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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

Police say forgery suspect recruited by fraud ring

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy
O'Neil Llewellyn Thomas Webb

A second man has been arrested in an alleged attempt to cash forged checks at a Le Roy bank last week, and investigators say the scheme is part of a larger forgery ring based in out of state.

Le Roy PD, as part of a joint investigation with Batavia PD, has arrested 40-year-old O'Neil O. Llewellyn, of Hudson Street, Syracuse.

It's alleged that Llewellyn entered the bank knowingly in possession of a forged check with the intent to cash the check.

He is charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, a Class D felony.

Further charges are pending in Batavia.

Last week, Le Roy PD arrested Thomas A. Webb, 54, of Syracuse, and charged him with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd.

Webb was arrested after a bank employee called about two people in the bank trying to cash forged checks. Webb was apprehended at the scene while the second person fled.

Le Roy investigators say it appears that an out-of-state forgery ring went to Syracuse and recruited area residents to cash forged checks. The recruits were then driven around New York to various bank locations, where they attempted to cash the forged checks. 

Each recruit received a small percentage of the value of a successfully cashed check.

Llewellyn was ordered held on $10,000 bail.

Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Blue Devils look like a resurgent team against Wellsville with 57-20 victory

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, high school sports, sports

The Blue Devils squad that took to Woodward Field on Saturday night put on a brand of football that hasn't been seen from the bleachers of Van Detta Stadium in many years.

Dominating on offense, defense and special teams, Batavia crushed Wellsville 57-20, to the point that third-year Head Coach Brennan Briggs was almost apologetic to Lions' leader Wayne Stonemetz.

"I don't love being in this situation because I've never been on the side where we're up so big," Briggs said. "It was great because we got to get everybody in the game, but at the same time you don't want to try and run that score up, because I totally believe in being a first-class guy and I don't want to send the wrong message that we tried doing anything like that."

By the 4th quarter, however, it was almost as if the Blue Devils could do nothing but score, notching TDs after a kickoff miscue by the Lions, then scoring on a kickoff return by Anthony Gallo and finally scoring with seconds left while trying to run out the clock with the second-team offense.

Where did this motivation to dominate come from? Briggs blames Livonia, who last week beat Batavia 16-13, scoring with just seconds left in the game.

"I think it brought us closer," Briggs said. "We showed Livingston County that we can play with the best in Livingston County because they were saying Livonia was the best team. I think our kids saw OK, we lost in the last second, but we hung with them. That loss really cut them deep. They realized, this about the team and we can battle with some of the best."

Briggs called the win a team effort and several players did contribute throughout the night.

Dom Mogavero gained 108 yards and scored three TDs on 10 carries. Ahdeosun added two more TDs, gaining 64 yards on 11 carries. Anthony Gallo's two TDs came on a 55-yard kickoff return and a 45-yard reception.

QB Greg Mruczek tossed the ball for 66 yards and one touchdown.

On defense, Trevor Rittersback had 11 tackles, including one for a safety, and James Cryer had 7.5 tackles and an interception.

"I love this team. I really do," Briggs said. "They're about as strong as they're going to get together as a unit. This is one of the closest-knit teams I've seen in quite some time."

The community saw something from the Blue Devils that should encourage them to pack the stands in 2014, coaches told the players after the game. 

Asked what the community can expect this year, Briggs said, "I want them to know these are tough kids. They work hard every day. They grind it day in and day out. There aren't many of them, but they've bought into this system. They're a disciplined group of kids and they're here to have fun and play football."

Next up, Hornell in Hornell, which leaves little time to savor the victory.

"We've got to turn the page and be ready for Hornell next week, because Hornell is not going to care what we did this week," Briggs said. "It's one game. Yes it's good for the kids and I'm happy for them, but we need to turn the page."

Briggs is chomping at the bit for a little bit of revenge.

Two years ago, the last time the two teams met, Batavia managed to take an eventual championship team into a 14-14 tie at the half, but Hornell pulled away in the second half for a 30-14 win.

