxpayers money. The “Fact” sheet on the city’s own Web site makes the ludicrous claim that “close to 90% of the city's properties will experience lower costs.” Whether this is a distortion, a misrepresentation, a mistake or a lie, it is far from the truth. If it is true that the average home is assessed at $80,000.00 (as quoted from Mr. Molino’s budget presentation of 1/7/10), the majority of city taxpayers will be paying more. Whether you call it a user fee or a property tax, it is a tax that will impact those who can least afford it the most.

The trash collection/user fee issue is a ruse for the fact that the city is currently proposing an overall budget that will cause them to exceed the 2 percent property tax cap. Their proposed solution puts a greater burden on the city’s lowest income residents, grants council a 75% salary increase and throws one of our finest local human service agencies and their employees under the bus. The plan is being promoted with distortions of fact. All residents need to hold council and the city manager accountable.

As this is my second letter regarding this issue, I again want to state that I appreciate the efforts of our city leaders, especially in these trying economic times. My purpose in writing is not to attack the service of our council members, but to suggest that the facts are being presented in a way that may not be clearly understood by all taxpayers. I am a proponent of the ARC and I believe they are caught in this controversy because of city management’s goal to remove trash collection from the property tax in an effort to avoid a budget battle.

Thomas Houseknecht

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