news

Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 1:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, fire, Arcade.

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Although the house has since been razed, money was the prime mover for the March 2015 back-to-back fires on Liberty Street in the Village of Arcade.

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     Jody Nelligan

“She lied about the fire under oath when she was actually deposed,” said Wyoming County Assistant District Attorney Vincent Hemming in court transcripts. “This was someone that started a fire in a house, with children in that house, for money.” According to court transcripts dated Feb. 2, Jody Nelligan, 40 of Orchard Park, admitted to the Wyoming County Probation Department of intentionally setting fire to the home to “get the renter’s insurance policy.” Additionally, up until her guilty plea Oct. 27, Nelligan “continuously lied about this fire for a substantial period of time.”

Hemming also noted that Nelligan has no drug or alcohol issue “whatsoever,” but did ask the Court to consider incarceration as part of any probationary sentence.

The matter was seen before Wyoming County Judge Michael Mohun.

On March 23, 2015 a fire broke out in the basement of a Liberty Street home in Arcade. Arcade, Strykersville, Yorkshire, Chaffee-Sardinia, and Harris Corners fire departments were on the scene for three hours, under the direction of Fire Chief in Charge, Arcade Fire Chief Tom Beirsdorf putting out the fire. Standing by at empty stations were Bliss and Sheldon fire departments.

The following day, several surrounding fire companies responded to the home for a second time for a fire that began in a second-floor bedroom closet. Following the fires, Nelligan, another adult, and four children were being assisted by the Red Cross and family members. The four family cats were also saved. 

Arcade, Yorkshire, Harris Corners, Bliss, Strykersville, Chaffee-Sardinia, and Sheldon fire companies were on the scene for five hours battling the blaze. They were assisted at the scene by Wyoming County Emergency Services, Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, Arcade Electric, and the Arcade Police Department. Standing by at empty stations were Bliss and Holland fire departments.

On July 1 of last year, Nelligan was charged with setting both fires – two counts of arson in the second degree, a Class B felony; and two counts of perjury in the first degree, a Class D felony.

In October she had pled guilty and on Feb. 2 she was sentenced.

At the time of her sentencing, Nelligan was facing up to six months in jail and five years probation.

Nelligan’s attorney, Andrew Pace, reiterated to the Court that she has taken full responsibility for the fires. He also quotes a probation officer as saying she is “extremely apologetic, very distraught with what happened, and since we left court at our last appearance, she has taken steps to help remediate what can only be described as a myriad of mental health issues.”

Additionally, she has no criminal record and is working with a mental health counselor weekly, a psychotherapist monthly, and her primary care physician to coordinate all of her medications.

Pace stressed to the Court in his memoranda how “essential it was that we try and get Jody back to her family,” because she is the primary caregiver of not only her four children, but her sickly father and her husband as well.

When Mohun gave Nelligan an opportunity to speak, she again apologized for the fires and told the Court it would not happen “ever again.”

“I am a mom and I have four children,” Nelligan said. “Two of my children are special need children and they need my care daily and I have my father, who I’m a caregiver for. He’s 70 years old and I would really hope that you would impose probation on me and not jail time because I need to be home with my family.”

Mohun then asked the defendant if the family she spoke of was the same family that was in the house when she set fire to it. To which she had said her father was not present at the time of the fires, but her children were.

“And now you’re asking not to put you in jail because you want to be a mother to these children that you put at risk?” Mohun questioned.

Nelligan admitted that it was a “bad choice,” to which Mohun said it was “probably a most horrific choice that anyone could make, let alone a mother.”

Due to the fact that she is working with a counselor and receiving medication for her illness, this gave the judge pause. Mohun noted that if there was no constraint on sentencing, a state prison sentence may have been appropriate.

“You put the lives of your children at risk,” Mohun said. “For what? For money. It’s an extraordinary tale that is told in this prosecution where you put money ahead of your children’s safety. You put them at risk. That is certainly not a motherly instinct.”

With that said, however, Mohun agreed with Pace that she has taken steps to “come clean” and did not think her children should “suffer any more for your criminal behavior.”

“Every day you are with those children is a blessing, and I hope you don’t put them at risk anymore because this is a revocable sentence,” Mohun said.

According to New York Penal Law 60.01 a revocable sentence  shall be deemed a tentative one to the extent that it may be altered or revoked in accordance with the provisions of the article under which it was imposed, but for all other purposes shall be deemed to be a final judgment of conviction.  

Nelligan was convicted of attempted arson in the third degree and sentenced to five years probation, $26,075.55 in restitution, and fees and surcharges.

See related: Unknown cause sparked the first fire at a Liberty Street home in ArcadeArsonist responsible for setting two fires at a Liberty Street home, ArcadeAn Orchard Park woman pled guilty to setting fire to an Arcade home last year

Friday, February 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, environment, firefighting, Warsaw, DEC, announcements.

Press release:

Foam used by some fire departments may now be listed as a hazardous substance. On Feb. 1, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed a Notice of Adoption with the New York State Department of State to amend Part 597, Hazardous Substances Identification, Release Prohibition, and Release Reporting, effective March 3.