"It left a sour taste in my mouth and I just want to go down there and hopefully show them that, hey, we can go out there and we can smashmouth it with ya and we can get the ball out to our athletes," Briggs said.

Top photo: Dominick Mogavero dives into the end zone in the first quarter.

James Cryer snags an interception.

Wellsville punter Josh Cline breaks free of Batavia's Trenton McGraw while still in his own end zone. While pinned deep in their own territory, Wellsville faked a fourth-down punt and Cline gained about 70 yards on his run, setting up a Wellsville touchdown.

Richy Ewell scores for Wellsville.

Noah Dobbertin blocks a pass from Brett Migliore.

Batavia running back Ahdeosun Aiken with positive yardage.

Dominick Mogavero cuts toward the endzone on another score.

Block That Punt: And that's exactly what the Blue Devils defense did for a touchdown.

Ahdeosun Aiken scores.

Anthony Gallo scores on a kickoff return.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

Football Round Up: Week #2

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, sports

Alexander 16, Notre Dame 6. Notre Dame scored first on a three-yard run by Jack Sutherland late in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Alexander answered with two TD drives, scoring on a three-yard run by Ty Laird and a 25-yard interception return by Tristan Aldinger. Zack Shilvock hit both PATs. The Trojans scored on a safety in the third quarter when Josh Hylkema blocked a punt out of the end zone. Laird rushed for 61 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Aldinger had seven carries for 42 yards. Laird added 10 tackles and Derrick Busch had five, two sacks and an interception. Rick Maico had six tackles and a sack. Sam Browne also picked off a pass. Alexander is 1-1 and the Fighting Irish are 0-2.

Oakfield-Alabama 28, Nichols 34. The Hornets dropped an overtime game to Nichols 34-28. O-A is now 1-1. Allen Chatt was eight for 17 for 121 yards and a TD, plus nine carries for 34 yards. On defense he had seven tackles and an interception. Ryan Emery had 13 carries for 70 yards and a TD, plus six tackles and a sack on defense. Jon Harris had 11 tackles. Jake Mandel had two receptions for 44 yards and a TD. Sal Schwable had four receptions for 47 yards. Reice Woodward had a 52-yard kickoff return.

Attica 35, Pembroke 6. Pembroke moved to 0-2 with a home loss to Attica. For Attica, Nick Shadbolt gained 82 yards on 14 carries. He scored three touchdowns. Jak Stzelec rushed nine times for 104 yards and a TD. Phil Wilshire had 10 tackles. Kyle Green had nine tackles and a sack. Attica starts the season at 2-0.

See Also:

For Wyoming County coverage:

Photos by Rick Franclemont. For more photos from the game, click here.

Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

Lancers off to a fast start with second win against Holley, 32-6

Elba/Byron-Bergen grabbed a share of the Genesee Region lead Saturday with a convincing 32-6 victory over Holley Central.

In week two, only the Lancers and Attica remain undefeated.

The victory Saturday, Head Coach Mike Cintorino said, shows his team can bounce back from adversity.

"We had a couple of guys go down last week and a couple of guys go down this week and we had guys ready to step in and do those jobs," Cintorino said. "It shows that they've been putting in the work both during the off season and during practices. They know their responsibilities and their jobs and they're ready to go."

The offense Saturday was led by Steele Truax, who rushed for 108 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.

"That's what Elba does is ground and pound," Truax said. "That's what we do. That's what we like to do."

QB Garrett Chapell was 4-8 for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  

John Hochmuth caught both of those two TD passes and gained 44 yards on the day.

Pitching in on the ground game was Richard Flores with seven carries for 46 yards and a TD.

On defense, Truax had 18 tackles. Hunter Taylor had 13 tackles and Mike Shanley had an interception.

The Lancers held Holly to 108 total yards of offense.

Holley's lone score came on a five-yard run by Zachary Day with about two minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Cintorino said he was really pleased with the play of his young linemen, who are still all underclassmen.

