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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Sno-packers Sour Springs bridge could be back in place soon

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Sno-Packers, Soar Springs Road

A bridge at Sour Springs Road built by local snowmobilers and later removed by the county could be back in place within a month, County Manager Jay Gsell told WBTA.

The County and the Town of Alabama have reached an agreement to let the bridge be reinstalled and now Gsell said the insurance companies need to approve it.

"The engineer has already looked at the drawings and their sufficient as far as the structure and how they're going to reposition the bridge," Gsell said (mp3). "Winter started, what, Dec. 22? We've got a long season ahead of us. So my sense is that bridge will probably be in place by the end of January if not sooner."

Sno-packers club leaders have previous said putting the bridge back in place won't be difficult.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Police Beat: Second area driver in a week charged under Leandra's Law

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

Michelle M. Kasper, 20, of 4591 Kams Road, Albion, is charged with DWI (as a felony under Leandra's Law), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and unlawful possession of marijuana. Kasper was stopped on Judge Road in Alabama by Deputy Tim Wescott at 9:30 p.m. yesterday who responded to a report of a car off the roadway. This is the second arrest of a WNY resident in the past week under terms of the recently enacted Leandra's Law.

Honour Haley Myers, 21, of 6392 Hamm Road, Lockport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Myers was arrested following the investigation of a reported domestic incident in Stafford.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Deputy poses as pizza delivery guy to catch alleged ID thief

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

mug_alisha_ballard.jpgDeputy Brad Mazur apparently makes for a convincing pizza delivery driver.

On Nov. 15, Mazur showed up at the home of a Byron woman with a fresh pizza from Fullerino's Pizza and asked her to sign the credit card slip.  The woman signed, just as she reportedly has before for orders from Fullerino's.

Mazur's ruse worked.

The credit card number used by the woman was allegedly stolen.

After Mazur identified himself he asked the lady a few questions. The interview led to the discovery of several such allegedly fraudulent transactions that began with the woman reportedly stealing credit card numbers while employed at Batavia Citgo.

Mazur delivered his pizza to Alisha A. Ballard, 21, of 7174 Byron Road.

Ballard faces several charges, including petit larceny, forgery 2nd, unlawful possession of a  personal ID, identify theft 2nd and falsifying business records 1st.

After being arraigned in Batavia City Court, Ballard was released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

The investigation began Oct. 30 after a local resident complained that his credit card number had been used without his authorization to order food from Fullerino's. Mazur and Deputy John Duyssen conducted the investigation.

The alleged credit card thefts date back to Aug. 18.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 9:08 am

GOP selects candidate to fill Batavia's Ward 2 seat

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, Ward 2

patty_pacino.jpgPatti Pacino, most recently an alumni coordinator for GCC, has been selected to fill the Ward 2 Batavia City Council seat by Ward 2 Republicans.

Pacino will replace Marianne Clattenburg, who was elected to an at-large seat in November.

Pacino was born in Batavia and has a long history of community involvement, including membership in Kiwanis and Zonta International. She has been a teacher and worked for both Genesee Community College and Batavia High School, where she was a career center coordinator.

She has also served as on the board of directors for the Genesee county YWCA and the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

In 2004 she was named Geneseean of the Year by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

She's married to James R. Pacino.

In a statement, Ward 2 GOP Chairman Chad Bachorski said, "The committee feels with experience and obvious dedication to her work, Patti will be an excellent fit in representing the citizens of the second ward on City Council."

If approved by the Council, Pacino will be sworn in Monday.

UPDATE: I did a video interview with Patti this afternoon.  Assuming no glitches or interruptions, I'll have it posted by this evening.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 6:35 am

Thruway tolls going up 5 percent on Sunday

post by Howard B. Owens in thruway

On Sunday, drivers who choose to travel on the Thruway will pay 5 percent more, and those who use EZPass will be getting less of a discount.

The toll charge change is part of a Thruway Authority effort to raise money to pay for $2.1 billion in improvements to the Thruway's roads and bridges, according to the D&C.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman David Gantt, D-Rochester, said the toll increases have pushed more motorists off the Thruway and to local roads, limiting the amount of revenue raised by the toll increases.

"There's no reason for them to be raising tolls on the Thruway," Gantt said. "It runs people off, they still don't meet their goals, so what benefit is it to them?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Canadian woman charged in alleged high speed chase

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

mug_crystal_pinnock.jpgThe Canadian woman who allegedly led local law enforcement on a high speed chase through Genesee County and into Orleans County on Dec. 19 has been charged with a series of vehicle infractions and a misdemeanor steaming from the incident.

