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Monday, March 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

Man facing possible life sentence decides to put his fate in hands of jury

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

mug-reginald_wilson.jpgReginald Wilson will take his chances with a jury.

The Rochester resident with multiple felony convictions is accused of taking part in a four-person burglary that reportedly terrified an older person on State Street. The woman was reportedly home and in bed at the time

Wilson turned down a plea offer this morning that would have capped his sentence at two- to four-years in State Prison.

Wilson would have been required to plead guilty to a felony count of criminal possession of stolen property. On Friday, his attorney, Public Defender Gary Horton, said his client sought a reduction to a misdemeanor.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman kept the felony offer on the table, but added a sentence cap. Friedman was prepared to drop the more serious burglary, 2nd charge in order to make the plea offer valid.

Wilson said no, even after Judge Robert Noonan reminded him that if walked out of the courtroom this morning without a plea bargain, there was no second chance. His case was going to trial.

The trial is scheduled to start March 29.

If convicted, the 37-year-old Wilson, faces a possible life sentence because of his five prior felony convictions.

In New York law, some felony convictions are considered "predicate" crimes and count toward a possible life sentence on the third felony conviction. Unlike some state's so-called "three strike" laws, New York's does not mandate a life sentence.  

Wilson was allegedly caught driving a car stolen from the residence.

Two of the other three defendants in the alleged burglary admit to taking part in the crime, but say Wilson was not there. A third defendant puts Wilson at the scene and part of the alleged burglary crew.

A jury will decide whom to believe.

Today, Judge Noonan issued an order of protection for one of the witnesses in the case. The witness expected to testify at the trial is not one of the other three men charged in the burglary.

Monday, March 1, 2010 at 12:29 am

Geneseean of the Year: Buddy Brasky

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, Buddy Brasky, Chamber Awards, sports


It was the day after the Batavia Blue Devils dropped a first-round Section V playoff game to Aquinas in 1997 that Alex Nesbeth and Mike Glow came to Coach Myron "Buddy" Brasky and said, "Next year, we're going to win the sectionals."

Brasky looked at his junior players, shrugged, and said, "yeah, OK."

"No, Coach," Nesbeth said. "We're going to do it. We're going to do whatever it takes."

The Blue Devils hadn't so much as won its division in years and years, and Brasky, in his seventh season as head coach, had just posted his first winning campaign, leading the team to a 11-10 record.

From the day Brasky took over, the naysayers told the young coach the Blue Devils would never win another championship in basketball. Batavia was too small of a school in a big-school division. There was just no way to beat the big boys from Monroe County.

An 11-10 season wasn't exactly a prelude to proving the skeptics wrong, but Nesbeth and three of his teammates decided it was high time to do just that.

brasky02.jpg"That’s when I was teaching at Jackson School," Brasky said. "It was the middle of winter and those kids -- there were four of them -- they would walk from the high school to Jackson School and do skill work with me. Almost every day, from about 3:30 to 5. We had a small, tiny gym, just two baskets, and they worked and worked and worked."

The next season, the Blue Devils posted an impressive 20-4 record. But more importantly, they won a Section V title -- the first of three titles the Blue Devils posted in Brasky's 20 years as the team's head coach.

"The Pride is Alive." 

That was the motto Brasky coined for the team when he took over as coach prior to the 1990-91 season.

The Batavia-born-and-bred athletics fanatic never forgot the glory years of Blue Devils basketball from his young days -- the years of John Walton, the Wescotts, Bruce Beswick and Billy Monroe.  

But by the time Brasky was the starting point guard, the glory years, the pride, were starting to fade.

"When I played here, we were just average," Brasky said. "We weren’t great. That’s where it started going down a little bit, and after I graduated, it went way down."

Brasky enrolled at GCC after graduation and then transferred to SUNY Cortland. He completed his degree in Physical Education and soon after moved to Denver, where he worked for health clubs. From there, he moved back to Buffalo.

Then a coaching and teaching position opened in Batavia. This is what Brasky had always wanted to do.

As an athlete, he gravitated toward the leadership positions on teams -- quarterback in football, catcher in baseball, point guard in basketball. He hung close to his coaches. He didn't strive to be the star of the team. He liked the leadership role and he looked up to the men that molded the teams he played on.

"I’ve known since I was 10 years old I wanted to be a coach," Brasky said.

