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Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Chris Collins statement on the passing of Ralph Wilson

post by Howard Owens in chris collins, NY-27

Press release:

"The people of Buffalo and Western New York have lost a true gentleman and friend. While not a local resident, Ralph Wilson keenly understood what it meant to be a Western New Yorker and how much the team he built means to our community. It was my great honor as a Member of Congress and as the former Erie County Executive to work with him, and I am deeply saddened by his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the entire Buffalo Bills organization during this time."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Parents band together to make up for Lottery kicking City Schools out of video contest

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Schools, education, music, schools

After the Batavia City Schools entry into a NYS Lottery contest was disqualified, a group of parents were sharing their disappointment on Facebook when some suggested maybe there should be a local fundraiser for the music department.

Allison Chua said, "I can do that."

She's set up a fundraising page at First Giving.

While the page shows no funds raised yet, Chua said she has received $300 in checks and some parents have said they will donate when they get back from Spring Break vacation.

The NYS Lottery contest involved schools making a video of students singing "Thank You for Being a Friend." 

Students were very upset, Chua said, when the lottery disqualified their video after it had already been selected as a finalist and was leading, by a slim margin, in votes.

"This is a way for us to show them we do appreciate what they do," Chua said.

The grand prize for the contest was $10,000, but Chua said the parents are setting a modest goal of $2,500 for their fundraiser, which is equivalent to the third place prize in the contest.

To donate, visit the First Giving Web page. To donate by check, mail your check to Batavia City Schools Parent-Teacher Coalition, attention Allison Chua, 260 State St., Batavia, NY 14020. All donations will go to the music programs of the school district.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Batavia Mite team plays in tournament Massachusetts

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Firland Flyers, hockey, sprots

Information from Holly Eschberger:

The Firland Flyers, a Mite Level travel hockey team out of Batavia, NY, took to the road last weekend to play in the 2014 Mullins Mite Madness Tournament in Amherst, Mass., on the uMass campus! The Firland Flyers, the only NY team in the tournament, faced teams from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont and took 3rd place overall. Earlier this year, The Firland Flyers took 1st place at the Lakeshore Tournament in Greece and placed 3rd in their division at The Pepsi Tournament in Buffalo.

The 2013/2014 season was the inaugural year for The Flyers and the 2014 Mullins Mite Madness Tourney was their last outing as a team. Some of the players will move on to play at the Squirt level; others will continue to play as Mites.

The Flyers team is led by Coach Kevin Hamilton, Coach Fred Hamilton, Coach Dan Hudson and Assistant Coaches Jeff Whitcombe, Ryan Whitcombe and Joe Eschberger, managed by Bob Johnson.

The Firland Flyers Team is made up of 7- and 8-year-olds from Alexander, Batavia, Le Roy, Oakfield and Pavilion. Congratulations to Bronx Buchholz, Mason Cook, Chase Cummings, Joe DiRisio, Will Eschberger, Cooper Hamilton, Ryan Hamilton, Noah Hudson, Alex Johnson, Jameson Motyka, Greg Narburgh, Brennan Pederson, Mac Wormley and Noah Whitcombe on a successful, memorable and FUN season!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Man accused of assault outside The Harvester told police he didn't hit victim as hard as he could

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime
Shane M. Bell

The man accused of assault outside The Harvester told police he didn't hit victim as hard as he could.

In statements captured on a police officer's body camera, a man accused of assaulting a fellow bar patron describes being badgered and bothered by the man he later hit.

Shane Bell doesn't deny hitting Scott Baker the night of Aug. 25 outside the Harvester bar on Harvester Avenue, Batavia. At issue in the trial is whether Bell intended to seriously injure Baker.

Bell is charged with assault in the second degree, a Class D felony, which means the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury.

Baker was apparently struck by Bell and fell to the ground, hitting his head on pavement. He was in a coma for a period of time following the incident.

According to Bell's statements captured on the officer's recording, Baker repeatedly pestered Bell and danced some, even closely, with his wife, though Bell said that didn't bother him.

