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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 8:01 am

Accident reported at Main and Center, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A two-car accident, unknown injuries, is reported at Center Street and East Main Street, Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:47 am

Listen this morning to 'Talk of the Town' on WBTA

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, wbta

Tune in at 9 a.m. to WBTA-1490 for "Talk of the Town" staring Hiram Kasten and Lucine Kauffman.

I'll be their guest this morning.

The show can also be heard live streamed on WBTAi.com and WBTA's smartphone app.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Dog can finally be adopted after owner admits to animal torture charge and surrenders ownership

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, crime, pets

Fox'r is ready to go home. Whose home, we don't know yet, but it won't be the home of Nina Kelso.

In City Court today, Kelso finally surrendered ownership of the boxer, who has been living at the Animal Shelter since being found on death's doorstep at Kelso's former residence on Hutchins Street more than nine months ago.

He can now be adopted into a forever home by a local resident.

While Fox'r has put on weight -- he's up to 84 pounds -- and regained his strength, he's also been fidgety and nervous while confined most hours of the day to a cage at the shelter. He likes people and wants to be around people, volunteers say.

The volunteers at the shelter have taken to calling him "Skully" and "Boyfriend" and they've been eager to see Kelso's court case completed so he could find a new home.

Concern for the dog is one reason the District Attorney's Office agreed to a plea bargain in the case, ADA Robert Zickl told Judge Robert Balbick in City Court today.

"There's no reason for the animal to continue being confined to the shelter," Zickl said. "It should be adopted out and that is what we prefer to do because it's in the best interest of the dog." 

Kelso entered a guilty plea on an Alford basis to one count of torturing an animal.

An Alford plea means she concedes she would likely be found guilty by a jury, but does not admit to the facts of the prosecution's case against her.

Today's proceedings started with Kelso's attorney, Fares Rumi, laying out his understanding of the plea agreement offered by the people.

The agreement was a guilty plea to torturing an animal, no fees for his care up at the shelter and no jail time.

Balbick shot back that he wouldn't necessarily agree to the terms at sentencing.

"I would have to look at her background, a pre-sentence investigation, the facts of the situation and decided if no jail would serve appropriate justice," Balbick said. "I can't do that blindly. I know nothing about your client except that she is charged with torturing an animal."

Looks of shock and horror passed over Kelso's face, who sat at the defense table in a black blouse fiddling with a long silver chain draped around her neck. She appeared close to tears.

After some whispers between her and Rumi, some more back and forth between Rumi and Balbick, Balbick suggested the attorneys proceed with the planned suppression hearing.

Rumi had made a motion to get thrown out any statements Kelso made to Officer Jamie Givens the day she responded to an animal cruelty complaint at 142 Hutchins St. on Feb. 4.

Givens found Fox'r at the top of a common stairwell (shared by two apartments). Food was strewn everywhere, there was no water, and it didn't appear that Fox'r even had the strength to raise his head, Givens testified.

He was so emaciated his ribs were showing.

Minutes after Givens arrived on scene, Kelso came up and walked up the stairs and spoke with Givens.

Rumi argued that Kelso should have been read her rights before speaking with Givens. An argument Balbick would later reject saying that Kelso wasn't in custody at the time and her statements were voluntary. 

Kelso told Givens, Givens said, that Fox'r had eaten either cigarettes or some chemical that made him sick and cause sudden weight loss. Kelso reportedly said she knew Fox'r was close to death and that her brother-in-law was supposed to pick him up the next day and take him some place and shoot him to death.

Through the entirety of Givens testimony, Kelso sat silently shaking her head "no."

After the testimony, both attorneys met with Balbick privately.

When they came back into the courtroom, Rumi met with Kelso privately. They all then approached the bench and Rumi said Kelso had agreed to the terms.

Balbick again emphasized that he retains the option to reject her guilty plea when she comes in for sentencing Jan. 6.

Through tears, Kelso said she understood.

As the details of her guilty plea and the process were discussed, Kelso stood next to her attorney nearly sobbing, but mostly holding it together.

When Balbick asked her if she was ready to surrender the dog, Kelso could barely form the word "yes" with her mouth, started to sob briefly and looked straight up at the ceiling.