But it wasn't easy taking over Blue Devils basketball. It was a program that wasn't in the habit of posting winning records -- the team would win only two games in Brasky's second season -- but the coach said he knew the spirit was there. "The pride is alive," he kept telling his players. There was a tradition to Batavia basketball, and Brasky was determined to bring it back.

Since that first winning season in 1997, the Blue Devils have not dipped into double-figure losses. They've won eight division titles and are on a run of 14 consecutive winning seasons.

Brasky credits the young athletes for their willingness to work hard, to work year around, but they're only willing to make that committment, Brasky said, because "the pride is alive."

"Now the kids (have) bought in," Brasky said. "We won. They want to be part of a winner."

Just in basketball alone, Brasky probably interacts with more than 250 students in the community every year. Besides the regular varsity season, Brasky coaches basketball year round, including summer camps and clinics. Every step of the way, he stresses that it isn't just about winning. It's about developing the habits that make young men succeed in life.

"I try to instill that all of this hard work you’re doing is not just to win basketball," Brasky said. "That’s part of it. We want to win. But these are habits that you’re going to carry on the rest of your life. These habits of hard work, and dedication, and loyalty and commitment – those are what companies look for. You will be a success in life if you can get these values."

No matter how important the game, Brasky said -- miss a practice, break a rule, and you're not likely to play. That isn't a position that is always popular with fans or parents, but it's the only way, Brasky said, to teach players to be winners both on and off the court.

“I made a decision early in my career that I would never put winning over doing what ‘s right for the kids,” Brasky said.

It's an ethic that has paid off. In the application to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce for Brasky's 2009 Geneseean of the Year Award, student after student said they learned the value of hard work from Brasky and it has helped them be more successful in life.

"Coach Buddy Brasky shared with me the passion to be the best you can be in life," wrote Scott "Par Par" Partridge (Class 1997). "Every practice, every game, every scrimmage we took part in was completed with 100-percent effort -- if not, then we enjoyed running suicides until we did. I have learned from Coach Brasky that hard work and dedication pays off. Those who push themselves as hard as they can will reap the rewards in the end. The quote, 'The Pride Is Alive,' was printed on our shirts and through playing for coach, I took that to heart. Have pride in who you are and what you do -- give it your all and you have nothing to regret."

Brasky said he was moved by all the testimonials from former players, just as he is when he sees those young men out in the community or at games.

"You hope you're making an impact on kids," Brasky said. "They never tell you that until they get to be like 25 years old. A lot of times, they will see me out -- I'll be at dinner -- and they'll be with their girlfriends and they'll come over to the table, or a lot of them will come and see me before a game, or wait until after, so we can talk -- that's a very, very rewarding part of the job."


Monday, March 1, 2010 at 12:25 am

Genesee County Business of the Year: Viking Valhalla Restaurant


It was hard -- even 43 years later -- for Mary Sardou to retell the story of her husband's passing and what it meant for 13-year-old Tom.

"When my husband passed, we sat in the funeral home for three days," Mary says, and then stops, pushing back tears. "I'm sorry," she says.

"You started the story, ma. You've got to finish it," says Tom, now 56, as we sit in the dining room of the Rose Garden Bowl/Viking Valhalla Restaurant in Bergen, talking over a plate of wings about the history of Genesee County's 2009 Business of the Year.

sardou02.jpgDoc and Mary Sardou bought the Rose Garden Restaurant -- 30 years in business at the time -- in 1954, added a bowling alley three years later and renamed it Viking Valhalla in 1966. They had some rough times as young entrepreneurs, working hard, trying to raise two sons, and dealing with the region's changing business climate. But it was the death of Tom's father that may have been the biggest challenge for the family to overcome.

"Everybody," says Mary, trying to start again, "everybody who walked up to us said to him ... 'now you’re the man of the house. You’re the man.' I’m sure that just stuck in his mind. It stuck in mine. I think he felt very obligated to stay with me."

"Did that have an impact on you?"

"Absolutely," says Tom. "That was drilled into me. When I went into high school I knew what my course in life would be. It was going to be running a business."

Tom Sardou did what many teenage boys did -- he went to school, made the wresting team and even dreamed of being a cop. But after graduation, he didn't enter the University of Buffalo or RIT or even GCC. Sardou started a different education program: "the college of hard knocks," as he puts it.

First, Sardou took a job at Gates Bowl as a night manager so he could learn the bowling business. The next year, at age 19, Tom started running, with his mother, the restaurant and bowling lanes.

