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Howard B. Owens's blog

Monday, November 15, 2010 at 9:05 am

Today's Deals: Present Tense, Carlson's Studio, Pudgie's, Main St., and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Present Tense Books and Gifts, 101 Washington Ave., Batavia, NY: Whether your taste runs to local authors, the finest in fiction or nonfiction or you're looking for a unique and special gift, this charming store in a cozy Victorian house on the edge of downtown is a great place to stop and shop. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Christmas is coming! Now is the time to get your holiday portraits. We have a $150 gift card for $75 (+$2 PayPal Service fee).

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Fall decorations are in as well as a big selection of spring bulbs. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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.

Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Pizza, wings, subs and even hamburgers and hot dogs, Main St. Pizza makes everything deliciously. 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.

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.

Red Osier, Route 5, Stafford, NY: Truly, one of the landmark restaurants of the area. Red Osier features prime rib carved table side. We have $25 gift certificates 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.

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: Fall colors. Fall flowers. Brighten your home or office. We have a $20 gift certificate for $9.50.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga, 13 classes, a $36 value, for $18.

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.

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

Oliver's Candies


The Enchanted Florist

Clor's Meat Market


Stafford Trading Post


Settler's Restaurant


Red Osier


Pudgie's Lawn and Garden


Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles


Blue Pearl Yoga

Carlson's Studio



Present Tense Books


South Main Country Gifts


Main St. Pizza Company


Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:15 am

Stove fire reported at home on Drake Street Road

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire

A stove fire is being reported at 4325 Drake St. Road, Elba.

Elba and Town of Batavia fire departments are  being dispatched.

UPDATE 12:18 a.m.: Smoke in the residence. Fire was in a self-cleaning oven and it appears to be out. Town of Batavia Engine 24 returning to the station.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:34 am

Red Chevy Impala reportedly stolen from Pringle Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A resident on Pringle Avenue has asked for police to respond to his house.

He says he came home to find his house broken into.  The only thing missing are his keys and his red Chevy Impala.

UPDATE 6:51 a.m.: The car has been located.  The owner's brother borrowed it.  The owner's brother sent a text message saying he was borrowing it, but the owner didn't read the text message.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 11:43 pm

First loss of year for Le Roy girls comes in regional championship game

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, volleyball


A perfect season came to a disappointing end for the Le Roy Girls Volleyball Team Saturday as they suffered their first lost of 2010 in a regional championship game at Genesee Community College.

Le Roy (21-1) lost to Section VI Champions Falconer High School (from near Jamestown) three games to one by scores of 25-21, 24-26, 25-23 and 25-19.

Katlyn Tyler had 21 kills and 20 digs for Le Roy. Megan Condidorio had 22 assists and 18 digs.


Six more photos after the jump -- and we have more than 30 photos available for purchase by clicking here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Accident with injury reported at Park and Veterans Memorial Drive

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A two-car accident with an injury is reported at the intersection of Park Road and Veterans Memorial Drive, Town of Batavia.

The accident is reportedly blocking the intersection.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

Family of Baby Andrew still shocked by manslaughter, rather than murder, verdict

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Andrew Cianfrini, crime


When the verdict was pronounced, all Kristen Cianfrini could do was cry.

Melissa Engelhardt, who in her mind, had murdered her 21-month-old son, Andrew Cianfrini, was getting away with it.

Even though experts had told Kristen a manslaughter rather than a murder verdict was possible, especially from a reportedly liberal Chumung County judge who would render the decision in a non-jury trial, she didn't want to believe it.

"I just pushed it out of my mind," Kristen said. "I just thought the evidence was there."

And according to Ed Minardo, director of Genesee Justice, who sat with Kristen through the entire trial, it was.

"How can somebody put poison in a sippy cup and over the next 24 hours watch a baby get sicker and not take him to the hospital and that not be depraved indifference?" said Minardo.

George Engelhardt, Melissa's husband, didn't know what his wife was up to, according to testimony, and Melissa resisted his attempts to get her to take Andrew to the hospital. He didn't know Andrew had been poisoned.

"He was devastated (by the verdict)," Minardo said.

Kristen said her former boyfriend and Andrew's father tried to divorce Melissa after Andrew's death, but couldn't because she was pregnant with the couple's second child.

George Engelhardt doesn't currently have a phone. We've contacted him through Facebook seeking comment.

Judge Peter C. Buckley took more than an hour to read his verdict, meticulously going through his reasoning, while the supporters of Andrew Cianfrini grew increasingly fearful as Buckley's line thinking started to become clear.

"It got to the point where it was just like, 'Get it over with and let us get out of here,'" Minardo said. "It was tortuous."

Minardo said Buckley skipped right past evidence that 24-year-old Englehardt had discussed with friends how to poison a toddler, and that she had researched through Google how to poison a baby.

According to Minardo, the judge said that Engelhardt was unable to comprehend the articles she found online because she only has a GED-level education.

