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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Iraq vet who died outside Blockbuster honored in memorial service

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, James Maher, veterans


James Maher, the 27-year-old Iraq War veteran who died from a head wound after falling outside the Blockbuster location on Lewiston, was honored by a group of fellow veterans this evening in a memorial service on the spot where he died.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Popular spaghetti dinner raises funds for Genesee Cancer Assistance

post by Howard B. Owens in charity, Genesee Cancer Assistance


Our dinner tonight was some of Joe Gerace's famous spaghetti and meatballs at Holy Name of Mary Church in East Pembroke. The popular dinner is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance. Friends told us to get their early because it's not unusual for them to run out of sauce.

Besides the great services provided by Genesee Cancer Assistance, one of the great things about the charity is that it has no overhead and all the money donated stays in Genesee County.

Gerace is pictured below on the right.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Hawley calls for eliminating plan to require new license plates

post by Billie Owens in license plates, steve hawley

new_NY_lp.jpgThis week in Albany, Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been busy lobbying the governor and other lawmakers to rescind a plan requiring all residents to get new vehicle license plates next spring.

Opponents of the DMV plan, like Hawley, say it's a blatant money-grab by a budget-challenged state at taxpayers' expense. Firstly, they argue, we do not need new license plates. Secondly, this plan is, basically, a tax, something New York has plenty of already.

In a press release, Hawley said "In rural areas, like in Western New York, it is a necessity to drive: to buy food, to get to work. This license plate plan is just another tax on residents in communities like ours. This plan does not impact New York City residents, it affects us."

He asked that it be repealed immediately as a "sign of good faith" that those in Albany are listening to the residents of Western New York and other upstate regions.

"It is not enough for the Governor and legislative leaders to 'rein in spending' by making last minute budget cuts," according to Hawley. "They must cut the excessive burden they have placed on the backs of taxpayers..."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Man accused of assaulting Batavia police officer surrenders

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A man who allegedly assaulted a Batavia police officer yesterday Friday has surrendered.

Paul F. Daly, 28, of 29 Waverly St., Cattaraugus, was at large since being released from a facility where he was taken for a mental-health evaluation. Before police could arrest him on criminal charges, Daly was let go and the police were not notified.

Daly, who was a patient at the VA Medical Center, surrendered to State Police in Amity.

Batavia PD Warrant Officer Dennis Rider negotiated with Daly to convince him to turn himself in.

"Basically, I started with family members, because they didn't want to say where he was, but I convinced them that the safest thing was for him to turn himself in," Rider said. "I wanted to avoid a confrontation if at all possible."

Daly is being transported by State Police to Batavia.

UPDATE: We've also learned that Chris Camp, the officer who was reportedly attacked, did try to deploy his Taser. The Taser was ineffective. Det. Schauf said, "it did not have its intended effect," though why it didn't work as it should is unknown.  As we reported previously, a passing citizen helped Camp subdue the suspect.

UPDATE 6:52 p.m.: Daly was delivered back into Batavia police custody this evening. He was arraigned and jailed without bail.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Lawmakers go to Albany to fix budget, fail

post by Howard B. Owens in New York state

Buffalo News writer Tom Precious pretty much says all that needs to be said about the state of the state in the first paragraph of his story today:

ALBANY — State lawmakers returned Tuesday to Albany, collected their per diems, ate free lunches, huddled with lobbyists and met with each other in private. But they were unable to accomplish the chief task that brought them back to the Capitol: budget repair.

That's good, honest reporting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Batavia man admits to social services fraud

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia man accused of fraud for not reporting income from self-employment while receiving social service benefits, pled guilty yesterday to one count of attempting to offer a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

Jeffrey Wawrzyniak, 37, was immediately sentenced to three years probation.

The charges were the result of an investigation by the Genesee County Department of Social Services. Wawrzyniak reportedly failed to report income from July to October 2008.

Wawrzyniak has paid restitution of $497.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:52 pm

VA patient accused of assaulting police officer not in custody

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A suspect in an assault on a Batavia police officer yesterday Friday was still at large this morning.

In a note on the e-mailed press release Tuesday, Det. Rich Schauf wrote that the suspect, Paul F. Daly, was not in custody, but none of the local media who carried the report -- including The Batavian --  picked up on that fact.

