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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Youth who allegedly ran from police admits to violation of probation

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

Christopher A. Laird faces a possible three years in state prison after pleading guilty today to a violation of probation.

Local law enforcement had been looking for the 17-year-old since he failed to report to Office of Children and Family Services on Jan. 4. He was listed as "wanted" by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 2.

On April 2, Laird was reportedly spotted in the State Street and North Avenue area of Batavia, which led to a multi-agency search for him, including use of the State Police helicopter.

In accepting Laird's plea, Judge Robert C. Noonan informed the youth that the maximum sentence available under terms of a plea agreement with the District Attorney's office is a revocation of probation and a one- to three-year prison term.

Laird may still face a charge filed last week of obstruction of governmental administration for allegedly running from police on April 2. Public Defender Gary Horton said he believes that charge will be wrapped into the violation of probation case.

At one time, Laird was charged with burglary, 2nd, according to the Sheriff's Office. He is on probation for a case that was adjudicated as "youthful offender," which means whatever crime Laird may have admitted to that led to his probation doesn't stand as a criminal conviction. Horton said he wouldn't discuss the matter because of the youthful offender status, so it's unclear if the probation stems from that burglary, 2nd, charge or some other possible offense.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

Le Roy man accused of keeping friend's car without permission

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

mug_michael_vanbuskirk.jpgA Le Roy man who allegedly borrowed a car from a friend and didn't return has been arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Taken into custody on a warrant issued on Feb. 5 was Michael J. Vanbuskirk, 36, of 7930 E. Main Road, Le Roy.

He's also been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after a search. Det. John Condidorio said the man allegedly possessed crack cocaine in a backpack he was carrying at the time of his arrest.

Condidorio said he found Vanbuskirk on Munson Street yesterday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 10:09 am

Le Roy Fire Dept. hands out annual awards

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

leroyfireawards.jpg

On Saturday, the Le Roy Fire Department held its annual awards banquet at Bohn's. Chief Mike Sheflin submitted this picture. From left are, Fire Chief Mike Sheflin, 1st Assistant Fire Chief Tom Wood, recipient of the Fire Chiefs Commendation Award, Past Chief Rick Bater, recipient of the Firefighter of the Year Award, and 2nd Assistant Chief Dale Erhardt.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

Police Beat: Witness follows alleged erratic driver to Elba, leads to arrest

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, pembroke

Emily Rose Wells, 25, of 139 S. Main St, Apt. #1, Albion, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and moving from lane unsafely. Wells was stopped at the Yellow Goose in Elba after a witness phoned in a complaint about an erratic driver on Route 98 in Barre. The driver allegedly struck a guardrail. The witness followed the car to Elba.

Kate Elizabeth Brozic, 26, of 671 Ogden-Parma Townline Road, Spencerport, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI (driving with a BAC of .18 or greater). Brozic was arrested after Deputy Eric Seppela was dispatched to Route 33 in Stafford to check on a vehicle parked on the roadside.

Accidents reported on the State Police blotter:

8:36 p.m., April 11, Coe Avenue, Oakfield, two vehicles; Driver 1: Christopher M. Ames, 38, of Oakfield; second car was parked. No injuries reported.

8:19 p.m, April 11, Thruway, mile marker 384.5, Stafford, one vehicle; Driver 1: Steven J. Flowers, 19, of Cheektowaga. No injuries reported.

12:23 a.m., April 12, Thruway, mile marker 380, Le Roy, one vehicle; Driver 1: Adam D. Thurman, 29, of Tonawanda. No injuries reported.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Batavia merchants hit by rash of fake $50 bills

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, counterfeit money, crime

fake50.jpg

It's a growing problem around the United States -- criminals have figured out how to chemically wash the ink off of $5 bills and reprint them as $20, $50 and $100 bills.

Now the crime has come to Batavia.

Det. Kevin Czora said that nine local businesses have been hit by bogus $50 bills. He expects more reports to come in.

It's early in the investigation, Czora said, so he doesn't yet have a total of how much fake currency has been passed in the city.

