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Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Alleged rapist enters not guilty plea

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A former Batavia resident already in state prison on eight sex-crime-related charges entered a not-guilty plea in Genesee County Court to a 10-count indictment alleging rape in the 2nd degree.

Philip E. Kroft Jr., is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a girl 15 years old or younger.

Because Kroft is already serving a lengthy prison term, Judge Robert C. Noonan wondered what sort of bail status Kroft should be granted on the new charges -- Noonan has to set something in the way of bail status -- and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman didn't really have a recommendation.

"I don't think it's going to matter, your honor," Friedman said finally, kind of shrugging his shoulders, then adding, "$10,000."

"That's reasonable," Noonan said.

Kroft won't get his first parole hearing on his prior conviction until 2015.

Police say the alleged rapes in Batavia occurred in 2008.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Traffic accident blocking West Main, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A non-injury accident on West Main Street in front of Oliver's is apparently blocking traffic.

Batavia PD is responding.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Today's Deals: Stafford Trading Post, Settler's, Daily Grind, Terry Hills and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

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.

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.

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Terry Hills, 5122 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, NY: Terry Hills features a championship 27-hole public golf course that has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the area and an all new clubhouse, boasting both a restaurant and banquet facility that offer panoramic views of the golf course. We have a pair of gift cards for 18 holes of golf with a value of $46 available for $23.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Give yourself the gift of flowers, or give to a friend. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

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

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

Genesee County's first Leandra's Law sentencing delayed

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime

A former Orleans County resident who was accused of driving drunk with children in her car on Dec. 29, shortly after Leandra's Law was passed, had her sentence delayed this morning, giving the probation department time to confirm her new residency in Oakfield.

Michelle M. Kasper, 20, formerly of Albion, could have become the first Genesee County resident sentenced under Leandra's Law.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini also raised a concern that Kasper admitted on Aug. 12 to driving while intoxicated, then during a pre-sentencing interview, Kasper said she hadn't been drinking prior to accident that led to her arrest. She told probation that she drink three energy drinks containing alcohol after the accident.

Ask to explain the contradiction, attorney Nathan Pace had a hard time explaining his client's comments, saying he didn't hear what questions she was asked by probation that led to her answer.

Kasper told Judge Robert C. Noonan that she had drinks earlier, but not immediately prior to the accident.

Noonan went ahead and agreed with a defense request to delay sentencing so that her new residency in Genesee County could be confirmed so that her sentence could include supervision.

Kasper was arrested on Dec. 29. She was the second WNY resident charged with a DWI felony under Leandra's Law, which increases the penalties for DWI with children under age 15 in the car. She was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 8:50 am

Nora Lee a closing winner in Batavia feature

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports


Press release:

Batavia, NY --- The weekly $9,000 pacing feature for the distaffers went to Joe Cicatello’s, Nora Lee, in 1:55.2, Wednesday night at Batavia Downs Casino.

Leaving from post-position four, Nora Lee with Jamie Dunlap at the lines followed second over cover, tipped three deep at the top of the stretch and outfinished the pocket sitting Pembroke Primo (Kevin Cummings) to win by 1-3/4 lengths. The Grey Filly (Ron Beback Jr.) closed from last to be third.

Nora Lee, a Modern Art 4-year-old mare, notched her 7th win of 2010 and raised her seasonal earnings to over $36,000. Mike Delano is the conditioner.

Batavia Downs Casino will host four New York Sire Stakes County Fair finals when racing resumes on Friday Night. Post time is 6:40 pm.

Saturday is Hall of Fame Night as The Downs inducts three of Western New York’s all-time top drivers - John Schroeder, Jeff Gregory and Clint Galbraith - in ceremonies at the winner’s circle. Gregory and Galbraith will be in the Casino lobby for a Meet ‘n Greet and autograph session beginning at 5:30. Also, race fans have a chance to win a set of Clint Galbraith’s colors via a random drawing. Sign up begins at 5:00 at Player’s Club.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

Police Beat: One suspect arrested from alleged fight with knives on State Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Jessie J. Jones, 19, of 118 1/2 State St., Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and menacing, 2nd. Jones is accused of being involved in a fight on State Street at 10:08 a.m., Wednesday, where two men reportedly brandished knives. Police say that the other subject is known but has not been located. The police are seeking a warrant for his arrest.

