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Howard B. Owens's blog

Friday, April 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Accused rapist faces new charges

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

When Kesean Shannon was charged with rape in early February, police said he may have victimized other women.

Today, Batavia PD announced four more rape counts against the 22-year-old Batavia resident.

Shannon is accused of having sexual intercourse with a woman who was unable to consent on four occasions in June. 

He was arraigned yesterday on four counts of rape in the first degree, police said.

He was already being held in the Genesee County Jail on three counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, and one count of sexual misconduct.

Those charges were the result of two separate investigations into allegations that Shannon engaged in sex crimes against two girls, age 15 and 16, and with a victim who is 30 years old.

The alleged abuse occurred in 2012 and 2013.

Shannon is due back in City Court for further proceedings April 14.

The investigation is being led by Det. Kevin Czora. He can be contacted at BPD headquarters, Batavia PD, at (585) 345-6350.

Friday, April 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Man arrested after fleeing probation department

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

Via The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

A Basom man remains in the Genesee County Jail today accused of resisting arrest after fleeing probation officers at gunpoint.

Michael Patnode has been charged with reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration.

Patnode was arrested following a chase that began Tuesday afternoon. Authorities say Patnode reported to the Genesee County Probation Office for a pre-sentence interview.

While there, he learned that he was wanted by police in Monroe County.

Officials said that Patnode, fearing he would be taken into custody, fled the building and ran to the Coffee Culture parking lot on Court Street toward his car.

Two probation officers gave chase, one pulled a service revolver.

Patnode managed to get into his car and race off.

State Police later took Patnode into custody at a relative's home in Basom.

Friday, April 3, 2015 at 9:28 am

Law and Order: College Village resident accused of stealing card number to order Chinese food and pizza

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, College Village, crime, pembroke

Laquasia M. Orr, 19, of Bronx, is charged with two counts of identity theft, 3rd, and one count of attempted identity theft, 3rd. Orr's arrest stems from a fraud complaint filed Feb. 23 and investigated by state troopers. Orr is accused of memorizing the debit card number of a former roommate and linking it to her own e-mail address and using it to order Chinese food delivery on two occasions and one attempt to order pizza.The total value of the alleged theft is $60. Video surveillance was used to help identify the person who signed for the food delivery orders.The investigation is ongoing.

Zivko Kacurovski, 56, of Linden Tree Lane, Rochester, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes. Kacurovski was stopped at 11:06 a.m. Thursday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Kacurovski was allegedly in possession of 3,200 untaxed cigarettes.

Joshua Lenair Webster, 28, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of attempted criminal contempt, 2nd. While incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail, Webster allegedly made two attempts to contact a person he is barred from contacting by court order.

Ryan Michael Bobzin, 26, of West Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. Bobzin allegedly took a vehicle without permission. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Friday, April 3, 2015 at 8:47 am

Summit Street entrance of UMMC closed starting Monday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC

Press release:

The Summit Street Entrance at United Memorial Medical Center will close on Monday, April 6, as construction begins for the new comprehensive cancer center. Fencing will be placed around the wedge-shaped parking area and there will no longer be an entrance to the facility off of Summit Street.

Visitors and patients should use the Main Entrance of the Hospital off of North Street or the Emergency Department Entrance at the rear of the building. Required employee parking at the Bank Street Campus was recently expanded to increase the number of available parking spaces for patients and visitors to the Hospital.

Previously closed on weekends, the Main Entrance will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. United Memorial will assess the need for transport services, additional wheelchairs and alternate weekend hours to best serve patients.

A sidewalk will be installed on the east side of Summit Street leading to the Main Entrance, along the side of the Hospital so that pedestrians can more easily access the front entrance.

Beginning on April 6th, visitors and patients should expect to see greater activity at the North Street facility as the construction begins. Cranes, earth-moving equipment and other construction vehicles will be brought on site. Every effort has been made to create and maintain a safe environment for our neighbors, employees, patients and visitors.

The new cancer center is a $6.5-million project, which will bring comprehensive cancer services to the Genesee County region and provide a new high-tech, fully integrated and comfortable home for life-saving oncology services.

These include: a state-of-the-art linear accelerator to deliver radiation therapy; the ability to use the hospital’s existing technology to plan customized radiation therapy treatment plans; chemotherapy infusion services; medical oncology for diagnosis, treatment planning and monitoring; navigator services to guide patients through their individualized treatment process; and surgical oncology.

Architectural services are provided by Clark Patterson Lee and construction management is being provided by Manning Squires Hennig.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Photos: Area residents ready for some outdoor weather

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, DeWitt Recreation Area, weather

The main gates are still locked, but on a day like today, after a winter like we had, a lot of people couldn't wait to spend some time in DeWitt Recreation Area.

