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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

Three Syracuse men accused of stealing from two Genesee County businesses

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke
William Kelly Robert Kelly Michael Correia

Three men from Syracuse have been charged with third-degree burglary in Genesee County for allegedly breaking into a pair of local businesses.

The trio are also suspected of burglaries and thefts in Erie and Livingston counties.

They were picked up following a traffic stop in Wayne County last week and deputies spotted what they thought might be stolen material in the vehicle.

Upon questioning by investigators in Wyoming County, the men admitted, according to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, to heists in Genesee County.

Investigator Kris Kautz took a trip to Wayne County and questioned the men and gathered the evidence, working with Deputy Brad Mazur, to file local charges.

Charged are brothers William H. Kelly III, 44, and Robert P. Kelly, 43, and Michael J. Correia, 58.

Additional charges may be pending.

The three men are accused of breaking into a Kutter's Cheese building, and stealing items from a residential construction site on East Main Street, Batavia, some time during the early morning of Aug. 27.

They were allegedly found with more than $3,000 in material, including brass plumbing components and copper wire.

They are being held without bail.

Photos provided by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

Announcing the Wyoming County Free Press

We're pleased this morning to announce the launch of the Wyoming County Free Press, a new sister publication of The Batavian covering Wyoming County.

Just as The Batavian is all about Genesee County, the Wyoming County Free Press will be all about Wyoming County. The news will be Wyoming County news and the businesses who sponsor it will be locally or regionally owned with locations in Wyoming County.

The news will be free, just like it is on The Batavian, and we won't disrupt your news reading experience with pop-up ads, animated ads or require you to answer survey questions. (We'll also respect your privacy by not gathering personal data to distribute to multinational media conglomerates for so-called "targeted advertising.")

We will endeavor to provide wide-ranging coverage of Wyoming County so that people in Wyoming County both have a good idea of what's going on in their community, as well encourage greater community involvement and interest.

We're optimistic about this new venture. The feedback from the people in Wyoming County that we've spoken with so far has been fantastic (look at all of the local businesses that have already agreed to help support our effort).

The feedback has confirmed there is a need in Wyoming County for a news site that covers all of Wyoming County and just Wyoming County. There's no other news service meeting that need.

We're optimistic because we believe six years into The Batavian that our model of news and local business marketing is popular with readers and local business owners. The Batavian has become the most popular news source in the GLOW region and is supported now by more than 150 local businesses.

We're also heartened and encouraged to venture out by the success of Orleans Hub. Tom Rivers has done a terrific job of bringing community news to Orleans County and he and his publishing partner have been rewarded with strong support from the local business community. That helps prove there is a real hunger in all communities for online news that is timely and comprehensive.

Thank you to all the readers and sponsors in Genesee County who have supported us, making it possible to continue to grow as a business. If the Wyoming County Free Press works as well as we anticipate, it will help us do more to serve both communities better.

Please tell your friends about the Wyoming County Free Press and ask them to support our sponsors.

Meet our Wyoming County Editor - Julia Ferrini
Billie and I are excited that Julia Ferrini has agreed to be the Wyoming County Free Press's inaugural editor. She's an experienced journalist having worked for newspapers in Delaware and on the Southern Tier. You may have noticed her byline on several stories on The Batavian over the past couple of months. We've gotten great reviews of her work from the people she's covered while freelancing for us.

Julia is a mother and resident of Eagle in Wyoming County. A native of Western New York, Julia has lived in the area for 16 years since returning from Delaware.

She has worked in a few other fields over the years, but says, "While I dabbled in other career choices, I kept coming back to the one that I just can’t escape, telling the stories of a community through photographs and writing."

Julia can be reached at [email protected]

Thanks to Lucie Ann Griffis for all of her hard work over the past six weeks lining up our initial sponsors for the Wyoming County Free Press. Lucie will continue to traverse Wyoming County, meeting with small business owners, as we work to build the necessary support for the Free Press to be an ongoing success. Lucie can be reached at [email protected]

Of course, none of this would be possible with the always hardworking and dedicated Lisa Ace, our sales and marketing coordinator. Lisa can be reached at [email protected]

Our office number is (585) 250-4118.

Visit: the Wyoming County Free Press.

Like us on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

Law and Order: Man charged after report of overdose

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

Joseph M. Marranco, 43, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, unlawful possession of marijuana and possession of controlled substances outside original container. Marranco was arrested following the report of an overdose at 10:40 p.m. Monday at an apartment on East Main Street. Marranco was allegedly found in possession of a hypodermic needle, an assortment of controlled prescription medications outside their original container and marijuana.