"He just came up to me like a barfly three times and I just gave him a hug," Bell is recorded saying.

Bell also admits to being upset because he believed somebody had stolen his keys from the bar at The Harvester, which was hosting an annual party that day and a lot of people had been at there throughout the day.

Officer Arick Perkins -- then with Batavia PD, now with the Livingston County Sheriff's Office -- was wearing a police department issued body camera when he arrived on scene after the alleged assault was reported. He used it to record some of his initial conversation with Bell.

Bell admits to hitting him, but said he didn't think he hit him hard enough to hurt him seriously.

"I bitch-slapped him," he says at one point, and "I hit him so f---ing soft, it isn't even funny." He also says, "I hit him half-medium."

Later at the police station, Bell brags about being a kickboxer for 16 years and says he could have seriously hurt Baker if he wanted. He claims to have hit Baker with his left hand rather than his right, saying he was right-handed. The camera captures Bell showing his left fist to Perkins.

"Believe me if I wanted to have taken him out earlier, I could have taken him out earlier," Bell tells Perkins.

According to Jolyn Hyland, the first witness called in the trial, Bell came out of the bar shortly after she and her boyfriend pulled up to the parking lot driveway just south of the bar. Hyland said from the passenger side of the vehicle, she was able to observe what happened and hear some of the conversation.

When Bell came out of the bar, Baker, she said, mumbled something Bell.

Bell responded, she said, saying "I'm looking for my keys. You better not f--- with me."

Baker, she said, then threatened Bell, saying he had a knife at home and that he would go home and get it.

Bell, she said, walked across the street and Baker followed.

In the recording, Bell said Baker grabbed his shoulder and he turned around and hit Baker.

Hyland said Bell hit Baker in the face and followed through with the swing of the punch. She said it looked like Bell hit Baker hard and fast.

She heard Baker's head hit the pavement with a crack.

She said she saw a white car heading southbound on Harvester and at that point, Bell grabbed Baker by his legs, she said, and dragged him onto the grass next to the sidewalk.

She said Bell tapped Baker on the face several times, saying, "Wake up. Wake up. It was just one punch."

In the videotape, Bell -- who said he had medic training in the Marines -- said he took Baker's pulse and that it was 85.

When Perkins arrived outside the Harvester, he said he found Baker lying on the ground and observed blood above his right eye.

Det. Pat Corona was called to the scene. In his testimony before the lunch break, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman displayed a number of crime scene photos, including photos of blood on the pavement and on the grass, that Corona authenticated.

The jury was also shown a photo of Baker in the hospital, in intensive care, with a swollen and bruised face.

Friedman then showed a video made at the police station of Bell giving a statement to Corona.

Bell repeats several times that he didn't hit Baker hard. He demonstrates once or twice how he used the back of his open left hand as part of a turning, sweeping motion, and once demonstrates hitting Baker with a closed fist.

Bell's statements are disjointed and he says a number of times that the whole incident isn't really clear in his own mind as to what happened.

At one point, he pulls the back of his tank top shirt to show how Baker grabbed him before he turned around and struck Baker.

Corona will still be on the stand, and there's more of the interview recording for the jury to view, after the lunch break. Billie Owens will post a story about the afternoon of the trial later tonight.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

Attica and Byron-Bergen advance to finals in mock trial competition

post by Howard Owens in batavia, bergen, byron, byron-bergen, mock trials

Attica and Byron-Bergen won semifinal rounds of the mock trial competition held in Wyoming County Court, in Warsaw, on Monday night.

All four teams were 1-1.  Here's the point totals:

Attica - 120 points
Byron-Bergen – 119 points
Batavia – 113 points
Pembroke - 112 points

The finals are tomorrow, 5 p.m., in the Genesee County Courthouse.

To purchase prints, click here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 8:28 am

Le Roy fire puts new Rescue 66 into service

post by Howard Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Fire Department

The Le Roy Volunteer Fire Department dedicated a new truck Monday night and officially put it in service.

The truck is a 45-foot-long heavy rescue, Rescue 66, that replaces a Peterbuilt that was put into service in 1994.

