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Howard B. Owens's blog

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Town of Batavia Fire Harley raffle under way

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department


The Town of Batavia Volunteer Fire Department is holding its annual Harley raffle.

Tickets are available at the Fire Hall on Lewiston Road and Stan's Harley Davidson. Only tickets 2,700 will be sold. Tickets are $20 each. The drawing is July 24.

Tickets can also be purchased by mail: Town of Batavia Fire Department, C/O Raffle Chairman, P.O. Box 417, Batavia, 14021-0417.

Pictured with the Harley is Bill Leonart, who was at the Fire Hall today selling tickets.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

Police Beat: Trooper nabs suspected drug dealer in Alexander

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

Michael J. Wilkins, 28, of Nunda, is charged with manufacturing/possession/selling of a prescription controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and unlawful possession of marijuana. Matthew A. Moir, 19, of Portageville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Wilkins and Moir were arrested by State Police on Route 20 in Alexander at 11:30 p.m., Friday. No further details were released.

Vamaca Noe Velazquez, 22, of Hundred Mark Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, unregistered motor vehicle, switched license plates and operating without insurance. Velazquez was stopped at 1:02 a.m., Monday, on Hundredmark Road, Elba, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Velazquez was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Assante Darrell Huggins, 18, of Brunswick Road, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. Huggins is accused of stealing $416 while employed at Darien Lake. The alleged thefts occurred between June 6-26.

Matthew R. Norstrand, 25, of Vroom Road, Spencerport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlicensed operation. Norstrand was stopped at 8 p.m., Friday, on North Street Road, Le Roy, by Matt Butler. Norstrand was allegedly driving on a suspended license. During the traffic stop, a marijuana pipe was allegedly found in his car. Norstrand was jailed on $500 bail.

Samuel F. Richardson, 45, of 231 Vine St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and unsafe backing. Richardson was reportedly involved in a minor traffic accident at 4:15 p.m., Monday, at the Wilson Farms store on West Main Street.

Cindy S. Dudek, 51, of Darien, is charged with harassment 2nd. Dudek was arrested by State Police at 9:45 p.m., Saturday. No further details released.

Jayson L. Bryant, 26, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt/disobeying a court order. Bryant was arrested in Oakfield at 1:45 p.m., Sunday, by State Police. No further details were released.

Cheryl A. Vagg, 53, of Warsaw, is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, 2nd offense in 10 years. Vagg was arrested at 5:22 p.m., Friday, by State Police on Ledge Road, Alabama. Vagg was jailed on cash bail. No further details were released.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 9:20 am

Mercy Flight responds to medical emergency at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs


Mercy Flight picked up a patient at the Batavia Downs parking lot around 9 a.m.

According to a witness, a man apparently fainted and fell off a truck at the Farmers' Market.

No further information is available.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:41 am

Weather: Temperatures in the 90s today, tomorrow and Thursday

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

It's going to be hot for the next few days, with highs in the 90s, humidity in the 50s and very little wind.

The National Weather Service is recommending that people avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

Ozone levels could pose a problem for people with respiratory problems (when ozone - naturally occurring in the upper atmosphere --  increases on the surface of the earth, there's less oxygen to breathe).

Temperatures are not expected to drop into the mid 80s until Friday, when a possible thunderstorm will hit the area.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

Muckdogs pick up win on the road, 9-6

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

Andrew Moss, perfect in his last outing, wasn't quite as perfect Monday night, but good enough to notch his third win of the season.

The Batavia Muckdogs beat Tri-Cities 9-6 behind the hitting of catcher Audris Perez, a  third-year pro out of the Dominican Republic. Perez had three hits, driving in four base runners.

Second baseman Colin Walsh had the team's only other multi-hit game with two singles. Walsh, a first-year pro from San Diego and a product of Stanford, recently joined the team from Johnson City.

For the second time of the season, Nick Longmire homered in the lead off spot. It was his fourth homer of the season.

Moss went 5 1/3 innings, surrendering three runs on three hits, but he also walked five batters.

Jose Rada fanned two hitters in the ninth to pick up his fourth save.

The Muckdogs are in Tri-Cities again tonight, have Wednesday off and start a three-game home stand Thursday against Connecticut.