Travis M. Blue, 30, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Blue allegedly made a threat of physical contact during an incident reported at 9:35 p.m., Monday, at a location on Ellicott Street.

Randy Kevin Wilmet, 37, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wilmet allegedly struck another person in the face with his forearm during an incident reported at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, at a location on South Main Street, Batavia.

Jeffrey C. Pero, 31, of Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, turned himself in on a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket. Pero posted $100 cash bail and was released.

Kritin S. Payne, 31, of South Main Street, Batavia, turned herself in on on a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket. Payne paid $45 of a $100 bail and was released.

Michael David Senay Jr., 20, of Valley View Drive, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21. Senay was allegedly in possession of alcohol during a traffic stop at 1:14 a.m. on Clinton Street, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Stephen Bakos, 55, of Alexander, is charged with DWI following a traffic stop on Silver Lake Road, Perry. Bakos was stopped for an alleged equipment violation. According to New York State Police, Bakos operated the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Bakos reportedly failed a roadside field sobriety test and was taken into custody. He is accused of refusing to provide a breath sample for analysis.Bakos was jailed on $1,000 bail. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

New bus company to deliver students to and from Batavia City schools this year

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, City Schools, education, schools

Dozens of bright yellow school buses have been gleaming in the sun (when there is sun) at the corner of Dodgeson Road and Route 98 in Alexander just about all summer long.

The name on the sides of the buses -- Student Transportation of America -- is a new name to Genesee County.

STA is now in town after winning the main transportation contract with the Batavia City School District, which entered into a joint agreement with the Attica School District.

The company purchased a former rigging shop location at 3784 Dodgeson Road in an auction through Bontrager's earlier in the summer.

The state encourages school districts to review and re-bid bus transportation contracts every 10 years, explained Batavia Superintendent Chris Dailey. 

The district experienced many difficulties with the previous contract, Dailey said. 

"The Board of Education decided to bid and increase the accountability and expectations for the bus contractors while also increasing features available to the district with our bus contractors, such as more cameras and GPS," Dailey said. "We bid for 2013-14 but the bid was rejected because of cost and lack of competition."

For 2014-015, the district decided to seek another district for a cooperative bid and reached an agreement with Attica and STA won the bid for regular school transportation, field trips and sports trips.

Attica Bus Company will remain the contractor for transportation of special education students.

BCSD's transportation costs per year is more than $1 million, plus another $731,690 for special education transportation.

"In our contract, the contractor is responsible for all aspects of providing transportation: purchasing and maintaining the fleet, building, staffing, routing of the students, directly handling parent calls," Dailey said.

Two weeks ago, STA announced the release of a mobile device and desktop app that will allow parents to track the location of school buses in the fleet.

"A child’s bus is displayed on a detailed map showing its current location in relation to the child’s stop, so parents can monitor the bus along its route," the company said in a press release.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“Registering for the SafeStop app is easy,” the company said. “Parents in select schools simply log on to www.schoolwheels.com from any computer or mobile device to register for the app. They then can link to the Apple App Store or Google Play to download on a mobile device.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Nursing home generating interest from potential buyers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, nursing home

So far, one potential bidder for the Genesee County Nursing Home has submitted a letter stating an intent to make an offer on the 260-bed facility.

Interested buyers have until Sept. 23 to submit a letter of intent and until Oct. 6 to submit proposals.

So far, some 25 to 30 potential buyers have expressed interest in the nursing home, County Manager Jay Gsell said, but there's still just the one written intent to submit a bid.

The nursing home has been dragging down county finances for years, and financial disclosures included in the RFP package show the facility losing $2.9 million in 2011, $3.7 in 2012 and $4.3 million in 2013.

A non-government agency (whether a not-for-profit group or for-profit company) will have greater flexibility in generating revenue than the highly regulated government-owned facility, have greater leeway in reducing expenses, and won't be facing a squeeze on funding from the State of New York, according to county officials.

The county Legislature decided to sell the home to escape the ongoing financial drain on the budget.

The RFP states the facility will be sold to the most qualified, responsible bidder who meets a range of criteria. The highest bid won't necessarily win the purchase contract.

The current assessed value of the nursing home, on Bank Street, is $10.9 million.

Of course, currently no taxes are collected on the government-owned property.

Serious bidders will be invited to pre-proposal site visits Sept. 24, 25, 26 and 29.