Seconds passed, and she managed to sob, "yes."

An animal control officer at the back of the courtroom began preparing the paperwork.

The animal shelter is located at 3841 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. Phone: (585) 343-6410. Applications for adoption are being accepted immediately.  

Around the time of Kelso's arrest, another Batavia woman, Lauren K. Pellegrino, also also arrested for allegedly mistreating her dog, Nessa. Pellegrino was scheduled to appear on her case at 1:30 p.m., and as of 4 p.m., she had yet to show up in City Court. She missed a previous court appearance, as well, and eventually turned herself in on a warrant, according to court officials. The court was attempting to contact her attorney this afternoon. Nessa remains confined to the shelter.

CORRECTION: we originally wrote "no fine." Kelso could be fined up to $1,000. The plea relieves her of responsibility for shelter fees. However when Balbick informed her she could be fined Kelso said she had been willing to pay for Fox'r's care.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

Reader photo: Garden spider

post by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, photos

Inspired by Jim Nigro's post, Jody Robbins submitted this photo of a spider from her garden.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

Law and Order: New forgery charge for jail inmate

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

Michael Robert Sigl, 22, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Sigl allegedly forged a check Sept. 4 from another person's account and used it to make a purchase at a local retail store for $277.54. Sigl is already incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail  on five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument was arraigned on the new charge and ordered held on $10,000 cash bail. 

Dylan B. Boykins, 41, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny. Boykins allegedly tried to steal merchandise from Dollar General.

Justin J. Koepp, 32, of East Main Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Koepp was charged following an investigation into a reported domestic incident.

Eric John Davis, 36, of Read Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Davis allegedly violated an order of protection.

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Sarah Noble-Moag appointed to GGLDC board of directors

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, GGLDC, Pavilion

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) has appointed Sarah Noble-Moag to the organization’s board of directors.

“Sarah Noble-Moag was selected to serve on the GGLDC board because of her extensive management experience with various dairy companies right here in Genesee County,” said Thomas Felton, GGLDC board chairman. “Her skills and background knowledge of the local agricultural industry will be a tremendous asset to the board.”

Noble-Moag is a personnel manager for Linwood Management Group, LLC, which provides management services to dairy companies, including Noblehurst Farms, and Synergy, LLC. In this role she coordinates staffing, employee payroll and benefits, communication and recruitment for the group along with being responsible for overseeing internal personnel controls and staffing.

In addition to her position with Linwood Management Group, Noble-Moag is very active within the community. She is the past president of the board of education for the Pavilion Central Schools, and continues to serve on the audit committee.

She maintains an active role in education and training for our rural communities, advocating for affordable, quality public education by serving as a board member on the Agricultural Affiliates, which provides leadership necessary to build a strong workforce for agriculture in the Northern U.S. She also is a member of the National Council of Agricultural Employers and New York State Agricultural Society.

Noble-Moag is a graduate of Cornell University and a graduate of Class VI of LEAD New York. She an elder in the Covington Presbyterian Church, and has served on the Committee on Ministry and Migration Working Group (a forum on immigration reform) for the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley.

She resides in Pavilion with her husband, Timothy Moag. They have three grown children.

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Accident with injuries reported on Route 33, Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford

A two-car accident reported on Clinton Street Road near Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford.

Injuries are reported.

Stafford fire and Mercy EMS responding.

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Law and Order: Harvester Avenue resident accused of drug sales

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford
Aaron Klein

Aaron Lee Klein, 43, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. A plain clothes police officer observed Klein allegedly selling marijuana and heroin to another person at 3:09 p.m. Oct. 1 on Dellinger Avenue, Batavia.

James Albert Hancock, 45, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. A plain clothes police officer observed Hancock allegedly make a purchase of marijuana and heroin from another person at 3:09 a.m. Wednesday on Dellinger Avenue, Batavia.

Robert Propst

Robert J. Propst, 34, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree robbery, grand larceny 4th, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, 2nd. Propst is accused of displaying a knife at 10:27 p.m. Aug. 6 while on Pearl Street, Batavia, and demanding the wallet of another person. Propst was jailed without bail.