"They've come a long way from where we were last year," Cintorino said. "You know, we had almost this same exact starting line last year. We have them again this year and we have them for another year, so the more they continue to learn, the better  job they're going to do and the more they're going to spring their teammates like they did today."

Chapell said he's looking forward to seeing how this team performs over the course of the season.

"We'll have a good year," Chapell said. "We've got a good receiving corps, good line, good backs, so the rest of the season will be interesting."

Next up for Elba/BB, archrival Notre Dame.

The tables are turned a bit in week three compared to recent history. While the Lancers are undefeated, the Fighting Irish come into the came at 0-2.

"When you get into that game, you throw the records out," Cintorino said. "We've been on the other side of it and we kind of know where they're at right now in terms of being 0-2."

Both teams will be highly motivated when they hit the gridiron on Notre Dame's home turf, Cintorino said.

"It's one of those things where you throw the records out because at the end of the day it doesn't matter," Cintorino said. "They're always focused to face each other, no matter the sport. No matter if it's football, boys basketball, girls basketball, softball, soccer, it's a nice little rivalry between the two schools, so records really don't mean anything going into that game."

Top Photo: John Hochmuth sprints toward the end zone for a touchdown.

Steele Truax scores in the first quarter.

Richard Flores breaks free on his way to the end zone.

Garrett Chapell hands off to Steele Truax.

Garrett Chapell sweeps wide on a keeper for some positive yards.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 11:05 am

Le Roy overpowers Avon, 47-8

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

As a QB and a DB, Mike McMullen had a big night at Hartwood Park to help lead Le Roy to another dominating victory over a Livingston Conference opponent.

McMullen was 14-22 passing for 138 yards and three TDs. On defense, he made two interceptions. One set up the Oatkan Knights first touchdown, making the score 7-0 late in the first quarter. The second McMullen returned 55 yards for a TD, giving Le Roy a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Head Coach Brian Moran praised McMullen's leadership in helping the Knights notch a 47-8 win.

"Going into half time, I thought that two-minute drill that Mike McMullen ran was outstanding," Moran said. "We were able to move the ball pretty well 80 yards in two minutes and nine seconds.  I thought he did a good job of leading that charge."

Through much of the first half, there was nothing about the Le Roy-Avon matchup that suggested the game would be a blowout.  

"At the start of game, take a look at the tempo," Moran said. "They wanted to run it. I think they did a good job trying to slow us down. You don't get a first down once or twice and you look up and all the sudden it's midway through the quarter."

That's one reason the end-of-the-half drive put together by McMullen led to such a huge momentum shift in the game. It allowed the Knights to reassert control of the game's pace.

McMullen had a lot of help from a Le Roy team that so far has shown its got the tools to win not only on offense, but a seemingly unbreakable defense and line play on both sides of the ball that gets the job done.

Of the offensive line, Moran said, "They're beginning to gel as a unit and that's important. We're going to continue to focus on that as we get later in the season. They have to really perform for us to be successful. They're getting better every day and they're working hard. It's a pleasure to coach a group that works as hard as this group does."

Jon Pierce also had another big night, running the ball 16 times for 108 yards and TD. He also caught a 25-yard pass for touchdown.

Tom Kelso carried it seven times for 43 yards and a TD. Jake Henry had five receptions for 54 yards and a TD. Tyler Prinz had a touchdown reception and Nate Flint scored a TD.

With the game in hand by the fourth quarter, Moran put the second offense on the field and said he was pleased with what he saw, which included a scoring drive led by backup QB Brian Hodges.

"I'm especially proud of that second offense," Moran said. "I thought they put a great drive together late in the fourth quarter to score. That makes us a better football team, when our second team works hard and gets better every week like our first team."

On defense, Kelso had eight tackles, Nick Egeling six, Kody Lamkin five, include a sack, Hodges four, including three sacks, Reed Kacur, four and a sack.

The lesson of tonight's game, Moran said, is the Knights need to be ready to score when there may be limited opportunities against tougher teams, especially as the season progresses.