I spoke with Det. Schauf this morning and clarified that Daly was not in custody, and I haven't heard any report since then of his arrest. Police are searching for the suspect.

Daly was initially taken for a mental health evaluation, but within hours, according to Schauf, he was released by medical personnel. Schauf did not say where Daly was evaluated. Police were not notified of Daly's release until after the fact.

Schauf did not have a description of the suspect at the time we spoke, but we hope to get one before the end of the day.

Daly, originally from Cattaragus, is or was a patient at the VA Medical Center.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Veteran's Day 2009 Pictures

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Veteran's Day, veterans






Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 10:50 am

Oakfield-Alabama Veterans Day celebration

post by Ethan Thompson in oakfield-alabama, Veterans Day

Every year Oakfield-Alabama Middle-High School hosts a Veterans Day celebration. They invite anywhere from 15-25 veterans from around the area to come and give a presentation on how the military has changed their lives and what it was like to be in the military. If the veteran went to war, he is asked to bring memorabilia such as metals, helmets, etc.

This year they had approximately 18 veterans come and share their stories. Several generations were represented. Some of the veterans included in this year's program were James Neider, Pastor Mark Perkins, Red Robinson, Leonard Gordon, Ray Cianfrini, Clayton Fry and Wallace Kornow.

The event is coordinated by Patricia Trinder, a middle school math teacher, who is running it for the first time by herself. When asked why she wanted to take over coordinating the event she said “I've always felt it was a special thing that needed to be continued.” She'd helped run it in the past, but when Darlene Bakos retired she handed the reins totally over to Trinder.

We asked some of the veterans if they thought other schools should hold events like this one.

“I hope that other schools and communities would really take time to educate people of the value of their veterans,” said Cianfrini.

Kornow, a fellow Oakfield veteran, said, “I think every school should take the opportunity to invite their local veterans to this kind of program.”

Oakfield-Alabama would be delighted to see other schools in the area hold events like this one. If you would like to learn more about Oakfield's celebration, please contact Patricia Trinder. You can email her at [email protected]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 10:44 am

Police Beat: Le Roy man accused of two burglaries in Pavilion

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

Bryan M. Hargrave, 22, of 61 Myrtle St., Le Roy, is charged with two counts of burglary in the third degree. Hargrave allegedly broke into two Pavilion businesses on Sept. 23. He is accused of breaking into Pavilion Drainage Company on Route 63 and taking some cash from the office area. On the same day, he allegedly broke into BW's Bar on Perry Road, this time allegedly taking cash and an iPod. The investigation was conducted by deputies John Baiocco and James Diehl, with assistance from investigators William Ferrando and Roger Stone. Additional charges against Hargrave are pending. Hargrave was released under supervision of Genesee County Justice.

Bart Arthur Towne, 41, of 1795 Phelps Road, Corfu, is charged with attempted petit larceny. Towne allegedly attempted to steal televisions and other items from BJ's Wholesale Club by concealing the items inside a box labeled as a file cabinet. He presented the box at the register for purchase.

Erica M. Raphael, 24, of 335 Bank St., Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal possession of stolen property. Raphael is accused of possessing stolen NYS Official Prescription sheets from Batavia Ophthalmology and allegedly forging a prescription for hydrocodone tablets. Raphael allegedly attempted to get the prescription filled at Oakfield Family Pharmacy.

A 17-year-old resident of Bergen is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was apprehended after a random K-9 search at Byron-Bergen High School. During the search of the east side parking lot, a K-9 alerted on a car. Marijuana was allegedly located in the car and the marijuana was seized by law enforcement.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:43 am

Today's Poll: How are you observing Veteran's Day?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:37 am

Today's Deals: South Main, Pudgie's, Delavan's, Alex's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, teas and spices -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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

Total Image Hair Salon/Sarah and Amanda Lowe, 226 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Time to update your style? Try something different or finally get the hair styling you've dreamed of, give Sarah or Amanda at Total Image a try. We have a $22 gift certificate for $10.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding.

Jackson St. Grill, 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Try the fresh, skinless haddock fish fry on Fridays. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Fall colors are here, and with Pudgie's you an cozy-fy your home with a range of decoration ideas. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $15 gift card for $7.50.