Minardo said Buckley put a lot of stock in the fact that Engelhardt had read that convulsions would proceed death in a methanol poisoning, ignoring statements in the same article that death is likely if a person ingests methanol.

"He used the evidence he wanted to support the conclusion he wanted to arrive at," Minardo said.

Engelhardt's whole idea of poisoning Andrew started with the thought, according to Minardo, that she could some how pin it on Kristen. Even if Andrew didn't die, she could get Kristen labeled an unfit and neglectful parent. Then George and Melissa could gain sole custody, and George would no longer be required to pay child support.

If the Elmira resident had been convicted of murder, she could have been locked away for more than 25 years, possibility for life. With a manslaughter conviction, the sentence range is five to 25 years.

"Andrew's not coming back," said his grandmother, Jean Cianfrini. "There is no justice, no matter how long she gets. But if she only gets give years, I don't think this family can handle it."

Minardo is hoping many people from Genesee County write letters to the Chumung County Probation Department asking that Melissa Engelhardt receive a long, if not the maximum sentence. The department is preparing the required report that Buckley will review prior to sentencing.

Minardo said the community could make a difference.

"The fact that he did not find her guilty of murder second doesn't mean he needs to be lenient in the sentence Melissa gets," Minardo said.

A long prison sentence, Kristen said, would help restore some of her damaged faith in the criminal justice system.

Engelhardt is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, in Elmira.

Letters for presentencing review can be sent to: 

Brian Dupont
Re: People v. Melissa Engelhardt
Chumung County Probation Department
203 Williams St.
Elmira, NY 14091

Photo: Jean Cianfrini, left, Kristen Cianfrini and Ed Minardo.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 9:33 am

Batavia's newest diner set to open on Monday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street Road, Fedora Diner


It's been a lot of work, but Fedora Diner, at 4974 Ellicott St. Road, Batavia (the former Beehive location) is finally ready to open, according to owner Alice Buckel.

The diner will open Monday, but it's just a soft opening for the first few days. The diner will offer only baked goods and coffee. A full hot-breakfast menu will be served once any kinks in operations get ironed out.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Accident with injuries reported in Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama

A two car accident with injuries is reported in the area of 7415 Reuben Road, Alabama.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS being dispatched.

UPDATE 10:14 p.m.: A second ambulance is requested to the scene.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Local Dem arrested after Republican legislator accuses him of harassing phone call

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Chris Charvella, crime, Jerome Grasso, politics

County Legislator Jay Grasso says he felt threatened by online postings, and one phone call, from a member of the County Democratic Committee and so he called State Police.

file_chris_charvella.jpgYesterday, 30-year-old Chris Charvella -- a former candidate for the legislature himself and a frequent contributor to The Batavian -- was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd, a misdemeanor.

Today, Grasso said that he felt Charvella had gone too far with some of his postings, but when Jay got a call from his wife, who said she felt fearful after a phone call from Charvella, he couldn't just laugh it off.

"I don't view it as a joke once you call my wife and upset my wife," Grasso said. "When you call my house and threaten my wife, that's going too far in local politics."

The complaint against Charvella reads:

On the aforementioned date, time and place, said defendant did contact the residence of Jerome J. Grasso by leaving a message. The message stated "Hey, Jerome, it's Chris Charvella, thanks for reading my blog."

The complaint is signed by Jay Grasso.

The alleged message is the same one Charvella said he left in a blog item about troopers showing up at his house that he posted on his own website yesterday at 7:55 a.m., more than 24 hours before his arrest.

Today, Charvella, who lost a legislative race to Republican Hollis Upson in 2009, made a two-sentence statement to The Batavian: "You can decide whether or not there is something illegal in there. I obviously don't think so."

The genesis of this particular dispute goes back to just a few days before the Nov. 2 election. Charvella wrote in a blog post that he had shown up to work that morning and found a lawn sign for Republican Mike Ranzenhofer's campaign on his employer's property. He speculated that Grasso had left the sign, giving him the alias, "Sharome Glasshole."

Charvella concluded his post thusly:

"So, to the Genesee County 'sign guy' and the Ranzenhofer campaign: The next time I see an unauthorized sign go up in front of a commercial property, I'm going to harvest the damn thing, march straight down to Republican headquarters and cram it up the first ass I see."

The next day, according to another blog post by Charvella, a Ranzenhofer sign was left in his front yard with a message, "Courtesy of Sharome Glasshole."

It was that message, according to Charvella, that prompted the phone message on Glasso's home phone.

In that post, Charvella raised a number of allegations about Grasso, accusing him of not having a job to pay his bills, having a house go into foreclosure and assaulting a subject while a Sheriff's deputy.

Those are allegations Grasso has heard before and he said today that he can prove he was the victim of identify theft and he is fully prepared for local Democrats to try and use those allegations against him.

Charvella's post concludes with a picture of an Ewok (of "Star Wars" movie fame) and the caption "Prepare Your Anus."