Meanwhile, the warmer temperature is melting snow; some rain is expected this evening, so a flood watch is in effect from tonight through Saturday afternoon.

Also, after today, expect more freezing weather for a few days.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Appointment of new City Court judge ruffles some county feathers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Court, County Attorney

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, and himself an attorney, wishes Durin Rogers all the best as the new Batavia City Court Judge, but also expressed disappointment that Rogers sought the job in the first place

Speaking during a Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday, Cianfrini said it was his impression that when Rogers took an assistant county attorney position, he was setting himself up to eventually become the county attorney.

Now he's no so sure.

"It seems to me he's using the county to advance his own position," Cianfrini said. "I'm not going to stand in his way, but I think being a city court judge hurts him when it comes time to consider a new county attorney."

Granted, the current county attorney, Charles Zambito, has no apparent immediate plans to step down, but Cianfrini said he was under the impression Rogers was given duties and responsibilities commensurate with gaining the experience necessary to eventually replace Zambito.

Zambito said Rogers has certainly filled an important role, one that should continue in his department, of being prepared to step in as county attorney if Zambito was unavailable.

Rogers was appointed City Court judge last week by the Batavia City Council to replace Michael Del Plato, a Cianfrini law partner, who retired from the judge position at the end of his term.

Rogers is on vacation and an assistant said there was no way to reach him to get his comment on the sudden controversy over his new appointment.

The discussion came up while Zambito introduced a resolution to adjust Rogers' position from full-time to part-time.

As a City Court judge, Rogers will be required to be in court at least one day a week, which means he won't be available to the county on those does.

His hours are being reduced from 37.5 hours per week to 30 hours per week. That means he will now be paid $66,494 a year by the county, instead of $83,118, a payroll savings for the county of $18,624.

State law also prohibits judges from acting as prosecutors in criminal matters. As part of Rogers county ties, Rogers has handled cases in family court involving under-age offenders and PINS (persons in need of supervision) cases, which while technically civil cases, are also considered criminal prosecutions.

Assistant County Attorney Paula Campbell will assume that case load and Rogers will take over her duties handling abuse and neglect cases and termination of parental rights.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Liberty Pumps making progress on three-phase expansion

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, liberty pumps

Press release:

Liberty Pumps, a manufacturer of sump, sewage and wastewater pumps is undergoing a major expansion of its facilities in Bergen, New York.

The construction, which doubles the size of the current facility, will occur in three phases over the course of 2015. In total, the expansion will add over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Upstate New York.

Phase one, already underway and nearing completion, is 81,600 square feet of additional manufacturing area. The added space will allow for new manufacturing cells, increased warehouse area for component inventory and expanded machining operations. A new powder coat line is also planned as part of this expansion. Phase two, scheduled for completion in May, increases the research and engineering lab, service area and features a new lunchroom facility for its members. The 14,200-square-foot lab expansion allows for the addition of new equipment required for Liberty’s recent qualification as a CSA test facility. The area also features an additional 20,000-gallon test pit designed to support Liberty’s expanding product line.

Phase three – a 23,000-square-foot sales/marketing wing and product training center -- is slated to begin construction in April with a target completion date of August. The new wing features an 80-seat multipurpose room, product display area for hands-on product training and demonstrations, as well as additional offices, a historical product display and visitors lounge.

Randall Waldron, V.P. of Sales & Marketing, said “As our products continue to advance technically, we realize product knowledge is critical -- not only to our sales team, but for those who use and install our products on a daily basis. The new product training center will allow us to better share this knowledge in a way that provides a great experience as well.”

Credit: Building rendering by Smart Design, of Batavia.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Volunteers sought for walkability audit in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, new urbanism, walkability

Press release:

The City of Batavia is hosting one of 10 "walkability audits" happening across the Finger Lakes Region. The project is funded by the Genesee Transportation Council through its Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The purpose of the audit is to get local perspectives on the problems and opportunities faced by pedestrians, and develop solutions for improving pedestrian safety, accessibility, convenience and comfort.

The intent of the audit is to help increase foot traffic and encourage alternatives to automobiles as a means of transportation. As a result, it hopes to increase the vibrancy and appeal of the City as a place to shop, socialize and recreate. The walkability audit will succeed best if it includes a range of community stakeholders from all perspectives working together to understand the issues and opportunities, and make sure the plan is responsive to locally identified needs.

