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Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Suspect in alleged Alabama meth lab succumbs to heart attack

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime, methamphetamine

One of the three suspects in an alleged meth lab operation uncovered in November died May 17.

At the time of this death, charges were still pending against Kenneth Mosholder, 45, as well as the other two defendants in the case, Dustin R. Benham, 20, of Darien and Denise Montgomery, 41, of Batavia.

Mosholder's obituary was published on The Batavian by Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home yesterday. We confirmed today with the Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo that the obituary was for the same Mosholder charged in the case.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said only that, "the case is proceeding."

Mosholder, according to the obituary, suffered a heart attack.

Local law enforcement as well as the DEA announced a raid on a property in Alabama on Nov. 12. It was one of five suspected meth labs uncovered in the county over a couple of months late in 2009. The property was auctioned off in March for back taxes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

Prominent Batavia-area eye surgeon passes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, obituaries, University Eye Specialists

alan_siegel.jpgDr. Alan L. Siegel died Wednesday evening, according to an obituary posted by Michael Tomaszewski this morning.

The 57-year-old Siegel was a partner in University Eye Specialists, located on Summit Street in Batavia.

The obituary notes that Siegel had been under the care of hospice.

According to the company website, Dr. Siegel received his BA from Colgate University, an MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and performed his residency at Boston University Medical Center. Dr. Siegel specialized in cataract, eye muscle and laser surgeries.

No further details are available at this time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

Landmark Society presents annual art awards

post by Howard B. Owens in Landmark Society of Genesee County


Fourth-graders countywide competed recently in the 20th Annual Architectural Drawing contest sponsored by the Landmark Society of Genesee County.

The winners were (pictured below):  Stephanie Hoy, 1st Place; Courtney Powers, 2nd Place; Allison Gallup, 3rd Place. Also pictured in the back, Laurie Oltremari, Landmark Society president and Jackie Swinarski, contest coordinator.


Second- and third-place pictures after the jump:

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:27 am

Driver says brakes failed, causing accident that sent her to the hospital

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama, Le Roy

A Le Roy woman said her brakes failed, causing her to enter the intersection at Ledge Road and Route 77 in Alabama, resulting in a two-car accident Tuesday that sent her to the hospital.

Injured was Sarah Scott, 21, of Oatka Trail, Le Roy. She was transported by ambulance to UMMC with "complaint of pain" injuries.

At 3:55 p.m., Tuesday, Scott was reportedly driving her 1990 Buick sedan eastbound on Ledge Road when she failed to stop at the intersection with Route 77.

She told Sgt. Greg Walker, who investigated the accident, that her brakes failed. Walker reported that a check of the vehicle showed it was low on brake fluid, but the brakes appeared operational.

Scott was issued a traffic citation.

The driver of the other vehicle, 53-year-old Maryann Ander of Medina, was not injured in the accident.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

Police Beat: Home Depot employee accused of stealing $2K

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

Grace Anne Stewart, 50, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Stewart is accused of stealing more than $2,000 in cash over a seven-month period while working at Home Depot.

James Matthew Rodriguez, 30, of Spring Road, Brockport is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Rodriguez was stopped by Town of Ogden Police and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on a warrant.

Michael John Coffta, 18, of Burns Road, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under 21. During a school-requested K-9 sniff search of school grounds at Oakfield-Alabama High School, the K-9 reportedly alerted on Coffta's vehicle.

Micheal J. Hodgins, 50, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI with no prior offense. Hodgins was arrested by State Police at 11:40 p.m., Tuesday, on Pearl Street in Batavia.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 7:49 am

Today's Deals: Present Tense, T.F. Brown's, Center Street, Herbly Wonderful, 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.

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.

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.

Herbly Wonderful, 3701 Pearl St., Batavia, NY: Unique specialties for your home and garden, from floral arrangements, to heirloom vegetables, herbs, teas and spices. 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.

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. A great Valentine's gift!

