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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Council grapples again with landlord-tenant issues

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bob Bialkowski, city council, landlords

The responsibility for maintenance of property in the City of Batavia -- landlords or tenants -- was a topic of discussion again on Monday night during the City Council meeting.

council_bialkowski.jpgCouncilman Bob Bialkowski raised issues brought up at a recent Neighborhood Improvement Committee meeting, when City Court Judge Robert Balbick paid the committee a visit.

Bialkowski wanted to know if enforcement actions were being taken against the right people, and whether some matters might be better turned over to the police.

City Attorney George Van Nest and City Manager Jason Molino said most of the matters that reach a court hearing stage are targeted at the right people -- the landlords -- because they are "brick and mortar" issues.

Molino said 25 of the last 28 court cases the city has prosecuted have been for such structural issues as peeling paint, rain gutters, fire damage and roofs.

"That's something we to focus on," Van Nest said.

Now that summer is rolling around, there will be more attention paid to debris issues, Molino said, but letters will be sent to both tenants and landlords.

Molino said the city's efforts are paying dividends and that many landlords are working with the city to identify and address problems.

"The enforcement is happening, the compliance is happening, much faster than it has in the past," Molino said. "I think the system that we’re using, the accountability system, is really being followed."

Bialkowski said he would like to see city police and code enforcement work more closely with landlords on cases where a tenant has seemingly engaged in criminal conduct before vacating an apartment or house.

"The judge thought some of these might be taken up as a criminal matter because they are so malicious," Bialkowski said. "I remember a couple of yeas ago, a friend of mine did serve an eviction notice on a tenant and he showed me pictures of the aftermath – this was way beyond civil – they just basically destroyed this entire dwelling. We need to look at possibly some communication with the police and code enforcement on what is the best way to handle this."

Molino said the police will look at possible criminal matters, but building an actual criminal case can be difficult and, after the meeting, Chief Randy Baker agreed.

"We have a level of proof to meet before it’s a criminal matter," Baker said. "One is, was it intentionally done or recklessly done? Then it’s a matter of identifying who did the damage. We can’t always meet all those criteria, so sometimes we can’t file the criminal charges."

Molino also noted that keeping a property in compliance is also a landlord responsibility because it's the landlord who approved the tenant in the first place. He suggested that local landlords do a better job of communicating with each other about bad tenants.

"Some of the responsibility ultimately falls on the landlord in these cases to do their proper review, their proper screening on tenants and the history of tenants," Molino said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:27 am

Batavia council turns to Albany for sex offender residency requirements

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sex offenders

council_vannest460.jpg

A strongly worded resolution asking Albany to restrict where convicted sex offenders can live is the extent of the action the city can take on the issue, the Batavia City Council agreed last night.

The council, by unanimous consent, asked city staff to draft a resolution and bring it to the council's next conference meeting for discussion.

"To pass a law just to pass a law that we know won’t take effect, just seems like futile effort," Council President Marianne Clattenburg said.

City Attorney George Van Nest informed the council that state law preempts the council's ability to pass a local law restricting where Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders can live. He said such a law would not likely withstand a court challenge.

council_christian.jpgWhile state laws do not specifically spell out where sex offenders can live relative to schools, playgrounds, churches and daycare centers, state law does give the power to parole and probation divisions to set restrictions on sex offenders, on a case-by-case basis.

The council's inability to pass a local law was disappointing to Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, who has been pushing for passage of such a law since she started receiving complaints about a Level 3 sex offender living in her ward. She said she was ready to take the chance that a local law would get challenged.

"It's for our children," she said.

Clattenburg read a column from the Albany Times-Union that listed a number of legislative attempts to pass bills that more specifically restricted where Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders can live, but all of the bills failed to get Assembly or Senate support.

"The failure of the state to act on these things -- and obviously there’s been enough interest in that all these things have been proposed and not acted on -- really has left municipalities such as ours with our hands tied," Clattenburg said.

Councilman Bill Cox first proposed a resolution be sent to Albany, and Councilman Bob Bialkowski made the point that not all sex offenders are pedophiles. He said it's up to parents, friends and neighbors to be on the look out for unusual behavior.

He noted that it isn't always possible to know when a convicted criminal from another state is in Batavia.

“We have to watch for strange people where they shouldn’t be," Bialkowski said. "That’s the bottom line.”