The City of Batavia’s audit is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Please join us for lunch and a presentation in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Following lunch the group will walk the City approximately one to two miles (90-minute walk) returning to the Council Chambers for discussion in small focus groups. The focus groups are to review problems and concerns identified on the walk and throughout the day and discuss solutions for future improvements. The day will conclude at 4 p.m.

For participation in the walkability tour, please contact Lisa Casey at the City Manager’s Office at (585) 345-6333 or e-mail at [email protected] no later than April 10th to be placed in attendance.

Additional information will be mailed to you after your acknowledgement of attendance. We are looking for at least 30 people. Please bring your walking shoes, galoshes, or do I dare say snow boots? We will be walking in rain, snow or shine!

Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Law and Order: Two men accused of smoking marijuana inside play tube at Austin Park

post by Howard B. Owens in austin park, batavia, crime, pembroke

Brian Keith Laird, 20, of Wallace Street, Batavia, and Christopher Michael Smith, 20, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Laird and Smith were observed inside a blue play tube attached to a swing set at Austin Park. Upon investigation, there were found to allegedly possess marijuana and were smoking marijuana inside the tube.

April M. Palmer, 28, no permanent address, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Palmer was allegedly found with a hypodermic instrument at 2:33 p.m. Tuesday at 29 Summit St., Batavia, by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Chevaughn D. Hanson, 21, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Hanson was allegedly found with marijuana inside his residence after police responded to a complaint of a disturbance.

Charles H. Wroten, 54, of Buell Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a third-degree assault charge and showing up at the jail for weekend incarceration with alcohol in his system. Wroten turned himself in. Wroten was jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

Brandon C. Dodd, 28, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Dodd allegedly intentionally damaged the window of his apartment.

Frank Mickey, 70, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Mickey allegedly threatened to punch another person in the face.

Tonya M. Weber, 31, of Baily Drive, Cowlesville, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, driving without interlock device, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle and refusal to take breath test. Weber was arrested by Officer Eric Foels following a property damage accident reported at 12:21 a.m., Saturday, at 113 S. Swan St., Batavia.

Ryan James Wetsell, 21, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Wetsell was arrested following a traffic stop at 10:45 p.m. Sunday on Trumbull Parkway by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Nicholas Joseph Elmore, 26, of Grandview Terrace, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Elmore is accused of stealing $546.76 in merchandise from Walmart. 

Barbara Jean DeNinno, 57, of West Main Street, Little Falls, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes, speeding and obstructed plate. DeNinno was stopped at 11:18 a.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. DeNinno was allegedly found in possession of 21,000 untaxed cigarettes. Also charged, passenger Laura Christina Fenty, 46, of East Jefferson Street, Little Falls.

Dillon Austin Peacock, 20, of Whelehan Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, unlawful possession of marijuana and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Peacock was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by Deputy Joseph Corona at 5:22 p.m. Tuesday, Route 77, Pembroke. He was allegedly found to be drinking in the vehicle and in possession of brass knuckles and marijuana.

Ashley Rose Grip, 20, of Whitehall Drive, Rochester, is charged with possession of unstamped cigarettes. Grip was stopped at 5:22 p.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona and allegedly found in possession of 4,954 untaxed cigarettes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Photo: A hopeful sign of spring

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, YMCA

Children outside playing under bright blue skies, surely this is a sign of spring?

Ah, alas, a cruel April 1 joke, as the weatherman says there's still some freezing temps in our near future.

But today is nice enough for children from the YMCA's preschool program to practice a little chalk art. Above, Teegan, 5, draws a house.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Bryon Fire installs officers, honors top performers

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, Byron Fire Department, fire services

Byron Fire held its annual installation and awards dinner last weekend.

Photos by Marie Bohn.

Fire fighter of the year Dwayne Weatherell presented by last year's winner Eddie Sharp.

Outstanding firefighter Robert Mruczek.

Firefighter Joe Wells

Chief Charles London Durkee Sr. And wife Sonya.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Photo: Volunteers present vocabulary booklets to students

Genesee County AmeriCorps member Steven Kleckler and RSVP of Genesee County Program Director Courtney Iburi presented vocabulary booklets created by volunteers to students at the Agri-Business Child Development Center in commemoration of the Cesar Chavez Day of Service. 

Photo and info submitted by Kathy Frank.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 1:05 pm

County Democrats seeking candidates

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Democrats

Press release:

Do you want to have a voice in your community? The Genesee County Democratic Committee, including each town and the City of Batavia, is seeking civic-minded people interested in serving their communities as Genesee County legislators, town board members, town clerks, highway superintendents, town supervisors, etc. For more information on offices to be voted on, please see the Genesee County Board of Elections Web site tab "Offices to be Voted 11/3/15."

