Afternoon News Brief

Written by on August 17, 2022

Joseph Kuzma

A Batavia man who served a state prison term for stealing more than 400 veterans’ grave markers and flags, and has repeatedly been re-arrested, now faces more charges following a state police investigation. 42-year-old Joseph Kuzma formerly of Byron, is now charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and fourth-degree criminal mischief, following a complaint of a domestic dispute in Byron. Kuzma has been in and out of trouble since 2014 when he stole money from a business where he worked in Bergen.


Photo provided by Lollypop Farm

68-year-old Elaine Bute of Carlton, now faces charges after several horses in Orleans County were found severely neglected. Lollypop Farm Humane Law Enforcement investigators responded July 26 to a request from Orleans County Animal Control. Investigators found a thin Palomino with overgrown hooves standing on at least 2 feet of packed manure. Investigators returned and found a total of 10 horses living on the property. Multiple horses were found covered in their own feces in stalls packed down with manure and old straw. Several horses had overgrown hooves, which make it difficult for them to bear weight. Investigators also found insufficient water in the areas used to house the horses. Bute is charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. She’s due in Carlton Town Court next month (September 12th). If convicted on all 10 charges, she could face up to a $10,000 fine and/or 10 years in prison. The horses are now receiving care at Lollypop Farm.


In Attica, the Department of Public Works has shut down Exchange Street just south of the rodeo driveway entrance thru this Friday, August 19th. Residents and visitors can access Exchange from Main Street. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to call the Village Office at 585-591-0898.





Attorney General James

New York Attorney General Letitia James is continuing her efforts to protect renters in the state by cracking down on “tenant blacklisting,” which is what happens when landlords use housing court records as a basis to deny a potential tenant’s rental application. Tenant blacklisting was made illegal in 2019 following changes to the Real Property Law, which outlawed efforts to deny housing to renters with a history of landlord-tenant court cases. And now, the Office of the Attorney General has launched an online complaint form for New Yorkers to report instances in which landlords have engaged in blacklisting.




Salman Rushdie

Two state lawmakers are calling for change following a stabbing at the Chautauqua Institute that left author Salman Rushdie seriously injured. State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, who both represent the Southern Tier, want the institute’s security force to have the legal authority to arrest people. Last Friday, the 75-year-old Rushdie was attacked by 24-year-old Hadi Matar and suffered significant wounds to his liver, arm and eye. Matar is scheduled to be back in court again this Friday.



Applications are now being accepted from people who want to receive money from the Buffalo 5/14 survivor’s fund. The fund was put together after a mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo that left 10 people dead and three others hurt. In order to get benefits, individuals must be a legal heir of the victims, have been hit by a gunshot or suffered some sort of physical injury, have been present at the time of the shooting and are dealing with mental trauma or been an associate of the Jefferson Avenue store who was not present on the day of the shooting. The deadline to submit an application is September 14th.


Toy guns

Governor Hochul is strengthening the safety restrictions on realistic-looking imitation weapons. A new law that she signed yesterday makes imitation weapons easily identifiable, preventing them from being used to commit crimes while allowing law enforcement to identify devices as fake when assessing threats. The law also clarifies that imitation weapons can’t be black, blue, silver or aluminum-colored. Data from the Attorney General’s office shows there have been at least 63 shootings in the state as a result of individuals mistaking imitation weapons for real firearms, eight of which resulted in fatalities.


Olcott Beach Carousel

For the sixth time since July, the Niagara County Department of Health is telling swimmers not to enter the water at Olcott Beach. They say people should stay out of the water there for safety reasons because a high bacteria count has been detected. The beach will only be back open for swimming once it’s safe. Anyone who has questions can call the principal public health engineer at 716-439-7451.


The man accused of carrying out a deadly stabbing at a homeless shelter in Rochester has been indicted on several charges. Prosecutors say 40-year-old Nathaniel Jeanpierre, III killed 68-year-old Michael Nairy at the House of Mercy shelter on August 7th. A man in his 20s was also injured in the assault but survived his injuries. Police say that the attacks against both men were unprovoked.

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