Photos: Top, Van Nest, right with City Manager Jason Molino; Inset, Rose Mary Christian.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

Police Beat: Alexander man accused of stealing gas

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime

Jacob James Meinhold, 19, of 2537 Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is charged with two counts each of petit larceny, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Meinhold is accused of trespassing on the property of U.S. Gypsum, 2754 Pike Road, Alexander, and on two separate occasions, of breaking a lock and stealing fuel. The first alleged incident was on March 23 and the second on March 28. On April 16, it was reported that Meinhold was involved in an alleged burglary.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:19 am

Today's Poll: Do you support free trade?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:30 am

Today's Deals: Pudgie's, Color Salon, Adam Miller, Sallome's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Get started on your spring gardening projects. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

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 five weeks of yoga, a $50 value, for $25.

The Mane Attraction, 99 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: The Mane Attraction is a spa and salon offering pedicures, manicures, hair styling and massage. We have a $20 gift certificate 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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

The Color Salon, 35 Center St., Batavia, NY: Susan Francis, the owner and stylist at The Color Salon reminds women, "your hair is your greatest accessory." Francis has more than 20 years of experience helping women get the best hair color. We have a $50 gift certificate for $25.

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.

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.

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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Monday, April 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Murder charge brought against Elmira woman accused of killing Batavia baby

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

An Elmira woman accused of killing a toddler from Batavia has been indicted by a Chemung County grand jury on a charge of murder, 2nd.

Melissa S. Englehardt, 24, is also charged with manslaughter, 1st.

Twenty-one-month old Andrew John Cianfrini died while allegedly in Englehardt's care. He was found dead Nov. 10, 2009.

Englehardt is his stepmother, and she allegedly slipped methanol into his drink cup, causing his death.

The grand jury indictment says Englehard showed "a grave indifference to human life" as part of the murder, 2nd count.

She remains in a Chemung County jail and her bail has been increased from $20,000 to $100,000.

Andrew lived with his mother, Kristen Cianfrini, in Batavia.

The child's father is George Englehardt.

Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Gulls at Latina's market a nuisance again this year

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, gulls, Latina's

seagulls.jpg

There are times you can stand in the parking lot next to the vacant Latina's market and swear that you were on the film set of  The Birds. The screeching gulls seem to get louder and grow in number.

But rather than swoop down and pluck your eyes out, these feathered varmints are more likely to poop on your car.

And those droppings have area residents complaining once again, but to little avail. 

According to City Manager Jason Molino, there is no city ordinance that the property owner is violating by allowing gulls to nest on the Latina's roof.

When the city had a problem with gulls on top of City Hall, it got a DEC permit to remove the gull eggs. Once the gulls can't nest on a roof, they look for another nesting location.

Last year, we are told, the Latina's owners didn't do anything about the gulls.

Vito Gautieri is a co-owner of the building. He hasn't returned the call The Batavian placed to his office on Thursday.

Monday, April 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Transition to private company for county's home-healthcare now complete

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, HCR, health, Nursing

A Rochester-based home-healthcare provider has completed its purchase of Genesee County's home nursing care program.

Home Care of Rochester, HCR, received what's known as a "certificate of need" from the State Department of Health, which is required for it to provide both long-term and short-term home nursing for Genesee County patients.

Since March of 2009, when HCR acquired the program from the county for $1.5 million, HCR has been operating in Genesee County under the county's certificate of need.

With the purchase, HCR replaces the county-owned program. HCR will now handle all acute, longer-term, therapy and home health-aide services for patients receiving insurance coverage via Medicare or Medicaid.

HCR also provides care through private insurance.

Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

Police Beat: Brooklyn man reportedly arrested for fourth time at College Village

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Joshua Cordero McIver, 22, of 130 Third Ave., Apt. 18H, Brooklyn, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. McIver is accused of entering Pine Hall at College Village after being banned from the premises. He was jailed on $1,000 bail. Last week, McIver was arrested for allegedly trespassing at College Village. At the beginning of April, McIver was arrested for allegedly trespassing at College Village. In January, a Joshua C. McIver was arrested at College Village and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Devonte Andreas Rolle, 18, of 136 Bank St., Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Rolle allegedly made a threatening phone call to a person. After the phone call, Rolle allegedly punched that same person in the face several times. Rolle was arrested by Deputy Frank Bordonaro on Haven Lane in the Town of Batavia at 6:40 p.m., Saturday.

Ryan David Wood, 18, of 6 Prospect Ave., Batavia, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Wood is accused of hosting an underage drinking party at 8219 Prole Road Extension, Stafford. He was arrested at 1:04 a.m., Saturday by Deputy Jason Saile.