Christopher Alexander John Davenport, 26, of Bennett Hill Road, Groveland, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and no plate lamp. Davenport was stopped at 1:41 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Shannon Lee Atonetty, 38, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Antonetty allegedly forced his way into a residence in Bethany and stole money and a receipt from a wallet. The homeowners found Atonetty lying on the kitchen floor in an intoxicated condition and detained him until law enforcement arrived. Attonetty was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Johnny Lee Shannon, 56, of Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Shannon allegedly threatened another person with a knife at his residence at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Paul Michael Gelardo, 29, of Fargo Road, Stafford, was arrested on warrants for alleged identify theft, 3rd, and petit larceny. Gelardo was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by Deputy John Baiocco, who recognized Gelardo as a warrant suspect. Gelardo was jailed on $500 bail.

Anthony Gene Stone, 25, of Delmar Road, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged disorderly conduct. Stone was arrested following his release from Monroe County Jail, where he was held on an unrelated matter. Stone was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed on $100 bail.

Alton W. Bethel, 53, of Union Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, grand larceny, 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child. Bethel was arrested following an investigation into a domestic incident reported at 11:38 p.m. Friday on Bank Street. No further details released.

Katherin A. O'Brien, 21, of Roanoke Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and controlled substance not in origianl container. O'Brien was stopped at 12:14 a.m. Sept. 24 on West Main Street, Batavia, by officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

A 16-year-old resident of Holland Avenue is charged with harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. The youth was involved in a fight with a sibling at Batavia High School and allegedly struck a staff member trying to break up the fight.

A 17-year-old resident of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. The youth was involved in a fight with a sibling at Batavia High School.

Reginal C. Sampson Sr., 48, of Webster Avenue, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sampson was charged following a fight with another person reported at 6 p.m. Wednesday at a residence on Hall Street, Batavia. Also charged with harassment, 2nd, was Leonard A. Johnson, 21, of Hall Street, Batavia.

Nathen Edward Donald Brege, 22, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an overnight parking ticket in the City of Batavia. Brege posted bail and was released.

A 16-year-old from Le Roy is charged with harassment, 2nd. The youth was arrested by State Police related to an incident reported at 3:30 p.m., Friday. No further details released.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Photo: Tree in cornfield of Route 98, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, trees

Whenever I drive by it, I like the look of this tree out in a cornfield, east of Route 98, just before you get to Batavia Elba Townline Road. This evening, I stopped for a picture.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Photos: 7th Annual St. Padre Pio Parish Oktoberfest

A big crowd turned out in Oakfield on Saturday evening for the 7th Annual St. Padre Pio Parish Oktoberfest. There was pulled pork, a basket auction, sweet treats, live music, and, of course, a beer tent.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Photos: Downtown Wine Walk 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, wine walk

Once a little rain passed through and the sun came out, it was a beautiful Saturday evening for a wine walk in Downtown Batavia.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Football Roundup: Week 5

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, sports

Le Roy 53, Canisteo-Greenwood 13. Le Roy once again proved unstoppable, tallying 527 total offensive yards while holding C-G to 264. Employing six different backs, Le Roy rushed for 353 yards. QB Mike McMullen threw for three TDs. He was 10 for 16 for 219 yards and was not intercepted. Nick Egeling,10 rushes for 156 yards and a TD, Jon Pierce, eight rushes for 79 yards, and two TDs, and Tom Kelso, nine rushes 69 yards and two TDs. Kelso also had a TD reception. Ryan McQuillen had five receptions for 134 yards and a TD. Jake Henry caught a touchdown pass of five yards. McQuillen had seven tackles (all solo) and two interceptions. Kody Lamkin, seven tackles and Kelso, five tackles and an interception. Next week at home, Le Roy faces Bishop Kearney, sharing the lead with Le Roy in Livingston County Division II. Both teams are 5-0.