A rescue carries no water. Rather it is filled with tools that can be used on every type of call a fire department might handle, from structure fires and accidents to water rescues.

In fact, the new truck contains a compartment just for an inflatable boat.

"We used to mount a steel boat on top of one of the pumpers and tie it down and drive down the road with a boat on top of a pumper," Chief Tom Wood said. "Now we have an inflatable boat in a compartment on a truck where it's always ready to go at a moments notice."

The cost of the truck was $690,000 and paid for by fire district taxes.

Among the trucks tools are cutting and spreading tools for vehicle extrication, various axes and saws and picks, a couple of extra hoses, brooms for brush fires and a cascade air tank system.

"It's basically a rolling tool box," Wood said.

The air tank system will give Le Roy the ability to refill air packs for City of Batavia fire as well as other departments in the county. Typically, Darien fire has responded to fires in the city to provide support on air pack supply, but the new truck will provide another option for City fire.

At 45-feet-long, Rescue 66 is among the biggest rescue trucks in the county.

It can carry six firefighters.

"It rolls on every call for us, whether it's a brush fire, because it's got rehab on it for heat, structure fire air, or just for manpower," Wood said. "If another department in the county calls for manpower, this is the truck that's going to go."

Deacon Dave Ehrhart performed the blessing for the truck and the department members who attended the ceremony.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer firefighter, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

Chief Tom Wood shows off some of the tool storage on Rescue 66.

Compartment with inflatable boat, engine and water rescue gear.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Casino developer threatens Western OTB with suit for filing request for investigation

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB

Via WBTA:

Tensions are rising over a proposed Seneca Casino in Henrietta.

The law firm for Rochester developer David Flaum -- who’s working with the Senecas to explore a Las Vegas-style casino in Henrietta -- has written a letter to Western Regional Off-Track Betting threatening legal action.

It’s over the complaint filed by WROTB to the state ethics board over alleged illegal lobbying activities. The complaint seeks exploration of potential violations of the state’s lobbying law between the Seneca Gaming Corporation/Seneca Nation and Flaum. Batavia Downs CEO Michael Nolan told WBTA at the time of the filing that “evidence exists to support the conclusion that Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester have been acting as unregistered lobbyists and have accepted a contingent-based employment from the Nation.

Also some evidence exists to support that the Nation and the Seneca Gaming Corporation are considered lobbying clients of Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester and have failed to submit required semiannual reports.”

The developer’s attorney called the complaint “fabricated” and that if it wasn’t dropped, they would sue OTB.

OTB officials say it’s well within their right to seek an opinion from the ethics panel.

“We just submitted the complaint to JCOPE, which is a state commission that’s tasked with interpreting if a contract of this type falls within the ethics law,” OTB President and CEO Michael Kane said. “That’s all we’ve done.”

Multiple municipalities and politicians have voiced their opposition to the casino, saying it would have negative effects on Batavia Downs and the area.

The Senecas purchased 32 acres of land in the Town of Henrietta earlier this month.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

'Baseball Furies' win LCCP dodgeball tournament

Press release:

The Le Roy Christian Community Project hosted its 2nd annual tournament this past Saturday, March 22. Ten teams, consisting of 6-10 players competed in the all day tournament. The teams were: Gone Postal, Don’t Hassle the Hoff, The Rotarians, The Dodgefathers, Baseball Furies, Squad Grey, One Dodge Wonders, Perpetual Hedonism, Dirty Dodgers, and Boom Goes the Dynamite.

The teams and spectators came out to Our Lady of Mercy Parish Center in Le Roy to raise funds for the organization and enjoy a fun-filled day of competition.

The tournament ended with a match between Baseball Furies and Don’t Hassle the Hoff. Don’t Hassle the Hoff came from the losers bracket and took set 1 with a game count of 3-2, forcing a second and final set. It looked like team Don’t Hassle the Hoff was going to take the gold, leaping to a 2-0 start the second set, but Baseball Furies answered back with three straight wins to close out the tournament. Medals from Joe's Awards and Trophies of Batavia were awarded to each member of the team.

