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Howard B. Owens's blog

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Farm building in Bethany used for storage destroyed by fire

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, fire

It was just a storage shed. Some straw. Some sawdust. Bedding for the animals on a farm started by Michael Adams and his family in 1979.

The family built that shed. The first one of the Adams Farm property. Talking to Michael Adams after fire reduced the structure to rubble, you could see those remembrances pass before the long gaze of his eyes.

“Everything here got built by my brother, my dad, myself, my kids, my wife, everybody that’s come along through here," Adams said. "We tried to do all the work ourselves." He paused. "I look at it and start thinking about the days we were building it and, know you. …What can you do?”

The fire at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany, was reported at just before 2:40 p.m., but by then it was already too late.

“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose," Adams said. "Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."

The Adams farm specializes in replacement heifers for dairy farms and has about 60 head of beef cattle. The farm also grows corn, soybeans and a little bit of hay, Adams said.

Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Pietrzykowski, today's scene commander, was in the city when he got the dispatch for the fire. Pietrzykowski could see the smoke column all the way down Ellicott Street. He immediately put out a second alarm for Stafford Fire to respond as well.

The first firefighters on scene found flames leaping from the windows and the roof was already gone.

"Our top priority was keeping it from the other buildings," Pietrzykowski said. "There was heavy fire. It was almost on the ground when we got here, but we were worried it was going to spread."

With no public water in the area, tankers were needed to haul water from a nearby pond.

Mutual aid departments included Alexander, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Le Roy and Pavilion.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

"It’s just like everything else around here, probably way under-insured, you know," Adams said. "Maybe we can put something smaller up if possible, but just to store our bedding and whatnot -- for the cattle mostly, that’s what it’s used for."

To purchase prints, click here.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul stops by farmers market, says she's happy to be 'back in the game'

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, kathy hochul, politics

UPDATE: Kathy Hochul at Picnic in the Park later in the day with Wayne Fuller. Photo sent to us by a third party, but originated with a member of Hochul's staff.

NOTE: You may be wondering why there are no pictures to go with Kathy Hochul's stop at the farmer's market. My camera was still set up for multiple exposures from last night's fireworks at the Muckdogs game. A fact I didn't discover until I got home. This also left me with no usable pictures from the Kiwanis 5K to benefit autism research.  

Genesee County's former congressional representative, Kathy Hochul, now running for Lieutenant Governor, said she's been craving some brownie-stuffed cookies from the Batavia Downs Farmer's Market, so Hochul said she decided to get an early start on her campaign day and drive out to Batavia.

Hochul also bought strawberries and hand-crafted chocolate.

"It's a big state and I've got to go to all four corners, but I love Genesee County and I'll be out here as often as I can," Hochul said.

After terms as Erie County County Clerk and in the House of Representatives, Hochul worked for about 18 months for M&T Bank. It was a job she said she loved and still got her out into the community, but when Gov. Andrew Cuomo called and asked her to replace Robert Duffy on the election ticket, Hochul said she was tugged by the lure of representing people in New York again.

"I realized when the call came, there was a little bit of an emptiness, that I really wanted to get back and serve people in a more direct way, so I could not have been more thrilled than to have received the call and accept this honor and start running," Hochul said.

This, she said, is what she was meant to do.

"It's not something I pushed for at all," Hochul said. "When I think it about it, it just feels right, to be back out there meeting people all over this amazing state. I love my congressional district and I love representing Upstate New York, but the opportunity to go all over the state and meet new people and see them in their environments and businesses, I just feel like this is a calling. I've always thought public service is a calling. I'm so delighted to be back in the game."

As a candidate for reelection to Congress, Hochul had won over pretty much all of the gun rights groups, campaigning as a strong advocate for the Second Amendment. Now she's working for a man who has become the most reviled politician in New York by gun rights advocates. Hochul said she doesn't believe there is a contradiction in her position then or now.

Here's her full response to that question:

I believe there is a middle ground. I know many, many gun owners. I have family members who are marksmen and who are hunters and this is part of a culture up here and people need to understand that. There's no effort to remove guns from legitimate gun owners. I think there is sometimes a hysteria that's created, but people have to understand we respect the Second Amendment, but also there are many people who understand the need for background checks. As a county clerk, I like the fact that there are background checks performed, because there are people you don't want to have guns in their hands. They could do harm to fellow citizens. I believe there is an accommodation and I believe there is a reasonable approach. The extremes on one side or the other aren't going to agree with that, but that's how I've been my entire life in public service. There's a pragmatic middle ground and if people are willing to listen to each other, we'll get to the right answer. That's where I stand.