Monday, July 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Weather: Heat, humidity and poor air quality

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The Weather Channel has issued an extreme heat alert for Genesee County, and the National Weather Service is warning of diminished air quality.

While the reported high temperature is 92 degrees, the heat index is 96. Humidity is 55 percent.

An air quality alert is in effect until 10 p.m.

The AQI (air quality index) exceeds 100 today, according to the weather service.

The higher the AQI the greater the health concern.

From the alert:


Monday, July 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

Police Beat: Second arrest made in alleged credit card theft

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

Melissa C. Kent, 18, of 131 State St., Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. Kent is accused of being with Kyle Monroe when he made purchases at a local store using an allegedly stolen credit card. Monroe is accused of stealing a credit card from a car on Gateway Drive on June 14.

Juanita Jackson, 53, of 214 Ellicott St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. While investigating a report of two children fighting, Officer Kevin DeFelice found that a 9-year-old had allegedly been left to care for a 3-year-old. The 3-year-old was reportedly left alone in the house. Jackson was located and arrested.

Annette C. Eleczko, 50, of Gilbert Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to dim headlights. Eleczko was stopped at 11:20 p.m., Saturday, on Route 77 in Pembroke by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Lisa Marie Elmore, 45, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to dim headlights. Elmore was stopped at 2:37 a.m., Sunday, on Route 33, Batavia, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Jamie Lynn Haseley, 25, of 30th Street, Niagara Falls, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving left of pavement markings. Haseley was stopped at 11:06 p.m. on Harlow Road, Darien, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Cheryl Adele Vagg, 53, of Warsaw, is charged with promoting prison contraband and unlawful possession of marijuana. Vagg was arrested at 3 a.m., Sunday. She was allegedly found to have marijuana in her purse while in Genesee County Jail.

Abram W. Harrison, 21, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs. Harrison was stopped at 9:57 p.m., Friday, in the Walmart parking lot by Deputy Chad Minuto.

Jarrett Tyler Pietrowski, 21, of Broadway Road, Lancaster, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, criminal possession of a controlled substance, improper right turn, failure to keep right. Pietrowski was stopped at 1:40 a.m., Saturday, on Route 20 in Darien by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Tashara Moore, 28, of Andrews Avenue, Cheektowaga, is charged with petit larceny.  Moore and James Alfred Hicks, 40, of Andrews Avenue, Cheektowaga, were detained by loss prevention officers at Kmart, where they were accused of trying to steal more than $450 in merchandise.

Adam James Robertson, 23, of Pennels Drive, Rochester, is charged with assault, 3rd. Robertson is accused of breaking the arm of another person while attending the Dave Matthews concert at Darien Lake on June 2.

Justin Mathew Forrester, 29, of Evergreen Circle, Fairport, was arrested in Monroe County on a family court warrant and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Robert J. VanPelt, 33, of Council House Road, Alabama, is charged with vehicular assault, 1st, DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. VanPelt's arrest stems from an investigation into a motor vehicle accident May 2 at 7605 Sandhill Road.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Gas line broken, fuel spill on Clinton Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Clinton Street

A gas line is broken at the gas station at 16 Clinton St., Batavia.

Fuel is spilling.

City Fire is responding.

UPDATE 7:44 p.m: There's about 30 gallons of gas on the ground. The line has been shut off.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Four arrests and eight citations at Darien Lake's Lynyrd Skynyrd concert

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake

The following arrests and citations were made in conjunction with the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert July 3 at Darian Lake.

William H. Chapple, 42, of Pine Street, Lockport, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful possession of marijuana. Chapple is accused of allegedly possessing a quantity of marijuana and attempting to destroy it. While being processed he was reportedly found to be in possession of a controlled substance.

Lawrence P. Taylor, 37, of Main Street, Depew, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly throwing a cup containing alcohol onto another patron.

Dennis M. Moquin, 38, of Buffalo Street, Silver Creek, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly striking another person in the parking lot after the concert.

Eric J. Ronchi, 18, of Bay Road, Webster, is charged with petit larceny after allegedly stealing hot dogs and firewood from the General Store at Darien Lake.

