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Friday, November 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

The Genesee Justice Story

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice


In the late 1970s, the big issue in Genesee County was, should taxpayers fund the construction of a new jail.

According to former Sheriff Doug Call, now a Stafford town justice, the family court judge of the time, Charles Graney, wrote a letter to the editor that said something like, "You can either be the last county in the nation to build a 90-bed maximum security jail, or you can be the first to try to keep people out of jail by holding offenders accountable."

Call, a former JAG in the Air Force, a former seminarian and an attorney working for the County Attorney's office, would tell anybody who would listen that the criminal justice system was broken. The county didn't need a new jail. It needed to try alternatives to incarceration to limit the jail population and save taxpayers money.

The sheriff at the time wasn't buying it.

"We've tried alternatives to incarceration and they don't work," the sheriff told the County Legislature.

Finally, Call said, people told him to put his money where his mouth is and run for sheriff.

So, he did.

Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Photos: Kiwanis Thanksgiving Skate at Falleti Ice Arena

post by Howard B. Owens in Falleti Ice Arena


Batavia Kiwanis once again sponsored a community skate for Thanksgiving at the Falleti Ice Arena, and kids of all ages showed up.


More photos after the jump, and photos available for purchase by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Photos: When will it snow?

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather


Blake Polito, Mitch Riter and Austin Wilkson can't wait for it to snow so they can ski.

But while they wait, they hit upon an ingenious idea -- use the ice dumped from the Zamboni at the Falleti Ice Arena to fashion a mini ski ramp and get some practice in now.

The trio was out behind the arena today practicing-- with permission, they said, from the arena management.

If it's snow they want, they reportedly won't have long to wait. The National Weather Service has issued a lake effect snow watch from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening for parts of Genesee County, including, potentially, Batavia.

Two more pictures after the jump:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Suzanne Corona sentence: One year probation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Farrall Park, Suzanne Corona


Suzanne Corona -- the 41-year-old Batavia woman who admitted to sexual contact with an Oakfield man in Farrall Park over the summer -- was sentenced this afternoon to one year probation by City Court Judge Michael Delplato.

Her attorney, Brian Degnan, asked a conditional discharge -- meaning the charges would be dropped if Corona complied with certain requirements over a six-month period -- but Delplato said he thought the Probation's Department recommendation for probation was best for Corona.

Corona will need to continue in substance-abuse counseling, which she already started voluntarily, and stay out of trouble.

She previously pled guilty to public lewdness, a misdemeanor, and an adultery charge against her was dropped.

Outside of the courtroom, Corona was she was glad to put the embarrassing case behind her.

"I'm glad it's over," Corona said. "It was a long time coming. I'm glad. My family's glad."

Then she told the handful of reporters gathered outside the courthouse, "Hopefully there will be another scandalous behavior in Batavia to keep you all busy."

The reporters laughed and WHAM-13's Sean Carroll said, "One that doesn't involve you, right?"

"No, it won't involve me," Corona said.

Corona told Delplato prior to her sentencing that she's been going to private counseling three times a week and a group session once a week.

One reason Delplato decided upon probation, he said, was because she had a prior arrest in another state and she never went to court on the matter. There is an arrest warrant, he said, for her in that jurisdiction.

"It's my responsibility to fashion a sentence that addresses the needs you have," Delplato said. "That's why I'm sentencing you to a year in probation.

Delplato also ordered Corona not to have any contact with her co-defendant, 29-year-old Justin Amend.

Amend is currently a fugitive from justice. A warrant was issued for his arrest earlier this month after he failed to appear for his sentencing on a public lewdness conviction.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 9:18 am

Police Beat: Alleged shoplifter drives off in car, found by police

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

Meagan Victoria Finzer, 21, of Clarendon Street, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Finzer was allegedly confronted by loss prevention officers at Kmart shortly after 6 p.m., Tuesday, and she reportedly did not cooperate, and instead got into her car and drove off. A description of the vehicle, with license plate, was provided to local law enforcement and her car was stopped a short time later on West Main Street by Batavia Police. Following further investigation, she was taken into custody by a Sheriff's Deputy.

Michael John Coffta, 18, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Coffta is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Joshua A. Kitanik, 22, of Oakfield, is charged with trespass. Kitanik was arrested at 4:48 p.m., Monday, by State Police on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. No further details released.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 8:55 am

Today's Deals: Carlson's Studio, Adam Miller, Alli's, Delavan's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Holiday portrait time is now, or save for a spring wedding or other special event. We have a $150 gift card for $65 (+$2 PayPal service fee).

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY.: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; new all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

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.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Dec. 31, 2010).

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for Fall or start your Christmas shopping. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: What better way to brighten your home or office for the holidays than with flowers? We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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.

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

The Enchanted Florist

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 12:18 am

Photos: Today, in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Le Roy, photos, Stafford


With some beautiful weather, I was able to get out of the city for a bit today and take some photos. Here are three of the pictures.

Above, a Ford pickup behind Bruce Scofield's place (Scofield Roll Off Service) on Route 5 in Stafford.