"As we take a look at it, we have to understand that you have to be flawless as you get into some big games," Moran said. "A team like Avon, the way they ran the clock, you have to understand you may only get two or three possession a half, so take care of the football and make sure you score on those opportunities."

Top Photo: Jon Pierce 25-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter, making the score 41-0.

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Friday, September 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Bethany resident given 20 years in prison on federal child pornography conviction

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, crime

Press release:

Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Jerald Kicinski, 50, of East Bethany, who was convicted of receipt of child pornography, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and lifetime supervised release by Chief U.S. District judge William M. Skretny.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, stated that between December 2010 and December 14, 2011, the defendant received child pornography on his computer at his residence in East Bethany. These images had been transmitted to the defendant in interstate commerce via the Internet. Kicinski was previously convicted of sexual abuse in the second degree in 2002 and sexual abuse in the third degree in 1990. Both of the defendant's prior convictions involved minors.
 
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys General Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
 
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James C. Spero, special agent in charge.
Friday, September 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Parents in Le Roy alerted after report of unloaded gun hidden in tree on campus

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A report of a gun on the Le Roy High School campus prompted a statement to parents earlier this week from the school district about the incident, but authorities say students were never in any danger.

The weekend incident began with a burglary on South Street. Items stolen included cash, jewelry and, it wasn't learned until later, a shotgun, said Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster.

Earlier, a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old had been reported missing from a foster home.

Det. John Condidorio, Le Roy PD, observed the two youths walking in the village and stopped to speak with them. He notified the Sheriff's Office and Deputy John Duyssen and Youth Officer Tim Wescott responded.

The youths were identified as suspects in the burglary as a result of interviews.

At first, only money and jewels were reported missing. Later, the Sheriff's Office learned of the stolen shotgun.

Through subsequent interviews, deputies were able to locate and secure the unloaded gun, which had been hidden in a tree on school property.

Brewster notified the school district of the possibility of a gun on campus as soon as that information was obtained.

The 16-year-old, Johnathan Michael Falk, of South Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with burglary, 2nd. He was jailed without bail.

The 14-year-old is being referred to Family Court.

Here is the statement issued by Superintendent Kim Cox after the incident:

Over the weekend the Genesee County Sheriff's department investigated a theft of an unloaded firearm from a residence on South Street. The item was found hidden in a tree at the edge of the Jr. Sr. High School property and South Street. It was recovered quickly after it was reported missing. The involved individuals were apprehended and are in police custody. I want to stress that at no time were any students or staff in any danger. The investigation of the incident is still ongoing. Once again, at no time was there any threat to students or staff at the Jr. Sr. High School. Thank you and have a good day.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Lawsuit blames security miscue at Kid Rock concert for Jason McNeil's catastrophic injuries

If Craig Lawson had been properly escorted from the concert venue the night Kid Rock played Darien Lake a year ago July, alleges a Buffalo attorney, he never would have been able to deliver a devastating, life-altering sucker punch to Jason McNeil.

The punch took away the life Jason and his wife Pamela and their two children once knew in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

McNeil, 44, needs constant care after suffering serious head trauma as a result of the punch.

And he wasn't even Lawson's intended victim.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the McNeils will attempt to determine to what degree concert promoter Live Nation and concert host Darien Lake Theme Park is responsible for that punch.

The McNeils are seeking $150 million in damages.

The suit alleges other factors that contributed to McNeil's injuries, said attorney Donald Chiari, but at the heart of it is how Live Nation security handled Lawson after the decision had been made to eject him from the venue for being drunk and disorderly.

Lawson was taken to the concert venue gate (possibly the one known as South PAC), but the guard never completed the task of actually getting Lawson out the gate, Chiari said. If he had, there were security guards in place to keep him out of the venue.

There also would have been a fence between Lawson and the VIP gate, where McNeil was exiting the concert with Pamela.

While a Live Nation guard was taking Lawson to the gate, a person he had been in a confrontation with Lawson inside the venue was supposed to be leaving through the VIP gate.