And he's been at it, seven days a week, ever since.

"I do enjoy it," Tom says. "There’s times when I would like a little more time off than I get. There’s times when I wake up in the morning and say, 'geez, I’d like to call in sick today.'"

Hard work and innovation to adjust to an ever-changing business climate pretty much define Viking Valhalla and the Sardous.

At 82, Mary Sardou still comes to the restaurant every day to take care of the books and look over the operation. Tom took a special interest in the bowling business, even serving for years as president of the area's bowling operators association, and manages the restaurant along with his wife, Chris -- who met Tom, where else, at the Viking Valhalla.

sardou03.jpgWhen Mary, Tom and Chris attend the chamber's award ceremony Saturday evening, it will be the first time ever that at least one of them was not at Viking Vahalla on a weekend night.

That's quite a bit of dedication for a restaurant Mary wasn't sure she even wanted her husband to buy when they first saw it. She didn't even want to go inside after they drove from their home in Fairport to look at it. "We came all this way," Doc said. "We might as well take a look."

Her first day of work at the restaurant began minutes later, when she saw the owner's wife needed help with the dishes.

At first, the couple paid weekly rent on the restaurant. Doc cooked and Mary tended bar, pregnant with their son, George.

Doc happened to meet one of the county's richest men at the time, Oakfield's G. Sherwin Haxton. Haxton came into the bar one day to meet Mary. He decided the Sardous seemed like decent, hard-working people. He decided to help them out. Mary calls Haxton, "our angel."

“He liked us," Mary said. "He went to bat for us. He went to the Columbia Bank in Rochester and he talked to the owner of the bank and told him to give us the loan, and he did.”

The loan helped them expand.

Winters for a restaurant along Buffalo Road in Bergen were dead. In the late '50s, there were no snowmobilers riding up to your front door looking for a brew and a burger, and with Batavia Downs closed for the season, there was very little Rochester-to-Batavia traffic. The Sardous had to figure out a way to bring in business during the cold, snowy months.

The bowling alley seemed like the right idea.

That worked for a while, but after the Thruway opened, more and more traffic bypassed Bergen. While a lot of family businesses in New York shut down as a result of the Thruway opening, the Sardous were determined to hang on. They worked harder, started hosting more parties and found ways to make ends meet.

While other business owners might have given up, Tom Sardou said, "We've never been of that mindset."

To keep the bowling business going, the Sardous have added leagues to fit into any bowler's schedule, from monthly leagues and morning leagues for mothers to a "wine and cheese league" Chris created to attract people who like to try new, fine wines.

But bowling slows down in the summer when people are more interested in outdoor activities, so Tom added sand volleyball courts in 1993.

The constant tinkering and finding new ways to keep the business going are just part of the family tradition.

"After my husband died, people said, ‘she won’t last six months,’" Mary recalls. "They were thinking I would give up or fall on my face. I’m not sure which. But I was determined to make it.

"This is my whole life."

Monday, March 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

Special Recognition Award: Rochester Community Baseball

post by Howard Owens in baseball, batavia, Chamber Awards, muckdogs

History. Community. Baseball. Three things Naomi Silver knows something about.

In 1956, 57 years after the Rochester baseball franchise was formed, the St. Louis Cardinals, which had owned and operated the Red Wings for the previous 27 seasons, decided to abandon the city. Naomi's father, Morrie Silver, made it hinaomi_silver.jpgs one-man mission to save baseball for Rochester.

Silver formed Rochester Community Baseball, Inc. In 72 days, Morrie sold enough stock in the team -- 8,882 shares to local investors -- to buy the team from the Cardinals, keeping it from being either shuttered or moved.

Today, Rochester is home to the only minor league baseball team that has operated in the same city since the 1800s.

Batavia is also a historic baseball city. The New York-Penn League was formed in Batavia and Batavia is one of only two cities -- along with Jamestown -- that still has teams connected to those original six franchises.

The Muckdogs trace their lineage to 1939.

It's that history, and the importance of baseball to the community, that attracted Naomi Silver and Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason, to the Muckdogs.

Prior to the 2008 season, the Muckdogs were on the ropes. 

The team lost $150,000 in 2007. It seemed nearly certain the NY-Penn League would force the team to move to a larger market. Silver and Mason heard about the dire straits of baseball in Batavia and decided to do something about it.