The regulation classifies perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt) as hazardous substances at the request of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). 

The amendments finalized the:

    •  addition of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) No. 335-67-1), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt, CAS No. 3825-26-1), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid, CAS No. 1763-23-1), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt, CAS No. 2795-39-3) to the list of hazardous substances at 6 NYCRR Section 597.3;

    • allowance for continued use of firefighting foam that may contain PFOA-acid, PFOA-salt, PFOS-acid or PFOS-salt to fight fires (but not for training or any other purposes) on or before April 25, even if such use may result in the release of a reportable quantity (RQ), which is otherwise prohibited; and 

    • correction to the list of hazardous substances by providing units for RQs.

The final rule-making documents, including the Assessment of Public Comment, are available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/104968.html

See related: Firefighting foam may contain newly listed hazardous substances

Friday, February 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Warsaw, news.

The Wyoming County Court system works with a collaborative effort across multiple agencies to combat the opioid and heroin problem facing the county. 

Working within a system of best practices, the Court, District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the county jail, Spectrum Human Services, Department of Veteran Affairs, Literacy West NY Inc., and the Wyoming County Probation, Health, and Mental Health departments have developed a systematic approach for those who commit crimes relating to drug offenses.

The approach also serves as a starting point to help addicts “kick the habit” and give offenders the tools to reenter society as productive members of their communities.

“When the Treatment Court first began almost 14 years ago, participants addicted to opiates was a rarity,” said Wyoming County Judge Michael Mohun during this month’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “The court dealt with alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, designer drugs and non-opiate prescription pill abuse, primarily. Today, more than 70 percent of the participants are diagnosed as opiate dependent – primarily heroin.”

Formerly called Drug Court, Treatment Court not only handles those who have a drug problem, but also those with an alcohol or mental health issue. Other assistance involves aiding with health insurance – oftentimes a hurdle to gaining access to treatment – for outpatient or inpatient services. 

“The idea behind changing the name is that we are handling not only people who have a drug problem but also alcohol and mental health issues,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “We are also handling veterans who also have these problems but because they are veterans they have access to other services and we help them connect with those services. We also have people on our team who are experts (called navigators) with dealing with health insurance issues, which is a big hurdle to gaining access to treatment (either outpatient or inpatient). Also, by having this broader title we are open to other addictions or issues that may arise that were not usually part of the basic drug court model.”

Those who enter Treatment Court are held accountable for their actions via weekly court appearances, random home visits by the Probation Department, weekly drug testing, regular attendance and active participation in counseling, as well as maintaining or finding employment. Additionally, participants in the program are given an opportunity to reduce their criminal charges.

“It’s a diversion program,” O’Geen said. “Participants are not only given the opportunity for recovery, by also a reduction in sentences. Approximately 80 percent of the cases we’ve had, sentences were reduced.”

“The Treatment Court process has evolved into a unified system of care with an integrated cross-systems approach support by nontraditional community partnership,” Mohun said. “This unique team offers a wide open door of hope for each individual qualifying for the program.”

Prior to being accepted into the program, candidates are interviewed and assessed by James Messe, the Treatment Court coordinator. He establishes the necessary level of treatment for each individual and assesses what entitlements they have or may need.

Additionally, he secures in-patient treatment for those who are unable to remain in the community.

According to officials, probation is the key. For the program to work, it works in thirds – want, force, or hiting rock bottom.

“The program works because a person like Gene (Traxler) is on participants to help them gain employment, structure and get back on the right track.”

Traxler, a senior probation officer with the county Probation Department, has been working with the program since its inception in 2003. His focus is to supervise each and every Treatment Court participant. 

“In treatment, it’s also a rule of thirds,” Traxler said. “A third of the people that start never relapse. A third of the people relapse a couple of times, and a third are chronic relapses no matter what the consequences are. There is also positive peer pressure in the program to succeed.”

Drug testing of each participant is both random and scheduled. These tests ensure sobriety, officials say. However, testing is just one portion of the multifaceted approach. Contact with treatment agencies, family members, employers, and other service providers verify attendance, compliance, and employment. 

Additionally, if a participant violates the conditions of the program, they are “sanctioned” and sentenced to a week in jail. Once the week is up, the person then may be eligible to continue with the program – with the caveat that the participant reenters the program as if starting from the beginning. However, there are only so many chances a person is given. If a participant continues to violate the terms of the program, they are removed from the program, charged with their original crime and sentenced accordingly. 

In addition to the Treatment Court program, medical services within the jail are equally important. The jail medical services works collaboratively with the treatment team to address every participant that is in Treatment Court. The jail nurse, either Cheryl Glaus R.N. or Laura Dutton R. N., attends the weekly meetings to identify participants who may exhibit withdrawal concerns, medical or mental health issues, and their need to continue taking medications while incarcerated.

“It is estimated that 20 percent of inmates in jail and 15 percent of inmates in state prisons have a serious mental illness,” Mohun said. 