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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

Total Image - Amanda and Sarah Lowe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Alexander man accused of manslaughter pleads not guilty to 11 felony counts

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

ron_wendt_outside_court.jpgIndicted on a rarely used aggravated vehicular manslaughter charge and facing up to 25 years in prison, 24-year-old Ron Wendt, Jr. appeared in County Court today to formally plead not guilty to all 11 felony accounts against him.

Wendt, a resident of Alexander, is out of jail on $50,000 bail and appeared before Judge Robert Noonan in navy blue slacks, a blue shirt and blue tie. His family was with him.

Also in court was the family of Katie Stanley, an 18-year-old girl who was a back-seat passenger in  a 1993 Toyota Camry on Aug. 14, when Wendt reportedly made a left-hand turn from Route 20 into the parking lot of My Saloon just as the Camry entered Darien Center.

The Camry struck the rear of Wendt's 2001 Dodge Ram truck.

Stanley died as result of the injuries she sustained in the accident.

Wendt was allegedly found later to have a BAC of .08.

His attorney, Thomas A. Burns, now has 45 days to file motions and prepare his case.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Burglary suspect charged, offered release on $100K bail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Rochester man arrested Sept. 10 for allegedly breaking into a State Street home a week earlier was formally charged today with burglary in the second degree and criminal possession of stolen property.

Reginald M. Wilson, who was reportedly caught driving a vehicle stolen from the residence, was given a chance to get out of jail while he awaits trial. He must come up with $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond, according to Judge Robert Noonan.

Wilson, because of prior felony convictions, could potentially be sent to prison for life if convicted of the current charges. For that reason, Noonan refused bail to Wilson at a Sept. 16 hearing.

After today's hearing, Public Defender Gary Horton said that in all his years of practice, only twice has he seen three-time felony convicts sent to prison for life. He said it's an option for prosecutors -- which can be sought only after the third felony conviction -- that is rarely used.

Wilson has 12 prior convictions, including five felony convictions and has reportedly twice failed to appear for court dates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Toyota of Batavia gets tax break from GCEDC

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Toyota of Batavia

Toyota of Batavia is investing $975,000 to expand its dealership, and to help the project along, the Genesee County Economic Development Center is providing a $7,500 tax incentive.

The project was first approved for benefits on Feb. 21, 2008.  But the actual benefit was approved this week.

The dealership is mortgaging its property for $600,000 to help pay for the project. GCEDC is providing the mortgage-tax exemption.

The GCEDC estimates that for every $1 of tax benefit, the community is realizing $616 of investment by the company.

The dealership is located at 3899 W. Main St. Road in the Town of Batavia.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Gillibrand asks New York employers to hire veterans

post by Howard B. Owens in business, kirsten gillibrand, veterans

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand used her weekly call with the media today to make a different kind of pitch -- rather than promoting some bill she's signed on to, Gillibrand made an appeal to New York's employers: Hire a veteran.

On the day before Veteran's Day, the senator is reminding businesses that there are tax credits available when they hire military -- especially war -- veterans.

Unemployment among veterans is 14.6 percent, Gillibrand said.

She also announced legislation to help veterans become entrepreneurs. The Veterans Business Center Act of 2009 would help veterans gain access to capital and federal grant money to start new businesses or expand existing ones.

“Too many veterans are coming home to a very bad job market and unable to find work,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “They fulfilled their duty to our country, and now it’s time for us to fulfill our duty to them by making sure they have access to a good-paying job.

"The tax breaks we put in place earlier this year are a win-win for businesses and veterans, but we need to make sure businesses know they are available and take advantage of them by hiring more veterans. I'm making a personal pitch to the business owners I meet to hire a vet and take advantage of the tax credit.”

Full press release after the jump:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm

County Manager Gsell helps apprehend alleged car thief

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jay Gsell

Jay Gsell can polish up his resume. Under "Genesee County Manager" he can add "Batavia Crime Fighter."

Gsell helped Batavia police capture an alleged car thief this morning.

mug-kyle_monroe.jpgPolice received a report at 5:45 a.m. of an auto theft in progress at 310 Washington Ave. 

When police officers responded, they found the car partially in the roadway and abandoned.

Gsell was out for his morning run and saw a suspect jump over a fence near where the car was abandoned. Gsell provided police with a description of the suspect and then continued on his way.

A short time later, Gsell reportedly spotted the same man near the Richmond Memorial Library. He dialed 9-1-1.

Apprehended by police was Kyle Monroe (pictured). Monroe allegedly possessed the keys to the vehicle at the time of his arrest.