The bills get by some employees and shop owners because they will pass a pen test -- they are, after all, printed on legitimate U.S. currency paper.

The fake bills, however, are not completely undetectable. There remains a security strip embedded in the bill that says USAFIVE.

The U.S. Treasury Department also maintains a Web site with information on currency printing and how to detect fakes.

One alleged counterfeiter in the Dallas-Fort Worth area reportedly said he produced more than $10,000 in fake bills.

He even bragged about how good the bills looked.

"These bills here are good enough that I think they could have passed," Runge said. "Some of these bills will stay in circulation for quite a while."

A Google search shows that such fake bills are showing up all around the country. There was an arrest recently in Buffalo of a person who allegedly used a fake $50 bill, but the Buffalo News story doesn't mention whether the bill was a washed $5 bill or if some other method was used.

Det. Czora said businesses owners and employees should be extra vigilant when accepting large denominations and to report any suspicious transactions to the City of Batavia Police Department at 345-6350. Descriptions of suspects and their vehicles should be reported as soon as possible to assist the investigation.

Photos: Above, one of the fake $50 bills passed at a local business; below, a surveillance-camera picture of a subject wanted for questioning in the case.

fake50suspect.jpg

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Second check of fingerprints turns up Le Roy burglary suspect

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

mug-nicholas_dellarocco.jpgA former Le Roy resident is accused of breaking into a business in the village 11 months ago and stealing money.

Det. John Condidorio made the arrested based on fingerprints the alleged burglar left behind.

Eleven months ago, investigators could not find a match in the State Police database for the latent prints lifted from the scene of the burglary.

But a second check recently found an apparent match to Nicholas S. Dellarocco, 22, currently residing at 1232 Latta Road, Greece.

Dellarocco was reportedly arrested not long ago for another alleged burglary in Monroe County. At that time, he was fingerprinted and his prints added to the state database.

He's been charged in Le Roy with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal mischief.

The alleged break in occurred May 3, 2009. A local business owner reported that someone broke into the building, damaging doors to gain entry and damaging a cash register in a quest for money. Whomever broke in did find money in a second cash box inside the business.

Dellarocco was arraigned and jailed on $5,000 bail.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Myrtle Street residents report smell of smoke in apartment

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy

Residents at 61 Myrtle St., Le Roy, report the strong smell of smoke coming from a downstairs apartment, but there is no smoke showing.

Le Roy Fire and Bergen Fire are responding.

An assistant chief on scene reports nothing showing.

UPDATE 1:53 p.m.: Le Roy still on scene investigating.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

Fire alarm with smoke in the building reported in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Oakfield

A fire alarm with smoke in the building has been reported at 2977 Shelby Road, Oakfield.

Oakfield Fire responded first. Elba and Alabama are also being dispatched. Town of Batavia is requested to the Oakfield fire hall.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m.: The smoke is coming from a dishwasher. Firefighters are going to ventilate the room.  Batavia fire has been sent to Tonawanda Creek as a draft site. East Pembroke asked to respond to the Oakfield hall for standby.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m.: Units starting to go back in service.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

Roxy's announces winner of guitar giveaway

roxysguitarwinner.jpgThirteen-year-old Eric DiLaura was announced as the winner of Roxy’s Guitar Giveaway. Eric is a Batavia resident and guitar student at Roxy’s, studying with instructor Paul Ronfola. Over 400 people signed up to win throughout the month of March.

Roxy’s is a full-service musical instrument dealer, offering new and used instruments, accessories, lessons, instrument repair, rentals and much more. For more information, visit www.Roxys.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

Woman tells deputy she was looking at GPS prior to accident

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron

Distracted driving was apparently the cause of a two-vehicle accident yesterday that sent two women to the hospital.

Melinda L. Gurnsey, 25, of 14107 Gillette Road, Albion, said she was looking at her GPS as she approached the intersection of Route 262 and Byron Road in Byron. She reportedly told accident investigator Deputy Matt Butler that she didn't notice a stop sign.