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


Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Batavia Lions present annual student awards

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, batavia, Batavia Lions Club, civic clubs


From the Batavia Lions:

The Batavia Lions Club recently presented its annual scholarships and awards to several local students at a ceremony held at the Batavia Party House.

Each spring, several graduating seniors at Batavia High School and Notre Dame High School apply for these scholarships, are interviewed by a committee of Lions Club members, and are chosen by the committee to receive $1,000 Scholarships.

In addition, selected students from both schools are awarded the Arthur Roth Fine Arts Award and the Bill Cook Scholar-Athlete Award.

A final award is the Batavia Lions Club Award in Communications which is awarded to a Genesee Community College student in memory of two former Batavia Lions and local media legends – Paul Bostwick, the former managing editor of the Batavia Daily News and James H. Gerrety, the former News Director of WBTA.

During the high school football season each fall, members of the Batavia Lions Club man the refreshment stands at both the Batavia and Notre Dame High School home football games to sell snacks. All of the proceeds are used exclusively for the scholarship and awards program.

The primary aim of Lionism is best expressed in our motto, “We Serve.” Each year, Lions perform services and provide goods for thousands of people throughout the world. Lions Clubs are non-political, non-sectarian service organizations composed of community members from all walks of life. The Batavia Lions Club has 53 men and women who enjoy good fellowship while working to assist their fellow Batavians and to make Batavia a better community. We currently meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 PM at Bohn’s Restaurant.

For more information, please write Membership Chairman, Batavia Lion Club, P.O. Box 456, Batavia, NY 14020 or simply speak to any member. The Batavia Lions Club congratulates all of these fine students as well as their parents and wishes them the very best in all of their future endeavors. It is comforting to know that our future rests in the very capable and talented hands of such outstanding young people.



Top photo: This year’s Lions Club Scholarship winners are Melissa Levins, BHS, Woodams “Woody” Clark, ND, Kristen Drilling, BHS, Benjamin Nowacki, GCC, Carissa Hyde, BHS, Erin Dobbertin, BHS, and Nichole Hart, ND.

Bottom photo: This year’s Bill Cook Scholar-Athlete Awards were presented to Matthew Hoye, BHS and Matthew Thompson, ND. The Art Roth Fine Arts Awards were presented to Angel Ramos, BHS, and Erin Kruppner, ND. Erin is not pictured because she was away on a school sponsored fine arts field trip to New York City.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Woman gets bit by dog after allegedly starting fight in neighbor's yard

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, crime, dogs, East Main Street

"Scruffy" just did what his breed is wont to do when a person in his care is assaulted -- he attacked the aggressor.

An East Main Street woman was sent to UMMC around 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, after she allegedly went onto a neighbor's property and started fighting with a woman who was staying there.

Her leg was reportedly bitten pretty badly.

The woman whom "Scruffy" was reportedly protecting also suffered a dog bite, probably accidentally, when she tried pulling "Scruffy" off the other woman. She was also transported to UMMC.

When the incident started, "Scruffy" was quietly sitting on his own porch at 516 E. Main St., doing what he normally does -- just watching -- when the fight started. He jumped off the porch and attacked the woman who had allegedly come onto his property.

"Scruffy," if that's his real name, Sgt. John Peck wasn't 100 percent sure, is part pit bull.

Neither "Scruffy" nor his owner face any chargers since "Scruffy" did not leave his owner's property and didn't break any laws.

Peck said neighbors were familiar with the dog and described him as normally very friendly. The dog has no prior history of attacks or aggression. Peck said "Scruffy" was friendly with him when he approached.

Whether either of the women will be charged with any crime is unknown, Sgt. Peck said. The case is still open.

Peck said the women had been taunting each other recently, which seemed to precipate the alleged altercation last night.

The police are not releasing any names until and unless actual charges are filed.

(This is a follow up to this initial report.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Suspect said to make up story that led to Sheriff's search for second subject

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

After leading Sheriff's deputies on a two-hour wild goose chase, a 19-year-old man who said he had been living in Elba is in federal custody for allegedly re-entering the country illegally.

slusserroadsearch.jpgFredy Perez Cortes was found shortly after 12:15 p.m. wandering barefoot at the intersection of Slusser and Galloway roads in Oakfield.