Bids must include a $100,000 refundable deposit and provide financial statements and a letter of credit indicating not only the ability to close on the final purchase price, but to operate the facility at the current level or improved level of services after the purchase is completed.

The purchaser will be prohibited from involuntarily transferring or evicting any current resident of the nursing home.

Bidders must agree that the RFP process is subjective and the Legislature has the final say on whether to accept or reject any and all bids, and the county reserves to right to enter into negotiations with a bidder to modify a proposal.

The company must provide a company history, executive bios, information and qualifications on employees, experience with similar facilities, and plan for a smooth transfer of ownership.

There will be no public bid opening and bids won't become public until after a proposal is accepted by the Legislature. It's up to the company to declare any portion of the proposal that would be exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law.

The sale of the nursing home has generated a little public opposition. There is a "Save the Genesee County Nursing home in Batavia NY" group on Facebook with 166 members currently.

The complete RFP package is available on the county's Web site.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm

County DSS dealing more and more children being neglected by parents

post by Howard B. Owens in Department of Social Services

County case workers are dealing with more and more children who are neglected by their parents, Department of Social Services Director Eileen Kirkpatrick said today during the Public Service Committee meeting.

"You see it in the news -- more child runaways, more children arrested for petty crimes," Kirkpatrick said. "We've seen an increase in people who don't care if they have their kids or not. We have more cases were we find a kid at home alone with mom at some crack house in Rochester."

Many of these children wind up in foster care, but this year Genesee County is on pace for a record number of adoptions.

There have been 13 this year already.

"That's really a big number for us," Kirkpatrick said. "Some years, we don't have any, but there's more cases of termination of parental rights."

At least, Kirkpatrick told the legislators, is there's no shortage of willing foster parents.

There have been 19 new homes certified this year.

"That's a big increase for us," she said.

The agency is working to develop its own group of foster care providers because it's less expensive than going through organizations such as Hillside, which charges the county as much as $100 more per day, Kirkpatrick said, as part of an "administrative rate."

"It's the same people (being foster parents), same members of our community, who step forward and take in foster children, but it's cheaper," Kirkpatrick said.

Related to children and county expense, Kirkpatrick expects that by 2016, that state is going to increase the age of accountability to 18. That means teenagers currently treated as adults in the criminal justice system (ages 16 and 17) will go through Family Court rather than municipal courts.

These teens, who if convicted might spend time in county jail, will instead be diverted to the juvenile detention system, increasing the county cost per-child, per-day from about $70 to more than $1,000.

"We're going to treat those children differently, but it's going to come at a cost," Kirkpatrick said.

Part of Kirkpatrick's department review with the Legislature included this information:

  • There's going to be a cut in funding for county-subsidized child care. Working, low-income parents are eligible for assistance through the program (it's not a free program), but reserve funds that had rolled over from previous years are now spent (about $216,000), and the allocation from the state is not expected to increase.
  • It appears more people are finding work. Case loads indicate there are fewer people needing assistance. "We weathered the storm of extended unemployment running out and those people are not flocking through the doors," Kirkpatrick said.
  • By 2015, reforms for Medicaid mean that the county's share of expenses will be capped at about $9.6 million, ending the cycle of ever-increasing costs. The cap remains in place whether there is a 20-percent increase of Medicaid recipients or a 20-percent decrease.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Steve Paladino wins Le Roy Country Club championship

post by Howard B. Owens in golf, Le Roy Country Club, sports

Le Roy Country Club hosted its annual club championship this weekend and Steve Paladino notched the win.

Second went to Brian Sinclair.

Photo submitted by Brian Sinclair.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Four arrests reported at Motley Crue concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Motley Crue Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday:

Adam Ellman, 29, of South 14th Street, Olean, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, after allegedly breaking a chair inside the venue. Ellman was arraigned in Darien Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

Luanne M. Marra, 46, of Robinson Street, Silver Creek, is charged with for harassment, 2nd, after allegedly striking a PAC security officer in the face while being escorted from the venue.

Richard F. Derouche, 35, of Gorski Street, Buffalo, is charged with for trespass after allegedly climbing a rigging tower within the venue.

Trent R. Stinson, 19, of Trevett Road, Springville, is charged with for unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Monday, September 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Photos: Oakfield Labor Days Parade 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in Labor Days, Oakfield, parades

Oakfield, as part of its Labor Days celebration, closed out the parade season in Genesee County once again in style, with its biggest parade yet (lasting an hour and 20 minutes).