Her 2006 Ford pickup was struck by a Ford pickup driven by Constance S. Rockow, 40, of 927 County Line Road, Hamlin.

Rockow was taken by ground ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital with a complaint of head pain. She was conscious at the time of transport.

Gurnsey also complained of head pain, and was conscious, and was taken by ambulance to UMMC.

She was issued a traffic citation for alleged failure to stop at a stop sign.

The accident was reported at 3:29 p.m.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

Batavia starts search for new fire chief

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia FIre Department

Batavia is looking for a new fire chief.

The city ran an ad in the Democrat and Chronicle over the weekend offering the position with a salary range of $68,000 and $82,350 per year.

City Manager Jason Molino told WBTA that the new chief needs to be a leader who isn't inflexible.

"We’re looking for a fire chief who’s got an open mind, is eager and has the enthusiasm to move the department forward for the best interest of the community," Molino said.

Interim Chief Ralph Hyde came out of retirement in May 2009 to fill a vacancy created by the departure of Tom Dillon, who was prohibited by the state from drawing a pension and a full-time salary.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

Carl Paladino's e-mail problem

post by Howard B. Owens in Carl Paladino, new york, politics

Carl Paladino wants to be your next governor.

Frankly, I never heard of the guy until he announced his candidacy. 

Let's just say, his first impressions have not been favorable. He made a rather tasteless comment that Obama's health care reform would kill more Americans than the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We also learned that he apparently fathered a child out of wedlock 10 years ago.

Now come revelations by Buffalo blogger Alan Bedenko (his wife works in Batavia), who has exposed racist and pornographic (to put it mildly) e-mails Paladino forwarded to his political and civic associates. Click here, if you must, but keep in mind that even Bedenko's sanitized versions are not appropriate for children.

The images include screen shots (some parts blacked out) of pornographic movies, including one involving an animal, as well as blatantly racist shots at President Obama, such as a video of African tribesmen dancing under the caption "Obama inauguration rehearsal."

Here's what Paladino said about the e-mails, according to the New York Daily News:

"I confess to being human and imperfect, as are all of God's children," he told a Buffalo crowd Monday. "I am proud that I've created hundreds of jobs and opportunity for people of every ethnicity, color and sexual preference."

Paladino said he "didn't originate any of these e-mails" and was "somewhat careless" in forwarding them.

He said he tried to send the e-mails to "a very specific bunch of friends who somewhat enjoy that humor."

Paladino apologized to women for passing along porn -- but not men.

"I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don't vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote," he said.

Paladino's campaign manager dismisses the revelation of the e-mails as "we think this is a smear campaign authorized by Democrats in Albany," according to the New York Times.

Paladino is running for the GOP nomination. The NY Daily News says he has ties to the Tea Party Movement.

UPDATE: Buffalo News has a pretty complete story on the topic of the e-mails. Apparently, Paladino thought he was being funny:

Paladino said Satalin referred to Bob Lanier, a Paladino friend and All-America center who led the Bonnies to the NCAA Final Four in 1970.

"He takes me to task, and I respond, "Jim, you've lost your humor,'" Paladino said, adding he was trying to explain he sent the items only for the sake of their humor.

UPDATE II: Now the Buffalo News reports that even tea party leaders want nothing to do with Paladino.

And in Albany this morning, the same Tea Party Express group that staged a rally at Erie Canal Harbor on Monday distanced itself from Paladino — who just a day ago was emerging as a key ally of tea party groups.

"You've seen the emails ... so what makes you think we would support him? That's absolutely incompatible with anything we stand for," said Mark Williams, the group's chairman.

"Pornographic, racist e-mails. How do you think that we would ever support something like that?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 12:07 am

Council stands behind keeping the Memorial Day Parade going

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, Memorial Day Parade

auxillary.jpg

"We will have a parade," City Council President Marianne Clattenburg said tonight after a member of the VFW Auxiliary asked that the council step forward and ensure that the annual Memorial Day Parade is not canceled this year.