Rochester Community Baseball stepped in and paid off all of those debts and agreed to operate the team and see if the franchise could once again become a profitable operation.

Fewer than 200 cities in North America have professional baseball teams.

In cities such as Ithica, Elmira and Watertown, baseball fans are bereft each summer of the opportunity to see future stars swat homers the way Ryan Howard did a few years ago at Dwyer Stadium. They miss the joys of showing up at the ballpark and visiting with friends or mentoring grandchildren while watching young pros hone their skills in one of the most storied and historic leagues of professional sports.

dan_mason.jpg"For Batavia to have a team is a great asset," Mason said. "It’s something that a lot of other cities would love to have. The pride that it generates, and the memories it generates for the fans in any minor league community, is something that is a great asset to the quality of life in that town."

Credit Rochester Community Baseball with saving the sport in Batavia, for now. It's the reason the Red Wings will accept a special recognition award Saturday from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. But it doesn't guarantee baseball in Batavia in 2011.

Even after winning a championship in 2008, the first year the club fell under Red Wings' management, the team still lost $100,000 in 2009.

This year's campaign is critical, Silver said, in determining the future of baseball in Batavia.

"I would have thought that last year we could have broken even," Silver said. "This year, we most definitely must break even. We should be better than that."

Fan support is important, but minor league teams survive on business sponsorships. At one time, local businesses were very supportive of the Muckdogs, but the sponsorships fell off in recent years. Muckdogs General Manager Travis Sick is working hard -- with help from superfan Russ Salway -- selling corporate sponsorships. The level of local business support, Silver said, will be key to determining the future of the Muckdogs.

"We’ll know in a relatively short time what the outcome will be,” Silver said. "We’ll be able to tell very soon what our sponsorships are going to be like. We won’t know if we’re going to draw more people until the baseball season starts."

It's clear that Silver and Mason care a good deal about baseball, history and community. It's woven into the mission and culture of Red Wings baseball, and it's why there's a Batavia Muckdogs team this year.

Now is the time, according to Silver, for the community to step up the effort to support baseball in Batavia.

"We definitely want to get people involved in this," Silver said. "Everyone has a stake in this in Batavia. Whether you’re a fan that should be making a decision to come out to the ballpark or whether you’re a business and would hate to see baseball leave Batavia, we hope they'll all get out there.

"There’s hardly a community I can imagine," Silver added, "that would want to lose an asset like this."

Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Photo: Steelers' fan snowman

post by Howard Owens in batavia, photos

Ian Cromwell and his girlfriend drove around Batavia today and saw quite a few snowmen, so they got inspired to build their own.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm

A good afternoon for a walk

post by Howard Owens in batavia, photos, weather


The weather Web sites say it's 36 degrees in Batavia. My thermometer reads 42. The sun is out with a smattering of puffy clouds in the sky to add a little artistic flourish over the snow-draped houses of the Southside. Pachuco and I were returning from the longest walk we've taken in weeks and I spotted this snow family on Ganson, so I went back with my camera.

The forecast for tonight and tomorrow is snow/flurries (depending on which Web site you believe), and snow is forecast for Tuesday. 

Winter ain't over yet.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

Chimney fire reported in Pavilion

post by Howard Owens in fire, Pavilion

A chimney fire has been reported at 883 Silver Lake Road, Pavilion.

Pavilion Fire has been dispatched.

UPDATE 11:29 p.m.: Heat seems primarily at the top of the chimney.

View Larger Map

Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 12:05 am

Car in ditch on Akron Road

post by Howard Owens in accident, pembroke

Pembroke  Indian Falls Fire and Mercy EMS are responding to a one-car accident on Akron Road.

The car is on its side in a ditch and the occupants' injuries, if any, are unknown at this time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Batavia notches first-round sectional win

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, sports


The Batavia Blue Devils will advance to the next round of the Section V playoffs after a convincing 70-46 win over Midlakes tonight in Batavia.

Andrew Hoy (pictured above) led Batavia (16-3) with 22 points. Josh Budlong added 15 and Justin Washington scored 18 points.

The Blue Devils will play at Roberts Weslyean College at 8:15 p.m., Tuesday.



More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Corfu woman dies after car strikes snowplow in Erie County

post by Howard Owens in accident, corfu, Erie County

A 22-year-old Corfu woman reportedly lost control of her car while driving on Walden Avenue in Lancaster this morning. He car slid on snow-covered roads, crossed into oncoming traffic, and struck a snowplow.