Alexander 31, Oakfield 24. For the Trojans, Tristin Aldinger had 123 yards and a TD on 24 carries. Jake Wozniak scored a TD and QB Jared Brown connected with his brother Samuel Browne on a 21-yard TD. Derrick Busch had a TD grab on a 37-yard pass from Samuel Browne. Zach Shilvock was 4-for-4 on PATs and kicked a 19-yard field goal, but missed a 48-yard attempt. Wozniak had three tackles and an interception and Jake Riggs have five tackles and an interception. Busch registered his fifth sack of the season. For O-A, Alan Chatt was 16 for 32 passing for 192 yards and three TDs. He was picked twice. Reice Woodward had five catches for 44 yards and a TD. Sal Schwable had seven catches for 116 yards and a TD. Ryan Emery, two receptions, 23 yards and a TD. Chatt, seven tackles, Emery, seven tackes and an interception, Jon Harris, seven tackles and a sack and Jake Velletta, seven tackles.

Attica 34, Elba 6. We haven't received Elba's stats.

Notre Dame 34, Charles Finney 6. Both teams came in 2-2, but the Fighting Irish dominated the contest. ND had 292 total yards compared to 126 for Finney. Joe Zickl was 4-7 passing for 43 yards and one TD.  Jack Sutherland rushed for 125 yards on 18 carries and scored. Peter Daversa also carried the ball 18 times. He had 112 yards and a TD. Sutherland also had two catches for 21 yards and a TD.  Josh Johnson had one reception for 23 yards. Spencer Misiak returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Ethan Osborne had 6.5 tackles, as did C.J. Suozzi. Joe Zickl had 5.5

Holley 37, Pembroke 19. Pembroke suffered its fifth loss in five games while Holley picked up its first win of the season. Zack Ewert and Dylan Miserantino both scored on the ground for the Dragons.

Alexander/Oakfield-Alabama game photos by Rick Franclemont. For more photos, click here.

Pembroke photos by Rick D. Franclemonth.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Blue Devils battle for narrow victory over Geneva to go to 4-1 on season

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

This is where teams fold. Down 7-0 after a 90-yard unmolested half-back sprint down the near sideline, after a fumble and two interceptions, including one when your 60-yard offensive drive has taken you to the vestibule of the end zone, only to see the ball fall into the hands of a defensive back.

That's when the enemy scores. That's when you're down 7-0 deep into the third quarter on a night when all previous offensive drives failed to produce points.

Perhaps, it just isn't your night.

After all, you're a team that hasn't gotten to four wins in a season in more than a decade.

It could be fate, a jinx or just the way it's supposed to be.

Except, you don't believe it. Not for a moment.

"I don't think we ever really skipped a beat," said Dom Mogavero, junior running back and line backer. "We went out there thinking we're going to win this football game. We never really lost our composure. We just kept fighting because we knew we could break that scoreboard eventually."

Everything went from going bad to going good on one play.

Before the play, Geneva recovered a fumble on Batavia's 40 and was moving toward the goal line once again when Panthers QB Alex Joll handed the ball to running back Mark Suchewski on a sweep.

There's nobody Joll would rather give the ball to than Mark Suchewski, who came into the game approaching 1,000 yards on the ground for the season and twice led his team with four-touchdown performances.

As Suchewski sprinted left and searched for a corner to turn, Batavia's James Cryer stayed with him step-for-step, catching him near the hash marks and stripping the ball.

Mogavero pounced on that precious gem of a ball just before it rolled out of bounds. The Blue Devils' bench exploded.

"The momentum shift was huge," Head Coach Brennan Briggs said. "I sensed it right there. It could have gone either way. If they punch it in, now you've really got to dig yourself out of a hole pretty late in the game. When we got that ball I heard one of the kids on our team say, 'now it's our time. We're going to win this game coach.' "

The Blue Devils didn't score on that drive, but the defense came up with a big stop on Geneva's next possession.

Anthony Gallo returned a punt deep into Panthers territory to once again put the Blue Devils on the doorstep of six points.

Taking a path similar to Suchewski's minutes before, QB Greg Mruczek found that corner to turn and with a Panther's defensive back closing in fast, dove for the pylon, giving the Blue Devils their first points on the night early in the 4th quarter.

In a bold move, Briggs called for a two-point conversion and on a spread offense Mogavero just barely nosed the ball over the goal line.

From there, it was ball control and a good game plan for the Blue Devils.

From watching film, Briggs said the coaches knew if they could spread Geneva's defense with receivers on the outside, it would open some up holes in the middle.