The stop at a farmer's market reminded her a lot of her term in Congress, she said, especially representing farmers.

"It reminds me so many tours of the farms and the struggles they face, when the weather's bad and there's a flood or a drought or there's army worms," Hochul said. "They're such resilient people and to know that I'll be in a position to promote their work in a new capacity as Lieutenant Governor working with Gov. Cuomo, it's going to be great."

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 8:04 am

Brad Paisley plays music on relatively quiet night for law enforcement at Darien Lake

The following arrests were made during the Brad Paisley concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Nolin S. Jackson, 36, of Capen Boulevard, Amherst, charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly blocking vehicular traffic and causing a disturbance while exiting the concert parking lot.  

David S. Rosati, 24, of Fix Road, Grand Island, charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the south PAC entrance after being ejected from the venue and told not to return.

Rachel N. Brandt, 22, of Chelsea Park, Pittsford, charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the south PAC entrance after being ejected from the venue and told not to return, and disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance while being ejected the second time.

Michael J. Arcuri, 20, of Old Goodrich Road, Clarence, charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly shoving and slapping a deputy.

Adam P. Wilson, 18, of Blake Road, Brockport, charged with unlawful possession, of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Morgan K. Miller, 18, of Fairmont Street, Buffalo, charged with unlawful possession, of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Ryan David Adams, 20, of North Ellicott Creek Road, Amherst, charged with unlawful possession, of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana, and possession of a fictitious license. 

Juliana Bilodeau, 18, of Winona Boulevard, Rochester, issued an UTT for possession of a fictitious license.

Juliana M. Y. Tirone, 18, of Wadsworth Court, Tonawanda, issued an UTT for possession of a fictitious license.

Victoria A. Schlabig, 18, of Banko Drive, Depew, issued an UTT for possession of a fictitious license.

Paul N. Castricone, 17, of Nathans Trail, Lancaster, issued an UTT for possession of a fictitious license.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

Muckdogs go down 7-1 to Spikes on fireworks night at Dwyer

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports

It was a take-me-out-to-the-ball-game kind of night at Dwyer Stadium. A nice night for a ball game and fireworks.

The hometown team, alas, didn't win. It's a shame.

As 1,782 fans watched, Batavia let first place in the Pinckney Division slip from its grasp, the mood in the stands was barely even dampened, even by a short rain delay in the eighth inning. There would be, after all, win or lose, an Independence Day fireworks show after the game.

Families were there with their children -- some seeing their first professional game -- and fans had the peanuts and Cracker Jacks (not to mention beer and sausage) to fall back on.

The evening started poorly for the home crew, and never really got better. The final, 7-1. The Muckdogs drop to 12-8 on the season. The Spikes are now 13-7.

In the first, starter Jorgan Cavanerio (1-1) sandwiched a walk between a pair of singles, giving up a run, and setting the tone for his fourth outing of the season.

Two singles and a walk in the second led to another run -- a run that scored an inning-ending double play, something you don't see often. The Spikes' Chase Raffield scored on a sacrafice fly to center, then a base running blunder led to Danny Diekroeger getting doubled up at second.

Cavanerio held the line in the third, but the Spikes blew the game open with four runs in the fourth. All four runs came with two outs. 

Jake Stone started the scoring procession with a home run, which could have been worse, if a lead-off walk hadn't been erased by a double play.

During Stone's at bat, there was a lot of griping on the home side about the inconsistant ball and strike calls of home plate umpire Anthony Perez. To partisan minds, Stone should have been out on strikes, and the inning over, on the pitch prior to the gopher ball.

After a team conference on the mound in which manager Angel Espada appeared to try and console his struggling hurler, Espada stood in front of home plate and jawed in the face of Perez for a good two minutes. Perez, stone-faced, just listened. Ejected, Espada walked to the dugout, handed his line-up card to his assistant, and trekked the 300 feet to the clubhouse cheered by fans along the third base line.