Last month, the veterans group that had been organizing it said putting on the annual parade had become just too much.

Barbara Lewis spoke for the Auxiliary and said the parade is just too important to let go.

"It’s so gratifying when you see these proud faces, no longer able to march, coming out of the nursing homes, and the UPS volunteers pushing those wheelchairs, it just breaks your heart. I mean, what can you say? Doen’t that say it all?" Lewis said.

After she spoke, Clattenburg said, "With all of us working together, we can have a parade."

She said the entire council would help make it happen.

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian has already started working on organization efforts and said she will be at City Hall on May 5 getting all of the parade participants to sign "hold harmless" agreements, which is necessary for them to participate in a parade.

She said recruiters for the major military branches have committed to participating in the parade.

Councilman Frank Ferrando said as important as the Memorial Day Parade is, the city should spearhead the organization efforts from now on, since volunteers sometimes move, die or move on.

"I just think that’s the heart and soul of who we all are," Ferrando said. "It’s why we’re all here and why we’re able to talk like this. We ought to do it. We ought to make sure it happens. We ought to make sure it’s a big event."

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm

CSEA was reasonable in negotiations, says Batavia city manager

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, CSEA, unions

The bargaining team that represented the City of Batavia's 17 CSEA members were fair negotiating partners, City Manager Jason Molino said tonight after the council unanimously approved a new contract with the union.

The council approved the new five-year agreement without any discussion before the vote.

It's the second time Molino has negotiated a contract with the Civil Service Employees Association. Both times union representatives were realistic about the economic situation they faced, he said.

The first time, four years ago, the city was in deep, dire financial straits. This time, New York is facing massive deficits and a prolonged recession.

"The CSEA has always been very responsive to the city’s needs," Molino said. "They’re set on doing what’s best for the community."

The new contract includes no raise in the first year -- just as the last contract did four years ago -- with graduated raises after that, with raises higher than 2 percent in the fourth and fifth year. The contract also asks for greater contributions from employees for health care.

He said negotiations took six months, and there were no major hurdles. Both sides were willing to lay their issues on the table and discuss them openly.

"Like any negotiation, you’ve got to be willing to work at it and come to the table being willing to compromise," Molino said.

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

State's fund 'sweep' makes liars out of local officials, chief clerk complains

post by Howard B. Owens in budget, Don Read, fees, new york, taxes

It's called a "sweep." Imagine if all the money for the state's various special funds were on a big table, and Gov. David Paterson reached out his arm and dragged it across the top of those stack of bills and pushed the greenbacks into a giant gunny sack labeled, "General Fund."

newplate_read.jpgNew York has been doing it for years -- taking money earmarked for dozens of special programs, collected from dedicated fees, and using the funds to make up budget imbalances.

"Much of it is money that would be expended but the time has not come up yet for it to be spent," said County Clerk Don Read. "In (sweeping), they tend to make liars out of us who have to collect that money and tell people (what it’s used for)."

Two examples out of the County Clerk's Office: document fees and snowmobile license fees. The state has taken more than $500,000 from that fund over the past three years, Read said.

The first fee is used to fund grants for cities, schools, libraries and other smaller agencies to store, maintain and retain important records, and to modernize old systems.The snowmobile fee -- $90 for a non-snowmobile club member, $45 for members -- is used to maintain trails and facilities for snowmobilers.

Paterson's office is planning a $1 million sweep from the snowmobile fund this year.

"By sweeping out that money, there’s less to distribute to the grants, so a number of grants just don’t get funded," Read said. "Yet, we still have to tell the people that’s what we collect the money for."

The New York Post recently ran a story about Albany sweeping $8.5 million from a fund dedicated to building a veteran's retirement home.

Photo: Don Read from a previous story about license plates.

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Another State Street burglar sent to prison

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street

One of the group of men who admitted to breaking into a home on State Street in September is going prison for seven years.

Joseph D. Dash, 24, has an extensive criminal history going back to 2002, according to his defense attorney, Fred Rarick. As part of his plea agreement, Dash's participation in two other burglaries -- one on Maple Street and one on Pringle Avenue -- were not charged.