Michael J. Piasta, 30, 415 E. Main St., Batavia, is charged with burglary and petit larceny. Piasta was arrested on a warrant upon his release from Niagara County Jail on an unrelated charge. Piasta is accused of stealing beer from Wilson Farms on Aug. 1. (See this report, also this alleged incident.)

mug_fili.jpgRebecca J. Fili (pictured), 32, of 103 W. Main St., Building 9, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Fili allegedly entered a business on West Main Street, Le Roy, and filled a purse she was carrying with items from the store. The purse was reportedly hollowed out in order to better conceal multiple items. A total of 15 items worth $53.70 were allegedly found in the purse. An employee reportedly spotted Fili allegedly filling her purse with store items.

Darik R.M. Orbaker, 18, of 6 Forest Edge Drive, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Orbaker is accused of grabbing another person who had previously been granted an order of protection.

A 16-year-old, of Ivison Road, Byron, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The youth is accused of letting another person under age 16 drive his family's car. The car was allegedly occupied at the time by the driver, the defendant and two females under 17 years of age.

A 16-year-old, of South Main Street, Medina, is charged with petit larceny and unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under 21. The youth is accused of stealing a 24-ounce can of Labatt Blue Light from a vendor's cooler during the Brooks & Dunn concert at Darien Lake.

Saul Doynasday Standsblack, 32, of Parker Road, Basom, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and criminal trespass, 2nd. Standsback is accused of breaking a window and gaining entry to a trailer at 587 Council House Road on Aug. 25 at 5:15 a.m.

Lindsay Catherine Miller, 19, of 236 E. Bennington Drive, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Miller is accused of stealing cartons of cigarettes from the Totem Pole store.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Muckdogs clinch Pinckney Division title with win in Jamestown

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports

The Batavia Muckdogs are playoff bound, and not as just some wild card hopeful, but as certified champs.

Tonight in Jamestown, the Muckdogs recorded their sixth-straight win to capture the Pinckney Division crown.

The team in the smallest city in the league now has a shot at its second league championship in three years.

Andrew Moss turned in another strong outing and Jon Rodriguez homered twice, giving him 11 on the season, as the Muckdogs beat the Jammers, 10-5.

Moss went six-and-a-third innings giving up four runs, but only one was earned. Anthony Ferrara came on to record his second save.

The Muckdogs now lead Williamsport by four games and Jamestown by 4.5 in the Pinckney Division.

Rodriquez went  2-5 with two solo home runs. Nick Longmire had two hits and three RBIs. Chris Edmundson continued his hot hitting at the top of the order, with two hits and three runs scored. Yuner Castillo also had two hits.

The division champs return home Thursday night to face the Jammers again, and then play Friday at Dwyer (fireworks!) against Auburn. 

The Muckdogs have three more regular season home games, and one more on the road.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Report of four or five people fighting on Hall Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia Police are responding to a report of four or five people at the end of Hall Street fighting.

UPDATE  12:27 a.m.: Police officer on scene: "Things appear more calm at this point."

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Trademark infringement suit filed against owners of Batavia Pontillo's

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

Three Monroe County businessmen who bought the former Pontillo's location on East Main Street, Batavia, and reopened the legendary location as "Pontillo's" have drawn the ire of the Rochester wing of the Pontillo's family.

pontillos_corner.jpgPontillo's Family Pizza, Inc., led by David Pontillo, nephew and son of the Pontillo's founders, has filed a trademark infringement suit against Batavia Pizza, LLC, owned by Thomas Masaschi, Jeffrey Reddish and Jason Teller.

The trio bought the 500 E. Main Street building and land late in 2009 from a firm that had acquired it in foreclosure. Then they reopened it as Pontillo's Pizzeria in April, hiring one of Salvatore Pontillo's son's, Sam Pontillo, to manage it.

Pontillo's Family Pizza, which overseas the operations of more than a dozen Pontillo's locations in the Rochester area, is claiming that Batavia Pizza never asked for, nor received, permission to use the Pontillo's name.