The following citations were issued for alleged underage drinking:

David E. Bucholz, 18, of Briggs Avenue, Buffalo
Mario V. Tremblay, 19, of Wickman Road, Cattaraugus
Cody E. Sawyer, 19, of Mosher Highway Road, Cattaraugus
Chantelle L. Niemer, 18, of Greenleaf Lane, Cheektowaga
Chelsie L. Suttell, 19, of Penwood Drive, Cheektowaga
Marissa M. Floyd, 18, of Carol Drive, Cheektowaga
Nathan W. Studley, 18, of South Main Street, Cattaraugus
Kyle A. Wittrock, 19, of Stateland Road, Cattaraugus

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Dirt bike rider suffers leg injury in accident in Byron

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron

A 41-year-old dirt bike rider from Rochester was injured Saturday afternoon when he lost control of his bike while riding along abandoned railroad tracks in Byron.

Ernesto Rivera, of Portland Avenue, Rochester, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital following the 4:14 p.m. accident with a leg injury.

Rivera was reportedly riding along tracks known as the West Shore Tracks when his bike hit a knoll and he was ejected from the bike.

No other vehicles or people were involved in the accident. No citations were issued.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Photos: Area 51 Motocross

post by Howard B. Owens in area 51, motocross, sports


Today was race day at Area 51 Motocross. I thought it would be interesting to head out to the dirt bike track and snap a few photographs.

More pictures after the jump:

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 1:21 am

Photos: Fireworks at Dwyer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fireworks, photos


The Batavia Muckdogs provided the second of two July 4th Weekend fireworks shows after tonight's game.

Note: There is no home game July 4, so don't expect fireworks.

More pictures after the jump:

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 1:13 am

Muckdogs blanked 4-0 on fireworks night

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


There were plenty of fireworks at Dwyer Stadium tonight, unfortunately, they didn't come while any Muckdogs were at the plate.

Four Auburn pitchers shutdown Batavia's offense, as the Doubledays (8-8) picked up a 4-0 win over the home squad in front of more than 1,500 fans.

Starter Justin Edwards, of Guyton, Ga., and making his second swing through Batavia, held the Doubledays to only four hits in 5 2/3 innings, but he also walked three and the lone run he surrendered was enough to tag him with the loss.

Batavia is now 7-9, but trailed first place Jamestown (9-7) by only two games in the Pinckney Division.

The Muckdogs will be out of town for July 4, starting a three-game series against Tri-Cities.

The team returns home July 8 against Connecticut.

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Photos: 5th Annual Ramblefest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, photos, Ramble Music & Arts Fest


It was a beautiful day in Batavia, a beautiful day for the city's music and art lovers to come together for an afternoon and evening of music, art and games.

More photos after the jump:

Friday, July 2, 2010 at 10:07 am

Scott Doll Sentence: 15 years to life

post by Howard B. Owens in scott doll

UPDATED at 6:51 p.m. to expand a couple of quotes.

After a lengthy speech about the difficulty of finding a proper sentence for 48-year-old Scott F. Doll, convicted of killing Joseph Benaquist, Judge Robert C. Noonan imposed a 15 years to life sentence on the former corrections officer.

lawrence_friedman.jpgNoonan noted that Doll, who has no prior criminal record, is nearing 50 and that a 25-to-life sentence would probably mean Doll would die an old man in prison. He said he weighed that against the same sentence he might give to a much younger convicted murderer with a lengthy criminal record, and that man would be getting out of prison at age 50.

"I can't justify that in my mind," Noonan said. "Why would I permit a sentence on somebody who was a criminal before the act to look towards freedom in their later years and have somebody who was a 25-year corrections officer be denied parole because of the sentence I impose?"

Doll's attorney, Paul Cambria, said he thought the sentence was appropriate and praised Noonan's deliberative process throughout the trial.

"Judge Noonan displayed a tremendous amount of conscientious thought throughout the case and you can’t ask for more than that from a judge," Cambria said. "It was actually a pleasure trying a case here."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he believes Doll should be spending the rest of his life in prison.