Officials say mentally ill inmates are often jail management problems and are more likely to contemplate suicide. Those in Wyoming County that work with inmates regularly agree that mentally ill inmates have increased in the jail in the last several years. However, the regular, on-site presence of a mental health professional providing mental health services to inmates decreases management problems and safety issues. 

Mitchell Kibler, of Spectrum Human Services, provides the outpatient mental health and chemical dependency treatment services to Treatment Court participants. Part of the treatment is group and individual therapy sessions, as well as medication assisted treatment for opiate addiction. Two such medications used included Suboxone and Vivitrol.

Suboxone combines buprenorphine, an opiate, with naloxone, an opiate blocker. This daily oral medication requires strict testing and physician supervision. Vivitrol is purely an opiate blocker and given once a month by injection. These medications are used in conjunction with either inpatient or outpatient treatment.

The county’s Mental Health Clinic provides outpatient mental health services which focus on co-occurring disorders. 

Literacy West works with individuals in earning a high school equivalency diploma, should they need one, as well as offering work readiness classes and career coaching. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs works with veterans to assess eligibility for services through the Veterans Administration (VA). Efforts are then coordinated to determine the appropriate level of care after diagnosis as well as treatment at the various VA facilities located in Batavia, Buffalo, Bath and Canandaigua.

“Whether the primary problem is mental health or addiction, the treatment team utilizes weekly meetings to review the participant’s status,” Mohun said. “The Court is in tune with the need for timely and efficient screening and assessment. This helps to identify all challenged areas and to link them with the necessary treatment modalities.

“The Treatment Court offers an opportunity to link treatment, vocational training, supportive living, educational needs, and employment opportunities while working toward goals of hope and recovery and a chance to break the vicious cyclical nature of an addict involved in the criminal justice system.”

According to Mohun, of the 57 graduates between 2011 and 2015, 12 (22 percent) had been rearrested since graduation – 44 (78 percent) were not. Of the 12 who were rearrested: four were for drug-related offenses; one was for an alcohol-related offense; two were rearrested for theft or property crimes; one for a domestic-violence-related crime, and four were for “other” charges. 

Of the 16 who graduated from Treatment Court in 2016, only one has been rearrested for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (no drugs were involved.)

“The mug shots are a telling sign,” Traxler said. “Once they are clean, they are no longer living in a fog.”

The people who graduate that don’t go back into the program is a more telling sign, O’Geen says. 

“It’s a tough program. Some just give up,” Traxler said.

“Graduation means something,” O’Geen said. “They earned it. They truly earned it. Success is a person maintaining sobriety and a law-abiding life for 12 successful months.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, court, Perry, Warsaw, Attica, news.

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The following were in Wyoming County Court Feb. 22 before Judge Michael Mohun.

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    Charles Braun

Charles Braun, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years post-release supervision, plus fees and surcharges. The sentence is to run concurrently with his Livingston County Sentence. He was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree, a Class C violent felony.

See related: Charles Braun pled guilty to attempted rape

The following are from State Correctional facilities in Attica. 

Bail is set for state inmate cases for two reasons:

    • In the event that the inmates current sentence is overturned on appeal or the inmates sentence is about to expire the bail will kick in on the new case and the inmate would be turned over to the Wyoming County Jail while the new case is pending; and

    • When bail is placed on an inmate it follows the inmate so when they are moved to different facilities it is one way for them to be found and also the state system knows there is another case still pending.

Rodney Webster pled guilty to conspiracy in the fourth degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12.

Javon Woods had his case adjourned to March 13.

Terrance Milton was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison. He was convicted of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current sentence. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred.

Abida McIntosh was sentenced to one-and-two-thirds to three-and-one-half years in prison, and fees and surcharges. He was convicted of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Andrew Mott pled not guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The case has been adjourned to April 12. Bail was set at $5,000.

Pablo Sanes pled not guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. Motions are scheduled for April 12. Bail was set at $5,000.

Darrell Carthon was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison on the conviction of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Shaquor Smith pled not guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. Motions are scheduled for April 12. Bail was set at $5,000.

Brian Atkins was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison on the conviction of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current sentence.

Benedict Agostini had his case adjourned to March 13.

Wesley Kirkland pled not guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. The case has been adjourned to April 12. Bail was set at $5,000.

John Harris pled guilty to two counts of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled April 12.

Ricky Morris pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled April 12.

Jayshawn Williams pled guilty to attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled April 12.

Lindell Cox had his case adjourned to March 15.

Diquan Wells was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison on the conviction of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current sentence.

Neil Allen was in court for motions. His case has been adjourned to March 13 for a Huntley Hearing. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Mohun Feb. 21.

Kenneth Fullen, who committed a crime in Perry, pled guilty to burglary in the second degree, a Class C felony. Sentencing is scheduled March 30. He is held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

Christian Manley, an inmate at a State Correctional facility in Attica, had his case adjourned to March 9.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Castile, fire, crime, Business, news.

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 Amy S. Goodenow

Amy S. Goodenow, no age provided, of Castile was charged with arson in the third degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly setting a fire that destroyed a Castile business.