That was a remark that Grasso said he found threatening, adding that the alleged threats have no place in local politics.

"This is local," Grasso said. "We all know each other. We don't need this partisanship. Hopefully, (this case) will cause people to reflect and step back from the politics of destruction."

Photo: File photo of Charvella.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 8:47 am

Police Beat: Alleged domestic incident outside Days Inn leads to arrest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Robert J. Probst, 30, of 301 Oak St., Batavia, is charged with coercion, 2nd, and obstructing government administration, 2nd. Probst was reportedly involved in a domestic incident at Days Inn at 4:48 p.m., Wednesday. During the incident, a victim reportedly locked him or herself in a car. Probst allegedly displayed a knife and threatened to damage the car if it was not unlocked. When police responded, Probst allegedly fled on foot and was caught minutes later (perhaps in the area of Bob Evans restaurant). Probst was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Joshua A. Harris, 21, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Harris was allegedly on the property of a protected person. Police located Harris a short distance away and took him into custody. Harris was also wanted on a warrant out of Batavia City Court for a previous alleged incident of criminal contempt. He was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 8:39 am

E-mail: A message for Batavia from a Vietnam Vet

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans

We just received this e-mail that I thought worth sharing:

I kept it to myself for many years that I was a Vietnam Veteran. When I went to 2 Pow Wow's with my Native American girlfriend last year in Florida, as we are snowbirds, I was delighted to be a veteran, as the Native Americans really treat the veterans with great respect.

On Thursday 11, Nov. 2010, I took my turn standing guard at the monument in Batavia. Never in my life did I expect the glory I received that day. It really made me proud to be a veteran again. People I never met came up to me with coffee, water, and snacks. The people that waved to me in cars, trucks, and semis overwhelmed me.

Then people would roll down their windows to thank me for being a Vietnam Vet. I know people have said this many times, that we did not get the welcome home we deserved due to our country being divided in turmoil. I now know what great meaning it is to be a veteran of the United States.

Being in such a great mood while eating supper in The Vets Club in Brockport, there was this young lad that kept admiring my boonie hat. Well after eating and getting ready to leave, I took off my hat pins and gave that boy my hat. I knew I had to do this in return for all the thanks I received from the Batavia residents. Then when talking to this boy's father and grandmother, I found out he was up here from North Carolina waiting for his grandfather's ashes to be sent up here so they could have a funeral. His grandfather was also a vet.

So now, I do not hang my head in shame for being a Vietnam Veteran, but walk with it high in the air. I bleed with all my fellow vets. If you do not belong to either a VFW, an American Legion, or some sort of vets club, do please come out of your shell and join one now. It is very good therapy as I found out. Again, I want to thank the community of Batavia for the great thank yous and waves you gave me on Thursday 11, November 2010.

Bob Polle
(U.S. Navy Retired)
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 193

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 8:10 am

Photo: South Jackson Street tree

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, South Jackson Street


There's a really interesting, twisted, gnarly old tree at the end of South Jackson Street by the railroad tracks. I dropped by there yesterday looking for a photograph.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Photos: Le Roy girls volleyball regional playoff victory

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, volleyball


I finally finished editing and processing the pictures from Wednesday night's victory for the Le Roy girls volleyball game in their regional playoff match (story).

More pictures after the jump.

Photos can be purchased -- at our revised, lower pricing sheet with more options -- by clicking here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Alexander responding to reported fire in area of Walker Road

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, fire

A fire has been reported in the area Walker and Hickox roads, Alexander.

The initial call was for a trailer fire.

First responders believe it's an unattended controlled burn.

Alexander Fire was dispatched. Town of Batavia's Ladder 25 was initially dispatched, but then asked to remain in quarters while the fire was investigated.

UPDATE 8:26 p.m.: Chief reports it's a controlled burn. "It's not going anywhere." All units back in service. The chief requests that a Sheriff's deputy contact the landowner and "advise him it shouldn't be done."

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Unknown type fire reported in woods off Wilkinson Road near Route 33

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, east pembroke, fire

An unknown type fire has been reported in the woods off Wilkinson Road near Route 33, Batavia.

A first responder reports that "it's a pretty good size fire."

East Pembroke Fire is responding.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Photos: Veterans Day 2010

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Veterans Day


Area veterans gathered in Batavia today to honor the men and women who serve or have served in the United States military.

There were ceremonies at the VA Center, the Upton Monument and the Jerome Center.



More pictures after the jump:

(Reprints of these and more pictures from today are available by clicking here.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Man accused of running firewood scam

post by Howard B. Owens in crime

A logger working in Genesee County is accused of accepting payment for a load of firewood but never delivering it to a Bergen-based firewood processor.

David Henry Isabell, 42, of Liverpool, was charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and jailed on $5,000 bail.

Isabell allegedly accepted $6,200 in payment on Aug. 10 for 10 log loads of wood. The victim reportedly never received the loads.

The case was investigated by Deputy Chad Minuto and Deputy John Duyssen.

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