Overall Results:
1st Place - Baseball Furies
2nd Place - Don't Hassle the Hoff
3rd Place - Perpetual Hedonism
4th Place - Gone Postal
5th Place - One Dodge Wonders & Squad Grey
7th Place - Dirty Dodgers & Boom Goes the Dynamite
9th Place - The Dodgefathers & The Rotarians

Pictured are the tournament champions, the Team Baseball Furries: Jarrod Miner, Thomas Sigler, Brandon Dries, Tyler Streeter, Brad Streeter, Joe Chimino, Jamie Chimino, Joe Chimino, Sr. Jordan Charcola and Tim Ruffin.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Photos: City firefighters practice rescue skills in icy water at Dewitt

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire, DeWitt Recreation Area

City firefighters were at Dewitt Recreation Area today for a round of ice and cold water rescue training.

Lt. Bob Fix, a certified ice and cold water rescue instructor, conducted the class.

The purpose of the course is to provide fire personnel with the skills and knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to incidents on our through ice.

There are 325 acres of open water within city limits. The Tonawanda Creek runs for 2.79 miles through the city.

Upon completion of the training, participants will be certified in ice rescue awareness, operations and technician levels for three years.

A seagull was more interested in the open water as a possible fishing hole than rescue training.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 7:56 am

Law and Order: Man accused of stealing more than $3K from grandmother

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion

Bruce Jeramie Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and seven counts of forgery, 2nd. Brade allegedly stole checks from his grandmother over the course of several months in 2013 while he was living with her. The value of the checks allegedly totaled $3,680. Brade was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Landon Wayne Carroll, 32, of Buell Street, Akron, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Carroll was stopped at 12:32 a.m. Saturday on Oak Street, Batavia, by Officer Chad Richards.

Samantha L .Tennity, 19, of Hall Street, Batavia, was arrested on a City Court Warrant. No further details released. Tennity was reported by the Sheriff's Office, also, as being arrested on a bench warrant from Town of Batavia Court. She was jailed on $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond.

Tiffany M. Neal, 22, of 115 State St., upper, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Police responded to a call for assistance at Neal's residence and allegedly found Neal and her 1-year-old child living in "deplorable conditions." Neal was issued an appearance ticket. DSS assisted in the investigation.

Joshua L. Baltz, 37, of Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Baltz is accused of shoplifting from Kwik Fill.

Lauralee Pacer, 28, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment. Pacer allegedly sent a man she knew 75 "unwanted and annoying text messages that served no legitimate purpose."

Samantha A. Bowles, 24, of East Main Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine from a previous conviction on disorderly conduct. Bowles was jailed on $200 bail.

Joey Aaron Evans, 23, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to comply with drug court. Evans was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Chiyannon J. Bundy, 26, of Main Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to appear. Bundy was jailed on $200 bail.

Kyle Robert Washington, 24, of South Lake Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, public appearance under the influence of a narcotic or drug, and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public highway. Washington was arrested at 11:59 p.m. Saturday at 572 E. Main St., Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Tracy Lee Moore, 47, of Asbury Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, refusal to take breath test and failure to keep right. Moore was stopped 2:08 a.m. Sunday on Oak Orchard Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Dalton Allan Long, 19, of West Main Street, Caledonia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Long is accused of possessing property that was reported stolen in Oakfield in September 2013.

Jeffrey L. Smith, 44, of Vinton Road, Irondequoit, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Smith is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart. Smith reportedly left in a vehicle and was located later, allegedly in possession of stolen property.

Michael Francis Hurley, 42, of Marine Drive, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and insufficient headlamps. Hurley was stopped at 1:22 a.m. Tuesday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy James Diehl.

Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Local agriculture celebrated during annual dinner in Alexander

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, Baskin Livestock

Baskin Livestock was honored Saturday night at the 2013 Conservation Farm of the Year at the Celebrate Agriculture Dinner, held at the Alexander Fireman's Hall.

Owners Susan Blackburn and Bill Baskin are holding the sign. With them are members of their staff (and in some cases, spouses), Tom and Diane Stroud, Steve and Debbie Greene, Jason and Jessica Skinner, Doug Mess, David Gilhooly.

Christine Bow, left, was honored as the 2014 NY Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. Bow is a first-grade teacher at Jackson School. Barb Sturm, of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, presented the award.

Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Muckdogs fans warm up to new season with annual Hot Stove Dinner

The Genesee County Baseball Club hosted its annual Hot Stove Dinner last night at the Clarion Hotel. The event featured a silent auction and a live auction. K-9 Destro with Deputy Chis Erion also made a guest appearance.

The Batavia Muckdogs first home game is at 7 p.m., June 14.

Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 1:59 am

Spencer Hubbard wins Mr. Batavia competition at BHS

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia

In middle school, Spencer Hubbard was bullied. Today, you can call him Mr. Batavia.

The Batavia High School senior won the title Friday night during its second annual Mr. Batavia competition.

When Hubbard's name was announced as the winner, a packed auditorium of high school students, parents and faculty let out a robust cheer and round of applause.

"It shows how far we've come as people that a gay student can become Mr. Batavia," Hubbard said during his acceptance speech.

Hubbard was tops in a field of 10 in a competition that included lip syncing, a talent contest, a Q&A and a tuxedo walk. Five judges from the community awarded points to the contestants and a committee tallied up the points to pick the winner.

More than $2,200 was raised for the winner's charity. In this case, Hubbard picked Habitat for Humanity.

"I feel like it's a basic need, that people need homes," Hubbard said. "A lot of people are homeless who don't deserve to be. They really need that help."

Hubbard is planning to attend the University of Tampa on a $25,000 scholarship. He will major in journalism.

BHS Principle Scott Williams praised Hubbard as a bright student and talented actor.
As part of the competition, Hubbard performed a self-written satire of a Target clerk that had more funny lines than a Saturday Night Live skit. 

Hubbard said he thinks his acting talent and his self confidence, especially during the swimsuit competition and lip syncing, is what helped sway the judges in his favor.

Last year, Lee Johnson won the contest, in its first year, and Johnson returned Friday night to entertain the crowd while the judges' ballots were tallied. It was a regular stand-up routine, but as he began to run out of material, Williams stepped in to help entertain the crown, including setting up an Ellen-like, Academy Awards selfie.

Competing this year were Adam Weaver, Charlie Williams, Blake Carter, Jake Paine, Tim Martin, Mathew Gabriele, Kenny McMaster, Casey Grice and Michael DiBaccco.

During his acceptance speech, Hubbard praised his fellow competitors and thanked them for being so supportive of each other throughout preparations for the show.

The fact that Johnson is so different from Hubbard, Hubbard said, shows the competition is valuable to the community.

"It shows different people can win," Hubbard said. "Last year Lee won, and he's really different from me. He runs in a different crowd. He was straight and I'm gay, and that was probably a really big thing, too. I said that in my speech as well. It shows how far we've come as people."

A lot has changed for Hubbard, he said, from middle school to his senior year.

"The award means a lot because in middle school I was bullied and now, look how far I can come," Hubbard said. "I think the big thing was I was just myself when I got to high school. I didn't really care what people thought. I didn't try hard to impress people."

Hubbard being congradulated by his fellow contestants.

Mike DiBacco sings Frank Sinatra's, "I've Got the World on a String."

Hubbard performing his sketch, a satire of a clerk from Target.

Sydney Loria, Ashlee Yasses and Haley Case were hostesses for the competition.

Matt Gabriele at the front of the stage during the tux walk.

Lee Johnson, last year's winner.

Principal Scott Williams during an Ellen/Oscar-inspired selfie with the cast and crew of the Mr. Batavia competition.

To purchase prints of these photos and the photos in the slide show, click here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

Photos: Oakfield-Alabama winter carnival

Four-year-old Ethan Pritchett watches a marble roll through a track as part of a game at Oakfield-Alabama's annual winter carnival.

More than 1,500 people who attended the event were able to enjoy more than 40 carnival games, music, food and entertainment during the carnival Friday evening.

The carnival is hosted by Oakfield-Alabama Elementary Community School Organization and is a major fundraiser for the group.

David Schichler, 5.

Kadeen Cusmano, 10.

Ashley Ostrander, 8.

Amora Mabon, 5, watches as Deputy Snyder and Deputy McCarthy create a child identification card for her little brother.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Batavia PD announces three new police officers

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is proud to announce the addition of the following officers: Officer Peter Flanagan, Officer Eric Foels, Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Officers Flanagan, Foels and Cronmiller graduated from the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy on December 20, 2013. All three have just recently completed the intense Field Training Program at BPD.

Officer Flanagan is a United States Marine Corps veteran having served his country in Afghanistan, achieving the rank of Sergeant. Officer Flanagan is married with two children.

Officer Foels will be carrying on the family tradition as his family has been in law enforcement for the past 50 years. Officer Foels’ family members are current and retired members of the City of Tonawanda Police Department.

Officer Cronmiller is no stranger to law enforcement either, two of his 10 siblings serve in law enforcement, one as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent and the other a police officer with the Town of Hamburg Police Department.

Officers Flanagan, Foels and Cronmiller are dedicated to making the City of Batavia a safer and more enjoyable place to live and work.

Photo (submitted): From left, Officer Stephen Cronmiller, Chief Shawn Heubusch, Officer Peter Flanagan, Officer Eric Foels.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Police looking for hit-and-run driver after car hits house on Liberty Street

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia PD is looking for the public's assistance in identifying the driver of a hit-and-run vehicle that struck a residence at 219 Liberty St., Batavia, at 9:11 p.m. Thursday.

The car is described as a silver or light blue front- four-door sedan. It will likely have heavy front-end damage, especially on the driver's side front.

It was last seen heading southbound on Liberty Street.

Anyone with information is asked to call Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Driver involved in November collision that injured six accused of being on drugs at time of crash

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia PD has completed its investigation into a Nov. 29 accident at Oak and Richmond that injured six people and have charged one of the drivers with felony driving while under the influence of drugs.

Michael I. Sanders, 46, of 22 Columbia Ave., Batavia, is charged with DWAI Drugs, with a prior conviction within 10 years, vehicle assault, 1st, and vehicle assault causing serious physical injury.

He was arraigned on the charges and jailed without bail.

Investigators filed the charges against Sanders after receiving the results of toxicology tests, which allegedly indicated Sanders was under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision.

Two vehicles and two pedestrians were involved in the accident, with six people being transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Investigator seeks public's help in IDing witnesses in possible Bed, Bath & Beyond arson

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Bed Bath & Beyond, crime

It appears -- though not certain at this stage of the ongoing investigation -- that the fire that heavily damaged Bed, Bath & Beyond's store in Batavia in January was deliberately set, according to Investigator Kris Kautz, of the Sheriff's Office.

Kautz is requesting the public's help in identifying people who were in the store that day so they can be interviewed. He's looking to identify the four people in these photos because he would like to talk with them.

None of the four are considered suspects.

In fact, the Sheriff's Office has a person of interest in the case, but still needs to gather more evidence.

"We have no proof of his actions, if in fact he's involved at all," Kautz said, "but there is an individual in video footage who appears consistent with a known individual we are looking at."

Kautz acknowledges these four pictures are low quality, but it's all he has to work with. They are still photos shot of a video monitor screen.

Sometimes people can recall things that seem unimportant to them, but would be important to the case.

"Any of these people might remember this or that or they can say 'I saw a guy,' " Kautz said. "You never know. This is a fishing trip as we call it in the business. Sometimes people know stuff they don't know is important. Sometimes all they need is a little prodding to know what they know."

The retail store in Batavia Towne Center has been closed for months and officials say it will be a long time yet before it reopens.

Investigator Kautz can be reached by calling the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000. He's hoping people who recognize themselves will call him, or perhaps a friend, neighbor or relative might recognize somebody and provide Kautz with the identity.

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