A local resident had given him water, but then called the Sheriff's Office. When Deputy Brian Thompson arrived, Cortes allegedly fled into a nearby farm field and Thompson used his K-9 to chase him and corner him.

Cortes reportedly told Thompson that he and a friend had been in the area looking for work when their truck broke down. He said his friend was somewhere in the area looking for a car to steal.

More deputies responded to the area and began a search for a white pickup truck and a Mexcan male wearing sandles, a dark shirt and light blue pants.

When Cortes was searched following his apprehension, Thompson found a car key in his jeans' pocket.

After it was apparent there wasn't much about Cortes story that was checking out, Thompson remembered that earlier today a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am had been found in the West Batavia area near Donahue Road. It apparently had been involved in a property damage accident and had been towed to Parise's Automotive. Thompson took the key to the car and it fit.

Allegedly, Cortes had been driving the car, possibly after drinking, and then fled the scene of the accident. He then became lost in the Town of Oakfield and stopped at a farmhouse asking for water.

Thompson said he does not believe Cortes actually broke into any residences and that there never was a second subject involved in the incident.

No New York charges are pending.

"It is much more expedient to allow the ICE officers to handle the situation," Thompson said.

Cortes was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportation Officer 
K. Hobart. He will be charged with illegal re-entry after deportation, a federal felony.

(initial report)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

One-time wanted suspect sentenced to prison

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

A youth who was wanted by local law enforcement, and allegedly led Batavia Police, State Police and Sheriff's deputies on a manhunt in the city two months ago, was sentenced to prison time for a violation of probation.

Christopher Laird, 17, originally from Elba, but has also lived in Le Roy and Batavia, failed to report for probation meetings in early 2010.

Police eventually caught up with Lair in Le Roy on April 4, two days after the manhunt, which involved a State Police helicopter.

Laird's probation was revoked. He will spend one to three years in state prison.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Deputies conducting manhunt for possible car thief in Slusser Road area

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield


Sheriff's deputies are in the area of Slusser and MacCumber roads, Oakfield, where one subject is in custody and deputies are looking for a second person who may be in the area with the intent to steal a car.

A deputy originally spotted a person walking on Slusser Road, and when the deputy attempted to make contact with that individual, he ran into a field.

The deputy chased him down and after being taken into custody, the individual apparently told the deputy he and a friend had a car break down so they were in the area looking for a car to steal.

The subject still at large is described as a Mexican male. His friend said he will try to run if he sees law enforcement.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m.: The search continues. The individual taken into custody has apparently been evasive in his answers at times, but he apparently said that he and his buddy -- they live in the Oak Orchard area of Elba -- have been out of work for three months and were out looking for work when their truck broke down.

UPDATE 1:56 p.m: The search seems to have moved to an area of Oak Orchard Road where the second subject is believed to reside. At the scene of the original call, Deputy Brian Thompson said the call started when area residents reported a Mexican male, not wearing any shoes, walking house-to-house. A woman at one house gave the man some water and called the Sheriff's Office. That's where Deputy Thompson first saw the man, who started to run. Deputy Thompson deployed his K-9, who quickly helped detain the man. 

Deputy Thompson said the common method for daytime house burglars is to not wear shoes, minimizing footprints. He said he thinks the jobless men were out looking for food.

Immigration Control and Enforcement officers were on scene. But the subject detained is not believed to be in the country legally.

Thompson said in his 19 years with the Sheriff's Office, he hasn't known too many migrant workers to get involved in petty crimes, but with the crack down on farmers hiring undocumented workers, it's getting harder for those without papers to find work.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 8:52 am

Police Beat: Trespass charges filed against duo in Le Roy

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

Jesse Adam Dispenza, 24, of Union Street, Scottsville, is charged with trespass. Dispenza is accused of trespassing on the Dolomite property in the Town of Le Roy at 6:20 p.m., Saturday.