This year's theme was a salute to agriculture, with Dean Norton, NYS Farm Bureau president, walking this parade as Grand Marshall. He was joined on the route by his family.

To purchase prints, and ensure you'll have copies of these photos years from now, click here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Photos: Today at Labor Days in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in Labor Days, Oakfield

Photographer Amanda Earl attended Oakfield Labor Days today and sent in these photos.

Tomorrow, 10 a.m., the parade. I hope to see you there.

Participants in the 5K race: Michael Harasimowicz, Justin Harasimowicz, Jennifer Kirkum and Ritchie Kirkum.

Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Stolen vehicle found partially submerged in quarry off Circular Hill Road, Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A partially submerged vehicle in a water-filled quarry off Circular Hill Road in Le Roy caught the attention of a Hanson Aggregates employee this morning.

He called the Dispatch Center at about 10 a.m. and reported his find, which generated a response from the Sheriff's Office, State Police and the Le Roy Fire Department. 

"Our first concern was how it got there and if anybody was still inside it by chance," said Sgt. Jon Szumigala, of the Sheriff's Office. "The report we received is that the vehicle looked like it had  been there for quite some time. But we had to check and see if by chance if anybody was in it."

Water rescue teams for Le Roy fire and City fire checked the vehicle and surrounding water and the search indicated there were no victims of a crash.

Firefighters retrieved the vehicle's license plate number and VIN number. It was a 2013 Jeep Wrangler stolen May 20 in Pittsford, Szumigala said.

The vehicle dropped some 40 or 50 feet from the cliff to the rocky shore below.

"It appears that at one one point it was completely submerged and that's why it's taken so long for someone to actually spot it," Szumigala said.

A tow truck from Stella's Collision was called to the scene to retrieve the vehicle.

Satellite image from Bing: This isn't an exact representation of the landscape at the quarry today. There is quite a bit more growth along the northern side of the quarry and on the seemingly manmade plateau in the northeast corner. We've added a red dot for the approximate location of where the vehicle was found.

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Tire fire reported in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, fire

There is tire fire, reported as a "large tire fire," at 7508 Swamp Road, Bergen.

Byron Fire dispatched.

UPDATE Sunday: The resident at 7508 Swamp Road e-mailed to say the tire fire was not at this address.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 11:30 am

Football Preview: Alexander counting on team speed to make them a contender

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

With only one winning record in the previous six seasons, it's tempting to think of last year's 7-1 record and a three-way share of the Genesee Region League title was a bit of a fluke.

After all, in the previous two years the Trojans were 2-6 and 2-5.

Head Coach Tim Sawyer doesn't mind folks around the league thinking that way. After all, they might just be in for a surprise.

"We've had a good camp," Sawyer said. "We've had excellent attendance. They want to be good. It's a new team, but the same goal. Let's see if we can be GR champs. We've got to be perfect six, eight nights to do it, but we've got a chance."

Last year, the Trojans were big and physical. A year ago, Sawyer noted how several of his players hit the weight room hard during the off season. That training paid off.

There was no better proof of that than the season put together by Dylan Scharlau, with 1,663 yards rushing and 19 TDs.

But Scharlau graduated. So did his big offensive line and a strong, rugged QB in Nelson Burke.

At every position, the Trojans are smaller.

But they're also faster, Sawyer said.

Speed will change the nature of the offensive attack and Alexander might rely more on big plays.

Junior Jerad Brown will start at QB and he's got a great instinct for the game, Sawyer said.

Sharing the backfield will be a committee of backs, Sawyer said.

"Scharlau averaged about 27, 28 carries a game," Sawyer said. "We probably won't see that this year. We'll probably see a bunch of boys eight to 12, maybe 15 carries in a game, which I like, because all those boys will turn around and play defense."

Leading the defense will be Ty Laird, a returning starter, and a player Sawyer says is "probably the best football player in GR."

"He's crazy strong and he's running a 4.7 40," Sawyer said.

Perhaps the most interesting player on the squad is Zach Shilvock, a soccer player who last year chose tennis over football, so didn't kick for the Trojans until the last few games of the season (after tennis was over).

Shilvock gives Sawyer a weapon not to many high school coaches ever get to use -- a kicker who can put it through the uprights from as far as 45 yards out.

"I've seen him make 50s," Sawyer said.

Special teams overall could make the difference for Alexander, Sawyer said.  

"We hope that can help us get through some close games," Sawyer said.

It should be an interesting season for green and gold.