The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says, during the early morning hours of Feb. 15 a fire broke out at the Castile Diner, 125 S. Main St., Castile. When deputies arrived at the Main Street restaurant they noticed a “working structure fire” and say Goodenow was at the scene at the time of the incident.

After both a fire and criminal investigation, officials determined that the fire was intentionally set. 

Although Goodenow owns the business, the contents and building are owned by Steve Gitsis.

Members from Castile, Silver Springs, Gainesville, Bliss, Pike, and Nunda fire departments were on the scene for close to five hours putting out the flames. 

Assisting at the scene included Wyoming County Emergency Services, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police, and the Village of Castile. Standing by at empty fire stations included Perry, Warsaw and Fillmore fire departments.

Goodenow, who was jailed on $5,000 cash bail and $10,000 bond, subsequently posted bail and was released. 

She is due in the Village of Castile Court at 7:30 p.m. April 3.

See related: Castile Diner fire remains under investigation

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 2:47 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Business, Warsaw, Attica, Arcade, Perry, Main Street.

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New York adopted the "click-through nexus" law in 2008. It requires certain out-of-state or online merchants to collect tax on sales of their own merchandise. That first-in-the-nation law is the template for statutes in nearly two dozen other states and survived court challenges, including the New York State Court of Appeals.

Within Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget is a proposal seeking to require “marketplace providers” to collect New York’s state and local sales taxes on merchandise shipped into the state from out-of-state sellers. This proposal applies the existing nexus law to a new and growing Internet sales platform.

“Online retailers put brick-and-mortar businesses on our Main streets at a competitive disadvantage,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. “They (online retailers) may not be collecting the sales tax on merchandise, whereas a local merchant has to because they are located in New York.”

If the online business does not have a physical presence in the state, it can be more difficult for the state to enforce the collection of the sales tax from purchases made by New York consumers.

“It hurts people like our independent booksellers, small retailers, gift shops, clothing stores, etcetera,” Gardner said.

The budget proposal would require online marketplaces with more than $100 million in annual sales to collect and remit tax just as consignment shop owners and auction houses now do. Estimates show that improved enforcement of existing tax laws would result in some $275 million in fiscal year 2018-19.

Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger was unavailable for comment.

Monday, February 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, accident, news.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office filed charges Feb. 16 against Nicole K. Sullivan in relation to a one-car accident that occurred during the early morning hours of June 10.

Sullivan, 31, of Perry, is charged with: falsely reporting an incident in the third degree; unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; operation of an unregistered motor vehicle; failure to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of change in address; no seat belt; and driving left of pavement markings.

On June 10, at approximately 2:25 a.m., an accident on Fargo Road, Stafford, was reported. When deputies arrived on the scene, they say they found a male, later identified as Zachery W. Schwartz, 20, unresponsive in the vehicle and a female, Sullivan, on the front porch at a nearby home.

At the time, Sullivan told officers that there was a third occupant, who was driving the car, and fled the scene, traveling north on Fargo Road.

Schwartz was flown via Mercy Flight 5 to Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, for extensive head injuries. Sullivan was taken via Mercy ambulance to Strong for head and leg injuries.

Fire personnel conducted a thorough search on foot of the surrounding areas using FLIR Technology (thermal imaging) in an attempt to locate the unknown driver involved in the crash. The New York State Police assisted by maintaining a roving perimeter of the area. Area hospitals were also notified to call the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office if they received any potential car accident patients.

Approximately three hours after the accident was reported, Sullivan admitted to police that she and Schwartz were the only occupants in the vehicle and she was the driver.

The charges stem from the allegation that Sullivan was in fact the driver of the car at the time of the collision and she gave false information concerning the details of the incident. It is further alleged that there was not an unknown driver of the car who fled the scene as originally reported by Sullivan.

Assisting at the scene of the accident included Stafford, Batavia, and Le Roy fire departments, Genesee County Emergency Management, and Mercy medics.

Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11:08 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Warsaw.
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    Michael P. Lantain

A Warsaw man who was charged in January with felony sex abuse, has been arrested again by the Warsaw Village Police in connection with said charge.

Michael P. Lantain, 35, was arrested Feb. 16 and charged with possession of a sexual performance by a child and possession of an obscene performance by a child, both are Class E felonies; and use of a child less than 17 years old in a sexual performance, a Class C felony.

In January, Lantain was charged with felony sex abuse in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child under 17, a misdemeanor.

At the time of his January arrest, Warsaw Police say Lantain had sexual relations with a girl less than 11 years old. The abuse was said to have occurred sometime between December and January in the Village.

Following that arrest, a search warrant was issued on his property and several computers and cell phones were seized. The Regional Computer Forensic Lab analyzed the items, resulting in the three new charges.

Lantain was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. He is due in Warsaw Village Court March 6.

The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department and Child Protective Services assisted in the investigation.