An old windmill on Gully Road, Le Roy.


Silos on Pagen Farms, Gully Road, Le Roy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Photo: Brent Persia's CD release party

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, entertainment, music, pembroke


Tonight, Pembroke native Brent Persia, hosted a CD-release party at Center Street Smoke House, Downtown Batavia. Before a full house, Persia sang songs from his debut CD as well as some favorite covers. The singer-songwriter's CD will be available for purchase through his website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Today's Deals: Center Street, Kravings, Stafford Trading Post, South Beach and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Nov. 30, 2010).

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.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Scratch Bakery, 24 Main St. Le Roy, NY: A real bakery right in Genesee County. Scones, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls and more. Call ahead, 297-2441, for availability or special orders. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

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


Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Local farmers concerned about proposed budget cut to Soil and Water District


In a long conversation today about the need for the Soil and Water Conservation District in Genesee County, Le Roy dairy farmer Dale Stein didn't once complain about an increasingly demanding Environmental Protection Agency.

He just said "Farmers need help."

That help has come for years from the Soil and Water District. Staff members have the expertise to help farmers comply with regulations that protect the land, air and water.

"All of us want to live in a good environment," Stein said. "But we can't do it on our own."

After our talk, Stein walked me across the street, through the mud and over a plank bridge that spans a cement trough, a little creek if you will, of liquid manure.

manudust.jpgThe manure is fed into a new $170,000 machine that pulls out the solids, drys it, mashes it up and sends it out a conveyor belt into a big pile in a new storage building.

Sawdust, which has served as bedding for cows for decades or longer, is getting expensive, Stein said. Increasingly, it's used in recycled products, which drives the cost up for farmers.

Now, Stein's cows sleep on their own processed manure.

"The cows love it," Stein said. "It's soft and fluffy."

Surprisingly, it has no discernible odor.

The environmentally friendly process was driven as much by federal guidelines to reduce his manure waste as it was by economics.

After a 30-percent federal grant to help pay for the project, Stein said the savings on sawdust purchasing will pay for the operation inside of two years.

Without the help of Soil and Water technicians, Stein said, the project would been a lot harder to pull off. They help identify issues on his farm that might run afoul of regulations, find the right solutions, help secure grants to pay for the projects and then ensure the project is completed within federal or state guidelines.

No farmer, Stein said, has that kind of expertise.

These are tough times, though, and the Genesee County Legislature wants to balance the county's $140.5 million budget without raising property taxes. At the same time, more than 80 percent of the county's revenue is tied up in covering the expense of unfunded mandates.

So, where the county can cut, officials are looking at deep cuts.

scottpage.jpgFor the Soil and Water District, that means a 15-percent reduction -- $26,000 -- in the county's $170,000 allocation.

With the budget cut, there will be at least one less staff member in the district, according to Brad Rodgers, chairman of the Soil and Water board of directors.

"(The cut) would be a real detriment to the agriculture industry in Genesee County," said Rogers. "Even level funding would hurt us."

Scott Page, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, believes keeping Soil and Water is critical to protecting Genesee County's economic base.

"If we hurt ag, we miss an opportunity to move forward," said Page. "The more we build off our agricultural base, the better the local economy will do."

Page said his family has been dairy farmers in Le Roy for 50 years, and he's seen the regulations get tighter and more technical. While he doesn't think they are entirely necessary ("What farmer doesn't want to care for his animals?" he says), there is just no way the typical Genesee County farmer can keep abreast of all the regulations without experts to lead the way, he said.

Although Stein's manure recycling project has a direct economic benefit to his business, complying with many of the state and federal regulations adds nothing to the bottom line.

"It's tough for a farmer to lay aside that kind of money for something that is not going to generate profit," Page said.

Banks don't want to loan farmers money to undertake projects that often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Banks are only willing to help, Stein said, because there are federal grants available to pay from 30 to 70 percent of a project's cost.

And it takes Soil and Water experts to help a farmer through the application process.

"We have a good Soil and Water program," Stein said. "But we will start losing farms in this county pretty quickly due to these regulations without help."

Photos: Top, Dale Stein in front of a pile of manure dust; inset, Stein holding a handful of processed manure; bottom inset, Scott Page.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Police Beat: Oakfield man accused of shoplifting cigarettes

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

David Wayne King, 53, of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. King is accused of shoplifting cigarettes from Jan's Smoke Shop on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Andrew R. Osborne, 18, of Drake Street, Oakfield, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Osborne is accused of sending inappropriate pictures to a female victim.

Joshua Charles Brownell, 19, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with stalking, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Brownell is accused of blocking a road with his vehicle and then exiting his vehicle and threatening another person.

Patrick Raymond Krieger, 20, of Genesee Street Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Krieger was approached at Kmart by Deputy Brian Thompson regarding alleged illegal tinting of his windows. During the interview, Thompson allegedly found Krieger to be in possession of marijuana.