"I know people on the outside just glimpsing in think this will be a down year a little bit," Sawyer said. "Obviously, you can look and see, we don't have the size, but we've got some kids who can play."

 

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 10:31 am

Football Preview: O-A looking for young receivers and backs to step up and make plays

Hornets fans have much to be hopeful about in the 2014 season: A third-year starter at QB with a strong arm, a strong offensive line, experienced coaching leadership, but there's also a couple of question marks.

The big issue is who among a young group of receivers and running backs is going to step up and be the playmaker to complement QB Allen Chatt.

Head Coach Brian Palone is looking to improve on last year's 5-3 record in what promises to once again be a tough Genesee Region.

"It all depends on how those guys coming in at skilled positions do for us," Palone said. "We've got some guys who are really competing at those spots for us. It will be interesting to see how we perform in the first game."

Chatt has continued to improve at QB and has become a true team leader, Palone said. He's stepped up, providing leadership to his young receivers.

"He knows what I expect of him and what we expect of the offense," Palone said.

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 9:44 am

Four arrests reported at Miranda Lambert concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Miranda Lambert Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Derik F. Sharkey, 19, of Center Street, Horseheads, is charged with false personation and possession of a fictitious NYS driver's license after allegedly providing a fake NYS license and providing a false date of birth.

A 17-year-old of Drum Road, Middleport, is charged with false personation after allegedly providing a false date of birth.

Paul M. Wojcik, 22, of Canterberry Trail, West Seneca, is charged with trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue.

Michael P. Hoenow, 42, of Manitou Street, Depew, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue through the back gate without a ticket.

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 6:52 am

Head-on collision reported on Route 98, Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander

A head-on collision is reported in the area of 10109 Alexander Road, Alexander.

That's between Sprague and Goodman roads.

Alexander fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE(S) 7:06 a.m. by Billie: The road is shut down. Two ambulances were called, then canceled by Alexander command. Now an ambulance is called to the scene to transport an individual to the hospital, despite the person's decline of aid. Two flatbed tow trucks are responding.

UPDATE 7:22 a.m.: An Alexander ambulance is transporting a 30-year-old woman to UMMC with complaints of chest and leg pain. The medic said the vehicles were traveling 55 mph at the time of the collision.

UPDATE 7:40 a.m.: A Mercy rig also transported a patient to a hospital.

UPDATE 7:57 a.m. (by Howard): One driver apparently fell asleep. That driver's car drifted completely into the oncoming lane. The driver in that lane, in an attmept to avoid a collision, drove into its opposite lane. The two cars collided at the center line, front passenger side to front passenger side. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 3:38 am

Several victims of an assault reported on Griswold Road, Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Deputies are at a residence on Griswold Road in Le Roy and have requested at least three ambulances for "several" victims of an assault.  

Two victims have been mentioned with specific injuries, both women, one wth a head injury who is now in and out of consciousness. 

Le Roy Ambulance and Mercy EMS responding.

Friday, August 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

City announces results of Thursday's NET detail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, crime

Press release:

August 29, 2014, Batavia, NY.  On August 28th the City of Batavia Police Department joined by the Genesee County Drug Task Force (The Genesee Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from Batavia PD, Le Roy PD and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office), Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Genesee County Probation participated in the fourth neighborhood enforcement detail this summer. The purpose of these details is to systematically approach known problem areas within the City and target criminal activity.

In total 10 law enforcement personnel from four different agencies were partnered in a focused enforcement details in seven separate locations. NET patrols included State Street, Washington Avenue, Jackson Street, Liberty Street, Swan Street and Sumner Avenue, Central Avenue, Pringle Avenue, Harvester Avenue and Clifton Avenue. The following are results of this year’s fourth detail:

• 52 data runs
• 12 vehicle/traffic stops
• 2 Traffic tickets issued
• 4 Penal Law Arrests
   -- Brasky, Alex P., age 23, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- Blake, Ian J., age 27, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- Scheuerlein, Jacob M., age 18, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- McWethy, Randy S., age 44, criminal possession of hypodermic instrument
• 16 probation checks
• 1 probation violation

Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) details were outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan as part of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts. They include dedicated patrols for targeted enforcement with the goal of intercepting and interrupting the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband as well as locating and arresting wanted persons. All agencies involved expect to continue joint law enforcement efforts in the future. These details are not advertised prior to taking place and locations are selected based on criminal data, the presence of nuisance and illegal behavior and ongoing investigations. 

If you see criminal activity or know about a crime that has occurred please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

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