36-year-old Latoya Jackson of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass; after refusing to vacate a local motel on West Main Street Road earlier this week during an eviction. Jackson was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released on her own recognizance. She was transported to the Genesee County Jail for prints and photos and is scheduled to return to court on July 12.
This afternoon, New York Attorney General Letitia James is warning New Yorkers of scams on vacation rentals and offered tips on how to avoid them as summer approaches. She suggests before making a payment, you verify your host and communicate only through the listing site before booking. You should never wire payments. James urges New Yorkers to report any summer scams to her office. Attorney General James recommends consumers take the following precautions before booking their summer getaway:
• Verify the host. Make sure the renter or host has a valid address and phone number.
• Make sure the listing has reviews and read the reviews. Be wary of listings on websites like Airbnb or VRBO that do not have any reviews listed. When reading reviews, check for multiple reviews that repeat the same phrases — that could be a sign that the reviews are fake.
• Check that the photos have not been stolen from another website. Use reverse image search of photos of the rental to ensure that the photos have not been listed on another website.
• Communicate only through the listing site before booking. One way that scammers try to trick consumers is by first posting a listing on a site like Airbnb or VRBO, and then requiring you to communicate directly with the host outside the website or app to book the listing. Do not share your email address or phone number with the host or renter before your booking is accepted.
• Only book with a credit card or debit card. Use verified payment sources such as a major debit or credit card, which can be traced in the event something goes wrong. One advantage of using a credit card specifically is that you have certain protections under the Fair Credit Billing Act, which allows you to dispute unauthorized charges.
• Only make payments through the listing site. If using a site such as Airbnb or VRBO, make all payments through the site, as they may be able to refund you if you are later defrauded.
• Never make wire payments or cash payments. NEVER make a payment using a wire transfer service or money transfer service such as Western Union, Money Gram, Zelle, CashApp, or Venmo.
• Rent security deposits. You may be asked to make a security deposit. Generally, you cannot be required to pay more than one month’s security deposit. The owner can apply the security deposit to cover any damages caused by you or unpaid rent but otherwise must return the deposit to you at the conclusion of the rental.
• Know your rights. It is illegal for a host to deny a vacation rental to you based on your race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, disability, or marital status. If you believe that you have been discriminated against or harassed based on any of these protected classes, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights
There’s another recall to tell you about: Ford will soon be asking the owners of 350,000 vehicles to take them to dealers for repairs due to three separate recalls, including about 39,000 that should be parked outdoors because the engines can catch fire in some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. But the company says fires can happen even while the engines are off. Ford has reports of 16 fires under the hood, 14 in rental company vehicles. One person was burned. It’s recommending that the SUVs be parked outdoors and away from buildings. The fires appear to start at the back of the engine compartment on the passenger side. Of the 16 fires, 12 happened while the SUV engines were turned off. Ford says they are treating the recalls urgently and will use apps and mail to notify customers as soon as it develops a list of vehicle owners and addresses. The problem will be fixed by dealers or by an online software update; the owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by letter around May 30.
Western New York drivers are digging still deeper into their wallets when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $4.81. The state average is $4.92 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.59. In Batavia, the average cost per gallon is $4.80; up 3 cents from yesterday. Last Friday, the average price here was $4.58; a month ago, $4.23; and this time last year, $2.99. By the way, as of yesterday, the average price for diesel fuel is $6.54 a gallon.
The suspect accused of carrying out a mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo has been indicted by a grand jury. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly killed 10 people and injured three others at the supermarket last Saturday. He was in court yesterday and at one point one of the victim’s family members in the courtroom called him a coward. Gendron is charged with murder and is still behind bars without bail. He’s scheduled to face a judge again June 9th.
The deadline is still about a year away; however, The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is urging New Yorkers to apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID now to avoid the last-minute rush next year. Starting May 3rd, 2023, a standard license or non-driver ID will no longer be accepted to fly within the United States. The federal REAL ID Act requires customers applying for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID to visit a DMV office to prove who they are and to have a new photograph taken. Before going though, you’re encouraged to use the DMV’s document guide to help determine what you’ll need to bring with you. The guide takes just minutes to complete, with questions designed to help determine what proofs of identification and residency you’ll need to bring. Only original documents, or certified copies of certain documents, will be accepted. A passport is also acceptable as a REAL ID-compliant document. For additional information, visit: dmv.ny.gov/offices/.