See related: Law and Order: Warsaw man arrested on sex charges  

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime, Perry, Attica, Warsaw.
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   John D. Carpenter

John D. Carpenter, 65, of Warsaw, was charged Feb. 15 with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, and aggravated harassment in the second degree. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say Carpenter made multiple threatening and alarming phone calls to the Wyoming County 9-1-1 Center. He is accused of repeatedly calling 9-1-1 and reporting that people were going to die, among other alarming statements. Officials say, Carpenter told dispatchers at one point that he continued to call 9-1-1 because he was bored. When deputies responded to his home, he allegedly refused to come to the door. Subsequently, officers got a warrant for his arrest and took Carpenter, a convicted violent felon, into custody without incident. He was put in Wyoming County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. He is due in the Village of Warsaw Court March 6. Warsaw Police assisted deputies at the arrest scene.

Lisa A. Strong, 34, of Attica, was charged Feb. 16 with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Attica Police reports that while assisting the Wyoming County Child Protective Services in investigating possible child neglect, they found four children living in “unsanitary and deplorable conditions.” The children, with cooperation from the defendant, were removed from the home and placed into foster care, officials say. Strong was put in Wyoming County Jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. She is due at 10 a.m. in Attica Village Court March 13.

Raymond T. Frawley, 37, of Angelica, was arrested Feb. 16 on a warrant out of Wyoming County Family Court for failure to obey a Family Court support order. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Frawley on a tip from their Warrant Wednesday program on Facebook. The tip allegedly reported the location of the defendant, who was then arrested by Allegany County Sheriff’s deputies and turned over to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office. He is in Wyoming County Jail on $1,000 bail.

James Becker, 25, of Perry, was charged with driving while intoxicated and DWI with a BAC more than .08 percent. Becker was charged after allegedly driving himself to the Perry Police Department to turn himself in on a bench warrant for failure to appear. Officers say, while at the station, Becker had glassy eyes and a strong odor of alcohol about him. He was placed through field sobriety testing, which he allegedly failed, and a breath test showed a BAC of .16 percent. He was arrested on the warrant and put in Wyoming County Jail on $500 cash bail. He is due in Perry Village Court at a later date.

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Warsaw, letchworth, accident, deaths, drownings.
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       Chad Staley       Tyler Jennings

The two men charged in the deaths of brothers 9-year-old Dylan and 6-year-old Preston Giangregorio, of Rochester, each pled guilty to one count of criminally negligent homicide.

Tyler Jennings, 34, of Farmington, and Chad Staley, 32, of Rochester, pled to the charge in Wyoming County Court Feb. 15 before Judge Michael Mohun. This charge is a Class E felony with a maximum sentence of one-and-one-third to four years in prison.

In the case of criminal negligence, the carelessness required is appreciably more serious than that for ordinary civil negligence, said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. 

By definition, a person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a death when that person engages in conduct which creates or contributes to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that another person’s death will occur, and when he or she fails to perceive that risk, and when that risk is of such a nature and degree that failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

Both men were each originally charged with: two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, a Class C felony; two counts of criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony; and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor.

The original charges stem from a five-month investigation that began June 11 by the New York State Park Police. 

Jennings and Staley were with five children, 5 to 12 years old, in a restricted area of Letchworth State Park June 11. All seven patrons were in the water directly above the Lower Falls when they lost their footing and were swept over the 70-foot waterfall, resulting in the deaths of Dylan and Preston.

According to O’Geen, the two defendants and five children made their way toward the Lower Falls so they could see the falls up close. The children were then allowed to enter the water. When the swift current began to sweep the children away, the two men were unable to keep them and themselves from going over the falls. 

Staley was stuck on the brink of the falls for almost two hours until he was saved by the Wyoming County Rope Rescue Team. Three of the children and Jennings were rescued June 11, but the brothers were not recovered until June 12 and June 14.

During the plea discussion, both men admitted that through their negligence, they caused the deaths of the two boys.

“This has been a difficult and emotional case for all involved and it is my hope that this disposition will begin to bring closure to the families involved, justice for Dylan, Preston and all the children, and at the same time send a message that danger/warning park signs matter as they are there to protect the public,” O’Geen said. “Hopefully, Dylan and Preston’s deaths will not be in vain and park visitors will learn from this preventable tragedy by following the rules of the park going forward.”

The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation report and adjourned the case until 2 p.m. May 17 for final sentencing. 

Both Staley and Jennings continue to be released on their own recognizance until their court date.

See related: Two men charged in June drowning deaths at Letchworth State Park

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, Business, Warsaw.

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Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce President Scott Gardner has often said: “The best ambassadors for Wyoming County are those that live and work in the county. And if we can give them to tools to encourage people to visit, we are going to do that.”

Thursday evening the Chamber hosted a get-together for members to officially unveil the 2017 Wyoming County Tourism Guide.

“We wanted to get people together to network and visit on a social level…connect with other businesses in the county.”

The travel guides can be found at area businesses and at the Chamber office at 36 Center St., Warsaw. 

For information about joining the Chamber call (585) 786-0307 or visit http://www.wycochamber.org/

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Friday, February 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, news, Perry, education, technology.

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zSpace, no, it’s not a place for naps, it’s an innovative mobile classroom that incorporates virtual reality into lesson plans and curriculum for elementary and high schools, universities and even medical schools.