Marissa Christine Zeiner, 19, of Sunset Circle Lane, Brockport, is charged with trespass. Zeiner is accused of trespassing on the Dolomite property in the Town of Le Roy at 6:20 p.m., Saturday.

A 17-year-old resident of Maple Avenue in Le Roy is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during a traffic stop by Deputy Matt Butler at 5:03 p.m., Saturday.

Ami Kadar, 64, of Albion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Kadar was arrested this week by State Police on Maple Avenue, Elba, in connection with an alleged incident at 12:01 p.m., March 30. No further details are available.

Jorge L. Portugal-Pineda, 22, of Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, unsafe tires and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Portugal-Pineda was arrested by State Police on Transit Road at 3:15 p.m., Monday.

Ethan R. Kitanik, 19, of Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and ticketed for no headlights. Kitanik was stopped by State Police on Oak Street in Oakfield at 10:55 p.m., Sunday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 8:32 am

Map company clarifies position with chamber on local ad sales effort

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce

The co-owner of a company that makes an ad-supported map product said he wants to make it clear he takes seriously concerns that his sales reps may have left an impression with some local businesses that his company is working with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

"We are acknowledging that we are not affiliated with the chamber on this edition," said Matt Vonderhaar, of Cincinnati-based Universal Advertising Associates.

Yesterday, The Batavian reported that chamber officials were concerned that Universal was representing a tie with the chamber in its sales efforts for a map of Genesee County.  The chamber has its own map project, which The Batavian is providing support for on the upcoming edition.

Vonderhaar said his 35-year-old company has been doing business in Batavia for 20 years.

In fact, he said, from 1997 up until June 2008, the chamber had a free ad on the Genesee County map in exchange for distributing the map through the chamber office.

He said Universal produces maps in 42 states, and many of them are affiliated with local chambers. He suggested that perhaps some of his 35 sales reps are conditioned to talk about the chamber connection from those other sales calls.

He said if anyone has any concerns about his reps sales tactics, they should contact him directly through his company's website.

"This is a second-generation business," Vonderhaar said. "We put out a great product. We're very proud of what we do. If anybody has an issue with our business they should call me directly."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Juror in Scott Doll trial responds to verdict critics, discusses difficult deliberations

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, pembroke, scott doll

A juror in the Scott Doll murder trial contacted The Batavian today and after confirming the juror's identity, we agreed to anonymously publish this account of the juror's experience.

I just have a couple things to say about the Scott Doll trial. I was a  juror who sat in the front row. I would not like to give my name or my number as I am not trying to cause any problems with this statement, just  want to clear some things up, that have been on my mind since last Thursday.

I wanted to start off by saying that none of us in the jury chose to be in that box for the three weeks, we were chosen by both sides of the case as they felt we were the most impartial and non-biased individuals out of the pool they had to choose from. That being said, I would like to also tell everyone that none of us had preconceived notions as to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Doll. And for those of you who have comments such as "shame  on the Jury," you were not in that deliberation room discussing the facts/evidence so you have no idea what we went through.

No one but the 12 of us that were locked in that room for 12 hours knows what we discussed, and let me tell you there was quite a lot of discussion taking place. I do not like the fact that almost instantly people comment that we locked up an innocent man, that there is a "real" murderer on the streets. To you all, we all examined the evidence, and listened to all the testimonies. We all listened to the opinions and concerns that each of us had, and NO ONE was forced into making a guilty verdict when we took our  final vote.

We DID NOT rush things to get it over with. Anyone who had reservations on coming up with a verdict was allowed to voice their opinions. It all comes back to the evidence. Mr. Cambria told us to use our "common sense" when it came to deliberating on a verdict. We all felt that the evidence all pointed back to Mr. Doll, and to us that was "Common Sense" as that is what the evidence showed us. If there had been other evidence showing otherwise we would have considered it.