Kyle Ramone Lewis, 23, of 253 Albermarle St., Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Lewis was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office by Erie County Correctional Dept. to answer charges out of the town of Batavia and Byron. Following arraignment in Byron, he was arraigned in Batavia. Byron Court set bail at $250 and Batavia set bail at $100.

Andrew John Rock, 23, of 7 Fisher Park, upper, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana, and controlled substance not in the original container. Rock was stopped by Deputy Patrick Reeves at 8:06 p.m., Friday, on Route 33, Stafford. Reeves found Rock allegedly in possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, hydrocodone and marijuana.

Jacob Edmend Lamberston, 21, no permanent address, is accused of being a fugitive from justice. Lamberston was arrested by Le Roy Police after being found in an apartment by Sgt .Michael Hare, who was investigating an unrelated matter. A check of records found that Lamberston is allegedly wanted in Seminole, Fla., for a violation of probation.

Jesse Eric Reidel, 18, of 2605 Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is charged with burglary, 3rd. Reidel is accused of using force to enter the Oil Doctor, 4003 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, where he allegedly stole vehicle-inspection stickers. The alleged break-in occurred on Dec. 7 around 10 p.m.

Michael J. Walters, 49, of Lackawanna, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Walters was stopped by State Police at 9:46 p.m., Saturday, on Angling Road in Pembroke.

Lindsey L. Palmeri, 20, of Rochester, and Richard L. Jackson, 22, of Rochester, are both charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Palmeri and Jackson were stopped by State Police on Route 77, Pembroke, at 4:05 p.m., Friday.

Accidents from the State Police blotter:

5:50 p.m., April 24, Sandpit Road, Alexander, one vehicle; Driver 1: Melissa Sachanowski, 26, of Alexander. No injuries reported.

10:59 a.m., April 23, Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, two vehicles: Driver 1: Aken V. Wariebi, 44, of Rochester; Driver 2: David M. Baran, 44, of Williamsville. One injury reported.

6:16 p.m., April 24, mile marker 401.5, eastbound Thruway, Pembroke, one vehicle; Driver 1: Thomas A. LaBelle, 41, of Wynanstkill. No injuries reported.

12:23 a.m., April 25, mile marker 384.4, westbound Thruway, Stafford, one vehicle; Driver 1: Mark A. Halla, 53, of Amherst.

Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

National Grid planning emergency repair in area of Ross and Main

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, East Main Street, National Grid, Ross Street

Batavia Police have been notified that sometime in the next hour, National Grid will need to shut off the electricity at the intersection of Ross and East Main streets for an emergency repair.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Photos: Driving in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, Bethany, genesee county, photos

driveday01a.jpg

You know if I'm out in the towns, I'm going to be looking for barn pictures.  This one I found on Bethany Center Road.

After the jump are more pictures I took today as I drove between Batavia and Genesee County Park.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Photos: Earth Day in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in Arbor Day, Earth Day, genesee county, photo

earthday09a.jpg

City and county officials were heading up Earth Day/Arbor Day activities at three locations in Genesee Park. At Austin Park, the city hosted a park clean-up day. At Dewitt Recreation Area, volunteers and children were out to clean up the park, plant trees and post birdhouses, and at Genesee County Park, volunteers were on hand to clean up the trails.

After the jump are more pictures:

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Accident at Exit 48, Thruway

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke, thruway

An accident has been reported on the eastbound off-ramp, Exit 48, of the Thruway. There are apparently injuries.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire are responding.

UPDATE 5:28 p.m.: Pembroke fire chief reports one victim with a shoulder injury. The patient is trapped in the car, but extrication is not possible until traffic is under control.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Registering on The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

The only reason registration on The Batavian is required is if you want to leave a comment or create a blog post or post a classified.

The majority of people who register never do any of the above, which is fine. I think many people register just because they like being affiliated with the site.

However, because registration is tied to participation, we require people to register using their real names. We expect people making comments and creating blog posts to do so using their real names.

I've got a good deal more sophisticated in how I spot registrations where people do not seem to be using their real names.

As it stands right now, I'm caught up on registration review and approval. If your account didn't get approved, the reason would be that I don't believe you were registering using your real name.

One reason I'm posting this is because I got a nasty e-mail from somebody this morning complaining because his attempts to register never get approved. Of course, the person was using a fake return e-mail address and not his real name to complain ... gee, wonder why his registration never gets approved ...