Lindsay Burleson died as a result of her injuries.

The 7:45 a.m. accident occurred between Ransom and Town Line roads.

The driver of the snowplow was not identified.

(via the Buffalo News)

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Weather: Big piles of snow everywhere with more to come

post by Howard Owens in weather


Batavia got a pretty good blanket of snow overnight and into this morning, with more snow in the forecast.

We can expect another two or three inches of snow each of the next couple of days.

Temperatures will be in the mid 30s with light winds.

Photo: I wish I lived on the same street as Mike Rosenbeck. This morning he was out on Lewis plowing the sidewalks for his friends and neighbors. And he seemed to be having quite a bit of fun doing it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

One year ago today, The Batavian became locally owned

post by Howard Owens in thebatavian

It's an old tradition -- a dollar bill hung on a wall signifying the first dollar earned by a business -- signed and dated by the first customer, usually a friend or a relative.

On our bulletin board, is a dollar bill signed and dated by my former GateHouse Media boss, Bill Blevins. The date: Feb. 27, 2009.

Although this site started before last February, that's when Billie and I became sole proprietors of The Batavian.

One year ago, today.

I know there were people, even in these parts, who predicted we wouldn't last six months. I know one online wag who said I'd be out on the street in three months.

It's that kind of talk that gave me a little extra motivation. Plus, I truly love what we're doing and I don't want to stop.

Billie and I are truly grateful for all of the support and friendship we've received from so many people in Genesee County, from cops to business owners, firefighters and school teachers, politicians and college students. You've been our readers and our sponsors and our friends. Though we're not originally from Batavia, you've made us feel welcome and given us your encouragement. Thank you. We never forget that without our readers and our sponsors, we wouldn't be here.

We do love living in Batavia. We enjoy the people, the surrounding fields and hillsides, great local restaurants, the lack of crowds, affordability and having four distinct seasons. We appreciate the unique character of this sometimes belittled and battered city and the way so many residents continue to take pride in their hometown. There are a lot of good places in America. We're very happy right where we are and have no desire to be anyplace else. Thank you for letting us make Batavia, and Genesee County, our home.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Possible apartment fire reported in Bergen

post by Howard Owens in fire

A caller is reporting smoke coming from house fixture at a residence on 11 Buffalo St., Bergen.

Bergen Fire, a ladder truck from Le Roy and Churchville Fire are being dispatched.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m.: An assistant chief on scene reports, "Nothing showing."

UPDATE 2:18 p.m.: All residents are out of the building.  No determination yet on the nature or extent of the fire.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: An interior firefighter reports it appeared to be "a small partition fire." The fire appears to be out. They're not checking for extensions.

UPDATE 2:28 p.m.: Command reports still some smoke coming from a window. An interior firefighter said it was a small fire, but produced a lot of smoke.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

Today's Deals: Olivers, Alex's, Delavan's, O'Lacy's and more

post by Howard Owens in Deal of the Day

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.c

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St. Batavia, NY: In Irish pubs, it doesn't get more authentic than O'Lacy's. Be sure to try the homemade chips. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sallome's Italian Deli, 40 Oak St., Batavia, NY: Wraps, subs, paninis and pasta as well as pizzas -- Sallome's offers a tasty variety of Italian deli items for eat-in or take-out.  We have $10 gift certificates for $5 each.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Great Kutz, in the Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: The Batavian is able to offer a limited number of reduced-price haircuts for children under 12. Click Here for details of the offer and to purchase vouchers.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here


Friday, February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Six unlocked cars hit by thieves, say Le Roy Police

post by Howard Owens in crime, Le Roy

For months, we've heard the same mantra from county law enforcement officials: Lock your cars.

Now, after a spate of thefts from unlocked cars in the village, Le Roy Police are putting out the same plea.

If you don't want your stuff stolen, lock your car.

Le Roy Police report six complaints in the village of items stolen from vehicles left unlocked, mostly in the area of West Main Street, Myrtle Street and Church Street.

Most of the thefts occurred during the night Sunday, but the latest happened on Myrtle Street Tuesday night.

Anyone having information about these thefts is asked to contact the Le Roy Police at 768-2527.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Could uncovered Pontillo's neon be a sign of what's to come?

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's


Covered by a giant tarp because business signs cannot appear on the outside of buildings that are for sale, according to city code, the neon-lit Pontillo's Pizzeria sign once again hangs proudly from the building at 500 E. Main St., Batavia.