For the record, it's not the easiest thing to give a guilty verdict either. Knowing someone's life was in our hands weighed on our hearts and minds those final minutes of the trial. And it is definitely not easy to hear the cries and look at the faces of the family either, even when you know that the right thing was done according to the evidence that was presented to us. I'm sorry if that upsets some of you reading this, but trust me I have not nor will I ever forget this event. I have certainly not moved on with my life and left it behind. And I hope to never have to do something like this again.

My thoughts and prayers are with both the Doll family as well as the Benaquist family. I know that both families are now missing a member, and things will never be the same, and that is something that I will think about daily, for the rest of my life. If anyone thinks otherwise they are greatly mistaken.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Batavia Police announce results of May traffic enforcement efforts

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

Sixty-two drivers in Batavia received traffic citations in May as part of a joint Batavia PD and State Police effort to crack down on mobile phone use and seat belt violators.

The Batavia Police received a grant earlier to help fund increased enforcement of these laws as part of a statewide effort.

In May, checkpoints were set up on Law, Clinton and Oak streets.

The State Police cooperated in the last location, setting up its Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit. Nine tickets were issued to truck drivers at the checkpoint near the Thruway entrance.

The city will conduct future enforcement actions as part of the grant it received from the governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

CORRECTION: Lt. Henning informed me that I got my enforcement grants mixed up. The grant for this particular set of checkpoints was for police to look for vehicle violations. You drive through a check point and the police check your registration and inspection, etc.  There is another grant, also still active in the city, for seat belt and mobile phone violations.  The May results of that enforcement effort have not been released yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Trucker involved in fatal crash pleads guilty

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

A truck driver who was reportedly looking at porn on a laptop computer prior to slamming his truck into a disabled car on the Thruway in Pembroke pled guilty today to manslaughter.

The Dec. 12 accident took the life of a mother from Snyder, 33-year-old Julie Stratton.

Thomas M. Wallace, 45, of Brook Park, Ohio, could face up to 15 years in prison.

More from the Buffalo News, including video.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Reported fight in progress with dog involved

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A fight-in-progress has been reported at a residence near Pontillo's.

A dog was reportedly being used to attack a victim.

Police are on scene and have requested Mercy EMS for a person with cuts to the leg.

UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: A second ambulance has been requested to 516 E. Main St., where Mercy EMS reports a second victim needing transport to a hospital.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Sheriff concerned about 'minimum force' bill in Assembly

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Gary Maha, new york

Sheriff Gary Maha calls a pending Assembly bill which would require cops to shoot a suspect only to wound him -- presumably aiming for an arm or a leg -- "ridiculous."

mug_gary_maha.jpgThe so-called "minimum force" bill says, "(a peace officer or police officer) uses such force with the intent to stop, rather than kill, the person who he or she reasonably believes is using unlawful force, and uses only the minimal amount of force necessary to effect such stop."

No shooting course teaches law enforcement officers to aim at limbs, Maha noted.

The first job of a cop in a dangerous situation is to protect himself and the people he's sworn to serve, Maha said.

"Deadly physical force, under the (current) law, can only be used as a last resort, under extreme circumstances," Maha told WBTA. "You're going to put more pressure on the officer if he has to shoot to wound. You're putting that officer in jeopardy."

Under provisions of the bill, any officer accused of shooting to kill another person in the line of duty would be charged with manslaughter.

The bill is sponsored by Annette Robinson (D-Bedford Stuyvesant) and Darryl Towns (D-East New York).

While the "minimum force" bill hasn't died, it is languishing in committee and is still drawing reaction from New York's law enforcement community.

A New York detective told the New York Post that the bill would create a situation where cops are expected to shoot the gun out of the hands of suspect, while the criminal would still be firing with the intent to kill. It's been called the "John Wayne" bill because it requires a level of accuracy only seen in Hollywood Westerns.

"These are split-second, spontaneous events -- and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second," said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

The bill was drafted in response to the shooting death of Sean Bell, a man who was killed by police following a fight at a strip club where he was celebrating his bachelor party. An undercover officer reportedly heard Bell say at some point that he had a gun. In the melee that followed, Bell reportedly slammed his Nissan into a police vehicle.

Photo: File photo of Sheriff Gary Maha.

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