If you have any questions or if you are interesting in running, please send a letter of intent by May 1 to: Jennifer Keys, 43 E. Main St., LeRoy, NY 14482 or e-mail [email protected] After your letter is received it will be sent to the town chairperson representing the town you are seeking office in. Endorsement meetings will take place through May.

Are you a Democrat who is civic minded and would like to get involved but do not want run for office? This is also a committee position year. There are positions in every community in Genesee County.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Batavia looking for new director of public works

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

The City of Batavia has posted a job opening on at least one Web site for a new director of public works, a position currently held by Williamsville resident Sally Kuzon.

The city did not make any announcement about Kuzon's future, but WBTA reports Kuzon is retiring.

The job pays $73,134 to $88,705 for somebody with a minimum of a four-year degree and three to five years experience.

The job opening is not posted on the city's own Web site, which currently states there are no open positions with the city.

The director of public works oversees all operational and maintenance aspects of the community’s streets and roadways, water, wastewater, parks and grounds, engineering, public facilities and code enforcement.

The position also requires supervision of winter snow plowing and clean up, a job the city was repeatedly criticized for by local residents over this past winter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 10:45 am

Hawley critical of budget bill over education and SAFE Act issues

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

“I cannot, in good conscience, support a budget that allows the state to have power over the needs of individual school districts and classrooms. The education component of the budget gives the State Department of Education (SED) too much latitude in implementing the teacher evaluation system. We should have included teacher groups and school administrators in these decisions instead of leaving it up to bureaucrats and armchair educators. Furthermore, this budget makes no mention of exceptions for special education teachers’ evaluations, whose students will likely struggle with Common Core testing, and we will likely see a large number of students score poorly on Common Core Assessments.

“I cannot support budget measures which include funding for the SAFE Act. The Capital Projects and State Operations budget bills appropriate millions to be used for the SAFE Act database and personnel. It is unfortunate that good legislation is often tainted with politically advantageous appropriations. I refuse to vote for legislation that funds an irresponsible and shameful measure that was passed in the middle of the night without public input or adequate time for discussion and debate.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Nursing Home hosts pie-in-face fundraiser

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Nursing Home

Steve Hawley gets a pie in his face at the Genesee County Nursing Home during a fundraiser over the weekend that benefited United Way.

Residents and staff raised $744 at the event, which included a hot dog day, open cafe, Easter candy basket raffles and pie throwing into the faces of Hawley, Christine Schaller, Cheryl Schezpanski, Amy Mazerbo, Beth Volk, Joel Chastek and Alisha Rudd.

Photos and information submitted by Amy Mazerbo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Bumpy rides will persist on some city streets until weather warms up

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure

People driving their cars like a smooth ride, and right now they're not getting it on River Street.

The intersection of South Main and River was damaged when a water line broke there over the winter and crews dug deep holes to find the leak and make repairs.

The holes were patched, but the surface remains lumpy and uneven.

So people have been complaining -- The Batavian has received e-mails. People want to know why, six weeks later, the street is still in the condition it's in.

"We're well aware of the problem and we're evaluating the condition all the streets are in," said City Manager Jason Molino.

River and Main won't be the only streets that need some resurfacing and the city will prioritize  road work for the spring and summer, but right now, it's too soon to even start. The ground is still unthawing and roadways are still settling.

"The weather is still subfreezing and we're not going to be able to do anything until the weather warms up," Molino said.

Even if they were ready, there's no asphalt to be had for such a project.

"The City cannot do road improvements until the asphalt plants are open and the weather is warmer," Molino said. "Once asphalt becomes available and we have warmer temperatures, we will be making road improvements. Asphalt plants usually open around mid-April."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 1:17 pm

No clear trend in county's jobs numbers

post by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, employment, jobs

There are fewer people with jobs and fewer people without jobs in Genesee County, according to labor statistics released this afternoon.

The Department of Labor reports that in February, 27,200 residents in Genesee County had jobs, compared to the same month a year prior when 27,500 had jobs.

At the same time, the number of residents without jobs dipped from 2,200 to 1,900 over the same period. 

The county's unemployment rate dropped 7.3 percent to 6.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the county remained unchanged at 21,800. That number was 21,300 in 2013 and the most recent historical high for February comes from 2008, when there were 22,400 jobs reported.

The state's unemployment rate is 6.4 percent and the nation's is 5.8, both better than a year ago.

Erie County's rate is 6.1, Monroe is 6.5.

In the GLOW region, Livingston is 6.0, Orleans, 7.8 and Wyoming 8.0.

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