Wind gusts made passing a little more treacherous. Mruczek completed only six of his 19 tosses (for 85 yards), and twice balls intended for wideouts wound up in the hands of corner backs, but Briggs stuck with the game plan.

"Greg was struggling a little bit early on getting the ball out there, so even though it was there, we couldn't take advantage of it," Briggs said. "Eventually, they saw 'OK that's what they're trying to do', and eventually they're going to connect on it, so they widened out and we started going to one-back running with Dom and quarterback keepers."

Mogavero rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries.

"I give a lot of credit to our coaches," Mosgavero said. "We came in with a great game plan."

Stopping Suchewski was a big part of that game plan.

The plan was to stack the box, stop the run and let a strong-armed Joll, a fearless pocket passer, heave the ball down field as often as he liked.

"We went into the game saying we're going to gamble with the pass and we're going to shut down their run," Briggs said. "We're going to commit to stopping that run and we're going to put pressure on him if he's passing. We're going to say hey we've got athletes out there and you guys have got to have a great snap, great throw and great catch."

To be sure, Joll connected on a couple of those bombs, but tight coverage contained the yardage after reception. With a running game all but shut down, the Panthers couldn't sustain a drive.

With a lead in the 4th, a defense that could contain the Panthers, Briggs kept the ball on the ground and ran down the clock. With runs of three or four yards at a time, the Blue Devils were able to control the ball through most of the fourth quarter.

"We knew we had to fight," Mruczek said' "We have a lot better team than them, I thought. Man-to-man up front. We just had to grind and fight, grind and fight and get the W."

This year's Blue Devils team is a confident bunch of guys, Briggs said.

"That can sometimes be a bad thing," said the head coach, "but I love the swag of these kids."

It's all about the team, Mogavero said.

"I give a lot of credit to our guys every day," Mogavero said. "They play out their hearts every single game, every snap, every practice. We just give it and keep giving it. I feel like that's definitely going to propel us to the front, because you know, some people don't believe that we can be the team that beats good teams and I feel like we really turned the corner as a program.

"We love each other," he added. "It's the biggest team. We're not the biggest team size-wise, the biggest team in numbers, but we're close. That makes our hearts big."

Mogavero pointed to his chest, just below "Batavia," and said "We're big here."

Top Photo: Mruczek dives for the pylon for a TD. A two-point conversion would give Batavia the go-ahead and stay-ahead points.

James Cryer forces Geneva's star running back Mark Suchewski as the Panther's seemed to be on the verge of another score.

Batavia's bench celebrates Mogavero's fumble recovery.

Mogavero hits Joll just as he attempts another long pass. The play was ruled an incomplete forward pass.

Mogavero gets his helment buried in the turf at the end of a run.

This play was ruled an interception. Check the sequence in the slideshow below. It appears the defensive player trapped the ball on the ground before he had control. On the second play after the turnover, Mark Suchewski ran 90 yards for a Geneva touchdown.

Geneva's Marquan Ross with an interception on a pass intended for Malachi Chenault.

Mruczek hands off to Mogevero in the 4th quarter.

Danny Williams, who also had 10 tackles on the night, sacks Alex Joll in the 4th quarter.

Jarrett Laskett and Trevor Sherwood celebrate the Blue Devils victory after the final whistle.

To purchase prints from this game and ensure you have copies for years to come, click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 12:22 am

Car into pole on Transit Road, Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford

A female driver reportedly passed out and drove her car into a utility pole in the area of 9754 Transit Road, Stafford.

Stafford fire and Bethany fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

Law enforcement on scene advises everybody can respond non-emergency.

The woman is conscious and alter and apparently not seriously injured.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Firefighters wear T-shirts with pink bows for Breast Cancer Awareness month

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, IAFF Local 896

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as city firefighters do annually, they are donning special T-shirts while on duty to recognize the fight against breast cancer.

Pictured with six firefighters today are Toni Funke and Kristen Gonter, breast cancer survivors.

From left are Capt. Mark Mikolajczyk, Chuck Hammon, Adam Polumbo, Nathan Kinne, Jeff Whitcomb and David Adams.

The IAFF Local 896 will make a donation to a breast cancer organization this month.

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