That person wasn't McNeil.

With Lawson allegedly left unattended for a couple of minutes inside the concert venue, the 34-year-old Canadian ran over to the VIP gate, and in a case of mistaken identity, cold-cocked McNeil.

The punch delivered to a person he had no prior contact with is a fact Lawson admitted during his sentencing Aug. 18. He's currently serving a year in the Genesee County Jail on the assault charge.

McNeil was knocked out before his head hit the ground. He was in a coma by the time he arrived via Mercy Flight to ECMC and has required several surgeries and extended hospitalization since. He has suffered loss of speech; ability to read and write; and comprehend what people are saying; and the ability to walk.

The same security guard who allegedly failed to get Lawson out of the gate was one of the first on scene after the punch was thrown, Chiari said.

"The guard got there and said, 'Oh, my God, I was just throwing you out two-and-half minutes ago,' Chiari said, "that's literally in his statement."

It's not unusual -- as anybody knows who regularly reads arrest reports from concerts at Darien Lake -- for patrons to be ejected from the venue and then later try to return. There are frequent trespassing arrests at Darien Lake concerts. 

Chiari said the unique issue in this case is the alleged failure to follow through on getting a disorderly patron out of the concert venue so other patrons are properly protected.

"No premise's owner or any security is an absolute insurer of safety of third parties, but they still have to do what is reasonable," Chiari said.

The suit names as defendants Live Nation in its at least 10 various incorporations, Darien Lake (by three different corporate names), Craig Lawson, and the company, Contemporary Services Corporation, Live Nation contracts with for security personnel and training.

Not named in the suit is Kid Rock or the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Chiari said there is no plan to include the county in the suit.  

Live Nation pays for Sheriff's deputies to provide law enforcement on concert nights, but deputies do not enter the concert venue and from Chiari's description of events, it appears everything leading up to the punch happened within the venue.

The Washington Post recently published a story about the growing rowdiness and disorderly behavior at country music concerts nationally. It's not just a Darien Lake thing. Many contemporary music acts seem to encourage excessive drinking and concerts are often preceded by tailgate parties were copious amounts of booze are consumed.

The suit also names as co-defendants SMG Food and Beverage, and Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, stating those companies were the vendors of alcoholic beverages the night of the concert. The suit alleges the vendors unlawfully sold alcohol to an already intoxicated Craig Lawson.

This afternoon, The Batavian requested comment from both Live Nation and Darien Lake and have not as of yet received a response.

UPDATE: This from a spokesperson with Live Nation: "We cannot comment on pending litigation."

UPDATE: We received this from Darien Lake: "Darien Lake confirms that on August 29, a civil lawsuit was filed by the family of Jason McNeil. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on pending litigation." - Rod Rankin, General Manager, Darien Lake

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

County planners reject proposed apartment complex on West Main Street Road, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, west main street road

A proposal to build as many as 136 apartment units on West Main Street Road was rejected Thursday by the Genesee County Planning Board on a 5-3 vote.

Planners expressed concern about increased traffic on West Main, school bus access, the use of tax credits for construction, and the potential to draw residents from existing landlords in the City of Batavia.

Andrew Crossed, in the dark suit, a VP with Conifer Realty in Rochester, said the proposed apartments would be marketed to people earning from $24,000 to $45,000 a year and no Section 8 housing would be included.

The state grants sought for the project would be part of a workforce development program, and while the grants might help make rents lower, the project is not dependent on the grants, he said.

Crossed and Civil Engineer Jess Sudol (in blue shirt) both said their own market studies and independent market studies show there is a tremendous unmet demand in Batavia for middle-income apartments.

Crossed said Conifer has built this same project in Canandaigua, other parts of New York, and in other states.

"It's our flagship product," he said.

The development includes such amenities as a weight room, laundry, recreation area and is about 50-percent green space.

The proposed location, on nearly 22 acres, is approximately across the street from Genesee Feeds Pudgies, creating a bit of a horseshoe around Scooter's Restaurant and not far from Kiwanis Park (which is on the opposite side of the street).

The area is zoned commercial, not residential, which was also one of the issues of concern for board members.

The rejection doesn't necessarily kill the project. The Town of Batavia's planning board could still approve it with a majority-plus-one vote, but Crossed said there would be a company meeting before Conifer decides whether to proceed with development.

"I can't say at this time," he said.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Proposed second Dunkin' Donuts in city fails to get approval from county planners

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Dunkin' Donuts, West Main Street

County planners took a dim view of a new Dunkin' Donuts location on West Main Street, on a sliver of a lot between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

After raising doubts about traffic flow, parking, parking for neighboring businesses, signage, building color and design, a motion to approve the project failed 3-5.

There was no follow-up motion to disapprove the project, which is a little more favorable to developer Kip Finley (pictured above). A disapproving vote would have required the City of Batavia Planning Board to approve the plans by a majority plus one. With no recommendation from the county, only a simple majority vote is required for approval.

Still, Finley wasn't happy as he left the meeting.

"Unfortunately, county planning talks about reusing property and building where there's development and not forcing development out into green areas, except they don't vote that way," Finally said. "Fairly disappointed."

Finley acknowledged there's a lot of traffic at the proposed location, but "that's where we put stores."

Planners were concerned that traffic would back up onto the street.

The City had already asked for a lot configuration so that as many as 20 cars could queue up in line, but Finley said that if a Dunkin Donuts store ever had as many as seven cars waiting in line, it would mean the store was a poorly run location.

He said store managers strive to keep traffic moving quickly because many customers won't even stop if they see a few cars already in line.

Planning staff expressed concern about signs in front of the building because of the potential visual impact on Redfield Parkway, which is designated "culturally significant" street by the Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional NYS DOT.

The problem for the proposed Dunkin' Donuts location, Finley said is that with the bank and its trees on the east side and Barrett's on the west side, signs on the sides of building won't have much visibility.

He also said the sign needs to be internally lit to have any meaningful impact on drawing in visitors who might be passing through and are unfamiliar with the area.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

Planning board loves mud event idea, but requests better written plan for property use

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, land use

Frank and Jamie Stanton want to host truck mud bog races and truck mud tug-of-wars on their seven-acre property in Bethany.

County Planning Board members said they think it's a great idea.

"It sounds like a lot of fun," one board member said.

But the Stantons need to write up a more detailed plan to get a special use permit.

"It's not just to protect the town, but to protect you," said Board Member Lucine Kauffman.

A site use plan should detail all of the activities and uses, so if some future neighbor complains, code enforcement can just pull the plan and tell whether the use was approved or not.

That includes amplified, recorded music, which is part of Stanton's plan.

While the board recommended disapproval of the special use permit, board members emphatically urged Frank Stanton to return with a detailed plan.

For this application, Stanton's plan consisted of a single sheet of a handwritten description of what he plans to do.

Stanton said no more than 300 people turn up to the events, in no more than 50 vehicles, and activities start around 11 a.m. and end at dark.

"They have to," Stanton said. "Mud trucks don't have lights."

There will be two events per month from April through October.

Stanton will also need DEC permits for water drainage.

The property is located at 9832 Bethany Center Road.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 11:19 am

BHS student arrested on disorderly conduct charge

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A 17-year-old student was accused of causing a disturbance at Batavia High School earlier this week and as a result was arrested by police.

The youth was allegedly disruptive, yelling and using abusive and obscene language while in the presense of the student body in the cafeteria at lunch.

He was charged with disorderly conduct.

The incident was reported at noon, Tuesday.

The arrest is the first reported at the school this year.

Last year, working with Batavia PD, school officials decided to take a more law enforcement-oriented approach with disruptive behavior, especially fighting. The approach greatly reduced problem incidents at the school, officials said.

Previously: The potential for arrest has dramatically reduced fighting at BHS, school officials say

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Association honors GCEDC and Muller Quaker for economic development

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Muller Quaker Dairy

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Muller Quaker Dairy are the recipients of the 2014 Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) Project of the Year Award. The award was formally presented to both entities at NEDA’s Annual Conference on Monday, Sept. 8th in Worcester, Mass.

GCEDC was recognized for fostering the development of the 250-acre Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, which has generated more than $230 million of new capital investment as well as the creation of approximately 230 jobs. NEDA also recognized Muller Quaker Dairy, a $206 million state-of-the-art yogurt manufacturing facility, which employs almost 200 people in the Agri-Business Park in the competitive $6.2 billion U.S. yogurt marketplace.

“On behalf of the GCEDC Board of Directors and staff we are honored to be recognized by NEDA,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his personal commitment in bringing Muller Quaker Dairy to Western New York and his tireless efforts to improve the economic development climate throughout Upstate New York.”

Muller Quaker Dairy is projected to have a regional impact of approximately $150 million annually on the local agriculture, hospitality and business services sectors. Indirect job creation is projected to add another 750 workers to the regional labor force.

“This project is a great example of public and private sector collaboration especially in significantly compressing the timeline for various government approvals,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president for business development at the GCEDC. “Through the collaboration with Empire State Development, the Greater Rochester Enterprise the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, National Grid, Genesee County, as well as the City and Town of Batavia, we were able to make the case that Batavia and the Agri-Business Park was the perfect location for Muller Quaker Dairy."

Muller Quaker Dairy is a joint venture between one of Europe’s largest dairy processors, Germany-based Theo Muller and New York-based PepsiCo. It is the largest manufacturing plant ever to open in Genesee County.

The NEDA Project of the Year award recognizes a major economic development project based on job creation and other direct economic impacts; capital investment; leveraging of development resources; use of public/private and/or intergovernmental partnerships; benefits to the surrounding community and/or environment; innovation; design excellence; and transportation considerations.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Career con man still owes $15K in restitution locally

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Earlier today, we told you about Schoen LaBombard, the former Batavia resident who bilked several local businesses out of more than $27,000 with a phony story about a chance to drive a bobsled in the Olympics.

This afternoon, we learned that LaBombard still owes more than $15,000 in restitution from the 1994 conviction.

Because of the outstanding restitution, Judge Eric Adams signed a warrant for LaBombard's arrest April 21.

Adams, normally a Family Court judge, is handling the case because Robert C. Noonan was the county prosecutor in 1994.

The warrant may be the one a Florida TV station said is the reason LaBombard is being held by authorities in Daytona Beach after he allegedly pulled a scam to get free food, a free hotel room and $500 by impersonating a Navy Seal.

The ruse was uncovered after LaBombard, who was going by the name Alex Seppi, broke his leg and hotel employees found his correct ID in his hotel room.

No word on when LaBombard might be returned to Genesee County custody. He allegedly hasn't made a restitution payment since 2007.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

BREAKING: Child molester Sean Vickers sentenced to 107 years in prison

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Sean Vickers, convicted at trial of molesting five children in Batavia, was sentenced today by Judge Robert C. Noonan to 107 years in state prison.

"I agree with the prosecution in this case," Noonan said. "I see no reason to impose anything less than the maximum available terms under the law."

Vickers received 25 years each on his conviction of the first four counts of the indictment against him and a seven-year sentence on count five, plus a couple of decades of post-release supervision (at which point he would be 152 years old if still alive).

On July 31, a jury found Vickers guilty of two counts of sodomy in the first degree, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree.

One of the child victims, who was in court today for the sentencing, had Det. Kevin Czora read a statement for him prior to sentencing.

"Sean came to my house and took me to fun places and bought us candy," read the boy's statement. "I called him Uncle Sean. He hurt me. I want him to go to prison for a lifetime."

The mother of a victim also had a statement read by Erin Martin of the Child Advocacy Center.

She said that Vickers hurt her family and her children tremendously.

"Sean did not take into account what he was doing or how it would effect the kids," read the statement. "I don't think you should take into account Sean's feeling in his sentence, because he was only thinking of himself when he hurt my son."

In August, Vickers accepted a plea deal in Niagara County for molesting the same three boys. He entered a guilty plea to three felonies in exchange for a 20-year sentencing cap.

The 20 years, once imposed at a Sept. 26 hearing, and will be served concurrently with the Genesee County sentence. It will also stand even if the Genesee County conviction is overturned on appeal.

Public Defender Jerry Ader indicated in court today that an appeal will be filed and did not make a statement regarding sentencing on his client's behalf.

Vickers also made no statement.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman noted that the plea offer extended to Vickers in Genesee County before the trial would have offered a 40-year prison term, but Vickers turned it down.

"If the crimes he's convicted of are not horrific enough, we know he sexually assaulted at least five other boys," Friedman said. "We know that's not all. We know that he has a history of pedophilia that goes back decades, literally decades. There are victims of his crimes who have come forward that occurred so far back that they can't be prosecuted under the statute of limitations."

Noonan said the mother of one of his victims from Monroe County was in the courtroom today because she's been tracking Vickers for 24 years.

"She's here to see the justice is finally done," Friedman said.

Noonan opened his brief statement about the 107-year sentence he was about to impose by saying, "This case is the worst one I've ever had. I've been in the criminal justice system for 40 years both as a prosecutor and a judge and I've never had anybody who has been prolific a predator as you have been Mr. Vickers."

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

Photos: 9-11 remembrance at VA Center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 9-11

The Batavia PTSD Peer Support Volunteers led a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the VA Center this morning.

Participating were local veterans and the Batavia police and fire departments.

The event honored those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and those who have died or gone missing in action in American wars.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

Law and Order: Pratt Road resident accused of stealing neighbors checks, cashing them

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Michael Robert Sigl, 22, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Sigl allegedly stole some of a neighbor's checks, forged them and cashed them at banks in the City of Batavia. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Jamie Renae Wilkins, 37, of Route 31, Holley, is charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 3rd, and driving a vehicle with a suspended registration. Wilkins was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 5:08 p.m. Monday on Route 77 in Alabama by Deputy Joseph Corona. Wilkins was jailed on $250 cash bail or $500 bond.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

Former local con man accused of impersonating Navy Seal in Daytona Beach

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia man who once scammed local business owners out of more than $27,000 was allegedly caught this week in Daytona Beach, Fla., impersonating a Navy Seal.

The alleged scam enabled Schoen LaBombard to enjoy free meals, a free hotel room and a $500 loan.

It was only after LaBombard broke his leg while frolicking with his new friends that the scam was uncovered by hotel employees.  

The folks in Daytona Beach knew him as Alex Seppi, but while he was in the hospital, employees entered his hotel room to secure personal items on his behalf and found an identification with his real name.

There was apparently another person assisting LaBombard in the alleged scam. At one point, a manager spoke with a person who identified himself as Seppi's Navy Seal commander.

At this point, LaBombard is not facing charges in Daytona Beach, but he is in custody on a warrant out of New York (the jurisdiction is not specified in this WESH story). 

For the 1994-era scam in Batavia, LaBombard was required to pay restitution. According to news reports in 2004, he paid about $7,000, but there was still $20,000 outstanding. It's unclear if he ever completed payments.

In that case, LaBombard represented himself as a promising bobsled driver with Olympic dreams and convinced local business owners to donate money to help him pursue his dream. It turned out, he was not on the Olympic bobsled team, though he was a member of the federation.

His criminal history includes stints in prison for forgery and grand larceny, with convictions in Essex County and Albany County.

In Albany, he was once accused of impersonating a police officer to scam a prostitute out of money. According to another news report on that arrest (no link available), he was also accused of stealing more than $8,000 from business partners in the Albany area. He also accused of burglarizing his grandmother's house and stealing checks.

In 2012, the Albany Times Union ran a laudatory story about LaBombard about how he was turning his life around, getting off drugs, and leading a casting call for a reality TV series called "The Comebacks."

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