On Monday, May 23rd at 1 p.m., The Batavia Police Department will conduct the first annual Flag Commemoration Ceremony to honor deceased officers. Flags will be installed in metal flag holders at nearly 50 graves at various cemeteries across Genesee County and plaques will be affixed to deceased officers who are interred. After a brief program, speakers and family members of the various officers will walk to the gravesite of Anthony Horsch, who served in the Batavia Police Department from 1890 until 1916. Mr. Horsch was the Department’s First Police Chief.
Today, the City of Buffalo is collecting personal care items for people in the community who were affected by last weekend’s shooting. Officials say there are several things that are needed right now including toilet paper, paper towels, baby diapers and wipes, toothpaste, soap, garbage bags, and shampoo. Anyone who wants to donate those items can drop them off in the lobby of City Hall. Additional information on how to help out those in need can be found online.
Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) voted in favor of the Access to Baby Formula Act (H.R. 7791) when it passed the House of Representatives last night. The Act is intended to provide additional resources and protections to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and ensure fast action in the event of any future baby formula supply chain crises. And this morning, Jacobs co-sponsored the Babies Need More Formula Now Act to increase supply, require a plan from the FDA, expand choices for parents, and in general, improve the recall process. Jacobs has also cosponsored the Formula Act that would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new set of international standards to cut red tape and allow for increased formula imports to supplement domestic supply. Additionally, Jacobs also sent a letter to the President last week expressing the urgency with which the administration needed to act and outlining additional action.
About 300 volunteers went to nearly 30 sites in Genesee County yesterday to work on beautification projects. It was all a part of this year’s United Way’s Day of Caring. Projects included painting, raking, cleaning up parks, planting community gardens, and getting children’s outdoor play areas and summer camps ready for the warm weather. If you were unable to participate in the Day of Caring, there are other opportunities to get involved throughout the year. Find out more at www.unitedwayrocflx.org/volunteer.
Dr. Kiel Illg
Attica Central School has a new superintendent: Dr. Kiel Illg. Kiel’s name was announced yesterday by the district’s Board of Education. It’s expected he’ll be appointed formally next Thursday pending final contract agreements, and will start July 1 in his new role. Illg earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Kinesiology, with a minor in Educational Leadership Studies from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. He holds a number of permanent certifications including New York State School Building Leader and School District Leader. Kevin MacDonald is the District Superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES, and acted as the search consultant. He noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education, and stakeholder groups. Illg replaces longtime former superintendent Bryce Thompson.
Singer Wynonna Judd has pulled out of the upcoming CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival following the death of her mother. Judd was supposed to perform at the event that’s taking place from June 17th through the 25th. In a statement, Judd said she’s still taking time to process last month’s passing of Naomi Judd and that she appreciates the love and support of her fans. Judd will be replaced by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. Tickets to the festival can be purchased at rochesterjazz.com.
Firearms found in Freeman’s home
A Grand Island man has been arrested by State Police following a road rage incident on Interstate 190. Troopers say it happened Tuesday in Grand Island and that at one point, 43-year-old Victor Freeman allegedly displayed a firearm to another driver. Police say they found a loaded polymer pistol and a search of Freeman’s residence led to the discovery of assault rifles, a shotgun and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Freeman was arraigned on multiple charges and sent to the Erie County Holding Center.
The League of Women Voters has announced a lawsuit calling for upcoming primary contests to be held on the same date. The primaries for State Assembly and other statewide races are set for June 28th and the primaries for State Senate and Congressional contests will be August 23rd. The primaries were split up due to the battle over redistricting that’s gone on for months. The League of Women Voters claims holding separate primaries violates the Constitution’s right to freedom of association.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is urging riders to be careful while they’re out on the road. According to data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, the number of deadly motorcycle crashes were up 50-percent last year compared to 2019. This year alone, there have been several motorcycle fatalities and over 220 injuries reported. The state offers a motorcycle safety program and anyone who wants to take part can visit nysmsp.org to sign up.
Breyonna Norman of Attica has been arraigned on an indictment for two felonies; the first is Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and the other, Promoting Prison Contraband. She pleaded guilty and is sentenced to 5 years probation.