Cavanerio gave up 10 hits in four inning of work, walking four. The six earned runs raised his ERA through four starts to 7.71.

Offensively, the Muckdogs never really got anything going. Brian Anderson, Ryan Cranmer, Kevin Grove and Miles Williams each picked up singles for Batavia's only four hits on the night.

Anderson, a third-round draft choice out of Arkansas, has played 10 games at second and is hitting .317. 

Batavia's lone run came in the second, after first baseman Eric Fisher reached on a strikeout, eventually advancing to third and scoring on a double play. There were no hits in the inning.

The National Anthem and "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch were sung beautifully by Emily Helenbrook.

The Muckdogs are on the road tonight, traveling to Mahoning Valley. They return home Monday for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Jamestown Jammers.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Fireworks to follow game tonight with first place on the line at Dwyer Stadium

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports

Batavia and State College, who are battling for supremacy in the Pinckney Division, clash at Dwyer Stadium tonight.

The 7 p.m. game is followed by an Independence Day fireworks celebration.

The starters are Dan Poncedeleon (1-0, 2,25 ERA) for the Spikes and Jorgan Cavanerio (1-0, 6.65) for the Muckdogs.

The Batavia offense will be led by Mason Davis, who is among the league leaders with a .344 batting average.

The Muckdogs travel to Mahoning Valley tomorrow night.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of stealing from employer in Le Roy

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

Timothy Robert King, 23, of Otis Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. King is accused of stealing $361 from an employer in Le Roy.

Zachary Wayne Morlock, 22, of Gary Lane, Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Morlock was stopped at 12:26 a.m. on Alleghany Road, Darien, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Sherri Colleen Butler, 54, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Butler was arrested on a Town of Batavia Court bench warrant.

Jerald A. Shuler Jr., 52, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Shuler allegedly threatened to hit a roommate and threw a cup of coffee. Shuler was ordered to stay away from his roommate.

Lisa M. Sequerth, 44, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sequerth is accused of sending an ex-boyfriend 34 unwanted text messages after previously being warned not to contact her ex-boyfriend.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

Four arrested reported at Fall Out Boy concert at Darien Lake

The following people were arrested during the Fall Out Boy concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.

Jemel Cannon, 36, of Crotona Park, Bronx, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Erica A. Price, 28, of Park Street, Buffalo, is charged with trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue after being directed to do so several times. Price was remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Lily J. Walton, 20, of Maple Avenue, Elmira, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal trespass, 3rd. Walton allegedly punched a concert security officer while being escorted out of the concert. An appearance ticket was issued for the harassment, 2nd, and Walton was released. Walton then reentered the concert venue after being told she could not return. Walton was arraigned on the criminal trespass, 3rd, charge and remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $200 bail.

Jordan J. Ruday, 22, of Livingston Street, Elmira, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after he was allegedly found to be in possession of marijuana cigarettes. Ruday was issued an appearance ticket and released. Ruday then reentered the concert venue after being told not to return. Ruday was arraigned on the charge of criminal trespass, 3rd, and remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $200 bail.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office just released this list of alleged ABC violations at last night's concert.

Robert B. Dugan, 18, of Lake Road, North East, Pa.
Samantha D. Oriani, 19, of Broadway, Grand Island
Jordan J. H. Storch, 17, of Marlin Drive, West Seneca
Brandon R. Borzillire, 18, of Casum Court, Niagara Falls
Kelsey J. Wiskup, 18, of Matteson Corners, Holland
Kaylee A. Gutschow, 18, of Chatham Road, Medina, Ohio
Danielle N. Pinelli, 18, of French Road, Cheektowaga
Carly B. Polisoto, 20, of East Main Street, Fredonia
Erin E. Johnson, 18, of Sunset Creek Drive, West Seneca
Emily N. Kasprzyk, 18, of Sweet Road, East Aurora
Grace M. Wisner, 19, of Main Street, West Seneca

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

Man who allegedly tried to flee deputy arrested on multiple charges in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
James Saddler

A man already in custody after allegedly trying to flee from a deputy following a traffic stop has been arrested on a trio of City Court warrants containing more than a dozen criminal charges.

On the first warrant, James T. Saddler III, is charged with unlawful imprisonment, 1st, endangering the welfare of a child, assault, 3rd, menacing, 3rd, and menacing, 2nd. The charges stem from an alleged incident reported at 4 p.m. Nov. 21 on State St., Batavia. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated family offense.

Related to an alleged incident reported at 8:15 p.m. April 1 on Olyn Avenue, Batavia, Saddler is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. 

The third warrant covers endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of harassment second. The alleged incident was reported at 2:50 p.m. April 12 at a location on Olyn Avenue, Batavia.

Saddler was picked up just after midnight Wednesday following an attempted traffic stop by Deputy Joseph Corona on Park Road. Saddler allegedly tried to flee from Corona on foot. He is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, obstruction of governmental administration, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and driving with a suspended registration.

The Sheriff's Office listed Saddler's residence in Rochester. Batavia PD lists Saddler as "no permanent address" in Batavia.

The defendant is being held in Genesee County Jail without bail.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Photos: Batavia Concert Band opens 2014 season in Centennial Park

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, entertainment, music

The Batavia Concert Band kicked off its 2014 summer season at Centennial Park this evening. 

The season has been dedicated to the late Wayne A. Burilson, conductor, who died March 26 at age 37.

The guest conductor tonight was John Kresse.

Shows this year are scheduled for 7 p.m. in the park on July 9, July 16, July 23 and July 30 (all Wednesdays).

The band will also play Friday, July 4, at GO ART!'s Picnic in the Park, which runs from noon to 5 p.m.

Speaking of Picnic in the Park and music, also performing are Stephanie Pietrzak, “America’s Polka Sweetheart,” at 1 p.m., and at 2:30 p.m. is “Trilogy,” a four-piece classic rock and roll band, followed at 4 p.m. by Gan Ainm, playing Irish and Irish American traditional music, led by John Ryan.

And speaking of live music in Batavia, the Ramble Music at Arts Festival is this Saturday in Jackson Square. The opening ceremony is at 11:15 a.m.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Photos: Conversion of old Carr's Warehouse displayed during open house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Carr's, downtown

There was an open house this afternoon for the new mixed-use complex in Jackson Square.  

The former Carr's Department Store Warehouse is now four apartments and a downstairs office space.

One of the apartments is already rented. Thermory, a company that installs thermo-treated wood decks, has moved into the office space.

The building was purchased by developer Paul Thompson and partners, who invested more than $500,000 of their own money as well as leveraged $115,000 in state grants to complete the conversion project.

Features of the building include exposed original beams, industrial-grade wood floors and brick walls.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Volunteers concerned about dog confined to shelter while owner's legal case drags on

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, Genesee County Animal Shelter, pets

Some of the shelter volunteers call him "Boyfriend," which tells you something about how "Foxer" has won the hearts of the people who care for him every day.

The white and brown pit bull is sweet, kind and gentle and gets along well with the other dogs and people he meets.

The only serious issue for Foxer these days seems to be a question of how much longer he's going to be confined at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Officially, he's "evidence." 

Foxer, also known around the shelter as "Skully," is caught in a legal battle between his owner, Nina Kelso, and the government that is prosecuting her for allegedly mistreating him.

Kelso's case has been pending in Batavia City Court since Feb. 4 when she was charged with torturing or injuring an animal; failure to provide sustenance; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog. 

The 29-year-old Batavia resident had another court appearance scheduled last week, but as with her previous court appearances, her case was continued, so Foxer's fate remains unresolved.

According to Batavia's Animal Control Officer James Sheflin, Kelso won't sign Foxer over to the shelter so he can be adopted, and since Kelso's case is still pending, the shelter has no choice but to keep him confined.

He can't even go to a foster home because he's considered evidence. Until his status changes he has to remain in the supervision and custody of the shelter.

And he's getting a little stir crazy.

During those hours he's confined to his cage, Foxer doesn't do much other than spin in circles. 

"In the kennel I think he gets a little bit of anxiety, but as you can see, as soon as he gets around humans he's happy and ready to go," Sheflin said. "I can't speak to how he was before we got him, whether he had a lot of human contact before, so I don't know if it's a separation-anxiety type thing."

Volunteer Brenda Cromwell said Foxer is walked daily and even gets a car ride from time to time, but still he spends about 23 hours a day in his cage.