Rarick asked Noonan for a five-year sentence, saying that the sentence with a five-year supervised release would give Dash a chance to get his life back on track.

Noonan said that with Dash's prior violent felony conviction and the other two non-charged burglaries, the maximum sentence available to him was the appropriate option.

"You're lucky your attorney negotiated a good agreement so that all you’re charged with is a D felony, so the most I can impost is a seven-year sentence," Noonan said.

Dash and 18-year-old Dillon Brito admitted to their roles in the State Street burglary. Reginald M. Wilson, 37,was convicted by a jury last month. Brito was sentenced to three years in prison. Wilson is scheduled for sentencing on May 12.

A fourth suspect, Quentin L. Gibson, 25, still faces charges for his alleged participation in the State Street burglary.

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

Batavia police want you to remember to stop when school buses do

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

It's one of the most serious traffic infractions in New York -- passing a school bus that has stopped to drop off or pick up children.

A first offense will add five points to your driving record (speeding is only four), and it could lead to a $250 to $400 or 30 days in jail, or both. Possible penalties for second and third offenses in a three-year period increase dramatically, up to a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail and license revocation.

As part of a statewide effort to crack down on drivers passing stopped school buses, the Batavia Police Department is participating in "Operation Safe-Stop Day" on April 15.

City police officers will be observing school buses on their routes and will operate radar and laser speed enforcement in school zones.

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

Police Beat: Alleged underage drinking party leads to charges against seven people

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

Frankie McQueen, 19; Nickol Burnett, 19; Erick Horning, 20; David Klecker, 18; Joseph Striegil, 19; Christopher King, 18; Andrew Wright, 19, are charged with possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. Batavia Police reportedly responded to a complaint of a loud party with possible underage drinking at Woodstock Gardens Apartments. Allegedly, McQueen was hosting a party where people under 21 were consuming alcohol. McQueen was also charged with criminal nuisance.

Crystal L. Goodrich, 26, of 1090 Water St., Apt 1, Perry, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to stop at stop sign, operating while registration suspended, operating without insurance and unlicensed operator. Goodrich was stopped at 1:56 a.m., Saturday, on Perry Road in Pavilion by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Jared Christopher Dawe, 22, of 6469 Swamp Road, Lot #39, Byron, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dawe was allegedly involved in a domestic dispute at 1:54 a.m., Saturday, with his girlfriend. During the investigation by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, Dawe was allegedly found to possess marijuana.

Amy Lou Platten, 40, of 337 Main Road, Pembroke, is charged criminal contempt, 2nd. Platten is accused of contacting a person she was ordered not to contact.

Leon James Pocock, 36, of 83 S. Lake Ave., Studio 1, Bergen, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Pocock is accused of violating an order of protection by texting a person he was ordered not to contact.

Bryan P. Umlauf, 24, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Umlauf was issued a ticket by State Police in Le Roy at 2:10 p.m., Saturday.

Timothy J. Tryjankowski, 31, of Alabama, is charged with DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. Tryjankowski was stopped by State Police at 5:30 a.m., Sunday. He was jailed on cash bail.

Jeremy D. Lyons, 25, of Oakfield, is charged with trespass and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; and, Robert J. Spenton, 24, unknown address, is charged with trespass. Lyons and Spenton were charged by State Police for an alleged incident March 31 at Park Avenue and Route 63. No further details were released.

Patrick J. Puccio, 36, of Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Puccio was charged by State Police follow a one-vehicle accident 3:20 a.m., Saturday, on Reuben Road, Alabama.

Amy L. Brown, 37, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Brown was arrested by State Police on Thursday in connection with an alleged incident on Jan. 13. No further details are available.

Accidents from the State Police Blotter:

2:17 p.m., April 9, Thruway, mile marker 375.5, two vehicles; Driver 1: Jennifer P. Gebbie, 42, of Rochester Hills, Mi.; Judith E. Corbin, 55, of Springwater. No injuries reported.

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