David's father, Anthony Pontillo, brother of Salvatore, filed for and received a federally registered trademark for "Pontillo's" in 1984.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for damaged business reputation, as well as all revenue and any profits of the new Batavia Pontillo's, plus any damages that might be awarded at trial, plus attorney's fees.

The suit also seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against Batavia Pizza prohibiting the use of the Pontillo's name by the ownership group.

The Pontillo brothers founded one of the first post-war pizzerias in the United States in Batavia in 1947, and a few years later, Anthony headed out for Rochester to start a chain of pizzerias under the same name.

According to John and Paul Pontillo, there was an agreement between families not to infringe on each other's territory so long as Pontlllo's remained a family business.

In the lawsuit, Pontillo's Family Pizza contends that contrary to an early presentation by the Monroe County businessmen, Sam Pontillo, is not a partner in Batavia Pizza, and even if he were, Pontillo's Family Pizza would not have given him permission to use the Pontillo's trade name in a re-established Batavia enterprise.

"Because of his tax problems, Pontillo's Family Pizza, Inc., will not give Mr. Sam C. Pontillo the right to use PONTILLO'S to operate a pizzeria," reads a letter dated June 18 and written by attorney Stephan B. Salai to an attorney representing Masaschi and his partners.

It was one of two letters the ownership group received from the Rochester Pontillo's demanding that Masaschi and his partners stop using the Pontillo's name.

Sam and Paul Pontillo were operating the Batavia location when mounting debts and tax bills apparently forced them to close the store in November 2008. John Pontillo had also been involved in the operation at one time, and all three brother's dispute just how the family business fell into failure.

Sam has continued to operate the Le Roy Pontillo's, though John has made attempts to acquire it.

There is a pending lawsuit filed by the estate of Elizabeth Pontillo against Sam and Paul.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Today's Deals: Margarita's, Delavan's, Larry's, T.F. Brown's, Oliver's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

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.

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Only recently reopened, a fine/casual dining atmosphere, offering steaks and seafood and daily specials. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Nov. 30, 2010).

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


Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Woman suffered head injury after reportedly jumping from car Saturday night

post by Howard B. Owens in pembroke

A woman who reportedly got into an argument with the driver of a car on Route 77 on Saturday night suffered a head injury after jumping from the car, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The initial report received by the Sheriff's Office was that Gina Schmidt, 21, was shoved from the moving car.

Investigators now believe the 21-year-old Oakfield woman jumped.

Driving the 2003 Dodge Stratus northbound on Route 77 near Route 5 at 9:25 p.m. was Derrick Jackson, 23, of Oakfield.

Schmidt was a passenger in the back seat when she reportedly jumped.

Jackson did not stop and continued driving north.

A Mercy ground ambulance transported Schmidt to ECMC.

No charges have been filed.

The investigation is being handled by Deputy Patrick Reeves, Deputy Tim Wescott and Sgt. Greg Walker. Assisting at the scene were the State Police and the Indian Falls and Pembroke fire departments.

(initial report)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Two reports of wires down in Byron

post by Howard B. Owens in byron

Byron and South Byron fire are already on scene with National Grid for a report of wires down with arcing at Tower Hill Road.

A second call of wires down with arcing has come in for Route 237 and Byron Road.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.: Byron and South Byron back in service. Roads re-opened.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Bus driver from Kid Rock tour sentenced to 90 days in Genesee County Jail

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke

mug-devlin.jpgA rock 'n' roll tour bus driver busted for DWI in Pembroke in July, 2009, blew his chance at a probation-only sentence by getting arrested twice on alcohol-related charges after he entered his guilty plea in May.

Joseph Devlin, 38, employed by a company charged with driving around the Kid Rock entourage, will serve 90 days in the Genesee County jail starting today.

The Florida resident was allegedly arrested in his home state for DWI -- a charge his attorney indicated was dismissed -- and on a charged related to an alleged domestic disturbance.

Attorney Jeremy Schwartz said as a result of the alleged domestic incident, Devlin entered a 12-week alcohol counseling program.

Schwartz said that when he met Devlin a year ago, he didn't believe Devlin had a drinking problem.