On Thursday, students from kindergarten through 12th grade at Perry Central School District got a taste of learning through innovation. 

The kids donned glasses that are connected to a computer for interactive learning. In addition to the glasses, a stylus is used to access the material on the screen as if it were right in front of the user.

zSpace was developed about 10 years ago for the Department of Defense,” said Andrew Ziemba, PC University Distributors Inc.'s Upstate NY account manager. “Three years ago it was thought to be a good educational tool. It combines augmented reality and virtual reality to give teachers another tool for the classroom.”

zSpace is transforming education today, said Brittni Olson, of L. Wolfe Communications, a public relations firm for zSpace. Hundreds of thousands of students are using the technology in their classrooms and labs worldwide for STEM learning. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – is a curriculum that integrates those four disciplines into a “cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.” 

Students can dissect organs, dive into volcanoes and more – all in a virtual-reality world. No headsets are required, just simple 3D glasses so students and teachers can work collaboratively.

“It would be pretty amazing,” said second-grade teacher Ruth Manchester, about having access to zSpace. “Kids can get exposure to things that may not have an opportunity to otherwise. This could broaden exposure to science and ideas we don’t have access to or aren't given funding for.” 

Students learn by trying and doing without the fear of breaking materials, spilling chemicals, making a wrong incision or blowing up a circuit -- medical students and doctors can even practice surgeries and organ dissections without the messiness of working on real cadavers, zSpace officials say.

“The excitement to learn anything they can that’s hands-on is fantastic,” said second-grade teacher Penny Moses.

And what did the students think of the experience?

“Awesome!”

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Friday, February 17, 2017 at 11:06 am

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File photo.

Around 3 o’clock this morning a fire broke out at 71 Covington St. in the Village of Perry. 

Crews from Perry, Perry Center, Silver Springs, Castile, Warsaw, and Mount Morris fire departments responded to the scene with Fire Chief in Charge Perry Fire Chief Steve Laraby. 

Assisting at the scene included Wyoming County Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Department, Perry Police Department, Perry Department of Public Works, NYSEG, and the Red Cross. Standing by at empty fire stations included Wyoming and Leicester fire departments.

The fire was said to have started due to a malfunctioning hot air furnace, causing $60,000 in damages to the home.

Firefighters were at the scene for four hours putting out the blaze with no injuries reported.

The Covington home housed two apartments, which resulted in two families being displaced and in need of assistance by the Red Cross. A total of six people were affected by the fire.

Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C-I, Elma) says $3 million in state funding will help eligible municipalities and rural electricity cooperatives purchase electric vehicles for their municipal use fleets. The program is part of the New York Power Authority’s Municipal Electric-Drive Vehicle Program, which provides financial assistance to facilitate the replacement of less fuel-efficient vehicles.

“This funding will help towns and villages purchase electric and hybrid vehicles that are more fuel efficient and promote a cleaner environment,” Gallivan said. “The state’s financial support allows municipalities to participate in this important initiative and makes the program affordable to more communities.”

In Senate District 59, the villages of Arcade, Castile, Churchville, Silver Springs, and Springville are eligible to participate in the Municipal Electric-Drive Vehicle Program.
Several types of electric and hybrid vehicles are offered for purchase under the program, including passenger cars, pickup trucks, off-road specialty vehicles and heavy-duty utility bucket trucks. 

Municipalities and rural electric cooperatives that currently receive low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority are eligible to participate in this program. The funding builds on $5 million previously distributed under this program that has helped put 61 clean vehicles into service in 24 towns and villages across the state.

New York Power Authority's Municipal Electric-Drive Vehicle program works by providing zero-interest financing. The funds made available for the purchase of these vehicles are recovered over the course of three years.

New York Power Authority serves 47 municipal and four rural electric cooperative utility systems around the state, providing them with low-cost hydropower to help meet the electricity needs of their residents and businesses.

Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, taxes, news.

Press release:

On Monday, the Senate approved legislation to compensate property taxpayers who are owed money by the state after last year’s changes to the School Tax Relief (STAR) program. The bill (S3505) cosponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C-I, Elma), enables taxpayers who have applied for STAR but who do not receive accurate reimbursement payments from the state in a timely fashion to be paid interest for each day their check is late.

“Delays in issuing checks through the STAR program are unacceptable and have left far too many homeowners frustrated,” Gallivan said. “The state and the Department of Taxation and Finance must work to correct these delays as soon as possible and ensure that hardworking taxpayers receive the rebate they are due.” 

Since its enactment, the original STAR program has provided almost $60 billion in property tax relief to eligible senior and non-senior homeowners. This year alone, total STAR benefits to eligible recipients are estimated to be almost $3.4 billion.

Last year’s budget changed the current STAR program by phasing out direct payments to school districts on behalf of eligible homeowners. It converted the exemptions into a refundable property-tax credit for new homeowners. The conversion applied to people who purchased their primary residence after the 2015 STAR application deadline or did not apply for the exemption by the 2015 STAR application deadline.