Thomas William Glass, 37, of Steven Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Deputy Brian Thompson stopped Glass in the Village of Corfu for an alleged traffic violation at 1:40 p.m., Tuesday. During the traffic stop, K-9 "Jay" alerted on the vehicle.

Douglas James Karek, 50, of Geary Street, Buffalo, was picked up on a warrant out of Erie County Family Court. Karek was identified during a traffic stop on Route 33 in Corfu (Karek was reportedly a passenger in the vehicle driven by Glass above).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Unreasonable speed on wet road blamed for accident in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy

A Pavilion resident suffered non-life threatening injuries Monday morning when a car he was driving slid off the road in Le Roy and struck a tree.

Charles A. Sisnett, 22, of Creek Road, Pavilion, was cited for allegedly driving too fast for conditions.

Sisnett was in the area of 9845 Roanoke Road, Le Roy, at 9:45 a.m., when he apparently lost control of the 1998 Chevy sedan he was driving.

He reportedly told Deputy Chris Parker that he swerved to avoid an "unknown animal."

(Initial Report)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 9:29 am

Police looking for suspect on routes 5, 237, Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford

Sheriff's deputies have converged on the area of Route 5 and Route 237, Stafford, to look for a suspect.

It's not clear what the initial complaint was about, but the caller has stated the suspect threatened to shoot him.

The suspect may be on ATV.

UPDATE 9:10 a.m.: I've not heard much more on this. There was a consultation with DEC for some reason. It sounds like, though not clear, that law enforcement is still on scene.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Man who tried to steal oxycodone given prison term

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

A Batavia man who admitted to attempted robbery for trying to steal oxycodone from the Oakfield Pharmacy will spend one-and-a-half to three years in prison.

He must also receive substance-abuse counseling.

Cain Catino, 39, was sentenced in Genesee County Court today for the Sept. 20 attempted robbery, which was thwarted when the store owners wrestled Catino to the ground. It was revealed in court later that Catino had a knife on him at the time.

Last month, his mother, Kathleen Catino, 60, admitted she tried to smuggle oxycodone into her son at the Genesee County Jail. She is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Elba students provided with information on cyberbullying

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba Central School


Deputy Tim Wescott and Youth Officer John Dehm were at Elba School this morning to talk with students about cyberbulling and Facebook and mobile phone safety. They explained how to avoid cyberbullying and the legal implications.

Photo and information submitted by Jason Smith.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Two-to-four car MVA reported on Thruway

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway

Two and possibly four cars were involved in an accident on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 396.

A semi-truck reportedly is jackknifed.

Unknown injuries.

East Pembroke Fire and Mercy EMs dispatched.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: Two cars are smashed against a guardrail and the truck is off the side of the road. Traffic is not blocked.

UPDATE 1:40 p.m.: No injuries.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Police Beat: Driver accused of hit-and-run in the city arrested

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, corfu, crime, Pavilion, pembroke, Stafford

Justin J. Wheeler, 37, of Attica, is charged with driving with ability impaired by drugs and failure to keep right. Wheeler is accused of being involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident on South Main Street, Batavia, and was subsequently stopped on Route 98, Town of Alexander, for allegedly operating erratically. (initial report)

Thomas Anthony Sobczak, 45, of West Main Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. Sobczak was stopped on an unidentified road in Batavia at 2:45 p.m., Nov. 15, for allegedly following too closely behind a semi-trailer by Deputy Brian Thompson. Thompson reported allegedly finding marijuana and codeine in Sobczak's possession.

Jeffrey M. Kohorst, 22, of 6105 Main Road, Stafford, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Kohorst was stopped at 9:51 p.m., Saturday, in the City of Batavia by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Michael Todd Dibble, 19, of Indian Falls Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dibble was stopped at 11:35 p.m., Saturday, on Route 5, Town of Batavia, for an alleged traffic violation by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

A 16-year-old of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was charged following a traffic stop on Angling Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Brian Thompson. A 16-year-old passenger in the car was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The 17-year-old driver was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, reckless driving and speeding (90 mph in a 55 mph zone). The reckless driving drive stems from an alleged attempt to elude law enforcement with four passengers in the car.

Gary David Doctor, 28, of East Main Street, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unsafe tires. Doctor was stopped on Route 33, Pembroke by Deputy Brian Thompson.

Dylan James Hawkins, 18, of Hilltop Acres, Morrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Hawkins was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle stopped on East Avenue by Deputy Brian Thompson. The 17-year-old driver, of Bryant Street, Batavia, was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Teriance M. Schramm, 20, of Edwards Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana. Schramm was allegedly seen on Nov. 15 walking down Ross Street with nunchaku ("nunchucks") in his pocket. He was questioned by Deputy Matt Butler and also found to allegedly possess marijuana.

Summer Ogden, 34, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt and disobeying a court order. Ogden was arrested by State Police at 8:32 a.m., Saturday. No further details released.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Accident on Route 33, Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in accident

A two-car accident has been reported in the area of Old State Road and Route 33, Bergen.

There are no injuries reported, but one car is blocking Route 33.

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