Crystal Pinnock was arraigned today in Stafford Town Court before being released to Orleans County for arraignment on charges in that county.

Pinnock was charged with:

  • Town of Le Roy, speed over 55 mph and unsafe passing.
  • Town of Stafford, unlawful fleeing of a police officer (a misdemeanor), speed over 55, failure to yield to emergency vehicle, driving left of pavement markings and a misdemeanor count of reckless driving.
  • Town of Batavia, speed in zone, driving left of pavement markings.
  • City of Batavia, speed in zone, reckless driving (misdemeanor) and three counts of passed red light.

State Police will also press charges for alleged infractions in Elba.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Oath of office administered at county court for several local officials

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county


Elected officials from just about every jurisdiction in Genesee County gathered in the County Courthouse this evening for a mass swearing in ceremony administered by County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan and Family Court Judge Eric R. Adams.

Every official who was elected or re-elected this past November was invited to attend and be sworn in for his or her new term.

Above, Gregory H. Post is sworn in as Town of Batavia supervisor by Judge Noonan.

After the jump, more pictures. 

NOTES: I didn't get everybody. I missed all of the County Legislature because I was late and then I had camera problems.  Second, I'll do by best to ID each official correctly, but will correct as people provide me with any corrections.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Smoke coming from electrical box reported in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

An electrical box is reportedly smoking at 70 Main St., in Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire has been dispatched and mutual aid has been requested from Bergen.

UPDATE 8:16 p.m.: A police officer who entered the building reportedly told dispatch that there is no fire, but fuses keep popping.

UPDATE 8:20 p.m.: Firefighter on scene and says no smoke, no fire and the thermal camera shows no heat.  Another firefighter, "it looks like the only problem is we've got a burnt fuse."

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Today's Deals: Center Street, Kravings, Matty's and Delavan's

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Kravings Kafe, Valu Plaza, W. Main Street, Batavia, NY: Recently opened, it offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

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.

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.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Convicted Elcon embezzler in substance abuse program pending sentencing

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

mug-Tenney-Paul.jpgRyan Tenney, who admitted to embezzling more than $100,000 from his former employer, Elcon, Inc., still hasn't been sentenced for his crimes.

While his attorney would like to delay his sentencing at least one more time, Judge Robert Noonan ruled this morning that the sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 4 will stay on the court calender.

"I'm not yet certain Mr. Tenney should be out (of incarceration) in long-term treatment," Noonan said. "It won't take much from Hope Haven to report a rules violation to go straight to sentencing."

Tenney was released from jail on Dec. 2 to enter substance abuse treatment at Hope Haven. A report on his progress was not available to Noonan this morning, so even though Hope Haven is recommending Tenney now be placed in Trapping Brook, another treatment house, Noonan didn't want to delay the scheduled sentencing.

Tenney's attorney Gary Horton said after court that a bed could open for Tenney at Trapping Brook within days.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 11:40 am

Two people charged with dealing cocaine following arrests at Days Inn

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Two people accused of dealing cocaine were arrested at the Days Inn at 200 Oak St., Batavia, early this morning.

Both were arraigned in City Court at 11 a.m.

mug_moffett.jpgTaheed M. Moffett and Lekisha M. Avant are both charged with criminal possession with intent to sell and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Judge Robert Balbick set bail for Moffett at $50,000 and for Avant at $15,000.

According to First Assistant District Attorney David Gann, if convicted, Moffett will have a second felony conviction. He also has a pending robbery charge.

Moffett, who was not represented in court by an attorney, which is common at this stage of criminal procedures, asked for reduced bail.

"I've been at every court date and haven't been late for one court date," Moffett said. "I hope that can be taken into consideration. I'm not a flight risk. I have family in the area and I've been coming to court."

Later, Moffett said he didn't understand why he was arrested.

"I know you've got nothing to do with this, Judge Balbick, but I didn't possess anything," Moffett said. "The other person had it."

Balbick explained that the state will have to prove its case at a preliminary hearing, but for now he was being arraigned on these charges.

mug_avant.jpgAvant said she's only had a prior disorderly conduct charge, and that she lives with her mother and recently completed Job Corps.

If convicted, Moffett could be sentenced from two to 12 years, according to Gann. Avant's possible sentence is nine years.