The credit was paid in the form of checks that were supposed to have arrived in the mail by Sept. 30. However, multiple reports and many constituent complaints indicate that numerous checks arrived late or with the wrong amount of money. The Senate estimates the average basic STAR benefit is $840 per eligible homeowner and the average senior STAR benefit is $1,555. Many property owners need that money to pay their taxes on time.

This legislation would require STAR checks to be postmarked by Sept. 15 to allow taxpayers adequate time to pay their school tax bills, and require added interest for any late payment penalty imposed by a school district plus interest of 3 percent annually for checks postmarked after Sept. 15.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, weather.

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By Western New York’s standards, three to six inches of snow can be considered a good base for outdoor winter activity. 

However, the National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a lake effect snow advisory, which is in effect until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Officials say an additional three to five inches of snow is expected tonight and an inch for Thursday in “persistent snows.”

The winds will be coming out of the northwest at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, producing blowing and drifting snow.

Blowing snow has the potential to produce difficult driving conditions with poor visibility and snow-covered roads.

In lake effect snow, the weather can vary from locally heavy snow in narrow bands to clear skies just a few miles away. NWS officials remind travelers to be prepared for rapid changes in road and visibility conditions.

UPDATE 9:09 p.m.: The lake effect snow advisory has been upgraded to a lake effect snow warning by the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, education, library, Warsaw.

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Photos submitted.

According to Warsaw Public Library Director Lisa Gricius, the governor’s proposed decrease in library funding would take libraries back to the 2015 level of funding. Additionally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes a $5 million cut from the Library Construction Aid program. That cut alone decreases available funding for this region by about $150,000.

Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich had this to say following the announcement of the governor’s budget proposal to cut nearly 5 percent in library funding: “It is hard sometimes for outsiders to understand how critical library system services are to running a local library. I always use the line, ‘for every $1 invested at the state level, it results in $7 worth of services for local constituents.’ We have a great return on investment and this cut could shift costs, in a very inefficient way, to the locality.”

Smith-Aldrich is the coordinator for Library Sustainability at Mid-Hudson Library System, Hudson.

“These actions come at the same time as the governor’s proposal to increase education funding by $1 billion and ‘double down’ on infrastructure spending across the state,” Gricius said. “The governor’s stated priorities and actions toward libraries don’t make sense. Libraries are education. And library buildings are the keystones of small community infrastructure.”

“Unfortunately, it (the budget) includes a cut to State Library Aid and Library Construction Aid. His budget takes back the legislative adds our representatives fought for,” said Pioneer Library System Executive Director Lauren Moore. “These cuts come at the same time as he is proposing a 4-percent increase in education funding. This is an unfair approach to funding because, as we all know, libraries are education.”

In addition to taxes levied on the library’s behalf from its respective town and school district, the Pioneer Library System also supports the library at the local level by using state funding and divvying it up between the libraries within its network. In the case of the Warsaw Library, it’s part of a network of 42 libraries across Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming and Livingston counties – Owwl.

The Owwl network allows Warsaw residents to access about two million in library materials across the region and request to have those materials delivered to Warsaw. A reduction in state aid could result in slower delivery service, fees for patrons, or increased costs to local libraries. Additionally, it could seriously affect the children who are homeschooled. Currently, they get books they need or want from other libraries and the service is free.

The governor’s proposed budget cuts may decrease the tech positions in the library system. The potential for lessened digital services is possible without the support of the system.

“The digital collection is a system-wide thing,” Gricius said. “Each local library contributes some to purchase the material, but we can’t afford to be a part of that service with that kind of budget decrease. Those who can't come into the library use digital devices for ebooks and magazines.”

This year Warsaw Public Library was able to quadruple the bandwidth available to its patrons, thanks to a subsidy from the Pioneer Library System. That subsidy is funded by state aid and without it the library would not be able to provide adequate bandwidth levels. 

“State aid funds system-wide access to Ancestry.com genealogy website, Mango language-learning website, and downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines through Owwl2Go and Zinio. Warsaw Public Library would not be able to support any of these services without state aid,” Gricius said.

The cuts don’t just affect the libraries services, it may affect basic improvements necessary to keep the building safe, accessible and open. Funding is needed to complete projects such as electrical rewiring and window replacement. Many of the libraries in the Owwl network are more than 100 years old. To meet the needs of the communities, many of the facilities require additional meeting spaces, accommodations for new technology, and renovations to make spaces fully accessible.

“We qualify for 75 percent of the funding and only having to kick in 25 percent, which has to be budgeted in the annual budget,” Gricius said. “We don’t get county funding to operate. We work solely with the money collected by school and town taxes and funding appropriated by the state.”

“Our job is to be good stewards of the resources the public has already invested in, state aid for construction ensures we can keep up with community demand,” Smith-Aldrich said. “The real kicker is that the library-aid formula hasn't been updated since pre-Internet days, so to not even fully fund libraries with an out-of-date formula is just setting New Yorkers up for failure. In a post-truth world our work is more important that ever. We should be a centerpiece of the Governor's plan for the future of New York instead of an afterthought.”