"We’re advocates," Friedman said. "We’ve always believe in our side of the case and the position we take, just as I’m sure the defense does, but the judge as he indicated has a very difficult decision in case like this. I respect that and understand it."

Joe Benaquist's girlfriend, Judy Scott, also made a brief statement after the court hearing: "I wish it was life without parole. That’s what Joe got. It wasn’t enough, but I trust the judge and how he made his decision and how he came to his conclusions -- we honor that, but I wish Joe got the same option."

Judy Scott, Joe's son Michael Benaquist and Joe's sister Joanna Benaquist all made statements prior to sentencing.

Joe's sister broke down crying while reading her statement and a friend finished for her.

"It was a senseless murder -- over a car," Joanna said. "Now I know what other people go through. I‘m not the same person any more. I have so much hate in my heart."

Each of the attorneys also had an opportunity to tell Noonan what they thought was an appropriate sentence.

Friedman asked for the maximum sentence available, 25 years to life.

"He has shown he is worse than those he guarded as a corrections officer, and for what? It was all for money," Friedman said. "He has shown no remorse, no acceptance of responsibility."

paul_cambria.jpgPaul Cambria said he still believes Scott Doll is innocent and didn't ask for a specific sentence, but acknowledged that Noonan was bound by the verdict to pronounce a sentence.

"I still have faith in system and faith in the appellate system and I believe the appellate division will right this wrong that has occurred here," Cambria said.

For his part, when it came his turn to speak, a bearded Scott Doll proclaimed his innocence, while lashing out at the newspaper for not printing, according to him, crucial evidence in the case, at the Sheriff's Office for allegedly changing reports, and at the District Attorney, turning to him at one point, and raising his voice, accusing him of manipulating the system to get a conviction.

“I’m sickened of the fact that one person could have control of the outcome of a case like this, who can control a newspaper, who can put out whatever he wants to, who can have the Sheriff’s all change their reports, that to me shouldn’t even be legal,” said Doll.

“I didn’t commit this murder," He added.

“I can’t believe it is all over somebody putting a feather in their cap, to make a name for yourself to beat Mr. Paul Cambria. Well, I hope the feather in your cap is worth my life because I didn’t do this. I hope the newspaper also reports the fact that you could have crucial evidence that I didn’t do this and that there was evidence of somebody else being there."

After court, Cambria reiterated his intention to appeal the conviction and seek a new trial.

"There was a ruling here basically breaking new ground when the judge found a so-called emergency exception to the right to counsel," Cambria said. "It has not ever been in the law previously. It seems to me this is the kind of case where the appellate division would give it a strong look and we're quite confident they're going to reverse it and we will (try the case) again."

For full audio coverage, visit WBTA's story.

Friday, July 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

Bike-riding fundraiser arrested on sexual abuse charges

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

mug_gary_draper.jpgGary Draper, known throughout the community for his efforts to raise money for the American Diabetes Association while riding his three-wheel bike around Genesee County, will be arraigned this morning on felony sexual abuse charges.

Draper was arrested on a warrant yesterday following a Batavia Police Department investigation.

Det.Todd Crossett stressed this morning that none of Drapers alleged victims were children he met while fundraising. Two of children, between ages 9 and 12, were family members and a third was a family friend.

"We believe he victimizes those he has easy access to," Crossett said.

Draper is facing three counts of sexual abuse, 1st, five counts of criminal sexual act, 1st, and two counts of sexual abuse, 2nd.

He is accused of abusing the children between August 2008 and May 2009.

Draper has no prior criminal record.

Since 1995, Draper has been riding a bike around Genesee County and into Wyoming, Orleans and Erie counties, to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. In April, he told The Batavian he had raised more than $110,000.

UPDATE: Draper was arraigned this morning. Since he was just arrested, he initially did not have an attorney. After he was handed a copy of the Grand Jury indictment, he told Judge Robert Noonan that he couldn't read. Noonan immediately assigned Jerry Ader,  from the public defender's office, to represent him. After a recess, Draper entered a not guilty please and bail was set at $25,000.

(initial report)

Friday, July 2, 2010 at 8:07 am

Today's Deals: Larry's, Alex's, Delavan's, Center Street and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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


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