The same car was reported stolen twice before. The first time, on Oct. 29, the car was recovered in the area of the sand wash on Cedar Street. It was determined that keys were used to steal the car, but the keys were not recovered.

The same car was stolen again on Nov. 6.  It was recovered two days later on Holland Avenue. Again, investigators determined that keys were used to heist the vehicle, but again, the keys were not recovered.

After two thefts, the owner placed an anti-theft device on the steering wheel, which apparently helped thwart the third attempt.

Monroe was charged with criminal possession of stolen property and the investigation is ongoing. More charges may be filed.

The same suspect was arrested Oct. 24 in the Town of Batavia, according to police, when he was allegedly caught driving a different stolen vehicle. He was charged with criminal possession of stolen property in that case, as well.

UPDATE Wednesday, 8:27:  I asked Det. Rich Schauf if there was any link between Monroe and the car break-ins of the summer months, and whether the keys to the stolen car might have been taken during one of those break-ins.  Here is Det. Schauf's response:

The best we can tell is the keys were found and used while Monroe was (allegedly, ed.) illegally going “through” the car on the 29th, the first time the car was stolen. We do suspect he is one of the people involved in illegal car entries over the summer. At this point we do not have any conclusive evidence to link him to other illegal car entries.  Also, to answer one of the readers’ questions about Grand larceny. In this case the suspect was arrested for Criminal Possession of stolen property for possessing the keys to the car which were stolen. To prove Grand Larceny the person would need to be caught in the act of stealing the car or admitting to stealing it. Most often a person caught in a stolen car will not admit to stealing it. Unless it can be proven they stole the car, the  charge of criminal possession of stolen property may be used. Or if the element of “knowingly” possessed stolen property cannot be proved another charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle may apply.  Both Criminal Possession of stolen property fourth and Grand Larceny fourth are classified as E Felonies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

VA patient allegedly attacks police officer outside Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A passerby came to the aid of a Batavia Police officer today Friday when a patient of the VA Medical Center attacked him near Batavia Downs.

Officer Chris Camp responded to a report of a drunk man walking in traffic on Park Road, and when Camp arrived he observed a man standing in the road with a beverage container in his hand.

Camp approached the individual and asked him to leave the roadway. The man reportedly refused to move and without warning attacked Camp, grabbing his neck.

The officer defended himself and a nearby citizen also jumped in to help pull the alleged attacker off Camp.

Taken into custody for mental health evaluation was Paul Daly, 28, of 29 Waverly St., Cattaragus. Daly was later charged with assault in the second degree and disorderly conduct.

Camp was treated for his injuries and then finished his shift.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

GCEDC leads official ground break on new agri-park

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC


There may be gold in the hills between routes 5 and 63 on the east side of the Town of Batavia.

At least that's the impression left from this morning's groundbreaking for an agri-business park being made "shovel ready" under the guidance of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The $6 million project could lead to millions in revenue growth for the county, and as much as a $40 million annual payroll for as many as 1,200 workers.

The return on investment, according to GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde could be as much as 30-1 -- $30 gained in the local economy for every $1 spent on the project.

"This is a story of a vision that is really becoming reality," Hyde said.

dean_norton_farm.jpgConstruction actually began two weeks ago and while only one Canadian food processor is among the future planned tenants, Hyde said he is confident several more companies will gain interest in the project once the economy turns around.

He said he expects future tenants to invest as much as $230 million in private capital to build their facilities.

He said the agri-business park is the first of its kind in the Northeast and brings together a confluence of factors that should be attractive -- inexpensive, easily accessed water, inexpensive power, a rail line and trucking routes.

The project is the result of GCEDC helping to bring together public and private funding to raise the $6 million to make the 200-acre park shovel ready (grading, building roads, bringing infrastructure), with contributors including the state and Town of Batavia as well as Farm Credit of Western New York.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton (pictured, inset) called the project near and dear to his heart.

"It's a prime example of what state agencies and private groups can do when they get together and work for the betterment of agriculture," Norton said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm

No criminal charges planned in Byron fire

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, fire

The individuals involved in starting a bonfire that apparently ignited a fire in Byron on Sunday night will not face criminal charges, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster sent this e-mail:

District Attorney Friedman recommended no prosecution. He stated that the actions surrounding the fire's start are not criminal in nature.


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