A library is more than the books it houses and the building itself, they are a place where children can go after school for tutoring and homework help. They are a place where an adult can go to continue their education if secondary school is unaffordable. As Gricius put it “libraries have continuously provided opportunities for enrichment in an environment dedicated to creativity and free inquiry.”

To bring about awareness of how much a library not only means to a community, but also how much residents save on an annual basis by using a library.

The Warsaw Library is hosting two initiatives: a postcard campaign where patrons can write to the governor telling him why the library is important to them. They will be taken to Albany on Advocacy Day in March. The other campaign the library is working on is asking patrons to use the “value calculator.” The calculator is an indicator of how patrons use the library and what it would cost them on an annual basis if services were lost.

“People's voices and stories are important. Not everyone realizes that we can lose this,” Gricius said. “It's important to have their voices heard because they do matter.”

“We have a fight ahead of this year, but with an organized advocacy effort we might be able to convince the legislature to add equitable library funding into the final budget,” Moore said. “We're going to need every single library supporter in the Pioneer region to say loud and clear: ‘Libraries are education. We deserve fair funding.’ "

For more information on the Warsaw Library’s initiatives visit the library or its website at http://warsawpubliclibrary.org/.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry Center, Warsaw, Perry.

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Two men are facing numerous charged following a business check around 11 p.m. Feb. 13.

Shane D. Vasile, 50, of Warsaw, and Jesse W. Schuster, 33, of Perry, were arrested Monday night when they were allegedly seen at a closed business in Perry Center. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say the men were in their vehicles, parked, with the engines running. 

During the investigation, deputies say Schuster drove to the business with three suspensions on his license.

Subsequently, Schuster was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

Vasile allegedly had numerous drugs and paraphernalia in his possession. Subsequently, he was placed through field sobriety testing, which he allegedly failed. 

He was arrested and taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where a certified drug recognition expert found him to be impaired by the combination of central nervous system stimulants, narcotic analgesics, and cannabis, therefore, unable to drive safely.

Vasile was charged with driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

Both men are due in the Town of Perry Court at a later date.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

James Mages, 53, of Akron, was charged Feb. 13 with criminal trespass in the second degree and petit larceny. Mages is accused of entering a home on Nesbitt Road, Attica, and taking clothing from the residence. After being confronted by the homeowner, he left the house. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say they found Mages driving from the scene. Allegedly refusing to stop, Mages led officers to a Buffalo Road address in the Town of Orangeville, where he was arrested. Additionally, deputies say he was wearing the clothing he had taken from the Nesbitt Road home. Subsequently, Mages was also charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and failure to comply with a police officer. He was put in Wyoming County jail on $5,000 bond. He is due in both Attica and Orangeville town courts at a later date. New York State Police and Warsaw Police assisted with the arrest.

Keith E. Legge, 44, of Perry, was charged Feb. 15 with harassment in the second degree. Perry Police say Legge is accused of threatening a neighbor at a South Main Street address. He is due in Perry Village Court March 14.

Scott Grisewood, no age provided, of Warsaw, was arrested on a warrant issued out of Perry Village Court. He was picked up on the warrant by Warsaw Police. Grisewood was released on his own recognizance to pretrial release.

Andrew Perdock, no age provided, of Perry, was arrested Feb. 14 on a warrant issued out of Perry Village Court. He was released on his own recognizance to pretrial release.

Nicole R. Fronczak, 27, of Silver Springs, was charged Feb. 11 with failure to keep right, driving while intoxicated, driving with a BAC of .08 percent or greater, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Fronczak was stopped on Route 19A, Castile, after deputies say they saw her driving across the center yellow lines of the roadway. She was arrested following an investigation and allegedly failing roadside field sobriety testing. She was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office where a breath sample allegedly showed a BAC of .14 percent. She is due in the Town of Castile Court March 6.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Attica.
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 Leonard E. Hahn IV

A 17-yer-old Le Roy teen has been charged with multiple counts of rape after one of the victims told school officials.

Leonard E. Hahn IV was charged Feb. 9 with two counts of rape in the first degree, a Class B felony, following a joint investigation between the Attica Police Department and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

During the investigation, additional victims came forward resulting in the multiple charges and due to their ages, substantiated the charged to first degree.

Police officials say Hahn is suspected of raping one victim on two separate occasions in the Village of Attica, and a different victim in Genesee County. Both victims, known to Hahn, are younger than 11 years old.

“The Attica Police Department would like to thank the youth officers of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and special thanks to the staff of Justice for Children Advocacy Center,” said Attica Police Chief Dean Hendershott. “The interagency cooperation and commitment resulted in the best possible outcome for the child victim(s) and their non-offending caregivers. This commitment is shared by all law enforcement agencies in both counties, the District Attorney offices and the departments of Social Service/ Child Protective Services.”

Hahn is currently in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. Additionally, bail was set in the Village Attica Court at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

“Anyone having additional information or anyone having knowledge of possible additional victims, please contact your appropriate law enforcement agency.”

Attica Police can be reached at (585) 591-0881. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is (585) 345-3000.

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