For all of those who did get approved -- welcome to The Batavian. Thank you for joining us.

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

CASA honors its volunteers

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, batavia, CASA, volunteers

From Tara Pariso:

Genesee County CASA for Children, Inc. would like to thank all of its volunteer advocates. Not only is this National Volunteer Appreciation Week,  but our advocates deserve recognition all year long for their hard work,  dedication, and caring for the abused and neglected children in Genesee  County.  The work the advocates do can be stressful, heart wrenching, and  trying at times, but in the end knowing that you are advocating for a child  in need is what makes it worth it.  A huge Thank You to all of the CASA's in  Genesee County.

*In picture: Tara Pariso, Executive Director, Thelma Montreal, Deborah Davis,  Peggy Lamb, Eric Friedhaber, Linda Buzzell, and Donna Machowiak.  Not  pictured: Lisa Cochrane, Fran Moyles, Irene McNutt, Diane Mills, Marilynn  Palotti, Amanda Rissinger, Dawn Jaszko.

 

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

City attorney advices council not to adopt sex offender residency law

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, crime, sex offenders

Because state law already regulates the residency of convicted sex offenders, Batavia cannot legally enact its own residency restriction, City Attorney George Van Nest informed the City Council this week.

In a memo included in the agenda package for Monday's City Council meeting, Van Nest said that because state law gives the Division of Parole and Division of Probation the responsibility of establishing residency restrictions, local governments are preempted from establishing their own rules.

The state Constitution specifically prohibits local governments from passing laws that are already covered in New York statutes.

Van Nest cited several cases that have invalidated local laws for sex offender residency, and noted that none of the cases have been heard by an appeals court.

"Based on the foregoing," Van Nest writes in the conclusion, "although passage of a local law may be viewed in isolation to have merit, a comprehensive scheme of New York State statutes already exist in this area and such State legislation will be viewed as a basis to find preemption. In addition, there are significant constitutional challenges that might be brought against a local law adopting residency restrictions.

"Therefore, in the event the law is passed, enforcement action is taken by the City and a third party challenges the law, it is likely that the City will be forced to expend resources defending a local law that will ultimately be deemed in effective by a reviewing court."

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm

State's top judge says juvenile probation system should be changed

post by Howard B. Owens in courts, genesee county

chiefjudge04a.jpg

The judiciary should take over administration of probation departments in New York, especially juvenile programs, New York's top judge told a gathering of Genesee County's legal community today at the County Courthouse.

New York State Chief Judge, Hon. Jonathan Lippman, said studies show that the state's juvenile facilities -- where young offenders are housed -- are making the problems of juvenile crime worse, not better.

"The results of those investigations are that those facilities become high schools for crime," Lippman said. "In these detention facilities, kids who didn’t necessarily commit a very high level of crime, not the equivalent of a felony, but a kind of misdemeanor, and you send them there and they come back criminals."

In response to a question from Julie Smith, head of Genesee County's Probation Department, Lippman went further and said not only should juvenile probation be administered by the judiciary-- a change which is already being debated in the State Legislature -- but adult probation, too.

Lippman said the state judiciary wants to ensure that probation leads to better outcomes. He used the judiciary's experience with drug courts as an example of how judges are trained to work with defendants to guide them toward reform rather than a life of crime.

"A judge oversees their recovery from their addiction(s) and makes them useful citizens again instead of having them come into court over and over...until they commit a real serious crime and then we throw away the key," Lippman said.

Among other reforms Lippman discussed is giving the state's judges their first raise in a decade. He said if members of the judiciary don't get raises, it will be harder to attract top-notch legal minds to the bench. 

Lippman also said it's important to keep funding levels up for legal representation for indigent people involved in civil cases.

In lawsuits where a person's very well-being is at stake, such as potentially losing a house, a court-appointed attorney is vital for those who cannot afford one. Lippman says that that person's legal representation is just as important as it is for indigents needing counsel in a criminal-defense case.

In previous years, the state's fund for civil legal services was financed from interest on various investment accounts, but with the dip in the economy those funds have dried up.  So Lippman said the judiciary is setting aside $15 million from its budget to fill the gap.

Below, Stephen Wieczorek receives an award, with his grandson in attendance, from Judge Lippman.

chiefjudge01.jpg

More pictures after the jump.

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 7:44 am

Today's Deals: It really is Friday now

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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