Healthwise, he's doing much better. When he first came into the shelter (see picture below), he weighed 49 pounds. Today, he weighs 75 pounds.

He was treated by a vet for gastroenteritis. 

"He is food-obsessed and looks forward, anxiously, to his next meal," Cromwell said.

Another dog brought to the shelter a couple of weeks before Foxer was Nessa, owned by Lauren K. Pellegrino. Pellegrino's case, like Kelso's, is still pending, so Nessa remains confined to the shelter, but has adjusted to shelter life better than Foxer. Nessa displays no anxiety issues, but is as comfortable and happy around people as Foxer.

Photo of Foxer taken Feb. 4.

Nessa, above, today, and below, when she was first brought to the shelter.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Driver involved in Oakfield accident accused of driving under the influence

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

A driver involved in an accident yesterday that sent one person to the hospital has been charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

Keith Allen Hackett, 48, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, was also cited for alleged failure to yield right of way.

Hackett was reportedly parked at 80 South Pearl St. in the greenway at 1:30 p.m. when he pulled left into traffic to initiate a U-turn.

His 2003 Ford sedan was struck by a car driven by Shelly G. Bucci, 53, of Knowsville Road, Oakfield.

Bucci was transported to UMMC with minor injuries.

Her passenger, 84-year-old Lorraine E. Balduf, was uninjured.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.

(Initial Report)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

Law and Order: Rochester man accused of fleeing from deputy during traffic stop

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

James T. Saddler III, 32, of Jerold Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, obstruction of governmental administration, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and driving with a suspended registration. Deputy Joseph Corona attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle at 12:03 a.m. on Park Road for alleged traffic violations. Saddler was allegedly observed fleeing from the vehicle after it stopped in an attempt to escape apprehension. Once apprehended, Saddler allegedly provided false information about his identity. Saddler was jailed on $2,500 cash bail. Saddler is also wanted on unrelated warrants out of City of Batavia Court.

John Albert Snook, 26, of Gillette Road, Albion, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal contempt, 1st. Snook is accused of violating an order of protection which prohibited any contact with the protected party. Snook allegedly slapped or punched the protected person. Snook was jailed without bail.

Melissa G. Betances, 33, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Betances is accused of a violation of probation. She was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

Photos: Horses and a fallen barn

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany

It's been a while since I went on an early morning drive around Genesee County looking for photos to make, so I got up this morning at the crack of dawn and went for a drive. There was a lot more cloud cover most of the morning than I would like, but I did come back with these two pictures. Above, three horses at Baskin Livestock on Creek Road, and below, a fallen barn on Silver Road.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Cargill workers do volunteer clean up on ARC buses

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Cargill, Genesee ARC

Press release:

On June 25th,  Cargill observed their annual Green Day by sending 19 of the local employees to volunteer at the Genesee ARC Transportation Department.  The volunteers washed 18 buses and vans inside and out that are used by the Transportation Department in transporting children and adults with disabilities.  The community enrichment activity was part of the company’s Green Day event that is celebrated across Cargill’s 46 plants throughout the United States.

In a statement from Plant Manager, Joe Washburn, Cargill Animal Nutrition observes Green Day annually as an opportunity to celebrate their success of the past year, and to reflect on the ideals within the Green Book, a handbook held by all employees that lists the ideals by which Cargill will operate its business, and goals that are set out for all employees.  One of these goals is Community Enrichment. According to Washburn, “Everyone improves the communities in which they live and work for a better tomorrow.”  Cargill’s 46 Animal Nutrition Plants throughout the US are working to donate time to their local communities not just on Green Day, but throughout the year.  On a national level 1500 Cargill employees logged nearly 1400 hours of volunteer service. The company has donated $337,000 in community funds and $10,00 locally.

Cargill’s Batavia plant is located on Wortendyke Road.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm

YWCA reminds residents that domestic violence can have serious consequences

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, domestic violence, YWCA

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Nicole Sheehan, a 29-year-old Batavia native who died from an apparent domestic violence shooting a week ago in Lancaster.

This tragic incident is another painful reminder that domestic violence is about so much more than arguments and debates; it can have grave consequences, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

As a gentle reminder that YWCA is here to help with Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services, the agency will be lighting its walkway this week at 301 North St. as a visual display that there is hope, Walton said. Victims can always confidentially call YWCA for guidance, help and referrals to appropriate avenues that will take them out of a potentially harmful situation and into safety.