"For a 39-year-old who doesn't have a single arrest that's not hard to believe," Schwartz said.

Devlin lost his job after his arrest and has since started a business in Florida with his wife. Both Devlin and Schwartz asked Judge Robert C. Noonan not to send the former bus driver to jail because of the hardship it would create on his family.

Devlin and his wife have two children.

"Going to jail right now would really mess their lives up," Devlin said. "I know it’s my fault, but it would mess up what I’ve fought so hard to get going after losing my job."

Devlin said the past year has been stressful.

Noonan indicated he was initially going to impose a stiffer sentence but after reviewing the pre-sentencing report by the Probation Department, and considering the hardship on the business, he backed off giving a longer jail term.

"Somebody is going to have to tell Mr. Devlin that you are going to have to face some consequences for your alcohol conduct," Noonan said. "And that's me."

Devlin must also pay a $5,000 fine by Jan. 1.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 11:17 am

Porn-watching truck driver who killed Erie County mother given prison term

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke

A truck driver who State Police say was looking a porn while on the Thruway in Pembroke just before his rig slammed into a disabled car, killing an Erie County mother, will spend three to nine years in prison.

Ohio resident Thomas Wallace sobbed prior to his sentencing by Judge Robert C. Noonan, reading a prepared letter of apology. The husband of 33-year-old Julie Stratton, as well as other family members, also read statements.

Wallace earlier entered a guilty plea to manslaughter in the second degree.

The 45-year-old trucker was driving on little sleep and watching a pornographic movie on his laptop computer when his truck hit Stratton's car. Stratton's car had only moments earlier hit a deer, causing it to stall in the passing lane. She was on the phone with Genesee County's 9-1-1 dispatcher when her car was struck.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

Report of knife fight on State Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street

Batavia Police are responding to a report of a fight on State Street involving two men with knives.

UPDATE 10:12 a.m.: The fight was not in progress when the first police officer arrived. One subject is still in the area, the other is walking on Willow Street. An officer is with him now near the park.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

Wild ending to wild game gives Batavia fifth straight win

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports

In a wild one last night, the Batavia Muckdogs won the team's fifth-straight game and extended its three-game lead over second place Williamsport by beating State College 12-11.

Batavia and the Spikes took a 9-9 tie into the 11th inning. In the top of the frame, State College scored two runs to pull ahead, but the Muckdogs put three runners across the plate in the bottom half to pull out the victory.

Wild throws doomed the Spikes in the 11th.

After the Muckdogs tied the score on a double by Geoffrey Klein, a triple by Chris Edmondson and a single by Victor Sanchez, Sanchez was able to reach second on a wild pitch.

Then things got really strange.

Audry Perez struck out swinging -- at a wild pitch. When Perez ran to first -- as a hitter can do when he strikes out but the catcher misses the ball -- catcher Miguel Mendez made the throw to first to record the out, but Sanchez, sprinting from second, didn't stop running. He scored the winning run when first baseman Gerlis Rodriguez threw the ball away.

Reliever Andy North was credited with the win.

Starter Nick McCully lasted only three-and-a-third innings, giving up 10 hits and nine runs (seven earned).

Edmundson and Sanchez each scored three runs in the game on two hits apiece.

Perez hit a grand-slam homer in the third.

The Muckdogs are in Jamestown tonight and return to Dwyer tomorrow to face the Jammers again. Jamestown is in third place in the Pinckney Division, three-and-a-half games behind Batavia.

UPDATE: Added video highlights from photographer Mike Janes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Pro-business group says it likes Hawley's voting record

post by Howard B. Owens in business, politics, steve hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is perfect; at least, according to a group that describes itself as bi-partisan and pro business.

Hawley was only one of two Assembly members to receive a 100 percent score from Unshackle Upstate.

The group scored legislators based on their votes on a series of business and tax bills.

Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, said in a statement that the scorecard is designed to help voters understand how their legislators are spending their money and whether they support lower taxes and a pro-business environment.

“This is an educational tool,” Sampson said. “We simply can’t blindly vote for the same people we have year after year, or else we’ll get the same government we’ve had for year after year.”

Hawley issued a press release Tuesday touting the perfect score. The text follows the jump:

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