Could it be a sign that Sam Pontillo is getting close to reopening the legendary restaurant? We still haven't heard from Sam or building owner Thomas Masachi about what's going on there, but crews continue to work inside the building.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Readers of The Batavian help police nab petit larceny suspect

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Alberty Drug Store, crime, thebatavian

albertyslarcensuspect01.jpgThe publication of a security camera photo on The Batavian led to a Batavia man admitting to petit larceny during his arraignment today in City Court.

Robert Douglas, 29, of 48 Buell St., was arrested today by Det. Kevin Czora, after several readers of The Batavian reportedly called police to identify Douglas.

Czora e-mailed us this message:

I arrested Robert Douglas, age 29, from Batavia, today for the theft at Alberty’s. In a bit of a surprise, Douglas pled guilty to the charge of petit larceny at arraignment. Douglas had cooperated once confronted with the fact that he was identified by numerous people after the photos were published. Please thank your viewers for their assistance.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Alleged cohorts say Wilson not part of State Street burglary

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

Reginald Wilson may have a long criminal history, he may even have been caught driving an allegedly stolen vehicle, but that doesn't mean he did the crime this time.

mug-reginald_wilson.jpgTwo of the other men who are accused of breaking into a State Street home in Batavia in early September have made sworn statements, according to Judge Robert Noonan, admitting to their participation in the burglary, but they say Wilson wasn't part of the crew.

One other suspect in the burglary has said the 37-year-old Wilson helped in the break-in.

Today, Wilson, who faces a possible life sentence because of multiple prior felony convictions, had to answer to a deadline on whether he would accept a plea offer or take his case to trial.

The offer: A felony count of possession of stolen property with no sentencing agreement.

Wilson turned down the offer.

His attorney, Public Defender Gary Horton, countered with a misdemeanor charge of possession, but that proposal, like District Attorney Lawrence Friedman's offer, faces a legal technicality. Because Wilson is charged with a Class C felony, he can't be offered a plea on a greatly reduced charge unless Friedman asks to have the original count dismissed. Friedman hasn't done that yet.

"I’m not interested in entertaining an illegal plea from either one of you, so thanks for turning it down, Mr. Wilson," Noonan said.

The two attorneys and Noonan agreed to extend the deadline for Wilson to accept a plea to 9 a.m., Monday.

Wilson, who was shackled and dressed in Genesee County Jail orange, was fairly animated during the proceeding, especially when conferring with his attorney. While Friedman and Horton were talking privately with Noonan, Wilson leaned over and tried to get First Asst. D.A. David Gann's attention to say, "hello, Mr. Gann."

After Noonan granted an extension on the plea deadline, Wilson said emphatically, "Thank you, Your Honor," before leaving the courtroom.

mug_joseph_dash.jpgPrior to Wilson's hearing, Joseph D. Dash, 24, who was also arrested in connection with the State Street burglary, admitted to a prior attempted burglary in exchange for a dismissal of charges in the State Street crime as well as another burglary, which Dash hadn't been charged with yet, on Pringle Avenue.

Dash has a prior felony conviction -- attempted robbery, 2nd -- from March 2003. With that prior felony, Dash faces a 5- to 7-year sentence on the attempted burglary conviction.

The other two suspects in the State Street burglary are Quentin L. Gibson, 25, and Dillon M. Brito, 19. We don't have any information at this time on the status of their cases.

Photos: Top, Wilson; bottom, Dash.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

Weather: Warning lifted, continued light snow expected

post by Howard Owens in batavia, weather


Above, Bryce Hobson shovels snow off his family's home front sidewalk. This morning, a lot of Batavians were digging out from the overnight snowfall.

The winter storm warning that had been in effect until 1 p.m. was cancelled this morning. The forecast still includes snow for the rest of the day, but only a little accumulation.


Camdon King, 5, is building a snow fort in front of his grandfather's house.


Chance King, 2, plays in the snow in front of his grandfather's house.


Grandfather Larry Hale shovels his driveway.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 11:06 am

Gov. Paterson expected to announce he won't seek full term

post by Howard Owens in Gov. David Paterson, State News

From the New York Post:

Gov. David Paterson has decided not to seek election to a full term amid a roiling scandal over whether he and his troopers intimidated a woman who'd reported domestic violence against one of his top aides, The Post has learned.

Read more.

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