"We ask that people join us in spirit as we light up our walkway in Nicole's memory," Walton said. "And to please help -- through your increased awareness -- those others who may be struggling with a domestic violence situation. We offer advocacy, safe housing and, perhaps most importantly, a 24-hour hotline so that everyone has opportunity to reach out for help when needed."

Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services Director Cindy Earl said there is usually a Domestic Violence Services office in each county. If you're unsure about where to turn for help or guidance, call the hotline at (585) 343-7513.

"Everybody's mission is to find a safe location for a potential victim if they think the person's abuser is going to do something harmful," Earl said. "We take them very seriously and will do everything we can to put them in a safe location."

Sometimes abuse is not evident to friends, family and coworkers, she said. If you even suspect that something like that is going on in someone's life, reach out for help. And if you are in a relationship that makes you feel threatened in any way, make the call. It's free and confidential.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

Clarification on the Craig Lawson, Jason McNeil case

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien

The family of Jason McNeil, the former WNY resident seriously injured after being struck by Craig Lawson at a Kid Rock concert a year ago, has asked we clarify some prior reporting on the case.

At a pre-trial hearing in January Deputy Lonnie Nati testified that immediately after the incident, Lawson made statements indicating that he and McNeil had been involved in a confrontation and that Lawson said, "he never should have touched my wife."

Not expecting a plea deal, we were not at Lawson's court appearance last week where Lawson entered a guilty plea to second-degree assault in exchange for a maximum one-year jail term. We reported the mere fact of the plea based on information provided by the D.A.'s office. At the hearing, Lawson made a statement we were not informed of until this morning.

Lawson said:

I've had the opportunity with my lawyers to again review the evidence the people will present against me at trial. I admit the individual I struck was not the person I encountered earlier while leaving the concert.

Lawson made no other statements concerning the events of July 5, 2013. He will be sentenced Aug. 18.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:12 am

UPDATED: Two men from Genesee County reported killed in Thruway crash in Henrietta

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Darien, thruway

Two men from Genesee County are dead following a horrific multi-vehicle accident on the Thruway in Henrietta yesterday afternoon.

Trooper Jason Jones, PIO for Troop T, confirmed the two victims were from Genesee County, but said the State Police are not releasing the names pending notification of family members.

One victim was from Batavia, the other from Darien.

The accident was reported at 4:30 p.m. near Exit 46. Six vehicles were involved.

UPDATE July 1 (information from State Police press release): Killed in the accident were Michael F. Pehrson, 51, of Batavia, and Christopher M. Rheinheimer, 25, of Darien. They were pronounced dead at the scene after their pickup truck was struck head on by a commercial vehicle hauling a construction dumpster. That vehicle was traveling eastbound when it left its lane, crossed the center median, and traveled into westbound traffic, according to officials' preliminary investigation. State Troopers, Fire, EMS, and Thruway Authority personnel immediately responded to the scene. The operator of the commercial vehicle, Roger L. Labar, 51, of Prattsburgh, was transported to Strong Memorial Hosptial with non-life-threatening injuries. Seconds after the first collision, a westbound tractor-trailer hauling produce struck the damaged guide rail from the first collision, which punctured its fuel tank causing it to become fully engulfed in flames. The operator of the tractor-trailer, a 49-year-old man from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, quickly exited the vehicle and was uninjured. A fourth vehicle traveling behind the tractor-trailer struck debris in the road causing it to spin and be struck head on by a fifth vehicle. The operator of the fourth vehicle, a 70-year-old man from Canandaigua, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the fifth vehicle was uninjured. A sixth vehicle traveling westbound on I-90 struck debris causing damage to the vehicle only, no other injuries were reported. State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Collision Reconstruction Units responded to the scene and are handling the investigation. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets also responded to the scene to assist with the fuel fire and perishable cargo of the tractor-trailer. At this time, no charges have been filed against the commercial vehicle driver, and the investigation remains ongoing. All westbound traffic was diverted off the Thruway at Exit 45 (Victor) for the duration of the investigation at the scene.

Photos submitted by Mark Hough.

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