Earlier today, Sheriff Gary Maha said there will be a press release forthcoming about the raid at the Days Inn at 12:30 a.m.  At this time, we don't know if any other individuals were involved.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office has issued a press release on this case:

Moffett is 25 and a resident of 33 Turner St., Rochester. 

Avant is 22 and a resident of 314 Woodbine St., Rochester.

Members of the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant over night on Room 121 of the Days Inn.  Batavia Police received a tip about crack cocaine sales at the hotel. The Sheriff's Office says more than $1,000 in crack cocaine was found in the search.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 9:14 am

Police Beat: Arrest for alleged DWI in Bethany

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, crime

Gregory M. Brew, 24, of 4799 Linden Road, E. Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, operation on a conditional-use permit. Brew was arrested by Deputy Frank Bordonaro after it was determined he had allegedly been driving a car found at the edge of the road on Bethany Center Road at 2:30 a.m. yesterday.

Seth Paul Dhanda, 29, of 5458 Clapsaddle Road, Bethany, is charged with harassment, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. Dhanda was arrested Christmas Eve at 10:36 a.m. after Deputy James Diehl responded to a call of a reported disturbance at the Travel Lodge. Dhanda allegedly spit on someone. He also allegedly damaged a TV set at the hotel.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 8:49 am

Weather Watch: Maybe more snow today, maybe not

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Weather Underground tells us there is a 40 to 60 percent chance of snow the rest of the day. Weather.com puts the odds at 10 percent in its forecast.

The one thing they both agree on: It's going to be cold. Expect temperatures in the low to mid teens. Wind will come from the west at 5 to 8 mph.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 8:31 am

Apparent drug arrests made at Days Inn

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Witnesses tell us they saw Batavia Police and Genesee County Sheriff's patrols as well as other vehicles show up in force at the Days Inn in Batavia about 12:30 this morning.

Sheriff Gary Maha confirmed this morning that there was a drug raid at the location in execution of a search warrant, but said no further details are available until later today, when a press release comes out.

The subjects have not been arraigned yet.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 2:28 am

Lions Tournament: Batavia moves to 5-1 with win over Albion

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, sports


Batavia will advance to the next round to play Notre Dame in the annual basketball tournament sponsored by the Batavia Lions Club. The Blue Devils beat Albion 63-55 and improved the team record to 5-1. Andrew Hoy scored 16 points. Justin Washington added 12 points and seven rebounds for Batavia. Co Co Irvin tacked on 13.

More pictures after the jump:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 1:59 am

Pictures: Lions Tournament, Notre Dame beats Perry 52-41

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Notre Dame, sports


In the first game Monday night of the annual basketball tournament sponsored by the Batavia Lions Club, Notre Dame beat Perry 52-41.  The Irish are now 5-0. Vinny Zambito scored 19 points.

More pictures after the jump:

Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Weather Watch: Up to 7 inches of lake effect snow on its way

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A heavy band of lake effect snow is hanging around northern Erie and Genesee Counties longer than expected, according to the National Weather Service, which has upgraded its storm watch from an advisory to a warning.

The Buffalo NWS office says the storm is moving slow and will dump more snow on the region -- up to seven inches, especially from Buffalo and Oakfield southward.

The lake effect snow will shift to the south some time after 7 p.m. when an Arctic front moves through the region.  That front will bring gusts up to 40 mph and rapidly falling temperatures.

The warning is effect until 9 p.m.

Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Report of slowness on Thruway from Buffalo

post by Howard B. Owens in thruway, weather

pembroke_thruway_weather.jpgReader Janice Stenman sends the following report:

We just returned from Eastern Hills Mall via Thruway. Traffic moved at between 15-20 MPH. It took us over an hour to drive between Depew and the Pembrooke exit.

From the Thruway Cam pic I just grabbed (right), the Pembroke section of Thruway looks uncongested, though visibility looks low.

Be careful out there.

Monday, December 28, 2009 at 12:39 pm

GCASA director suggests marijuana should be legalized

post by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, marijuana

In a blog post, GCASA's executive director David Markham muses that perhaps society would be better off if marijuana were legal and taxed.

But it's no libertarian turn by Markham. He also suggests that the legal drinking age should be raised to 35.

Markham cites a recent study that looks at the benefitial impact of drinkers and drug users substituting cannabis.

I found this study interesting because I have observed the use of cannabis in my private practice clients who often report beneficial effects. It seems to me that cannabis is less toxic and has fewer behavioral and social negative consequences than alcohol. I have also noted that cannabis seems to have fewer adverse side effects and better symptom relief than prescription drugs.

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