Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on July 8, 2022
A former Java man, who avoided a possible life in prison sentence when child sex assault charges were dismissed in Wyoming County, now faces at least 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal charges. 36-year-old Nicholas Turnquist, now of West Falls in Erie County, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to transportation and attempted transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, with a maximum of life and a $225,000 fine. The plea came on the day jury selection was scheduled. Turnquist admitted that beginning in 2012 he began sexually assaulting the girl who was 14 at the time. The assaults continued for years, including in 2014 when he transported the girl, then 16, to Pennsylvania to engage in sexual activities. The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A scam alert from the Department of Motor Vehicles: The DMV has issued a warning to consumers to beware of a new attempt to steal their personal information. The scam claims the DMV is offering rebates due to high fuel prices. This is not the case. If someone clicks on the link provided, they are brought to a webpage that is designed to look like the DMV website and they are asked to submit personal information. This is the latest in a series of such so-called phishing schemes that DMV has warned New Yorkers to avoid. Phishing texts are fraudulent messages designed to obtain data or sensitive personal information to be used to commit identity theft or trick the recipient into installing malicious software onto a computer or mobile device.
After a wet start to the summer months with over two inches of rain falling within the first 10 days of June, the pattern shift that followed has been quite the opposite. And as a result, the entire GLOW region is now described as “abnormally dry,” the lowest of five classifications on the drought scale. The U.S. Drought Monitor released its latest weekly report yesterday. It shows the dry conditions spreading through most of Western New York. That’s a change from last week, when only the northeastern quarter of Orleans County was affected by the dry conditions within the GLOW region. The “abnormally dry” classification means that crop growth can be stunted and planting delayed, with early browning of lawns and declining surface water levels. Fire danger is also elevated. If the dry conditions were to worsen, they would be classified as a moderate drought — not unusual for portions of New York in summer. Genesee County asked its residents to conserve water last week — especially on hot days. Work to increase the area’s water supply is ongoing, but the projects will take several years to complete. Genesee County Highway Superintendent and County Engineer Tim Hens suggests, “Water gardens at night or early morning when evaporation is less. We have contingency plans in place for emergency water supply and pumping, but if everyone works together to do their small part at conservation efforts we can avoid water supply issues.”
Area drivers, businesses, and property owners along Park Road are being advised of an upcoming change in traffic patterns. Utility work is nearly complete on the Park Road Improvement project. Work will be focusing on roadway reconstruction, including excavation and removal of the existing roadbed, curb work, streetlighting, sidewalks and paving. As the work proceeds, a portion of Park Road between Lewiston Road and Richmond Avenue will be closed to all through traffic beginning Tuesday. The stretch will remain closed until Labor Day. The portion of Park Road from Richmond Avenue to Veterans Memorial Drive will revert from one-way traffic back to two-way traffic. Daily work zones with reductions to a single lane traffic are to be expected. Batavia Downs traffic is asked to enter and exit the facility parking area from the north end of Park Road near Richmond Avenue. Signs will direct Batavia Downs customers and staff to the parking areas. For traffic needing to access Park Road approaching from Lewiston Road/Route 63, driers are asked to follow the Park Road detour using Veterans Memorial Drive. For traffic needing to access Lewiston Road/Route 63 approaching from Oak Street/ Route 98 and Thruway, drivers will be asked to follow the Route 63 detour using Veterans Memorial Drive. All through traffic is asked to avoid Park Road if possible and seek alternate routes. Call the Town of Batavia Highway Department at (585) 343-1729, ext. 218 for more information.
The latest data from the state shows the spread of COVID-19 is on the rise again in Western New York. Right now, the average 7-day infection rate in the region is 9.1%. At this time one week ago, that infection rate was 7.1%. However, in the Finger Lakes region, the average 7-day infection rate is just below 5.5%. At this time one week ago, the infection rate was 6.2%. New Yorkers are being urged to protect themselves and others from the illness by being vaccinated, getting their booster shots and wearing a mask indoors.
The suspect accused of carrying out a mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo has made another court appearance. Yesterday, Payton Gendron was back in front of a judge and his attorney’s were granted a 90-day extension to decide if they want to use a psychiatric defense. Gendron is accused of opening fire at the Jefferson Avenue Tops back on May 14th, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what prosecutors have called a racially motivated hate crime. He’s facing dozens of charges and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
One of the biggest lottery prizes of the entire year is going to be up for grabs in just a few hours. The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to at least $400,000,000 ahead of tonight’s drawing. The cost to play is $2.00 per ticket. No one has won the top Mega Millions prize since April 15th. Tonight’s drawing will be streamed online at megamillions.com. Please play responsibly.
The Buffalo Sabres have added three players to their organization who they hope can help lead the team to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Sabres had the ninth, 16th, and 28th overall selections in the first round of the NHL Draft last night and used them to select Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund and Jiri Kulich. All three will be new centers able to leap into the forward position. Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs in the last 11 seasons, which is the longest active drought in the league. Rounds two through seven of the draft began this morning.
In a press release issued today, the City of Batavia tells us: There is an urgent need to fill crossing guard positions for the 2022-23 School Year. The salary is $13.46/hour, and they’re accepting applications for the position of part-time School Crossing Guard. Qualifications: Graduation from a standard senior high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma. Civil Service employment applications may be picked up in the Human Resources Department, City Hall, One Batavia City Centre. Please submit completed applications to Dawn Fairbanks, Human Resources Director, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Background check and drug testing required. Candidate must become a resident of the County of Genesee or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO